Over the past ten years, the number of private renters has doubled, with 20% of people now living in rented accommodation. There is a need to meet this increasing demand, and build to rent may provide the solution.

The rise of build to rent

Build to rent are new build developments designed specifically for residential lettings rather than sale and to help meet the increasing demand in the rental sector, build to rent is expected to more than double over the next five years, with the British Property Federation predicting a staggering 200,000 build to rent sites being developed within the next two years.


What’s the attraction of build to rent? 

So why are more investors, including John Lewis Partnership, moving into the build to rent developments and why are such developments attracting more tenants?

• Demand for rental properties makes build to rent developments a good investment with the potential for healthy returns.
• Potential tax incentives for developers of build to rent properties
• For those who choose not to buy or can’t afford to, more bespoke developments offer more and better quality rental options.
• Developments are maintained by a single landlord, with a clear line of responsibility, complaints procedure and reassurance that these properties will be well maintained.
• Longer tenancy options offer security for tenants.
• Rent structures are clearly set out, including a basis for increases and no upfront fees such as admin charges, attractive to tenants.


Points of caution

As with any investment, there are points of caution for a would-be investor to consider:

• Tenants don’t always want to be locked into the longer tenancy terms which property owners prefer to guarantee their income.
• It isn’t easy to find lenders for these schemes, so the initial capital may have to come from the developer’s own resources, favouring larger investors.
• This is not a way to a quick return on investment.
• The high-end spec of build to rent properties makes them more expensive to rent and may exclude many potential tenants.
• Larger tenancy blocks need a professional management system in place to ensure legal obligations are being met, the property is well maintained, and tenant safety is protected.

Meeting future expectations

Build to rent developments are setting higher standards for rental accommodation, offering more facilities such as communal areas, gyms and workspaces and providing homes in areas with good local amenities, transport links and access to work.

The type of tenants they attract are also likely to expect a high standard in building management, so having the right processes in place to ensure standards keep being met, especially when you are making this level of investment, will be critical to ensure maximum occupancy.

Building specifically for a rental market should be a win-win for property owners and tenants so long as both offer what the other wants. It will be exciting to see the impact this sector has on the evolving rental market.

No Letting Go 

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

Landlords and letting agents know the importance of looking after their properties and tenants in protecting their investments, but we have witnessed changing times over the past eighteen months. What new challenges to fulfilling these duties do these changes present?

The essential work of block management

To ensure proper maintenance of a residential block, inspections must be conducted regularly, and they should cover cleanliness, maintenance and fire and safety. There are several aspects to consider within each of these areas to ensure that a comprehensive inspection stays at the top of your legal and statutory obligations as a landlord or letting agent. The range of block management inspections offered by No Letting Go shows how thorough you need to be.

These inspections provide a full audit trail of issues raised, work undertaken and work to be done. Being able to remain on top of your block management and fire safety means that you can prevent larger, long term maintenance bills from problems left unnoticed. It’s also important not to underestimate the value of inspections and their positive impact on maintaining the rental value of your property.


Adapting to changing times

The importance of block management and fire safety never goes away. Responsibilities may evolve as legislation and statutory requirements change, but they remain essential in every landlord’s and agent’s duties for the welfare of residents and the protection of their property investment. More than ever, we need to make sure that the maintenance of properties and the welfare of their residents is a priority.

Due to lockdown, people have been spending more time at home, in shared facilities and in communal areas used more. People have also adapted their homes to support changing needs, such as working from home. The pressure of keeping on top of the maintenance, cleanliness and safety of residential blocks has grown, and those responsible for managing the work have had to ensure that their existing processes can adapt in response.


Flexibility is key

Flexibility is critical to adapting to changing requirements and circumstances. This means having access to a broad range of inventories that can be tailored to the specific needs of a property. Also important is the ability to increase or decrease the frequency of inspections as needed, access to inventories for those who need them, quick access to the database of audits and the ability to manage your inspection regime remotely (including obtaining signatures digitally).

