NEW MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY LAWS FOR LANDLORDS

Landlords have just under six months to ensure their rental properties meet the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

Portico London estate agents explain how the new MEES will work in regards to EPC ratings, the impact the rules will have on landlords, and the steps that you should take now to avoid hefty fines.

What’s an EPC?

If you’re unaware, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a guide that potential buyers or tenants get when they look at a property. Every property that’s put up for sale or for rent is required to have an EPC, which usually costs between £60 and £120.

It uses a Grade from A – G to show how efficiently a home uses energy, plus includes the cost of running a home and recommendations of how to improve the energy efficiency of the property.

Grade A indicates an energy efficient, well-insulated home (that’s usually modern), and Grade G typically means a draughty old building. 

What are the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards rules?

As of April 2018, all buildings within the scope of MEES must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E, or they will be illegal to rent out.

In other words, any homes rated F or G must be improved or immediately taken off the rental market – unless the landlord registers an exemption.

What are the penalties?

An alarming 1 in 10 residential properties currently have an EPC rating of F or G and so would not meet the new standards.

A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches, so it’s imperative you make sure your rental property meets energy efficiency standards.

Are there any exemptions?

The government has recently announced that they will be opening an exemptions register from next month, which should shed more light on the matter.

However, we already know that the new minimum energy efficiency standards will NOT apply to:

  • Buildings which are not required to have an EPC, such as certain listed buildings
  • Temporary properties and holidays lets or Airbnb rentals
  • Buildings where the EPC is over 10 years old or where there is no EPC – Is this true? Seems strange
  • Buildings let on tenancies of over 99 years or less than 6 months (where such tenancy does not contain a right of renewal)
  • Where an independent surveyor determines that the relevant energy efficiency improvements would reduce the value of the property by more than 5%
  • The improvements are deemed financially unviable as they do not pay for themselves through energy cost savings within a 7 year time frame
  • If the landlord is unable to get consent from a third party to carry out the energy improvements, for example from the local authority or an incumbent tenant
  • A detached building with a total floor space under 538 sft
  • A building that is due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents

All other rental properties will have to meet the new MEES rules.

So what should landlords do?

Clearly landlords will want to avoid fines, so now is the time to make sure your rental property meets the new standards. We suggest the following actions:

  • Get an EPC assessment on your rental property (give Portico a call 0207 099 4000 If you’d like them to arrange this)
  • Where the EPC Rating is below E, Portico’s Property Management team can make a plan to improve the energy efficiency of the property, with help from our Portico Handyman team
  • Energy efficiency improvement works would need to be implemented before April 2018
  • There is a high likelihood that the minimum energy standards proposed for April 2018 will be raised in the future – so it’s certainly worthwhile assessing your rental property’s energy efficiency now.

Give Portico estate agents a call on 0207 099 4000 if you’d like them to help you assess the potential impact of this new legislation, arrange for an EPC assessment, or if you need any maintenance work.

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Landlords – Here’s what you need to know about Gas Safety

According to the Gas Safe Register, one in six UK homes has gas appliances which are unsafe for use. This not only places the people in them in grave danger, it also has the potential to financially ruin the landlords who are letting them, and damage their reputations forever.

Marylebone Estate Agent, Kubie Gold says; “All landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that their properties and tenants are safe when it comes to gas safety.”

The law now insists that all landlords must:

  • Maintain pipes, appliances and flues
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check
  • Keep a record of all checks and services
  • Ensure that any work undertaken is conducted by a certified Gas Safe engineer

General Maintenance

Although you’ll be arranging annual gas safety checks, this alone isn’t enough to ensure the property is safe to be lived in.  Rent Guaranteed Specialists, Assetgrove continues, “It is all landlords’ responsibility to ensure that all pipes, appliances and flues are in good condition. When you book an engineer to do the safety check it’s advisable to ask them to check the whole gas system, including pipe work.”

 You’ll also need to be sure that the appliances and flues are well maintained and serviced according to the manufacturer guidelines. If you’re unable to find the original documents, contact the HSE for guidance.

Remember: Your Tenant Must Be Notified!

Always give your tenant at least 24 notice of any checks and services- ideally at least a week if you want to give them the option to be at home when the engineer arrives.

If you’re not sure who to employ to undertake the checks, you can do some research online and double check they’re qualified by using the Gas Safe Register.

