A recent report by a leading Insurance Company claims that one in seven tenants break the rules of their leasing agreements.
The most common offences include a failure to pay rent on time, smoking and keeping a pet; but perhaps of even more concern is that it is claimed that one in eleven (or almost 10%) of renters are living contract-free.
25% Failing to pay rent on time (or at all) 21% Smoking in the property 18% Keeping a pet in the property 17% Damaging or making alterations to the premises 16% Changing the locks 14% Caused disturbances or a nuisance to neighbouring properties 14% Sublet a room without notifying the landlord 13% Failed to clean accessible windows 12% Redecorated without permission 10% Failed to check smoke or carbon monoxide alarm
The most common sanctions for breaking tenancy rules include losing some or all of the deposit (52%), followed by having to pay for any damages (22%) and in some extreme cases, tenant evictions (4%). However, more than one in five (21%) tenants say that the landlord never found out about their misdemeanours.
This lack of transparency can hurt both the landlord and the tenant. The renter risks exploitation and even summary eviction if they do not have a binding agreement to protect them, whilst the landlord is exposed to potential misuse of the property and possibly even a sitting tenant who can’t easily be removed.
In a professional world, the tenant’s behaviour is defined and bound by their contract, and a good landlord will actively manage and nurture the relationship to protect their investment.
Any failures for both sides to act responsibly can be very expensive; for example, a separate report published last week highlighted the risks taken by landlords who don’t properly deal with repairs requests by inhibiting the ability to serve a section 21 notice.
So what should landlords (or their letting agents) do as a minimum? A few simple rules may help:
Legal Agreement: Ensure that this is appropriate, signed and dated. Writing your own contract will save some money, but may miss out important aspects – it is best to get proper advice, or employ a solicitor or letting agent to assist.
Regular Inspections: If you inspect as opposed to expect, it is much more likely that the tenant will follow the rules. Always ensure that you give the tenant fair warning of your intentions to visit the premises so as not to breach their right to privacy.
Be Informed: There are increasing legal requirements on both landlords and tenants, and ignorance will not be a suitable defence if something goes wrong!
Respond in a Timely Manner: Living with broken or poorly working appliances can be very frustrating, particularly when the tenant is paying significant rent. How long would you put up with a hotel room where the lights or plumbing does not work? Therefore, you should deal as quickly as you can with requests from tenants for repairs and improvements, even if the answer is ‘no’.
Keep Communicating: Legal disputes can quickly get expensive, so the ability to discuss any issues openly and rationally may reduce the stress and potential cost. Remember that very few tenants set out to get themselves evicted.
See Both Sides: You need to think of the property as a business investment and not as your home. Your tenants may have a different lifestyle and tastes to you, and are paying in hard cash for the right (with few guarantees and little or no financial return) of borrowing your property; also, don’t forget finding new tenants can be expensive so you may want to bend occasionally over the small stuff.
With average yields now at about 5% across the UK, taking the time to find a good tenant and looking after them properly (avoiding constant personnel changes and voids) may be the best investment you can make in your rental property.
Also, the legal requirements in relation to letting are now so onerous that having a professional manage your rental affairs might be the best solution in the medium term.
An increasing number of people are now renting rather than buying. In fact, PwC has recently predicted that by 2025, 7.2m households will be in rented accommodation, compared to 5.4m in 2015.
With rising house prices, first-time buyers are renting for longer in order to afford. But the rental market can also be a challenge. As with most things, it’s much easier once you’re prepared, so here’s an overview of what you can expect so you can sail through the rental market.
Flatmates Many of us choose to go into flatshares when renting. They’re often cheaper and they’re a great way of making new friends. But they can be a challenge, especially if you’re not the biggest fan of the person in the next room. So how can you be sure that you’ve landed on a good selection of housemates before you start renting? First things first – always meet them before you sign the contract. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people move in without any idea of who they’ll be living with.
