A new year brings with it fresh opportunities to maximise the potential of your property portfolio and grow your business. It also brings new changes to the private rental sector.
So, what will the rental sector look like in 2020? And how can landlords, letting agents and property professionals keep abreast of changing regulations? Our rental property predictions 2020 looks ahead to key events in the industry.
From an overview of regulatory changes in the past year, to upcoming developments, we’re looking ahead to what 2020 will bring to the rental industry.
What Happened in the Rental Sector in 2019?
Before we start looking ahead, let’s catch up on some of the most important changes and updates to the private rental sector over the last year and what effects they’ve had on the industry;
Making Tax Digital
In 2019, the government announced that they would be helping small businesses convert to a new digital tax system to be fully implemented by the end of 2020 called Making Tax Digital.
From April 2019, VAT tax records and returns went digital, affecting landlords with an annual rental income of over £10,000. This change required landlords to use software or apps to keep track of tax records and to update HMRC through a new, digital tax account, if they weren’t already. Hopefully, this has made doing taxes more accurate and efficient for the majority of property professionals.
Letting Agency Fees Ban
February 2019 saw the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, prohibiting many of the fees required by letting or estate agents. From 1st June, letting agencies were no longer able to demand fees for;
- Security deposits over five weeks rent
- Holding deposits over one weeks rent
- Change in tenancy costs over £50
The Letting Agency fees ban raised alarm among some parties, with ARLA claiming that a blanket tenant fee ban would ‘put additional pressures on landlords, with fewer tenant checks and a lower quality of service’.
In 2019 PropTech became the buzzword on the lips of almost everyone in property. But what does the term actually mean? Put simply, PropTech or Property Technology is all about the digital transformation of the property industry, from big data to VR.
Moving tenant checks online and Apps that help landlords manage their property maintenance have been making everyday tasks faster, easier and more secure for professionals in all areas of the property industry.
For example, Kaptur is a digital property inventory system that allows users to manage work flows, reports and inventories all in one place.
This trend for digitalisation shows no signs of losing momentum as we move into 2020.
What’s New for 2020 in the Rental Industry?
Now, let’s turn our attention to upcoming changes that could have an effect on the private rental sector in 2020;
Abolishing Section 21
The new Conservative government has announced plans to abolish Section 21 repossessions in order to protect tenants. This change is likely to be implemented by the end of 2020.
This proposition has caused alarm amongst several landlord bodies, including ARLA, who are concerned that it will make it harder for landlords to regain possession of their properties if needed.
Good or bad, this will result in changes to the way landlords and tenants can legally end tenancy agreements. For landlords, this means following the Section 8 possession process set out in the Housing Act 1988.
Changes to Mortgage Interest: Section 24
By April 2020, tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be reduced to the basic rate of income tax and landlords will no longer be able to deduct any mortgage interest payments from their rental income.
In addition to paying more tax on rental properties, this change could even move some landlords up into a higher tax bracket.
Making Tax Digital
The scheme to completely digitise the tax system by the end of 2020 aims to make taxes more accurate, efficient and easier to manage.
But what does this mean for landlords and rental property businesses?
In addition to minimising the chance of error, a digital system should allow landlords with multiple properties to stay on top of their taxes more easily. With all the information accessible on a mobile device, you will be able to see how much tax you owe ‘as you go’ rather than waiting to find out at the end of the tax year.
However, if you’re not naturally tech-savvy, the new system might take a little getting used to – so you better get started!
Brexit and the Rental Industry
Regardless of your opinion on Brexit, landlords and property professionals may take some comfort as uncertainties regarding the effects on the housing market begin to stabilize.
Although a lot is still up in the air, it looks like we are definitely leaving the EU so landlords can start making long-term plans to grow their portfolio.
The effect of Brexit on the rental industry could even be a positive one, with an increasing number of first time buyers delaying getting onto the property ladder while agreements are being finalised.
Continued Demand for Rental Properties
On the whole, 2020 looks set to be an exciting and prosperous year for the private rental sector.
The number of people living in rental properties in the UK has been steadily growing over the last few years, and this looks like a continuing trend as we move into 2020. Clearly, this is good news for those working in the sector who are likely to enjoy relatively stable returns on investment.
Protect Your Property Investment in 2020
Keen to maximise the potential of your property portfolio in 2020? That’s where we come in.
Ensure your investment stays protected, attract the right tenants and encourage long-term tenancies with the help of our varied property services including;
- Property inventory reports
- 360 virtual photography
- Right to rent checks
- Mid term reports and inspections
- Property appraisals
- CO and Smoke reports
- Check in/check out reports
Want to find out more? Browse our property inventory services to get started.
With the festive period in full swing and New Year’s Eve celebrations on the horizon, many student landlords are bracing themselves for that dreaded call from a disgruntled neighbour in the early hours of the morning.
It’s no secret that lots of students like to party, and if not managed correctly, related disputes can create rifts that are difficult to repair.
It can be a tough balancing act, meeting the needs of your student tenants and keeping the local community happy. That’s why we’ve produced this student landlord advice guide on how to deal with student parties at your rental property without alienating tenants or neighbours.
To Ban or Not to Ban
If you’re concerned about your student tenants hosting large parties in your rental property, you could insert a clause into the tenancy agreement banning parties of a certain size. While this helps to deter tenants from hosting massive gatherings that could damage your property, it could prove difficult to enforce.
For lots of tenants, a steadfast rule against parties of all kinds could put them off renting your property in the first place, and this decision will narrow your pool of prospective tenants. However, banning gatherings over a certain size is a sensible idea, especially in suburban areas.
