How to avoid ‘slum landlords’

19 Feb 2021

Unfortunately there are some landlords in the property industry that don’t treat tenants fairly or adhere to rental standards. We’ve put together some helpful tips so that you can steer clear of the ‘slum landlords’ out there.

Always check all the legal requirements are in place

The lettings industry is heavily regulated with a variety of legislation that landlords must comply with. All rental properties must have:

  • Gas safety certificate

  • Energy performance certificate

  • Electrical safety certificate

If your landlord doesn’t have these then the property is being let illegally. Ensure they can provide you with the necessary documents before signing any sort of tenancy agreement.

Take care of your money

When it comes to renting a property, making sure your money is in safe hands is crucial. Dodgy transactions are one of the biggest telltale signs that you’re dealing with a cowboy landlord. Here’s what you need to look out for:

  • Ask your landlord which government-approved scheme your deposit will be put into to check that your money is protected. At Ultralets, we ensure all deposits are put into the Client Money Protection Scheme and have had insurance for the last 6 years (even before there was any legal obligation to acquire it).

  • Steer clear of cash in hand. Bank transfers leave a trail so you can prove when you’ve made payments and how much you’ve paid. Some landlords may work in cash only but you must ensure you at least receive receipts for your payments.

  • If you’re worried about who you’re handing the money over to then you can perform a Land Registry search on the property. This way you can ensure the named owner of the property is the person you’re paying.

  • Don’t forget, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

Give the property a thorough check over

Take a close look around the property. If you notice any damp or structural problems with the property then you should discuss this with the landlord on your viewing. 

If they have no plans to resolve the issues then they definitely won’t be resolved later and it’s likely the landlord is careless with other elements of letting out a property.

Pay attention to whether or not the landlord asks you questions

Landlords should be equally as worried about renting to a bad tenant as you are about renting from a bad landlord. 

Another legal requirement for landlords is the ‘Right to Rent’ - a legislation under the Immigration Act where landlords must ensure the person who wants to rent their property has the right to reside in the UK. So, if your landlord isn’t keen to see your earnings or passport then you should begin to ask questions.

Go through your tenancy agreement with a fine-tooth comb

It’s important you read and understand the full tenancy agreement your landlord gives you so you know your rights and exactly what you’re agreeing to. If there’s no tenancy, let that be a giant red flag! 

The best way to avoid ‘slum landlords’ is to rent a property through a reputable letting agent. At Ultralets we pride ourselves on connecting responsible landlords with quality tenants. The procedures we put in place ensure all properties on our books are fit for purpose and suitable to rent. Check out our current available properties to let.

Posted By

Spencer Wood

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