Property Portfolio Management Guide

By carefully managing a property portfolio, or contracting the services of a property portfolio management company to do so for you, a landlord can improve profitability. This is achieved not only through portfolio expansion, but also by improving rental yields, increasing capital growth, minimising vacancy time and overheads.


What is property portfolio management?

Property portfolio management, as you would imagine, is more than a single thing – it’s a set of tasks which, if performed regularly and well, can improve the profitability of any property portfolio. These tasks include, but are not limited to:

Expansion

Whether it’s via a landlord injecting money into his portfolio, or through leveraging the equity of existing properties to land a bargain, expansion is a key method of improving profitability for owners of property portfolios. By spreading investment either across a range of property markets, locations or classes, a diversification of the portfolio through expansion can help to minimise risks and improve overall performance.

Review and Optimisation

Regular review of property portfolios can help landlords take advantage of cost-saving options, identify areas of maintenance, refurbishment or improvement that could improve desirability, add value and improve rental yields. While time consuming, such regular reviews – at least at the end of every tenancy – can help ensure that each property is performing as well as it can while identifying and tackling any problems leaving a property performing less well than it should.

Property Management

In addition to the big picture view, there is also the everyday maintenance and management of individual properties such as:

Obviously, the difficulty of these tasks grows exponentially as your property portfolio grows and can quickly outstrip the capacity of a single person to manage them.

How to manage a property portfolio

As the number of tasks grows quickly with each additional property, there has been a boom in the availability of portfolio management software. For a landlord wanting to manage their portfolio themselves, the best option may be to invest in one of these digital applications. With prices ranging from free to around £400 per year, it’s well worth considering the implications of trusting software with sensitive data and due diligence should be undertaken to ensure that any software used is safe.

Most software will tend to offer help with:

What you will no doubt notice here is that much of the assistance offered by such programs is organisational, so don’t expect miracles if you’ve decided to undertake your own portfolio management – however, in most cases, it will beat the numerous spreadsheets you’ll need to achieve the same organisation boost otherwise.

You can find an introduction to some of the more popular management platforms here.

Should you manage your own property portfolio?

This will depend upon how much time you have to devote to management. As stated, despite misconceptions to the contrary, a properly managed property portfolio is far from passive income. You will need to conduct regular reviews, negotiations, marketing tasks and more – even if your properties require no work and the perfect tenants happen to knock on your door, there are plenty of legal obligations and certificates which will expire and need to be renewed.

That’s not to say that a personally managed portfolio is an impossibility – it is perfectly achievable for a portfolio of one or two rental properties to be managed part time or in addition to a full-time job, but once a portfolio grows too far beyond this, landlords will need to face up to a decision between taking on the management full time, or enlisting the services of a letting agent.


If you’d like to discuss your options with one of our experts, or have reached the point at which a letting agent is likely your best choice to maximise profitability in the long-term, Contact Us today.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Letting Agent

From cutting down on wasted time to providing valuable connections with trusted third parties, a good letting agent is an asset, but are there more pros than cons for you? That’s something only you can decide – but we hope we can help with that decision, too.


We’ll get to the pros and cons in a moment, but before we do, we’ve put together a quick list to help you decide whether you should even be considering either self-management or a letting agent. We find that these five things are often enough to help landlords decide whether either option is viable for them to even consider researching further.

Should you consider a letting agent?

You should consider managing your property if…You should consider a letting agent if…
You have the time to deal with your tenant’s queries, problems and disputes up to and including eviction.You would prefer someone else is available to answer tenant queries and resolve problems up to and including eviction.
You have a register of professionals (electricians, plumbers, cleaners etc.) that can assist when required.You need access to qualified and trusted professionals that can help resolve problems with your property.
You are up to date and can remain up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations that affect landlords.You would rather somebody else was responsible for keeping up-to-date and keeping your property up-to-date with regulations.
You have been a landlord previously and are aware of the various pressures and responsibilities it involves.You are new to being a landlord and require professional assistance while you get up to speed with requirements.
You are letting property near where you live, allowing you to conduct viewings and inspections.You are letting property a distance from your own that would make in person attendance inconvenient.

The next thing for a landlord to do if they have decided that a letting agent may be an option for them is to ask the following four questions of a few different letting agents to ensure that they would be working from the best possible list of options.

The next thing for a landlord to do if they have decided that a letting agent may be an option for them is to ask the following four questions of a few different letting agents to ensure that they would be working from the best possible list of options.

