Making the choice to buy a property is probably the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make. Definitely not one to be taken lightly.
You’ve probably been told that buying a property is the way forward in terms of financial stability and you may feel under pressure to buy your own home to make that first step onto the property ladder. But is it really the best option for everyone?
We believe there are pros and cons to buying a house and that renting a property can be a smarter option for some.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide, so you can decide, once and for all; is it better to rent or buy?
The Benefits of Renting
Despite what older generations might tell you, there are many advantages to renting in today’s world.
Consider these before you dismiss renting as an option:
It Pays to Rent
The costs of buying a house can seem never ending. Hidden extra charges like paying for surveys, stamp duty and removal costs are enough to induce a panic attack. For rental properties, the upfront costs are pretty standard; a secure deposit, a month’s rent and any Letting Agency fees are all you’ll need to pay.
Once you’re in, the costs don’t stop when you own your own home. Recurring expenses like homeowners insurance and property taxes are just the start. Maintenance and repairs can really add up too. A dodgy boiler giving up in the middle of the night mid-November or a leaky pipe creating a downpour in your bedroom is all down to you to fix. If you’ve ever had to track down a tradesperson out of hours you’ll understand the pain.
With renting, these responsibilities lie in the hands of your landlord. Landlords have a legal responsibility to provide a safe, liveable home that is well maintained. This means the landlord foots the bill for any essential repairs.
Skip the Hefty Deposit
For first-time buyers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy.
Soaring house prices have resulted in eye watering deposits that seem unattainable for lots of us. Finding somewhere to buy within a reasonable commute to work is almost out of the question, with people being forced to live in less desirable areas.
Although rent prices increase in sought-after locations, it’s far less drastic.
Flexible Housing for Flexible Living
In today’s world of employment, people switch jobs every few years and no one is quite sure what’s around the corner. If work decides to transfer you to the opposite end of the country or, worst case scenario, you lose your job, you could be left with mounting mortgage repayments. Selling is stressful, costly and always takes longer than you expect.
The pros of renting a house mean it’s easier to move quickly. Usually, tenancy agreements have a break cause and you could move somewhere new within a month with minimal fuss.
Scared of Commitment?
If you’re a commitment-phobe in your relationships, you might not want to be tied down by a property. Renting a home is the more flexible option, allowing you to jump ship if things get boring.
Renting could also be the intelligent choice if you’re moving in with a new partner. There’s nothing like a few months of living together to test a relationship. Discovering your partner’s unsavoury living habits could swiftly make you think twice about your happily-ever-after home. Toenail clippings behind the sofa or late night video game sessions could be the final straw.
The advantages of renting a house mean you can test each other out short-term, without the added pressure of mortgage repayments.
Stay Safe and Secure
As we mentioned earlier, landlords have obligations to fulfil when it comes to property maintenance. These responsibilities stretch further than fixing the odd appliance.
Safety standards have to be adhered to, such as gas, electrical and fire safety checks. These regulations are all designed to protect tenants.
Avoid Rising Interest Rates
Rising interest rates mean your mortgage repayments go up. If the budget is already tight, this could have grave consequences on your finances and living situation.
Equally, property values are famously volatile, and if the value of your property goes down it will be more difficult to sell later down the line.
Renting sidesteps these stresses.
The Cons of Renting a House
As with everything, there are some negative aspects to renting. It really depends on the stage of your life you’re at and what will benefit you now as well as in the long run.
Think about these issues before making your final decision:
Sacrifice the Freedom to Decorate
One downside with renting is that you’re more restricted when it comes to redecorating and making structural changes to your home. Alterations need to be ok’d by the landlord before they go ahead, sometimes even down to hanging a picture frame!
This isn’t a problem if DIY isn’t really your thing, and most landlords are reasonable when it comes to home improvements. You are enhancing their property after all.
If you have a pet you’ll need to make this clear at the beginning as living with pets isn’t allowed in all rental properties. It is possible to rent with pets, just make it a priority for your search.
Be at the Mercy of Your Landlord
One thing that can put people off renting is the idea of being at the mercy of their landlord. If they choose, landlords can raise the rent and even decide to kick you out.
