With Brexit looming, it’s unclear what the state of the UK economy will look like in a few months’ time, let alone the private rented market.
While it’s right to be wary, Brexit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for landlords. In fact, there may even be some positive developments. Here, we look at how Brexit will affect the rental market, what it might mean for landlords and how to protect your investment in this unsettling period.
Will Brexit Affect Right to Rent?
Since February, 2016 it has been a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that their tenants have the right to rent in the UK. If landlords are found to be letting to an illegal immigrant, they could face fines of around £600 per tenant.
However, Brexit brought new uncertainties as guidance on the new regulations after leaving the EU were unclear, particularly in regard to the status of EU national renters.
For now, the Home Office have confirmed that during this transitional period, EU nationals will still have the right to remain in the UK and will be able to use their current passports or ID as proof of legal status. According to the Home Office, the European Union settlement scheme will provide legal EU citizens with digital documents to make these checks easier for landlords.
However, longer term this could cause issues, especially if longer term tenancy agreements are signed, as the legal status of some tenants may change post-Brexit.
The most recent update from the government confirms that the right to rent check regulations will stay the same until January 2021, regardless of whether a deal is made. Similarly, the requirements for Irish citizens will not change.
How to Stay Protected
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of essential document checks is to enlist the help of a professional reporting service.
No Letting Go clerks can verify right to rent documentation at check in, to determine whether they match the tenant’s appearance as part of our right to rent service. This is particularly helpful for landlords who aren’t able to meet with tenants personally.
Unstable House Prices: Good News for Buy-To-Let Landlords?
Brexit uncertainty has caused the UK housing market to slow down, with average UK house prices falling by £5000 at the beginning of this year.
This could be seen as a positive for buy-to-let landlords who can take advantage of this lull in the UK property market. For landlords looking to expand their portfolio, it could be your chance to buy for less.
However, a lack of stability is understandably putting some people off;
- Recent changes to stamp duty have meant that landlords have to pay an extra 3% on each band on new buy to let properties, significantly increasing outgoings.
- While the reduction of tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will be paying more in tax by 2020 and may even find themselves in a higher tax bracket.
Combined, these changes are making landlords think twice about investing in buy-to-let as it may be harder to enjoy the same rental yields as before.
How to Improve Your Rental Yield
If you do decide to take the plunge, you may find a real buy-to-let bargain!
To minimise the risks, it’s worth doing your research to find the best place in the UK for rental yields.
Brexit and Mortgages
Depending on what happens to Bank of England interest rates, mortgages could be affected by Brexit. It has been suggested that the base rate may rise after Brexit, which could make buy-to-let mortgages more expensive. One way around this could be to re-mortgage your property now, before the economy shifts.
Nonetheless, if this is the case, mortgages will be equally difficult to obtain for prospective house buyers, adding to the increase in those looking to rent.
The Impact of Brexit on the Rental Market
The instability of the UK housing market could put off potential home buyers from taking any risks in the near future. With less people buying, this could be good news for letting agents and residential landlords, as more people will be looking to extend their lease.
Shortages in social housing could also result in a rise in rental demand, placing landlords and property professionals in the private rental sector in a good position.
Bearing this in mind, it looks like the rental market should stay secure for the foreseeable future.
One thing to think about is that the location of your rental property could have an impact on the number of prospective tenants looking for housing. For example, some No Letting Go regional branches in which a higher level of EU nationals reside experienced lulls after the referendum due to uncertainty surrounding legal status.
How to Stay Protected
Providing quality rental properties that people want to live in will help minimise the risk of any void periods as we prepare for this transition. Staying on top of essential property maintenance and providing an appealing home for tenants will help to ensure you don’t lose out.
Property Renovation and Build to Rent
If you’re thinking of renovating your rental property or building property to rent, Brexit could make things a little difficult.
As much of the construction materials and labour resources used are imported from around the EU, tariffs and ease of supply could be affected. So, if you’re thinking or extending or renovating, you may need to save up more than you originally planned for to be on the safe side.
Thankfully, the government has confirmed that those with EEA qualifications, such as EU architects will still be able to work in the UK, even in the event of a no deal Brexit. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any disruption to ongoing work.
Brexit for Landlords: Stay Protected
To sum up, Brexit may not be the blow some private landlords thought it might. Although it’s hard to predict what might happen in the coming months, unstable house prices and rising mortgage rates could even drive the demand for rental properties.
To make sure you don’t miss out when the time comes, it pays to have a solid plan in place. And that’s where we come in.
Our professional property inventory services provide you with the essential reports you need to stay on top of the latest legislation. Covering everything from right to rent to property appraisals, our teams of experts are here to help protect your investment and give you peace of mind.
Browse our full list of property services to find out more about our individually tailored services.
Are the current carbon monoxide regulations fit for purpose?