Once the checks have been made the engineer will provide you with a record which you’ll be required to keep for at least 24 months. Your tenant should also be given a copy of the report- this must be provided within one month of the check taking place.

Fulham estate agent, Lawsons & Daughters concludes, “It may seem like an unwanted expense, but your annual gas safety check and related maintenance are both absolutely essential if you want to be a reputable landlord. Fulfilling your obligations now will help protect your property, the tenants, and ultimately you.”

The property market has great potential for investors, and the buy to let industry has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. Will the UK’s population at an all-time high, and this set to soar to over 70 Million by 2030, people will always need homes. The important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a “Get rich quick” scheme, so if you want to invest in property you’ll also need to invest in safety- and that means complying to all the right rules and regulations.

 All information in this article was sourced from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). To find out about your other obligations as a landlord, speak to your local trusted lettings or estate agent.

London agent offers the chance to sell for free as agent fees top £9k

The average estate agent fee for selling a London home now tops £9,000, according to Portico London Estate Agents, as it offers the chance for one lucky person to sell their house for free.

The leading London agents have created the Portico Property Quiz, and those who score 80% or more in the quiz will automatically be entered into a prize draw, with one lucky person winning the prize of a 0% fee and a £100 John Lewis voucher.

The majority of the questions are general property knowledge, from the average time it takes to sell a London property and stamp duty calculations, to a guess-the-price picture round.

The agent have launched their competition at a time when Londoners have to find an average of £9,244 in estate agent fees to sell their London home. This is a huge 414% more than 20 years ago, when the average fee was around £1,797.

 

Year Average Greater London House Price Estate Agent Fee

1.5%

2017 £616,277 £9,244
2007 £352,792 £5,292
1997 £119,830 £1,797

Land Registry house price data, January – June 2017

 Robert Nichols, Managing Director, Portico, said:

“Everybody wants a quick and easy property sale. Unfortunately, in this market, the time is takes to sell a home can vary greatly depending on how you sell it and who you sell it with.

At Portico we offer a range of unique services to maximise the sale price achieved, from home staging and free handyman work, to an Airbnb management service that enables vendors to earn until their property sells.

We’re excited to be offering one lucky homeowner the chance the sell for free, potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds in estate agent fees. Fancy yourself a bit of a property expert?

Take our quiz! https://www.portico.com/blog/our-news/sell-your-home-for-free!

Terms and Conditions

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Incorporating to create a buy to let business

Since the changes regarding taxation came into effect on the 6th April 2017, you can’t fail to come across a news article or blog article on the subject. The main question being ‘Should I incorporate my buy to let business or not?’ and there are two different camps forming, with some saying categorically ‘NO’ and some unequivocally ‘YES’.

However; we feel it is important to point out that the final decision is down to your personal circumstances and it is something that we would highly recommend you getting advice on BEFORE you make any decisions. Everyone’s situations are different and you should seek advice to ensure that you will not regret the decision you make or leave yourself even further out of pocket.

Over the past few months we have come across companies that deal solely with Buy to Let limited companies and do we agree there is a need for this type of company? No… most probably not. They may well be a good source of advice, especially if this is solely what they specialise in, but what did they specialise in before there was a need for a buy to let limited company? Are they just jumping on the buy to let limited company band wagon to make some extra money? Your guess is as good as mine!

So if you are not going to use one of these ‘Specialist Companies”, who can you turn to? We would suggest doing some research yourself on the internet. Find out more about the concept and be prepared with questions for anyone you do seek advice from, which leads onto the next question… ‘Who do you turn to? We would recommend turning to your accountant for advice. They know all about your tax affairs and we would recommend you look to talk to them in the first instance.

Incorporating a buy to let business itself is not a difficult process, much the same as incorporating any limited company, so do not be mislead into thinking its going to be any more difficult!

We found this article online and wanted to share it with so that you had the opportunity to read more about the subject of Buy to Let limited companies https://www.accountancyage.com/2017/08/15/should-i-incorporate-my-buy-to-let-business/

Uncertainty Continues to Dominate UK’s Housing Market

Another month, another UK house market report and more, liberal use of that word, ‘uncertainty’. This time, it’s the June report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that’s highlighting a tricky period on the UK’s housing market.

