It can be tricky to make your property stand out from the crowd in the saturated property sector. So, how can you take advantage of the latest in digital photography software to ensure your property is snapped up by the best tenants?
That’s where 360° property photography comes in. Our virtual photography service could be the difference between blending in and beating the competition.
If you’re looking to attract more viewings and get ahead of the curve with the latest in PropTech, find out what this service could offer.
What is 360° Degree Photography?
360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer. This type of panoramic photography allows you to ‘look’ up, down and to the left and right of the image for a full 360° view.
Panoramic photos are transformed via 360 degree photography software to recreate a room or space. (You may have seen this being used in google street view on google maps)
What is a 360° Virtual Tour?
A 360° virtual tour replicates a standard property tour or house viewing through virtual reality, allowing the user to ‘visit’ properties from anywhere in the world. Users are able to explore each room of the property from the comfort of their living rooms via a connected device.
The Benefits of Virtual 360° Photography Tours
With most property searches starting online, it makes sense to present your property in its best light. From saving time to gaining trust, here’s what 360° technology could do for your business;
Exceptional Property Marketing
First impressions count and 360° photos could give your property the edge. High quality images make you and your business look professional, and the more detailed images available of your property, the more popular it will be with prospective tenants.
Bring your property to life and highlight its best features with a full, virtual tour and help potential tenants picture themselves living in your property by exploring each room in detail.
Gain Tenant Trust
There isn’t really anywhere to hide when it comes to virtual photography tours. By providing a realistic picture of your property and putting every part of the building on display, you will gain trust from tenants. Essential for starting the tenant relationship off on the right foot.
Remote Property Viewings
A virtual tour can be accessed from anywhere- all you need is a digital device.
Save time and resources by allowing prospective tenants to experience an immersive online property viewing from home. This benefits tenants and property professionals alike, as tenants won’t waste time visiting unsuitable properties and lettings agents will have a narrower, targeted tenant pool to focus on.
This service could also benefit landlords who live abroad or a long distance away from the properties in their portfolio, allowing them to inspect their investment from anywhere in the world.
With a 24 hour turn around, our 360° virtual photography service can be delivered quickly, so you can stay ahead in the dynamic lettings industry.
Our Property Reporting Software
Our property reporting software, Kaptur, enables virtual tours to be embedded into any compliance report.
Kaptur has been developed specifically for busy property professionals looking to streamline their workload. From custom reporting to location mapping- Kaptur represents the latest in PropTech.
How Can 360° Virtual Tour Photography Be Used?
We’ve partnered with Eye Spy 360 to offer a nationwide service helping landlords, estate agents and property professionals market and manage their property portfolios.
Here’s an example of when virtual tours could be utilised;
- Residential sales and lettings marketing
- Insurance inspections
- Block and property management inspections
- Derelict building inspections
- Property research projects
- Inventory and schedule of condition of large properties
- Commercial sales and leasing
- Build to Rent projects
Whatever the type of property, a 360° virtual tour could be of service.
Property Photography and Floor Plans
In addition to standard property photography as part of your visual inventory report, we also offer floor plan services to add to your marketing literature and reporting.
All of the No Letting Go surveyors are highly trained according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) guidelines, ensuring a professional service with accurate results.
360° Property Photography Prices
Interested in finding out more? Get in touch to book a survey or find out how we can incorporate a 360° virtual property tour into a regular No Letting Go report.
To discover how else we could help, browse our full list of property management services.
If you’re a landlord looking for a trusted letting agent in London, we might be able to help. We understand the importance of leaving your investment in safe hands and work with a wide range of property specialists in London and across the UK.
No Letting Go help letting agents and property businesses streamline their inventory management processes and provide essential reports. Thanks to this, we know a thing or two about finding the right partner for you and your property needs.
We’ve listed some of the best letting agents, London to help you find a reputable agency in your local area.
Letting Agents: North London
Let’s start with lettings and estate agents in the North London area. The following agencies have either been recommended by trusted sources or are businesses we currently work with.