On the 30th April 2018, the government announced it would be reviewing the rules that require carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in homes across England.
Currently, the legislation states that all homes and private rental properties with solid fuel appliances, such as a boiler, require a carbon monoxide alarm.
But, is this mandatory requirement enough? Here’s a closer look at why carbon monoxide alarms are under review from the government.
Are Residents Adequately Protected?
This government review into carbon monoxide alarms will consider whether the current regulations are outdated.
Should a more comprehensive, widespread rule be in place? This would require an alarm to be installed for all forms of heating, including gas and oil.
As well as this, the review will look into whether the regulations need to be extended, for example to include social housing.
With carbon monoxide being described as a ‘silent killer’, this review is highly important. It could help to improve the safety of residents and reduce the threat of carbon monoxide poisonings across the UK.
The review has come about after fears that residents are not adequately protected.
As a result, the review will also look into recent research surrounding carbon monoxide poisonings, as well as whether the cost of alarms is impacting installation rates.
This review is an important step to ensuring homes across England are receiving the necessary protection.
How Will This Review Impact Landlords?
In October 2015, the government introduced legislation that required landlords to have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.
Introduced to improve the safety of those in rented accommodation, any landlord believed to be in breach of this could receive up to a £5,000 fine for each failure.
This review will put further pressure on landlords to ensure their properties meet safety requirements.
While tenants are advised to check their alarms monthly, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the alarms are working at the start of each tenancy. Evidence of this must also be provided.
How Can No Letting Go Help?
Our property inventory services will ensure you’re compliant with carbon monoxide regulations.
A carbon monoxide and smoke alarm test comes as part of our check-in service, which determines whether your alarms are in the correct location, and tests if they’re working when tenants move in. If necessary, we will also install new ones.
Alternatively, if carbon monoxide alarms are missing, we will fit them in the right place. Our alarm service is in place to guarantee landlords are compliant with regulations that ensure tenants’ safety.
Our quality and accuracy is unrivalled in the industry because of our many years of experience. As your property is your investment, we’re here to help you safeguard it. Find out more about how we can help you here.
A seemingly never-ending stream of new tenants is something every landlord wants to avoid.
A long-term tenant is a much more attractive option!
This works both ways, as in recent years, due to sky-high house prices, more and more tenants are looking for a place to call home. So, how can you ensure they lay down their roots in your property?
Here’s how to encourage a long-term tenancy.
What Are the Benefits of Long-Term Tenants?
Why is a long-term tenancy the better option for landlords? As long as you’re receiving rent, does it really make a difference?
In fact, there are many difficulties when it comes to changing tenants. Recently, the economic climate and high house prices have seen the popularity of long-term contracts dramatically increase.
Here are the benefits of a long-term tenancy agreement:
No Rental Void Periods
Every landlord wants avoid the limbo between one tenancy and the next!
With long-term tenants, you won’t have to go without rent until the next tenancy begins. Your property won’t sit there empty for long periods of time!
Constantly changing contracts, sorting out deposits and repeating the welcome process over and over again can become tedious.
With long-term tenants, you’ll only have to do this once!
Long-term tenancies save the landlord money!
Repeatedly cleaning between each tenant and solicitor fees can become costly.
Builds Up a Relationship
It’s important to build up a strong relationship with your tenant.
This can’t be done if your property is solely let out without the opportunity for renewing. Getting to know your tenant and ensuring you can trust them takes time!
How to Make a Tenant Feel at Home
So, what can be done to ensure your next tenant will stay with you for the long-term?
The trick is to ensure that they view your property as their home.
Find the Right One
First things first, finding the right tenant will ensure you secure they are committed to staying for the long-term.
So, the tenancy vetting process is extremely important. Can you rely on them to look after your property, and pay rent on time, for the duration of their contract?
A tenancy screening will give you a closer look into what kind of tenant they are. You’re entrusting your property to them, so you need to ensure they’re reliable! Also, you’re hoping they’ll renew their contract, so getting as much background information on whether they’re responsible or not is a good idea.
Using a tenant referencing company is a good idea for those looking to ensure the process is done as thoroughly as possible.
But, for the landlords vetting tenants themselves, here are some tips to help you:
- Check their social media
- Be thorough – ask for three months of payslips and bank statements
- Consider asking for a guarantor
- Meet them more than once
Invest in the Property
Don’t cut corners!
Investing in the property through repairs both inside and out will save you money in the long term. Spend a little to save a lot!
In the world of property, putting in the time for maintenance goes a long way. Give yourself peace of mind by putting money back into your investment!
But, it’s not just external maintenance that’s important. Investing in some high-quality furniture is also a good idea, as this should need repairing less, and is therefore likely to save you money in the long-term.
Consider Furnished or Unfurnished
Each tenancy is different. So, when searching for a tenant to remain in your property for the long-term, consider whether furnished or unfurnished is the right option.