Four important questions to ask your letting agent

The pros and cons of using a letting agent

ProsCons
The vetting that agents are able to undertake is often more thorough than a landlord acting alone, and referencing procedures attract reliable tenants.Letting agents – and the pros opposite – come at a price. While managing your own properties is free, there will typically be a percentage charged by letting agents to manage your property for you.
Administration of the secure deposit protection scheme is taken care of without you having to worry.If there are problems with your property – from legal filings to evicting a tenant from a property, it will mean extra administration, paperwork and possibly cost for the landlord.
Agents are able to deal with the paperwork generated by your property and ensure records are kept properly and up to date.Many letting agents, if they arrange repair work on your behalf, may charge an arranging fee on top of the actual repair costs – while this is often nominal, it is something that should be considered.
Rent for your property is collected (and chased for) on your behalf.Some letting agents may apply additional charges to third party services – this can include things like organising Energy Performance Certificates, Gas Safety Certificates and legal documentation. While this is not always the case, it can be worth asking whether these charges will be made and how much they will be.
Letting agents will deal with day-to-day management and maintenance issues – often without the landlord needing to be involved.
As experts in both their field and their local areas, letting agents can often achieve a higher rent.
Letting agents have to be up-to-date with current legislation affecting landlords and can ensure your properties operate in accordance with them.
In case of disputes and complaints, you have an objective, impartial mediator between you and your tenants.
Letting agents are experienced in mediation and can often prevent drawn out and expensive disputes.
In the event that eviction is required, letting agents know the correct legal procedures.
Letting agents can reduce workload and stress of letting a property.
Some letting agents can offer legal, insurance and tax advisory services.

The long and short of much of the decision-making process in this area is going to be the value you place on your time. If you are looking at becoming a full-time landlord, or are sufficiently well connected to minimise the impact that being a landlord will have on your time, then a letting agency may not be required. If, however, you will be letting a property as a secondary endeavour and hoping for passive income, then you will definitely need to consider an agent.


The average letting agent will earn the money they cost, the best letting agents are an asset to your property, and will deliver value in the rental price they can achieve, the savings they can make in maintenance and repair and in the time and stress reduction they will provide you. Want to know more about engaging a letting agent, or to ask us some questions? Contact Us today!

7 Things to Be on The Look Out for in 2021

There are a number of things to be on the lookout for in the coming year – some we can’t do anything about, such as the pandemic and Brexit, but there are some we can, and that’s where we need to keep on top of things.


Stamp Duty Holiday

While there may be additional measures put in place to counter economic issues, the present stamp duty holiday is set to end, meaning that all landlords hoping to take advantage of the current 3% flat rate (in England, on purchases up to £500,000) need to ensure that their purchases are completed prior to the March 31st cut off.

End to Mortgage Holidays

If the latest lockdown – which increasingly looks set to last until at least March – is likely to cause issues with your payments, or those of your tenants, then you have until March 31st to apply for a mortgage holiday:

Deposit Protection Schemes

There will be new rules for deposit protection from April 2021. With possible fines up to £30,000 for landlords and agents failing to join one of the six approved schemes which hold funds in accounts registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, landlords will need to ensure they take this particular change extremely seriously.

End of ‘no reason’ eviction

While consultation began on section 21 notices back in 2019, there is likely to be an outcome one way or the other on the ability for landlords to end ‘rolling tenancies’ with no reason required and a two month notice period. Although the Renters’ Reform Bill has been held up indefinitely by the pandemic, the vaccine rollout could see the bill make some progress in 2021 – the bill also includes the possibility of a moveable ‘lifetime deposit’ which would follow tenants from one property to the next in place of security deposits and the opening up of the rogue landlord database to the public.

Overseas Surcharge

An additional 2% surcharge will need to be paid on purchases by overseas investors from April of 2021 (in addition to the regular by-to-let surcharge). Any non-UK residents – those who have spent fewer than 183 days resident in the UK in the year prior or in the after the purchase – will be required to pay this additional charge on all purchases.

Right to Rent Uncertainty

Current rules on the requirements for landlords regarding the ‘right to rent’ are set to expire on the 30th of June 2021 with no clear guidance as to what will replace them. While we can hope that the new requirements will be made clear soon, the only thing landlords can do in the meantime is continue to check that tenants have the right to live in the UK using valid passports and ID cards until that happens.

Electrical Safety Rules

From the 1st of April existing tenancies will also be subject to the new guidance on electrical safety – with all properties needing their electrical installations inspected at least every five years and tenants provided with a copy of the report within 28 days of completion. While new tenancies have been subject to the terms since July 2020, landlords will need to ensure that all of their existing tenancies are in line with the rules by the end of March.