Managing the Neighbours
The majority of student accommodation is in busy, suburban areas with convenient amenities close by. While this is great for students, it also means there tends to be a lot of neighbours living within close proximity.
So, if your tenants like to host noisy parties, this can become a problem and damage your reputation as a responsible landlord in the area.
It’s difficult to actually prosecute a landlord for their tenants’ antisocial behaviour, unless you deliberately ignore the problem, or the issue is ongoing. However, staying on good terms with the local community will make your life easier in the long run.
When dealing with noise complaints from neighbours;
- Make sure the surrounding neighbours have your contact details or the details of the letting agent in case an issue arises
- Talk to your tenants calmly to get both sides of the story
- Refer your tenants to the relevant ‘noise’ or ‘nuisance’ clause in the tenancy agreement to explain which one they have broken and why, and the possible consequences if this continues
- Never threaten eviction as a first reaction as this could backfire on you and damage your landlord/tenant relationship
- If problems persist, you could arrange a meeting with neighbour and tenant to clear the air and come to a solution
- As a last resort, you could contact your local council, the police or begin the eviction process
Clear and Open Communications
One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is to retain a cool and clear head when communicating with tenants and to keep interactions open and honest.
If you’re straightforward with your tenants, they’re more likely to be honest back. Make it clear from the start of the tenancy that you are happy to discuss any issues and ensure they have your contact details to hand.
If they feel like you’re on their side, they’re more likely to obey house rules.
Choose Simple Party-Proof Furnishings
As wear and tear tends to be higher in student rentals, furnishing a student property with expensive furniture is pointless. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to student parties. With extra bodies in the house and alcohol involved, a plush carpet and glass coffee table aren’t going to stay perfect for long.
Go for simple, more affordable essentials from somewhere like IKEA that won’t cost an arm and a leg to replace if necessary. Wipe clean surfaces and easy to clean lino floors are also a sensible option and will help your tenants stay on top of their duties.
Regular Property Inspections
One way to keep an eye on what’s going on in your rental property and help determine if regular parties are taking place is to schedule regular property inspections.
However, you need to ensure the correct procedures have been followed, as there are laws in place regarding the frequency and delivery of landlord inspections.
A professional property inspection will help determine if your property is being appropriately cared for, and whether your tenants are fulfilling their contractual agreements. This could include anything from red wine stains or cigarette burns on the carpets to extra people living in the property. Inventory clerks can even check in with the neighbours to ensure everyone is happy.
Is Renting to Students Worth It?
Despite these possible drawbacks, renting property to students can be very rewarding and comes with great benefits;
- High demand in student towns and cities
- Short term, set contracts of 12 months
- Predictable, reliable market
- Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) offer higher yields
- Students don’t expect fancy furnishings and are happy with simple amenities
- Low void periods
Protect Your Student Rental Property: Inventory Management
The most important step you can take to protect your student house is to ensure a thorough inventory is taken at the start of the tenancy.
A professional inventory service helps you recover any costs or losses due to damage at the end of the academic year. And that’s where we come in. We’re experienced at working with private landlords and letting agents by providing essential reports and property management services.
From check in to property visits, we’re on hand to make the process as stress-free as possible for landlord and tenant.
Find out how our property inventory services could help you manage your student property.
Thinking of investing in Build to Rent but not sure how to go about it or if it’s right for you? Our guide on why to invest in Build to Rent explores the risks and rewards of getting involved in the sector.
Build to Rent developments are growing across the UK thanks to higher demand for quality, purpose-built rental accommodation among young professionals and the over 50s. This burgeoning sector has great potential for property investors and commercial landlords, as long as you do it right.
What is Build to Rent?
Build to Rent, or (BTR) describes the process by which residential properties are purpose built for the private rental sector. In most cases, this is done by large property development companies, investors and commercial landlords.
Build to Rent developments commonly contain 50 homes or more, all managed by one landlord. They often feature desirable perks such as in-house gyms, entertainment facilities and sophisticated security systems.
The Build to Rent Trend
The Build to Rent sector in the UK is on the rise. According to property experts, Knight Frank, £50 billion will be invested into the sector by 2020 to accommodate for the growing demand in the private rented sector.
We’re now well aware that the rental sector is growing. Rising house prices and new working trends have resulted in a wider pool of tenants looking for suitable, long-term rental properties.
The demise of home ownership has resulted in a slightly older, professional tenant group looking for quality rented accommodation, complete with all of the modern conveniences.
How Does Build to Rent Work?
Typically, a Build to Rent development is owned by a large institution, such as a bank or pensions company and managed by a lettings agency.
Funding comes from investors keen to take advantage of reliable rental returns and long term growth. Some Build to Rent Schemes are also being supported by the Government to help with the building process and supporting infrastructure.
The main players in the Build to Rent process are;
- Build to Rent investors
- Build to Rent developers
- Build to Rent letting agents
- Commercial landlords
To invest in Build to Rent property, there are a few routes to go down, one of the easiest being through one of the large private rental developers.
The Benefits of Build to Rent Properties
According to Savills, Build to Rent investment came to £2.6 billion in 2018, suggesting that it can be a lucrative option for commercial landlords. There are many exciting opportunities for landlords investing in Build to Rent. Here are some of the benefits;
- Longer tenancies are common (3 years +)
- High tenant demand
- Higher rent rates (around 11% higher than standard rental accommodation)
- Reliable rental income and likely growth
- Landlords retain control over their investment
- Long term investment rewards
There are also many benefits for tenants which will make advertising and filling vacant rental properties much easier;
- Greater choice of housing
- Quality, purpose-built buildings with special amenities such as gyms and entertainment facilities
- Access to convenient services such as security, laundry and concierge
- Modern, sustainable buildings
- Bills usually included
- On-site management
- Encourages regeneration in surrounding areas
The Risks of Build to Rent
With all investment comes potential risk. Before going ahead, it’s important to understand what these risks are and how to manage them.
