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A Guide to Property Management in London

London is a city offering some of the best investment opportunities for buy-to-let landlords. If you are looking to invest in a home to rent out to an individual, family, or as a house of multiple occupancy, there is a lot of potential for earning money from rental properties in London as the area grows in popularity even further. With more young professionals moving to London for work, buy-to-let properties are some of the most popular investments in the capital. However, successfully letting property in London typically requires a landlord to work with a good property manager. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything landlords need to know about property management in London.

How to Find a Good Property Manager in London

First of all, determine whether or not your situation requires a property manager. It is not a legal requirement to work with a property manager in London, although it is recommended. Property management will take care of the majority of your responsibilities as a landlord including finding tenants, collecting rent payments, and maintaining the property to ensure that it meets required standards. Depending on the type of property that you own and are renting out, you may need a specialised property management company, for example, a company that mainly works with HMO landlords who can ensure that your property meets all legal requirements.

Recommendations are often the first place to start when looking for a good property manager in London. Speak to other landlords and professionals in the property market that you know. If you are purchasing a new property to let, your estate agent may be able to point you in the direction of trusted property managers that they have worked with in the past, or they may offer a property management service in-house.

Can You Manage Your Own Rental Property?

In short, yes – however, it can be a lot of work, so it’s worth considering if it’s the best option for you. Think about the time and resources you have available and determine whether a property management company might be a better choice.

Should You Manage Your Own Rental Property in London?

Whether or not you should manage your own rental property in London will depend on your personal situation and the resources that you have available. It’ll also depend on the type of property that you are buying to let. For example, a single-family residential property on a long-term tenancy might be easier to manage on your own compared to a large HMO that changes tenants on a regular basis. Consider how much time you have to manage your property and the financial resources that you have available to deal with any maintenance issues that might arise.

Can I Manage My Own Rental Property While Working?

Most landlords who manage their own rental properties do so because being a landlord is their main career. However, it is possible to manage your own rental property if you work full-time elsewhere and let property for extra income. That being said, it is not always recommended, as when your time is committed elsewhere, you may not be as responsive to tenants, which could impact your relationship with them and lead to problems further down the line. On the other hand, it is well worth investing in the services of a good property management company if you are working full-time. The property management company will be able to quickly respond to tenant enquiries and problems, arrange maintenance, safety checks, and repairs on the home, and find new tenants for the property while you get on with your life.

What are Some More Benefits of Working With a Property Manager?

Working with a property manager is the most cost-effective way for landlords to save time, build better relationships with tenants, find better tenants, and keep their rental properties in good repair. Property management companies will typically take a percentage of the monthly rent as a fee for their services, which covers a wide range of services including advertising the property for rent, finding and vetting new tenants, providing professionals to conduct renovation and maintenance work on the property where needed, collecting rent payments, chasing missed payments, ensuring that the property is compliant with all legal regulations and requirements, and more.

How to Find a Good Property Management Company?

With various property management companies to choose from, finding the right one for your rental property in London is key. Choosing the right property management company will help you ensure that things run smoothly in terms of finding the right tenants, collecting rent payments, and keeping your home in good repair. A good property management company aims to make the life of the landlord easier by taking on the majority of responsibilities on their behalf. There are several things that you can do to find the right property management company for you, including:

  1. Recommendations: As mentioned earlier, asking in your network for recommendations is a good way to find a trusted property management company. Most landlords will not recommend a property management company that they have not had a good experience with. In addition, it’s worth asking other people that you know from both sides – if you know anybody who is currently a tenant in London, what property management company manages their home, and would they recommend them from a tenant’s perspective?
  2. Online Reviews: A quick Google search will bring up some of the best property management companies in London and checking online reviews can help you make a decision as to which one is the best option for your needs. Look for a company that has a majority of positive reviews left by both landlords and tenants.
  3. Ask in the Market: If you are purchasing a property to let, there are various professionals that you may be working with who could recommend a property management company. If you’re purchasing a property that has been previously let, it might be worth finding out if it was through a property management company, and if so, which one.

How to Find a Good Property Management Rental Company – What to Look For?

Once you have shortlisted some potential property management companies to work with as a landlord, it’s worth looking for a few specific qualities that will help you find the right match for your needs. Some key things to look out for when choosing a property management company for your rental home include:

  1. Good reputation: What do previous and current tenants and landlords have to say about this property management company?
  2. Current properties managed: It can be worth finding out more about the current properties that are managed by the company and check them out. Are the properties in good repair? What do the tenants have to say about living there?
  3. Fees: How much does the property management company charge for their services? Do they charge a percentage of the monthly rent or a flat fee? How are fees collected if the property is empty, or in the case of an HMO, not all the rooms are filled?
  4. Experience: How long has the property management company been managing properties in London? What type of properties do they have the most experience with managing?
  5. Communication: Does the property management company respond to your queries quickly? Are they clear in communicating their services and what you can expect should you choose to work with them?

How Long to Keep Property Management Records?

While you can trust a good property management company to keep records of your property on your behalf, as a responsible landlord, it is a wise idea to keep property management records that pertain to tenants, financial transactions, personnel, insurance, legal and audit documentation, and any other property-related information. Property managers and landlords will typically hold on to records for seven years, however, different types of records should be kept for various periods of time, including one, three, and seven-year periods. In some cases, records should be kept on a permanent basis. The following pieces of information are kept for these periods of time by property managers:

  • One year: Purchase orders, meeting minutes, and employee applications
  • Three years: Expired insurance policies, internal audits, banking records, and any correspondence related to the property
  • Seven years: Bank statements, employee records, expense reports, general journals, payroll records, purchase orders, accident reports or claims, accounts payable and receivable ledgers, expired contracts and leases, and incoming and outgoing invoices
  • Indefinitely: Deeds and mortgages, year-end financial statements, licences and permits, property appraisals, tax returns, articles of incorporation, external audits, general ledger balances, and property records

Can a Property Management Company Own Property?

Although it’s possible, most property management companies don’t own the properties that they manage – they are owned by individual landlords or other companies.

Who Owns Icon Property Management?

Icon Property Management is based in Toronto.

What’s New in Property Management?

The digital scene is making a huge impact on the property scene right now, with landlords, property management companies, and tenants making use of various software products including cloud sharing, smart technology and more.

What is the Best Property Management Software?

Thanks to digitisation, keeping hold of all of these records for the specified amount of time is easier than ever for both landlords and property managers. There are various property management software applications designed to make keeping records and property management in general easier for both landlords and professionals. Tenant Cloud is an ideal property management software if you are a landlord who has decided to manage your property by yourself, while AppFolio is designed for property managers who work with multiple different types of property. Avail offers some of the best customizations, while Buildium is a popular choice with property management companies.

If you’re considering buying to let in London, a good property management company is often an essential requirement. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

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