Right to Rent could impact those without a British passport

According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), almost 20% of British citizens could find it harder to access rental property.

The industry trade body surveyed over 900 landlords and reports that 44% of them said they are less likely to let homes to tenants without a British passport.

Currently 17% of British people do not own a passport and this means that gaining access to housing in the private sector may become more difficult for them.

The government’s Right to Rent scheme has been in operation since February 2016 and the RLA has been researching its impact.

Under this legislation, landlords, or letting agents acting on their behalf, are required to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants.

The survey found that over 50% of the participants are now less likely to consider letting to people who are currently living outside of the UK.

Also, 22% said that they are now less likely to let to EU nationals or those from the European Economic Area.

What are the biggest causes of deductions from rental deposits?

When renting out a property, most landlords – or their letting agents – opt to take a deposit from the tenant(s) prior to the tenancy starting.

Deposits offer a level of protection to landlords, meaning that, if the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement, they can them make appropriate deductions from the deposit.

Clear property damage, poor cleanliness or anything that is different from the property’s original state, which is easy to identify if there is an inventory management report and a schedule of condition in place at the start of the tenancy agreement, will enable the landlord or their agent to rightly off-set the compensation from the tenant’s deposit.

Research by interior specialists Hillarys, part of ongoing research into the habits of Britons and their attitudes towards renting, showed that top reasons that tenants were given for why they had lost part, or all, of their tenancy deposit.

Marks on the walls, carpet stains, the need for redecorations and mould were among the five most common reasons listed as to why tenants had had money deducted.

Broken furniture29%
Marks on walls24%
Carpet stains21%
Redecorations12%
Mould9%

Spokesperson for Hillarys, Tara Hill, said:

Security deposits are an unavoidable part of renting a property, and can be an essential way for landlords to deal with damage caused by tenants. But they can result in disputes and are a major cause of distrust among tenants.

Whilst there appears to be an issue around the lack of trust when related to deposit protection, according to the research, Paul Carr Residential Lettings use The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), which is run by The Dispute Service under a government awarded contract.

For further details in regards to The Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the guidelines Paul Carr Residential Lettings follow, please see our Tenant’s Guide.

ARLA and NAEA comment on the appointment of Alok Sharma as Housing and Planning Minister

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark (Association of Residential Letting Agents) and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents) comment on the appointment of the new Housing and Planning Minister.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark (Association of Residential Letting Agents) and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents)
Pictured, David Cox and Mark Hayward.

We would like to congratulate Alok Sharma on his appointment to Minister of State for Housing and Planning. We worked closely with the former administration to secure a number of key improvements to the industry including support for greater property transparency and more appropriate regulation through the introduction of Client Money Protection for letting agents.

However, more can be done and the Minister will have a lot in his in-tray as he arrives on his first day as long standing issues continue to impact the sector. We call on the Minister to build upon the underwhelming recommendations contained within the Housing White Paper and take forward a series of fundamental reforms to change the industry for the better. Demand continues to greatly outstrip supply and more appropriate regulation of the sector is vital if we are to improve the experience of people looking to rent and purchase a home.

The Government has a good opportunity at the Queens Speech to introduce a new and radical Housing Bill to address these significant concerns. The challenges are not insurmountable and we greatly look forward to working with the DCLG team to find solutions to these challenges in the months ahead.

Paul Carr Sales and Lettings are members of both the NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark.

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.