The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have recently revealed that 93% out of 8.5 million rental homes in the UK are not fit for disabled access, leaving at least 365,000 disabled people in unsuitable accommodation.

There is a pressing need for more accessible rental properties across the UK and the government is cracking down on landlords who do not make the necessary changes. However, this does mean that there is a large number of disabled tenants looking for appropriate housing.

From entry ramps to chair lifts, there are many ways to adapt a property for disabled access. Adapting a home and renting to disabled tenants could even open your property up to a wider range of potential renters.

Here, we look at ways to adapt your rental property so you can welcome a new target tenant group to your portfolio.

 

UK Rights for Disabled Tenants

Before you start thinking about adapting your property, it’s important to be aware of disabled people’s rights in the UK.

The Equality Act 2010 set out ways to protect people in society, including the rental sector.

According to the Act, a person has a disability if;

  • The person has a physical or mental impairment, and
  • This impairment has a substantial, long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Now, let’s look at your responsibilities as a property professional.

 

Laws for Private Landlords and Letting Agents

It is against the law for a landlord to discriminate against a disabled tenant. For example, as a landlord, letting or estate agent it is illegal to;

  • Refuse to rent to a disabled person because of their disability
  • Refuse to allow a guide dog or assistance dog under the no pets rule
  • Charge higher rent or deposit to disabled tenants
  • Refuse access to additional facilities that are available to other tenants (e.g. laundry room or parking space)
  • Evict a tenant due to disability or illness
  • Give tenants a less secure tenancy agreement

If a tenant feels they are being discriminated against, they could talk to Citizens advice or the EHRC and you could experience serious repercussions.

 

Landlord Responsibilities when Renting to Disabled Tenants

When renting to a disabled tenant, you are responsible for providing necessary, reasonable adaptations to make your property accessible and suitable to their individual needs. This can include additional services or equipment known as ‘auxiliary aids’.

Auxiliary aids can include;

  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Written documents and signs in Braille
  • Accessible door handles
  • Accessible taps
  • Special furnishings (e.g. raised toilet seat)

Refusing these changes could mean you’re breaking the law.

 

How to Adapt Your Property for Disabled Tenants

When renting to a disabled tenant, it’s likely you will need to make some changes to your property in order to make it accessible. These changes very much depend on the individual needs and requirements of the tenant.

Here are some of the ways you may be required to alter your rental property;

 

Installing Access Ramps

If your tenant uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter and your property has steps up to the entrance or between rooms, you may need to install access ramps at entrances.

 

Installing Chair Lifts and Railings

For multi-story homes, chair lifts and railings may be required for less able tenants. Railings may also be needed in bathrooms.

 

Fitting Accessible Kitchen and Bathroom Facilities

Wheelchair users may need lower kitchen and bathroom facilities which are accessible at chair height. Bathrooms may require a wet room and accessible toilets.

 

Widening Doors

Doors and entrance ways may need to be widened to allow for safe wheelchair access. (Usually 750mm)

 

Raised Plugs and Features

Features such as plugs and light fixtures will need to be accessible to your tenant(s).

 

Ground Floor Level Access

Some disabled tenants will require ground floor level access. You will need to provide a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen at ground level.

 

Unrestricted Parking

Your tenant may need access to a parking space which is easily accessible from the property.

 

Written Signs and Documents in Braille

Visually impaired tenants may require all tenancy documents and signs throughout the home to be provided in Braille. This includes features such as fire safety notices. Tenants with learning disabilities may ask for documents provided in alternative formats.

 

Covering the Costs of Adapting a Property

You may be thinking about the cost of these changes and how you’re going to cover them.

It’s true that some of these adaptations involve significant work, costing around £20,000 to adapt a standard property.

However, there are ways to help cover the costs;

 

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)

Landlords and tenant alike can apply for a disabled facilities grant which provides funds for adaptations. This grant is supplied by the local council and is subject to an eligibility test where an occupational therapist will assess the property and the adaptations needed before making a decision.

The amount you receive depends on the changes needed, but sums of up to £25,000 can be granted.

To apply, contact your local council.

Remember, if you fail to make the necessary changes, it could cost you a whole lot more in legal costs if the case goes to court!

 

A Helping Hand from No Letting Go

While this information may appear daunting at first, No Letting Go are on hand to help;

  • For example, our 360 Virtual Tour and Photography service allows potential tenants to view your property from any location- solving accessibility issues for many disabled tenants.
  • Providing a safe, comfortable and accessible home is particularly important when renting to disabled tenants. All of our property services are designed to streamline your workload and ensure your property is fully compliant with current health, safety and legal regulations.
  • Once you’ve made these adaptations to your rental property, it’s important to protect your investment. Our professional inventory service helps to safeguard your property by providing evidence of the condition of your property at the start and end of the tenancy.

Discover the rest of our property management services to find out how we could help.

For landlords and property professionals, finding the right tenant for your rental property is fundamental for business success.

But who should be your target tenant?

It’s not as simple as finding someone who can pay the rent on time. Wide-ranging factors such as profession, marital status and long-term goals should also come into play when thinking about what you want from the arrangement and the safeguarding of your property.

Here, we look at the pros and cons of renting to different types of tenants so you can identify the right target tenant for you.

Choosing the Right Tenant

Before you start marketing your rental property, you first need to identify a target audience to gear your tenant search towards.

By identifying a specific tenant persona from the get-go, you will be in a better position to rent your property and attract your ideal tenant. Whether your first priority is the careful upkeep of your property, or to find a long-term tenant, establishing your needs and requirements at this stage will help narrow down the search.

When it comes to finding a good tenant, think about your future relationship and who you want to be dealing with on a regular basis. A good tenant looks different to different landlords. Do you want someone looking for a long-term let, or a you happy with a quick turn-around?

Whatever your needs, here are some of the pros and cons of different types of tenants;

 

High Income Tenants

The income of your target tenant depends largely on the type and size of the rental property you own and its location.

For example, landlords with property in central London will need to target high income tenants in order to meet monthly rent payments.

One of the biggest benefits of renting to high income tenants is that you can rely on sufficient rent return and are unlikely to have to chase up missed payments. However, a tenant with a higher income is likely to hold your property up to higher standards.

