5 Essential Tips for Landlords.

The recent recession has meant that much more individuals are now selecting to rent a property rather than buy one. This has lead to an upsurge of expert landlords that are now making some serious cash in the rental market these days. Unlike prior to, if someone features a home and is considering entering the rental marketplace today, they’re almost assured to find a tenant (supplied the property is in a good condition).This has made professional landlords able to negotiate for only the very best tenants and for a lot better rental costs. However, landlords should be conscious from the following points as these will assist them steer clear of issues and discover the best tenants in no time.

Knowing a little of property law is basic for all landlords Owning and renting out a home or an apartment comes with particular legal responsibilities on behalf of the owner. To get a residential landlord these consist of maintaining the property to ensure that it is always inside a good operating order and make sure to adhere to the minimal normal needed of a home prior to letting it out. On top of this a landlord has a few much more laws to abide by if he/she wishes to rent their property legally. A landlord would advantage significantly if they read a couple of paragraphs on property law because it is fairly simple. Whether or not you select to possess an agent deal with your home, knowing a thing or two concerning the law will make life simpler within the long run.

Be careful when picking your tenants Even when the individuals who wish to rent your house seem good and their credentials are in order, landlords should carefully select the tenants. This could pay off because if you are lumbered with bad tenants, the laws surrounding residential letting make it extremely difficult for a landlord to terminate a contract as soon as it has been signed.

All the plumbing, gas and electrical items must be in a good situation and operating properly. If they’re not then you will be unable to legally rent the home as this is your responsibility within the eyes from the law. This means going through all the furnishings and appliances and checking them over twice prior to any contract is signed. The danger is that, when the tenants discover that something is not in the condition stipulated in the contract, they have the right to ask for compensation and also the reputation from the landlord could also be significantly affected.

Steer clear of being also greedy with you rental valuation By performing so you significantly increase the chances of scaring away the best tenants away. The marketplace is generally suffering from the recession and only a few big cities in the world can maintain a high degree of rent expectation due to the affluence of its residents. The rent ought to be decided according to the average price within the region and also the time from the year which you advertise the home (it’s a well-known reality that throughout the cold season, rent tends to become cheaper).

Becoming well mannered around tenants can reap many advantages. Conversely when the landlord treats the tenants disrespectfully and rudely, the landlord ought to not be shocked if the tenants respond inside a comparable manner. Getting a friendly and polite operating attitude with your tenants is key to sustaining the mutual respect that forms the foundation of one’s relationship.

Letting Property By Using An Online Letting Agency

Given that letting property is not always easy, the best way to handle it is often to have specialized help. The justification is the fact that there are several factors that you have to give consideration to. With the assistance of an online letting agency, letting home and property can lead to far less headaches for the landlord. Today, there is quite a lot of online letting firms, here are some tips how to choose a good one.

Your initial consideration you will have is what you expect to have from the agency. For instance, you may just be looking for letting agents that will simply help you find a tenant for the property or maybe you would like them to locate you a tenant coupled with managing the entire rental agreement along with it. Put in writing what things you will be seeking, afterwards you’ll be ready looking at different online letting agencies. As you can imagine, their particular offers can vary and don’t often incorporate all services you could possibly need.

Before choosing the correct online letting agency, understand what sort of services they give you before making your decision. With there being a great number of differences, you’ll want to spend some time and assess them diligently. What important factors do you need to take into account?

For instance:

• Do they show up and erect a sign?

• What means will they have to promote your property?

• Is the agent recognized enough to ensure they are going to find tenants?

• What packages do they provide and what is contained in the price?

It is always advisable if you ask ahead of time whether they can offer those services to avoid any kind of frustration with the company at a later date.

It may be helpful to learn if the online letting agent is specialized in letting and how long these are in business already. When you compare those agents when it comes to letting, do keep in mind that some letting agencies offer to search out tenants for your premises on the premise that when they don’t manage to accomplish that in a certain period of time, then you have nothing to pay. Make sure you know how they manage this in advance. It could be you need to pay a one off fee as a way to have your house for let registered with the agent.

