Every Sensible Landlord Wants ‘A Happy Tenant’ to Avoid Void Periods

When landlords are considering investing in property, they often do back of the envelope calculations to estimate their return. They imagine buying a property for £150,000, renting it out for £750 per calendar month or £9500per year, and generating a six per cent yield.

But this little numerical experiment omits a rather important detail: the very real chance of void periods.

Landlords rarely fill a tenancy year-round, year after year. Instead, there’s usually a gap between one tenant moving out and other moving in, cutting into returns. Some tenants may also become disgruntled or lose their jobs and fail to make rental payments at all.

Landlords, therefore, need to work hard to ensure that they hang on to their good tenants. Renters who pay on time every month for years on end are comparatively rare. Void periods are a real problem.

Having a “happy tenant,” therefore, should be a priority. Property owners need people who are willing to pay them consistently over the long-term for rented accommodation.

Landlords Are Facing Several Headwinds In 2020

Landlords currently face several headwinds that are leading to falling demand for rental accommodation. The first of these is the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. With Britain now set to leave the EU, landlords could see a fall in the number of migrant workers coming from the continent looking for flexible rented accommodation.

Foreign and international students were also traditionally a significant source of demand for landlords and generated high yields. Reductions in the number of foreign students, however, could again leave landlords in a weaker position.

Finally, there is the impact of Covid-19, which could reduce international travel substantially in 2020, leading to lower rates of overall migration and demand on properties.

How Landlords Are Fighting Back

Many landlords, however, are fighting back. They are going above and beyond the call of duty to provide an excellent service to tenants.

In the student market, for instance, some property owners are arranging airport transfers for their tenants. The student touches down at the airport, and a car is there waiting to collect them, all paid for by the landlord.

Other landlords are going the extra mile to make it easier for tenants to pay for utilities, bundling bills into rental prices and taking care of all the admin for them.

At the moment, the rental sector is very much a “buyer’s market.” In the context of multiple global shocks and crises, landlords need to pull out all the stops to ensure that they continue to attract people. For many, this might include things like paying for bills, tacking on extra services and even lowering rental prices in some areas.

Remember, there’s a lot that landlords can do to ensure that they grab the market in their area. Things like offering super-fast fibre-optic broadband, improving furnishings, updating the decor, and managing bills behind the scenes can all make a massive difference.

Landlords can also protect themselves by getting 100% guaranteed rent on their accommodation, even if they experience void periods.

Lack of Cleaning Is the Biggest Reason Landlords Make Deductions to the Tenancy Deposit

When tenants move out of a property, they have a duty under current rules to return it to its original condition, minus a bit of “fair wear and tear.” One of their responsibilities is to clean the place up so that it is ready for the new people moving in. Unfortunately, data suggest that tenants are doing a poor job when it comes to cleaning, neglecting vital areas of the property.

Failing to clean adequately isn’t just a headache for the landlord or letting agency – it’s also a problem for tenants themselves. Data from the Deposit Protection Service suggest that cleaning tops the list of reasons why landlords make deductions from tenancy deposits. Two-thirds of claims relate to inadequate cleaning, according to the agency.

For companies in the business of cleaning up after tenants, this report made for interesting reading. It suggests that tenants stand to benefit substantially from using end-of-tenancy cleaning services but regularly fail to do so, losing parts of their deposits in the process.

End of Tenancy Cleaning – a firm that offers cleaning services for tenants moving out of rented accommodation – decided to investigate the matter further to get to the bottom of what was going on. The company surveyed more than 1,600 renters and homeowners across the country to find out which aspects of cleaning people neglect the most when they move out of properties.

The results were fascinating. The study revealed that cleaning the microwave was the biggest cleaning issue. Eighty-one per cent of tenants said that they wanted to clean it out at least once per month, but failed to do so.

The next bugbear on the list was washing the bins. Seventy-four per cent said that they wanted to clean them at least once per month, but didn’t manage to get around to it. The next most common problem was brushing down the sofa. That was followed by dusting and wiping light fixtures and fitting, vacuuming floor mats, and cleaning the furniture.