Any good landlord will be committed to ensuring their properties are pleasant, safe spaces to live in, but renting to this group requires a higher level of detail.
This means replacing carpets and furnishings more regularly and providing sought after benefits such as high-speed internet and modern security systems.

 

Low Income Tenants

If your property is located in a less costly area, it’s likely you will need to target lower income tenants.

Renting to tenants receiving housing benefits comes with its advantages and disadvantages;

  • One disadvantage is that rent is paid to the landlord in arrears rather than in advance.
  • There is also a lot of paperwork involved in renting to tenants on housing benefit and administration processes can be slow.
  • Another issue is contents insurance. Premiums can rise when letting to this tenant group.
  • Unfortunately, some landlords are wary of renting to tenants on housing benefit due to an assumption that their property won’t be looked after properly, and payments will be missed. However, this negative stereotype is unfounded and is down to a minority of individuals.

However, renting to this group comes will lots of benefits to landlords;

  • Due to the lack of rental properties available, advertising your property as accepting housing benefit means you will have a large pool of prospective tenants to choose from.
  • Tenants in receipt of housing benefit are often looking for long-term housing
  • As the rental payments are made by the Department for Work and Pensions, payments should be regular and guaranteed.

 

Renting to Families

Renting to families comes with wide ranging benefits;

  • For one, most families are looking for a long-term home as moving with children is a hassle usually best avoided.
  • There has also been research to show that renting to families results in less property management time.

The downside is that with children, there usually comes more damage and wear and tear to your property. If you’re particularly precious about a certain property in your portfolio, you may want to avoid renting to large families with young children.

However, if you’re letting the property long-term, you will most likely be redecorating at the end of the tenancy agreement anyway.

Most families are looking for a rental home with a little extra space. Make sure you highlight this benefit of your property when attracting tenants. Families are also more likely to have their own furniture so may be looking for an unfurnished home.

 

Tenants with Pets

It could be debated what causes more damage to a property- children or pets! While lots of landlords refuse renting to tenants with pets outright, accepting these tenants may be to your advantage.

For one thing, you can charge more in rent. With rental properties that accept pets being few and far between, pet owners will expect to pay a little extra for the privilege. The extra maintenance needed allows you to justifiably charge a premium.

If you do decide to go down this route, obtaining a previous landlord reference from your potential tenants will alert you to any problems caused in the past.

 

Renting to Student Tenants

Students have a bad reputation when it comes to taking care of rental properties. However, the student rental market is ripe with opportunity, with student homes in high demand in University towns.

Here are some of the benefits;

  • If you own property in a University town, finding tenants won’t be a problem.
  • If you’re looking for short-term lets, students tend to move on after a year.
  • Students are less fussy when it comes to appliances and furnishings, so if you have an older property with basic furnishings it shouldn’t be a problem. As long as your property complies with health and safety obligations and is a comfortable place to live, you won’t need to offer state-of-the-art appliances.
  • Renting per room means higher returns!

But don’t forget to consider the following;

  • Maintenance and repairs needed may be higher as there tends to be more individuals living in student properties.
  • Students like to socialise. When renting to students you need to be aware of the neighbours as you might be called upon to deal with complaints!
  • For most students, this is their first time living away from home. In place of a credit check, you will need to ask for a guarantor to safeguard your investment.
  • There is growing competition in the student rental market, with purpose-built housing being created. Do your research before you commit.

 

Renting to Young Professionals

Young professionals are often favoured by landlords due to their independence and financial security.

Here are some of the advantages;

  • While still young, this group are less likely to host big parties than students and tend to be more house proud, resulting in less wear and tear.
  • With more experience behind them, young professionals are better able to deal with minor issues independently before asking the landlord for help.
  • If you decide to rent an HMO property you can expect greater returns.
  • Professional couples tend to be stable tenants and are better able to manage rent requirements with two incomes.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind;

  • Like high income tenants, young professionals will expect certain living standards and mod cons. You may need to provide a dishwasher, high-speed internet and contemporary furnishings to attract this group.
  • If your property is an HMO, you need to be aware of the added paperwork and responsibilities this requires. You may also need to consider potential conflicts between tenants.
  • Young professionals tend to move jobs more often which may result in the premature end of a tenancy.
  • Younger renters usually search online to find rental properties. Bear this in mind when choosing where to advertise your property.

Finding the Right Tenant

Once you’ve chosen a target tenant group, make sure you complete this checklist before renting your property;

  • Meet your potential tenants face to face. It’s important to have a good relationship with your tenants and meeting in person is the best way to work out if it’s the right match.
  • Ensure essential tenant checks are undertaken. No Letting Go offer a right to rent check service which is a legal requirement for landlords and letting agents in the UK.
  • It’s also worth getting a credit history check and a previous landlord check to be on the safe side.

What Happens Next?

The rental property industry works both ways. If you want to attract your ideal tenant, you need to prove that you’re a responsible and organised landlord with the right safety checks in place.

No Letting Go provide a range of professional services to help streamline your workload and ensure you are fully compliant. From house viewings to inventory management, we can help during all stages of the rental process.

Browse our fully-compliant suite of letting services and feel confident that your property inventory management needs are taken care of

In a rapidly changing world, the property management industry needs to keep up. With the widespread digitisation of products and services taking over almost every sector, estate agents, property professionals and landlords alike will need to stay on the pulse.

PropTech has become one of the latest buzzwords on everyone’s lips. However, this doesn’t look like a passing fad. Not only could property tech improve the property market, but it could completely transform it for the better.

With this year’s Future PropTech event coming up, we thought it was a good time to explain what PropTech is, and why as a landlord, you should embrace it.

What is PropTech?

Firstly, let’s try to define this much-used term.

PropTech, or property technology, refers to the digital transformation of the property industry. This includes innovative technology products to improve the real estate industry as a whole. From 3d printing and machine learning to big data and virtual reality, real estate technology is ramping up a gear.

So, how could PropTech benefit you as a landlord or real estate professional?

Simplifying Tenant Checks

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes for property professionals when letting a property. From tenant checks to inventory management, the list goes on.