Although this is a possibility, it’s a rare one. Landlords have to compete with the rest of the property market and if they charge extortionate prices they risk not filling properties. You also have a tenancy contract which will stipulate how much notice a landlord can give you if they decide to make changes.
Save Money in the Long Run?
Many people claim there is a long-term, financial benefit to buying. Once you’ve finally paid off your mortgage, they say, you will be able to live rent free.
But, how long will that take?
Mortgages that take up to 35 years to repay are not uncommon. That’s a long time to commit to.
In the short-term at least, it’s cheaper to rent. Rent is usually less than the monthly mortgage repayments and the original deposit is just a fraction of the cost of buying a house.
The Final Say
To sum up, it really depends on your specific situation as to whether it’s best to buy or rent.
Some things to think about before you buy are;
- Before making an offer on a house – can you afford the mortgage?
- Can you afford the monthly repayments (taking possible rises into consideration)?
- Are you planning to stay in the property for a significant length of time?
If it’s flexibility, minimal upfront costs and the security of knowing your landlord is there to cover maintenance you’re after, renting is the best option.
On team rent? If you let out your home, make the process as smooth as possible by taking advantage of No Letting Go’s inventory services. This way, you won’t get caught out with unexpected charges as all the information about the property’s condition is independently evaluated and stored securely. Whether you’re a landlord or letting agent, find out how we can help with our professional, unbiased property reports.
If you fancy turning your hand to property investment but unsure where to start, we’ve got it covered. We’ve taken a look at the best place to invest in property in the UK. To work this out, we’ve looked at the average rental yield all UK cities and ranked them accordingly. We’ve worked this out by looking at the average property value and average annual rent in each city. Where does your city rank?
Ranked from bottom to top by average rental yield percentage, here are the results…
68. St Albans – 2.76%
Average property price: £581,041
Average rent: £1,336 pcm
67. Truro – 2.85%
Average property price: £320,611
Average rent: £761 pcm
66. Worcester – 2.87%
Average property price: £260,039
Average rent: £623 pcm
65. Chelmsford – 3.04%
Average property price: £387,413
Average rent: £982 pcm
64. Salisbury – 3.08%
Average property price: £341,338
Average rent: £876 pcm
63. St Asaph – 3.1%
Average property price: £225,104
Average rent: £581 pcm
62. Hereford – 3.14%
Average property price: £249,947
Average rent: £655 pcm
61. Ripon – 3.2%
Average property price: £290,495
Average rent: £774 pcm
60. Lichfield – 3.2%
Average property price: £291,353
Average rent: £777 pcm
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59. Wells – 3.31%
Average property price: £308,536
Average rent: £850 pcm
58. Cambridge – 3.34%
Average property price: £455,104
Average rent: £1,268 pcm
57. Winchester – 3.36%
Average property price: £548,755
Average rent: £1,537 pcm
56. Chichester – 3.4%
Average property price: £428,867
Average rent: £1,214 pcm
55. Wolverhampton – 3.44%
Average property price: £188,146
Average rent: £539 pcm
54. Bath – 3.44%
Average property price: £444,257
Average rent: £1,274 pcm
53. Gloucester – 3.47%
Average property price: £230,997
Average rent: £668 pcm
52. Chester – 3.5%
Average property price: £254,681
Average rent: £742 pcm
51. Perth – 3.5%
Average property price: £202,679
Average rent: £591 pcm
50. Exeter – 3.52%
Average property price: £293,069
Average rent: £860 pcm
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49. York – 3.55%
Average property price: £282,874
Average rent: £837 pcm
48. St David’s – 3.56%
Average property price: £234,104
Average rent: £695 pcm
47. Peterborough – 3.7%
Average property price: £217,668
Average rent: £672 pcm
46. Carlisle – 3.73%
Average property price: £157,070
Average rent: £488 pcm
45. Ely – 3.8%
Average property price: £295,045
Average rent: £935 pcm
44. Norwich – 3.9%
Average property price: £265,871
Average rent: £864 pcm
43. Leicester – 4.01%
Average property price: £216,421
