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London Landlord and Letting Show - top tips from David Lawrenson

Friday 11 March 2016

The average landlord is no fool, having managed to buy not just one but two houses, and we all like to think we know best, bet there are those who know a little more.

And with 30 years’ buy-to-let experience in the bag David Lawrenson, of Letting Focus, is one of them.

We caught his 30 tips in 30 minutes at the London Landlord and Letting Show and here are a few of our favourites.

Research council planning documents and housing strategy 

In 2012 the Government published its National Planning Policy Framework – which assigns targets for housing provision to meet the demands of projected population growth up to 2025.  

And every council in England must have a local plan in place by 2017 outlining their plans for meeting its individual target.

As David told a crowded workshop room at the London landlord and Letting Show, ’these plans will tell you a lot about councils’ attitudes to the private-rented sector.’

Check out the management arrangements before investing in a leasehold

If you buy a flat in a purpose-built block you need to know the building’s management is responsive and ready to deal with any issues. 

“The best leaseholds are where there are proper arrangements for insuring the building and there is active management in place,” said David. 

Get a thorough inventory done 

If you do not have a property inventory done at the start of the tenancy then you will have trouble proving that the damp, for example, which has developed in the property was caused by your tenant and was not there along. 

And don’t forget – if you are disputing a deposit then deposit protection schemes will need to see evidence before ruling in your favour.

Give tenants your phone number 

If they cannot get hold of you, how will you know when things are going wrong in your property?

Keeping in touch with your tenants is one of the best ways to make sure they are happy your property stays in good condition.

Prepare a house guide for your tenants

In David’s own words: “A house guide lets tenants know where things are and how to look after them.”

Not everyone opens windows and knows how to heat houses and international tenants, who are not necessarily used to our damp British climate, do not realise you have to air houses out and keep them warm, top avoid damp. 

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