The study’s main finding was that Brits in rented accommodation weren’t doing enough to keep their homes clean. The authors suggested that with the new year underway, tenants should turn over a new leaf and begin looking after their rented accommodation better. After all, they have a financial interest in doing so.

What Does This Mean For Landlords?

For landlords, end-of-tenancy cleaning issues can be thorny. Tenants don’t like it when you deduct money from their deposits, even if it is for legitimate reasons. Landlords and their agents, therefore, need to remind tenants that they could lose money if they are not careful. They need to take the necessary measures to prepare properties for new tenants when they leave.

Fortunately, even though cleaning is causing concern for landlords, getting 100% guaranteed rent isn’t. Landlords have tremendous opportunities to protect their income and ensure that tenants maintain the value of their properties. Ultimately, it is the tenant who loses out from inadequate cleaning.

Electrical Safety Checks to Become Mandatory Every 5 Years in England

From July of this year, there will be a new regulation that enforces mandatory electrical safety checks every five years in England. Set by the Government, these proposed regulations are applicable within the private rented sector – meaning those within property management must take note and be prepared for the changes that are being made.

On the 13th January 2020, the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020 were laid out in Parliament. However, despite these proposals being laid out, they still require the approval of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons before they will effectively come into force.

New Requirements Coming Into Force

If you work within property management, you need to be aware of exactly what requirements are being made within these new electrical safety checks. Here are the key ones that you should know:

 

  • Existing tenancies: by 1 April 2021 every existing tenancy will have to have an electrical safety test and regular tests carried out thereafter.

 

  •  From 1st July 2020: all new private English tenancies will need to have all electrical installations inspected and tested before a tenant moves in. Undertaken by a qualified electrician, these installations need to be up to code. The landlord who is responsible for the tenancy will then need to make sure that every five years this electrical installation is tested and inspected.

A qualified electrician is someone within the industry that is experienced at undertaking testing and inspection. They should also be able to investigate any issues and maintain electrical installations as laid out by the required electrical safety standards.

The above requirements will apply to the following types of properties:

  • Private rented buildings – including HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) which will replace the current requirements laid out for HMOs. Tenants that share accommodations are excluded.

Is there a penalty?

If you do not undertake the mandatory electrical safety checks you may be liable to a penalty of up to £30,000 imposed by local authorities in your area. If you have failed to meet the regulations multiple times, you can be issued with multiple penalties.

Actions the Landlord Must Take

Once the testing of the electrical installation has been carried out, a landlord must do the following with an electrical safety report:

  • Make sure that you have received a complete report following the inspection. This written report should include both the results of the inspection, along with the date in which the next one will be carried out.
  • Have given a copy of this electrical safety report to each of the tenants within the property. This should be within 28 days of the inspection taking place.
  • Within one week of the inspection being carried out, you should supply your local authority with a copy of it.
  • Keep your own copy of the electrical safety report so that you are aware of the date of the next one. The next electrician undertaking the inspection might request to see this.

If you have any new tenants, as a landlord you must:

  • Provide the new tenant with a copy of the most recent report within 28 days of the request.
  • Provide a new tenant with it before they move in.

What Happens If There Are Any Faults?

If there are any faults or potential faults that have been identified within the electrical safety report, these will need to be remedied. Once a landlord notices these on the report, you must opt for further repairs or investigations by contacting a qualified electrician. This should be done within 28 days of the initial inspection. If it’s a major fault, however, this will need to be done sooner.

When these repairs or further investigations have been undertaken, the landlord needs to acquire a written confirmation of the work being done – along with the confirmation that the safety standards were met. When this confirmation is acquired, the landlord much supply every tenant within the property with a copy of it along with the original report within 28 days.

This process should be continuously repeated, until the time when the fault has been repaired and the electrical installation is compliant with safety requirements.

How Will A Breach Be Enforced?

