Andy Parton, a well-known and respected Rochdale landlord has been working with The Bond Board and accepting Bond Guarantees for over 10 years. He is regular attender at Landlord forums and events, with a large portfolio of properties both locally and abroad.
Andy Parton, with staff from Rochdale Bond Board
About me – Rochdale football supporter, lived all my life in Rochdale, married with 2 kids, worked for Rochdale MBC as an environmental health officer for 11 years, then in the family textiles business since then.
I initially became a landlord in 2001 after a couple of beers in the pub, talking to a letting agent (yes true – apart from the number of beers – more like eleventeen!). Our textile business was not as busy as previous years due to imports and I was looking for a long term investment opportunity. The initial plan was to buy 2 or 3 houses as an alternative to pension investments. After the first year of being a landlord, I realised this was something that could be built into a viable long term business and over 12 years have gradually increased the size of the portfolio and now own over 70 properties, mainly in the Rochdale MBC area but also a few in Spain.
As the number of houses increased so did my contact with outside agencies, such as Rochdale MBC and I was introduced to their Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which was run by Ross Giles. Membership of the scheme requires properties to be maintained to certain standards, including requiring NICEIC Electrical Safety Certificates, Gas safety Certificates, adequate levels of insulation etc. All of these items are an essential part of my business anyway because my aim is to ensure that all of my properties are of a high standard. I find that providing properties in a good condition attract the right tenants, incur less maintenance costs and empty periods.
There were also financial incentives from the Scheme to Landlords which enabled me to improve the properties I owned with a proportion of the cost paid for by the Scheme. We all like something for free!
The scheme also provides training and information on Housing Related Issues, particularly new legislation and changes to Government policies which affect areas of my business such as Housing Benefits, Council tax etc. I also get this from being a member of the National Landlords Association, but a working relationship with Local Housing Officers enables my business to run more smoothly.
Normally all of my tenants were referenced through local Letting Agents, but Ross Giles who also worked for the Bond Board in its infancy in Rochdale, persuaded me to accept tenants from outside my normal sources, and instead of receiving a sum of money as deposit from the tenant, I was given a Guarantee of payment, that would be paid to me if the terms of the tenancy agreement were not complied with.
Also in 2007 the Government introduced new regulation rules on Tenants Deposits which meant I no longer kept them in a bank account of my choosing but had to deposit them with an approved scheme. If there is a problem at the end of the tenancy I now have to provide sufficient evidence and reasons to the Scheme why the deposit should not be returned to the tenant. This works in an identical way with the Bond Board so there is effectively no difference to me on a day to day basis. All of the claims I have had to make against the Bond Guarantee at the end of a tenancy have been agreed with little disagreement and payments made in an efficient and timely manner.
The main advantage of the Bond Board is that this opened up my properties to tenants who could not afford the up-front fees, rent and bond costs that a traditional tenancy requires so I have a greater number of possible customers. Sometimes people end up in a difficult situation through no fault of their own and this scheme enables them to find permanent accommodation which otherwise would not have been possible. Also the Bond Board provides tenancy support, as and when required, so this assists tenants in maintaining their tenancies more effectively, leading to less problem tenancies, damage and rent arrears so makes my business more profitable.
As the staff at the Bond Board and I have worked closely for several years, both sides know what is expected of each other. The tenants they recommend are generally acceptable to me, but I interview all applicants prior to accepting them as tenants and make sure that the terms of a tenancy are fully discussed with prospective applicants prior to any tenancy starting.
The level of property abandonments, rent arrears and damage is the same as I get from tenants from other sources so I have no qualms with accepting tenants through the Bond Board Scheme.
I plan on buying more properties in the future, as and when finances allow, despite the banking industry, which caused the financial crisis experienced since 2007, doing their utmost to stop this from occurring. But that’s another story!
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