Browsing all articles from September, 2021

CEO of Landlord Sales Agency explains why there’s just three months left to sell your property portfolios and HMOs at record high prices before Christmas

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Over the last few months, landlords across the country have been contacting us at The Landlord Sales Agency to sell their HMO’s and portfolios, and there’s good reason. This last two years since the lockdown, house prices shot up to market highs that happen only once every 7 years

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BBC: Covid eviction rules allowed ‘terrible tenants to stay put’ costing landlords thousands

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The BBC has claimed that the Covid possession restrictions due to end  tomorrow have enabled a lot of ‘terrible tenants who otherwise might have been evicted to stay put’.

Its Radio 4 You and Yours programme featured a landlord called Graham who is now owed £13,000 in rent arrears after his tenant reduced and then delayed her rent payments as soon as the more relaxed approach to evictions was introduced by the government 18 months ago.

He related the psychological stress of not knowing whether he was going to get any income at all as his tenant refused to communicate about her arrears.

The most troubling of the Covid measures in England was to require landlords and letting agent to give six months’ notice before issuing an eviction notice, with exceptions only given for extreme rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

This six-month rule will now revert to the pre-Covid two months’ notice, something evictions expert Paul Shamplina, who was interviewed during the Your and Yours programme, reckons will prompt a surge of new eviction attempts by landlords in the coming weeks.

Evictions surge

He told the programme, which also interviewed a tenant facing eviction over £1,000 rent arrears, that evictions were already up by 43% year-on-year at his firm Landlord Action.

Shamplina also told the programme that many landlords had worked with tenants and offered either rent deferrals or reductions.

“Evicting a tenant should be a measure of last resort – a good tenant rarely turns into a bad one overnight,” said Shamplina.
But he said that, during his 30 years working with landlords and letting agents, he’s never seen rent arrears levels as high as they are at the moment.

“We have one case where a landlord is owed £144,000 in rent arrears, and many of our landlord clients are owed 12 months’ rent arrears with little prospect of getting that money back,” he added.

“Smaller portfolio landlords can’t be tenant ‘banks’ forever; at some point they have to cut their losses and find a new person who can pay the rent.”

Peter Tutton from debt charity StepChange (pictured) was also on the programme, said that his organisation had not seen the spike in rent arrears that other organisations predicted, but that nevertheless there is huge financial pressure on many households, the 200,000 at risk of losing their homes.

Listen to the programme.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – BBC: Covid eviction rules allowed ‘terrible tenants to stay put’ costing landlords thousands | LandlordZONE.

View Full Article: BBC: Covid eviction rules allowed ‘terrible tenants to stay put’ costing landlords thousands


INTERVEW: ‘Amateur landlords leaving is a chance to professionalise the sector’

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An ambivalent government and increasing red tape are prompting landlords to sell up – but the result could be a more professional sector, according to property expert and TV presenter Richard Blanco (pictured).

He points to the stamp duty holiday as another cause for the exodus but believes frustration around local authorities’ sweeping powers and the hoops that landlords must jump through is sometimes the final straw.

“Bewildering legislation including Article 4 directions and more licensing schemes are driving us bonkers,” he tells LandlordZONE.

“Councils go through the charade of consultation, and landlords either get angry or are just resigned to it. I’ve given up trying to campaign against them.”

Blanco says he has learned to be pragmatic and that while regulations have piled up, as a professional landlord, he just carries on as normal.

Professional landlords

“Maybe if some of the landlords who own one or two properties, the accidental landlords, leave the market it will leave more territory for the professional landlords,” he suggests.

The NRLA regional rep, who has a large portfolio across London, says while politicians don’t seem to care about landlords, the current government is neither helpful or unhelpful, and he’s hopeful new Housing Secretary Michael Gove might be less enthusiastic about pushing through the promised Renters’ Reform Bill.

However, Blanco insists he doesn’t want to be too gloomy and reckons many landlords are sitting on lots of capital growth; he’s holding onto his stock and starting to pay down some debt and advises that with rising house prices, savvy landlords need to time their purchases – and that now is not a great time to buy.

He adds: “For those of us running a professional business there’s lots to be optimistic about. We’ve still got low interest rates and they might not go up for another year.

