Will changes in the Model Tenancy Agreement and the proposed Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Bill make renting with pets the new norm? It could make life easier for pet owners looking for rented accommodation, but it may not give tenants the absolute right to keep a pet they were hoping for.

Renting with pets is in demand.

Rightmove reports a 120% increase in the demand for pet-friendly rental properties. This is in stark contrast to the PDSA report that only around 7% of privately rented accommodation is advertised as pet friendly. It reflects that finding a rental property if you have a pet isn’t straightforward.

In a move that may address this, the government is taking steps to make it easier for anyone with pets to find somewhere to rent by changing the default position of landlords on pet ownership.

So what’s changing?

The Model Tenancy Agreement is the government’s recommended contract for landlords to use with tenants, and it has been updated to be more pet friendly. There’s no longer a blanket ban on tenants having pets, and landlords are being encouraged to allow them.

Renters must still seek written consent from landlords to keep pets on the property, but landlords must respond within 28 days, giving a good reason for objecting. However, they still have no legal obligation to accept pets.

In addition, the Dog and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill is seeking to add further assistance for responsible pet owners to find rental properties. While this bill is still awaiting approval, it proposes that pet owners with a ‘certificate of responsible animal guardianship’ would be able to demonstrate to landlords that they are responsible owners, making the landlord more comfortable with leasing to a pet owner.

Neither of these measures gives tenants the legal right to keep pets in rented accommodation, but they change the default position of pets in rented accommodation. The Model Tenancy Agreement states that landlords must not withhold or delay consent to refuse a pet. The Dog and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill would require landlords to have a certificate of exemption if they want to prohibit pets, for example, religious objections.

What does this mean for landlords?

Many landlords may wish to support their tenants having pets but are cautious about the potential challenges this can present. These include additional damage and wear and tear a pet may incur at a property or the risk that it may be loud and become a nuisance to other residents.

In our article Should I allow pets in my rental property? we look at the pros and cons for landlords of accepting pets and ways in which they can mitigate potential loss by ensuring that their tenancy agreement stipulates clear guidelines on pet ownership and ways to mitigate any additional costs.

It seems inevitable that demand for pet ownership in rental properties will increase. To keep pace with the change and tenant needs, landlords and agents mustn’t put this on the back-burner. Being prepared for change is the best way to ensure that you have the right solution that works for all parties.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go can become your inventory partner, protecting your property and its contents while streamlining costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.

We’ve seen rises in the cost of food, fuel and energy recently, but this may not be the end of it for renters. It seems that rents are also set to continue going up in 2022.

What’s happening with rents at the moment?

Since the end of 2021, rental prices have been on the increase. In the 12 months to March 2022, private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK increased by 2.4%, which is the most significant annual growth rate since July 2016.

London is the exception to the recent increase in rent prices, with private rental rates increasing by 0.4%. So if you exclude London, national rental prices across the rest of the country increased by 3.3% during that period.

What’s causing the rise in rents?

The rise in rents is driven by two key factors: a rise in demand for rental properties; and not enough supply to meet the demand. Both the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report a growing demand for rental properties.

This is an ongoing trend, as the Rightmove rental price tracer for Q4 of 2021 reported:

· Tenant demand is 32% higher than the same time the previous year
· The number of available properties is 51% lower than the same period in the previous year
· Competition between tenants for available properties is at 94%, compared to the same time the previous year

With demand for rental homes increasing by 76% in the New Year period of 2022, compared with the same time in 2018 to 2021, there seems to be no let-up in sight.

What happens next?

Rightmove predicts rents will rise by 5% in 2022 as the struggle between supply and demand continues, whilst Zoopla predicts a rent rise by 4.5% across the UK in 2022, excluding London, where the surge is likely to be a little lower, at 3.5%.

Renting dynamics are expected to change over the coming months as city workers return to the office and want to relocate near their workplaces to avoid commuting. Students return to their places of study, including many from overseas.

Tenants who remained in situ during the pandemic may also be looking to make the move they had put off.

The rental market is expected to move quickly over the coming year, and competition for properties will be fierce. Renters need to move rapidly to secure the property they want. Yet, they could also face the additional challenge of increasing living costs that will squeeze their budgets. This means that many renters will have to reassess what they can afford.

High demand should mean landlords can secure a good return on their rental properties and reduce empty periods. However, it’s still important to maintain properties to a good standard if they want to attract their ideal tenants.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support and national networks at No Letting Go can help you to secure the tenants you want by acting as your inventory partner while streamlining your costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.