“Even though the UK’s general election has been and gone, the result hasn’t created a stable political situation,” said Knightsbridge estate agent, Plaza Estates. “Couple that with Brexit – which will likely loom large for years – and you’ve got two huge unknowns that are dominating home-buyer’s thoughts, across the spectrum from investors to home-buyer occupiers.”

Price Growth Slows Again

The RICS survey shows the house price balance fell again in June to +7, the lowest level since July 2016 and from +17 in May. A positive balance shows that more surveyors are reporting higher house prices in their region, but it’s clear there are many fewer surveyors who hold that view, than previously.

For the June survey, 44% of respondents said the election and uncertain political backdrop was the most influential issue, followed by Brexit which was cited by 27% of respondents.

That uncertainty didn’t just materialise in the prices measure. There were falls and slowdowns across most RICS survey measures:

  • Newly agreed sales.
  • New instructions for property to sell.
  • Expectations for price growth.
  • The 12-month outlook for sales activity.

“The UK housing market suffered a double blow of uncertainty as the election was held and the result didn’t really put anyone at ease,” said Robert Holmes. “There could be a minor revival in the summer as historically, it’s a busy time of year for estate agents, but we’re not expecting a huge improvement.”

According to the most up-to-date market snap shot of asking prices from online estate agent portal Rightmove, house prices stabilised in the early weeks of July after falling in June. The monthly index showed a 0.1% rise in asking prices of property advertised for sale on its website during the first weeks of July, compared with the same period in June. On an annual basis, house price inflation rose to 2.8% from 1.8% a month earlier.

North South Divide

Another detail the RICS survey highlighted, was a divergence between the north and south of the country. While house prices in the north of England were positive, in the south of England, and London in particular, surveyors were much more downbeat.

The survey showed 45% more respondents reported house prices fell in central London than those who said they rose, during June. Residential property prices in the south east and east Anglia meanwhile, were reported as being little changed from May to June.

RICS surveyors reporting in the north west and west Midlands, reported further strong rises, with prices balances of +28 and +33, respectively. And, the strongest prices gain was in Northern Ireland, where 41% more surveyors said house prices there rose, than those who said they declined in June from May.

“The continued disparity between house price movement in the north and south of England is a real sign that prices in the south are considered too high and are overvalued,” said LDG. “It will be interesting to look back on this point at the end of the year, to see if it signalled any step change in the relentless upward trajectory of UK house prices, however slow that rise has been.”

This article was provided by Property Division who are based in London. Property Division are London’s Property News Hub. For more information check out their website

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Staged For Success: Estate Agent Launches Airbnb Interior Styling Service

Vendors and Landlords can now earn until their Property sells or is let

 Portico Host has launched an Airbnb Interior Styling service alongside its traditional Airbnb Management service.

The company says the service is ideal for those with vacant properties, “enabling vendors to earn money until their property sells and landlords to cash in until they find the perfect tenant.”

The service is part of their premium Airbnb management package, which costs 20% + VAT.

The agent employs top Interior Stylists to kit out client’s properties with furniture and soft furnishings to really maximise their appeal to potential Airbnb guests. The stylists will work to the client’s budget and taste, putting together a proposal before any work is started.

As part of the Airbnb Management package, Portico Host will also look after the entire Airbnb management process, from setting up the property listing, organising professional cleaning and hotel quality linens, arranging 24hr check-in, handling guest bookings and communication, and dealing with all property maintenance.

For those with furnished properties, Portico Host offer a standard Airbnb management package which costs 15% + VAT and includes all of the services explained above, except Interior Styling.

The agent has included a recent case study:

Before Styling

 

After Styling

They achieved the look for just £1,140, but can work to any budget. You can see the full costings below:

Fiona Patterson, Marketing Director, says:

“If you have a vacant property, you’re a landlord and find yourself with a gap between tenancies, or you’re away a lot and your home is often unoccupied, listing your property on Airbnb can be a great money maker – and now, our new Airbnb Management service, Portico Host, can help make the process simple and successful.

A well styled or staged property is key to increasing occupancy rates, guest ratings and the amount you can charge.

Better still, the service almost always pays for itself, as our statistics show that staged properties sell for 8% more than empty or un-staged properties.”