New, smart technologies could help simplify and streamline some of these processes.

Moving potential tenant checks into the online space could be key in managing workloads. PropTech innovations can help this happen, by providing easy online systems or applications. These online systems can conduct credit checks, employment history checks and process references, all at a few clicks of a mouse.

Finding the Right Tenants

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves in the private rental industry and could help landlords and tenants alike find the perfect match.

By providing accurate data, smart algorithms can pair landlords with the right tenants, eliminating unsuitable partnerships and saving time.

The Badi Platform, for example, helps novice landlords rent out spare rooms safely and securely.

Smart PropTech in the Home

Smart technologies using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are becoming increasingly popular and widespread.

Smart meters, smart security and intelligent temperature control in the home, for example are all big attractions for potential renters. To stay ahead of the competition, getting excited about these advancements could benefit you as a landlord.

We’re not saying that every tenant now expects a smart fridge that monitors its contents, but high-speed broadband could be a game changer in today’s rental market.

Handy Mobile Applications for Landlords

Mobile apps are a great way of staying on top of your portfolio. There is now a growing number of mobile apps for landlords designed to save time and make your life easier.

From tracking rent to keeping important documents safe, there’s now an app for everything! There are apps for setting key reminders such as when to update your gas safety certificate, and apps to help advertise your property to the right tenants.

For busy landlords, these organisational miracles are worth getting excited about!

Collecting Rent on Time

It’s become so prevalent now that we can barely remember our lives without it but setting up online direct debits is all thanks to these new technologies!

By setting up regular, online payments with your tenants you can feel reassured that your rent will be delivered to your bank account on time, without having to chase it up.

This process has become even quicker and easier with the development of mobile banking, meaning you can access vital information and make emergency payment transfers on the go.

These technologies are evolving all the time, so who knows how convenient rent collection could be in a few years’ time!

Streamlining Maintenance Work

For landlords with several rental properties in their portfolio, dealing with routine maintenance can feel never ending.

New PropTech technologies can take the hassle out of maintenance by providing convenient apps and systems to make requesting and performing maintenance tasks easier than ever.

For example, a tenant could report a broken boiler on an app, which could then be assessed for level of urgency, then a message could be sent to both you, the landlord, and your chosen engineer or tradesperson. Uploading photos of the repair needed also cuts out the middle step of the landlord or letting agent visiting the property to assess the issue.

360 Virtual Reality Tours

Virtual reality is becoming more prevalent everywhere we look, including within the real estate market.

Virtual tours of properties allow buyers, sellers and renters to view buildings remotely. For example, if you’re a landlord living in a different country to your rental property, a virtual tour allows you to inspect your investment without the hassle and expense of travel.

It’s also a big draw for potential tenants who are often time-poor and can help your property stand out from the crowd in an increasingly saturated market.

No Letting Go provide a nation-wide 360 virtual tour service for all types of properties with a speedy 24-hour turn around. Our tours can be embedded into any compliance report or be used in commercial sales and marketing literature. A VR tour is a great way of providing a thorough inventory for tenants or for inspecting derelict or uninhabited buildings.

Future PropTech 2019

Future PropTech 2019 is described as the world’s number one PropTech event and is a great opportunity for landlords and property professionals to discuss challenges in the industry and collaborate to find solutions.

Through a series of talks, workshops and brand showcases, this event is an easy way of keeping track of current trends and gives you the chance to network with fellow property professionals.

Stay on the Pulse with No Letting Go

Here at No Letting Go, we are dedicated to staying ahead of the latest technology in the property industry.

For our reports and inventory services, we use Kaptur, the latest in property inventory software. It’s designed by property inventory professionals to provide the most efficient way to collect, prepare, report and manage information.

If you’re a landlord or property professional looking to get ahead of the PropTech curve, we could help. We have branches across the UK providing professional, comprehensive inventory services, unbiased compliance reports and property viewings.

Browse our full range of property services here to find out how we could help.

Some believe tenants with criminal convictions are less likely to pay rent, and more likely to cause damage.

However, is it really that simple?

Should you let to tenants with a criminal record? Let’s take a closer look to help you weigh up the different factors.

 

Why Do Some Landlords Have Their Reservations?

First things first, let’s explore why some landlords have reservations about letting to certain tenants.

All private landlords are looking to safeguard their investment. This means making sure a tenant:

For this reason, many run tenant reference checks to ensure someone doesn’t have a criminal history.

However, someone with a criminal past may not necessarily be a bad tenant. This also works vice versa.

How to Find Out If a Tenant Has a Criminal Past

Asking a tenant for a basic disclosure certificate will show their criminal record. Also, certain reference checks can give you the information you’re looking for.

What to Consider When Running Criminal Record Checks

If you run a background check and discover a prospective tenant has a criminal record, there are some key factors to consider:

What Crime Was Committed?

Some crimes are far more serious than others. You should consider the severity of the offence before deciding whether to rule out a potential tenant or not.

You should also weigh up whether this crime would impact them as a tenant. If someone was caught growing cannabis in your property, for example, this is grounds to serve them with a Section 8 eviction notice.

How Many Crimes Were Committed?

Was the crime a one-off offence or multiple? This should give an indication into whether they’re a reformed character or not. An isolated incident is very different to a long rap sheet.

How Long Ago Was the Crime?

Time is also a significant factor that you should weigh up. How long ago was their crime committed?

Arrests vs. Criminal Convictions

If considering a potential tenant, you need to ensure you only look at convictions – not arrests. Being arrested for something does not make someone guilty of that crime.

Is Anyone Else at Risk?

If you’re letting a HMO, you need to make sure your other tenants won’t be at risk. This involves looking at the nature of the crime; violent offences are very different to others.

Can They Still Pay Rent?

As a landlord, your primary concern will often be to ensure your investment is secure.

Has this criminal conviction prevented them from holding down long-term employment? If so, this may impact their ability to keep up with rental payments.

This is why thorough credit checking is essential.

Is Your Rental Property at Risk?

Does the prospective tenant have a history of arson, or vandalism? This may make you think twice about whether to let to them.

Regular landlord inspections can help you ensure your property is being looked after as agreed.