“Rental prices and demand are recovering even in prime central London, and the worry that Brexit would affect the market doesn’t seem to have transpired, with people still arriving and looking for properties, such as those from Hong Kong and Afghanistan.”

Listen to the Richard Blanco Inside Property podcast.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – INTERVEW: ‘Amateur landlords leaving is a chance to professionalise the sector’ | LandlordZONE.

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How to save money and time when finding tenants

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Landlords who want to find tenants to rent their properties either end up spending large amounts of time, effort, or money – or all three.

But there are other options. So here are some choice tips for any landlord struggling to fill properties quickly and affordably.

Build an online presence

It may be tempting to just instruct a high street letting agency.

While this has proven beneficial time and time again it can also be expensive and, while one benefit is that agents can advertise properties both online and in their branch windows, it’s easy and inexpensive to achieve the same results yourself.

By utilising social media such as Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can attract and network new tenants without spending a penny.

Even starting a blog can work wonders for attracting tenants, who are much more likely to empathise with someone they know. Also, promoting yourself and your properties on social media is a great way to personalise your brand, making it more alluring and trustworthy.

It’s more intimidating to approach someone you know nothing about, after all. Also, being readily available via social media IM services means you’re less likely to miss out on prospective tenants! This benefit goes both ways, of course. For example, if someone responds to your property listing from a social media account, you can learn a little about them too.

For example, if someone responds from a blank profile with no name and information, it’s more likely to be a bot or fake account and therefore: a waste of time. If someone responds from a lively profile, it’s more likely to be genuine.

This can help massively to cut back on wasted time. You’ll be far less likely to entertain dummy offers and can focus on authentic hopeful tenants.

Align with an online platform

Clooper is one of several online platforms that come to mind. Clooper is a platform that connects landlords with prospective tenants. Clooper also automatically advertises your property on other platforms, such as Zoopla and Rightmove, for no additional charge.

You pay as you go, so if there are no prospective tenants, there is no fee!

Their developers have worked hard to match tenants from their existing tenant pool to your listings. Simply sign up, and let them do the rest. Clooper also allows you to keep your autonomy! You choose who to rent to, who to message, and are ultimately in charge throughout the process. Clooper is only there to help; to save you time and, of course, money.

Go paperless

As technology marches on, we march to keep up with it. Left-right and centre, successful businesses and brands are dropping the need for paper. However, being a landlord is a job that comes with its fair share of paperwork and responsibility. Efficiency is key to cut out excess time and focus on growth and attracting tenants. Paper checks are a big drag in this aspect.

You must keep them manually organised, ensure you don’t lose anything, worry about them getting lost in the post and more issues. Young professionals and students also may not be too keen on paper checks, preferring online, as they’ve grown up in a paperless world. This may result in you losing prospective clients.

It can be disconcerting to make payments online, however, as it does come with its risks if not done properly.

Fortunately, our previously mentioned partner Clooper could help, as they are one such platform that offers online payments. All payments are processed through a secure payment provider, meaning that your card or bank details, payments and backs transactions are processed with stringent security and care.

You can rest easy knowing your finances are in safe hands, all while saving time and keeping young clientele engaged by simply ditching paper.

Value your tenants

To summarise: attracting tenants is one thing, keeping them is another.

The most successful landlords do everything they can to supply tenants with what they need.

For example, if tenants have to constantly ask you to fix things in the property and you ignore them, you’re shooting yourself in both feet.

One, tenants will lose faith in you. Two, ignoring their concerns could lead to disasters, as with our earlier point about scheduling regular inspections. A tiny little water leak could be a mass of black mould if it is allowed to spread and fester. This could mean that these tenants would leave, and now you’re sitting with damaged empty property in your hands. Such a disaster would cost you time and money.

Satisfied tenants are also more likely to recommend you. If one of their friends is looking for a new home and you have one available, they could be directed to you by a loyal tenant.

A tenant that you trust can refer further trustworthy tenants, keeping your network fresh and full of reputable people. Uncaring and aloof landlords do not inspire loyalty.

Similarly, nightmare tenants don’t inspire reputable landlords to rent to them! Having a secure network of trusted individuals is greatly cost-effective in reducing your time spend networking for tenants and saving money running multiple advertisements for new tenants.