Davies & Davies
This well-established independent letting agent has been running since 1927, managing sales and lettings from Finsbury park.
Voted as the 7th best Letting agent in the UK by the Best Estate Agent Guide 2019, Davies & Davies pride themselves on their bespoke level of service and their socially responsible attitude towards the local community. If you’re looking for a collaborative partner, this award- winning agency could be for you.
Best for: Slick, creative marketing campaigns
Finsbury Park Office, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG
Another long-running agency, Oliver’s Town Lettings have been around since 1988 and cover a wide area from Camden to Hampstead.
The agency deals with buying, renting, letting and selling for landlord and tenants and have excellent knowledge of the areas they work in.
Best for: Approachable customer service
Offices in Primrose Hill, Kentish Town, Hampstead and Mayfair
Parkheath is a well-established lettings agent in North West London with a business philosophy of ‘sold on service’. The results speak for themselves, with 99% of sales and lettings clients happy to work with them again in the future.
Looking after properties located in areas around Belsize and Tufnell park, Parkheath lettings agent offer excellent knowledge of the property market and a reliable service.
Best for: Professional customer service
Offices in West Hampstead, South Hampstead, Belsize Park, Kentish Town and Kendall Rise.
Serving the areas around Dartmouth Park, Kentish Town and Tufnell Park, Matthew James estate agents are an independent company specialising in lettings and sales.
With customers describing them as ‘efficient’, ‘friendly’ and ‘honest’, your rental property will be in safe hands. They even have area guides on their website to help prospective landlords and tenants get to know the different areas they operate in.
Best for: Friendly team of staff
43-45 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AD
If you’re looking for sales and lettings experts in Islington, Highbury, Barnsbury, Shoreditch, Dalston, Hoxton, Haggerston and the City, PG Estates are a good bet.
Dedicated to establishing long term relationships with their clients, this agency has a wide range of property types on its books. They can even help you with short Airbnb lets!
Best for: Variety of services
350 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PD
66 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6RL
Your Move Sterling & Co – Walthamstow
Centrally based in Walthamstow, Your Move Sterling & Co is the place to go for friendly and professional lettings services in the area.
As a landlord, when you let a property through Your Move Sterling & Co, you gain access to the landlord portal for quick and easy communication.
Serving Walthamstow, Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford in North East London.
Best for: Convenient communications
Email directly on the Your Move Sterling & Co website
From health and safety reports to property viewings, our franchises across North London all put the same level of dedication into their client services. No Letting Go Walthamstow property inventory services are owned and operated by Ann Ennis who has over 45 years of experience in the industry. Get in touch to find out how they could help.
East London Letting Agents
Now let’s turn our attention to the best letting agents in and around East London;
Martin & Co – Wanstead
Head up by local landlord, Mike Molloy, the Wanstead branch of Martin & Co provides a wealth of information on the surrounding area and property market.
With first hand experience of the private rental sector, Molloy understands the needs of landlords and tenants, providing an honest and intuitive service to clients.
The Wanstead branch manages property across Wanstead, East London and West Essex.
Best for: Landlords
74 High Street, Wanstead, London, Greater London, E11 2RN
Dabora Conway – South Woodford and Winchmore Hill
The experienced team at Dabora Conway lettings and estate agents put customer satisfaction at the heart of everything they do.
As a member of NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme), this growing business is committed to providing quality, tailored services.
With glowing customer testimonials and a professional team of staff, Dabora Conway is a great choice for lettings in the Wanstead, South Woodford and Winchmore Hill areas.
Best for: Customer commitment
Wanstead Head Office, 9 High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2AA
Winning gold in the property agency of the year awards 2018 for Stratford in the AllAgents Annual Awards, David Daniels is a trusted agency in the East London area.
Serving Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham and Havering, David Daniels is a member of ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
Combining highly qualified staff with a close attention to detail and local knowledge, this agency provides a comprehensive service for landlords.
