What is the goal behind setting up The Happy Tenants Company?
The Happy Tenant Company (HTC) was created by landlords for landlords and launched to the market as an alternative to managing property in 2012. I joined in February 2017 as the new CEO having been attracted to the unique proposition offered to landlords.
At the time, there was a gap in the market from an asset management point of view. There wasn’t anything like HTC available in the private rented sector and there still isn’t, to a certain extent. There are a few similar offerings, but they are very much online, whereas our business is much more humanised.
Now managing over £500 million worth of property, we use group buying power to negotiate discounts with our panel of approved letting agents, maintenance services and inventory clerks. We charge our landlords a simple one-off annual fee, whilst ensuring they get the best deals and quality of work from tradesmen hired to do repairs without adding any mark-ups.
Is it now more important than ever with all the immigration in to the country and the likes of more online / hybrid solutions that property owners take more care over finding new tenants?
Yes, absolutely. Some landlords are happy to do tenant checks, including checks on the immigration status of potential tenants, viewings and building that all important tenant/landlord relationship themselves. However, it is not for everyone due to the sheer amount of tenancy regulation there now is in the sector, which can be a minefield. Landlords face costly fines if they fail to show they have carried out the necessary checks and that’s a daunting prospect for new landlords as well as busy professional investors. Having a dedicated team of qualified property managers overseeing your portfolio, whether small or large, offers complete peace of mind. They will be up-to-date on all existing and new legislation, and will only recommend the best tenants available.
Without scaring people off, are there still horror stories within the world of Landlord and Tenants?
Yes, although not necessarily horror stories, more tales of the difficulties within the landlord and tenant relationship. The most common problem is landlords not having the correct knowledge and not knowing what to do when things go wrong. It is almost impossible to cover absolutely everything as a self-managed landlord with so many different aspects for them to get caught out on. Having someone to manage the property/properties for you means that the main risks are covered and any minor issues will be dealt with in the right way. Often, what might appear to only be minor, such as a small leak, ends up being a much bigger problem if it isn’t dealt with in a timely manner.
What can home owners do to reduce the risk of bad tenant experiences and have a more smooth and profitable income from property?
The first and most important thing is referencing. Knowing that you have the right tenant who can pay the rent and look after your property is vital. The next thing is to ensure that all maintenance work at the property is dealt with by a well-established and reputable company, bad workmanship can lead to a whole series of problems.
In order to get a profitable income, landlords must keep their property updated. Landlords are expected to re-decorate every 3-4 years, if not more. Professional landlords tend to paint the property before every tenancy to keep it looking fresh and therefore achieving maximum rental income.
Lastly, innovation is key in today’s world, how innovative is The Happy Tenant Company? (ie apps, softwares, social media etc)
We are currently trialling a new software, due to go live very soon, which will dramatically change the way property management operates. Our clients will simply have to download the new HTC app on their phone, allowing them to connect with us and our panel of experts through the app in three-way communication. If, for example, repair works need to be carried out, we will introduce a maintenance specialist through the app. Everything is time stamped and therefore completely transparent as the landlord can see exactly what is happening and when. They will also be able to see and download invoices for any repair or refurbishment services they have had.
Find out more today here: www.happytenant.co.uk
Author: Estate Agent Networking UK
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