Quarter of households will be private renters by 2021

According to new research, the proportion of households living in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) will rise to 24% over the next four years.

The Knight Frank Multihousing Report has suggested that some 5.79 million households will be private renters by the end of 2021.

The survey of over 10,000 tenants revealed that 68% expect to still be living in the PRS in three years’ time.

The young professional demographic, 25-34-year-olds, make up the largest proportion of private renters.

The biggest concerns for tenants are affordability, location and then the rental property itself.

Tim Hyatt, head of residential lettings at Knight Frank, said:

The flexibility that renting offers has reinforced its popularity as both a sensible and accepted solution for young couples without children and those living on their own but also highlights an expected rise in older households over the next five years.

The number of people renting out of choice rather than due to affordability of ownership constraints is an interesting indicator of how the market will continue to thrive in terms of tenant demand.

Institutional investment in the PRS is set to rise to £70 billion over the next five years, according to the research. The changes in recent years, including the 3% stamp duty surcharge and the restriction of BTL mortgage interest tax relief, have made institutional, large scale investment in the PRS more appealing.

If you are currently a landlord or are looking to invest in a rental property, please contact our Lettings Hub and find out how we are committed to getting you the best rental value for your property.

Almost half of BTL landlords are looking to expand their portfolios

Almost half of buy-to-let landlords are looking to expand their property portfolios, according to a new poll.

The Mortgages for Business’ Property Investor Survey revealed that, despite the existing phasing out of mortgage tax relief and the introduction of the 3% stamp duty surcharge last year for those acquiring an additional home, including a buy-to-let property, 48% of landlords are currently looking to add to their portfolios.

This figure is up from 45% in November and 41% a year ago.

The study, which was carried out over a two-week period last month, had landlords answering questions about their portfolios.

Steve Olejnik, chief operating officer of Mortgages for Business, said:

“Although we expect buy-to-let lending to reduce somewhat this year, these results demonstrate that landlords are a resilient bunch, capable of adapting their investment strategies to successfully accommodate the new fiscal and regulatory landscape.”

The research found that 62% of landlords have been adapting to the changing environment by consulting tax advisers in regards to recent tax amendments and 42% of investors are currently opting for longer fixed-term mortgages.

He added:

“Incorporation is becoming a standard practice and the move towards five year fixed rates allows landlords to maximise their borrowing options.”

If you are looking to invest in the North Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield or South Staffordshire areas, please contact our dedicated Lettings Hub to start your property journey with Paul Carr Residential Lettings.

Landlords – are you interested in appearing on TV?

Are you a landlord? Do you own 10 or more properties?

Boundless Productions, the makers of Grand Designs and Escape to the Country, are making a documentary series for BBC1 and are looking to feature landlords/property investors at the top of their game.

They would like to show how landlords grew their property business and what role as a successful landlord they now have in the ever increasing rental market.

As a way of exploring how the rental market is changing, each landlord will spend a week as a tenant.

Can you remember being a renter?  How have things changes since you were last renting? Now tenants are renting for longer, how have their needs and expectations changed? Could seeing things from the other side help improve your business?

Filming in soon and the production company are looking for a number of landlords to take part. Applications are open to all.

If you would like to find out more, email the production company at:
laura.neal@boundlessproductions.tv.

Significant increase in first-time investors in buy-to-let sector

A new report has stated that there has been a significant increase in the number of first-time investors in the buy-to-let sector over the past year.

This is despite various tax changes, political and economic uncertainty and tougher mortgage lending conditions.

Buy-to-let specialist, Sequre Property Investment, revealed that new investors entering the market accounted for 61% of their property sales in the 12 months to March 2017, up 15% year-on-year.

Over a quarter, 26%, of those surveyed stated the they had chosen to invest in the buy-to-let market in hopes of generating a secondary income, 23% were doing it for retirement, 18% wanted to start their own property portfolio and 14% had opted to invest for inheritance purposes.

Secure Property Investment reported a 14.8% increase in overall sales over the past 12 months despite the introduction of the 3% stamp duty surcharge on additional properties, which came into force in April 2016, and the reduction in mortgage interest relief. The mortgage interest relief is being phased in from now until 2010.

Graham Davidson, Managing Director at Sequre Property Investment, said:

It’s clear that many investors and landlords remain undeterred from investing in property and are buying wisely to mitigate the changes.

Investors had over a year to prepare for the stamp duty changes and were also given plenty of time to adjust to the revised stance on tax relief, however the level of enquiries we’re receiving are at an all-time-high.

He continued:

Low mortgage rates and rising house prices have both resulted in favourable market conditions for landlords. Savvy investors understand that purchasing buy-to-let property which produces strong yield returns from the rental income is crucial, as is choosing the right property type and location.