The actual service fees should always be a crucial factor in your choice, however make sure their charges really are transparent. It may come about that some letting agencies seem to be extremely cheap, then again will charge extra for other, essential things. Keep in mind what additional services you might need and learn about the likely costs. If an online letting agency offers comprehensive packages in which all things are presented visibly together with the costs, this is often a far better option. One big advantage to do research on the web is that you can check out the company by investigating customer feedback from those property owners that used the company in the past. Preferably, go with an online letting agency that has had good results in letting properties on the net that happen to be comparable in nature to the premises you wish to let.

Mandatory Landlord Licensing Considered By Councils

The growth of the private rental sector in the United Kingdom and along with it problems concerning health and safety for tenants are calling for more action.

In a recent survey, it was found that eighty per cent of councils in the UK expect the government to take a more proactive stance in relation to the private rented sector in the future. The vast majority of councils say they will have an important role to play in the UK’s private rented market.

The fact that councils see themselves urged to take measures doesn’t really come as a surprise. The British rental market is exploding with more and more people renting every day. Statistics show that the number of private renters in the nation increased by 88% in the last decade. This growing demand brings with it a lot of responsibilities, new energy efficiency responsibilities as well as property safety concerns that all mandate an increase for more regulations and stricter control by the local authorities.

Amongst the top concerns for councils are gas and electrical safety, fire regulation and property management standards.

The director of the Electrical Safety Council, Phil Buckle points out that electrical fires are still the number one cause of fires in the United Kingdom. “It is astonishing that realizing this there are no adequate regulations in place that would require landlords to have their electrics checked or provide their tenants with safety certificates”. “Seeing the increased numbers of tenants all over the nation, it is crucial that we have proper regulations in place to ensure people’s safety”, he added.

One pilot to test a mandatory licensing requirement for landlords had been conducted in Newham. The scheme for Newham’s private rental sector has been enforced since beginning of this year and has proven very successful.

City councils in the United Kingdom are showing an interest in various forms of engagement, including voluntary accreditation schemes and better training and support for private landlords. Thirty per cent of the councils surveyed say they are in favour of a mandatory requirement for licensing that would aim to reduce hazards and health risks for tenants. Newham’s Mayor Sir Robin Wales: “We are strongly standing behind our scheme that has proven hugely successful. Newham is now a forerunner when it comes to tackling bad landlords.”

“The importance that rented properties are well managed and in good shape cannot be understated. This is our primary goal. Likewise, we want to deal with the crime and antisocial behaviour in this sector, which often come along with rogue letting agents trying to find ways to circumvent the law. Good landlords have nothing to fear. It’s the unethical ones we are tackling”.

The involvement of local authorities in the growing private rental sector certainly is more than justified. How it ultimately will work out for the various communities will depend on individual factors which can vary from location to location.

More British Landlords Buying, Not Selling Finds New Study

According to the UK’s letting agent’s association ARLA, more landlords today are buying but subsequently keeping their property rather than selling. As per the study, the market today sees an increased interest to acquire property for investments. The study also finds that fewer units come onto the market as fewer tenants are able to afford rent. Those are some of the factors likely the reason that many landlords choose to buy and then holding on to their property.

The study shows that the interest of landlords in investing in residential property has increased significantly while there is a slight decrease in tenant demand. The numbers of property sold on the market likewise dropped as compared to last year.

Several members of ARLA express that the current development is an indication that investing in private property is still considered a safe investment. In the last three months alone, the numbers of property purchased for that purpose has increased by 10%. Sales, at the same time, have gone done slightly.

With the study come also new figures that show tenant demand down 3% with several of the surveyed ARLA members stating that today there is slightly fewer tenants than in the same quarter of the year before.

‘While the slightly lower demand is noteworthy, the figures clearly confirm that investors are more confident and see property as a good investment option’, said the president of ARLA.

The study furthermore showed one further decrease in succession for capital asset value of rental houses and rental flats. The average value of homes has gone up by 0.5% and the average value of rented flats increased by 3,8%.

