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Enthusiastically telling landlords how low your void periods are Extolling the virtues of your rigorous referencing system Forget it. You're barking up the wrong tree. If you want to convert a keen but cautious property investor into a concrete landlord, simply tell him where the nearest Wickes is.

For years letting agents and property managers have been working hard to placate nervous clients who would like to take a step into property invest or expand their portfolio. A new piece of research, however, has revealed that a landlord's biggest fear is not unpaid rent or absconding tenants but repairing toilets. Yes, you read that right. Potential buy-to-let investors are (apparently) most off put by the thought of fixing the lavatory.

The survey, commissioned by Emerging Property, questioned 2,000 Brits who were thinking of becoming a landlord. Ok, I admit, those that responded where also worried about malicious damage to the property and void periods but I was surprised that repairing toilets was the biggest concern.

While this story raised a chuckle among our property managers here at the ARPM office, there is an underlying point that every lettings professional should seriously consider. Financial firm Hargreaves Lansdown has predicted that as many as 50,000 people approaching retirement are going to use the new pension pot reforms to free cash to invest in property. That means a deluge of brand new landlords could be wandering up and down your High Street with a lump sum burning a hole in their pocket. Some may just walk in to your branch or pick up the 'phone to you, fretting over the prospect of broken flushes, cracked pans or cisterns that have been ripped off the wall.

The advice is 'be prepared' and ready to allay fears, no matter how trivial. Of course, tell the new wave of 'silver investors' about your meticulous rent collection system and impeccable check-out process but don't forget the everyday concerns that may be holding back potential clients. Highlight your full property management service; mention if there's a 24 hour emergency hotline for tenants to report problems and explain how your team will book a reliable plumber should there be a leak in the loo.

Newbies looking for an alternative investment plan may well want an uncomplicated approach to property as they'll be used to sitting back and watching a pension run itself (or not, as the case may be). It's up to you to explain that lettings can be as hands-off as the landlord likes.

*Simon Duce is the Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support


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