In the case of a landlord breaching the electrical safety check requirements, the local authority is within their right to act. If there are any works that are considered as non-urgent, the local authority will provide the landlord with a remedial notice.

This notice must be served within 21 days. Once this is given, the landlord will have 28 days from the date of receiving it to act on it. If they disagree with the request, a written notice must be given to the local authority within 21 days of receiving it. In this case, the notice will be suspended and they will have to wait for the local authority to respond within 7 days. If they confirm the notice, the landlord will have 21 days to comply.

What Happens if the Tenant Refuses?

If the tenants within the property refuse the landlord access to complete works, it will not be considered as a fault of the landlord. If they do not pursue it, the local authority will have to access the property after asking the tenant’s permission. Throughout this process, the local authority will keep the landlord in the loop – giving them a notice of seven days. If the landlord disagrees, they can then take the case to a First-tier Tribunal.


Do you want to get a free valuation on your property? To get guaranteed rent, contact Smart Space Property today.

What Are the Best Areas in London for Investing in Rental Properties?

London has always been a popular place to live in. And this ever-growing demand isn’t set to decline as the years go on. With the increasing demand for rental homes, comes the attractive proposition of supplying tenants with properties at a high price. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why so many buy-to-let landlords are starting to look at the capital for rental properties.

However, as taxes have risen rapidly, rental supply has been gradually falling. This makes the rental market far more costly for landlords looking to enter the market. In this case, many are either reducing their portfolio or selling their current properties.

Despite this, for many property investors, 2020 is a great time to invest in property in London. This is because of the improving conditions within the property market. But what are the best areas in London for investing in rental properties?

According to the regional director of real estate agent’s Portico, Vatche Cherchian: “While house prices in London have remained relatively flat over the last couple of years, wage growth hasn’t. “We’ve actually seen a 4% growth year-on-year in wages. And if you tally that wage growth increase up against flatlining London house prices, what you’re saying in real-terms is that it has become around 10% cheaper to buy a property, which is encouraging.”

The real estate giant has identified 8 areas in particular that are worth investing in this year. This is purely based on both the potential for capital growth and rental yields.

The main area which is considered the most attractive is East London – including Redbridge and Ilford. This is due to the fact that the region has experienced regeneration in the last few years. Now a popular area for millennials and older tenants alike, it’s forecasted to have an extensive growth.

As well as East London, South London and West London are also taking a stance, as you’ll see below.

Rental Property Hotspots to Take Note of in 2020:

Sutton

Since 2012, Sutton has had over £410m invested in it. Now home to just under 7,000 businesses, it has a popular rental market. Set for additional investment opportunities and property development in the near future, it’s an area that you should be aware of.With an average house price of £387, 286 and an average rental yield of 4.4%, it’s a market that’s worth investing in.

Havering

Havering is one of the most popular hotspots for properties for two main reasons – the significant regeneration it’s faced in the last few years within the riverside area and the prospect of the three Elizabeth Line Crossrail stations between Harold Wood and Romford. With an average house price of £392, 031 and an average rental yield of 4.9%, it’s a booming market.

Newham

Ever since the 2012 Olympics in London, Newham has become more and more popular for prospective homebuyers. Since the event, property prices and rental yields have risen to above London’s typical average for properties.The average house price in Newham is £445,425 and the average rental yield is 4.9%. Due to the high prices, it can make a profitable step for landlords to make.

Redbridge

Redbridge is another borough of East London that’s facing rising house prices. In fact, according to some property experts, within the next five years, the area will outpace other surrounding boroughs by 17% – making it potentially very profitable for those landlords looking for an impressive capital growth. The average house price in Redbridge now stands at £488,632 and the average rental yield is 5%.

Barking & Dagenham

Barking & Dagenham is facing high rental yields and great value properties – despite its popularity. Due to numerous investment projects and future regeneration, the popularity of the area is set to grow. One project, in particular, that could directly affect the potential growth is a planning application that’s secured 10,800 new homes in the area as well as healthcare, community and leisure facilities in the local Barking Riverside. The average house price in Barking & Dagenham now stands at £318,527 and the average rental yield is 5.4%.