A shortage of housing supply in many large cities has continued to keep rental demand high, and these factors are all key attributes of a successful buy to let investment which many novice investors have been keen to take advantage of.

Buy-to-let property in central locations with high yields and great scope for capital growth results in investors continuing to make a sizable profit even with additional tax payable.

How do you store your belongings when you rent out your property?

So, you have decided to rent out your property. What do you do with all your belongings (if you aren’t moving them to another property)?

❏    List the items you plan to store
(Your storage company should be able to advise on the size of space you require. If storing the entire contents of your property, you just need to advise the size, i.e. a large/small three bed house, etc.)

❏    Work out when you will need to put your stuff into storage
(You can take it out when it suits you. Most self storage companies only ask for seven days notice when you want to leave.)

❏    Decide how you will get your goods to the storage facility
(All good self storage companies will be able to recommend a local removal company)

❏    Will you need access outside the reception opening hours?
(If so, find out when these are and when you can get access outside of these times. Check your storage company opens at convenient times, e.g. Sunday.)

❏    Do you need any packing materials?

❏    Check the storage facilities have the following security:

Individually alarmed rooms
24 hour CCTV with external monitoring
Staff onsite 7 days a week
Secure perimeter fencing with electronic gates
Pin code access
Well lit corridors and intercom to the reception

Top tips for renting a property

The private rental sector of the UK property market has grown dramatically since the late 1990’s and the growth is predicted to continue.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 36% of households in England and Wales were rented rather than owner-occupied in 2011.

Being a tenant is widely accepted as a viable alternative to home ownership, particularly among those who may not yet be willing or able to consider buying a permanent home. Renting a property should be an enjoyable experience and for those who are new to the process, On The Market have put together the following top tips for renting a property.

Preparing your finances
Decide how much you can reasonably afford to pay in rent each month. Take into account your general costs of living and the fact that you will be paying Council Tax as well as fuel bills, contents insurance, TV licence and broadband. In addition, you will need to budget at least six weeks’ rent as the amount to be put down as security deposit for the length of the tenancy.

Finding a suitable property to rent
Search for properties in areas that you want to live in and create a shortlist of potentials to go and look at. Remember that the rental market is usually fast-moving and that good properties in popular areas don’t stay on the market for very long. If you see something that may suit your needs, get your skates on and quickly go and see it. Get in touch with the letting agents and register to receive alerts when new places come available. Many letting agents belong to industry bodies such as the ARLA Propertymark (formally the Association of Residential Lettings Agents) or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). This can provide some peace of mind to tenants that they will be dealt with in a professional manner.

Asking questions
When you find a property that you would like to rent, you will most probably have read about it online or in an agent’s printed details. You will have seen only basic information, so if there is anything that is unclear or not stated don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, check who is responsible for maintaining the garden, and whether there are any restrictions concerning pets or smoking in the premises. If you clear such questions at the earliest stage you won’t waste money applying to rent an unsuitable property. Don’t hesitate to ask the letting agent for a list of all the charges that you may incur throughout the process of applying to rent the property.

The tenancy agreement
Assuming you pass the checks and referencing process, the agent will draw up an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement for signing by you and the landlord. Read the agreement very carefully before signing and if you are unsure of anything don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. The tenancy agreement is a legal document and binds you and the landlord to the terms within it. Make sure they are in accordance with your understanding.

The deposit
You will be required to pay a security deposit that will be held by the agent on behalf of the landlord for the duration of the tenancy. Its purpose is to provide the landlord with compensation if you damage the property or its contents. Fair wear and tear is excluded from these dilapidations. All deposits in assured shorthold tenancies must be registered with one of the government-approved tenancy deposit schemes that guarantees no-one can run off with the money. The deposit scheme will also provide a dispute resolution service if, at the end of the tenancy, you cannot agree the amount charged by the landlord or their agent for the dilapidations.

Inventories
Even if the property is being let unfurnished, it is really important to have a properly prepared and comprehensively detailed inventory, which is carefully reviewed and signed by tenant and landlord. It will list any existing faults in the property such as areas of damaged decoration, marks on carpets or chips in bath enamel. This ensures that when the dilapidations are assessed at the end of the tenancy you will not be charged for those that were in the property when you took it over. A good inventory will include photographs of such faults.

Paying the rent
You will probably be paying the monthly rent by standing order to the landlord or their agent. Always ensure that rent is paid on time and in full. Non-payment of rent is a serious matter that can end up in court. If there is any problem with the property, do not withhold payment of the rent. Such an action is guaranteed to make resolution all the more difficult and puts you in breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement. It can also show up in future referencing checks and might cause problems if you come to rent another property.

