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What rental issues do landlords know most (and least) about?

A new survey suggests that one in five individual and multi-property landlords felt unprepared when they first started letting properties - and it’s identified the parts of the job that were most daunting.

The areas they felt they were lacking in knowledge were drawing up tenancy agreements, eviction rights, public liability and tenant security deposits.

These knowledge gaps have persisted for many, even those with some years of experience. 


Eviction rights and dealing with property damage remain the top ongoing concerns for landlords, followed closely by changes to regulations.

Just over a quarter say they are not concerned about filling these knowledge gaps or seeking legal expertise, suggesting that they aren’t taking the potential risks seriously enough.

But a third admit to having personal concerns about legal compliance and regulation in particular, and most of those are seeking information or training.

However, a significant chunk of landlords - 15 per cent - haven’t taken any steps to improve their knowledge, citing a lack of time or not being aware of how to get the appropriate information. 

Efforts to close knowledge gaps are having an effect. 

Seven in 10 landlords agree that they have improved their understanding of tenant security deposits since becoming a landlord, with nearly two thirds  improving their knowledge of drawing up tenancy agreements.

Most landlords also believe they’ve enhanced their understanding of dealing with property damage, getting good rental yields and eviction rights.



Jamie Chaplin of Direct Line Business - which commissioned the study - says: “It’s troubling that so many landlords do not feel they’re prepared before renting out a property, and even more worrying that many aren’t concerned about improving their level of knowledge of legal and compliance issues.

“But there are signs for optimism. Many landlords are taking steps to improve their knowledge and are learning through experience, evidenced by most saying that they’ve improved their understanding of key issues such as tenant security deposits, tenancy agreements, property damage and getting good rental yields.”

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  • icon

    I think we all knew that there are probably a significant number of landlords who have insufficient knowledge of the law relating to tenancies (e.g. deposits, gas safety certificates) and their responsibilities to their tenants. Yet the article does not suggest any solution to this problem. Any ideas everyone? (e.g. should a summary of the landlords' duties and responsibilities be included at the back of every tenancy agreement - or in the least reference where these can found on a government website?)

    • 05 November 2020 09:43 AM

    The best solution is to have a National Register of LL that would licence every LL at a cost of £100 for 5 years.
    Also EVERY rental property to have a licence including social housing. costing no more than £100 every 5 years.
    So that would be about 9 million £100 every 5 years as that is how many residential rental properties there are in the UK.

    All other licensing schemes to be abolished.

    As part of the LL Register EVERY LL to be required to undergo 36 hours of CPD training every 5 years.

    Now with 2.5 million LL it would take some time to set up the training.
    But I would imagine that many colleges could facilitate the training and I'm sure sufficient quality trainers could be sourced to deliver the CPD training.
    This way LL would have no choice if they wish to continue trading than to do the CPD training every 5 years.

    I would ensure that np letting of any property was allowed unless it had a licence and that the LL did as well.

    No licences no letting!



    There are many more TENANTS who don't know (or observe) their responsibilities to LANDLORDS (and fellow tenants/neighbours)!

    PS. The SNP's "Model Tenancy Agreement" has about 40 pages of "guidance" - but finding specific useful information in it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    The REAL solution is for both parties to use common sense and abide by a freely entered into brief and simple tenancy agreement. Landlords shouldn't try to rent out sub-standard properties - but tenants shouldn't take them - it's a two way street.

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    Few people know how to look after their own house properly but they get by by paying someone who knows the answers. Legislation will not change anything except to cause more complication. We are reaching a stage where we have legislation to enforce legislation to force people to learn things they are not interested in and which employs council workers who are now charging licence fees.

    • 05 November 2020 09:55 AM

    Unfortunately for LL legally they cannot abrogate their responsibilities.

    They may choose to pay a third party to carry out those legal responsibilities but if the the third party fails then the buck stops with the LL.

    If they don't want to know what being a LL entails then they should be prevented from being one..
    No licence no letting

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    Hi David, what makes you think this we already have to comply with all those requirements and in HM0's post them on the notice board which I do, for example Gas Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate, Electrical Condition Report, Emergency Lighting Certificate, Inter linked Fire detection System Certificate, Right to Rent information, How to Rent booklet guide, ICO, HM0 Certificate, forget about Deposits they were taken away by Shelter in 2007. I also include the above in the Tenancy Agreements already to be signed as part of the Agreement. David are you sure you are up to speed or how many more things have you got in mind to drive us out of Business.



    I suspect the answer is that he actually doesn't know anything about the real life of being a landlord - but doesn't let a lack of knowledge prevent him from airing his opinions!

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    There will be an unofficial eviction ban For Years!