Ilford

Ilford is popular with investors and first-time buyers alike due to the opportunities that it offers. Not only is it great for commuting (soon Ilford Station will be connected to the long-awaited Elizabeth line, meaning that there will be trains to central London every 5 minutes), but it also offers a high average rental yield – making it very attractive for landlords and buy-to-let investors.  The average house price in Ilford now stands at £421,226 and the average rental yield is 5.5%.

 Hounslow

Hounslow has seen an influx of interested homebuyers in the last few years. Despite the expensive average home price, the size of the properties makes it one of the most attractive boroughs in Greater London. The average house price in Hounslow is £497, 758 and the average rental yield is 4.7%.

Tower Hamlets

And now we reach the most expensive area for houses on this list – Tower Hamlets. With a very varied demographic, large range of properties and exciting new proposed properties in the pipeline, it’s rising prices are set to continue. The average house price in Tower Hamlets is £545,550 and the average rental yield is 4%.


Do you want to get a free valuation on your property? We want you to get guaranteed rent. So what are you waiting for? Discover more at SmartSpace Property today.

Landlord faces £30k clean-up bill after tenant destroys property

A landlord in Warrington has been left with a loss of around £30,000 thanks to a terrible tenant. The tenant in question completely ruined the buy-to-let property by leaving an absolute mess everywhere. Food was left in the kitchen, boxes were strewn all over the place, it looked as though nobody had cleaned the house for years. To make matters worse, the tenant ten vacated the property while still owing £29,000 in rent.

As per the law, David Wright – the landlord – sent is tenant a notice to vacate his house after multiple missed payments. The problem was that his tenant happily obliged, but still didn’t pay back any of the rent. Mr. Wright is now in a position where he can’t get that money back. Sadly, this type of thing happens all the time as tenants take advantage of friendly and lenient landlords. They’ll miss a few payments, then when things start getting serious, they wait for the notice to vacate and leave.

At this point, Mr. Wright was already down £29,000 in missed rental payments. Upon gaining access to the property, he was met with a staggering scene. The entire house was a complete and utter state. The carpets were stained, there was dust everywhere, the bathroom and kitchen were filled with mould and damp. The shower was no longer usable, there was dirt everywhere, and it will cost an estimated £2,000 to clean all of this up.

It’s believed that Mr. Wright was aware that the tenant had missed a few payments, but he didn’t fully understand the full scope of the problem. He’d asked for some money before, but his tenant made it seem like she was in a tough position. So, he took pity on her and let her continue renting the place for the foreseeable future. When pressed about this, he said that he shouldn’t have taken so long to take action. He let this tenant take advantage of him, and now he’s £30,000 worse off.

After this catastrophe, Mr. Wright says that he is going to sell the home and won’t rent again. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of landlords – particularly those who are renting their first property. When you don’t understand all the different laws and rights in place, it’s easy to be taken advantage of. Landlords are perhaps guilty of being too lenient and a little bit naive. As such, they don’t always act as quickly as they should, and they don’t take the correct steps to try and regain their lost rent. By the time they try and take action, it’s too late – as Mr. Wright knows all too well.

Stories like this can put a lot of people off the prospect of becoming a landlord. However, it’s still a very profitable idea – but only if you do things correctly. Thankfully, you can avoid drama like this! If you contact SmartSpace, we can help you manage all of your rental properties. As a result, our team will stay on top of rental payments and ensure your property is kept in excellent condition!

8 tips to prepare your rental property for this winter

Landlords have a duty of care to tenants, and part of this involves ensuring their properties are weather-proof and safe to live in. With a big winter chill rapidly bearing down on us, now’s the time to prepare your rental property for the cold months. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Service your boiler

We have to start with this one because it’s essential. If the boiler doesn’t work correctly, then your risk leaving your tenants with no central heating or hot water. It won’t cost that much to do, and it gives you peace of mind knowing that your boiler works, so your tenants can be warm this winter.