While No Letting Go’s comprehensive block inspections are tailored to its needs, the technology we use and our national network effectively deliver the flexibility to perform these duties when and where needed. Cloud-based, to give easy access at any time, our services are supported by experts who complete inventories as frequently as needed and advise on audit outcomes.

Keeping on top of your block management makes commercial sense as well as meeting your welfare responsibilities to life and limb. A well maintained and safe living environment will attract and retain residents, and the inventories you use will be essential to achieving this goal.

No Letting Go 

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

The difference between having a single Buy-to-Let property and a whole portfolio can seem like a big shift for investors, with each property contributing to potentially much higher gains but also more responsibility and risk. Nonetheless, establishing and building a portfolio can be a rewarding process, bringing with it a generally consistent passive income and the opportunity for financial freedom.

With the demand for rental property climbing, more people are now turning to the Buy-to-Let market while current investors are expanding their empires. But how should you build your portfolio?

SevenCapital, a leading UK property developer, discusses how investors can build their property portfolios and what to consider at every stage:


Establish a Clear Plan & Goals

Like with any investment, having a clear plan with specific goals to work towards can be crucial to your portfolio. When scaling your empire, you should consider what you’re working towards at every step – whether that’s early retirement, financial security or a goal more personal to you.

Whatever your motive, Buy-to-Let property can often help you get there. However, your investment route, and your portfolio, will look different depending on this consideration. Determining your holding period will typically form part of your plan, with this being the time dedicated to growing your portfolio.

It could be five, ten or twenty years, but this holding period will largely depend on your goals and whether they’re centred on short or long-term returns. Whilst we all know that Buy-to-Let property is typically more lucrative on a long-term basis, consistent growth in the market can also make for competitive short-term investment.

Finance options will inevitably be a big part of building your property portfolio, with this decision also influencing your rates of return. From cash investments to interest only and repayment mortgages, there is a lot to consider.

While cash investments are much less common, this avenue means that all rental income you make is yours to spend. Mortgages make buying property more accessible but will obviously require a monthly payment, whether you’re paying off the loan and interest or just the interest. Depending on the amount of your monthly repayments, you’ll want to consider which properties will provide the best rental yields to cover these outgoings, as this is a common way of scaling investments and should be a crucial part of your portfolio plan.


Diversify your Portfolio

Building your property portfolio is one thing, but doing it well is another. The key to any successful investment portfolio is diversity. Having a variety of properties is paramount for mitigating risk and can help fight against void periods.

For those with monthly mortgages and bills to consider, void periods across an entire portfolio can have a devastating impact, potentially resulting in you making repayments out of your own pocket.

But how exactly can you diversify your property empire? There are multiple avenues that investors can choose when building a portfolio, from different property types, to investing at various price points and in several locations, all of which work to reduce the risk of your empire.

Arguably the most common method of diversifying is by purchasing properties in multiple locations – allowing you to tap into the potential of multiple markets. This is when it’s vital to perform your due diligence and examine the different rental yields across various regions – especially between individual cities and hotspots within those cities.

With this in mind, those who have invested wisely and built a portfolio across numerous locations can feel less threatened by any changes in tenant demand and the subsequent fluctuations in average rents because they’re not reliant on the performance of one market.

Similarly, investing in different property types can help build the resilience of a property empire and help you reach different objectives faster. For example, while a HMO investment will deliver exceptional rental returns, it may not benefit from the capital growth you’d see in an apartment.

From houses to studio apartments, investing in different properties can reduce the impact of evolving tenant demands and any void periods. By investing in a 2-bed house, a 1-bed apartment and a studio, for example, your Buy-to-Let properties will appeal to a variety of tenants, from families to young professionals. Having targeted various demographics with different property types, not only will your portfolio become more resilient, but changes in both demand and rental yields will likely have less impact on your overall passive income.


Maintain your Assets

The first two steps of building a property portfolio will likely demand the most research, but for a lot of investors, the work doesn’t stop here. At this point, you’ll need to decide whether you’re a hands-on or a hands-off landlord, which in turn will be decided by how much time you have to devote to maintaining your property portfolio.