As per the study, a slight decline in tenant demand was observed across the United Kingdom with the figure for Central London prime property and the South East down 3% , with figures for the rest of the UK falling the least, 1% from 58% to 57%. Compared with three months ago, the average void period has increased from 2.9 weeks to three weeks, once again reversing the increase seen then, whilst the average number of new tenancies commenced in the preceeding three months has risen from 32 to 34. However this number can be attributed to seasonal trends as industry analysts pointed out.

At the same time, the number of ARLA members who think that less property can’t be sold has gone down 3% as compared to the same quarter last year. According to those asked, more detached homes and semi-detached home types are to be expected to be coming onto the market because of this development.

The number of tenants that cannot pay rent has likewise dropped 3%, as reported by several offices that are member of the ARLA. Along with this, they state they encountered less tenants attempting to haggle for lower prices as well as less of those who requested references in regards to their financial status.

Unethical Landlords in the United Kingdom Facing Crackdown

One borough in London that is seeing many run-down rental homes is finally taking first steps to crack down on shady and unethical landlords.

Two students, Sonal and Sunny share a rental with lots of other people and their room, at first glance, seems not that different what one would expect from a typical student accommodation. However, there is one significant difference which sets Sunny and Sonal apart from others: They have no idea how many people are actually living with them, they don’t even know them.

Looking around in their room one immediately spots the areas of mould and dampness. Thick black mould is covering one entire wall. In the other room, it can easily happen that six people who don’t even know each other are sleeping at one given moment. Those are not people who are left from the party last night, rather those are men who, like the two students, rented the flat from someoone and now call it their home.

Newham is seen as the most run-down area in London by many. Poor substandard accommodation is common place here. No landlord cares about the number of people who will live together, and property maintenance and tenant safety are foreign terms. Many of the people renting in those areas are coming from overseas, among them many from India who want to get their Master Degree here in England. Because many of the occupants change their accommodation often, the area sees a high turnover with 25% of them changing in 12 months intervals. What’s worse, it’s not only single men forced into such awful living conditions but increasingly more families that come from other countries and seek their luck in the United Kingdom. All those people don’t have a choice in selecting their accommodation in a market that’s dominated by skyrocketing rents and high unemployment.

Now, Newham became the first borough in the country that takes action in a measure to fight unethical landlord practices. Landlords are now required to prove they are “fit and proper persons” before they can let out any accommodation. In addition to that, a criminal background check will be required. Newham takes particular note of the state of electrical wiring and other potential safety hazards in rental property and requires landlords to follow the strict British safety standards and certificates.

As of this date, more than 15,000 have already applied for a license to be able to let, but not all of them will be granted, that’s already a given. The council believes there are still a big number of homes under the radar which are let illegally. One priority of Newham right now is to employ enforcing agents as a way to find those rogue landlords who violate the law. Their work comes pretty close to your typical crime TV-show with raids conducted bi-weekly that take place together with the UK’s border agency.

Mayor Robin Wales is blaming the government for not doing enough, in fact says their recent plans are making things even worse. He says one reason for the problems at this moment is the new caps on housing benefits. “Tell families with several kids they cannot get any benefits anymore due to the new caps. The government says it wants a solution to the problem, but actually makes things worse because the caps will lead to that even more people will be living together in entirely unsuitable rental accommodations”.

The mayor goes so far as to call 25 per cent of all landlords in the borough criminals: “It will take us some time, but we will get all those rogue landlords who are entirely unfit to let”, he confidently said.

Slowly, there is improvement in the boroughs. Just recently, one notorious landlord was turned down and denied a licence due to the new requirements. This particular landlord owns more than 50 “units” which many people we asked say are nothing but sheds with a bed.

Unethical landlords who see Newham as their profitable area to make money from run-down property are not always using mainstream ways to advertise their “units”. Often, those landlords advertise in windows of newsagents or other public places. Some go even so far as to target certain people, such as those who just arrived in the country or people who were released from prisons or mental institutions. This is how tenants to-be fall prey to them, not that many of them would have any other options.

