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Tenant referencing increasingly common

This article was first published on the Total Landlord Insurance website. Collecting references from tenants’ former landlords could be a good way for owners of buy-to-let properties to avoid having to claim on their let home insurance. Getting reliable references will give the property owner peace of mind that their tenants pay rent on time and are unlikely to damage the property – something which could lead to landlord contents insurance claims. According to one UK letting agency, there has been a significant rise in the number of landlords seeking references for tenants. James Davis, chief executive at Upad, said: “There is a growth in the referencing of tenants. It has grown massively. Landlords are wanting to cover themselves should a tenant default for some reason or get into difficulties.” He said that one of the main concerns landlords have is that the tenant will be unable to pay their rent and so are checking their employment status as well as contacting former landlords. Indeed, many buy-to-let property owners are collecting references from two former landlords, rather than just one. “What we are also seeing more of is landlords wanting a reference from not just the last landlord, but the one before […]

Hurricane Katia highlights threat of weather to property

This article was first published on the Total Landlord Insurance website. The high winds seen in much of the UK recently as the country caught the tail end of Hurricane Katia has highlighted the need for landlord buildings insurance to fund the cost of repairing damage caused by the weather. Winds hit 80mph in parts of Britain on Monday (September 12th), with the North and West regions among the worst hit as the storm crossed the Atlantic. The Daily Express reports that the British Association of Insurers has estimated that the damage to property caused by the hurricane could run into “tens of millions of pounds”. This could motivate those without adequate landlord housing insurance that escaped the worst of the storm to seek comprehensive cover, as they might not be so lucky next time. However, there are a number of additional steps that landlords and private homeowners can take to help minimise the effects of bad weather on their property. Santander has published a number of tips to help property owners prepare for storms. These include general maintenance tasks, such as regularly checking for loose tiles, corroded nails and weak mortar joints on roofs, crumbling brickwork on chimneys or leaning roof […]

Landlords – Tenants predict rents will continue to rise

This article first featured on the Total Landlord Insurance website. More landlords could be looking to take out let home insurance over the coming months as investors seek to take advantage of rising demand from tenants. According to the latest Consumer Rental Forecast from property portal Rightmove, demand for rented accommodation continues to outstrip supply, resulting in higher rental yields for landlords, reports. It found that, based on Rightmove’s statistics on rental search activity versus available stock, there is more than twice as much demand for 12 per cent fewer properties, when compared with April 2009. Furthermore, many tenants now expect the resulting rise in average rents to continue over the coming months. The proportion of those expecting rents to be higher in 12 months from now is 53 per cent, the survey found. This includes 17 per cent that predict rents will be more than ten per cent higher. Both figures are the highest Rightmove has recorded in the last two years of the survey. In addition, half of tenants were forecasting rental price stability in the third quarter of 2009, but now just a third hold this view. While this is putting increasing pressure on tenants’ finances, it is benefitting […]

A Comprehensive Guide to the Furniture and Furnishings …

This article originally appeared on LOFT Interiors. The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 1 (as amended in 1989 2 and 1993 3 ) set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. This guide, which has been prepared in consultation with the Local Authorities Coordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards and the Institute of Trading Standards Administration, is intended to help suppliers of these products understand how the new Regulations affect them. It is not an authoritative interpretation of the Regulations, which is a matter for the courts. The guide explains the requirements in general terms, but it does not cover all the details. You should refer to the Regulations themselves for a full statement of the requirements. Copies of the Regulations can be obtained from The Stationery Office Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT, or through The Stationery Office bookshops. Statutory Instrument 1988/No. 1324, The Stationery Office Ltd £1.90 net Statutory Instrument 1989/No. 2358, The Stationery Office Ltd £1.35 net Statutory Instrument 1993/No. 207, The Stationery Office Ltd £0.65 net Contents Product ranges covered Suppliers affected Furniture provided by way of a statutory function Exemptions What suppliers need […]

Furnished or Unfurnished?