Construction is a risky business, and all sorts can go wrong or take longer than planned, leading to greater financial costs.
Planning Permission Issues
As a relatively new phenomenon, planning permission for Build to Rent can take longer, resulting in growing costs and a reduction of rental income.
As the landlord, you may experience delays in receiving the full rental income as the development fills up. To avoid long void periods, you could implement a tenant sign-up scheme while the building is still in progress. Alternatively, you could plan the development in stages to ensure some rental income is coming in throughout the process.
Drawbacks for Tenants
It’s also important to consider the disadvantages for tenants when it comes to Build to Rent, as this will help you determine your target tenant and mitigate any risks.
Some drawbacks for tenants include;
- Many Build to Rent developments target elderly tenants or young professionals and may not appeal to families or lower income renters
- This type of accommodation can be more expensive for tenants
Homes UK Event
From incorporating affordable housing into your Build to Rent project, to attracting institutional investment, Homes UK: The Future of Living will be answering the pressing questions in the sector today.
Taking place at Excel in London 27-28 November 2019, the event is a great place to meet important players in the industry.
Protect Your Investment
Keen to take advantage of this fast growing sector? Here at No Letting Go, we supply a specially designed range of Build to Rent services to ensure compliant reporting, no matter the size of the development.
- Inventory management
- Property visits
- 360 virtual property photography for use in marketing, reporting and Build to Rent projects
- Check in and right to rent
- Legionella risk assessment and water testing
- Central account management for national, corporate or large regional clients
- Fully insured, qualified and professional clerks, surveyors and inspectors
- 24 hour turnaround for reports
With our national and local services you get consistency, accuracy and efficiency delivered by our 65 offices across the UK.
Find our full list of Build to Rent services here.
Finding a reliable removal company can be a challenge, and tenants often turn to their landlord or letting agent for advice at the end of a tenancy.
Providing quality recommendations for trusted tradespeople and services builds trust with tenants and means they’re more likely to pass on your details to friends and family.
In order to provide your tenants with reputable removals services, we explore what to look for when searching for a removal company and the benefits of using this service.
Do I Need a Removals Company?
If your tenant asks this question at the end of a tenancy, the answer is usually yes. Most people gather lots of belongings, even over the space of a year. When packing and transporting expensive items of furniture and fragile items, it can pay to leave it to the professionals.
Unless the property is very small, they are renting one room or rent a fully furnished property, it’s likely a professional removal service will be beneficial.
A professional removal service offers tenants;
- Time saving
- Safer packing and transportation of fragile items
- More van space
A professional removal service is even more important for families with lots of belongings and older tenants who may struggle to pack up their home.
How Do I Choose a Removal Company?
We’ve broken down finding the right removal company into a few simple steps;
The first consideration is location. Removal companies based locally to your rental properties are likely to be cheaper than those that have further to travel.
These companies could become part of a portfolio of recommended tradespeople and services you can offer to your tenants.
One of the first places to go for local removal companies is a comparison site. Here, you will find a list of trusted traders and you will be able to filter your search results to find relevant companies more quickly.
Searching by price point, location and reviews can help narrow down your search.
The next step once you have found a few possible candidates is to check removal quotes. Most tenants will be searching for the most affordable option, so if you can recommend a reasonable company they should be happy customers.
Try to get at least three different quotes for the same move, with each cost broken down into insurance, packing, hourly rate, mileage and storage.
We’ve all heard disaster stories of rogue movers damaging expensive furniture or losing sentimental items, and tenants won’t be happy if your recommendation goes wrong.
Once you have narrowed down the search further, it’s time to check the customer reviews. Sometimes, companies are cheap for a reason, and you should be able to weed out any unreliable movers from the reviews online.
How do I Find a Reputable Moving Company?
We’ve got some top tips on how to spot a quality removal company you can rely on;
Ask for Recommendations
Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for finding reliable tradespeople and services.
Have any of your friends or family moved home recently? They may have their own recommendations to offer. It’s also worth checking which removal companies local letting agents recommend.
Have They Been Regulated?
An easy way to determine whether a removal firm is trustworthy, is to check whether they are a member of any regulatory boards or associations.
Check if the company is a member of The British Association of Removers (BAR), a regulatory body which ensures professional excellence. With lists of residential and commercial movers, all companies listed have been tested to industry standards.
Questions to Ask the Movers
Before you recommend a removal company to your tenant, ask these questions first;
- How long has the company been operating?
- Do you offer pre move surveys?
- Do you offer storage facilities?
- Do your quotes include insurance?
- Is a packing service included?
- Is parking on moving day included?
- What is your delay policy?
- Do you ask for any additional removal costs?
Having all the important information to hand is of great use for busy tenants and will make a great impression long term.
How Much Notice Do Removal Companies Need?
The process of getting an initial quote for moving house, the subsequent survey, finding an available date and getting all of the documents in order can take several weeks. It’s a good idea to remind tenants of this as it comes nearer to the end of their tenancy so they can be fully prepared on moving day.
What is the Average Cost of Removals?
The cost of using a professional removals company is dependent on several factors;
- The number and size of the items being transported
- The distance between properties
- Size of the removals team on the day
- Whether it includes packing and packing materials
The Movers and Storers Show
Another way to find reputable moving companies is to attend an industry event such as the Movers and Storers Show.
This year, the show is taking place in Coventry, 19th-20th November and is a convenient place to find trusted partners.