Average rent: £724 pcm
42. Bristol – 4.03%
Average property price: £314,629
Average rent: £1,057 pcm
41. Canterbury – 4.07%
Average property price: £335,782
Average rent: £1,138 pcm
40. Lincoln – 4.07%
Average property price: £192,423
Average rent: £653 pcm
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39. Wakefield – 4.08%
Average property price: £177,810
Average rent: £605 pcm
38. Derby – 4.12%
Average property price: £194,951
Average rent: £669 pcm
37. Lancaster – 4.25%
Average property price: £191,729
Average rent: £679 pcm
36. Dundee – 4.28%
Average rental price: £156,781
Average rent: £559 pcm
35. Southampton – 4.36%
Average rental price: £289,546
Average rent: £1,053 pcm
34. Hull – 4.43%
Average rental price: £133,306
Average rent: £492 pcm
33. Newry – 4.44%
Average rental price: £146,353
Average rent: £542 pcm
32. Oxford – 4.46%
Average property price: £503,570
Average rent: £1,870 pcm
31. Stoke-on-Trent – 4.53%
Average property price: £143,358
Average rent: £541 pcm
30. Bradford – 4.53%
Average property price: £129,444
Average rent: £489 pcm
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29. Aberdeen – 4.58%
Average property price: £197,352
Average rent: £753 pcm
28. Preston – 4.6%
Average property price: £179,405
Average rent: £687 pcm
27. Inverness – 4.68%
Average property price: £177,736
Average rent: £693 pcm
26. Newport – 4.71%
Average property price: £165,970
Average rent: £651 pcm
25. Stirling – 4.78%
Average property price: £194,439
Average rent: £775 pcm
24. Brighton & Hove – 4.79%
Average property price: £385,220
Average rent: £1,537 pcm
23. London – 4.8%
Average property price: £672,390
Average rent: £2,692 pcm
22. Newcastle – 4.81%
Average property price: £203,524
Average rent: £816 pcm
21. Sheffield – 4.91%
Average property price: £187,360
Average rent: £767 pcm
20. Sunderland – 5.02%
Average property price: £139,518
Average rent: £584 pcm
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19. Derry – 5.12%
Average property price: £110,884
Average rent: £473 pcm
18. Glasgow – 5.21%
Average property price: £175,623
Average rent: £762 pcm
17. Lisburn – 5.36%
Average property price: £143,435
Average rent: £641 pcm
16. Plymouth – 5.47%
Average property price: £200,655
Average rent: £914 pcm
15. Cardiff – 5.6%
Average property price: £233,833
Average rent: £1,092 pcm
14. Belfast – 5.72%
Average property price: £153,310
Average rent: £731 pcm
13. Swansea – 5.74%
Average property price: £167,147
Average rent: £799 pcm
12. Liverpool – 5.78%
Average property price: £164,838
Average rent: £794 pcm
11. Portsmouth – 5.81%
Average property price: £227,041
Average rent: £1,100 pcm
10. Edinburgh – 5.89%
Coming in at 10th place is Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. The city is a highly desirable place to live and is a huge cultural hub north of the border. Having said this, property prices are relatively low while rent remains high. This means, Edinburgh is a great place for any landlord to build a portfolio.
Average property price: £268,989
Average rent: £1,320 pcm
9. Nottingham – 5.97%
With a popular university paired with high standard of living, property investment in Nottingham could be a money maker. With a 5.97% average rental yield, this is a serious consideration for anyone looking to make money.
Average property price: £188,609
Average rent: £939 pcm
8. Birmingham – 6.27%
Proclaimed to be the second city in the UK, Birmingham was guaranteed to feature high in this list. The property prices are in line with much of the midlands while rent is high. The popular university also prevents an opportunity for those considering student lets.
Average property price: £188,235
Average rent: £984 pcm
7. Armagh – 6.42%
The Northern Irish city is claimed to be the fifth-least-populous city in the UK. Maybe that goes some way to explaining the low property prices. Rent, at least, is in line with the surrounding area.
Average property price: £105,815
Average rent: £566 pcm
6. Manchester – 6.5%
Though Birmingham takes the title of Britain’s second city, Manchester seems to be stealing the attention. It’s a highly favourable place to live, especially among the younger generations who seek a buzzy metropolitan area. This has led to rent remaining high while property prices sit in line with much of the north of England.