 

Tips for Letting to a Tenant With a Criminal Record

If you’ve decided to proceed, here are some tips:

Landlord Insurance

Tenants with unspent criminal convictions can cause havoc for landlords, as they can make their insurance invalid.

You’re not legally required to check if your tenant has a conviction. However, many insurance providers insist you inform them if anyone with a conviction is living in the property.

Some insurance providers may refuse the tenant altogether, while others may increase your premium.

Run Thorough Checks

When it comes to a tenant with previous convictions, being thorough is key.

Don’t take any information at face value, always gather the facts for yourself. If anything seems unclear or vague, ensure you get to the bottom of it.

Meet the Tenant More Than Once

Form your own opinion of the tenant! Remember, you’re letting to a person, so building a relationship is highly important.

Meet them multiple times if possible, and decide for yourself whether you’d like to let to them.

 

To Let or Not to Let?

While many landlords have their reservations, there are some undeniable positives to letting to tenants with a criminal history:

You need to weigh up what’s right for you, considering all the factors mentioned above.

 

Need Help Safeguarding Your Property?

Regardless of who you let to, you need to ensure your property is being looked after properly.

From check in to check out, our property inventory services can help. We’ll make sure you’re compliant with safety regulations. We’ll also reduce the risk of disputes and ensure the terms of the tenancy agreement are being met! Hassle-free renting has benefits for everyone – so we’ll help you get there.

Ending a tenancy can be awkward for both tenants and property professionals. Dealing with tenancy deposit returns, outstanding rent and resolving disputes can take time and a lot of effort. So, how can tenants and landlords alike ensure the end of tenancy goes smoothly?

No Letting Go’s chief operations officer, Lisa Williamson recently joined Richard Blanco on his podcast ‘Inside Property’ to discuss the types of issues that can arise and how to resolve them through unbiased, end of tenancy services.

Lisa was joined by Suzy Hershman, head of dispute resolution at My Deposits, and Al McClenahan, the director of Justice4Tenants to get a full picture from all sides of the story.

Here is a roundup of the key insights that came out of the programme;

Start as You Mean to End

Lisa’s top tip on ending a tenancy well is to determine a clear position from the start. The way to do this is through a well thought out inventory including detailed but concise information, clear photographs and a comprehensive list of contents and condition.

Creating a tenancy format which is easy to read by both parties is essential for avoiding confusion at the end of the tenancy.

Another tip for landlords from Lisa is to ensure that tenants sign the inventory report to avoid deduction disputes during check out.

 

An Unbiased Outlook is Key

One question that arose in the podcast was whether landlords should create their own inventory reports.

While it’s completely fair for a landlord to perform their own survey, they run the risk of using emotional language which can be interpreted in different ways.

This is where an independent inventory service can resolve issues. No Letting Go inventory reports include a glossary of terms to determine the condition and cleanliness of items in the property. For example, rather than a landlord using the word ‘immaculate’ to describe a piece of furniture which could come across as biased or open to interpretation, instead ‘professionally clean’ is a clearly explained term in the NLG glossary.

Another benefit of using a professional, unbiased property inventory service is that in the case of a dispute over deposit returns, judicators can clearly understand the benchmarks.

 

Are Pre-Check Out Meetings A Good Idea?

As an active landlord himself, Richard highlighted the benefit of arranging pre-check out meetings with tenants to go over what is expected of them during the moving out process.

This all sounds well and good, but the question is, who will pay for it? Landlords and tenants may be reluctant to fork out this extra cost, but it could save money further down the line.

Alternatively, providing tenants with an end of tenancy letter detailing all the tasks that need to be completed before moving out is a great way to prevent confusion over where responsibilities lie. This can include the date and time of the key handover and what needs to be cleaned.

 

End of Tenancy Property Cleaning

As the head of dispute resolution at My Deposit, Suzie Hershman has a lot of experience dealing with the common issues affecting landlords and tenants during the checkout process.

According to Suzie, cleaning comes top of the list when it comes to end of tenancy disputes.

The resolution is simple. Start with an inventory report which plainly states the condition of the property and how it is expected to be maintained. For example, if the property has a garden, the inventory needs to clearly state that the grass needs to be cut or the paving de-weeded and power washed before leaving the property.

Other issues that can arise include whose responsibility it is for window cleaning and whether professional carpet cleaning needs to be undertaken.

The main rule of thumb for tenants, is that the property needs to be returned in the original state as at the start of the tenancy. This may involve hiring an end of tenancy cleaning service (make sure you keep the receipt as evidence) or giving the property a thorough clean yourself. Either way, ensure you leave on the last day of your tenancy confident everything looks the same as it did when you moved in!

Fair wear and tear can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to cleaning. Suzie recommends that landlords should think of the items in their property as having a lifespan. A carpet or decor has an average lifespan of 5 years, which needs to be taken into consideration during the checkout report.

 

Managing the Landlord-Tenant Relationship

According to Al from Justice4Tenants, the main reason for the breakdown of the landlord- tenant relationship at the end of a tenancy is disputes over deposit deductions.

Al attributed this to poor inventories which leave too much room for interpretation and miscommunication, which is more common when landlords create their own.

Another common reason for strained relationships is when tenants are in arrears at the end of the tenancy agreement. To minimise conflict, Al recommends that tenants are as open and communicative with their landlord about their financial difficulties to help landlords remain understanding until the issue can be resolved.

However, when landlords view their role purely from an investment perspective and ignore the human side of the relationship, this is when disputes are likely to arise. The lesson? Landlords who are more understanding and willing to negotiate are likely to have better relationships with their tenants, resulting in a smoother parting.

 

How Will the Letting Agency Fee Ban Effect End of Tenancy?

There has been much discussion over what changes the letting agency fee ban will bring to the industry. However, for now, Lisa doesn’t see much change to the way check out reports will be processed.

Currently, landlords usually pay for the inventory, and for either check-in or check-out services while the tenant pays for the other. This means there is only one cost that needs to be recuperated by landlords.

According to Lisa, most landlords and tenants can see the advantages of having these services managed by independent professionals.

 

Unbiased End of Tenancy Services from No Letting Go

To ensure the end of a tenancy goes as smoothly as possible and you retain a positive relationship throughout, using an independent property service can help resolve issues and disputes before they arise.