The Importance of Trusted Property Partners
Reputation is important in the lettings industry. If a tenant has a positive moving experience thanks to your recommendation, they are more likely to consider your services in the future and give positive recommendations to friends and family.
That goes for all services you use to manage the rental properties in your portfolio.
Here at No Letting Go, we offer a range of professional services to help landlords and letting agents manage their portfolios and stay on top of their responsibilities.
From property inventory to property visits, our services are designed to protect your investment for the long term.
Browse our full list of property inventory services here to find out how we can help.
The number of older tenants in the private rental sector is growing. Factors such as a rising elderly population along with the cost and effort of property maintenance is making older people turn to rental properties in their later years.
The benefits of renting to elderly tenants are plentiful. From longer tenancy agreements to reliability, we explore these advantages, along with the factors landlords and letting agents need to consider to meet their needs.
The Benefits of Renting to Elderly Tenants
Focusing on elderly groups as your target tenant can bring great advantages to landlords and letting agents;
Older people are more likely to require a settled home rather than move house every few years. As they’ve passed the age of extending their families, older tenants have stable jobs or are in retirement. If you’re looking for a long term tenant (which means less costs and time spent on the property in the long term) then elderly tenants are a good bet.
Tenants with more life experience tend to be reliable, have a steady income from their job or pension and pay their rent on time. When issues arise, older tenants are more likely to have the experience and knowledge to report them swiftly and keep on top of their own day to day property maintenance responsibilities.
Unlike younger tenants and students, elderly tenants are unlikely to host lots of parties or demonstrate any behaviour that could irritate neighbours. If your property is located very close by other properties or you have had issues with noise complaints in the past, older tenants could be a solution.
Elderly Tenant Rights
As with any tenant, landlords must be vigilant in upkeeping tenants’ rights and not discriminating by age or any other factor.
Anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect tenants from unlawful eviction and ensure they find suitable housing.
As a landlord or letting agent you must;
- Ensure all rental property advertisements do not discriminate by age, race or any other defining factors. E.g. you cannot specify an age range when advertising for tenants
- Never tell a prospective tenant that the property is unavailable when it is
- Never end a tenancy without reason
- Make any necessary adjustments to your property when renting to tenants with disabilities as can be found in the Equality Act 2010
Elderly Tenants and Health Issues
One of the big factors to consider when renting to elderly tenants is the possibility of health issues and disabilities. Some common health problems that occur in later life include;
- Mobility issues
- Hearing impairment
- Sight impairment
Tenants with dementia may struggle to remember to pay rent on time or find the right numbers to call to report issues. In this case, you may need to set up an automated payment system and make more regular property inspections.
As a landlord, you may need to make adjustments or allowances for tenants with health issues or disabilities if they’re living in your property. From fitting stair lifts to changing your communication channels, we explore this in more detail further down the page.
Things to Consider When Renting to Elderly Tenants
Here are some main points for landlords to consider to ensure elderly tenants’ needs are met;
Elderly tenants are more likely to require a peaceful area with easy access to essential amenities such as shops, the post office and everyday services.
If you’re targeting elderly tenants, do your research first to find desirable areas for this tenant group.
Consider Allowing Pets
For many older people, pets provide essential companionship and emotional support. When renting to this tenant group, it’s worth considering allowing pets as this will make your property more desirable to a wider pool of tenants.
If you’re worried about damage to the property, asking for a higher deposit is a reasonable request.
Many older people who have not grown up with email or mobile phones may struggle to use these communication channels. When dealing with older tenants, you may need to stick to phone calls or letters.
Determining the easiest forms of communication at the start of the tenancy will help encourage a positive landlord/tenant relationship. Some tenants with sight impairments may require all written communication in Braille.
Property Adjustments for Older People
Under the 2010 Equality Act, landlords are required by law to make any reasonable adjustments to their properties to allow tenants with disabilities to live safely and comfortably.
This could include;
- Installing access ramps for wheelchair or mobility scooter users
- Installing stair lifts
- Installing railings in the bathroom
- Fitting accessible kitchen and bathroom facilities
- Widening doors for wheelchair access
- Ground floor level access
- Unrestricted parking access
Living Safely: Family Contact Numbers
If your tenant has a fall or you are unable to contact them and are concerned for their safety, it’s a good idea to have access to the contact details and phone numbers of close family members. Having a small number of people you can contact regarding your tenant can help ensure their safety and strengthen the lines of communication.
Elderly tenants can be more vulnerable to break ins and door to door scams. Ensuring the rental property is safe and secure can help protect your tenant against crime. To secure your property;
- Always change the locks between tenancies
- Ensure all windows have good quality locks
- Ensure all external doors are well fitted
- Consider an alarm system
- Fit security lighting
- Fit a front door buzzer or peep hole to allow tenants to check who’s at the door before answering
Evicting An Elderly Tenant: The Right Way
For elderly tenants, finding a new rental home can prove more difficult, particularly if they suffer from age related health issues. If your tenant is late on rent payments or if there are any property maintenance issues, try to find a solution before beginning the eviction process.
For example, helping the tenant set up automated rent payments or providing advice on where to find government financial support could make all the difference. Likewise, encouraging your tenant to employ a cleaner or approaching family members for help could solve any property maintenance issues.
However, if there is no alternative and you need to evict your tenant, here’s some advice;
- Seek legal advice before proceeding
- Always follow the correct laws, regulations and procedures
Protecting Your Property
For some older people, property maintenance becomes harder as they experience reduced mobility. This can be a concern for landlords of furnished properties, worried about damage beyond fair wear and tear.
To protect your property long term, always invest in a professional property inventory report as evidence of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This way, you will be in a better position to recover any costs at the end of the tenancy.