Discover how much your home could earn on Airbnb here: www.portico.com/valuation

 

About Portico

Portico is a residential estate agent with offices throughout London, specialising in flats and properties to rent and for sale. For landlords, we offer a range of unique packages which include monthly fees, a rental guarantee, complimentary maintenance between tenancies and assistance with tax return. For property sellers, we offer a dedicated property concierge and a complimentary interior styling service.

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The Developing Use of Digital Signage Within the Estate Agent Industry

Estate Agents pride themselves on their image and brand and without both being strong, estate agents will struggle to make their mark into what is such a competitive field.

Whilst most businesses have ventured online; estate agents remain one of the few sectors thriving from in-store and face-to-face interactions. Digital signage serves as a platform that can supplement these interactions, making estate agents jobs easier and enticing potential clientele from the kerb.

Here are the five best uses of digital signage for estate agents:

Property Feeds

Too often estate agents rely upon old school in-house marketing techniques such as posters and pictures of properties in their windows. Although this has been successful prior to the 21st century, estate agents must now adjust to make their window marketing eye-catching.

Displaying a live property feed is something that not only brings your estate agency into the digital age, but also requires little to no upkeep as content can be controlled days, weeks, and months in advance. This means that estate agent’s time can be alleviated from adjusting posters and focus on what is truly important for business- customers.

Video Walls

Why use one screen when you can use multiple screens? Creating a large video wall of screens advertising your services, or new properties, can be a niche way to make your estate agency stand out from others on the high street. Having a large video wall will have an unforgettable impact on passers-by and will encourage word of mouth marketing amongst potential customers.

Internal Communications

Most estate agents differentiate their time between carrying out administrative work, visiting current clientele, and meeting with potential clientele. Because of this, a significant proportion of estate agent’s time is spent on the road and out of the office. This makes it difficult to communicate announcements amongst a team, potentially resulting in colleagues missing out on key information. Using digital signage can resolve this issue by displaying important internal communications. Whether it is a long-serving colleague that is retiring, or simply a partnership with a new landlord, digital signage serves as a great platform to keep colleagues in the loop.

Touch Screen Capability

Often on-lookers do not have the time to come in to an estate agency to sit down and have a chat. Using digital signage screens with touch screen capability can save both colleagues and potential clientele time. Users can quickly search through an extensive database of properties, tailoring their search to fit their every requirement.

Customer analytics

Online businesses are thriving on the use of web analytics to ascertain key information on their customers, being able to determine their movement, origin, and time spent on each web page. Prior to digital signage, this was hard to replicate for in-store businesses such as estate agents.

Using smart digital signage screens that have eye-tracking and facial-recognition capabilities can allow for key customer analytics to be obtained, such as their age. Using this information, estate agents can trigger the most appropriate content that is tailored to their users. For example, it is likely that a group of young people are looking for a flat or a suburban house, rather than a remote cottage in the countryside.  

Encouraging Landlords To Work With You

Digital signage is important in encouraging B2C sales; however, it is also important in encouraging B2B revenue from Landlords. When Landlords come to choose an estate agency, amongst other things, they will select an estate agency that looks professional and enticing. If your estate agency looks dull and technologically-subpar, it is unlikely that a Landlord will choose to do business with you. Using digital signage can be the technological change that can help attract potential landlords, therefore, resulting in more business being generated for your estate agency.  

This Guest Post was written by TrouDigital, providers of Digital Signage for Estate Agents.

Come and find Trou Digital on Facebook

 

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How to get a (much) better return on buy-to-let property

Not all property is created equal. Investing in the right kind of property can boost returns by over 100%.

“Is this guy for real?” you might be wondering. I can’t say I’d blame you because Landlords have taken a bit of a beating over the last year or so.

First, the lovely people over at Number 10 decided to hike up our stamp duty payments. Then, I s’pose over a G&T after work, they continued chatting and decided our mortgage interest tax relief should go too.

In January they introduced tighter lender criteria for buy-to-let landlords. And – because that obviously wasn’t enough – they’re about to introduce a load more red tape for landlords to tackle, all of which are scaring property investors off.

Yet here I am dropping in on Landlord Blogger, suggesting you can still get a very attractive return on property.

But please bear with me!

Not all property is created equal. If you know where to invest your money, there are some sizeable returns waiting to be had.