No Letting Go provides all the documentation needed at the start and end of a tenancy to determine how much money is deducted from the deposit. Using the latest technology, No Letting Go can advise against fair wear and tear and create reports to ensure you are fully compliant with regulations.

To see the full list of services on offer, head to the No Letting Go services page.

Achieving a high rental yield is one of the main goals for successful landlords. In order to cover the costs of mortgage repayments, repairs and maintenance, an adequate rental yield is essential to stay afloat.

Although you may feel constrained by property location or property prices, there are ways to maximise profits and cut outgoings.

From making simple renovations, to targeting specific tenants, here’s some straightforward advice on how to increase rental yield on your rental property.

What Does Rental Yield Mean?

As a landlord, you’ll be more than familiar with the importance of rental yields. For anyone new to the game or thinking of taking the plunge into property investment, here’s a simple definition.

Rental yield is the annual return on investment you make as a landlord on a buy-to-let property. It’s the remaining amount of money left over after rent, divided by the value of the property and is expressed as a percentage.

How to Work Out Rental Yield on Rental Property

To work out the rental yield of your property, first deduct all annual expenses and outgoings from the annual rental income, then divide this number by the purchase price of the property. Next, times this number by 100 to find the percentage yield.

Alternatively, find a free rental yield calculator online to do the hard work for you.

What is a Good Rental Yield?

In order to comfortably cover outgoings, a rental yield of 8% or more is deemed good.

However, the average rental yield differs vastly depending on location. For example, cities like Liverpool and Nottingham enjoy higher rental yields of up to 12%, while London is more challenging and tends to stay around 4 – 5%.

Decide on a Tenant Profile

Having an ideal tenant profile in mind makes it easier to tailor your property to the needs and desires of tenants. By offering an attractive property to specific renters, you’ll be able to charge premium prices and stand out from the crowd.

For example, if you are renting to young professionals, it’s worth choosing properties in areas with good transport links and furnishing the property with convenient mod-cons.

Whereas families are more interested in space, excellent local schools and extra bedrooms.

It’s impossible to please everyone. Maximise rental yields by catering to a specific tenant group and provide them with what they really want.

Location, Location, Location

Property location UK

As always, location is key when it comes to improving rental return.

Picking an up-and-coming area is a good idea, as property purchase prices are lower and there is potential for increased rental income as the area expands. Somewhere with good transport links, access to great schools and a growing number of bars and shops is a safe bet.

Go Green for Tenants

With sustainable living becoming increasingly popular, improving insulation and making green changes to your rental property could strengthen the appeal to certain tenants.

Improving the energy efficiency rating of your property not only saves you money on energy bills,but is also a big deciding factor for potential tenants.

Think About Facilities

Equipping your property with high quality, time-saving facilities such as dishwashers, driers and high-speed Wi-Fi will attract more tenants and place your rental property ahead of the competition.

Think about what your ideal tenant profile wants out of a rental property and go from there.

Can You Add Another Bedroom or Bathroom?

Adding a second, third or fourth bedroom to your rental property is a guaranteed way of boosting rental yield.

If a property has a large living space that isn’t entirely necessary, turning it into a bedroom could drastically improve cash flow! Just take care to comply with bedroom regulations, especially if you plan to turn it into an HMO property.

A second bathroom is another way of adding value. Although this requires a little more upheaval, the results can be well worth it, especially in larger properties.

Keep Things Fresh

If larger scale renovation is out of your budget, simple, affordable updates such as new tiling in the bathroom or a fresh lick of paint can work wonders in attracting the best tenants.

The more you can do to make your property attractive to potential tenants, the more rent you can responsibly command.

Maximise Space for Maximum Yields

Another way to add value and appeal to renters is to maximise every inch of space in your property.

This doesn’t have to mean adding extra bedrooms. It can be something as simple as providing inbuilt cupboards and clever storage spaces. This is especially important if you’re targeting growing families.

Consider Allowing Pets

Pets in a rental property

Flexibility is a trait highly valued by prospective tenants. From allowing minor aesthetic alterations to saying yes to pets, remaining open to tenants helps grow your yield in the long run.

Rental properties which allow pets tend to be few and far between which means they are able to command more rent- another easy way to increase your rental yield!

Avoid Vacant Periods

Naturally, extended vacant periods will have a negative impact on your rental yield.

Asking current tenants what their plans are well in advance of the end of a tenancy is one way you can avoid this. Early preparation means you can start advertising for new occupants quickly.

In the case of an extended void period, it may be worth lowering the rent requirements to encourage tenants and minimise losses.

Make Regular Rent Reviews

It’s important to keep up with the rest of the property market. Keeping a finger on the pulse and raising or lowering rent as needed is essential for maintaining and increasing rental yield.

Factors such as a new school in the area can dramatically increase rent prices, so don’t miss out on opportunities to cash in on your property investments.

Assess Your Outgoings

Taking a regular look at all of your outgoings is an important part of managing your finances. You may find that a few simple changes could be surprisingly profitable.

Mortgage rates, for example, are always changing, and it’s possible to find good deals on property insurance on comparison websites.

Keep your eyes peeled for deals to cut costs and improve rental yield.

Keep Up to Date with Regulations

Part of being a responsible landlord includes keeping up to date with current health and safety regulations. Good maintenance of your rental property results in long-term tenancies and increased interest from renters.

Save Time and Money with A Professional Property Service

Instead of spending your time as a property manager, answering queries and sorting out viewings and check ins, allocating tasks to property professionals can help streamline your business, saving you time and money.

No Letting Go provide comprehensive property reports and essential services such as inventory management to help landlords protect their investment and increase yields.

For more information on how No Letting Go could help, visit our services page here.

There tends to be a focus on the need for potential tenants to make a positive first impression to secure the best rental properties. But making a good impression is just as vital for landlords and letting agents.

To attract reliable and responsible tenants, property professionals need to demonstrate their value to establish trust and secure an agreement.

Creating a positive first impression can determine what kind of relationship you’ll have with your tenant moving forward, not to mention positioning your property as an attractive prospect for renters.