For some, such as millennials or first-time renters, a furnished property is more desirable, as it’s likely they won’t have the money to pay for the furniture themselves.
On the other hand, unfurnished properties are often associated with longer tenancies! Tenants won’t want the hassle of moving in all their furniture if they’re planning to move out soon after. So, unfurnished properties are likely to attract those who are staying for the long-term.
However, we had to mention that it’s important to remember to keep all the necessary white goods such as a fridge and a washing machine.
You should work out which option is the most attractive option for a potential tenant.
Let Them Make Their Mark
When trying to encourage a tenant to see your property as their home, allow them to make their mark. Giving them some free reign will help them to see it as their own!
Whether this is simply a few furnishings or repainting a room, relaxing your control on the interior will encourage them to stay in the property for the long-term. You don’t want them to view the property as a short-term arrangement!
Many landlords are put off by the idea of allowing tenants to redecorate, as if the process goes wrong, it could end up being costly for the landlord.
However, there are some ways around this! If a tenant wants to redecorate, inform them that if it needs undoing, it will come out of their deposit.
Alternatively, you could discuss with your tenant what work they would like done to the property, and arrange a professional to come in and do it. This way, the tenant is happy, and you can ensure the work is done to a high standard.
Also, there are some benefits to allowing tenants to redecorate, as it can encourage them to pay higher rent.
Allow Them to Keep Pets
We’re a nation of pet-lovers! So, unsurprisingly, accepting pets encourages long-term tenants.
Some landlords are reluctant to accept pets because of potential damage to the property. But, there are many advantages to allowing pets into your property, such as:
- A higher deposit
- Attracting more potential tenants
- Tenants with pets are likely to be more responsible
- Properties that allow pets are likely to be rented out quicker
- Higher rent
- Helps build a strong relationship with the tenant
So, while there are some inevitable drawbacks, it’s worth considering allowing your tenant to keep a pet.
Be open to welcoming every member of the family! This will help your tenant to see your property as their home.
Make the Property Comfortable to Live In
Would you like to live in the property?
Could the kitchen be made more spacious? Are there any areas of the property which are particularly cold? When it comes to the bedrooms, consider factors such as road noise and light pollution. Think about putting up black-out blinds if necessary.
Viewing the property as if you were a tenant will help you understand it from a different perspective.
Hire a Gardener
A nice, well-kept garden is attractive to many tenants. But, most won’t want to have to maintain this themselves.
So, hiring a gardener is the perfect solution! This will also let tenants know you’re committed to regular maintenance and property upkeep.
Keep Regular Communication
A harmonious relationship between you and the tenant only has benefits for both parties!
While it’s important not to be overbearing, you should ensure you keep in regular contact with your tenant. They should be able to feel they can report any problems to you, and you should trust that they will do so.
Schedule regular visits, ensuring that you don’t turn up unannounced, to inspect your property and make sure it’s being taken care of.
This will help you be seen as more approachable, as well as help you keep an eye on your property.
Work Out the Rent
Long-term tenants don’t deserve special treatment necessarily, however, it’s worth considering reasonable rent adjustments.
If they’re considering staying in your property for a long time, ensure you have worked out how much rent to charge your tenant. Do your research! How much rent you ask for will determine the kind of tenants you attract.
If the rent is unreasonable, you risk alienating your tenant and losing a renewed contract.
Fix Repairs Quickly
If something in the property goes wrong, respond immediately.
It might not always be possible to get the problem fixed on the day, but ensure you have taken notice of it and that your tenant knows your dealing with it.
Let them know you’re working to get it fixed as soon as possible! Keep them updated with the scheduled repairs and when someone will be able to fix the problem.
Ignoring any repairs will not only make you seem like an unreliable landlord, but might end up costing you more in the long run.
Run Maintenance by Them
The contract should clearly stipulate that you will allow your tenant to have some say in when the property is repaired.
If there’s a problem with the property that requires disruptive work, ask the tenant when is best for them. You want them to see this as their home, which might require some compromises!
Work Around Problems
If you’re hoping to secure a renewed contract, ensure you problem solve. If a tenant can’t afford this month’s rent for a certain reason, try to be understanding. Don’t threaten them with eviction straight away!
There are a number of reasons why a tenant might not be able to afford their rent, from being made redundant to bereavement. Try to work together to resolve the issue!
This is why good communication is so essential.
Being a landlord can be tough, and as your property is your livelihood, we believe in protecting it. We can help you safeguard your property with our professional check-in and check-out services that offer a straightforward and impartial inventory check. Find out more about how No Letting Go can help you here.
Buying a house is becoming less and less possible to many people in the current climate. More of us are abandoning the mortgage and sticking to the rental arena for much of our lives. But where are the cheapest places to rent in the UK? Furthermore, what are they actually like? Take a look at our definitive list for more insight. All average rent figures are from the Valuation Office Agency’s 2015-2016 data.
