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Droplets News

EPC Illustration

Changes to EPC Regulations 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It was only in April 2012 that energy performance certificate (EPC) legislation was significantly overhauled. Despite this, yet again, changes to EPC legislation are being made. However, rather pleasantly this time, these new regulations seem a much simplified version of the old regulations. In addition, the new regulations consolidate a number of amendments into one shiny new set.

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Rent Increase Illustration

UK residential rents expected to keep rising after strong growth in 2012

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Advertised rental prices increased by an average of 1.9% across Great Britain in 2012, reaching a 12 month high of almost £1,000 a month, data shows. The average rental rate rose by £37 per month, reaching £976 per calendar month at the end of October, the research from Move with Us shows.

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Students Moving

The student guide to renting

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ian Potter, ARLA's Managing Director said, "Renting with friends at university can be a brilliant experience and if a few sensible steps are followed, it need not be a stressful process. Approaching renting in a measured way and knowing your priorities is a good starting point, which will allow you to take into consideration any additional advice you receive.

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Buy to let will become tenure of choice by 2025

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Families are more likely to rent than buy as the economy and housing markets stagnate making buy to let the tenure of choice by 2025, according to a new study.

The number of families renting has surged by 86% during the past five years and is set to increase, especially in London, says a joint report from think tank the Resolution Foundation and housing charity Shelter.

The research expects renting a home to overtake buying by 2020.

Figures reveals private renting will grow from just 7% of all homes in 1994 to 22% by 2025, while in London, more than a third (36%) of homes will be rented by 2025.

Shelter and the Resolution Foundation are warning that the government cannot ignore a buy to let as the number of renters continues to grow.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said:

“This report shows what is fast becoming the new reality of our housing market in the current economic climate: home ownership continuing to fall while renting becomes a way of life for British families.

“Yet despite the growing pressure on the rental market, the government’s recent housing strategy virtually ignored the sector and did little to address the issues of affordability, stability and quality that so many renters face.

“It’s time government woke up to the fact that Rental Britain is here to stay. With more and more families renting than ever before, we need to make renting fit for purpose for the growing cohort who want a stable and secure home to raise their children in.”

Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation is calling on the government to spend more cash on providing homes for families.

Director of research Vidhya Alakeson said:

“This report is further evidence of the urgent need for more and better quality rented accommodation that meets the needs of families with children.

“It’s encouraging that the government has launched a review of institutional investment in the private rented sector, but this report reveals the true nature of the future challenge and thus the scale of the response needed.”

Source: www.landlordzone.co.uk

5 Tips to Finding The Right Tenant

Monday, May 28, 2012

What do you do when a potential tenant has seen your property and has stated they would like to move in? Many landlords get this crucial stage of the process wrong. Following, are 5 tips that will help to ensure that any prospective tenant is both suitable and fit to sign your tenancy agreement and give you peace of mind.

1. The first step you need to take is to take up some references. The two vital references you need are previous landlord reference and work reference. This will reduce the chances of you taking on a tenant that has left a trail of destruction behind them. Write to both the previous landlord and the current employer. Be careful however that you are given genuine details as people have used their friends as referees rather than risk revealing that they did not pay their previous rent in a timely manner or that they were rowdy and messing.

2. The next item to be checked is the individual(s) identity. It is so easy today to take on the identity of someone else in an effort to pass the credit or referencing checks. Take copies of any personal identity evidence and keep for your records.

3. Affordability is the next vital information to have checked. A personal salary or wage can be verified by the employer. When you write to the employer as above, insist that the employee’s salary is confirmed or ask to see three months wage slips. If there are several people taking the property jointly, then each tenant’s affordability must be confirmed.

4. When a potential tenant expresses an interest in my property, I give them a list of all the items that need to be confirmed before the agreement is signed. This way they know exactly what is needed before they hand over any deposit or fees. My list will include: previous address, previous landlord reference, proof of identity, work reference, proof of salary or wages. Once I have all this information, then I feel 100% certain that the likelihood of any problems developing and greatly minimised.

5. Of course, if you want to eliminate all the fuss and hassle you could use an accredited referencing agency. They will do the checks so much quicker, but there will be a fee to pay. However, having someone else manage finding a tenant for you may be more attractive if you don’t want to manage this process yourself.

Source: www.landlordzone.co.uk

Homeowners renting out properties when they cannot be sold

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

According to ARLA in the last quarter of 2011, 47 per cent of its members witnessed an increase in the number of rental properties coming onto the market because they could not be sold*; a rise from 18 per cent just a year before.

ARLA's Operations Manager, Ian Potter, said:

"The rise in this figure suggests that homeowners struggling to sell their homes due to the sluggish market are increasingly looking to the private rented sector to utilize their property in the short term.

"It's likely that many of these reluctant landlords will be attracted by the flexibility of a short-term let. Renting a home on a shorter basis can be a good option for anyone who has found a buyer for their home, but not found the right property to buy themselves. Equally, for anyone 'testing' a new area before committing to move there, or working away from home for short periods, renting can offer more stability and home comforts than a hotel."

Short-term lets can range from one week to a few months, and they are particularly common in cities where major events are held, such as the London Olympics and the Edinburgh Festival.

To mitigate some common risks, ARLA advises the following:

Pre-agree bills- Tenant payment of utility bills over a short term can be problematic, therefore it is best to set a price to cover costs at the start of the rental period. This avoids the occasionally problematic issue of recouping or disputing costs.

Prepare the property for rent- As with long-term lets, it is wise to thoroughly clean the entire property and insure the small details, such as replacing light bulbs and clearing outside areas are done before prospective tenants visit or move in to the property.

If you are moving out of your home to turn it into a rental property, ensure it is free from personal effects and put some items into storage if necessary.

If you are renting out your own home for the first time,notify your mortgage and insurance providers as you may need to amend the terms of both if you are changing the use of your home to a rental property.

Be aware of tenants' expectations- With short-term lets, tenants often expect amenities that are not usually offered in the private rental sector; a common example is the assumption that the landlord will provide a cleaning and laundry service for bedding.

Be careful when it comes to payment -Offering a variety of payment options, where possible, can encourage prospective tenants. It should be noted, however, that taking card payments can often represent an unacceptable degree of risk for the short-term landlord. Regardless of payment type, it is always worth ensuring funds have cleared ahead of the start of the tenancy. If funds are being transferred direct to your bank account, it is always best to use a dedicated account.

Meet the incoming tenant -Do not arrange for keys to be collected through a third party other than a reputable lettings agent. It is far safer to meet and hand over keys in person, explain the workings of your property and agree when you will collect the keys at the end of the tenancy.

Tim Hyatt added:

"If these tips are followed, it should be possible to strike a balance between remaining flexible with your rental offering and being a responsible short-term let landlord. Any potential tenants must use an agent with experience in this area - to ensure a transparent and flexible arrangement."

Landlords should also be mindful that if a deposit is taken, it is likely to require protection through a Tenancy Deposit Scheme such as TDS.

*Data taken from the ARLA Members' Survey of the Private Rented Sector, covering Q4 2011 and Q2 2010. All surveys and statistics can be downloaded from http://www.arla.co.uk/

Source: www.arla.co.uk