If you’re a letting agent, property professional, or landlord, we’ve got some friendly guidance on how to give a good first impression to tenants and establish trust from the get-go.

What are Tenants Looking for in a Landlord or Letting Agent?

To make the right impression, it’s helpful to think about what a tenant wants from the person or company managing their rental property.

Top of the list are reliability, honesty and being easily reachable. Whether it’s at the first viewing, at the lettings or estate agency office or the first meeting between tenant and landlord, follow these tips to make a great first impression:

Be on Time

An obvious point to start with. Tenants want to know the person managing their home is reliable and can be depended upon in an emergency. Being late to the first meeting already puts you on the back foot.

If the first meeting is an initial house viewing, it’s worth getting there a few minutes early to ensure everything is in place and the property is looking its best.

Dress Appropriately

Giving an overall impression of professionalism goes a long way in securing a tenancy agreement.

One simple way of achieving this is to dress in business-casual attire.

Know Your Stuff

As the main point of contact for tenants, you need to demonstrate knowledge about the property and local area to build trust. Before the first meeting, make sure you’ve got all the answers to potential questions to hand.

Common questions that might be asked by potential tenants include;

  • Who are the current utility providers?
  • What is the council tax band for this area?
  • What day are the bins and recycling collected?
  • Where is the fuse box?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • What is the local area like?

Being able to answer these questions thoroughly and confidently will help to build a positive impression and demonstrate your experience and professionalism.

 

Friendly and Professional Body Language

A good landlord

Body language is key to making a good impression in any situation. From job interviews to meeting people for the first time, facial expressions and gestures really count.

Shake your prospective tenants’ hand while maintaining eye contact, smile, and try to display confident body language to really impress.

Stay in Contact with the Neighbours

Being in the position to introduce prospective tenants to the neighbours, or simply tell them who they will be living next door to, can go a long way in demonstrating your dedication to property management.

What are Tenants Looking for in a Property?

In addition to the way you present yourself, the way you present your rental property also has a huge impact on tenant’s initial impression. Here’s how to show your property in the best light:

Market Your Property Right

Most rental property marketing happens online these days. Be sure to regularly check and update any channels your property is advertised on to keep up a positive impression for renters.

A picture really can tell a thousand words and people expect to see clear, professional images when browsing for properties online. Any property with minimal or bad quality images will likely be dismissed instantly.

Include lots of pictures of all parts of the property and try to take them on a sunny day to show off your property in the best light.

If you’re a busy landlord or property professional, ensure your property looks the part online with a professional property appraisal. This service includes high quality photos and a record of essential details for marketing purposes, all uploaded directly to your platform. The easy route to impressing potential tenants!

Managing feedback is also important. Always reply to any complaints or queries online so that potential tenants know you are reliable and quick to respond.

Outward Appearances Matter

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but in reality, first appearances are important.

Make sure the exterior of your property is up to scratch. An overgrown front lawn, overflowing bins and scratched paint are likely to put people off before they’ve even stepped through the door.

Make Sure the Interior Lives Up to the Dream

When showing a prospective tenant around a property for the first time, they’re trying to imagine themselves living there.

Make sure everything is clean and tidy with minimal clutter to give the tenants as much of a blank canvas as possible to project their own visions for the future.

Consider A Moving In Gift

Whether it’s a simple, handwritten welcome card or a bunch of flowers. Providing a small gift is an easy way to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful landlord or letting agent.

If you’re an agency managing several properties or a landlord with a large portfolio this may not be feasible. For smaller landlords however, it could be a well-received gesture that goes a long way in developing a positive ongoing relationship.

You need to assess whether a gift is appropriate from case to case. At the very least, provide an information folder with essential details about the property such as relevant contact numbers and rubbish collection days.

Ensure All Health and Safety Checks are in Place

If you can demonstrate that you are up to date with gas safety checks and Co2 regulations, your tenant will know you take your role seriously.

For landlords, demonstrating your responsibilities are being fulfilled puts tenant’s minds at ease. For example, landlords must ensure that smoke alarms are tested and working on every floor of a property. No Letting Go provide comprehensive reports which include a smoke and carbon monoxide safety section that will guarantee you meet all the requirements.

Tenants in the know will expect to see evidence and a thorough report will quell any potential reservations.

Invest in a Professional Property Inventory

Providing your tenant with a comprehensive, photographic inventory report sends the message that you don’t take shortcuts.

No Letting Go is the first choice for all types of property reporting for landlords and letting agents alike. To find out how we can help to position you as a first choice for tenants, browse the rest of the property management services on offer here.

There’s been lots of talk over the last few years around the possibility of abolishing letting agent management fees. Now, it seems, it’s come to fruition. On the 12th February, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 was passed and became law.

While good news for tenants, for lettings agents and landlords, this change requires careful planning. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s helpful to have all of the facts.

That’s why we’ve rounded up all the information about the new letting agent fees ban and what it means for landlords, letting agents, property professionals and tenants.

What are Letting Agent Fees For?

Up until now, letting agents have been legally permitted to charge fees for admin, tenant reference checks and other costs.

The responsibilities of letting agents include sourcing tenants, collecting rent, and acting as a means of communication between tenants and landlords.

Typical letting agent fees for tenants should be around £200 to £300 per tenancy, however some groups argue that this figure has been greatly increased by some rogue agencies. For tenants paying higher costs, this ban comes as welcome relief. However, lettings agents who charge reasonable and necessary fees may think otherwise.

The Government Proposal

The effort to get letting agent fees abolished was driven by the government’s aim to make renting more stable for tenants. With 4.5 million households in England now renting, this market is growing rapidly.

While they accepted that many letting agents provide a legitimate and valuable service, the issue of varying admin fees from agency to agency needed to be addressed.

According to the government, banning agency fees will result in greater transparency for tenants, make moving more affordable and allow landlords to ‘shop around’ to find the best letting agent.

The Tenant Fees Act 2019

The proposal to ban letting fees has been in process for a number of years.

The ball started rolling in April 2017, when the government opened up a dialogue to work on the details of the ban. The aims of the ban were to make renting ‘fairer and easier’ for tenants by making costs more transparent and to improve competition in the rental market. This consultation received responses from tenants (50%), lettings agents (32%), landlords (10%) and other stakeholders (8%).