Although there’s no definite way of being sure what they’re actually like to live with, there are a few things you can look out for when you meet them. Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask questions; go beyond what they do for a living, and ask what they do for fun, how often they’re in the house, and if they socialise together. All of this will add to the general atmosphere in the property. Secondly, take note of how well the house is being looked after when you visit for a viewing. If the bin is overflowing and there are dirty pots on the stove, it might not be for you if you like things to be clean and tidy. Finally, discuss how bills are split and paid. This will give you a good indicator of how organised your potential housemates are, and you can iron out any problems before signing for the property.
Finding the property One of the best things about renting is that it’s temporary. Although this can feel like a downside, it does mean that you don’t need to think too far into the future and can find a property that suits your current lifestyle. To find a good rental property for you, make a list of all the things you require for your lifestyle and search for a property that fits the bill. And remember to prioritise; it’s unlikely that you’ll find the ideal property, so think about what is a must and what you can compromise on. Securing the property The rental market moves extremely fast, so it’s important to be proactive in your search. Set aside time when you’re available for viewings and ask the lettings agent to take you to a few properties during each appointment so you can compare them easily. When you find a suitable property, be prepared to move quickly and put in an offer on the day or the next day.
It’s also a good idea to be prepared well in advance for the next few steps. Make sure you have funds for your deposit and references ready so the next part of the process runs smoothly. Informing the lettings agent that you have these available will put you in a strong position for securing the property.
Fees It’s now a legal requirement that all lettings agents display their fees on the websites and in their offices. Sometimes, you also have to pay a holding fee to secure the property. Make sure you have a look at the fees before going on viewings so you know how much you will have to pay. Deposits A rental deposit covers your landlord should you miss any rent or damage their property. They are typically between four weeks and eight weeks rent, but check this in advance so you can save the money.
It is a legal requirement that your deposit is put into a deposit protection scheme, so always check this before signing any contracts. When it comes to getting your deposit back, it’s a case of looking after the property while you’re a tenant and reporting any problems. Check the inventory when you first move in and add any existing damage that you notice, making sure it is confirmed by the landlord. Take photos when you first move in and when you leave so you have proof of any previous damage to avoid being penalised. If the property is furnished, remember to take photos of what is present when you first move in and when you leave. All of this should be recorded on the inventory, so check everything is present and correct. For more advice on getting your deposit back, please click here.
Insurance Tenants can get home contents insurance to cover the cost of their belongings under unforeseen circumstances. Most tenants won’t need to worry about buildings insurance as this should be covered by the landlord, but check this before signing for the property. You can get home contents insurance if you’re renting a shared property, but find out from the insurer exactly what you need to do to ensure you are covered.
As of the 1st February 2016, no tenancy can legally commence until the right to rent has been established. But what exactly is right to rent? Here is a very brief overview.
Before a property is legally rented, all landlords have to confirm that the tenants have the right to rent residential property in the UK. And, under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, landlords should not authorise an adult to occupy a rented property unless the adult is a British Citizen, is a European Economic Area citizen, or Swiss National, or has a Right to Rent in the UK.
Who needs to be checked? Landlords or the lettings agent must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent the residential property in England. Before the start of a new tenancy, they must make checks for all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:
• they’re not named on the tenancy agreement • there’s no tenancy agreement • the tenancy agreement isn’t in writing
All new tenants must be checked.
If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, the check needs to be undertaken in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
Some types of accommodation are excluded from these checks. Click here to view these types. There is no need to check tenants in some types of accommodation (e.g. social housing and care homes).
How will tenants be checked? All landlords and lettings agents have to check original documents to make sure a tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
What will happen if a tenant fails to pass the checks?
If a tenant fails to pass the checks, the landlord or letting agent cannot legally allow the tenant to rent the property.
Further checks Landlords and lettings agents must make further checks on their tenants to make sure they can still rent property in the UK, if their permission to stay is time limited.
If tenants fail to pass the further checks, they may be evicted from the properties.
What could happen to landlords if they fail to comply? Landlords can be fined if they rent their property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK and you / they can’t show that they checked a tenant’s right to rent.
Are you thinking of moving to another part of the country? Why not pop into Joplings in Ripon or Thirsk and tell us about the new dream home you are searching for and we will pass this onto the Guild agent who will be able to help you with your search.