Different properties offer different returns

As you probably know, different properties can be let in different ways, and each offers different rental yields. The list of options is fairly lengthy, but most people investing in residential property go for one of the following

  • A single let (the traditional buy-to-let)
  • An apartment (technically still a single let, but with important differences)
  • A holiday let
  • An HMO (a single property let to three or more separate tenants, such as young professionals or students)

The difference in return for each makes for some surprising reading.

Returns from single lets

Single lets sound like a property let to a single person. Not so.

Single lets are actually a property let to just one family unit. That could well be to a single person (and, presumably, her three cats) but it could also be a couple or a family with children. The key point is that contractually there is one tenant.

Letting to just one family unit makes single lets relatively passive investments. If you’re willing to use an agent -and thus accept a slightly lower return- single lets require very little management whatsoever (although you still have legal obligations as landlord).

On the flip side, letting to one family unit almost always artificially caps your return.

Ultimately, rents are determined by supply and demand – and demand itself is determined by household income. When letting to a single family unit, household income is typically restricted to no more than two wage earners, which limits the rent they can afford, and your yield in turn.

Yields have been a consistent 5 – 6% over the past 8 years.

Source: Mortgages for Business Complex Buy to Let Index

Don’t get me wrong, compared to even a generous saving account, a return of more than 5% might seem pretty attractive. But why stop there?

Returns from leasehold apartments

Leasehold apartments are a lot like the single lets described above, only with one key difference: you don’t actually buy the entire property. Instead, you buy the right to lease the apartment on a long-term basis from whoever owns the building the apartment sits within.

This creates the potential for maintenance issues to be outside your control.

Also, the length of the leasehold ticks down as time goes on. Renewing it is a legal right, but it costs money. Whilst the value of the property itself may appreciate, the value of your leasehold, if let to run down substantially will depreciate until you pay to renew it.

If that all sounds pretty terrible, leasehold apartments come with benefits.

For a start, they can be a little cheaper to acquire (making them more accessible to investors). Generally speaking, they’re smaller and newer so don’t always need a great deal of maintenance.

So long as the location is right (think major cities with strong economies) tenant demand can be high – which makes void periods infrequent and capital growth strong on what is, again, a relatively passive investment.

That all makes leasehold apartments a viable option if you’re just setting out but there’s a definite trade off.

If you’re lucky, yields from a leasehold apartment can outstrip those of standard single lets, but when it comes to maximising rental yields, your capital can work harder elsewhere.

Where specifically?

Returns from holiday lets

Although they’re rarely regarded as mainstream investment vehicles, holiday lets actually crank things up a notch.

Bag yourself the right holiday let and you can expect gross rental yields to jump up more than a percentage point or two.

According to Second Estates, The average income for a week in peak season is now £1,200. But remember that’s gross, and this sector is seasonal- don’t expect that week in week out. Overall however the average income from a typical holiday property is just over £22,000.

Why is this?

Management of holiday lets is fairly intensive. If you’re changing sheets and greeting new guests every few days (or, more likely, paying someone to do so on your behalf), the market is going to reward your additional effort/outlay.

Plus, the weak pound following the Brexit vote and recent election brings a double whammy bonus to the holiday property investor: More Brits on staycations (up 24% according to Sojern) and more foreign tourists attracted by the strength of their currency (up 19 % according to Visit Britain). The demand side of the equation is increasing faster than supply.

Airbnb has of course popularised the short term letting phenomenon and also brought it out of the typical tourist spots and into the ‘regular’ towns and cities. There are even now management companies dedicated to running your Airbnb profile and taking care of check-ins and check-outs for you.

Now, one of the major benefits of a furnished holiday let is that the mortgage interest relief (the removal of which has spoiled the party for so many) still stands. This is a significant tax benefit not to be overlooked…although you would probably be wise not to rely on that forevermore given the recent changes.

But there’s more risk with holiday lets. Such short term letting periods coupled with the potential for seasonal lulls can result in unpredictable and potentially substantial void periods.

If you’re purchasing with cash, you can run your property how you like. But, if you’re relying on a mortgage there are a relatively limited number of mortgage products that cater to the holiday property.

Most buy to let mortgages expressly prohibit short term lets, so you can’t simply purchase as a regular buy to let then pop it on Airbnb. Many apartment blocks also prohibit short term lets in the lease covenants (whether explicitly or implicitly).

Acquiring a holiday property is therefore something that needs careful consideration.