2. Protect the water pipes

Water pipes often fall victim to cracks or bursts during winter. This is because the cold weather freezes them, and cracks appear. To prevent this – and the corresponding water damage – inspect all of your piping. Get some insulative pipe jackets to protect them as well – it stops them from freezing over.

3. Inspect the roof

Most heat will escape the home via the roof. All it takes is a small crack or hole to lose out on a lot of heat. As a consequence, tenants will likely put their heating on full-blast, or be stuck in the cold all winter. Not to mention the possibility of leaks in the roof if it rains or snows. So, head up to the attic and inspect your roof from the inside. Go up during the day and cover any windows. Your attic should be pitch black – any beams of light show that there are cracks or holes in the roof letting the light through. Get them fixed, and your rental property will be better equipped for the winter.

4. Inspect the windows & doors

Again, lots of heat can escape through cracks in your windows and doors. Get someone in to conduct a full inspection – it costs under £200. They’ll make sure everything is in perfect condition, and any damaged sealing can be repaired. Once more, this keeps your property nice and warm.

5. Clear out the guttering

So many loose leaves get blown into your guttering over winter. When it rains, these leaves can block up your gutters and cause severe water damage. The same happens to any drains outside the house – it can sometimes cause flooding. So, make sure all of the guttering and drains are cleared and unblocked.

6. Consider replacing the insulation

Depending on how old your rental property is, it might need some new insulation for winter. Old and outdated insulation can lead to a loss of heat in the home. Get an expert in to take a look at your current situation and see if your insulation should be replaced. If it does, then it’s a worthwhile investment to keep your tenants comfortable in the cold.

7. Clean out the chimney

If you have a fireplace, then it will probably be roaring throughout winter. As such, make sure you clean out the chimney to prevent fires. It’s under £100 to get this done professionally, which is a fraction of the cost of trying to rectify fire damage!

8. Check & bleed your radiators

Lastly, get a plumber to bleed all your radiators and give them a detailed inspection. Bleeding improves the efficiency of each one, which basically makes the central heating work better. If the checks show that some radiators need to be replaced, then get that done right away.

Follow these tips to prepare your rental property for this winter and keep your tenants happy. If you’re looking for help managing your rental properties, then contact SmartSpace today for the best solutions!

4 simple tips for landlords on how to appeal to younger renters

People of all ages now live the rental lifestyle, but young professionals and students still have the edge. In an age where a third of millennials currently rent and face doing so for the rest of their lives, appealing to this demographic is often a good move for landlords.

Even better, the crossover between young professionals and students is getting slimmer, meaning that landlords no longer have to deal with the tribulations of ‘student housing.’ Instead, they’re able to rent to sensible, young individuals who are guaranteed to stick around. The question is, how exactly can you make sure your property is appealing to younger renters?

1. Get up to speed with the internet

Including a high-speed wired internet package within the price of your monthly rent is guaranteed to pull the young crowd. Whether youngsters intend to get online to study, work, or chat with friends; not having to pay for the privilege is guaranteed to tempt. This needn’t even leave you out of pocket as you can adjust your monthly rental charges accordingly. As simple as that, you can give yourself an edge over many landlords currently aiming towards the same audience.

2. Cut the carpet

Carpet is always a risky move for landlords, especially when you’re appealing to young renters. Get-togethers often get out of hand, and carpets are the top furnishings that landlords have to replace. What’s more, young renters who’ve had accidents before will often look out for hard flooring instead. That’s why you could also benefit from cutting the carpets and offering hard flooring as an alternative. This way, young renters have the option of laying rugs if they want to. Note that wood floor is expensive and also susceptible to damage, so it’s worth looking for linoleum. It’s a little softer, but it’s cheaper and offers insulation you don’t get with wood.

3. A kitchen with all the mod-cons

Despite the ‘convenience food’ lifestyle we imagine from youngsters, most young renters are on a budget. That means they’d rather have a kitchen with all the mod-cons. A kitchen they can cook in could save them a fortune eating out, as well as allowing them to keep on top with healthy diets. Note, too, that youngsters are often pushed for time, so a dishwasher and washing machine are guaranteed to set your property apart.