More often than not, letting agencies will offer a full management service, which is a popular choice amongst landlords, especially overseas investors. From sourcing tenants to handling day-to-day inquiries and issues, opting for a full management service is one for the hands-off landlords. But with this additional cost inevitably reducing your returns, it’s understandable that being a hands-on landlord is also an increasingly common option.

With a list of responsibilities that will include you maintaining the property, liaising with tenants and seeing to any emergencies, being a hands-on landlord comes with its own source of challenges. While this decision may change as you add more properties to your portfolio and the number of responsibilities grows, there is now more support than ever for both hands-on and hands-off landlords.

From establishing your financial plan and investment goals to diversifying your portfolio and maintaining your assets, building a property empire comes with many considerations. However, the reaction of the property market to external factors that we have seen over the past 12 months has only highlighted its resilience, and with increasing support for all kinds of landlords, it’s likely that more investors will continue building their property portfolios.

As a letting agent or landlord, you get used to spinning many plates without letting any fall, but there are probably some plates you wish you could forget about in order to focus on others.

Property inventory management is important to get right, yet it’s time-consuming. It could be one of your spinning plates that’s perfect for outsourcing to a specialist.


Why do letting agents outsource property inventory management?

A comprehensive property inventory management process includes a range of tenancy checks throughout the tenancy period. None of these are quick to do but investing the right time and resources into a comprehensive inventory management process pays dividends in protecting the property.

For the agent, advantages include:
• Saving time: A complete and comprehensive inventory schedule is time-consuming. Outsourcing can release more time for other work while also reducing the time and cost of dealing with fewer disputes.
• A wide range of reports: A comprehensive check can be completed at each stage of the tenancy.
• Better inventory reports: Updated to ensure regulatory requirements are captured, providing a complete property check in a clear format to prevent disputes further down the line.
• Specialist knowledge: Greater understanding of the latest Deposit Scheme guidance and experience to make a fair assessment.
• An objective perspective: Building trust with the tenant, confident that an impartial viewpoint is being offered, means they are less likely to dispute findings. An impartial viewpoint also makes it easier when applying to the tenancy deposit protection scheme to make deductions.
• Maintaining a good reputation: Providing an effective inventory management system protects all parties.
• Clear evidence in the case of a dispute: Clear evidence will prevent issues escalating to a serious problem. However, in the event of a dispute with a full audit trail, disputes will be resolved more efficiently.
• Up to date technology: The right tech can offer a flexible and robust system that is user friendly, is used anywhere and is readily updated to meet changing requirements.


The No Letting Go way

At No Letting Go, we understand how the benefits of outsourcing property inventory management can have vast implications for letting agents, giving them back the time to focus on activities to generate revenue for their business and their clients. However, this needs to be done in a way that offers letting agents the confidence that their outsource partner will give the same level of service that they provide themselves.

No Letting Go invests in the latest property inventory management technology, Kaptur, specifically designed to save time and money by efficiently collecting, preparing, reporting, and managing inventory information in one user-friendly cloud-based system that can be accessed from anywhere. It also incorporates DigiSign to automate the tenant signing process, again saving time.

Our network of over 80 regional offices forms a national network of specialists who manage your inventory needs from end to end, meaning that a landlord’s investments are looked after by highlighting issues before they become an expensive problem. Outsourcing your property inventory management is a win-win solution.


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

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”.

We’ve learned over the past year how much of a comfort pets have been for many people during lockdown. The government is keen to make it easier for dwellers in private rented accommodation to enjoy the benefits of living with a furry friend and is taking steps to encourage more landlords to allow pets.

What’s changed

A BBC report found that only 7% of landlords offer pet-friendly accommodation. In a move to increase this, the government has introduced a new model tenancy agreement that allows renters to seek consent for pets as a default, requiring the landlord to provide written refusal within 28 days, providing good reasons for their refusal. It’s not a legal requirement to use the modal tenancy agreement, but there is a drive-in parliament to make these changes a legal requirement.