    If someone wants to they can live rent free for at least two years, then use delaying tactics for another year,

    Then tell the LL to pay the tenant £4K in cash for them to move out, or they take a hammer to the walls and do more than £4ks worth of damage

    The days of the LL are over, the smart LLs are getting out now, soon it will be only the government renting to private tenants as the housing prices crash picks up speed over the next few years


    Nonsense. The PRS will survive until renters all get the drive, initiative and gumption to save up the necessary deposit to buy - which will never happen to most of the current renter population.Even if it did, we own the properties and would get the higher resale prices that a glut of buyers would bring about.
    We will win either way, but thanks anyway for your concern which is totally without foundation.

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    • 07 November 2020 14:43 PM

    Pretty much all genuine meaningful and necessary legislation in relation to health, safety and welfare has been sorted. Those who make the rules should be out of a job, but in order to continue to justify their own existence they pile more legislation on top of more legislation where the cost/benefit ratio no longer makes meaningful sense - where 100% of landlords are required to adopt increasingly costly compliance laws to deal with a problem created by less then 2% of landlords. And licensing is not the answer. We license drivers, yet there are still those who speed, drive dangerously etc. We'll just have licensed landlords breaking the rules. Meantime the rest of us cop it in the pocket. Not forgetting, this will all get passed on to the tenant via increase rents sooner or later.

    • 07 November 2020 14:59 PM

    Totally disagree.
    An effective licensing system will drive out fraudulent tenancies.
    It will force LL to comply with the conditions of


    There are millions of fraudulent tenancies which fail to comply with all conditions of some or all of the above.

    How would it be possible to become a licensed LL if there was breach of regulations for just one of the above?
    And you think licensing won't be effective!!??

    If the sanctions for not licensing and still attempting to let out are robust enough then most LL won't risk it.
    RRO being the most effective.

    Of course it would mean many LL having to sell up as they won't be able to comply with the conditions of all above.

    How would it be possible to advertise a letting if it wasn't licensed
    If that means millions of homeless tenants then so be it.

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    Paul, I disagree on this one most of our problems are caused by rules & regulations also in many cases the cause of un-affordable rents due to increased costs that otherwise could be better spent improving the property.
    We are already governed by 177 pieces of legislation, cost & time consuming putting us behind the desk continuously trying to deal with red tape which for traditional LL's like me is impossible as I am not a computer literate LL but hands on, like millions of other LL's, so its not about housing at all its about bureaucracy nonsense for Graduates to play with their buttons and live off us with no input, then talk about Penalties & Sanctions who is that going to encourage to do anything, Police State.

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    • 07 November 2020 17:01 PM

    Paul, it's naïve to imagine a license scheme would be anything more than a money-grabbing rubber-stamp exercise with all the usual problems persisting. Mostly because we've already done as much as reasonable to weed out the bad apples, and the small percentage who remain will continue to work the system, license or no license.

    PS I also think the problem of dodgy landlords is overstated, mostly by a cabal of tenant advocacy groups with a leftist socialist agenda and it's people like you, Paul, who give them Oxygen with your support for legislation based upon a vastly exaggerate issue.

    • 07 November 2020 17:42 PM

    You couldn't be more wrong if you tried!

    Pray tell how could a LL let a property if they didn't have a licence!?

    If they attempted they should face the sanction of RRO if detected.
    Plus recovery under POCA.

    If I was a criminal LL I certainly WOULDN'T bother being one if there was a risk of RRO and POCA recovery.

    So for effective licensing the first lot of fraudulent LL I would attack are those that are letting in breach of lender conditions.
    This information is easy to locate.
    Basically any property paying LHA would be able to be checked the LL has met licence conditions.
    There millions LL letting to HB tenants in breach of mortgage conditions.
    So any LL who has HB tenants would be required to provide written confirmation that their lender gives CTL to HB tenants.
    That could mean as little as £0.50 HB per month.
    Lenders don't specify an amount.

    Once lenders are aware that LL are letting to HB tenants in breach of their mortgage conditions which is fraud lenders will have to decide whether to call in loans.

    Personally I believe it is about time that ALL lenders removed any conditions restricting tenant types.

    But we are where we are.
    I reckon there are about 2 million fraudulent HB tenancies.

    Next we have those fraudster LL letting out property on resi mortgages WITHOUT CTL.
    It is reckoned that about 1.5 million tenants are housed by these particular fraudster LL commonly described as accidental LL.

    These LL are also committing insurance fraud as very few resi insurers will allow tenants.
    The insurance would need to be for tenants.
    How can you have BTL insurance when you have a resi mortgage and the lender refuses to give CTL for tenants!?

    Next you have those LL that overcrowd their properties usually in diverse communities only.

    Names on AST will confirm who should be occupying.

    Then any flat occupier would need to provide CTL proof from Freeholders that tenants are allowed.