As a member of The Guild of Property Professionals we are part of a network of over 800 independent Estate agents in England and Northern Ireland. Have a look at these stunning properties which are situated near scenic parks, from some of our network agents.
Homes near Pretty Parks
Looking for a fresh start in 2019? We have scoured the country for homes near pretty parks. Whether you enjoy a gentle stroll in the park, a trek in the hills, or a place to play sports at the weekend, these properties have one thing in common: they are beautiful places to live and explore.
The Pavilion is an outstanding period home, built circa 1830. With large, picturesque gardens, the traditional property enjoys a prime position within the delightful Western Park. The four-bedroom home offers a wealth of period features including tall ceilings, paneled doors and antique French marble fireplaces. Presented to an exceptional standard, with expansive gardens, a car port and far-reaching, panoramic views, this residence is a hidden gem.
Western Park is the largest park in Leicester, and arguably the most beautiful, offering 178 acres of meadows, woodland plantations and formal areas to explore. This delightful park has a great cycle trail and offers a wide range of activities all year round. This includes two bowling greens, seven football pitches, five cricket wickets, six tennis courts and one baseball field.
This Grade II Listed cottage makes for an excellent family home, located in the heart of the charming village of Llandwrog, north west Wales. The house is deceptively spacious and has been extended to offer additional living space. With a captivating front exterior and a lovely enclosed garden and gated driveway that leads to a large garage and useful workshop, the property offers an abundance of charm and character including coved ceilings with exposed beams and a traditional Inglenook fireplace.
The property is located near Parc Glynllifon in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, a historic country park with an outdoor Amphitheatre, children’s play area, a popular café and gift shop, as well as several water features, including a delightful river. A winner of the ‘Green Flag’ award: A Visit Wales Accredited Attraction, this park is perfect for a Sunday stroll, a bike ride, or a picnic in the warmer months.
A unique detached home designed to blend with its surroundings, Sedgewell Coach House is a rare find set in four and a half acres. Situated to the southern slopes of the Haldon Hills with extensive uninterrupted views across a stunning wooded valley in Chudleigh, Devon. The property effortlessly merges period charm with modern living in contemporary accommodation where you can both relax and entertain in comfort and style.
Crafted to embrace both space and light, this home overlooks extensive woodland and rolling fields. Dramatic sweeping lawns and drystone walls emphasise the natural beauty of the landscape. The property is perfect for those who enjoy country walks and a home with an unbeatable view.
This breathtaking Victorian stone-built residence is located within a short walking distance of Pugney’s Country Park in the heart of Sandal village, south of Wakefield city centre. The property offers a high degree of privacy and character. The home also boasts mature gardens with Yorkshire stone paving, an excellent gymnasium with useful storage and a sauna.
Pugney’s Country Park is set in 300 acres, offering a variety of walks with good footpath links to Sandal Castle where there are spectacular views to the west along Calder Valley. Cycling is also very popular, and the park operates a rental service. The park also offers additional watersport facilities including sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Bird watchers indulge themselves in the bird hides overlooking the Local Nature Reserve, while other visitors stop at the café for some refreshments while they enjoy the views across the park.
This beautifully presented seven-bedroom family home is positioned in the tranquil hamlet of Penylan, overlooking beautiful countryside, near the village of Bassaleg. The property is set within over three acres of picturesque grounds and features a fresh water lake.
The residence is extremely private and peaceful, with spacious gardens and parkland surrounding the property including a boat deck, barbecue, chalet, out building and fruit orchards. The timber deck relaxation area is adjacent to the lake, which features a magnificent backdrop of the Newport countryside.
The Guild is a network of over 800 of the best independent estate agents around the country. To find your dream home, visit our website.
As a member of The Guild of Property Professionals we are part of a network of over 800 independent Estate agents in England and Northern Ireland. Have a look at these stunning kitchens in properties from some of our network agents.
Are you thinking of moving to another part of the country? Why not pop into Joplings in Ripon or Thirsk and tell us about the new dream home you are searching for and we will pass this onto the Guild agent in that area who will be able to help you with your search.