Get Help Being A Responsible Landlord
Renting to elderly tenants can be very rewarding, as older tenants tend to look for longer tenancies. However, renting to this tenant group can require certain adjustments and property management tasks that take up time.
If you rent to elderly tenants, investing in a professional property inventory service can save you time and help to ensure you’re fulfilling all your obligations as a landlord.
From regular property inspections to property inventory reports – No Letting Go provide a wide range of property services across the UK.
Browse our full list of property inventory services to find out how we could help.
Winter brings with it potential hazards that could harm your rental property and cost you money if left untreated. High winds, excessive rain, snow and ice can lead to anything from frozen pipes to blocked guttering.
That’s why it makes sense to get ahead and protect your rental property before the worst of the UK weather kicks in.
We’ve prepared a winter maintenance checklist for landlords and lettings agents, to help you protect your rental properties over the winter period.
Exterior Property Maintenance
As a landlord, you are largely responsible for the exterior maintenance of the rental properties in your portfolio.
This can include;
- Roof and guttering repairs
- Garden and fences
- Window cleaning and repairs
The following tips will help you protect the exterior of your property over the winter;
Roofs and Guttering
Missing roof tiles can cause expensive structural problems in the long-term. If your property is missing a few tiles, a particularly bad winter storm could result in leaking and interior damp.
Likewise, a blocked gutter can lead to water damage. An annual gutter clean is a sensible maintenance task to perform at the beginning of winter, after the autumn leaves have fallen and before the worst of the weather hits.
Repair Cracks and Crevices
Any gaps or cracks in the exterior of your property could result in long term problems if left untreated. If moisture from the outside finds its way into the property, you could be facing serious damp and mould issues. This is easily avoided through regular inspections and property maintenance.
Key areas to focus on include;
- Air leaks around windows and doors
- Garage or shed doors
- Ill fitted exterior doors
Winter Garden Maintenance
Usually, general garden maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. However, if your property is experiencing a void period or you are preparing for a new tenancy, you may need to perform some garden maintenance.
Broken fences are the responsibility of the landlord, so it’s a good idea to check for any loose posts before the wind sets in. In addition, any trees with dangerous overhanging branches may need tending to.
To protect yourself from any disputes regarding garden maintenance at the end of a tenancy, always ensure the tenancy agreement clearly sets out which tasks are the responsibility of the tenant.
Winter Pipe Maintenance
When water freezes in very cold weather it expands and can result in burst pipes. To prevent this;
- Ensure pipes are well insulated
- And there are no cracks
- Fix any dripping taps
- Get the boiler serviced regularly
- Run the heating at a low temperature during void periods
- At the start of a new tenancy, make sure your tenants are aware of the location of the stopcock and understand what to do in case of an emergency
Fireplaces and Chimneys
If any of your rental properties contain working fireplaces, a professional clean by a chimney sweep will help to prevent debris build up which could pose a fire hazard.
Sometimes, extreme cold weather can freeze locks. Rather than getting a late night call from a tenant locked out of their home, a pre-emptive spray with lubricant will prevent sticking.
Cold weather can draw in pests such as mice and voles. To prevent any unwelcome visitors, ensure all small holes and cracks around the exterior of the property are properly sealed.
Interior Winter Maintenance
The following winter home maintenance tips refer to the interior of your rental property;
Winter Boiler Maintenance
Perhaps the most important consideration for your tenants, is ensuring the property’s heating system is in good working condition before the cold winter weather hits.
If the weather drops severely, your boiler is at risk of freezing. To avoid this;
- Remind your tenants to run the heating regularly.
- If your property is going through a void period, it’s worth setting the heating to come on at certain times throughout the day or to run it constantly at a low temperature to help prevent damp and keep the boiler in good condition.
- We also recommend bleeding the radiators regularly to prevent pockets of air entering and affecting the heat they give off.
- Get the boiler serviced once a year by a gas safe registered engineer before winter really kicks in.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
The start of winter is a good time to check your smoke and CO alarms are all present and in working order.
Since 2015, it has been a legal requirement for landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of a property. Failure to do so could result in a £5000 fine for each non-working alarm.
If you’re busy managing your portfolio, we provide Smoke and CO inspections as part of our inventory and check in service.
Winter Property Security
Fewer daylight hours and empty properties around Christmas time can result in higher levels of property crime. Encouraging your tenants to practice these safety tips should help to avoid any nasty surprises;
Timed Lighting Systems
If your rental property is left vacant over the Christmas period as tenants visit family and friends, it’s more vulnerable to theft and damage.
Encouraging tenants to use a timed lighting system when they go away for extended periods can help to prevent break ins. Alternatively, leaving the bathroom light on uses up minimal energy whilst warding off burglaries.
Exterior Safety Lighting
If you’re worried about a vacant property, installing security lights can help to prevent break-ins.
Emergency Contact Numbers
One of the most important ways you can protect your rental property over the winter is to provide your tenants with a list of emergency numbers to contact if things go wrong. This should include;
- General property maintenance provider
- Letting agent contacts
This is particularly important if you are planning to go away over the Christmas break.
By providing your own list of numbers, you can ensure that any repairs or maintenance issues are attended to by reliable tradespeople, approved by you.
Invest in a Professional Inventory Service
One of the easiest ways to protect your rental property over winter, is to invest in a thorough inventory service.
From maintenance reports to health and safety checks, our teams of inventory clerks across the UK are on hand to help you manage your property portfolio all year round.
Need some help? Browse our list of available property inventory services to protect your investment this winter.
Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties.
And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds.
We explore the power of inventories by highlighting a recent high-profile case featuring a former pop star and £70,000 worth of damage.