Average property price: £175,872
Average rent: £952 pcm
5. Coventry – 6.64%
Coventry storms ahead into 5th position in our list. As the ninth largest city in the UK, it’s no surprise it features high. The city is the only Midlands spot to break the £1,000 average rent mark.
Average property price: £195,255
Average rent: £1,080 pcm
4. Durham – 6.71%
At the business end of the list we find north-eastern city of Durham. The location is renowned for its beauty and highly respected university. There are plenty of reasons why people are attracted to the city, an alluring potential for investment.
Average property price: £159,146
Average rent: £890 pcm
3. Leeds – 6.89%
Another city that people are naturally driven to. Leeds is metropolitan city renowned for its shopping, nightlife and culture. If you consider the high rent prices and relatively low property prices, you may find yourself building a portfolio here.
Average property price: £204,644
Average rent: £1,175 pcm
2. Salford – 7.53%
If you’re looking to invest in Manchester, you may do better by looking to neighbouring Salford. The city offers similar average rent but with a reduction in average property prices, a win-win!
Average property price: £156,118
Average rent: £979 pcm
1. Bangor – 9.42%
The best place to invest in property in the UK is Bangor – an exceptional opportunity for anyone considering property investment. The house prices are aligned with the local area and pretty low. The average rent is considerably higher, exceeding £1,300 pcm.
Average property price: £169,148
Average rent: £1,328 pcm
All figures accurate on date of publish.
If you’re considering becoming a landlord, don’t get caught up in messy deposit disputes. We can help. Find out how No Letting Go’s inventory services can remove the hassle from the situation.
We are very proud to announce yet another success in franchisee Rachel Farr’s career with No Letting Go. Rachel has been handpicked as a finalist for the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF Awards. Being shortlisted for this prestigious award comes only months after she won the NLG franchisee awards for Best Regional Office, Busiest Office, Customer Service and Franchisee of the Year. Here’s her story so far.
Rachel initially purchased the Bath franchise in 2014. Originally attracted to the reporting technology, Rachel saw an NLG franchise as an opportunity to step into a management role and quickly grow her business.
By 2016 Rachel was running the top performing office for No Letting Go, delivering over 200 property reports every month. She quickly saw the growth she was craving as her team soon grew to five members. Rachel developed her own mentoring and quality checking programme on top of that already provided by Head Office. This reiterated the core values of No Letting Go, and delivered a service that’s consistent, reliable and accountable.
A Motivated Team
Rachel’s ongoing care and attention to the service her team provides has led to a consistent and motivated team. Something which isn’t easy for solo workers to achieve. Each individual working for Rachel knows exactly what’s expected from them and are confident in her ability to guide them through any issues they encounter.
Each of Rachel’s team is self-employed. This adds an additional responsibility to her position. She must ensure each member has a consistent workload to support themselves. Rachel understands these needs and as a result ensures everyone supplies the very best level of customer service.
Rachel takes an impressive approach to business development. In 2016, she completed a database of every letting agent within a 50 mile radius. She also maintains regular contact with all members of this database. This not only boosts NLG brand awareness massively but has led to an impressive reputation in the area. Being widely acknowledged for her reliability and quality, Rachel’s business development actions have led to a 39% increase in active clients in a year. The majority of which came from letting agent recommendations.
No Letting Go Development
Rachel’s key approach to business development doesn’t only stop with her personal ventures. She has also been a key player in regional improvements. She works closely with her three neighbouring franchises to support each other, share ideas and attend regional conferences. She has also worked with NLG Head Office to aid in the ongoing development of our technology. Rachel not only invests her time to understand her customers but does the same with her team and business too.
All this is made even more impressive when hearing that Rachel welcomed her second baby into the world last year. Working through her pregnancy, Rachel continued to strive for building her business, reputation and team. Moreover, four members of her team also have to juggle their work with young families making their achievements even more remarkable.
The EWIF Awards
The EWIF Award ceremony will be held on Tuesday 16th May 2017. We will be sure to notify you if Rachel wins the Woman Franchisee Award. Everyone at No Letting Go wishes her the very best of luck.