A place where family and friends congregate, the kitchen is often described as the heart of the home. A kitchen is the home’s epicentre and must have the capacity to both entertain and bring happiness to those who live there. Here are some of the best kitchens currently on the market that will warm your heart and have your stomach rumble.
Conveniently situated for sought after schools of Becket Keys, St Helens and St Thomas, this beautiful four-bedroom home in Brentwood, has an exceptional luxury fitted kitchen in slate grey finish. The solid wood worktops and copper furniture provides a superb contrast to the tiled floor and white walls. Three sets of bi-folding doors mean that this area of the house is bathed in natural light and a central island makes an ideal spot for breakfast or casual dining.
A stunning detached residence situated within St. Ives, this four double-bedroom home has been extended to provide bright and spacious living accommodation and is immaculately presented throughout featuring a beautiful refitted kitchen/breakfast room. Fitted with a range of base level and eye level units, the kitchen consists a half sink bowl with mixer tap and drainer, a five ring Neff gas hob with extractor hood and built-in Bosch double oven. Other features include an integrated fridge and freezer, dishwasher, wine fridge and break bar.
Set within an outstanding and secluded plot that extends to around 0.6 acres, is this fabulous and luxurious family home with 5,144 square feet of magnificent living space. The whole property has been designed and modelled both inside and outside for those who love entertaining with the kitchen a prime example. The open-plan design and island-based gas hob, lend themselves to sociable dinner parties. Wooden worktops and inset stainless-steel sinks with mixer tap, finish the sophisticated, clean look of the kitchen.
Constructed in 2001, New Down House is an immaculate, four-bedroom detached residence in an elevated position on a hillside with views of the Bristol Channel towards the Welsh Coastline. At the front of the home is a stunning kitchen and dining room fitted with white high gloss units contrasting granite worktops, stainless steel sink and swan-neck mixer tap. Other standout elements include integrated appliances, porcelain tiled floor, recessed spotlighting and a concealed Valliant gas fired boiler with Natatmo smart thermostat capable of remote operation via smart phone.
Built circa 1939 in the former orchards of the Royal Precinct of Shaftesbury Abbey, itself founded by King Alfred the Great in 888 A.D, this three-bedroom home was the first religious house built solely for women. The entire property has been re-modelled to an exceptional standard, featuring a bespoke, hand-crafted and hand painted kitchen by an award-winning local firm in Dorset. The kitchen is fully equipped with Italian quality Smeg appliances throughout.
A semi-rural retreat, the Brandfield House is located a short drive from Doncaster Town Centre through Cusworth, past the historic natural beauty, Cusworth Hall. The country style kitchen in the home is large enough to accommodate an eight-seater table. A blend of modern and traditional, the design of the kitchen includes exposed wooden beams, ceiling spotlights and granite work tops. The warm wooden units house an under counter fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, electric fan assisted oven with separate grill and a microwave.
Located high on Stanmore Hill, shielded by trees and set behind a gated entrance, The Cloisters represents a rare opportunity to live in an exclusive development of just ten elegant detached properties in a stunning environment. One of the four-bedroom properties in the development, called The Ash, is arranged over two floors with a large open-plan kitchen on the ground floor which is ideal for entertaining. High-gloss finishes, crisp white worktops, integrated appliances and stainless-steel inset sinks, all work together to create a contemporary elegant space.
The Guild is a network of over 800 of the best independent estate agents around the country. To find your dream home, visit our website.
Putting your property on the market is an exciting time. The photos are taken, the floorplans completed, and the home is perfectly presented, so it’s time to start the viewings. But how many should you expect? What if viewings are not as regular as you hoped? We asked Guild agents to share their tips and advice.
Check the price
One of the biggest deterrents for a viewing is the price. “How does your home compare to competing homes on the market?” asks Ian Southall from Chess Moves of Tewkesbury. “Query your agent if you think the price is set too high and consider talking to agents who quoted a more realistic price during the valuation.”
Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Tywyn, Gwynedd agrees. “If a property is getting no viewing interest at all, then the first place to look for an answer is the asking price. Compare the property with others for sale around it and see if it compares favourably, if not you need to think about a reduction.”
