You may find yourself in a challenging situation too, with someone in your property who is causing issues or falling behind with their rent. In these situations, where do you turn for help?
It’s true that there is a lot of information for landlords online, with much provided by the government, but sometimes we need results urgently, and in these cases, will want a person at the end of the phone who can answer our questions and get straight to the matter in hand.
Who you call for advice will depend on your preference, but it’s reassuring to know that there are a number of options out there, with experts ready to offer landlord advice.
The free options
This might be the route to consider first of all, as it won’t cost you anything, with charities and organisations offering free advice for landlords. Shelter is the UK’s biggest housing law charity and has an advice line open from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-5pm on weekends, 365 days a year (0808 800 444).
There are also face-to-face advice centres – details of which can be found on the Shelter website. This is a good place to start for discussing legal requirements or problem tenants.
Citizens Advice is a legal charity, with an office in most towns and cities – go to citizensadvice.org.uk to find out more. It has various telephone advice lines for different parts of the UK, but the one for England can be reached on 03444 111 444. Citizens Advice covers all areas of consumer law, but should be able to link you with an expert in housing, even for a face-to-face appointment.
Speaking to your local authority can also help. If you don’t have the contact details, go to landlordlaw.co.uk/local-auth, enter the first letter of the one you require, and hopefully this will appear onscreen. There might be a drop-in law centre near you too, offering free advice and potentially initiating your legal proceedings at no charge – go to lawcentres.org.uk for details. Alternatively, our landlord insurance entitles you to free legal advice.
Join an organisation
As a landlord, you might want to meet with and chat to others renting their property, sharing experiences and tips. There are a number of organisations catering to landlords online, with membership costing a small fee. You may be able to speak to their experts via a dedicated phone line, or get multiple opinions through the online forum. You might find it easier to get a fast response here, as the other members and site organisers will be landlords themselves.
Landlord Law is one example, with a number of membership options. Free telephone advice is included for annual members, although those paying monthly can have their questions answered online.
Other benefits include downloadable eviction kits, letter templates and videos offering tutorials and further advice.
The National Landlords Association offers a similar set-up, with a range of membership deals and a dedicated phone line. It dispenses its landlords’ advice through a number of different means, publishes reports and actively lobbies the government on behalf of its members. According to its website, it supports 65,000 members and associates.
Also try the Residential Landlords Association. Membership here includes a bi-monthly magazine, downloadable guides, discounts on various training courses, plus unlimited one-on-one telephone support from an advice team member.
Ask a law firm
There is a worry that as soon as you engage in a conversation with a solicitor or lawyer, the meter will start running, leading to a hefty bill just for saying hello.
But the truth is that many will be willing to offer some free advice to start with, as it’s in their interest to try and get you on board as a client. And in terms of property law, they should know what they’re talking about.
Getting a solicitor to handle your needs might be down to personal choice, as will picking the right law firm, but be careful you don’t get scammed.
There are a lot of companies online claiming to specialise in the needs of landlords, handling rent recovery or tenant eviction, with their own dedicated helplines dispensing free advice.
Be careful in these instances, as the fees for assisting you will probably be quite steep.
You may get the advice you need, and help with legal proceedings, but the cut taken could be a lot more than expected.
Find out more about Landlord Insurance from MORE TH>N.