If you’re interested in mirroring Rachel’s success and getting involved in a No Letting Go franchise, we want to hear from you. You can find out more about becoming a franchisee here.
With so much of today’s property hunt taking place online, there’s a real opportunity for scammers to capitalise on unsuspecting tenants. Thankfully, users remain vigilant and sham lettings are well documented. If you’re on the property hunt, here are the common rental scams to avoid.
Gumtree Landlord Scam
This trap is aimed at those living overseas who seek accommodation in the UK. A landlord will publish an ad on Gumtree featuring accredited NLA (National Landlords Association) logos. They will discuss the property in question with the individual and request payment before they move to the UK. Upon arrival to the country, the landlord is nowhere to be seen.
This is a popular scam in the lettings sector. It can be entirely dismantled by asking to see the property first. If you’re looking to rent a room or flat, you have the right to view it before paying any kind of deposit. If you’d like to find out whether a landlord is a member of the National Landlords Association, you can do so here.
The Fake Property
This is a dangerous one which is really tough to notice at times. This scam involves the landlord going a step further than just advertising a property. The scammer will have access to an empty property which they’ll show you around. Unfortunately, the building isn’t actually theirs to rent out. By the time you come to move in, the property’s already occupied.
It can be really difficult to actually recognise this until it’s happened. It’s always important to be suspicious if the landlord is pressing for you to pay a security deposit/first month’s rent immediately.
Now this is a clever scam, which again is pretty difficult to spot. A tenant will go through the motions of renting a property and everything will appear legitimate. Coming to the reference check stage, the prospective tenant will sign a contract which says that if the references aren’t acceptable the deposit will be returned minus a fee for reference checks. This sounds reasonable – besides, you’ve got good references so don’t mind signing. Unfortunately, they’ll be deemed as unsatisfactory by the landlord. When you receive the deposit back, it’s a fraction of what you initially paid. If you’ve been bitten by this, it’s illegal and you have a right to be frustrated. Seek assistance immediately.
Going After the Guarantor
This is a particularly nasty one. The landlord will claim there’s no need for a security deposit. It sounds like a perfect situation – you just need to have a guarantor. When the tenancy comes to an end, the guarantor will be hit with a wave of unnecessary charges for repairs. This scam highlights the importance of inventory services.
Dodgy landlords are big fans of adding illegal charges to the tenancy agreement. Be wary of anything you sign your name to. If the charge is in your tenancy agreement and you sign it, you’re agreeing to pay. If you’re unsure whether a charge is necessary, do your research before signing. If a landlord tries to charge you for something which isn’t in the tenancy agreement, you don’t need to pay.
It’s Not All Dodgy Landlords
It’s a two sided coin – tenants can scam landlords too. One of the most common includes a tenant who asks to pay a deposit via Western Union or some other similar service. They pay too much ‘by mistake’ and ask the landlord to send the extra funds back. By this time, the landlord’s made the payment and the original payment has bounced. This leaves the landlord out of pocket and red faced. If you find yourself caught up in this, don’t pay any additional funds back until the initial payment clears/bounces.
What to Look Out For
It’s important to be vigilant when it comes to lettings scams. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:
- Free listings – scammers love sites like Gumtree which allow free listings. Always be extra wary of rentals advertised on these websites.
- Multiple ads for the same property – these can sometimes have slightly different descriptions or pictures.
- Poorly worded ads – does it read like it was written by someone who isn’t fluent in English?
- Unnecessary description of landlord – often scams will make the landlord sound respectable and fair. If this feels a little unnecessary, consider why this information is being communicated to you.
- Lettings agency with little online presence – sometimes scammers will create their own lettings agency to appear legitimate. Google the company and see what’s online about them.
- Very low price – it’s the age old saying; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pushy landlord – if the landlord is pushing you to pay money immediately, there’s likely to be an issue.
- Pictures – are the pictures different to the property? Do the pictures look fake or unnatural?
- They ask for money up front – Never pay anything before a viewing!