Contact Clooper today by leaving them a message here.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – How to save money and time when finding tenants | LandlordZONE.

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Annual house price growth remains in double figures

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The Nationwide House Price Index for September shows annual house price growth has eased back to 10.0%, from 11.0% in August with prices little changed month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors.

Wales and Northern Ireland were the strongest performing regions in the third quarter

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WARNING: 100,000 tenants to face rent arrears as triple whammy hits rented sector

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More than 100,000 low-income renters on Universal Credit in England will be at least two months behind on their rent after the £20 cut next week, says homelessness charity Crisis.

Following the end of the eviction ban, Crisis has warned that a further drop in income – the equivalent of £1,040 over a year – could lead to a surge in homelessness for thousands of people unless the plan is reversed.

It says the cut will hit struggling households amid rapidly soaring energy prices, a freeze on housing benefit which isn’t keeping up with rising rents in most parts of the country and the possibility of further redundancies in the wake of the government’s furlough scheme ending today.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes (pictured, below) says: “We know that when people have somewhere stable to live, they are in a better position to find work, build their careers and contribute to the economy as it re-opens. 

“Taking this vital lifeline away risks undermining all of this.  

“If we are truly serious about levelling up the country and rebuilding our economy so it works for everyone, then the UK government must change course and keep the £20 uplift so that people don’t needlessly lose their homes this winter and we have a fighting chance at recovery.”  

Crisis used government data from the Household Resilience Study which shows that 100,000 households on Universal Credit in England were in two or more months of arrears during November-December 2020.

It says given that these households typically do not have any savings to draw on, it assumes household arrears will not have been resolved.

Read more about the Universal Credit £20 cut.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – WARNING: 100,000 tenants to face rent arrears as triple whammy hits rented sector | LandlordZONE.

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BREAKING: Judge’s ruling ‘sets precedent’ for agents and landlords over tenancy fees

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A loophole in the Tenant Fees Act has been tightly closed after a letting agent was ordered to pay back £343 to a tenant because it could not prove the charge for moving in his replacement was out of the ordinary.

The First Tier Property Tribunal heard that Ludlow Thompson had taken £393 from Mr Brennan, the tenant of a shared house in Leighfield House, Hackney, after he left the property, to provide a new tenancy agreement naming the new tenant.

Mr Brennan claimed it was a prohibited payment under the Act – and the court agreed.

The agent told Mr Brennan that the costs included issuing replacement guidelines to the landlord and tenants, negotiating certain matters with the landlord, collecting rent and the deposit from the new tenant and providing advice and assistance on the return of the tenant’s deposit.

Run of the mill

The court ruled: “At no point has it made a case for this transaction being anything other than an ordinary, run of the mill example of tenant churn in shared rented housing.”

It said that to exceed the £50 upper limit under the Tenant Fees Act, “a landlord or letting must be able to point to something that makes the charge at least somewhat out of the ordinary run of similar transactions”.


Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme, says the case will set a precedent and help to clarify the situation for redress schemes in future disputes.

He tells LandlordZONE: “How can you demonstrate time and effort if it’s a fairly straightforward change of details? Everything has a cost but how much cost is involved in changing a name on a tenancy agreement and issuing paperwork?”

Read more about the tenant fees ban rules.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – BREAKING: Judge’s ruling ‘sets precedent’ for agents and landlords over tenancy fees | LandlordZONE.

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Top six secrets of attracting more tenants to your listing

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Landlords with attractive homes to rent often overlook the importance of putting up a well-presented and written listing.

No matter how great your place is or how superior your brick and mortar are, people usually see your online listing before viewing the house in the flesh or talking to you.

Here are six ways to make your residential rental property listings stand out.

1. The ‘Rule Of Five’

In most cases, tenants looking for a house or flat will search the internet which means that they only have the photographs on your listing to ensure if the house is what they are looking for.

But taking good photographs has science. Here are some points to keep in mind when taking your snaps.

Since there are usually one, two or three rooms in a house, flat or studio apartment, it would be good to take at least one high-definition picture of every room, including the kitchen and the bathroom(s). All in all, there should be at least five pictures uploaded on your listing that do not show the same space.