The Tenant Fees Bill draft was then announced in June during the Queen’s speech at the opening of parliament.

In May 2018, housing secretary James Brokenshire MP introduced the bill to parliament, which then passed through the House of Commons in September.

January of this year saw the ban being passed in parliament which was then cemented as law on the 12th of February as the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

What is the Tenant Fee Ban?

The act sets out the new rules and standards for the ban on letting fees;

  • Security deposits cannot be more than the cost of five weeks of rent payments. (Unless rent exceeds £500,000 when it’s capped at six weeks)
  • The ban includes capping holding deposits to one weeks rent and making them refundable to the tenant
  • The fee to change a tenancy will be capped at £50
  • If a landlord or letting agent breaches the requirements, a fine of £5000 is payable in the first instance. If a similar offence has been committed within the last five years, it could be deemed a criminal offence. Prosecution or fines of up to £30,000 could be issued
  • The ban will be enforced by Trading Standards who will help tenants recover funds that were unlawfully charged
  • Landlords will be unable to seize possession of property via Section 21 until they have repaid any unlawful charges
  • Letting agent fee transparency should be extended to property sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove

What Can Landlords and Letting Agents Charge Under the New Act?

Under the new act, property agents will only be permitted to charge for the following;

  • Rent
  • Deposits
  • Early termination of a tenancy at the tenant’s request. This means the costs to the landlord or letting agent to find tenants will be covered
  • Council tax, utilities and communication services
  • Payment of damages in the case of breached agreements
  • Late rent payment
  • Replacing keys etc.

Can Letting Agents Still Charge Fees?

Currently, yes. The ban only comes into play on the 1st June 2019. Until the letting agent fees ban date, this practice is still legal.

However, if you’re a landlord or letting agent you might want to start thinking about this change and what plans to put in place.

The Impact of the Ban on Landlords and Agents

One issue that is being raised regarding the ban is the possible impact on landlords. Some are arguing that the ban will result in charges being passed on from letting agents to landlords.

This, they argue, is counterproductive as it means landlords may be forced to raise monthly rent collections in order to make up costs.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) for example, are against the ban and believe that instead of an outright abolishment, fees should be ‘open, transparent and reasonable’. In response to the Government ban, ARLA recommend that upfront fees should be banned, but letting agents should be allowed to spread these costs across the tenancy.

They believe that a blanket ban would ‘put additional pressures on landlords, with fewer tenant checks and a lower quality of service’ and that ‘spreading the cost of these services will allow letting agents to retain current service levels to tenants’.

The Impact on Inventory Management

One suggested outcome of the ban is that letting agents will start to take inventory services ‘in-house’. A guide has been created by TDS, Propertymark and the Association of Independant Inventory Clerks (AIIC) to provide information on avoiding disputes regarding poorly executed inventories and deposit deductions.

Speaking on the report, the AIIC encouraged unbiased, comprehensive reports to protect all parties involved. Similarly, Propertymark highlighted the importance of a thorough inventory and the need for an ‘evidence-based approach’ to protect investments for both landlords and tenants.

Be Prepared with No Letting Go

Whichever stance you take, it‘s best to prepare for the changes early.

If you’re a landlord or letting agent looking to get ahead and prepare for the changes, No Letting Go can help.

We offer reliable, professional property management services to help you stay on top of your responsibilities and protect your investment. From property inventory reports to appraisals and tenant checks, No Letting Go helps protect your property for the long term.

Browse our full range of services here to see how we can help.

It’s no secret that the private rental sector needs improvements in some areas. A lack of organisation and a minority of poorly maintained, privately rented properties are damaging the sector’s reputation. These negative aspects are often used as fuel to publish damming headlines blaming landlords and property professionals for failures in the industry.

However, a 2018 report by University of York academics, Julie Rugg and David Rhodes named the ‘Evolving Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential’ is the latest source to argue that the problems in the rental sector are not the fault of landlords and letting agents alone.

We’ve been featured in Letting Agent Today on our support of this new proposal. Here’s how a new rental property ‘MOT’ certificate could improve the private rental sector for both landlords and tenants.

The property MOT is the initiative created by The Lettings Industry Council (TLC). The group is made up of a cross range of letting experts who represent landlords, letting agents, tenants, suppliers and others in the Private Rental Sector and includes government advisors. The groups aim is to improve standards across the industry.

The Report: Improving the Private Rental Sector

The report acknowledged that the private rental sector is currently ‘failing at multiple levels’. Subpar housing conditions, disorganised management and the fact that many tenants and landlords are unsure of their rights and responsibilities has resulted in this situation.

The report recommends introducing a new, annual MOT-style certificate to set a new minimum standard for rented housing conditions.

The New Property Licence

The suggested scheme would ensure a property is licensed before being let. Landlords would be required to apply for a licence so that an independent property inspector can review the property.

This service would be performed by property professionals, trained to assess whether a property is fit to let. Once affirmed, all licensed properties would be added to a national database connected to the landlords phone number, while unlicensed properties would be subject to legal action if let.

For HMO properties (houses in multiple occupation), a slightly amended certificate would be required, taking into consideration the extra safety checks needed.

If introduced, mortgage lenders would have to check the status of a property before loaning money and it would be illegal for letting agents to manage an unlicensed property.

The authors believe that, alongside other revisions to the industry, this ‘MOT’ could improve conditions for renters. They also hope that the new scheme would free up time and resources for local authorities to combat criminal activities and other pressing issues in the industry.

Benefits for Private Rental Landlords

One benefit of this proposed scheme, is that it would integrate existing health and safety certificates for rental properties. Gas and electric checks and the energy performance certificate (EPC) would be added to with a basic standards for habitation assessment.

This goes hand in hand with the recent 2018 Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Bill which requires all rental properties to be safe and free of health risks for tenants. This act makes any landlords not meeting these standards liable by giving tenants the power to take legal action.

Integrating these property licenses has the potential to make things simpler and more streamlined for landlords.