4. Shower to success

Lastly, make sure that you’re thinking about your bathroom. Along the same, time-pushed lines, focus your efforts on things like your shower head and basin, as these are what will get the most use. Updating these key features is simple and cheap to do, yet it could make your property a far more appealing option for any young renters on the market.

These steps are all relatively easy to implement, yet each of them could make a massive difference for appealing to those desirable young renters. If you want to appeal to the most sustainable rental market today, then don’t hesitate to get started with these as soon as possible.

5 great tips for investing in rental properties in the UK

If you are looking at investing in rental properties in the UK, then you are going to need to know what you are doing before you jump in. In this article, we are going to be looking at five of the best tips for investing in rental properties in the UK, so keep reading to find out more.

1. Get The Best Mortgage

There are so many buy-to-let mortgages available on the market right now. The good thing about this is that it means people who are looking to buy-to-let have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to choosing a lender. If you go on Compare The Market and just have a quick search for this kind of mortgage, there is currently just under 400 product options available to you right now.

2. Location!

Look at the economic factors of the area that you are thinking of investing in. You need to be considering which places have long-term growth when it comes to things like house prices. Look for a place that has financial stability, and this comes from things such as infrastructure investments and the employment rate. You need these things to be steady at a minimum for this to be a solid investment.

3. Location, Location, Location

Because of how important this is, we are going to include it twice. After you have narrowed down your location search, you need to look deeper into the amenities of the area so that you can see what is around. What are the bus routes like? Are they frequent? Is there a train station nearby? Are there things within walking distance? These are all things that need to be considered in the location that you choose.

4. Budget For The Unexpected

When the Tenant Fee ban came into force, landlords became responsible for costs such as letting agent fees, maintenance, and management. You need to factor these things into your calculations as this will help to give you a better idea of how much everything is going to cost vs how much you are going to be bringing in. Some landlords put up the price of their rent dramatically in order to cover these costs, but this is not something that you should do and if you are doing this, then maybe this market is not for you.

Look At Amenities

Finally, you need to consider what is going to be offered inside the building rather than just outside. Those properties that have an onsite gym, a concierge and communal areas are more important than ever to renters. What this means is that the demand for these is going up, so you need to be viewing your investment as someone’s future home. It is not just a source of income, and if you look at it this way, hen you are never going to get anywhere on this market.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now know five great tips for investing in rental properties in the UK.

What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and how will it affect you?

Historically, letting agencies charged tenants letting fees. The agency would rent out a property on the landlord’s behalf and then charge the tenant part of the price of the service. The Tenant Fees Act 2019, however, puts a stop to this practice in a bid to reduce hidden costs for renters.

What Is The Tenant Fees Act 2019?

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 is an act of Parliament which states that it is now illegal for tenant agencies to charge hidden fees.

There are two main stipulations in the Act that will affect renters:

  1. The Act bans letting fees altogether. The quoted rent will now cover all agency fees.
  2. The Act reduces the total amount that landlords can charge for deposits.

Parliament passed the new law in February 2019 and it came into force on 1st June 2019. All agencies, therefore, must stop charging letting fees from that date.

Agencies and landlords who flout the rules risk hefty fines. The law allows the courts to impose a penalty of £5,000 on landlords who ignore the rules, going up to £30,000 for repeat offenders.

The hope is that the new law will put a stop to some of the abusive tactics landlords and agencies use to extract money from tenants. Many tenants often face unjustifiably high expenses for the replacement of new items, like smoke alarms, which landlords use as a tool to deduct large sums of money from their deposits. The money confiscated by agencies and landlords is often not proportional to the repairs that need to be carried out.

How Will The New Bill Affect You?

The changes for renters will be considerable.

The most significant change for most renters will be lower deposits. Holding deposits will now be limited to one week’s rent, vastly cutting down on the industry standard of charging around five weeks.