Unfortunately, scam landlords give the profession a bad name. The truth is, scammers are few and far between though tenants are not always aware of this. This is why it’s even more important to get your inventories right. By turning to No Letting Go for our inventory services, you remove any possibility of deposit disputes and also reassure tenants of your legitimacy. Find out more about our services here.
It has been reported today that Countrywide Group estate agency is to close around 60 of its UK offices in the coming weeks.
In a comment to Estate Agent Today, Countrywide said: “Following consultation with colleagues, we have made the decision to close 59 branches within the retail arm of our business. This is part of our ongoing ‘Building our Future’ strategy.”
The company go on to cite that this is a strategic decision to ensure the right people are in the right places to meet customer needs. Countrywide have clearly stated they want to avoid redundancies wherever possible though it can be deduced that there’ll be a loss of staff following such a drastic change to the business.
These closures are the crescendo to what has been a year of speculation and concern surrounding the future of some brands and offices. Chief Executive of Countrywide Group, Alison Platt, brought speculation to the forefront of workers’ minds in October 2015 when she succinctly told investors the company was moving in the direction of “fewer, stronger brands”.
The leaked list of closures sees a dramatic loss of offices across England, Scotland and Wales with the most damage being seen across the Midlands and Southern England. Below you can find a list of offices reported to be closing:
Palmer Snell in Lyme Regis.
Bridgfords in Bingley, and Ripon.
Manchester and Lancashire:
Bridgfords in Hale, and Bramhall.
Mann in Bitterne, Cosham, Godalming, Haslemere and Hythe,
Gascoigne-Pees in Grayshott,
Watson Bull & Porter in Shanklin.
Geering & Collyer in Canterbury and Folkestone,
King & Chasemore in Eastbourne, Lancing and Littlehampton,
Freeman Forman in Mayfield.
Ian Peat in Bingham,
Bairstow Eves in Derby,
R A Bennett in Solihull,
Dixons in Tamworth.
Stratton Creber in Mawnan Smith,
Fulfords in Shaldon, Topsham and Torquay.
Wales and West:
Entwistle Green in Crewe, Frodsham and Prenton,
Beresford Adams in Denbigh and Flint.
Abbotts in Billericay, Clacton, Dedham, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Leigh-on-Sea, Sudbury, Wickford and Witham,
Bairstow Eves in Halstead, Ipswich, Leigh-On-Sea and Tiptree.
Taylors in Kettering and Olney,
Wilson peacock in Newport Pagnell.
Scotland and NE:
Countrywide in Ayr.
R A Bennett in Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, Cirencester, Stow-On-The-Wold, Thornbury, Wootton-Under-Edge and Yate,
Taylors in Churchdown, Evesham, Portishead, Shirehampton, Swindon West and Warndon.
Are you reading this, concerned about your future within the Countrywide Group? Is your office set to close down? A No Letting Go franchise is a lucrative business opportunity whoever you are and whatever background you come from. The inventory market is exciting and it’s growing! Getting involved in this market is not only fun but rewarding too. We’re looking for people who strive for success to join our established, market leading inventory services. Find out more about our franchise opportunities here.
With the country voting to leave the EU last week a lot of people have turned their attention to the property market, and just how Brexit might impact buying and renting. It’s still too early to make any firm statements, but some analysts are starting to make some predictions about the rental market and what we should expect over the coming years. An opinion that seems fairly common at the moment is that rental supply will remain at similar levels as Britain prepares for life outside the EU.
Brexit and Housing Supply / Demand
A report has found that two thirds of letting agents are not expecting supply, demand or rental costs to change that much in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. In the future demand may start to fall, as prospective international tenants choose to go elsewhere, but for the most part prices should stay around the same levels we’re seeing today. Elsewhere a quarter of the agents surveyed say that Brexit will cause upward pressure on rental costs, as landlords will be looking for a greater return on their investments.
Brexit and Buy-To-Let Mortgages
Buy-to-let mortgages have been getting increasingly difficult for landlords to obtain, with lenders continuing to reduce the amount that they are prepared to lend in relation to rental income. However there is some hope that Brexit may actually help the sector, as house prices could fall faster than rent and landlords’ yields would rise. That wouldn’t help their existing properties but it could provide some much-needed relief if they wanted to add to their portfolio.
