Browsing all articles from April, 2016

Home Staging for High Yield Rentals

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Being a landlord is a role that requires a multitude of different skills and abilities; to assume you are simply a property owner would be a naive attitude to take. You are responsible for what is soon to be somebody’s home and a home is far more than just bricks and mortar. A good landlord will consider the well-being of their prospective tenants as well as the pay cheque they receive at the end of each month. The purpose of this article is to inform and guide both current and future landlords on the leading and most cost effective ways to design and maintain your property to achieve maximum return on investment.

We understand how important it is to ensure a smooth, hassle-free let but a rushed job will do nobody any favours. Instead you should be aware of the following best practice guidelines for a seamless letting experience.  Research suggests that most viewers will form an opinion on a property within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving and as we all know, opinions are often a difficult thing to reverse. There is little time once that first impression has been made to attempt a second shot.

Utilise Technology to Your Advantage

We live in a digital world where affordable technology is at our fingertips and the nature of this means we demand answers and responses with far less patience than ever before. Resistance is futile; you just have to embrace it. Know your potential renters inside out and you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else.

In many instances the only free time your prospective tenants could have would be restricted to their daily commute, coffee and lunch breaks and perhaps if they aren’t rushing around attempting to be sociable, a brief search on their tablet of an evening.  90% of renters view potential properties online first and this is where the very first impressions are made. Long before you’ve put the cookies in the oven and lit the Yankee candles, your tenant-to-be has already decided if it’s worth viewing in person or not. If you wish to entice and engage your audience, make sure you are effectively marketing your property online. Once you make the online marketplace work for you, you gain a crucial advantage in a crowded space.

It pays to invest in professional photography because as well as your future tenants being online so are millions of what you should see as competitors. Since the Internet became a constant in everyday life, online marketing can be considered an essential component to all industries, not just property. Homes listed online with imagery have around 61 percent more views than those without and photos are your first impressions, generating interest at this earliest stage and tempting visitors to seek further details.

Understanding Home Staging

As a secondary phase in the letting process, home staging has grown in popularity over recent years. Duke University in North Carolina recently conducted a survey in order to determine the importance buyers and renters are currently placing on certain staging principles.  The participants rated these principles on a scale of 1 – 7 and interestingly, the highest outcome was at 6.5 for the removal of personal items, suggesting that the idea of a “lived-in” home isn’t actually what home seekers are searching for.

The bathroom was the most commonly cited problem area, with the removal of razors a particularly common failing along with unsightly toothbrushes and soaps being a turn-off. It appears such items are deemed far too personal and distracting to the property viewer when attempting to envision themselves within the space.  Executing the ‘personal’ touch can be a challenge but it’s certainly not one to shy away from. This is where home staging and professional landlord furniture packages are becoming increasingly important within the booming UK property market.

Telling a story also factored high on the priority list with a score of 5.03 (out of 7). Buyers and renters commented on the need to feel a homely presence, triggering emotional connections. This is especially important if your property targets young families. Busy parents will be sure to have comfort at the top of their needs when viewing both online and in person. Too many colours, too much furniture and an overbearing abundance of personal possessions will distract viewers – otherwise known as stimulus overload. When there is so much to see, we don’t see anything.

Working with a Home Stager

Similar to an interior decorator a home stager will know what’s current and on trend in the world of home décor. They should have an eye for detail and prioritise making your home viewer friendly, taking the weight off your shoulders in making your home presentable. Consider one less worry as extra time and energy on your hands for project managing. Every home has potential and this is the outlook landlords should be taking.

With the seemingly unending interest in property make-over TV shows, interior design is high on everyone’s priority list. Whether your property is looking to yield £500pcm or £5,000, know that expectations are always going to be incredibly high. To avoid having to field knock down offers on the price, you must compete by ensuring your property is presented as the best that it can be.

Ready to embark upon the home staging journey? A consultation will be the first port of call, and depending on which staging company you work with you can expect to pay between £50 – £75 per hour for this, although some do offer the initial meeting free of charge. A small property, depending on the cosmetic needs, would be a minimum spend of £500, however the average price spent on home staging is roughly £2,000. Remember it’s not their role to knock down walls and huge structural changes will need further assistance, however the more basic aspects such as new kitchen doors and a fresh lick of paint to the skirting boards are the sort of high impact areas you should expect to see actioned.