    Then Council permission for existing occupiers.
    As you may appreciate few fraudulent LL will be able to continue with fraudulent tenancies.
    Licensing will find them out.
    Oh and I was forgetting the criminal LL housing ilkegal immigrants so no way compliant with RTR.

    And you think an effective licensing system as I have suggested won't work!!!!???

    The big problem for Govt and Councils is it would work.
    It would cause mass homelessness
    A run on the banks as properties crashed and bankrupted LL

    Banks would go bust.
    Really there is no way that Govt will sanction a National LL licensing s heme.
    The cost is irrelevant.
    There would be just far fewer LL as many wouldn't be able to comply with mortgage conditions.
    Let me devise the licencing requirements and I would put many criminal LL out of business and make millions homeless as well as bankrupting banks and the economy.

    But at least there would only be legal LL and tenancies.
    Millions of homeless is a price worth paying for me to get rid of fraudster LL.

    Perhaps then I could increase my rents to realistic levels which fraudster LL are currently preventing me from doing.
    My suggested Licensing requirements are perfectly sensible.
    They are just too effective!

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    • 07 November 2020 18:50 PM

    You missed the point, I'm saying there will be dodgy licensed landlords.

    • 07 November 2020 18:57 PM


    My licensing requirements would suss out dodgy LL.
    I guess they could always produce fraudulent documents but that could resolved by ensuring such documents are sent directly to Councils etc.

    It really isn't that hard to catch out fraudster LL.
    It just requires robust licensing.
    Plus massive sanctions for any LA letting unlicensed properties.
    Believe me my devised licensing system would quickly put of business many fraudster LL.

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    • 08 November 2020 02:03 AM

    You sound like the ultimate bureaucrat. Sure, your could in theory make legislation surrounding landlords tighter than a nuns thingy but the returns for such overbearing state interference diminish to the point the bang for your buck is just not worth it. The issue is, and you ignored, the "problem" of rogue landlords is massively overstated. Rather than accede to demands for more compliance you should argue authorities prove its necessity.

    • 08 November 2020 02:51 AM

    Nah as a good LL I know that good LL would have NO problem providing the information that I have suggested would be required.
    It would take me about 1 week to have the relevant documents.

    Now a fraudster LL would have a very big problem in coming up with the information.

    Nothing to do with bureaucracy.
    Simple documents are all that is required.
    Hardly complicated.

    I want fraudster LL put out of business.
    That means as an example all those LL letting out on residential mortgages without CTL.

    There are reckoned to be about 300000 of them.
    I want them out of business or convert their properties to BTL mortgages.
    Or better still revert to single unrelated Lodgers getting rid of single household families.
    These families have been illegally housed by these accidental LL.

    If accidental LL wish to let to single household tenants then have them convert the resi mortgages to BTL ones and use BTL insurance.

    Plus ensuring they comply with any relevant licensing.
    Why should these accidental LL compete unfairly with me?

    If the homeowners don't want to convert a resi mortgage to a BTL or change resi insurance to tenant insurance then they have a choice of returning to occupy the property; leave it empty or sell it.

    They cannot be allowed any longer to engage in unfair competition by fraudulently letting resi property without the relevant permissions.
    That isn't bureaucracy it is the law.
    Good LL like me have no objection to fair competition but that is not what we currently have.

    Fraudster LL are a major problem.

    Licensing with the threat of RRO would halt the unfair competition almost immediately.

    I understand why OO commit fraud when letting their resi properties.

    I would do the same if in the same position.
    But I know I definitely WOULDN'T if licensing was in force and a RRO plus other recovery under thr PoCA was possible.

    I would tend to take on lodgers and visit my home once per month.

    But accidental LL aren't clever enough to work this out so they commit fraud with LA actively colluding with these fraudster accidental LL.

    A National LL Licensing system would be excellent news for good LL.

    It would however be an unmitigated disaster for fraudster LL; Councils, Lenders, tenants, Govt and the UK economy as a whole.
    Vast swathes of the PRS are predicated on fraud.

    An effective licensing system as I have suggested will find out these fraudster LL.
    But mindful of all the problems that would be caused by having an effective LL licensing system the Govt will let sleeping dogs lie.
    No way will it allow there to be an effective LL licensing system.
    So the fraudsters can breathe easy for the time being.

  • Matthew Payne

    Noone is going to spoon feed landlords in the PRS, anymore than we get free education how to service our cars ourselves, or complete our own company accounts, in lieu of a mechanic or accountant. As laymen, we either need to train ourselves to be competant to do these things ourselves or we employ someone to do it for us who can, and who is tasked with getting it right.

    Education and competance is more than about having a list as well. So landlords either need to do the self education piece through NRLA/ARLA with ongoing CPD or employ someone who has.
    Licensing I agree seems to be an expensive quick fix and will have further repercussions most wont want further down the line.


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