Brexit and Housebuilding
Other industry experts say that housebuilding levels will take a hit, and that some property deals that were in the pipeline are now being cancelled following Brexit. If this is the case and fewer homes are built around the country then it could force landlords to continue with their current portfolio in the short term. However, overseas buyers could be tempted into the market thanks to a weaker pound, and anyone who trades in US dollars has much value to gain from capitalising on the exchange rate.
As things stand it’s too early to say for definite what kind of impact Brexit will have on property, but it will be a very interesting time for the sector. In the meantime if you’re a landlord or letting agent in need of inventory services then make sure you get in touch with No Letting Go today.
While it certainly provides an important and popular service, Airbnb is nonetheless proving to be something of a headache for quite a few landlords. A growing number of landlord inventory services in the UK are expressing concern over just how many tenants up and down the country are turning to Airbnb as an easy approach to illegal sub-letting.
By effectively allowing anyone with an Internet connection to advertise their dwelling in part or in full as available for rent by others, Airbnb has transformed the way the world approaches seeking and selecting temporary accommodation. The only problem being that in a growing number of instances, tenants who do not have the right or the permission to do so are using Airbnb to sub-let the properties they are living in, as a means by which to make a profit. In doing so, they are not only breaching the terms of their tenancy agreements, but may also be invalidating any and all insurance of the building and putting the landlord in a position where they themselves may be in breach of their own mortgage terms.
A Growing Problem
Far from a rare or unlikely scenario the average landlord may find themselves facing, evidence suggests that cases of illegal sub-letting by way of Airbnb and similar services are on the up across the United Kingdom. The vast majority of landlords and largely every rental inventory service in the country is aware of at least a handful of instances where properties in their area or under their control have at one time or another been illegally sub-let by tenants.
On the whole, Landlord Action reports that over the course of the past year alone, illegal sub-letting by rental tenants has increased more than 300%.
A recent episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ on Channel Five put the subject well and truly in the spotlight, focusing on a landlord from West London who believed she had found the ideal rental tenant. Looking to let out her property for a period of three years, she found a young doctor who appeared to be an ideal match for her London home.
Nevertheless, it was sometime later that she discovered that her home wasn’t in fact being used as a residence by the doctor, but instead as a boutique hotel advertised via Airbnb. A rather extreme example, but one that nonetheless illustrates the kind of extent to which Airbnb and the trust of thousands of landlords are both being abused.
“We have had concerns for some time now regarding the protection of properties which are being uploaded and offered as holiday lets via Airbnb. We continue to receive a growing number of instructions from landlords who want us to start possession proceedings against tenants who have sublet their property via Airbnb without consent,” commented Paul Shamplina on behalf of Landlord Action.
“As well as damage to properties, landlords have received complaints from block managers with regards to being in breach of their head lease and unhappy neighbours in relation to anti-social behaviour, and that’s before considering issues regarding HMO licensing and possible invalidation of insurance and mortgage terms.”
Proactivity on the part of the landlord is largely viewed as the only realistic preventative measure against this kind of abuse, including regular property inspections and meticulous vetting of prospective tenants.
Are you a landlord, agent or tenant stressing over the inventory process? Find out how No Letting Go can remove the strain here.
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Technology has already done a lot to transform domestic living, just as the Internet has changed the way the world works in almost every respect. Nevertheless, we have really only just begun to scratch the surface of what’s to come – perhaps much sooner then you realise.
The Internet of Things
Far beyond a means by which to access entertainment, do business and communicate with others, the Internet is slowly but surely working its way into everyday life. You can already switch your home lighting and hot water on and off from anywhere in the world, but aside from these kinds of minor conveniences, the Internet of things still has quite a way to go.
But as far as the fair few visionaries are concerned, it really won’t be long before living lives as we live them today will seem borderline archaic.
The Intelligent Home
Why? Well, it all comes down to the fact that while technology as it stands today is impressive enough, it is for the most part passive. By contrast, years down the line we can expect to see more intelligent technology entering our lives in our homes than ever before. Roughly translated, technology will play an active role in enhancing and simplifying our lives, without having to be prompted.