At the end of the tenancy
When the tenancy period is nearing its end, you can ask if the landlord will agree to renew the tenancy (the amount of the rent may change and there may be some administration charges to pay) or you can leave the property. Arrange to move out by the agreed time on the agreed day. Make sure the property is clean and tidy and in at least the same condition as when you moved in. On the moving day, the inventory should be checked at the property by the landlord or their agent, with you in attendance, and it should be signed off by you as correct before you vacate. Take a note of the meter readings for gas and electricity and apply for final billing. Don’t forget to arrange with Royal Mail to redirect mail to your new address (ensure the redirection is specifically for mail in your name).

Repaying your deposit
Shortly after you move out, you will receive an account from the landlord or their agent detailing the charges for dilapidations, if any, that you agreed when the inventory was reviewed during the check-out. Providing you agree the amounts, the balance of your deposit should be returned without delay.

If you are looking to rent in the North Birmingham area, please call our Lettings Hub on 0121 308 7676 to start your rental journey with Paul Carr Residential Lettings.

We are committed to making the application process and your tenancy as stress free as possible.

Top 20 Must-Have features revealed

New research has highlighted the Top 20 Must-Have features that would encourage people to purchase a seller’s property. Are these the same when looking at renting a property?

Can you guess what they are? Here is the full list:

  1. Central heating
  2. Double glazing
  3. A garden
  4. Secure doors and windows
  5. Driveway or dedicated parking space
  6. Plenty of electrical sockets
  7. Local shops and amenities
  8. A good, reliable broadband connection strong enough to stream TV and films.
  9. Friendly neighbours
  10. At least 2 toilets
  11. A bath
  12. A good energy efficiency rating
  13. A new boiler/central heating system
  14. A reliable, clear mobile phone signal.
  15. A shower cubicle
  16. A garage
  17. Cavity wall insulation
  18. A land line telephone
  19. A living room big enough for a large, flat screen television.
  20. A dining room

The research shows that several must-haves of the past, including period features and conservatories, didn’t make the list. What’s more, only 13% of participants indicated that they felt highly rated schools to be a must-have property feature.

The survey spokesman stated:‘We found that many potential buyers are prioritising efficiency, security and connectivity over aesthetic features.’

This suggests that modern buyers are buying with their heads rather than their hearts and that investing in things like a new boiler, additional electrical sockets or modernising home insulation could be a smarter investment than traditional selling points.

He continued:

It is surprising to see previous must-haves such as good schools and conservatories fail to make the top 20.

However, our research shows that buyers are becoming more financially savvy and are willing to make compromises on the finer details of a property to keep costs down and avoid expensive work in the future.

Do you agree with the list? What would be your number one Must-Have? Let us know in the comments.

Politicians must vote for housing

Principal of Paul Carr Estate Agents, Paul Carr, looks ahead to the 2017 General Election and an often ignored – but vitally important – area of policy.

No doubt Brexit, the economy and the NHS will dominate the 2017 General Election. Energy, education and defence should also get a strong look-in while the devolved governments will be trying to get as much air time as possible.

But do spare a thought for housing, as, on the evidence of the recent past, it doesn’t look as if any political party will.

Over the past nineteen hearts, and during the tenure of four Prime Ministers – Blair, Brown, Cameron and May – there have been no fewer than fourteen housing ministers.

This post seems to have become a stepping-stone for ministers who are either on an upwardly mobile career path or heading in the opposite direction into the political wilderness. That such an important part of our daily lives can be dealt with in such a perfunctory way seems short sighted and negative to most outside Westminster.

Property is a national obsession yet the politicians seem to treat it as a short stop to somewhere else. Property also provides important jobs and revenue through allied industries such as furniture, flooring, lighting and decorating, and in the service sector – finance, legal, surveying, etc.

We need more housing in the UK and we need better housing. Yet successive governments have failed to plan, have failed to act and have failed to build the 250,000 new homes that we are estimated to need each year. They have failed to establish any sort of meaningful housing policy – indeed how could there be a meaningful one with so many different housing ministers? By contrast, in the same nineteen-year period, there have been only seven Home Secretary’s.

Too few new homes being built creates greater demand for the properties that are already part of the ageing national estate. Strong demand and insufficient supply inevitably means rising property prices. The lack of any cohesive housing policies over two decades has not just added to the housing problem but has helped create it.

No market likes uncertainty and for the fourth year in succession, we have an important election which will bring fresh uncertainty. Brexit will rumble on for several years yet, adding to this uneasiness. But we hope that whichever party prevails on June 8th, the new Prime Minister will take his or her housing ministry more seriously.