The Renters Reform Bill White Paper is expected in 2022 and will outline wide-ranging reforms proposed for the private rental sector. Landlords need to be prepared to make changes to ensure that they meet the new obligations when they are introduced.

What is expected to be in the Renters Reform Bill?

There are several fundamental changes proposed in the Bill that will directly impact landlords:

• Abolishing Section 21 “no fault” evictions: Landlords will need to provide tenants with a valid reason for eviction at the end of the tenancy, which is not currently required.
• A lifetime tenancy deposit: This will ease the financial burden for tenants when moving between tenancies as deposits will be transferred with each move, rather than having to save for a new deposit for the following property while waiting for the last deposit to be returned.
• Improved standards in rented accommodation: To ensure all tenants have a right to redress and stop criminal landlords from unscrupulous practices to improve the standard of rental properties.
• Strengthening repossession grounds for landlords: When the landlord has a valid reason to repossess the property, the Bill will ensure they can do so.
• Introduction of a landlord register: This will improve how they are held to account so tenants can be assured they are renting from a landlord who meets their legal duties.
• Improved eviction process: Making the process easier and quicker for landlords and tenants and providing mediation services to avoid the courts.
• Greater powers for local authorities: To enforce the rights of tenants.

Why are the changes being introduced?

The Renters Reform Bill is seeking to make changes to offer greater security for tenants while also ensuring that the rights of landlords aren’t unfairly diminished, allowing them still to take appropriate action when there’s justification.

The Bill will also elevate some of the financial burdens on tenants regarding managing deposits. These changes should improve standards for tenants with greater clarity on all sides over what their responsibilities are.

How will the proposed reforms affect landlords?

Landlords must make themselves up to speed with all the changes the Bill introduces so they don’t miss any of the new obligations. This could mean updating tenancy agreements, deposit and rental processes, including eviction notices, to reflect new regulations.

To remain competitive and attract the tenants you want, all landlords and agents should already be keeping their properties maintained to a high standard. A robust inventory procedure can help you achieve and maintain standards in your rental properties. If not already in place, landlords and agents should consider this as a tool to meet their new obligations under the Renters Reform Bill.

At No Letting Go, we will be working proactively to ensure that our inventories are ready for any changes the Renters Reform Bill introduces and will work with landlords and letting agents so that our services continue to help them meet their regulatory obligations.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go can become your inventory partner, keeping you compliant with the law, streamlining your costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.

The Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shift to working from home when many offices were forced to shut. This significantly impacted the rental market as tenants reassessed what they needed from their home property to support their new working style.

What changes did tenants want when working from home?

Working from home had an impact on how people looked at their homes, whether owned or rented, in three key areas:

• Space to work
• Outdoor space to enjoy
• Location

There was a need for working space for more than one family member for many. Extra space was needed by many to enable them to work from home. Workers desired an extra room to accommodate a home office, but even the ability to set up a specific work area or desk in an existing room made a big difference.

In addition to extra indoor space, people craved outdoor space. A garden, or even a balcony, became important to enable people to get outdoors when they weren’t allowed to leave home. Even after restrictions were lifted, being able to grab a break and some fresh air while spending a long day at a home desk is essential for physical and mental health.

Finally, where people were able to live also changed. They were no longer tied to cities or commuter suburbs to be able to get to the office, saving on travel time and expenses.

They could, and did, choose to live further afield as their homes became their workspaces, especially more flexible renters. This saw many people leaving city and town centres to find cheaper accommodation in the country or market towns where they could afford the extra indoor and outdoor space they desired.

What’s happening after lockdown?

Hopefully, we’ve seen the end of lockdown, and there’s an expectation that things will return to how they were pre-pandemic, including tenants’ expectations. But according to YouGov, 60% of British workers would still prefer to work remotely sometimes, so the need for space and desire to live in more remote locations could be here to stay.

However, there does seem to be some shift back to cities as offices begin to reopen. Last month, the BBC reported that some workers’ gradual return to the office and a winding down of covid restrictions led to increased demand in the urban rental market. In January, demand was up 76% compared to an average January in each of the previous four years.

This is encouraging news for landlords with properties in cities and larger towns. However, they still need to consider that working from home is likely to continue for many tenants and will still influence their choice of property.

Tenants’ rising lifestyle expectations.

We recently spoke about continued growth in the build to rent sector, and part of this boom is the focus on delivering facilities that support modern lifestyles. Popular properties have dedicated working areas, offer access to good broadband and amenities and maintain a high standard of living that accommodates the changing expectations of renters who consciously decide that renting is better for them than homeowning.

