Landlords: Watch out for this property maintenance scam
Landlords across the UK are being ripped off, paying inflated costs and hidden charges for simple property maintenance work that some letting agents complete through external contractors.
British landlords face a whole range of charges that can feel unavoidable. But how much a landlord pays will depend on certain factors like the type of property they own, who their tenants are, and what letting agent they decide to use (if they decide to use one).
Most of these charges are predictable, but maintenance costs can often come as a surprise, especially to first time landlords.
The National Landlords Association recommends that on a ‘typical’ property (with a rental income circa £750 per month), landlords should budget 10% if their rental income on maintenance in addition to their other charges.
But according to industry insiders, some landlords could be paying a lot more than they need to for property maintenance.
Markups of around 20% are regularly applied by letting agents. But many landlords could be paying much higher hidden prices on work done to their properties.
Recently, some industry experts used mystery shoppers to identify a particularly sinister price gouging operation that saw some letting agents demanding that contractors paid back 60% of the fee to them.
Contractors are often happy to oblige, because they are likely to get a high volume of work from the agency. But for landlords, it means the prices they pay will go up and that they are likely to get a lower quality of work from the contractor.
It also means that more of your money ends up in the letting agent’s back pocket. A landlord paying £100 for a repair job could reasonably be paying £80 to the letting agency for arranging to have the problem fixed, and just £20 to the contractor who ends up fixing it.
MINT Properties – the alternative letting agency
The lettings market is viewed sceptically by a lot of landlords, many of whom have been stung by charges that often seem to amount to the letting agent profiteering.
Modern landlords seem to face charges for everything – from check-ins and check-outs to showing someone around a property. And oftentimes, landlords are left questioning whether such minor tasks are really worth the steep price tags that agents seem to charge.
Legislation introduced recently, means that all letting agents are required to publish information about their charges online. But in a lot of cases, this information isn’t particularly easy to find, and it is often not laid out in any great detail.
At MINT Properties, we prefer to keep things simple for our landlords.
In addition to a low rate of just 8% on fully managed properties, landlords don’t pay any hidden fees for check-ins, check-outs, inventories etc.
We also don’t charge a commission or surcharge on any work done, or on things like EPC’s, gas certificates and credit checks.
We aim to give landlords the best possible return on their property by minimising fees and hand-picking tenants to protect your assets.