Do I Need An Inventory?
Without a detailed inventory, you could be left having to repair damage out of your own pocket. We’ve created a simple guide on the key components to include and why they’re necessary;
Property Management Inventory Checklist
An inventory report must include the following key components;
- A record of meter readings and keys provided
- The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
- A record of the condition of the garden, including any damage
- A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
- A record of the condition of the mattresses if fully furnished
- Date & time stamped photos of the property and its contents
It must also include essential safety points;
- A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
- Evidence that the Smoke and CO alarms comply with legislation (working order & correct placement)
- A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks
Check Out Report
In addition to the initial inventory report and schedule of condition that takes place when a tenant moves into a rental property, you will also need a check out report when they move out at the end of the tenancy.
Following the final inspection, the check out report should;
- Include a detailed record of the condition of the property
- Clearly show how the property has changed throughout the tenancy (in combination with the initial check in report)
- Include recommended actions for landlords and tenants
This report provides a vital benchmark to help assess any changes to the property from the start of the tenancy to the end.
If any deposit disputes arise, these reports should provide clear evidence to help landlords get a fair return on any losses or repairs required.
Top Reasons for Tenancy Deposit Disputes
Some of the main reason’s disputes occur include;
- Cleaning 54%
- Damage 49%
- Decoration 31%
- Rent 20%
- Gardening 16%
Dealing with Deposit Disputes
The security deposit taken at the start of a tenancy is considered the tenant’s money. This means that it can be tricky for landlords to withhold the deposit in response to damage or loss without significant evidence.
You will need to prove there is damage to your rental property above normal wear and tear in order to claim on the deposit.
That’s why poorly compiled inventory reports are one of the most common reasons landlords lose disputes.
Tip: Always enter the deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme as this is a legally required step!
Celebrity Rental Drama: The Power of Inventories
To demonstrate our point, we’ve got a high profile case study in which a property rental disaster was averted thanks to comprehensive inventory reports.
Former En-Dubz star and X Factor Judge, Tulisa Contostavlos was recently ordered to pay over £70,000 worth in damage to the landlord of her former luxury rental property.
Reported damage to the luxury North London flat included a smashed sink, cigarette burns, stains and doors ripped from hinges. Despite arguing that the damage was normal wear and tear, she was ordered to pay compensation, interest and legal costs to her former landlord.
Key to this case was the presence of a thorough and professional inventory and check-out report.
Clearly, a high rental value is no protection against severe damage, so no matter which end of the market you’re positioned in, covering your back is essential if you want to recover your costs.
Looking for help managing your portfolio of rental properties in London? Find a list of our No Letting Go London offices.
What is Fair Wear and Tear?
It can be problematic working out what is considered fair wear and tear as it differs case by case. Some examples of fair wear and tear include;
- Small scuff marks on walls
- Naturally worn down carpets
- Frayed fabrics
- Faded curtains
- Carpet indentations
However, when we talk about damage this could include;
- Broken locks or doors
- Burn marks or large carpet stains
- Holes in the walls
- Broken windows or furniture
- Poorly painted walls
One of the easiest ways to determine the difference is by commissioning a professional inventory clerk to visit the property and make a detailed report, including photographic imagery at the start of the tenancy.
How To Protect Your Rental Property from Damage
There are a few more steps you can take to protect your rental property;
Regular Property Inspections
Target Long Term Tenants
In addition, targeting long-term tenants who are more likely to treat the property as their home will help to avoid intentional damage.
Keep it Simple
Keep decoration simple and ensure your property is thoroughly clean at the start of the tenancy to avoid any future disputes.
Avoid the Risks with A Professional Inventory Service
You’ve heard the warning, now it’s time to cover your back. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment as a landlord or letting agent is to commission a professional inventory company to undertake comprehensive inventory reports and checks.
Our independent inventory clerks across the country are experienced at providing essential reports, checks and visits to help you stay protected from move in date up until the end of the tenancy agreement.
To find out how we could help, browse our list of professional property inventory services to get started.
Thinking of investing in London rental property? There are plenty of benefits for landlords, including high demand from a wide range of tenant groups and convenient access to quality tradespeople and property services.
Buy-to-let in London can offer great rewards, as long as you’re clever about where you invest. We explore why investing in London property is worth the risks and how to protect your investment for the long term.
The Advantages of Being a London Landlord
Thinking of becoming a London landlord? Here are some of the benefits you can expect;
- High rental demand
- High demand from student renters
- High demand from professional tenants
- Reliable flow of tenants
- Wide range of properties
- Wide range of tenant groups
- Wide selection of tradespeople, letting and estate agents and property managers
- Access to quality inventory clerks and services
- Rewarding rental yields in certain areas
Is Property in London a Good Investment?
There has been a lot of debate recently around whether investing in the UK property market is still a safe investment. Despite some instability in the London property market due to Brexit uncertainties and recent changes to stamp duty and tax relief for landlords, there are still many factors that make London a good opportunity for property investment.
High Rental Demand
For one, it is unlikely that the demand for rental properties in popular areas of London will decrease significantly in the long term as London remains a hub for many industries.
With a large number of students and young professionals, London offers a wide range of tenant groups to target.
Shorter term, Brexit uncertainties have been putting off first time buyers from taking the plunge- increasing the demand for rental properties further.
Opportunity for Capital Gain
While some property prices in central London have experienced dips, central London prices are now on the rise and there are plenty of up and coming areas marked for big property development projects. By investing in areas likely to experience long-term price growth, you are well placed to earn impressive capital growth when you decide to sell.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Buy in London?