Reaction from Property Professionals

The report has been praised by property professionals for moving away from the culture of blame often placed on landlords and other property agents in the media. Instead, finding sensible solutions to current problems and improving systems for both landlords and tenants could help to transform the industry as a whole.

No Letting Go’s founder and chief executive, Nick Lyons spoke to Letting Agent Today on why he believes that creating an MOT certificate system could raise the standard of homes in the private rental industry;

“An MOT report, ensuring a property meets a minimum standard, alongside an independently and professionally compiled inventory would ensure that everything about a property’s condition and contents is suitably documented at the start of a tenancy”.

It’s not just No Letting Go championing this idea. ARLA Propertymark, the professional body for raising standards in residential lettings, agrees that this certificate could be a simple and practical solution to current issues.

Keeping on Top of Your Rental Properties

If you’re a landlord who’s worried about potential changes to your responsibilities and feel overwhelmed with licencing applications, why not delegate some of the work?

No Letting Go are one of the largest providers of inventory services in the UK. We provide independent property reports, including check in/check out services and safety checks to help give landlords peace of mind. Find out more about our services here.

Ever had your investment abused by careless tenants? Whether it’s damage to the property or a general disrespect, it’s a horrible feeling. You feel cheated by the people you trusted.

Deposits and tenant referencing companies are great ways of combating bad tenants, but there’s another step you should be taking. Regular landlord inspections are vital for ensuring your tenant is actually maintaining your property as agreed in the tenancy agreement.

Many landlords avoid checking their investment purely because there are clear regulations to follow. Don’t be one of those landlords! Here’s what you need to know about property inspections.

Why You Should Carry Out a Rental House Inspection

Not convinced about the need to inspect your property? Here are a few advantages of inspections:

  • You can assess how your tenant treats the property
  • You can check on any maintenance issues that need your attention, such as health and safety requirements
  • You boost your reputation as a landlord and become more approachable
  • You can create an open pathway of communication with your tenants
  • You can take a look at the living conditions of your tenant
  • You can keep an eye out for any illegal activities
  • You can check that you’re still offering a safe and legal letting to the tenant
  • You may not have a duty of care to neighbours, but it may avoid disputes to check in with them. They may be able to tell you information about how your tenants are behaving that you might otherwise miss

Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission?

When it comes to entering the property, there are rules.

You can’t just turn up and inspect the condition of the property. The landlord or agent doesn’t necessarily need permission before entering. However, there are laws you need to follow when it comes to regular inspections.

Legally, there are three main rights of entry:

The Right of Reasonable Access

As a landlord, you need to be aware of your Landlord access rights. ‘Reasonable access’ sounds like a very general term but it is simply defined. This ultimately refers to the need to access the property immediately to carry out emergency/necessary repairs.

The Right to Enter to Inspect the State of Repair of the Property

As owner of the property you can also enter to inspect the ‘state of repair’. For inspections, you aren’t granted immediate access.

You must also carry out all inspections at reasonable times of day. If someone other than yourself (or a previously agreed agent) is inspecting the property, you must give notice of inspection in writing.

The Right to Enter to Provide Room Cleaning Services

If you offer room-cleaning services to your tenant and this is stated clearly in the contract, you can access the property without permission. This is a relatively uncommon situation.

Can a Landlord Enter the Property Without the Tenant Present?

If the reason for access is one of the ones mentioned above, such as an emergency, the tenant does not need to be present during inspection.

However, tenants should still be informed. This is their home also, so it’s a good idea to let them know if you’ve entered, and for what reason.

A landlord entering the property without permission or reason is against the law.

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give?

Usually, you must provide at least 24 hours notice before entry. This can differ in an emergency.

Landlord Right of Entry – Try Not to Scare the Tenant

Inspections can be scary for your tenants, as they’re obligated to look after your property. As soon as you notify them of your intention to check your property, they’ll begin to sweat. Be as casual and relaxed about it as you can. Explain there’s no reason for them to be worried, it’s just a mandatory walk through.

If you’re able to, give your tenant more than the required 24 hours’ notice – a week is usually best. This gives them time to present the rental in a clean and tidy state. Be flexible about the time of your visit and offer to rearrange if it isn’t convenient.

Landlord House Inspection Checklist

So, what should you be looking for?

There are plenty of issues you might come across, some more serious than others. Your inspection can be as thorough or casual as you’d like. Having said this, keep your eyes peeled for these common problems:

  • Damage beyond wear and tear (broken windows, stained carpets, etc.)
  • Damp and mould
  • Leaks
  • Condition of furniture and white goods
  • Excessive rubbish
  • Poorly maintained garden
  • Faulty smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors
  • State of the loft/attic
  • Signs or rodents/infestations

Periodic Inspection Report

It’s recommended to carry out a house inspection every 3 months or less. This depends on the length of the tenancy.

To help you monitor your property effectively and keep track of any recurring issues, you may want to fill out a house inspection form of some kind.

This can be particularly useful if you spot a problem on a particular visit, and find it has not been corrected next time. With all the obligations landlords have, having a record can help you stay informed about the condition of your rental property.

Can Tenants Refuse Access to a Property?

If you turn up unannounced, for example without written notice, the tenant can refuse to grant entry.

To avoid this, give plenty of warning.

What Happens If the Tenant Refuses Entry?

If a tenant refuses to grant permission for entry, you can’t go ahead without their blessing. As a landlord, you have to respect the tenant’s privacy. This can create a difficult situation where a harmonious relationship between landlord and tenant can be jeopardised.

Tenants only tend to refuse entry if they’re hiding something unsavoury from you. Unfortunately, you can’t take the issue any further.

How to End the House Inspection

Communication is key here. If there are issues you’re not happy with, explain why and discuss whose responsibility it is. If you’re coming back to complete any repairs, give full details of when this will be. Don’t forget to ask your tenant whether they know of any issues or damages that require your attention. Ultimately, thank them for their time – remember, they weren’t obliged to let you in.

How Can an Inventory for a Rental Property Help?

Want to lower the possibility of deposit disputes and damage to your investment? No Letting Go will manage the entire inventory process in a professional and open manner. This includes check ins and check outs. We’ll help you comply with your obligations, while improving the lives of tenants. Find out more about our inventory services here.