In the home of the future, everything from lighting to heating to hot water to entertainment and so on will be intelligently automated and manageable with little to no human interaction. Our homes will actively and constantly monitor, record and analyse the way we live our lives and our day to day habits, ultimately enabling them to pre-empt our needs, our wants and our regular activities. The kind of technology able to read and accurately interpret facial expressions and body language already exists – it is only a matter of time until it enters our homes.
Enhancing Every Day
Imagine never having to set an alarm as the home around you already knows exactly where you need to be and when. Imagine a home that accesses transportation and meteorological data for the day ahead, in order to offer accurate journey times, suggested routes and even a sensible outfit in accordance with weather conditions.
Or how about a bathroom mirror that doubles up as a daily health tracker and vital signs monitor? You simply go about your bathroom business as normal, but at the same time are effectively given something of a physical check by your home’s technology, with the data being stored, tracked and shared with your GP when necessary. You are prompted to take any required medication and provided with helpful suggestions in accordance with your current goals – weight loss, weight gain, improve fitness, better sleep, better nutrition and so on.
Your kitchen will know which food items are about to expire and advise you on creative ways of using them, ordering essentials will be as simple as providing a voice response when prompted by your refrigerator and intelligent cooking appliances will make it absolutely impossible to come up with anything that isn’t truly outstanding.
The home of the future isn’t about allowing our lives to be taken over by technology, but rather utilising the incredible technology available to us to enhance and simplify everything we do.
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As of February 1st this year, landlords up and down the United Kingdom found themselves lumped with a pretty sizeable load of newly-assigned responsibilities. For the first time, and for the indefinite future to say the least, it is now entirely the responsibility of landlords to ensure that their tenants are in fact legally entitled to rent their properties. Known as the ‘Right to Rent’ rule, no longer are landlords able to in any way turn a blind eye to the legality of their tenants’ residency in the United Kingdom.
Unsurprisingly, the change ruffled more than a few feathers across the country. Many a landlord and national inventory company alike responded quite strongly to the newly-imposed responsibilities, suggesting that it paves the way for landlords to be punished unfairly when dealing with dishonest tenants. Nevertheless, it’s a change that’s only just come into effect and isn’t going anywhere in the near future, so it’s crucial to comprehensively understand what responsibilities now fall with landlords.
Guidelines for Tenants
One plus point from the landlord’s perspective is the fact that the government has recently published an updated How to Rent guide, which was created to help tenants better understand both sides of the deal. It may assist in the on-going battle against unscrupulous landlords, while at the same time helping tenants understand their obligations.
Whether working alone or in conjunction with landlord inventory services UK, the change basically makes it the duty of the landlord to check their tenants’ right to rent before allowing them to move in. It’s a means by which to enhance the government’s efforts to gain better control over illegal immigration, making it difficult for illegals to find places to live. And in any instances where landlords are found to be housing illegal immigrants without having carried out the necessary checks, they will be liable for fines of up to £3,000 per occupant.
Making assumptions or taking the word of tenants at face value will no longer be sufficient. Instead, landlords are required to make the necessary checks, demand that the required identification be produced and maintain meticulous records for future inspection.
In this video Paul Shamplina – from Landlord Action – gives clear directions on the new Right to Rent immigration checks.
In terms of going about the document checks, it’s crucial for landlords to know both what it is they are looking for and how to keep the necessary records.
For example, all forms of ID produced to prove residency status must be approved documents, such as passports, visas and so on. No form of ID can be accepted if it isn’t recognised.
In addition to this, the documents must in every instance be the originals – photocopies are strictly prohibited. Landlords must then keep photocopies for their own records, but these should be taken from the original documents only.
If there is any doubt whatsoever as to either the authenticity of the documents or that the image is a true likeness of the individual, additional checks must be carried out before allowing tenancy. Documents should be cross-checked in detail.
All copies must be signed by both parties, dated and stored in a safe place, in case required at a later date.
The Home Office is also providing a telephone helpline to help landlords and tenants understand how these measures apply to them and how to carry out the right to rent checks. You can use this service by calling 0300 069 9799.
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