House prices vary significantly from each London borough. According to Homes&Property, some of the cheapest areas to buy in London in 2019 include;
- Barking and Dagenham – average house price £300,518
- Bexley – average house price £341,784
- Newham – average house price £365,182
- Croydon – average house price £365,931
- Havering – average house price £375,014
- Sutton – average house price £382,607
- Hounslow – average house price £395,734
- Enfield – average house price £396,908
- Hillingdon – average house price £399,639
- Greenwich – average house price £411,492
However, the purchase price isn’t the only factor to consider when searching for an investment property.
If you’re looking for buy-to-let, the location’s desirability to your target tenant is just as important as getting a good deal. If you can’t find tenants to fill your property, you risk losing money. That’s why it’s equally important to consider factors such as transport links and the proximity of schools and shops to assess the risks and return.
In addition, looking at rental yield data is essential in order to calculate your return on investment.
Best Buy to Let Areas in London
When looking for the right location to buy to let, London has a few hotspots that still offer impressive rental yields.
Totally Money’s Buy to Let rental yield map provides valuable data when searching for the most profitable postcodes. Here are some of the top buy to let areas in London according to the map;
- E12 in East London including Manor Park, Little Ilford, Alderbrook, Newham and Redbridge have a 6.04% average yield.
- SE17 in South East London including Walworth and Newington has a 5.75% average yield.
- IG11 in Barking has a 5.59% average yield.
- Romford is home to several top performing postcodes including RM9, RM8,RM6 and RM10. Find property inventory services in Romford here.
- SE11 in South East London including Kennington and Vauxhall has a 5.12% average yield.
- SE28 including Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich has a 5.00% average yield.
- N18 in North London including Upper Edmonton, Edmonton and Enfield has a 4.92% average yield.
How Do I Buy My First Investment Property?
Once you’ve decided that becoming a London landlord is right for you, there are several steps you need to take;
Choose a Location
Decide on the right location, taking into account your budget, target tenant and the rental yields in the area.
Find a Buy-to-Let Mortgage
To start the buying process, you will most likely need to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage. Our guide on buy-to-let-mortgages provides helpful information on the different types of mortgage available and how to choose the right one, as well as tips and advice on the process.
Protecting Your Investment
Decided to become a London landlord? Our No Letting Go offices throughout London are home to dedicated and experienced inventory clerks ready to help you on your journey.
From inventory reports to check in services, we can provide professional support to help manage your portfolio.
- Property inventory services in Stratford & Newham, East London
- Property inventory services in Greenwich, South East London
- Property inventory services in Southwark, South East London
- Property inventory services in Enfield, North London
- Property inventory services in Bromley and Bexley
- Property inventory services in Croydon
- Property services in Sutton
To explore our full list of offices, search our branch pages to find property inventory services near you.
With Brexit looming, it’s unclear what the state of the UK economy will look like in a few months’ time, let alone the private rented market.
While it’s right to be wary, Brexit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for landlords. In fact, there may even be some positive developments. Here, we look at how Brexit will affect the rental market, what it might mean for landlords and how to protect your investment in this unsettling period.
Will Brexit Affect Right to Rent?
Since February, 2016 it has been a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that their tenants have the right to rent in the UK. If landlords are found to be letting to an illegal immigrant, they could face fines of around £600 per tenant.
However, Brexit brought new uncertainties as guidance on the new regulations after leaving the EU were unclear, particularly in regard to the status of EU national renters.
For now, the Home Office have confirmed that during this transitional period, EU nationals will still have the right to remain in the UK and will be able to use their current passports or ID as proof of legal status. According to the Home Office, the European Union settlement scheme will provide legal EU citizens with digital documents to make these checks easier for landlords.
However, longer term this could cause issues, especially if longer term tenancy agreements are signed, as the legal status of some tenants may change post-Brexit.
The most recent update from the government confirms that the right to rent check regulations will stay the same until January 2021, regardless of whether a deal is made. Similarly, the requirements for Irish citizens will not change.
How to Stay Protected
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of essential document checks is to enlist the help of a professional reporting service.
No Letting Go clerks can verify right to rent documentation at check in, to determine whether they match the tenant’s appearance as part of our right to rent service. This is particularly helpful for landlords who aren’t able to meet with tenants personally.
Unstable House Prices: Good News for Buy-To-Let Landlords?
Brexit uncertainty has caused the UK housing market to slow down, with average UK house prices falling by £5000 at the beginning of this year.
This could be seen as a positive for buy-to-let landlords who can take advantage of this lull in the UK property market. For landlords looking to expand their portfolio, it could be your chance to buy for less.
However, a lack of stability is understandably putting some people off;
- Recent changes to stamp duty have meant that landlords have to pay an extra 3% on each band on new buy to let properties, significantly increasing outgoings.
- While the reduction of tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will be paying more in tax by 2020 and may even find themselves in a higher tax bracket.
Combined, these changes are making landlords think twice about investing in buy-to-let as it may be harder to enjoy the same rental yields as before.
How to Improve Your Rental Yield
If you do decide to take the plunge, you may find a real buy-to-let bargain!
To minimise the risks, it’s worth doing your research to find the best place in the UK for rental yields.
Brexit and Mortgages
Depending on what happens to Bank of England interest rates, mortgages could be affected by Brexit. It has been suggested that the base rate may rise after Brexit, which could make buy-to-let mortgages more expensive. One way around this could be to re-mortgage your property now, before the economy shifts.
Nonetheless, if this is the case, mortgages will be equally difficult to obtain for prospective house buyers, adding to the increase in those looking to rent.
The Impact of Brexit on the Rental Market
The instability of the UK housing market could put off potential home buyers from taking any risks in the near future. With less people buying, this could be good news for letting agents and residential landlords, as more people will be looking to extend their lease.