The price needs to attract potential buyers, points out Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots. “The housing market is now incredibly transparent, information on marketing and sale prices of similar properties is easily available on the web, so it is important that properties are marketed at a realistic price. Nothing turns a buyer off quicker than a house that is perceived to be over-priced.
Pick an estate agent well
“There’s absolutely no point in appointing an agent who isn’t embedded in the community, you need an agent who knows all about the area, is connected and recommended, but also one that knows where your target audience is,” said Simon Miller, from Holroyd Miller in Wakefield.
Mark Noble from Castles Estate Agents in Swindon agrees. “Without a shadow of a doubt, if a property is well-prepared for the market, it will get a better response and potentially a higher offer. In reality, if you market the best-presented property with an estate agent who is not motivated, then the property can easily stagnate in the marketplace.
“There is a misconception that all agents are the same and that popping a property on a portal will do the trick. The more motivated the agent you choose, ideally a traditional agent who will fight for your price, in most cases achieve higher prices as well as selling more properties.”
The approach that an agent has can have a big impact too, says Linda Mortimer of Mortimers Estate Agents in Woodbridge. “If an agent bombards a potential buyer with lots of questions and insists they speak to their mortgage adviser before even handing out any details, you can be sure you will be missing out as an aggressive approach can send some people running for the door.
“Buyers usually enter an agent’s office because something in their front window has drawn their attention. Greeting a potential buyer in a friendly way and then giving them details of what they are enquiring about is a better way to encourage them to discuss the property they have shown interest in. The agent can then proceed to offer their time to show them the property. This calm approach is far more likely to result in a viewing or even a sale.”
Spruce up the property
“Aside of de-cluttering, attending to those long overdue maintenance jobs, and ensuring everything is visually appealing for the marketing materials, the best route to more viewings is to employ the right agent,” advises Simon Miller, Holroyd Miller, Wakefield.
Vicki Field, Cooke & Co, Kent, always recommend for sellers to have a good clean and tidy throughout and to de-clutter. “Try not to de-personalise your property, as making it feel homely to viewers gives them a feeling of what it would be like when they are living there.”
If you have already moved out, it may be a good idea to add furniture. Linda Mortimer, of Mortimers Estate Agents in Woodbridge, says: “If you are selling an empty property of a higher value, it’s worth looking into getting it furnished. It makes a huge difference. Coincide the furnishing with an open house and you can be guaranteed viewers, maybe even an offer or two.”
Nicole Woolley, Goodwin Property, Stamford, said: “Be sure to tidy up, and not just inside the home, but outside too, even if you have an apartment. A lot of buyers won’t even step outside the car if the kerb appeal is not good enough. If there is paint peeling on the front door or windowsills have them repainted, fixing them is money well spent. Have a good clear out and declutter; if you have rooms full to the brim then buyers will need a good imagination to see the potential, and the same goes for the garden. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flower beds. Try to show a lifestyle in your home; properties sell much faster if a buyer can imagine themselves living there.”
Who is your likely buyer?
“Consider targeting your market and draw attention to the benefits the property can offer a particular type of buyer,” suggests Martin Moore, Morris Marshall & Poole, based in Tywyn, Gwynedd. “For example, if you are selling a property that would suit a buy-to-let investor, think about offering an initial period of guaranteed rent. Even simple things like providing a list of schooling options with a family home or explaining the convenience of public transport in the commuter belt could help. You will, however, need to make it individual to the house rather than relying on the generic information provided by the internet portals.”
Invest in photography
“Many people now judge properties through online platforms, so the better the picture, the more chance of your potential buyer investigating further,” said Ian Southall, Chess Moves of Tewkesbury. Stand back from your home and ask yourself what could be improved upon. Is the garden tidy? The décor is another key factor.”
Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Tywyn is also keenly aware of the importance of high-quality photos. “Most people start their search on the Internet and this is a very visual medium, especially on mobile devices. People often skip over the text, so properties with good external and internal photographs and floor plans get noticed. Invest your time wisely in this area and use professional services where appropriate, ensure also that the property is well presented with the photographs as high-resolution images show great detail. Always have a good selection of photographs available and change them frequently so that the listing does not become stale.
