Five checks to keep rental portfolios in tip-top shape

Proper care and maintenance are essential for any lettings portfolio.

An unorganised portfolio burdened with cluttered data and loose ends can disrupt operations, reduce productivity, expose a business to risks, and create unnecessary pressure.

1. Ensure deposit consistency

Every deposit must be registered with a valid tenancy deposit scheme, either custodial (where the scheme holds the deposit) or insured (where the letting agency holds the deposit but pays a fee to keep it insured).

Firstly, investigate cases of active tenants without deposits unless there's a valid reason. This clarifies any confusion regarding missing or unusually valued deposits and can uncover other irregularities during deeper investigations.

Inactive tenants with remaining damage deposits require regular attention. Check on these to ensure prompt payout after a tenant moves out, as it is illegal to withhold a deposit. For added peace of mind, properties on PayProp can be "disabled" when vacant, automatically stopping recurring invoicing.

2. Verify credit notes

Credit notes, credit memos, journals, or entries should only be used to correct mistakes or when funds from another source (e.g., a damage deposit) are used to reduce an outstanding amount. Excessive or unexplained credit notes pose risks to the business and its reputation.

3. Check credit balances

Regularly review tenant statements to identify accounts in credit or arrears. Failure to promptly address arrears leads to a messy portfolio, making it harder to analyse and recover outstanding amounts, thereby increasing risks.

4. Manage notifications

Sending notifications to beneficiaries (e.g., owners) and payers (e.g., tenants) for every transaction related to a property saves time and prevents confusion. It is a crucial step in reducing errors, omissions, and miscommunication.

5. Address outstanding invoices

Perform a daily check for outstanding invoices to save time and money in the long run. Ensure even small pending deposits are allocated to avoid accumulation and potential costs. Failed beneficiary payments can highlight overlooked but important issues such as closed accounts or incorrect banking details.

By prioritising ongoing care and maintenance of your lettings portfolio, you can streamline operations, improve efficiency, minimise risks, and enhance the overall performance of your business.