PROPERTY NEWS - job as an experienced rental agent but, says Tony Clarke, managing director of Rawson Properties and Rawson Rentals, this is very seldom the case.
"Time and again," says Clarke, "we have found that landlords going the DIY route run into difficulties with the Rental Tribunal because they are ignorant of the laws governing rental property transactions. They draw up contracts that are not compliant with legal principles."
Landlords working without qualified agents, says Clarke, in his experience also often lack access to credit bureaux and are more easily duped into accepting an unreliable tenant than experienced agents. They also tend to be less adept at extracting payment from defaulters - and undergo considerable emotional turmoil in the process.
Tenants signing directly with a landlord will quite possibly find that the usual deposit they are obliged to pay at the start of the lease is not put into a trust account and earns no interest. There is, says Clarke, no law enforcing a private landlord to put deposits into a trust account as estate agents have to do - nor are such deposits protected by the Fidelity Fund insurance that estate agents are governed by. Some landlords have, therefore, says Clarke, been unable to pay back their deposits when the tenant's lease has expired and have sometimes resorted to using the next tenant's money for this purpose.
If and when the landlord going it alone runs into difficulties, legal action can become necessary and this, says Clarke, is almost always very expensive.
"All my experience shows that property investors tend to be happier and safer if they employ an experienced rental agent. The monthly fee here is very definitely worth paying to avoid those huge litigation costs and the psychological trauma that inexperienced landlords so often have to face.