The new Act also caps the amount that landlords can charge for a change in tenancy to £50. From now on, landlords will have to prove that their admin costs are higher than this if they want to charge more

The other significant change is the end of letting fees, a practice which Scotland banned in 2012. Before the law came into force in June, tenants had to pay letting agencies monthly or annual fees. The government, however, believed that it was unfair that tenants should have to pay for services enjoyed by the landlord, and so it has put an end to the practice.

The law will also make it easier for renters to claim back money that landlords have charged them unlawfully. Landlords and agencies now have less time to pay back renters if they charge them money they shouldn’t.

The total savings for private renters could be considerable. The government estimates that the average renter could save up to £70 per household. Whether the net effect of the new law will be positive for renters remains unclear. Agencies could respond by putting up rental prices to cover their letting costs.

Pilot launched to improve energy efficiency of rented accommodation

The government-endorsed quality scheme TrustMark has launched a new pilot to boost energy efficiency standards in rented accommodation. Together with East Sussex Trading Standards, the scheme started the Better Homes for Hastings initiative earlier this month.

The initiative was launched with an event at Sussex Coast College Hastings on March 15th in partnership with Hastings Borough Council. Attendees included landlords, tenants, housing associations and businesses, including TrustMark Registered Businesses.

The new pilot aims to promote minimum standards for properties to meet, covering issues such as safety, health and energy efficiency. The event offered education on tenant rights, as well as addressing fuel poverty through the promotion of energy efficiency. Information for landlords, lettings agents and housing associations was also provided, aiming to educate them on new energy efficiency regulation standards for rented properties. There were opportunities for them to be connected to businesses and tradespeople to give them the resources they need to meet these standards too.

When using a TrustMark Registered Businesses, property owners can be sure that they are using a service that they can trust. It’s important for landlords, housing managers and lettings agents to know that the businesses that they rely on are trustworthy and that they can carry out their work to the correct standards. TrustMark Registered Businesses have been vetted to ensure they meet these standards in areas such as trading practices, technical competency and customer service.

Chief executive of TrustMark, Simon Ayers, said that: “Together, we will work to drive standards upwards and enhance the safety, comfort, health and energy efficiency of Hastings rental properties.”

The Best Value Places to Live in London for Renters

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that London is hideously expensive for private tenants. Those who live in  London hear the same chorus from friends and family who live outside the capital “Oh, I could never live in London, it’s too expensive!”. But does this assumed truth bear scrutiny?

A report by online estate agent Emoov suggests that tenants in London can significantly reduce (or even halve) their rental costs every month by moving from a location of roughly average price to the least expensive postcode in their borough, identifying a series of “bargain postcodes” which offer renters in the capital something they’re hardly used to getting… Value for money!

Of course, these  ‘bargain’ postcodes are still not exactly cheap, nonetheless, they offer significant relative value for those with preferred neighbourhoods that they prefer to remain in or at least remain within reach of.

Below average

Many of the targeted  areas offer far cheaper monthly rental rates than the London average which is an eye-watering (to most outside the capital) £2,002 per month. The report’s findings will be make for interesting reading to London residents who are saving to get on the property ladder but aren’t prepared to change their lifestyles to achieve this.

Adam Male, lettings director of Urban.co.uk states;

“If you’re saving to get on the property ladder, living on a budget is the best way to ultimately be able to buy. Therefore, by adjusting your rental expectations slightly and compromising on a more affordable postcode in the same borough, you not only stay close to the area you like but also have a little extra to tuck away at the end of each month,”

So, let’s take a look at these bargain postcodes…

Maida Vale

What if you could save a small fortune without even having to leave London… Surely, you’;d think this was a pipe dream? After all, you’d be within striking distance of some of the most expensive real estate in the country including Belgravia and Mayfair!

However, tenants can expect significantly cheaper rent by moving to west London postcode of W9. Located in travel Zone 2, the Maida Vale postcode offers London’s best value for money when compared to the wider City of Westminster. Emoov’s report highlights an average monthly rent for the area of £3,303, almost 50% lower than the borough average of £6,433.