2021 is still shrouded somewhat by the joint uncertainties of Covid-19 and Brexit, but there are definite hurdles that landlords will need to be aware of throughout the year – and if you’d like some help navigating them, then you can Contact Us for expert advice.

Landlord Legal Requirements – What You Need To Know

With the rental market booming, there are a lot of new landlords taking their first steps in the business – so we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to help out.


Gas Safety Certificate

A valid Gas Safety Certificate must be obtained for all rented residential accommodation. A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) must be provided to the tenants at the outset of the tenancy. Failure to do so may prohibit service of the prescribed Section 21 notice should it be required. If no certificate is provided, a County Court may argue that a landlord cannot file a Section 21 notice while the tenancy continues to exist. In addition to the initial certificate, annual check ups must be performed, and tenants must receive the replacement certificate within 28 days. Wirral Homes can arrange a Gas Safety Certificate on a landlord’s behalf if requested.

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Landlords hoping to rent out a property in England are required to have an electrical inspection conducted prior to the commencement of a tenancy. This report on the condition of the property is known as an EICR and must be performed by a qualified person. Pre-existing tenancies will need to have an EICR performed before the 1st of April 2021 and, from that point on, ECIRs need to be issued to a tenant prior to their moving in. We recommend that landlords obtain a new ECIR at the beginning of each tenancy (although visual inspections may suffice) and Wirral Homes can organise an EICR or visual inspection on your behalf.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Any property which is to be let requires a valid EPC. These certificates are valid for a period of 10 years, and the property needs to be reassessed for a new certificate. We recommend that, if you have made any energy efficiency improvements to the property, a new EPC should be sought to reflect the new standard of performance. In addition to this, landlords of properties with an EPC rating of F or G may not be able to let their properties. If you require an EPC but aren’t sure where to start, let us handle it for you.

Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There is a legal requirement for smoke alarms to be provided on every floor of a rental property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a solid fuel source.

Documentation: Tenant’s Deposit with Deposit Protection Scheme

The tenant’s deposit must be protected under one of the three approved tenancy deposit schemes. The prescribed documentation regarding this deposit must be given to the tenant within 30 days of a landlord receiving the funds. Security deposits are also limited to the equivalent to 5 weeks of rental value – something we can manage through our partner scheme.

Landlord License (if required)

In order to rent your property, you may need a landlord license from the local authorities. This is dependent on the property’s location. You can contact your local council for more information and, if you need help or advice you can rely on our inhouse legal department.

ICO Registered: Data Protection Compliance

Landlords must comply with General Data Protection Regulations by registering with the ICO. A privacy notice must be provided to tenants which outlines why the landlord is entitled to use the personal information provided by tenants, guarantors, referees, etc.

Legionella Assessment

Health and safety legislation requires that risk assessments for the legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaires disease are taken. The assessments must identify and assess potential sources of exposure, and steps taken to prevent/control any risk that is identified – and for landlord’s that need help, Wirral Homes works with trusted professionals that can carry out the required inspections.

Right to Rent Guide

Upon starting a new tenancy, tenants must be provided an up to date copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. Failure to do so will result in not being able to serve a valid Section 21 notice in England. Under the ‘Right to rent’ legislation landlords must ensure their tenants are not illegal immigrants and are consequently permitted to rent in this country. More details on this subject can be found on the governments website.

Furniture Fire Resistance Compliance

All furniture provided by the landlord must be fire resistant. The furniture must meet the fire resistance requirements laid out for furniture and furnishings in the Fire Safety Regulations Act of 1988.

Electrical Appliances

There is no requirement for annual checks (as with gas appliances) but the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations state that landlords must ensure that all electrical equipment and systems are safe, and maintained in a safe condition during the tenancy.

Coronavirus Government Measures

Landlords are required to adhere to the updated government guidelines regarding the Covid-19 outbreak. These measures cover a whole range of requirements from minimising health risks to assessing financial support.

Duty of Care

Rental properties must be fit for human habitation and in a good state of repair. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and failure to adhere to this obligation can lead to punishments.


While we’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, it bears noting that this blog is for information purposes only, and is not an exhaustive list. As we are not intending this guide to constitute legal or advice, or to be a legally binding document, we recommend you seek legal or professional advice before entering into any kind of tenancy agreement – and if you need help with this, you can Contact Us and our in-house legal team will do everything they can.


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