Best for: Recognition in the property sector
Offices in Leyton and Stratford
Looking to save time on property management? If you operate in the East London area, our No Letting Go branches in Stratford & Newnham and Romford & Docklands provide landlords and property professionals with unbiased, professional services to help safeguard your investment.
Letting Agents: South London
If you’re a landlord looking for letting agents in the South London area, add the following businesses to your list;
C James & Co
For lettings in Wimbledon, Tooting, Colliers Wood and surrounding areas, C James & Co is committed to providing their customers with the latest innovations in Proptech.
C James & Co have dedicated teams of staff handling accounts, contracts and maintenance, ensuring each member is experienced and dedicated to their field.
As a member of ARLA, the agency stays on top of current regulations to protect landlords and their investments.
Best for: Dedicated network of staff
141 Kingston Road, Merton Park, London SW19 1LJ
110 Tooting High Street, Tooting, London, SW17 ORR
190-192 High Street, Colliers Wood, London, SW19
As the name suggests, this independent estate agent has an extensive knowledge of their local area postcode. Their slogan ‘It’s all in the postcode’ reflects their passion for the Wimbledon area and local communities within it.
Offering zero deposit schemes and experienced staff, SW19 guarantees speedy rental processes and security for landlords.
Best for: Local area knowledge
Offices in Wimbledon, South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood
With an outstanding local reputation and a straightforward ethos, Ellisons are a registered office approved by The Office of Fair Trading, The Estate Agency Ombudsman Scheme and ARLA.
With thousands of let properties in their portfolio, they are experienced at providing hassle-free transactions. They even offer free rental guarantee insurance to newly appointed lets.
Ellisons letting agents serve Wimbledon, Morden, Raynes Park, West Wimbledon, Motspur Park, Colliers Wood and Merton Park.
Best for: Fuss-free service
Individual office contact details are available on the website
From No Letting Go Battersea to No Letting Go Croydon, our branches across South London understand the importance of an unbiased, detailed property inventory. Interested? Contact the team to discuss your requirements.
Letting Agents: West London
Here’s our pick of west London lettings agents;
Ludlow Thompson- Kilburn
With fantastic reviews on AllAgents, the Kilburn branch of Ludlow Thompson is one to look out for.
Described as professional, helpful and communicative, this lettings agency covers extensive areas across Kilburn, West Hampstead and other West London areas.
All staff at Ludlow Thompson have undertaken industry qualifications to ensure professional property management at all times.
Best for: Customer satisfaction
We work with a number of lettings agents in West London, helping them to deliver inventories and organise property inspections.
Keen to be part of our extensive network? No Letting Go Ealing offers 360 degree virtual photography and property appraisals in Ealing and surrounding areas.
For landlords in the Uxbridge area, John Farrell leads the No Letting Go Uxbridge branch, delivering results through extensive local knowledge and the latest in property technology.
What We Offer
We offer a lot more than just property inventory services. Here are some of our other services at a glance;
- Check in/check out services
- Right to rent checks
- Property visits & inspections
- Dilapidation reports
- House viewings
- Floor plans
- Property appraisals
- 360 virtual photography
- Health & Safety reports
Find Your No Letting Go London Branch
Gaining access to the lettings and inventory services you need should be simple and fast. We provide lettings agents and landlords with a wide range of property services to save you time and ensure your compliance with the latest regulations.
Find your local London No Letting Go office here.
From comprehensive inventories to check in/check out services, our teams are experienced at providing professional, fuss-free solutions.
Browse our full range of property services to find out how we could help.
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.
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.
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.
Landlords and property professionals get ready!
Thanks to the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act on 1st June, you’re likely to see an influx of tenants looking to benefit from this ban on tenant fees.
Recommendations from No Letting Go have recently been featured in the Property Reporter, exploring the impact of this upcoming ban on tenant activity and how landlords and property professionals can get prepared.
Read on to find out how to prepare for the tenant fees ban with our handy quiz and guide.
