Landlord Stress - and How to Avoid It

You’ve got a property and you’re ready to rent it out. But it can be a stressful investment with a number of pitfalls if you're not careful. This article looks at some of the major problems landlords can run into – and what you can do to avoid them before they become a problem.

You’ve probably heard the stories – nightmare tenants, houses trashed or renters who just won’t leave. Landlord stress is a major issue and with a little information, we hope we can help minimise the strain a little bit.

Just how stressful is being a landlord?

Statistics suggest that landlord stress is a growing issue.

A recent study conducted by PropertyLetByUs.com found that 67% of landlords are currently more stressed than they were a year ago and that some 25% of them have found the experience more stressful than they anticipated when they started.

That stress ends up having a negative effect on their broader lives. The same study noted 53% of landlords spent a fifth of their annual leave dealing with tenant-related issues and 46% of them spent 20 hours or more per year on the phone either negotiating with agents or tenants.

The long and short of the story is that it’s never been more stressful to be a landlord.

What are some of the major causes of stress for landlords?

There are a number of areas which can be stressful for landlords.

Rent arrears

Late payment of rent is by far the leading cause of stress for landlords with 87% of landlords in the new study citing it as a major pain point. This is made worse by the reality that in most cases, the issue is only resolved after serving a Section 21 and evicting the tenant – itself an expensive undertaking.

Difficult tenants

Another leading cause of landlord stress involves difficult or unreasonable tenants. Whether you’re dealing with tenants who take little responsibility or just a general breakdown in relationship, problem tenants are another growing cause for frustration for landlords and one and more often than not, these fractured relationships only end with legal intervention

Property repairs

A third area of stress involves damage to property. 40% of those asked cited having to fund repairs to the property as a major cause of issues between landlords and tenants. Many times, such repairs are minor and inexpensive  but in older properties, wear and tear can increase the cost of maintenance and the amount of time spent on the property. 

How can you avoid getting stressed out?

Reading up to this point can make letting out a property seem like a more stressful endeavour than it’s worth but that’s not necessarily true.

Being stressed out as a landlord doesn’t have to be “the way it is” – there are a number of small steps you can take to make sure your letting experience is a pleasant one. 

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Make sure you’ve got the proper insurance

The temptation is to try and save a few pennies by cutting back on insurance that seems irrelevant at the time. Even when landlords have some kind of insurance, the temptation is to opt for basic building insurance cover to protect the physical structure of the property.

Taking out a commercial property owners’ insurance policy can protect you against loss of rental income, provide cover for your contents and even cover you for accidental damage.

Get full references for future tenants

A little due diligence at the start of a tenancy can often save you a lot of work later on. A good reference can take any number of forms:

  • A reference from their current/previous employer
  • A reference from their previous landlord
  • A rental guarantor
  • A simple visit to the prospective tenant in their current property to see how they look after it

Do an inventory before they move in

Particularly if you are letting a furnished property, it is worth doing a full inventory of all the contents of the property and the condition that they are in for future reference. This way, you avoid future struggles about damages already being present when your tenant arrived and constantly having to work out whose responsibility it is to address it.

Being a landlord can be a lot of work but with a little foresight and diligence, you can avoid some of the major causes of stress.

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