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Why Landlords in London Shouldn’t Take Things Personally

In this three-minute read, we look at why a
landlord needs a professional mindset, and what can go wrong if emotions cloud your
judgment.

There’s a line in the classic film The
Godfather
that neatly sums up what landlords need to know about
letting properties.

“It’s nothing personal, Sonny. It’s strictly
business,” drawls a brooding Michael Corleone as he plots a daring and ruthless
double hit.

Now, here at Holland Properties, we’re
law-abiding citizens, so we’re certainly not suggesting you become a
cold-blooded Mafia boss or fraternise with Sicilian mobsters.

But we do recommend that London landlords
take a business-like approach when they let a property.

One of the biggest mistakes a landlord can make is
to allow their personal feelings to impede their decision making; this often
happens when:

  • A
    landlord has a strong emotional attachment to a property (perhaps they
    used to live in it, or inherited it from a loved one). When a tenant moves
    in, the landlord views every minor scrape to the woodwork or carpet stain as
    a personal affront. Landlords need to accept that some wear and tear is
    inevitable.
  • A
    landlord has carried out DIY work at the property to their own taste
    instead of keeping things neutral, making it less appealing to tenants.
    They may also see no need for electrical and gas safety inspections
    because they’ve “had a look over it themselves”. Fact: gas and electrical
    inspections are legal requirements.
  • The
    landlord knew the tenant before they moved in, so the professional
    boundaries are blurred. Things often go awry because the landlord hasn’t
    conducted a reference check (because a friend or family member has vouched
    for the tenant). Even worse, some landlords don’t make their tenants sign
    a contract; it’s all done on a wink and a handshake.
  • The
    tenant/landlord relationship grows too cozy over time. As a result, the
    landlord is lax about inspections or hasn’t raised the rent for years
    because the tenant is a “friend”.
  • The
    tenant/landlord relationship becomes so toxic that the landlord loses
    perspective. (As they say in The Godfather: “Never hate your
    enemies. It affects your judgment.”) Determined to settle a score with a
    nightmare tenant, the landlord cuts corners on inspections or evictions –
    a decision that later proves costly. Sometimes the most financially astute
    course of action is to compromise (even if it is through gritted teeth).

Being a landlord isn’t just about managing a
property; it’s about working with people. Whether it’s dealing with a tenant
who has lost their job and can’t pay their rent, or managing a messy dispute
between a tenant and neighbor, you need to remain calm, clear-headed, and
professional.

Landlords don’t have to be unsympathetic or
insensitive but do need to balance their duty of care with their financial
responsibilities.

One way to manage these difficult situations is to
draw on the expertise of us, we will be able to:

  • Come
    up with workable solutions to all manner of problems (as experienced
    agents we have seen all sorts over the years).
  • Ensure
    landlords stay on the right side of the law.
  • Talk
    to people from all walks of life and clearly articulate a tenant’s legal
    obligations.
  • Step
    back from complex scenarios and take a broader view.

Here at Holland Properties, we can take
the stress, emotion, and guesswork out of managing a property. Please get in
touch if you’d like us to help you.

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