As for our two students from earlier, Sunny and Sonal, those are better off than some of the less fortunate ones. They can afford to move on and get into a better place, if they are lucky. Nevertheless, many people who rent today face fees and charges in addition to deposit money and rent advances which leaves them with little money in their pockets. For this month, Sunny and Sonal will have £50 left for the necessities of life, such as food. “Yes we can hardly afford it but what can you do? What’s on our mind right now is to get out of this damp place into a new place we just found. That’s all what we want right now”, the two tell us.

New Study Shows Tenants Exposed to Dangers from Faulty Electrics

A new study recently conducted revealed that many landlords in the UK are jeopardizing their tenant’s lives by neglecting electrical safety in rental properties.

As per the study which was conducted by the Electrical Safety Council it was found that about twenty percent on tenants in the United Kingdom in the private rental sector have been exposed to the risk of an accident or fire due to landlords ignoring safety regulation. About twenty per cent of tenants had to deal with concerns about appliances in their properties that were never resolved by their landlords.

Following those startling findings, the charity is calling upon British landlords to make sure they comply with British safety regulations and to ensure all electrical installations and wiring are not posing any risk to tenants or property. The charity points out that landlords who fail to comply with those requirements can face fines of tens of thousands of pounds.

While the majority of those issues as found by the study are on account of landlord’s negligence, the ESC also points out that it is important that tenants ensure the proper and safe function of those appliances they bring with them into rental properties. “If anything poses a hazard, it is crucial to report these things to the landlords right away in order to avoid any major problems. Faulty wiring or appliances are the number one cause for property fires in the United Kingdom and anything which points to defects cannot be taken lightly. It can cost people’s lives”, a spokesperson of the charity told the press.

The ESC’s director Phil Buckle says that stricter guidelines for landlords would be in order when it comes to electrical safety in rental homes around the nation. “It’s not only that landlords who ignore the UK’s safety regulations are endangering the lives of their tenants. In addition, they will face steep fees and problems with their insurances if such negligence at one point will be uncovered. Landlords are obliged by law to follow the regulations that are set in place for a reason”.

The study comes at the same time as it has been shown that the rental sector in the UK is experiencing a huge surge with ever more demand for rental accommodation along with a scarcity of property. The situation on the housing market in the nation today is such that more and more people are unable to sell and opt to let their homes instead. This leads to that many homeowners become what’s called as “accidental landlords”. Ofte, those new landlords have no experience and are unaware of the obligations they have.

More Landlords in Great Britain concerned about Tenant’s Rent Arrears.

As tenants in the United Kingdom face ever more financial difficulties, landlords as well are increasingly becoming concerned about rent arrears and delayed rental payments. According to a new study which was done by research group KANA, almost 75% of all landlords surveyed in the study said they are very worried because they see renters having difficulties to keep up with their payments.

This study is furthermore a good example that not all is rosy on the UK’s property market, even if there might be the occasional indication for a slow improvement. According to the recent survey, it is clear that many property owners are worried and not convinced about the strength of the sector as it presents itself today in the United Kingdom.

A spokesperson for the research group, Nigel Buck, to our reporter: “The current economic situation hits many people hard and tenants are amongst those hit hardest. We call on landlords to develop a closer understanding of their tenants and the hardships many tenants in the United Kingdom face today”

Then again, he pointed out the importance of using the right processes in order to build or maintain accurate tenant profiles. Obviously, there is still homework to do for many landlords in this regard.

Once landlords would face such difficulties, he recommends that they should look into outsourcing their properties to letting agents. He says that this can make sure that such tasks are being undertaken by professionals that have adequate experience which can be a tremendous help for the less experienced landlords and those who are new to the letting business.

“For landlords it is critical to invest their time and money effectively to ensure that business is running in the best way possible. While a letting agency might ask some fees for their work, it can be more than worth it seeing the returns this kind of professional help can provide for many landlords. In the end, everyone will profit from such a constructive partnership, tenants and landlords.”