We need a committed housing minister prepared to stay in the job for more than sixteen months. We also hope that the new housing minister will not use housing as another easy way to create revenue without first thinking through the implications a higher rate of tax will have on the property market as a whole, and our lives as citizens – after all, we all have to live somewhere.

What if ‘Friends’ had been set in Birmingham?

What if ‘Friends’ had been set in Birmingham …

1. The opening credits would be set in Victoria Square
2. Central Perk would just be another Costa branch
3. Or more likely, just a pub.
4. They’d all live in unaffordable flats in The Mailbox
5. Except Phoebe, who’d live in Nechells.
6. Instead of “How you doin’?”, Joey would say “Alright bab?”.
7. And he’d be more into balti than pizza
8. He’d be a regular cast member on Doctors!
9. Which would lead to him being nominated for an award by The Midlands Royal Television Society. He’d lose, ungracefully.
10. He’d then volunteer to host the BBC’s Children in Need, where he’d end up making a small appearance reading out a couple of local donations from Birmingham.
11. Rachel would work in Selfridges
12. Where she’s take up vaping to try and get close to her boss
13. Monica would work at Adam’s or Purnell’s
14. Or anywhere that was impossible to book a table or find parking
15. Monica’s homeware obsession would be fuelled by PROVIDE
16. Paul the Wine Guy’s nickname would be explained by him having worked at Loki
17. And Pete would have joined Birmingham Wrestling Club
18. Ross would work in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The cast of TV series Friends
19. And lecture at BCU
20. Where he’d get into a relationship with a fresher
21. His sandwich rage would have been justified because it was a Philpotts special
22. Ross’ sofa would be from the neverending DFS sale
23. Ross would start dating someone from Coventry but fall asleep on the train and end up in London
24. Chandler and Joey would lose Ben on the Number 11 Bus
25. And still no one would know what Chandler did for a living
26. Ross, Chandler, and Joey would be frequent visitors to Villa park, where Ross would be smacked in the face by a stray football.
27. Phoebe would drive an Uber by night
28. And work at the spa in the Cube during the day
29. Phoebe would apply for Britain’s Got Talent when they’re auditioning in Birmingham
30. Which would result in “Smelly Cat” becoming a viral hit on YouTube
31. Phoebe’s wedding wouldn’t have taken place in the snow because it never snows in Birmingham
32. There would be a lot more swearing
33. Instead of taking a trip to Barbados, the group would travel to Magaluf.
34. Monica and Chandler would eventually buy a big house in Sutton Coldfield
35. Ross would be able to stop Rachel getting on the plane because there’s only one airport in Birmingham
36. But in reality he’d get horribly lost in the confusing car park and she’d end up in Paris after all

Thanks to BuzzFeed for the laughs!

Tenant happiness on the rise due to longer rentals

A study of over 3,000 tenants has found that an increasing number of renters are very happy with their living situation.

The LSL Corporate Client Department’s 2017 Tenant Survey found that 32% of renters claim to be very happy, which is up from 28% last year.

A further 37% claimed that they are happy, up slightly from 36% in 2016.

The survey claims that the increase in satisfaction amongst tenant is due to a reduction in frustrations with maintenance, fees and restrictions.

The report also highlighted growth in the long-term rental market with 33% of tenants having rented for six years or longer, which is up from 29% in 2016.

Renters were split into four groups in the survey, namely, Younger Independents, Struggling Savers, Moving Up and Reconciled with Renting.

The Struggling Savers and Moving Up groups are more likely to be renting due to having a lack of deposit or have difficulty in getting a mortgage. This means they are less inclined to see renting as a lifestyle choice.

The Young Independents and Reconciled with Renting groups are, on the other hand, more likely to appreciate the flexibility that renting offers them.

Conditions of the rental property and value for money were the two most important deal breakers for the tenants surveyed. These were followed by good communication with landlords/letting agents and the overall quality of the landlord.

If you are thinking of becoming a landlord, 28% of tenants said that they would pay more rent if they were allowed to keep pets and 21% said they would pay more for high speed internet. Points to think over!

Ian Fletcher, director of policy (Real Estate) at the British Property Federation said:

“The results show that the vast majority of the sector’s customers are happy but there is no room for complacency. The rental sector’s customer base is changing, for example with far more families, and what customers want is changing too.”

He continued:

“The private rented sector can’t divorce itself from these wider social, economic and technological changes and the impact that is having on how people want to lead their lives.”

If you are looking to rent a property or are looking to become a landlord, please contact our Residential Lettings team to find out about our with you every step of the way personal service.