2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for our blog, with lots of useful information, and we just wanted to say thank you to WordPress for making it all so easy to communicate with our customers.

2012 was the first year of our Blog, and we have learned a lot along the way. Please let us have your feedback on how we are doing and what you would like to see.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

 

What your agent does for you – Part 5 Feedback

The benefit of the feedback you get from your agent cannot be overestimated. Agents spend their days talking with tenants so they know exactly what tenants want and can quickly react to trends in the market. Fluctuations in the market occur for a number of reasons throughout the year, (which could be the subject of another blog) and a good agent is an excellent tool for measuring demand. This blog explores how best to utilise this valuable resource.

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Your agent should give you regular feedback on viewings at your property. Make time for them to do this for you, tell them what methods of contact you prefer and when you like to be contacted. Some landlords like to be called each time we visit and others prefer a quick email, some want a weekly roundup.

You can do your part by remaining receptive to what your agent is telling you. It is much easier for an agent to advise you if you are clear about what you are, and are not, prepared to consider in respect of tenants’ requests. These may include: removing or providing furnishings; negotiating on rent; agreeing move-in dates; and improving décor and maintaining the property.

It might help for you to have a best scenario in mind, and an idea of your lowest limits. For instance the table below shows what you would really want, but gives the agent an idea of what you might be able to accommodate if a tenant requests it. You don’t have to prepare it in such a formal way but it might help you to list them in a way that you find appropriate, and then discuss the points with your agent. Don’t forget to keep re-evaluating this throughout the process if things change.

Best Will accept Will not accept
Rent £1000 per month £900 per month Less than £880 per month
Professional tenant students with guarantor students without guarantor DSS tenants
Furnished as it is removing any furniture apart from the beds adding furniture or removing the beds
Décor as is Painting the living room and kitchen and external paintwork Painting any other areas or replacing windows/doors
Move in 1st December 2 week lead time More than a month lead time without increasing the rent

If you have laid out your wishes to your agent in this way they will still bring offers to you – indeed they are obliged to put offers forward, however they will have been able to negotiate ‘best terms’ offers with the prospective tenants based on your wishes, before approaching you. This should save a lot of time for you and the tenant, and allows us to act more efficiently as your agent.

See more in our series of Blogs on What your agent does for you

What your agent does for you – Part 1 Marketing

We like to blog in series – giving our clients information in bite sized pieces that they can easily digest. In our latest planned group of blogs we are going to look at the role that the agent plays in … Continue reading →

 

Investor Landlords need to know about HMOs – Part 1

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Contrasting examples of HMO properties in the pictures above – on the left a well-maintained and desirable shared house, on the right a house in Reading, converted to bedsits (but with no smoke alarms fitted) which was burnt-out in 2010.

As part of our ongoing policy to advise landlords on the rental market, we present the first in our series of blogs about HMOs – House in Multiple Occupation, and what this means to investor landlords.

House in Multiple Occupation
The definition of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) is described on the government website direct.gov.uk * “A property is an HMO if it is let as a main or only home to at least three tenants, who form more than one household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.”

(*NOTE – the direct.gov website has been extensively updated in 2012 to make it clearer to follow, and the description is now altered – follow the link above for the new wording but we think the old wording sums it up pretty succinctly, so we have left it in our update.)

A household can consist of a single person, couple, couple with children, relatives living together (including step-children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and foster children). It can also include carers, nanny, and au pairs.

HMOs can be contained in a house, flat or other converted building, they could be purpose-built or places like guest houses that are let out during the closed season, or hostels. Bedsits which share kitchens and bathrooms also qualify as HMOs.

If you are in doubt about whether the property you own is a HMO it is best to contact your local council to discuss the accommodation and to get an opinion on whether it does need to be classified as an HMO.

In certain circumstances an HMO must be licenced by the local authority and this varies from area to area, the local council will be able to give you more information on this. You will always need a licence where your property:

1) Has three or more stories

and

2) It is occupied by five or more people who form more than one household.

Market trends for Landlords with HMOs
Previous Labour governments set legislation in place to have all these properties registered with their local councils so that they can be monitored. With the private rented sector due to rise against the rate of property ownership the government are under pressure to ensure the rights of tenants are not compromised.

The current government is concerned to clamp down on landlords who do not comply with legislation regarding properties of multiple occupancy (HMO). This type of housing tends to hold the most vulnerable tenants – social housing, young people sharing, students, immigrants and people on low budgets. The result of this is that unscrupulous landlords have been known to ignore issues of basic safety.

As a landlord of a HMO property it is important to work within the legal guidelines. This makes sense from a business point of view, as well as a moral one. If properties are well-maintained landlords and their agents are more likely to find more discerning tenants, who in turn are more likely to take care of the property.

The better your property is looked after the more it is worth in capital terms. As HMOs can form a large number of the property in certain areas, keeping them in good condition benefits all the landlords by making their investment more desirable, and therefore increasingly profitable.

  • Landlords of sought-after properties can command the best rents within the price band
  • Landlords of popular properties will have more choice of which tenants to accept
  • Better maintained properties will suffer less void periods between lets

HMO property can be very profitable for landlords because they are usually housing more people per square foot of property space, and so can attract higher rental value returns on a cost:income ratio.

We are always happy to discuss investment potentials with purchasers and landlords, and your local Estate/Letting Agent is a good place to start if you are considering getting into this market.

Our second part in the series comes out here next week, but if you can’t wait please click through to part 2.

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Riley Marshall Blog

Specialising in lettings and property management in South East London including the likes of Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and surrounding areas

Riley Marshall is a dynamic letting agency which provides a personal, professional and considerate service which counters all the stereotypes within the industry. With pride and integrity as our driving principles we offer comprehensive services in lettings and property management in South East London and Docklands.

We welcome your comments on our posts.Riley Marshall