A complete return to the pre-pandemic world is unlikely, and landlords who can adapt and keep pace with the changing needs of tenants will continue to see a healthy demand for their properties.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go can become your inventory partner, ensuring that your property remains desirable to today’s tenants, contact No Letting Go today.

With so many people feeling the pinch and substantial rises in the cost of living predicted to continue into 2022, we’re all looking for ways to save money where we can. One area tenants could look to do this is in their monthly rent charge. If you’re looking to move home, where are the cheapest areas to rent?

 

Average monthly rent in the UK by region

According to a Statista survey of average rents in December 2021, the average UK monthly rent was £1,060. Starting with the cheapest average rent, the costs across the country were:

  1. The Northeast (£580)
  2. Northern Ireland (£724)
  3. Wales (£736)
  4. Yorkshire and Humberside (£737)
  5. Scotland (£738)
  6. East Midlands (£742)
  7. West Midlands (£786)
  8. Northwest (£844)
  9. Southwest (£983)
  10. East of England (£1,031)
  11. Southeast (£1,123)
  12. Greater London (£1,752)

While the Northeast was the cheapest area for rent, there are vast regional differences in average rental prices. Although the London area has seen some challenging times, with many tenants choosing to leave the capital during lockdown, the average rental cost is over £1,000 per month, more than the top six cheapest places to rent.

 

What is happening to rental prices?

As we start to see the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, 2022 still looks like it could be another year of uncertainty as we continue to adjust to the post-pandemic era and manage the financial impact.

According to early indications from the ONS, in the UK, private rental prices rose by 2% in the 12 months to January 2022, increasing from 1.8% in the 12 months to December 2021. The East Midlands saw the most significant increase in rental prices of 3.6%, and London the lowest of 0.1%. In the Northeast, the area with the lowest average rent per month, there was an annual rental price growth of 2.2%.

 

What does this mean for the rental market?

RICS reported a supply versus demand imbalance in the rental market in January as tenant demand increased. Still, the number of new listings fell, leading to over half of respondents to their survey anticipating rent increases in the next three months.

With the expectation that remote or hybrid working will continue, tenants will continue to have greater flexibility to decide where they live and work so that they can make the most of regional price variations. But as rents are expected to increase further, it will mean that tenants and landlords will keep a close eye on the market and stay flexible as even the cheapest areas see prices rise.

 

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could make your property more attractive to rent, streamline your costs and reduce your workload by becoming your inventory partner, then contact No Letting Go today.

Our perception of homeownership is changing. For the vast majority, buying a property used to seem like a natural step, but it’s now predicted that by 2025 over 50% of adults under the age of 40 will be in private rented accommodation. In the UK, demand from renters is 43% higher than the last five-year average.

So what’s driving this change, is it set to continue, and what will be the impact on landlords?

 

The advantages of renting

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons more people are choosing to rent is because the rental market, once subject to rumours of unscrupulous landlords and high rents, has evolved and is perceived as a more progressive market that accommodates people’s needs. Renting is seen as advantageous because:

• You don’t have to worry about maintenance costs, unlike homeowners.
• It’s easier and quicker to rent than to buy a home.
• Financially it’s less of a burden; a smaller deposit is required, monthly rent can be cheaper than a mortgage repayment, there is no home insurance, solicitors’ fees or stamp duty.
• Tenancy terms can vary to suit needs, so planning for a future move is easier.
• More controls in the rental market mean tenants enjoy more legal protection.
• No danger of the negative equity trap

 

The barriers to getting on the property ladder

Perhaps the most significant impact on the rental market has been people’s ability to buy a home. Many find themselves unable to get a foot on the property ladder, particularly affecting the younger generation. It has been suggested that up to a third of millennials may never own their own home, while half will rent into their forties. This isn’t just linked to the difficulty of saving up a deposit. High house prices mean more expensive mortgage repayments; coupled with tighter lending requirements, it is harder to get a mortgage.

 

Unstable personal finances

The rise in house prices is compounded by wages stagnating while the cost of living is increasing. Even if finances were there to buy a home, many are put off by the perception that the housing market can be unstable and may trap you in a property that no longer suits your needs.

Whether driven by financial considerations or a general change in societal attitudes, people are now making different lifestyle choices, including more social living. Searches for UK-based co-living rental opportunities increasing by 4000% in the last four years, and the build to rent sector continues to grow, offering an exciting option for tenants.