You are trying to sell a lifestyle so having a professional on board with you to assist on design elements and changes will save you both essential time in the long run and most importantly, money. As ever, do your research and arrange several ‘interview’ style meet ups with potential home stagers prior to picking one to ensure you are receiving the best service available. Take advantage of those offering free consultations for the initial stages. For more information on how to prepare your property for the ever changing market, see this essential guide to letting a property.

Article Courtesy of: Roomservice by CORT


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Last chance for the Landlord Law Conference in Manchester

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Last chance for the Landlord Law Conference in Manchester

The Landlord Law conference is a terrific training and social event with 5 hours CPD.  But if you want to attend you will need to book soon.

The event takes place on 12 May and places are going fast.

Why should you attend?

We have had a huge amount of legal change in the past year and many of you will be struggling to keep up with it all.  The Landlord Law Conference is a one day event designed to bring you bang up to date.

ALL our speakers are either qualified lawyers or professional trainers.  We have ten talks – all on legal issues such as section 21, tenancy deposit adjudications, disrepair, eviction hearings and fire safety.

Things you need to know as a landlord or letting agent.

The Conference will be held at the prestigious Hilton Hotel in Deansgate on the 12 May.  The full price is £210 (inclusive of VAT) but there are discounts for bulk bookings.

And where else would you find so many qualified and specialist landlord and tenant lawyers together in one room?  Ready to answer YOUR questions?

If you live outside the area, we have arranged a deal with Hotels Combined who will refund 10% of your hotel bill if you book through them (conference attendees only).

This is a very special event.  Delegates always enjoy our conferences – you learn a lot but it is not all hard work – they are also great events for networking and meeting like-minded people.
But don’t delay!  Book your place here now at


View Full Article: Last chance for the Landlord Law Conference in Manchester


Millennials Most Likely to Fall Victim to Rogue Landlords

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50% of people have admitted to living in unsatisfactory living conditions in rented properties

54% of 25-34 year olds have had their rented properties sold by landlords without notice

Figures published from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of people still renting in their thirties are at a record high. According to the latest English Housing Survey, the private rented sector has doubled in size since 2002.

As the popularity of renting continues to rise, a professional property buying company based in the UK has taken a survey to determine the public’s opinion on rental landlords and the current state of renting in 2016.

Since 2011, nearly 3,000 landlords have faced prosecution under the Housing Act 2004. In London alone, the data reveals 2,006 individuals and companies in the UK were fined a total of £3,000,000 for housing offences.

Open Property Group found that it is the millennial generation that have suffered the most from criminal landlords. Nearly all (90%) of millennials surveyed felt conned by misleading photos they had seen prior to renting the property and over half (62%) of the age group in ‘generation rent’ have had trouble retrieving their deposit back at the end of their tenancy.

In November 2015, The Guardian suggested millennials should ignore advice and stick to renting, however new survey results suggest they should think again. Shockingly, the majority (51%) of people aged 25-34 surveyed, had to take legal action against their landlords.

Figures provided by the Ministry of Justice show that the number of evictions is increasing year on year, rising by 53% since 2010. This is reflected in Open Property Group’s own findings, where over half (54%) of millennials surveyed felt that they had been unfairly evicted.

Jason Harris-Cohen, Director of Open Property Group, says:

“Thanks to Shelter Housing, there is a renewed focus on landlord prosecution with an additional £5 million to be shared out amongst councils to take action against landlords. The new funding is part of the Housing and Planning Bill; it is great news for tenants needing help to eliminate landlord issues and also provides better living conditions and support for all. We at Open Property Group are delighted by the new funding and, in response to these figures, will be providing help and advice guides on our website for struggling tenants in need.”