What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
The Act sets out new rules and standards for landlords and letting agents, banning several upfront fees.
This ban includes the following:
- Security deposits must not exceed the cost of five weeks rent
- Holding deposits must not exceed one weeks rent (and should be refundable to the tenant)
- The fee to change a tenancy will be capped at £50
Any breaches to these new standards could result in hefty financial penalties from the enforcement authorities, and landlords will be unable to seize possession of a property through section 21 notices until they have repaid these charges.
When is the Tenant Fee Ban Coming In?
The Tenant Fees Bill was first proposed by the government in 2017 with the aim of making renting more affordable for tenants.
The Tenant Fee Act comes into force on 1 June 2019 from which date landlords and lettings agents will no longer be allowed to charge fees as described above.
Tenant Fee Ban Update: Impact on Tenant Activity
Research from the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) identified a lull in rental activity during the first quarter of 2019 which they attribute to tenants delaying moving until this ban becomes law on 1st June.
According to Nick Lyons, No Letting Go’s CEO;
“It’s no surprise to see shrewd tenants delaying moves until after the fees ban and deposit caps are introduced on 1st June. The upfront cost of moving between rental homes can be high – particularly in London and the South East – so renters will do anything they can to keep costs down, even if that means putting their move on hold for a few months.”
The Impact on the Private Rented Sector
With potential tenants waiting to make their move, landlords and property professionals will need to prepare for a surge in activity after 1st June.
It’s likely that tenants have continued their property search over the last few months and will be ready to begin the rental process as soon as the ban is in place.
This swell in tenants could be an exciting time for landlords and property professionals, with lots of potential profits on the horizon. The better prepared you are as a landlord to take this on, the more you can benefit from this demand.
How to Prepare for the Tenant Fees Act
The first thing you can do as a landlord or property professional is to ensure you are fully aware of the details of the ban and which fees are prohibited payments.
The Tenant Fees Act Quiz
Here at No Letting Go, we’ve put together a useful quiz including all the important points you need to remember about the upcoming Act.
This short, multiple choice quiz consists of 15 questions encompassing everything from tenancy deposits to permitted payments.
Another way to stay ahead of the curve is to outsource important reporting and services to the experts.
The Importance of Professional Inventories
With deposits being capped at five weeks rent, landlords and letting agents will need to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting their rental properties.
If you own property in locations such as London or the South East, this change could make a difference to the amount of deposit you can ask tenants to pay. To compensate, having a comprehensive inventory in place can help when it comes to making deposit deductions.
No Letting Go provide independent inventory reports detailing the condition and contents of your property at the start and end of the tenancy. Using the latest software, the report contains extensive written and photographic evidence in addition to meter readings and safety compliance checks.
The benefit of investing in a professional inventory service is that an unbiased account can help prevent and resolve any conflicts that may arise.
For lettings agents, partnering with us could save time and money at what looks set to be a busy period this June. Outsourcing this administrative work will free up time to provide a personalised service to your clients.
Get Prepared with No Letting Go
To ensure you have everything in place before 1st June, it’s best to start preparing now. Once you’ve got clued up and taken our quiz, it’s time to think about streamlining your workload.
No Letting Go provides services encompassing everything from right to rent checks and house viewings to unbiased property inventory reports.
Browse our full list of services here to find out how we can help you navigate this transition.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
No Letting Go is expanding. With over 65 branches spread across the UK, we are always striving to be the first stop for the nation’s property reporting needs.
Our professional property inventory services are now reaching further afield, with two new offices recently opening in Hertford and Basingstoke. Let us introduce you to the newest members of the No Letting Go team.
No Letting Go Hertford
The new branch of No Letting Go in Hertford, Hertfordshire is being headed up by Moira Hendrick. Moira is an experienced property reporting specialist with a great local knowledge of the property market in the surrounding area. Coming from a background of customer service, administration and management, Moira is well practiced in providing an excellent service for her clients.