Offering amenities such as gyms and concierge services, build to rent properties offer a different lifestyle in sought-after locations with the flexibility of long and short term tenancy periods. This seems to be speaking loudly to many people who feel that their homes should provide the flexibility to meet the demands of life today.

For landlords and agents who have well-managed properties to offer and who listen to their tenants’ needs and the market, the prospects are good. Renting is seen as an exciting alternative to homeownership, with the potential to offer something more aligned to how people are living and working today.

 

No Letting Go

Contact No Letting Go today if you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamlining your costs and reducing your workload.

In common with every other sector of the economy, the residential rental property market hasn’t escaped the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. A new but shifting picture is emerging, and an extended period of uncertainty is likely to continue as new trends play out. How will this impact landlords looking for opportunities in a disrupted market?

 

Changing rental markets

Demand for residential property across the UK was 59% higher in April than in the same month between 2017 and 2019. However, supply isn’t keeping up, with a 5% drop in new properties coming onto the market in London alone. As a result, data for June 2021 indicates that rental prices are up 5.9% on last year, with an average rental price in the UK reaching an all-time high of £1,007.

The market is also showing substantial regional differences. After a sharp drop during lockdown, London prices have increased by 1.5%, although the average rent is still lower than in June 2019, yet in the rest of the UK, average rent prices grew by 8% in the last year, a 10% increase on pre-pandemic levels. Rental growth hit a 10-year monthly high in the northeast, East Midlands, Wales, and southwest.

 

Factors in a changing rental market

Behind the headline figures are some key factors that may have driven the changes:

· Since the start of the pandemic, 300,000 fewer rental properties have come onto the market, a drop of a third compared to the previous 12 months.
· Fewer people are making the financial commitment of buying a new home, so they are remaining in the rental sector and extending leases.
· Increased taxes and regulatory requirements have increased landlord costs, leading to increases in rents or smaller landlords pulling out of the market.
· Landlords have taken advantage of buoyant house prices to sell their properties.
· Tenant needs changed as people looked for additional indoor space for home offices, and the desire for a garden increased. This fed a move out of London and other large cities and towns.

A 45% reduction in the number of properties purchased through buy-to-let mortgages in 2020 compared to 2015 is a measure of the smaller number of landlords entering the rental market. Increased demand and reduced supply have combined to increase rents, while tenant preferences have driven regional variation in the rental market.

 

What happens next?

As for the future, much depends on the reopening of the economy, the ongoing vaccine roll-out and the confidence this brings. It is expected that demand for rental properties will continue to rise as people begin moving house again and young people join the market, looking for their first rental.

As we start to see what the new normal looks like, we can expect to see its effect on the rental market. We anticipate that city centre and town locations will see a recovery in demand for rental properties as offices and other businesses open up.

For landlords and agents who want to grab the opportunities offered by a disrupted market, it is important that their business is underpinned by the right level of protection, both for the tenant and the investment property. Having a robust property management process to find and retain the right tenant will prepare you for whatever lies ahead.

 

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property inventory  partner, streamline your cost and reduce workload then contact No Letting Go today

A report by The Dispute Service indicates that 2020 witnessed an increase in the proportion of disputes raised by tenants from 67.4% in the previous year to 74%*. To avoid the potential for disputes over deposits, it’s in the best interests of all parties to have the right tools in place to effectively manage the end of a tenancy. 

 

What causes end of tenancy disputes

 

According to the report, the most common reasons for tenancy deposit disputes claims in 2020 were:

  • Cleaning 42%
  • Damage 40%
  • Redecoration 35%
  • Rent arrears 15%
  • Gardening 11%

Assessments of such issues can seem subjective to a tenant, but using evidence from a clearly defined inventory can build the basis of a more objective, and therefore fair, approach to avoiding or resolving a conflict between landlords and tenants.

 

End of tenancy inventories

 

At the beginning of a tenancy, it’s essential to ensure that tenants understand the agreement they sign and their obligations throughout their tenancy with regards to the care of the property and facilities. But even when this is done, without a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy, agents will still get into difficulties when agreeing on the need for deductions from deposits. A comprehensive inventory report should then demonstrate a fair assessment of the state of a property at the end of a tenancy. It can include photos and detailed text defining the condition of a specific item to remove any ambiguity of the assessment. This will offer clarity to a tenant over why a decision has been made to make a deduction from their deposit.

To support the inventory further in the end of tenancy agreement, additional reports can be beneficial:

 

This range of reports collated on the Kaptur tool builds up a complete picture that supports the assessment made at the end of the period. Documentation collated throughout the tenancy is stored in a single location for easy reference, and end of tenancy reports can be completed and quickly distributed to all parties for review.