Shortages in social housing could also result in a rise in rental demand, placing landlords and property professionals in the private rental sector in a good position.
Bearing this in mind, it looks like the rental market should stay secure for the foreseeable future.
One thing to think about is that the location of your rental property could have an impact on the number of prospective tenants looking for housing. For example, some No Letting Go regional branches in which a higher level of EU nationals reside experienced lulls after the referendum due to uncertainty surrounding legal status.
How to Stay Protected
Providing quality rental properties that people want to live in will help minimise the risk of any void periods as we prepare for this transition. Staying on top of essential property maintenance and providing an appealing home for tenants will help to ensure you don’t lose out.
Property Renovation and Build to Rent
If you’re thinking of renovating your rental property or building property to rent, Brexit could make things a little difficult.
As much of the construction materials and labour resources used are imported from around the EU, tariffs and ease of supply could be affected. So, if you’re thinking or extending or renovating, you may need to save up more than you originally planned for to be on the safe side.
Thankfully, the government has confirmed that those with EEA qualifications, such as EU architects will still be able to work in the UK, even in the event of a no deal Brexit. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any disruption to ongoing work.
Brexit for Landlords: Stay Protected
To sum up, Brexit may not be the blow some private landlords thought it might. Although it’s hard to predict what might happen in the coming months, unstable house prices and rising mortgage rates could even drive the demand for rental properties.
To make sure you don’t miss out when the time comes, it pays to have a solid plan in place. And that’s where we come in.
Our professional property inventory services provide you with the essential reports you need to stay on top of the latest legislation. Covering everything from right to rent to property appraisals, our teams of experts are here to help protect your investment and give you peace of mind.
Browse our full list of property services to find out more about our individually tailored services.
With recent changes in regulations and unstable house prices, is property still a good investment?
If you’re looking for a long-term investment, buy-to-let property can still provide rewarding returns.
We explore the benefits and drawbacks of buy-to-let investments to help you decide whether expanding your portfolio or becoming a first-time landlord is still worth the risk.
Buy-To-Let Investment: The Risks
We would be lying if we said investing in property was completely risk-free. It’s important to understand the risks involved before making any big investments.
Here’s a look at some of the potential risks currently facing the buy-to-let sector;
Unstable Property Prices
With Brexit on the horizon, no one can be entirely certain what the after-effects will do to the UK property market. If house prices fall, you may lose out on money if you decide to sell.
However, this works both ways. If the property market experiences an uplift post-Brexit, as it often does after slow periods, your investment worth could grow by a significant amount.
Stamp Duty Changes
The changes to stamp duty made in 2016 mean that landlords now have to pay up to 3% more on buy-to-let properties. This can greatly increase your initial outgoings so needs to be factored into the decision-making process.
However, this doesn’t apply to first-time, buy-to-let buyers who can pay the standard home mover rates instead.
Reduction to Tax Relief
A new tax system is being phased in, and by 2020, buy-to-let landlords will no longer be able to deduct any mortgage interest payment from their rental income before paying tax.
These changes mean most landlords will be paying higher tax on their rental properties and may even find they move up a tax bracket.
Unfortunately, void periods can happen, and are sometimes out of your control. Extended void periods can negatively affect your annual returns and are best avoided.
To prevent void periods, there are some simple steps you can take;
- Invest in quality marketing
- Keep up with maintenance
- Think about your target tenant
- Ensure compliance with current health and safety obligations
Investing in Residential Property: The Rewards
When you get it right, buying residential property to rent can still be a profitable investment. Here, we explore some of the benefits;
HMO Properties: Higher Rental Yields
Investing in an HMO property is a good way to see larger returns on your investment.
An HMO property is shared by multiple people or ‘households’, and according to Property Investment UK, can provide rental yields up to three times higher than single lets.
With the demand for shared housing continuing to grow in cities and student towns, investing in property with the idea of renting it as an HMO remains a solid investment.
Location: Maximising Returns
When looking for a stable investment property, location remains key.
While larger cities in the North such as Manchester and Liverpool are currently experiencing an uplift in local housing markets, some areas of London are slowing down.
Finding the right rental market in an up-and-coming area will improve your chances of enjoying a higher rental yield.
For example, properties in larger University towns make a great investment for student landlords as there is a steady supply of students looking for housing.
To get a better idea of where to invest now, the following areas have been tipped as providing a solid investment;
Look for areas with a younger population who haven’t yet stepped a foot onto the property ladder and areas with good transport links into popular areas.
Long Term Rewards
As long as you’re willing to exercise patience, investing in buy-to-let property still brings with it worthwhile, long-term rewards.
The security of a steady income flow and the possibility of inflation provides a solid return on investment and a safety net for retirement.
The Brexit Effect: Should I Be Worried?
Due to Brexit uncertainty, many people have delayed selling or buying a home. But that shouldn’t necessarily put you off investing in buy-to-let property.
The UK population is growing, and people still need homes to live in. In fact, as first-time buyers are thinking twice, the demand for renting may even rise in the short term.
Although it’s hard to predict, unstable house prices and rising mortgage rates could result in a higher number of people looking to rent, allowing private landlords to enjoy a stable rental market.
Either way, the residential property market continually experiences ups and downs, meaning that quiet periods don’t usually stay quiet for long.
Look After Your Investment with No Letting Go
If you’re thinking of investing in buy-to-let, it’s vital to have all of your documents and property checks in order.
Here at No Letting Go, we help landlords, letting agents and property professionals alike manage their portfolio by providing reliable inventory reports and other essential services.
From check-in services to property appraisals, discover our wide range of professional property inventory services to see how we could help protect your investment.