This article originally appeared on LOFT Interiors. Furnishing a property does not absolutely guarantee that you will be able to charge more rent for it. In most cases you will be able to, but the difference is not as much on a monthly basis as you might expect. Having said that, some exclusive properties will almost be required to be furnished to an exceptional standard. As a rule of thumb, tenants usually prefer smaller properties such as one or two bedroom flats to be furnished, whilst larger houses, which attract families who probably already have furniture, are in greater demand when let unfurnished. But you always get exceptions to the norm, and you will eventually be able to find tenants for unfurnished small properties and furnished large properties. Legally there is no difference in the type of tenancy agreement. Unfurnished An unfurnished property will have only the bare minimum. This must normally include carpets or other floor coverings, curtains and white goods such as a fridge and freezer, oven and possibly a washing machine. You won’t get beds, lounge furniture or much else in an unfurnished property apart from the things already mentioned. With an unfurnished property, you will not […]

Why Furnish Your Property

This post originally appeared on LOFT Interiors. Maximise your return – Furnish your property! Many first time buyers are now being faced with having to find unrealistic deposits to get onto the property ladder, this is forcing many of them to rent. Consequently, the UK lettings market is buoyant as demand begins to outstrip supply. This, coupled with many major property developers “moth balling” their plans to build until the market picks up, further fuels the lack of new property stock coming onto the market. High demand for rental property is music to property investor and landlord’s ears, as many reap both the benefits of the low interest rates and the lack of rental stock helping to push up rents. Landlords should be looking to take advantage of the current situation and maximise their return on investment. Furnishing your property is one way to help maximise your rental income. First impressions count for everything, it’s vital your property looks its best for prospective tenants. Maximising your property’s potential before viewings begin will give you the best chance of a quick tenancy and help to achieve maximum rent. A recent survey by letting agency, Leaders, found that 38% of tenants felt the […]

Why Use Furniture Packages

This post originally appeared on the LOFT Interiors Blog Furnishing a property, whether a one off for a first time buyer or owner occupier, or a regular occurrence for a professional property investor or developer, furniture delivery, assembly, installation and staging can be a very complex, frustrating and long winded process. From a landlords point of view there are many aspects to consider. The furniture must be “in tune” with your target audience and rental evaluation. The general style and colour scheme of your furnishings can’t be too offensive but at the same time can’t too boring either. The furniture must be practical and durable, yet remain stylish and contemporary. If this isn’t enough to think about, pounding the streets, searching different furniture stores hoping to buy each individual item of furniture for a knock down price could take weeks. If the furniture store miraculously has stock of the item(s) you require, it could take up to six weeks before the item(s) can bed delivered. Once a delivery date is agreed it’s likely you will be waiting at home all day your goods to turn up. If you are collecting your furniture flat packed, after hiring a van and carrying […]

Student landlords shrug off tuition fee worries

Britain’s biggest student landlord is on course for rental growth as demand for university accommodation is surging despite worries about increased tuition fees. Bed space reservations for the next academic year hit 73% of available occupancy – up from 62% in March and slightly ahead of the May 2010 level of 71%. In a trading statement for March 2 until May 18, the company said rental growth is expected to rise by 3% – 4% for the next academic year. Unite is set to deliver more 4,500 student rooms across the country over the next three years, giving the firm a capacity of around 42,000 bed spaces. The company also has an agreement with the London Olympic Games organisers to provide 3,600 rooms for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Unite said: “Applications to study at UK Universities are 2.1% above 2010/11 levels indicating that, with no increase in funded places, 210,000 applicants will not obtain a place at University this year, which underlines the continued strength of demand for places. “With the introduction of the higher tuition fees in 2012 and approximately 70% of Universities indicating they will set their fees at or above £8,500, we are anticipating a reduction […]

Rising rents rocket back to record high

Rents have recovered to match their record high as the lack of mortgages pushes would-be homebuyers to rent property. With average rents hitting £692 per month in England and Wales, landlords are expecting income to rise to new peaks for the rest of the year. The Council of Mortgage Lenders, speaking for all the UK’s major banks and building societies, has already stated lending is likely to remain restricted for several months. Year-on-year, rents are up 4.4% and yields are increasing as well – up to 5.1% as rents outperform house prices. David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “The rental market is heating up as thousands of would-be tenants have taken advantage of the weather and long weekends to hunt for new rental homes. “Even a slightly stronger supply of property has failed to cool rental inflation as landlords take advantage of the growing number of mortgage products available. Competition is fierce and tenants are paying a premium to secure properties. The average landlord is charging nearly £30 more a month than a year ago, and the rate of increase is unlikely to tail off as lending to first-time buyers remains subdued and demand for rental homes […]