 

Experience with supporting the tools 

 

Completing any property inventory successfully depends upon the person’s experience to make a fair assessment, which comes from experience in working with agents, landlords and tenants. The ability to build good relationships and trust with all parties is essential and goes a long way in helping secure a smooth transition at the end of a tenancy. This process starts at the beginning of the tenancy, with check-in services offering a great opportunity to educate landlords and tenants about expectations under the tenancy agreement.

Disputes about deposits take time and money to resolve and can harm the reputation of all parties concerned. Having the right end of tenancy tools managed by experienced property management professionals will help avoid these disruptions.

 

No Letting Go: your letting partner

 

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property inventory  partner, streamline your cost and reduce workload then contact No Letting Go today

For students, excitement at the prospect of renting their first property can quickly become overshadowed by confusion about what it takes to secure good rental accommodation. Follow our tips, and we’ll help put you in a good position to find the perfect student digs.

 

Top tips for finding the right student accommodation

There are a few essential tips that first-time renters must know to secure the right property:

  • Know your budget: This will determine the rental options and potential areas open to you but don’t forget to budget for monthly bills, travel costs and fees associated with securing a rental property.
  • Gather documents: These may be needed for reference checks and include college enrolment confirmation, character references and documents for any guarantor you may need. Getting paperwork together at the start of a property search will save you time later when you need to move quickly to secure your rental property.
  • Understand property costs: In addition to rent, will you be liable for utility bills, council tax, deposits, letting agent fees, insurance, broadband? What you need to pay for will vary from property to property, and different letting agents may charge different fees. Take time to understand the costs of each property and make sure it’s within your budget.
  • Make sure your deposit is safe: Deposits should be held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by your landlord, so it can be repaid when you leave or held until any disputes are settled by independent arbitration, for example, for damages, unpaid bills or cleaning costs. The ruling may affect the amount of deposit you get back.
  • Read the contract: Always read the contract, including the small print! It should include the basics, such as when rent is due, deposit amounts, tenancy dates, bills, your rights and the landlords’ rights, etc. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, ask. Do not feel pressured into signing anything until you are ready. Any changes you agree should be in writing and not just verbally agreed.
  • Check the inventory: There should be a thoroughly detailed list of the property’s condition and all the items within it and should be agreed upon by the tenant and landlord. Ideally, they will also include photographic evidence. You should raise any discrepancy with the inventory straight away.
  • Be safe: Ask for in-date gas safety certificates and for proof of electrical inspections and legionella checks. Check that fire regulations are being adhered to, that doors, windows and gates lock properly, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted and consider contents insurance for your own valuables.
  • Find reputable landlords and letting agents: Members of professional organisations, such as the National Landlords Association or Association of Residential Letting Agencies, will work to required standards and adhere to legal obligations and will be happy to provide references from other customers. 

Being prepared and understanding your rights will make your property search go more smoothly and your experience of renting feel less daunting. It will give you the confidence to ask the right questions and feel assured that you will know when you have found the right place for you.

 

No Letting Go: your letting partner

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property inventory  partner, streamline your cost and reduce workload then contact No Letting Go today

No Letting Go are proud to announce that we have been SHORTLISTED for a prestigious ESTAS customer service award! To be announced in October 2021.

ESTAS honour the best agents, conveyancers, mortgage advisors and suppliers in the UK.

The annual ESTAS awards occur in Spring and Autumn, attracting the top players in the UK’s property and lettings industry.

The ESTAS Supplier Awards recognise supplier firms who have delivered the best customer experience to their respective agency, conveyancer and broker clients in 2020.

Now in their 11th year, the supplier categories have become an integral part of the annual ESTAS competition providing a badge of excellence that is instantly recognisable by agents and highlights a supplier’s commitment to quality service.

Twenty-eight supplier firms have made this year’s shortlist across various product sectors. Property professionals in the last year submitted a record total of 9,500 reviews.

ESTAS Brand Ambassador Phil Spencer will announce the winners at the 18th annual ESTAS Awards on 22nd October. Spencer said, “the industry’s leading suppliers are instrumental in helping property professionals provide excellent service, they are an extension of that experience so the service they deliver is crucial, it’s therefore only right that ESTAS puts the spotlight on their efforts.”

No Letting Go said, “We’re absolutely delighted to have made it on to this year’s shortlist. We are passionate about the level of service we deliver to our clients and this proves all the hard work the team put in has paid off”.