When searching for a property franchise opportunity, Moira came across the No Letting Go scheme. According to Moira; “No Letting Go stood out because of reputation, low start up costs and support”. She is looking forward to building her business with the help of her experienced clerk, Danny.
The Herford team pride themselves on going the extra mile for customers, accommodating last minute bookings whenever they can. They welcome any property agent or landlord to get in touch.
07950 007 004
No Letting Go Basingstoke
The new No Letting Go Basingstoke office in Hampshire is run by married couple Rob and Margaret Rymill. While the pair have followed very different career paths, their knowledge of the local area has put them in a fantastic position to lead this branch. Rob has a background in the electronics industry in sales and marketing, while Margaret has spent her career teaching 3-6 year olds in a range of settings.
Both Rob and Margaret hope to spend the next 12 months developing their knowledge of the industry to establish No Letting Go as a centre for property management in the Basingstoke area.
07957 187 268 / 07538 111 718
What is a Property Franchise?
Franchising is the process of buying a ready-made start-up, allowing franchisees to launch their own businesses with the added support and security of a well-known company behind them. A franchise with No Letting Go offers training, branding and the expert knowledge to get your business off on the right foot.
Our Property Management Services
No Letting Go provide a range of professional, unbiased services to help property professionals, lettings agents and landlords manage their investments.
From Legionella risk assessments and CO reports to right to rent checks and vacant property inspections – No Letting Go are here to guarantee no stone is left unturned.
We specialise in property inventory management for which we provide a comprehensive written and photographic report of all items within a property. Using the latest technology to ensure landlords and their representatives recover all costs against tenant deposits, No Letting Go provides a trusted service.
To find out how No Letting Go could help, browse our list of property management services today.
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;
- 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.
Landlords and inventories… Should they mix?
Anyone who has anything to do with the world of renting, be that landlords, letting agents or tenants, will understand the importance of inventories.
But, the question is, should people carry out inventories themselves? If so, what’s some advice they shouldn’t forget? What can still go wrong?
Let’s take a closer look at professional vs DIY inventories.
The Ins & Outs of Inventories
It’s easy to see why so many letting agents offer an inventory service, and why so many landlords carry them out themselves.
Inventories are beneficial for all parties. They help solve, or even prevent, disputes at the end of a tenancy, and provide peace of mind for everyone concerned.
Furthermore, they help protect the property from damage, determine fair wear and tear, and ensure tenants get their deposits back by ensuring no unjust deductions are made.
A good inventory will also reduce the risk of harassment during the tenancy, from either side, as everything will have been recorded previously.
Therefore, it’s essential these inventories are carried out correctly.
Is Going Professional an Unnecessary Expense?
But, is hiring a professional to do the inventory a waste of money?
Some believe that simply having an inventory in place is sufficient. Taking a few photos of the rooms, and any furnishings, should be enough to prevent disputes arising.
Why spend money on something you could do yourself? Also if landlords or letting agents sit down with their tenants to go through the inventory together, surely this eradicates the risk of disputes?
Plus, all tenancy agreements will state the condition the property is expected to be maintained in. Therefore, paying for professional inventory services can seem like an unnecessary expense.
What Issues Can Arise with DIY Inventories?
But, despite the initial upfront costs, a professional, independent inventory can end up saving landlords and letting agents more money in the long run.
So, what issues can arise when people do inventories themselves?
The Devil’s in the Detail
If an inventory lacks sufficient detail, what’s the point?
Many letting agents and landlords appear to think that photos are all that’s needed. However, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ doesn’t necessarily apply to the property industry, as you can only tell so much from one photo.
In certain lights, and from certain angles, a room or space can look completely different in a picture.
Also, with DIY inventories, important aspects can be accidentally omitted, as those carrying them out simply don’t consider them. For example, floor tiles. These can be cracked or damaged in some way, but without an inventory, this will be difficult to prove.
So, while an inventory is in place to prevent a dispute, it may end up causing one if not done correctly.