So where does that leave us?

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

A house in multiple occupation is a single property that’s let to 3 or more tenants from different families – think houses shared by young professionals or students.

There is a renaissance happening in the HMO market at present. Well designed, high quality and high spec properties for discerning tenants are beginning to distance themselves from the average house share or ‘student digs’ of yesteryear.

For the most part, these tenants value the social connectivity and flexibility that come with sharing, or co-living as it is becoming known. Unwilling to settle, they rent out of choice, yet the quality HMOs they’re after are in short supply.

With short supply and high demand the market is set for higher rents, but only if household budgets allow. Fortunately for all parties, HMO household budgets are abnormally high.

That’s not necessarily because tenants are abnormally wealthy. Instead, it’s because HMOs house a wage earner in each bedroom. That might mean five or six wage earners, for example, as opposed to the one or two associated with single lets.

Per tenant they pay significantly less than they would living alone, but still that lesser amount, multiplied by the 5 or 6 tenants in a HMO, can double a property’s rental income compared to it’s use as a single let.

It’s a match that makes HMOs particularly attractive to both tenants and landlords alike:

Tenants get flexibility, companionship and lower rents. Landlords benefit from yields that outstrip those of a single let by almost 2:1.

Source: Mortgages for Business Complex Buy to Let Index

All that said, HMOs cost more to maintain, require more management and really do require you to vet tenants properly. A passive investment HMOs are not.

But for those with a taste for an active investment, – or for those willing to find and use a reputable agent – sizeable returns usually mean HMOs warrant serious consideration.

How to get a (much) better return on buy-to-let property

So let’s compare the two ends of the spectrum. Over the past 8 years a single let has returned on average 5.7%. Over the same period an HMO has returned on average 9.6%. The right holiday let will do similar.

In my eyes, you’re looking at almost doubling your return while reducing void periods with an HMO and for more information on how HMO’s reduce void periods you need to read this).

Despite unfavourable government regulation, there are still clear and sizeable returns to be made from property.

The trick, of course, is knowing where to invest.

 

This article was supplied to us courtesy of Tom Charrier who is the Director of Living Space Property who can be contacted for more information by emailing tom@livingspaceproperty.uk

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What ALL Landlords must learn from the Grenfell Tower Fire

The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that has rocked the property world and caused distress throughout the UK and beyond. The scenes witnessed by victims, firefighters and witnesses will doubtless be remembered for decades to come, and Landlords everywhere should be more concerned about safety than ever before.

Guaranteed Rent Specialists, Assetgrove says “It’s absolutely essential that all landlords understand their responsibilities when it comes to the safety of their properties and those living in them. Landlords must be aware of the safety precautions that you have to undertake, from gas checks to fire safety risk assessments.”

With the death toll still rising and the very real possibility that those held responsible will be tried for corporate manslaughter, it’s clear that the tragedy was a huge failure that cannot be repeated. But with the latest figures revealing that in excess of 185 high rises buildings have now failed fire cladding safety checks, we still have a major problem.

The announcement was made by Communities Secretary Safid Javid, who confirmed that all of the buildings that have been checked have failed combustibility checks. Properties in Islington, Lambeth, Brent, Camden, Wandsworth and Hounslow have all failed to meet the required standards; news that has understandably caused concern for the thousands of residents affected.

It’s not just a London issue either- high rises in Portsmouth, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland, Norwich, Doncaster, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth have all fallen short on their safety requirements.

Kensington and Chelsea Council took the decision to evacuate residents from tower blocks close to Grenfell Tower, as did several of the others affected, but the decision has had a mixed response. Many residents who suffer with mental health problems and other issues such as agoraphobia are distressed by having to move home, although the decision was supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who agreed it would be better to err on the side of caution.

The cost of the Grenfell tragedy is far reaching, both in terms of money and human life, and the effects will be felt for many years to come. Although it’s local authorities and HMO landlords who will feel most of the brunt of the economic impact, this is a disaster that’s made everyone sit up and listen.

If you’re a landlord, now is the time to take stock.

Fulham estate agent, Lawsons & Daughters reiterates. “Whether you rent a large HMO to ten people or a small studio flat to one tenant, it is your responsibility to ensure that all safety requirements are met.”