  • Corner angles

Taking pictures from the corners of the room makes the room look more spacious and shows the entrance to other rooms.

  • Blurred pictures

The best angles are not worth it if your pictures are a bit shaky. People skip the listings that show a blurred picture as the display picture.

  • Clean And bright

Make sure your room is cleaned before you take the pictures. Also, if the lighting is too bad or there is too much sunlight, the images will not come out clear.

  • Curb appeal

Take at least one picture from at a distance overlooking the driveway, the entrance to the house, or the side of the building to your flat. Even the trees and shops outside your property add value to your listing.

2. Share everything

When writing the description of your real estate rental property, don’t stop yourself from mentioning everything. It shows the tenant that you are genuine and have shared any problems or inconveniences that might occur during the period of stay.

An excellent way to write the description would be to map out the whole place from the entrance to the last room, giving a walkthrough to the tenant referring to the relevant pictures every step of the way. It will provide them with a clear view of how the place would really look.

3. Target tenants

Before putting up your listing, you should ask yourself: To whom should I be listing my house for rent?

Do you have a specific target market in mind? Like students who will have their classes in a college near your flat, or a family who is looking to move to your village, town or city because of a new job or tourists who would only rent out your house for a few days.

Once you have decided, you should write your description catered to the needs of your specified target market. You can mention how far public transportation is, how long you need to walk to your nearest supermarket, or how close you are to dining and entertainment facilities in your area. This information might attract your prospects and push them to browse all your pictures, making it easy for them to decide.

4. Update your property availability

It is one of the neglected tasks that bring down the searchability of your listing. You want to get rental listings displayed when the tenant is searching with filters on looking for available properties only. You will need to regularly update when someone moves in or out to make sure your listing is visible to people actively searching for a home.

5. Give answers to FAQs

Answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) in advance so that the tenant is well informed as it will save time for both of you.

Some FAQs include whether the property is furnished. If it is, specify what ‘furnished’ includes and excludes. Students may be concerned whether the property is student-friendly. Some families are worried about other people living on the same floor, how quiet or noisy the area is, or if it has a garden. Also, indicate clearly if smokers are allowed to rent the place or not. Some families may want to bring their pets along, so be sure to have a clear policy about that.

At ePropertys, you have the option of adding such specifications that can make it convenient for anyone to search for your house with the relevant filters.

6. Reviews and ratings

If possible, include the opinions and reviews of the people who have stayed with you in the past. It gives people a lot of confidence to go ahead and book their house in advance.

Using the tips above, ePropertys’ platform makes it convenient for you to put up a winning listing that would catch the eye of the right tenant. You have the freedom to use our facilities to fit your need and attract the right tenant for you!

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – Top six secrets of attracting more tenants to your listing | LandlordZONE.

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INTERVIEW: The young graduate building a student lettings market ‘disruptor’ city by city

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A young entrepreneur and recent graduate who recently launched a new kind of student lettings platform tells LandlordZONE that her business already has a presence in eight key UK cities and has plans to expand into another ten by the end of year.

Called HYBR – short for hibernate – it is the brainchild of 24-year-old former Bristol student Hannah Chappatte (pictured) who says she observed the ‘toxic’ relationship between letting agents, landlords and students and, during her final year, began building its platform and pitching to Bristol landlords.

“I noticed that students hated renting and they distrusted landlords, while landlords distrusted students, so I wanted to create something that would raise the standards of student renting by creating a win-win for all involved,” she says.

HYBR asks landlords to be involved in the running of their rented properties, although it does offer a full management service, but also hand-holds students who use its service with advice and support as they move into, and live within, their rented home.

“HYBR offers [tenants] around-the-clock customer support from former students who understand what they are going through,” she says.

“We offer a broad range of properties and prices that are tailored to the student market, so students only see properties relevant to them.” 

120 properties

The business already has 120 properties on its books in eight cities and, once it gains more investment, hopes to add another ten to the list by the end of the year, aided by 40 ‘ambassadors’ on the ground.

“So far the business has been bootstrapped with our profits and from winning several business competitions,” she says. “But we’re now talking to outside investors to help it expand.”