You can find more results from the survey here

Article Courtesy of: Open Property Group


View Full Article: Millennials Most Likely to Fall Victim to Rogue Landlords


Scotland’s Residential Rents Hit All Time High

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Shortly after the passing of the Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill in the Scottish Parliament, average rents in the country have hit an all time high according to the latest Quarterly Report from Citylets. Average asking rents in the Scottish PRS now stand at £767 per month, up 2.1% on the year. Competing forces of growth […]


View Full Article: Scotland’s Residential Rents Hit All Time High


Landlords up the ante in battle with HMRC

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Following the swinging tax changes introduced in the recent Chancellor’s budgets, landlords are looking to take their fight against the measures to the high court. Cherie Blair QC has agreed to represent the group of crowd funded campaigning landlords who have now launched the second phase of their campaign. This will challenge the government’s move […]


View Full Article: Landlords up the ante in battle with HMRC


Property panel experts to tackle landlords’ tax problems

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Following monumental changes in the residential property lettings industry in the recent budget, Nottingham will be playing host to one of the biggest ‘Ask the Experts’ events at the East Midlands Landlord & Letting Agent Expo on 5 May. East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) is hosting the FREE event at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel and […]


View Full Article: Property panel experts to tackle landlords’ tax problems


Scandal of empty homes at heart of RLA’s London campaign

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The scandal of ‘buy-to-leave’ investors denying Londoners the homes they need is at the heart of the RLA’s mayoral election campaign, with representatives lobbing candidates in the capital ahead of next week’s election.

Almost 57,000 homes in the capital thought to be lying empty and the RLA is in the city, demanding the next Mayor of London to use powers available to ensure they are brought back to the market – for sale either to landlords who want to offer properties to live in or would-be home owners.

According to an analysis by the accountants PwC, around 60 per cent of Londoners will be in private rented housing by 2025. The RLA is calling for the new Mayor to work positively with landlords to ensure that these homes are safe, legal and secure by encouraging good landlords to develop new homes.

Commenting, David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “With access to decent and affordable housing the number one issue in London, it is a scandal that so many homes lie empty as investors wait to sell them off for a profit.

“The next Mayor needs to use all the powers they have to stamp out this practice, and encourage good, decent landlords to provide the homes to rent Londoners need.”

The association has launched its own manifesto-  Landlords4London, outlining the key issues facing PRS landlords and how the successful candidate can support the sector, which is vital when it comes to housing London’s burgeoning population.

In addition to addressing buy-to-leave, London Campaigns Coordinator Ryan Buckley is now in the city lobbying the candidates on other issues the RLA believes should be priorities for the successful candidate including discouraging rent controls, encouraging better enforcement, boosting supply and introducing flexible tenancies.

He has held meetings with Sadiq Khan and Caroline Pidgeon’s campaign teams as well as representatives from across the London boroughs and will continue to campaign in the city post-election.

The RLA is robustly opposing any plans to introduce rent controls on the basis they will reduce the supply and quality of private rented accommodation, at the same time encouraging the successful candidate to look at better enforcing existing legislation to tackle criminal landlords.

Alan Ward, RLA Chairman said: “The Private Rented Sector is a vital provider of housing in the capital, with a huge shortfall in the social housing offer and spiralling house prices.

“After the hammering buy-to let landlords have taken at the hands of the chancellor we want the successful mayoral candidate to recognise the essential role these landlords play in tackling London’s housing crisis.”

To visit the RLA election website click here.

To read the Manifesto click here.


View Full Article: Scandal of empty homes at heart of RLA’s London campaign


Top Eight Places To Invest In London

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Where should you invest in property in 2016?


Crossrail – Europe’s largest infrastructure project – isn’t actually due to launch until 2018, but the new railway is already creating hotspots along its route. We expect property prices in Acton to have risen by up to 20% by the time the east-west line is complete.

A £50 billion high speed rail line (HS2) is also being built at nearby Old Oak Common, connecting the HS2 line to Crossrail and the Great Western Main line, and providing opportunity for regeneration of the area. This regeneration and infrastructure improvement will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the surrounding areas, and further push up prices in Acton.

Tottenham Hale

Tottenham Hale is fast becoming a first-time buyer haven. It is one of London’s most affordable areas, (a 1 bedroom property would cost around £300,000 or £1,400 per month), it’s being smartened up through regeneration, and the area is blessed with great transport links.