Finding the Time
With all the many different jobs and priorities letting agents and landlords have, inventories often fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
As a result, it’s easy for certain things to slip through the net, and some details are accidentally omitted, causing problems for everyone concerned.
Lack of ‘Know-How’
How many people can confidently claim they understand all the ins and outs of inventories?
For most letting agents, inventories aren’t their speciality. They’re something the business offers, without having fully developed skills or expertise in the area.
Meanwhile, many landlords aren’t necessarily experts in the property industry, particularly where inventories are concerned.
This can lead to inventories taking longer than they should, and lacking in certain parts. If the information isn’t there, it means specific points can’t be discussed at the end of the tenancy.
With an inventory company, these risks are eradicated.
Room for Disagreement
Not everyone’s definition of ‘clean’ or ‘damaged’ are the same. This not only allows room for disagreement, but also for one party to be exploited.
A landlord or letting agent may record something in the inventory from their own point of view. This may seem unfair to the tenant, and without pictures as evidence, a deposit deduction may be unjust.
On the other hand, simply going through the inventory with your tenant at the start of the tenancy might be putting too much faith in their honesty. Tenancy references are undeniably useful, but can’t show you someone’s true character! Some tenants may try to use a lacking inventory as an exploitative measure.
Tips for DIY Inventories
Despite the risk of certain problems arising, many letting agents and landlords continue to carry out their own inventories.
So, what are some handy hints no landlord or agent should forget?
The More Words the Better
Photos should be used as evidence to back-up points made in the inventory, not form the core of it.
Many fall down the trap of having too many photographs and not enough words. This leaves a question mark around the true condition of the property.
Writing everything down, in as much detail as possible, makes for the best inventories. Words will provide the details needed, and a photo can be used to support any claims made.
Inventories should provide clarity.
Therefore, everything needs to be written down and recorded as clearly as possible. This ensures landlords, letting agents and tenants alike are better covered.
An inventory shouldn’t create disputes, but prevent them! When it comes to your property, you can never be too thorough.
Details As Well As Facts
Don’t simply list the key features!
If a floor is carpeted, also take down notes on the condition of the carpet. With inventory reports, facts aren’t sufficient without details to back them up!
The Benefits of Hiring an Inventory Expert
But, inevitably, hiring a third party has indisputable benefits, such as:
Help Getting Signatures
Getting signatures is a vital part of any inventory.
An independent third party has a duty of care to both landlords and tenants, stamping out any risk of a conflict of interests.
If one party, for example the tenant, doesn’t want to be present during the signing, an inventory expert can sign for them.
The key here is that a third party will be unbiased. This only has benefits for everyone involved.
Expertise in the Area
Why not hire the best in the field to do the job?
Getting help from a third party allows letting agents to do their job, excelling in their areas of expertise, while ensuring the inventory is being carried out to the highest possible standard.
Landlords can rest easier at night in the knowledge that the risk of disagreements or deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy has been dramatically reduced.
Solve Disputes Before They Occur
Inventories should be in place so that landlords and letting agents can take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach if any issues arise.
A professionally compiled inventory will determine any disputes at the beginning of the tenancy. At the end, it’s too late!
Preventing disputes is much more desirable than solving them after they’ve occured.
When it comes to your property, why take the risk?
Provide a Safety Net
For landlords, tenants and letting agents, a professional inventory is like a comfort blanket. They carry a lot more weight than DIY versions, simply because of the third party expert. Think of them as an independent adjudicator!
All parties concerned can rest assured in the knowledge an unbiased professional has carried out the inventory.
In many aspects of our lives, we choose a professional service. Why not apply the same principle to inventories?
No Letting Go specialise in providing comprehensive, unbiased, detailed inventories. We’ll take out the hassle of carrying them out for you, by ensuring every inventory is done by an expert, to the highest standard. This will not only help mediate disputes, but prevent them altogether, ensuring every tenancy is a happy one! Find out more about our inventory services here.