With the recently reported news of Fazool Gajraj’s arrest and imprisonment following a fraud scheme in which he managed to con over £6,000 from prospective tenants ringing in our ears, Roskell Davies thought a guide to choosing a landlord wisely would be helpful. Gajrai conned tenants that he had conned online into handing over deposits and signing fake tenancy agreements for properties which he did not own. After two students slept in a corridor in a Canary Wharf apartment block after their keys to their ‘new’ flat did not work, they called the police and Gajraj their ‘landlord’ was arrested.

There are an increasing number of individuals who are opting to rent property in the UK rather than buy property – renting is now not just reserved for students and young professionals. For this reason it is extremely important to make sure that you have the right landlord for you. Having a good landlord will ensure that you minimise any trouble with your property – be this trouble ensuring that repairs get carried out, trouble with deposits or communication difficulties.

A number of routes are available to you to source a home and landlord. Many landlords operate their tenant searches via letting agencies then manage their lets themselves, some landlords opt to have their properties managed by a letting agents, others choose to advertise their lets on self owned websites or website such as Gumtree. Therefore, the route you choose to go down when searching for your home and dealing with your landlord is broad.

The main piece of advice when it comes to choosing a landlord is – talk to the current tenants. They will be able to give you a fairly accurate idea of whether or not your prospective landlord is good at responding to their requests and queries. It will be a good idea to ascertain whether they are easy to contact and whether they are prompt when it comes to repairs. This also applies if your landlord is a property management firm or lettings agent. It is still important to find out about what it is like to live in a home which is managed by someone other than the owner of the property as you will find that there is an equally broad range of variance when it comes to property management companies as there is when it comes to private landlords.

The second key piece of advice is – look into your letting agents whether they are managing your property or not. The rental market is very loosely regulated in the UK so you want to find the best trader you can so you will be safe in the knowledge that they will do a good job for you. One of the few regulatory bodies in the UK is the ARLA, so if your letting agents are affiliated with ARLA you will know they are doing a good job as they are committed to the ARLA code of conduct.

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