What does this mean for agents?

Letting agents want to strike the right balance between ensuring that additional wear and tear or damage caused by pets is managed without excluding potential tenants because of pet ownership. Also, on the positive side, pet owners are often mindful not to abuse a landlord’s trust, and they also tend to look for longer tenancies because they know how difficult it is to find properties that allow pets.

In our post Renting with pets: A landlord’s guide, we discuss key considerations when allowing pets in rental properties, but there are additional measures to consider to minimise the impact of pets on a property:

  • Requiring pet insurance: This can cover accidental property damage.
  • Landlord references: Confirm from previous landlords the acceptable behaviour of the animal and the tenant as a courteous pet owner.
  • Proof of vaccinations: This helps prevent flea infestations and ensures the good health of the pet.
  • Charger higher rent: You may be entitled to charge a small additional amount to cover the cost of wear and tear.

Add protection with regular property inspections.

Regular inspections of rental properties are always advisable as a means of protecting your landlord’s investment. Still, if you have pet-owner tenants, property checks will also pick up any damage caused by their pets, such as chewed woodwork, damaged furniture or smells. You can then work with the tenant to resolve the issues or decide if the arrangement needs reviewing.

Delays to repairs can stall renting out to the next tenants and increases overall costs, which regular checks can prevent. It’s also advisable to ensure a thorough end of tenancy cleaning regime to remove pet hair and smells, especially if your next tenant isn’t a pet owner or could have pet allergies.

When your new tenants move into a cared-for, clean property, you’re setting their expectations for how your property should be looked after. To create the best impression, an end of tenancy clean will show your new tenants the property in the best condition possible.

What’s involved in an end of tenancy clean? 

The purpose of an end of tenancy clean is to deep clean a rental property before the next tenant moves in, which is particularly important in the shadow of Covid-19 and with people’s enhanced concern over health.

The depth of cleaning doesn’t just refer to how clean a place is but also what is cleaned. A deep clean ensures the removal of dirt, hair, grease, stains and limescale throughout the property, including ovens, white goods, soft furnishings, cupboards and even outdoor spaces.

Why have an end of tenancy clean?

As a landlord or agent, you should only expect the tenants to maintain the property to the standard they found when they first moved in. Good tenants will strive to keep to this standard so that they don’t risk losing their deposit, but even with the best of intentions, they may not be able to meet the professional standard you want for your next tenants.

While setting the right standard is the fundamental reason for end of tenancy cleaning, there are knock-on effects:

  • Making your property an attractive prospect for potential new tenants to increase rental success.
  • Letting agents can reassure landlords that their property is being well kept by maintaining clear and high cleaning standards.
  • Professional end-of-tenancy cleans can be done quickly to minimise periods between tenancies.
  • Professional cleaning services are familiar with working to an inventory and achieving the required standards.
  • Well maintained properties are more likely to achieve the desired rental income.

How to set the standard for your end-of-tenancy cleaning

The cleanliness of a property is the leading cause of deposit disputes between landlords and tenants, but these can easily be avoided. Rather than relying on individual interpretations of “clean”, the check-in and check-out inventories can be essential tools for defining expectations. When they are set, the end of tenancy clean then becomes an essential means of preparing for the end of tenancy and pre-tenancy checks.

Using the check-in inventories and cleaning schedules provides clear details against which tenants, landlords, and agents can assess. With the addition of photographs to any written comments, it becomes clear for all to see any difference in standards of cleanliness. This mitigates the risk of disputes, making it easy to deduct money from the deposit to clean where there is good reason and avoid third-party arbitration, which saves time and expense.

As a landlord or letting agent, you want a good reputation; maintaining a clean and healthy environment for tenants will go a long way to achieving that while ensuring they take good care of your property investment. If you are looking for a professional end of tenancy cleaning service, Kompleet offers a fast and thorough service at competitive prices.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamlining your costs, reducing your workload and protecting your investment with accurate property inventories and checks, then contact us today.