10. County Durham – £450pcm
Before the £450pcm rent and £1.30 pints get you too interested, we must warn you County Durham isn’t for everyone. Durham is deemed to be the most beautiful Cathedral city in the UK. Despite this, the traffic is a huge turn-off for some, while the university student vs local youth rivalry is claimed to regularly bubble over on Saturday evenings.
Having said this, there are plenty of great reasons to pack up your bags and head to Durham. The area offers beautiful sights, especially at night. While the country walks and close-by national parks propose a more refined social life, the buzzy Newcastle is easily commutable. The injection of students to the city lend it a lifeline from its ageing appeal.
9. Darlington – £440pcm
Close neighbour to tenth spot, Darlington is described by The Guardian as an ‘unexpectedly pleasant town’. Parts of the centre are politely labelled as ‘dreary’ while the winters are considered devastating to the uninitiated. If you can look beyond this, you’ll see a high employment rate of 72% and a life expectancy slightly higher than the national average. Cost of living is cheap and residents seem both cheerful and patriotic in their support of the area.
8. Barnsley – £427pcm
There’s a lot of negative chat about Barnsley. Once a British powerhouse with strong industrial, agricultural and mining roots, today the town is in need of a bit of TLC. Despite the need for revival, a £427pcm average rent is still attractive. If you look a little further into the area, you’ll see it has a lot to offer. Luscious countryside and excellent transport routes to key cities like Sheffield make the town more appealing.
7. Bolsover – £435pcm
Another former mining town, Bolsover is also a mixed bag when it comes to resident reviews. Some cite its troublesome youth culture while others completely dismiss such comments. An overall pleasant feel is said to infect the town while its community spirit is strong and prosperous.
6. North East Lincolnshire – £425pcm
North East Lincolnshire has some pretty reasonable rent at £425pcm but it also has a pretty bad rep among some residents. One of the more noticeable issues is its poor mobile coverage. The area gets only 87% coverage which sounds high but the majority of areas in the UK receive 99%. The average income is higher than its surrounding areas while employment rate is spot-on average. Overall, it seems to offer a positive vibe which reverberates through internet comment pieces and resident forums.
5. Stoke-on-Trent – £435pcm
Stoke-on-Trent gets a lot of bad press online. In fact, the town was recently the topic of fierce debate after being labelled as the eighth-worst place to live in the UK according to website ilivehere.com. Thankfully though, a handful of resolute residents came to the town’s support. Dwellers of the Staffordshire city praised its friendly citizens, luscious green spaces and ‘overall nice feel’. One person even dubbed the town ‘a real place, for real people, in the real world’. For an average of £435pcm on rent, there’s plenty of reasons to head to Stoke-on-Trent and pledge your support to the town.
4. Pendle – £435pcm
Say what you want about Pendle, parts of it are truly beautiful. The Lancashire Borough was referred to as the most anxious place to live in the UK according to an Office for National Statistics study but we’ll look beyond this. The truth is, if you’re the type who loves the feel of former mill towns and socialising with strong jawed no-nonsense villagers, you’ll love it here.
3. Hyndburn – £435pcm
There are two ways to look at Hyndburn. Either you look towards the desolate streets of Woodnook, Accrington that are filled with boarded houses and industrial age architecture. Or you look towards the low unemployment rates, low crime rates and general community spirit of the wider Hyndburn area. Now may even be the perfect time to move to the borough. Some of the vacant areas including much of the empty homes in Woodnock are set to see a revamp in the coming years. Who knows, your £435pcm rent could be a steal in years to come.
2. Burnley – £400pcm
Back in 2007 Channel 4 aired an episode of ‘Location, Location, Location 20 Best and Worst Places to Live’. In this they labelled Burnley as the 19th worst place to live in the UK. What we love about this scenario is how the people of Burnley rallied together and blasted the show for it. It’s clear this town does not lack community spirit.
If you’re keen on a no-nonsense style of living, this is certainly a place for you. Burnley offers a high quality of life coupled with picturesque countryside albeit a little rough around the edges.
1. Hull – £395pcm
Hull is a city to truly divide opinion. Some say it’s one of the best places to live in the UK, others say it’s one of the worst. There’s no denying the city was once considered the butt of many a joke. Though today it’s in the middle of a huge revamp. Initial laughing points like its fishy smell and obesity rates have been replaced with commendation for how far the area’s come. To the extent that it’s actually UK City of Culture 2017. We’re not surprised people are escaping to the city for its average rent of £395pcm and bustling streets.
Want to keep costs down? Avoid the pains of inventories and deposit disputes. Take a look at No Letting Go’s inventory services to find out exactly how we can help ease the process.