Landlord breaching multiple fire regulations gets fined

A Hertfordshire landlord was found in breach of four fire safety regulations. This was concluded after the investigation of last year’s fire in Bushey High Street. The reason for the fire was a defective down lighter which caused a spark and then triggered the subsequent firey blaze.

The landlord, a 49-year old property developer was found guilty failing to carry out necessary checks and following fire safety regulation standards. In addition to the defective equipment, the property was lacking smoke detectors and properly operating fire exists.

The Magistrates’ Court in Watford found that the appropriate measures that could have prevented the blaze would only have cost a few thousand pounds. The fact that no one lost their life in the fire was considered a matter of luck by the court. Several occupants of the property were out that night and smelled burning when they returned in the early morning. They didn’t think anything about it and went to bed. Just by pure coincidence one of the residents got up later that morning and discovered the fire and was able to raise an alarm to wake up all the others in the building.

“Clearly, this was pure luck and it could’ve turned out a lot worse. This was a large fire and the defendant risked the lives of all his occupants with those significant breaches of fire safety rules”.

The lawyer for the defendant, Mr Edel said that his client felt sorry for what happened. What certainly didn’t make the matter easier for the defendant was the fact that it was found that he lives in a very expensive home and send his children to a private school.

The benches Chairman Michelle Reeves fined the landlord £5,000 for each of the four breaches, plus £7,394.58 in court fees.The Chairman in one statement said that she could not understand how a landlord who is in business for over a decade could risk such severe breaches of safety regulations. She said that the defendant knew very well about the risks and did it only for financial gain in order to pay off his credit card debt.

PM Gordon Brown wants to restrict development of shared rental property

Are more troubles on the UK’s rental market on the horizon? A plan announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown aims to restrict the development of new shared rental properties in the nation. One outcome of this plan could be even less affordable homes, leading to even more problems among landlords and tenants in the United Kingdom. 

British Housing and Planning Minister John Healey said that he will soon present plans for new legislation requiring all landlords renting out shared housing to three or more tenants who live in the same rental unit. Many see such a new law as detrimental for the British rental business sector.

The UK sees an increase in interest in shared rental housing for some time already. This is an attractive option especially in the major cities such as London where young people are rarely able to rent out property on their own due to high rental prices. Shared rentals have always been attractive for those on a budget. But now the government may restrict the supply of these properties and thus limit the options available for many people. This comes at the same time as councils all over the nation have difficulties providing social housing for those on low incomes. Analysts see this new law as having the potential to make the situation on the British housing market even worse.

One of the reason given for those new measures would be the problem of anti-social landlord behaviour in some major British cities. With the new law, landlords first need to seek permission before they can rent out shared housing. The government is furthermore thinking about other restrictions, such as new licensing schemes for the buy-to-let sector.

Landlords in the UK Facing Tough Times

According to one leading British insurance provider, landlords in the UK can expect tough times ahead of them. As one consequence of tomorrow’s emergency Budget, landlords are cautioned to be prepared for problems that could arise in the near future.

One reason for the stony road landlords will be facing is the prospect of higher capital gains tax (CGT) on second homes and rental properties, according to the British insurance firm. Another problem on the horizon for those who let property will be the rise in VAT that is expected to increase costs all over the United Kingdom. The higher VAT will bring with it increased costs for landlords that will lead to a vast range of higher cost, from letting agency fees to home maintenance costs and those for equipment.

Due to the still poor economic climate and high unemployment rates in the nation, more rent arrears are to be expected as well which could seriously effect buy-to-let investors that depend on being able to pay off their home loans on time .
The firm’s spokesperson Philip Suter advises landlords to insure against potential rent arrears: “In a weak economic climate where unemployment rates are climbing, landlords cannot just blindly rely on their tenants that rental payments will always be on time. This is in particular important if rent payments are the main source of the landlord’s income. Landlords must protect themselves and have measures in place to cover times when tenants will be unable to pay”.