Chappatte says she launched HYBR because she noticed how landlords had only two options – pay very little to a self-management platform but do a lot of the work themselves, or pay a hefty commission to a letting agency to manage their property – with nothing in the middle.

“For landlords, we offer affordable, flexible packages with all the one-off services they could need at a fraction of the cost of agents, and we source tenants fast. We beat advertising portals through leveraging the use of social media and utilising our ambassador teams,” she adds.

It is currently operational in Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Gloucester, Lancaster, Lincoln, Liverpool and Sheffield.

Read more: The ultimate guide to student properties for landlords.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – INTERVIEW: The young graduate building a student lettings market ‘disruptor’ city by city | LandlordZONE.

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While city centre offices remain in the doldrums, other sectors hold out more promise

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According to a return to offices is seeing a boost in activity with footfall in central London and other UK large city centres outside rising by around 6.5 per cent. In some parts of central London dominated by offices this figure has reached almost 9 per cent.

However, in contrast to the London experience, many provincial and market towns across the UK, footfall has increased much more moderately at around 1.5 per cent as more workers remain home-working in the regions.

Voucher scheme

In Northern Ireland the Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, has announced the launch of a High Street Voucher Scheme to boost local high street businesses. It means that everyone aged 18 and over can apply for a £100 “spend local” card to use in shops before the end of November. Not surprisingly nearly 500,000 requests have been made for the scheme and the website used of applications was overloaded in the process.

Accordingly, it is easy to see why we welcome the High Street Voucher Scheme, which announced recently, with the objective of boosting local businesses. The £100 per head for the over 18s will be a welcome shot in the arm for the high street.

With the level of demand for commercial property generally reflecting the health of different sections in the economy, it is not difficult to see that prime city centre retailing is in the doldrums, with footfall in Belfast City centre down 19.1 per cent in August, which is ahead of the decline in the rest of the UK where falls were on average at 18 per cent.

The NI voucher scheme which will cost £145m and is designed to boost activity in businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, like non-essential retail and hospitality. High streets and town centres in NI were already facing a tough time before the pandemic began with the rise in online shopping. It is hoped the voucher scheme will encourage more people to go out to shops, which could help the economic recovery.

Drive-thru thriving

It’s an ill wind that blows no good, so while the high street has been suffering through the pandemic other sectors have gained traffic. One such is the drive-thru sector, offering convenient and fast way of picking up mainly food. Demand has increased considerably for these relatively safe car-based quick service solutions. You may have noticed the car queues at local Costas and McDonalds or you may even have joined them!

Other businesses in this sector have experienced the increase in business and many are now on the look-out for suitable sites for more outlets. It’s not only McDonalds and Costa, KFC, Greggs, Starbucks, and Tim Hortons are all now in competition for the best locations in this sector.

According to reports in the Irish News from Northern Ireland,

“There is considerable room for continued growth in this sector of the market, however, with many of the sites now occupied it will take innovative thinking on behalf of operators, developers and planners to keep the supply of opportunities going.”

Logistics and warehousing demand

It has been well known in the industry for some time that the warehousing sector has enjoyed a tremendous boost through throughout the Covid pandemic as the surge on online delivers means that warehousing space is essential for many retailers. Demand for these industrial style sheds in the right locations continues apace throughout the UK and in most cases outstrips supply.

An expert’s view

“With this traditional supply diminishing and rents rising, we will start to see some speculative warehousing being built with the emphasis on height and therefore volume for storage and distribution,” says Declan Flynn writing for the Irish News.

“We anticipate rents achievable in this sector to far exceed those for the traditional warehouse market. A notable entrant in this market is Amazon who having only just taken occupation of their 400,000 sq ft distribution centre in Belfast last year and have now revealed plans for a new 70,000 sq ft facility in Mahon Industrial Estate in Portadown, with a further requirement on the cards for the north west.

“Our general outlook for the commercial property market going forward is much more positive than it was this time last year when we were in the middle of lockdown. Transactions had ground to a halt and there was complete uncertainty over the job market, combined with Brexit,” says Mr Flynn.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – While city centre offices remain in the doldrums, other sectors hold out more promise | LandlordZONE.

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