So, here’s a recap of the top ten things all Landlords need to be on top of:

  1. Gas Safety Checks must be undertake every year by a certified professional.
  2. A Fire Safety Order must be obtained for all flats, bedsits and hostels.
  3. Energy Performance Certificates must be obtained and given to all tenants before moving in.
  4. Deposits must be protected by an official Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
  5. Administration fees and advance rent must be clearly outlined prior to the commencement of any rental agreement.
  6. You may be required to obtain an HMO licence from your local authority if you are renting to several people.
  7. All homes of multiple occupancy must have electrical safety checks undertaken by a registered professional every five years.
  8. All homes should have at least one smoke alarm fitted and fire alarm systems must be provided in HMOs.
  9. Carbon Monoxide alarms must be fitted in all homes.
  10. All landlords must complete risk assessments for legionnaire’s disease.

Knightsbridge estate agent, Plaza Estates summarises, “The terrible tragedy at Grenfell should remind everyone how important safety is. If you’re still not clear on your responsibilities, visit www.gov.uk/private-renting or ask your local property agent.

Tips to Make Short-Term Lets Work for You

The life of a successful landlord is full of decisions and hard work. Among the many decisions to make, is the type of tenant you want to attract – short- or long-term ones. There’s a lot to be said for both kinds of agreements. But they also both require quite different approaches if you want to make them work financially and for your tenants.

In this post, we’re taking a look at how to make short-term city lets work for Landlords and keep attracting the best tenants.

“Short-term lets can be hard work, but once you have a system in place that works, you could find the reward is well-worth the effort,” said Battersea estate agent, Eden Harper. “The convenience factor of short-term lets mean they come with a higher rent.”

Getting the Location and Services Right

The market for short-term lets is more diverse than you might think. They include business, holiday and in-between home renters. We’re going to focus on city lets in this post, which includes all of the above but not the coastal, countryside or homes for large groups.

For short-term city lets, there are some details that are non-negotiable. They include:

  • Location – it must be central and convenient for transport, popular office districts and/or site-seeing.
  • Easy-to-maintain – this includes the inside and outside. If the property has a garden, it should include a patio and a small easy-to care for lawn.
  • Cleaner – this could be offered as an option or simply be included as part of the services included in the rent.
  • All bills included – short-term tenants don’t want the inconvenience of registering for services and amenities. Help them avoid that with a single, all-inclusive rental charge.
  • Furnished – this goes without saying. Modern and neutral will work best, with items that are easy-to-replace.
  • Clean, simple décor – if you feel you want to dazzle your short-term tenants with some amazing décor then of course you can. But, when it comes to touching up the imperfections left by every tenant, it’s easier to match plain colours than replace a specific wallpaper design.

“Short-term lets are all about creating a property that’s easy and straight-forward to live-in and manage, for the tenant,” said Central London estate agent, LDG. “Whether the tenant is here for work, play or while they wait for something specific to happen, they don’t want to deal with tonnes of paperwork or hiring furniture.”

Never ending Maintenance

We’ve already mentioned this detail, but that’s because it’s pretty important and shouldn’t be overlooked in the world of short-term let investment and management. If you have a high-turnover of tenants, no matter how considerate they are, you will need to replace and repair details of your rental property in between each and every tenant you get.

This means you need to put a reliable system and network in place that you can trust to keep your property in excellent condition. If you can do that, then tenants will return and recommend you to others, giving your investment a better chance of remaining profitable.

When it comes to the cleaner, try to employ one who will do a regular clean and a thorough one before every new tenant. While most cleaners offer this, not all are equal so try a few out and shop around. It’s something you need to get right and that your tenants will appreciate.

With your décor, fixtures and fittings, try and have well-made, good-looking items that can be easily replaced with something similar, if the exact match is no longer available. Better still, where possible, buy some extras on your initial shopping trip so you have a stock of decent bath and bedroom linens, lamp shades, soft furnishings and kitchen accessories.

Yes, it might be a bigger outlay at the start, but it will mean you can get the property up-to-standard quickly and without any problems, in the future.

“Short-term lets do require planning and thought, but if you get it right, the tenants will be queuing up to rent it and tell all their friends about it too,” said Andrew Reeves. “Being a landlord is about providing housing for those who need it, but it has to work financially too. It takes hard work to do that, but the rewards do justify the means.”

This article was provided to us by Property Division who are a specialist PR company for Estate Agents.