But the main reason Tottenham Hale is enjoying hotspot status is because it’s undergoing a transport revolution, with £110 million being invested in a new Tube, rail and bus station. Tottenham Hale is also on the preferred route for Crossrail 2, which if granted, could see property prices rise by a further 10%.


Archway is still relatively cheap when compared to its north London neighbours, but we expect prices to increase by at least 5% this year. This is because TFL have recently begun a £12.8m radical transformation on the area, removing the one-way system and replacing it safe cycle lanes, improved pedestrian crossings and a new public piazza.

King’s Cross

King’s Cross has transformed into a hub of commercial and cultural activity in recent years, due to considerable rejuvenation and a large number of investment projects taking place in the area by the station.

Property prices are beginning to reflect the area’s increasing popularity, and flats in the recently completed Plimsoll Building are selling upwards of £1,400 per square foot, which is a record high for the area. This is also having a positive ripple effect on the surrounding areas: Caledonian Road, Angel, and Bloomsbury.

There are still many opportunities to invest with a view to solid capital growth during the next 5-10 years as further projects are completed, including Google’s headquarters, the large Francis Crick Institute medical research centre and various other head offices for well-known brands such as New Look. We also anticipate that the demand from professional tenants for high quality housing in the local area will sky rocket as a result of the new jobs generated.

Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle is currently undergoing a £3 billion redevelopment, which will see the Heygate council estate and the eyesore shopping centre demolished to make way for 1,200 new homes and almost 2,500 new apartments and shops.

We expect property and rental prices to slowly increase in the area as a result of this regeneration, and we also expect the new luxury developments to attract a younger, more affluent demographic to the area.


Battersea is set to get the Tube, with two new stations planned to be built at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station by 2020. The longer-term intention is to extend the Northern line to Clapham Junction, which will further increase property prices in the area.

Nine Elms and the new build market in Battersea has taken a bit of a hit recently, possibly as a result of an influx of new builds being offered to the market at once. This is however having a positive outcome for pre-owned homes – specifically anything that’s older than 50 years. The investors who cannot afford the new build stock are buying up the older stock in anticipation of long-term capital growth in the area once the new build projects have been finished.

Despite Nine Elms taking a bit of a hit recently, nearby areas Oval and Stockwell have really benefited from being within close proximity to the regeneration zone. Both areas have fantastic transport links, and have recently seen an influx of new amenities in the form of shops, bars and cafes.


Streatham is affordable (especially compared to its expensive neighbours Clapham and Balham), plus it offers great transport links to London Victoria and good schools.

It’s for these reasons that homebuyers are being drawn to the area in large numbers, and property prices in the area are up 10% in the last 12 months. We expect prices to rise by at least 5% in 2016.

Streatham Hill is also fast-becoming a buy-to-let hotspot, and a landlord can expect a high yield of 4.4 per cent in the area. Check out the Portico rental yield map to get an indication of potential rental income at the click of a mouse.


Brixton first became popular because it was a cheap alternative to Clapham, but now both renters and homebuyers and are moving here because it’s a fantastic area in its own right. It’s one of the most gentrified places in the capital, jam packed with trendy bars, cafes and restaurants. The average price of a 1 bedroom property in Brixton now sits at £400,000, and we expect prices to rise by a further 5% this year.

Article Courtesy of: Portico


View Full Article: Top Eight Places To Invest In London


Call of the week – the problem with licensing

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The implementation of selective licensing has caused a massive headache for many landlords across the country, but few areas have had more migraines than London. This week’s case is a perfect example of how it can all go wrong for the landlord.
View Full Article: Call of the week – the problem with licensing


RLA victory on Immigration Bill

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Members of Parliament have approved measures that will give greater protection to landlords wanting to evict illegal immigrants.
Changes to the Immigration Bill proposed by the Government and approved yesterday will provide protection for landlords who take reasonable steps in an appropriate time frame to terminate tenancies of tenants in the country illegally.
View Full Article: RLA victory on Immigration Bill




April 2016
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