Vicki Field from Cooke & Co in Kent had some alternative photography tips. “Ensure your agent makes the most out of your most valued asset by taking good photographs on a sunny day and remember to keep the toilet seat down! It always helps to make your home aesthetically pleasing from the outside, so maybe brighten it up with flowers and flower pots.”
Jennifer Butler, Trading Places in Leytonstone, London, said: “Before engaging in the photography, make sure your home is ready. Declutter, clean and pay attention to the front of your property and the rear garden.
“Perhaps have the photography carried out over two days, allowing a couple of rooms to be used as temporary storage areas, whilst the rest of your property is being photographed. Afterwards, you can empty out those rooms and the photographer can return the next day to finish the job. Rushing the photography would be a big mistake.”
Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots says that photos are a crucial first impression. “It is important not only that the photos show the property at its best, but also that the quantity of pictures right. Too few may lead to potential buyers either assuming that there is something wrong with the property or deciding not to view as they couldn’t get a reasonable impression of the property.”
“As an estate agent, I am particular about the weather for photos. A clear blue sky on a sunny day will show the natural warmth and brightness of the house,” says Jamie Fisher, Taylor Milburn, Essex.
Best mix of exposure
“It is crucial that the property is exposed to the maximum number of potential buyers to attract the maximum number of viewers. An attractive price and great photographs will mean little if they are kept a secret,” said Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in St Neots.
“Many agents in recent years have focused all of their marketing on the internet through the myriad of property websites including major property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla and their own websites. This is incredibly important, but providing the widest possible exposure must include far more. Other areas of focus can include; advertising in newspapers, advertising in office windows, advertising across local, regional, national and even international branch networks, promotion on social media, marketing to known/registered buyers via phone and email, for sale boards and leaflet drops. A good agent will cover these areas and more.”
How many viewings should you expect?
“In the current busy market in Margate and the surrounding areas, we look to have a surge of viewings within the first week with offers coming in – if this isn’t the case then a price reduction or amendments to the details could certainly help,” said Vicki Field of Cooke & Co, based in Kent.
“Check the demand,” suggests Jennifer Butler, Trading Places of Leytonstone in London. “As a proactive estate agent, we monitor internet click through rates and constantly review market activity for all types of property. Some property types will be more in demand than others so it’s important to know the current market and manage the seller’s expectations, especially when it comes to the number of viewings they should expect to receive.”
Could a lack of viewings just be one of those things? “Sometimes it’s just a blip. Viewings can be like buses. None for ages then three at once,” says Linda Mortimer, Mortimers Estate Agents, Woodbridge.
“There will be a week or two where things go quiet. This is when your agent needs to retake pictures and move things around on the websites and window displays. A refresh is always a good idea.”
Be prepared early, advises Nicole Woolley, Goodwin Property, Stamford. “Don’t forget you will see about five or six times as many people in the first couple of weeks as the subsequent weeks – make sure everything is ready and that your agent is fully briefed.”
How many people should you expect, though? “Viewing in the first month is important and if ten people are not through the door, things need to be changed,” advises Jamie Fisher from Taylor Milburn in Essex.
The home you purchase isn’t always your dream property, but you can turn your property into the home of your dreams with a few quick fixes. Here are some tips to upgrade your home for less.
1. Paint your kitchen cabinets
Freshly painted cabinets give the kitchen an update without the cost of a full renovation. Choose light colours to brighten the space.
2. Add mirrors
Mirrors can make any space seem larger and are an easy way to ‘open up’ a room.
3. Invest in landscaping
Consider adding some landscaping to the front of your property. A tree or two works well in a more rural environment, and never underestimate the power of a few potted plants in an urban home.
4. Add wooden floors
Wall-to-wall carpet is no longer a popular choice, as homeowners now prefer wooden floors that they can choose to put a rug on. Consider vinyl flooring in a wooden pattern to get reclaimed wooden floors for less.
5. Freshen the front door
First impressions count, so choose a front door in a neutral glossy shade or pick a bright colour with personality.