An established guaranteed rent provider has advised landlords to carry out a credit check and due diligence on companies in the sector before signing up – just as they would a prospective tenant – to protect themselves from potential problems.
Wendy Clarke (main picture), boss of Harlow-based The Rent Guarantee Company (TRGC), acknowledges that while her firm offers a risk-free solution to landlords, the sector is largely unregulated.
“We are aware of a company offering guaranteed rent on a promise, when a simple Companies House search shows they only made £6,000,” she tells LandlordZONE.
“That’s less than six months’ rent for just one landlord. When they fail, it gives the whole guaranteed rent market a bad name.”
She believes that knowledge of the minimum standards, processes and systems, along with a good level of business knowledge, is not something that can be learnt from a weekend property training course.
“These are people who have entrusted their investment, often their pension or income top-up vehicle, so you need to have ethics and a sense of responsibility and consider how what we do benefits everyone,” explains Wendy.
TRGC is guaranteed by the government contracts it has negotiated, and always leaves 12 months’ rent in its business account so it has the ability to serve the correct notice to landlords and run to the end of term.
Wendy is proud of its track record; operating since 2014 when she first used her own properties along with some from family and friends, it now covers Essex, Hertfordshire and Golders Green, supplying the temporary accommodation market by housing tenants waiting for a council house.
The average contract is three years; if a landlord needs their property back, they just give two months’ notice.
TRGC caters for portfolio landlords, those who have had nightmare tenants causing eviction headaches or regular late payments, and the landlords who own properties that aren’t in a condition to let, where it offers complete house and garden clearance, and full refurbishments.
Adds Wendy: “At the last house we took on, we removed two tonnes of rubbish and had it available again within three days so the landlord only had a weekend with no income.”
‘Do proper checks on rent-to-rent companies before you sign up’, warns leading industry figure is written by Helen Gregory for www.landlordzone.co.uk