It’s a great spot to invest, too when the time comes to buy. The area holds its price really well, according to associate director of Chestertons Maida Vale Karen Davies; “Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden are all in Westminster, with Maida Vale more of a residential area, so this probably accounts for the lower figure here.”

She further states that streets around Shirland Avenue are the most affordable in the area, while prices in prime Maida Vale and Little Venice are similar to nearby St John’s Wood.

The South West

The TW12 Hampton postcode in the South West’s Richmond-upon-Thames, was a close runner up, with the average monthly rental price of just £1,472  That’s an impressive 43% below the borough average of £2,566. The area has a lot to offer for so modest a price tag. Residents can enjoy a stroll along the Thames, go deer-spotting in Bushy Park or enjoy a train commute to Waterloo that takes just 45 minutes.

Kensington and Chelsea’s best kept secret

Such prestigious addresses may seem out of reach, but even Kensington and Chelsea have their affordable hidden gems.The North Kensington postcode of W10, just north of the Westway is the home of the Portobello Road market, as well as the Grade II-listed Trellick Tower… Believe it or not, it also contains some of Kensington and Chelsea’s cheapest housing.

Average rents here are just £2,723 a month, 40% less than in the rest of this enviable central borough.

Who says rents in London are too expensive?

Zoopla: Half of Tenants use Letting Agents to Find Accommodation

Ask any landlord and they’ll tell you… There’s really no such thing as “passive income”. The duties of a landlord are many and varied, and since most landlords manage their properties alongside a full-time job, it can make for an extremely busy and stressful life.

Is it any wonder that so many landlords choose to make their lives easier by leaning on letting agents to help to manage and occupy their properties? A 2018 report by property portal Zoopla State Of The Property Nation, suggests that tenants lean heavily on letting agents too. The report reveals a significant increase in the amount of private tenants who use letting agents to find new accommodation.

12% increase

Zoopla’s inquiries revealed that nearly half of private tenants (48%) used the services of a letting agent to source their rental property this year. This figure represents a 12% increase from the findings of the same report in 2017 which revealed  recorded 36%.

Out of the 6,000 people surveyed, 62% admitted that they expected to rent for at least the next three years, before considering owning a property. 23% of respondents stated that they expected to rent a home indefinitely. In an uncertain and historically under-regulated housing market and the impending impact of Brexit it’s not hard to see why.

Meanwhile, the number of homeowners letting out their properties to tenants rose from just 2.4% in 2016 to 4.2% this year. The future clearly seems to belong to landlords… but it’s not all smiles and sunshine!

The lot of landlords

The research demonstrates that landlords will still facing a number of challenges in the existing housing climate.

56% of landlords surveyed by the study stated that their biggest challenge was still finding suitable tenants to occupy their property. The second biggest obstacle was ensuring that their tenants give their properties the due care, attention and basic maintenance that they need (55%). Furthermore, 47% shared a concern over tenants paying their rent on time.

39% of landlords found it difficult to keep up with recent increases in regulation, whilea further 36% were concerned about how future legislation will affect them.

Letting agents also had their share of concerns with 38% expecting a drop in lettings revenue in 2019, as agents face the prospect of the tenant fees ban’s introduction in 2019.

An encouraging note

Managing Director of Zoopla’s Property Division, Charlie Bryant stated that while the report implied some areas of concern for landlords and letting agents alike, there was still much to be hopeful about in 2019 and beyond:

“It’s certainly a challenging time for lettings agents, with the ban on lettings fees looming. However, our research shows that demand for agents’ services and rented accommodation are strong, and that should come as a welcome boost.

“As the market becomes more regulated and complex, the letting agents that adopt a more consultative approach with both their landlord and their tenant clients, to help navigate them through, will gain an advantage.”

He went on to emphasise the importance of staying ahead of the trends of a changing market and observing new rules, ending on an encouraging note by saying that “those who do it best are set to thrive.”