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With winter fast approaching, we are now speaking to our current clients and tenants offering advice on how to best to avoid some of the nasty surprises and costly repairs we often experience during the colder months of the year. 

Agents and Landlords have a duty of care to ensure tenants are looked after and we hope you find the points listed below useful. 

Keep in touch with your tenants – Communication is key so make sure you inform each other of holidays you have planned well in advance, potential work that will need to be done and who to contact in an emergency.

Check pipes regularly – Frozen pipes can burst and cause flooding and leaks, so keeping the heating on low is vital, particularly if your property is empty or your tenants are away. Most boiler systems and thermostats will have a winter setting where they will only come on when the temperature drops so there should be no expensive bills.

The heating system – Make sure the system is working fully. Radiators may need bleeding combi-boilers may need re-pressurising and its always wise to have your boiler services every year.  A visit to the property and showing the tenants how to do this is always a nice touch, ensures the heating is operated correctly and builds landlord tenant relations. 

Maintenance – Ensure the brickwork, drains, guttering and roof tiles are all in good condition with no cracks or holes for any rain or cold to get through. 

Insulation – Ensure draft excluders are fitted to doors and windows and make sure the lofts and walls are fully insulated, this will all help to reduce the effect of condensation and mould which occurs over the colder months.

Check fire alarms – ensure your property has a working fire alarm on each floor or follows HMO guidelines if you’re renting an HMO. There should be heat alarms rather than fire alarms in every kitchen and we always put carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with boilers. Its law to ensure you have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance such as a log burner.  All alarms should be tested in front of the tenants at the start of each tenancy.

Check the chimney – Make sure it is safe to use by having it swept annually, the tenants should be reminded of this!

We believe these points are essential to ensure that tenants enjoy a safe and cosy winter. Should you like any further advice regarding your property or how we can help with the management of your property or portfolio, please feel free to give us a call on 01273 645797 to speak to one of the MTM team! 

 

Recent research from a tenant survey conducted by Upad suggests that 1 out of every 10 tenants are not looking to buy their own home in the UK and have no desire to in the future. Almost 9 out of every 10 tenants surveyed stating they’re not currently interested in buying. 

Approximately a quarter of respondents reported that the main reason they were not interested was due to the increasing difficulty with getting a mortgage.  Affordability seems out of reach for many stating that they couldn’t get on to the housing ladder even if they wanted to. Another quarter said they were renting due to being situated close to their work or education. 

Interestingly, over 20 percent of tenants have owned a property previously and 40 percent of those surveyed have rented for over 4 years. 

This may be welcome news for landlords as demand for rental property remains high and with interest rates predicted to rise soon we can’t see a huge change on the horizon. It may be of some comfort for private landlords who may face rent caps and further legislation over the coming 12 months on top of recent tax changes.

 

A wish list has been submitted to the treasury by the NLA (The National Landlords’ Association) ahead of the Autumn budget. The list outlines serious issues currently being faced by the rented sector and the impact they have on housing.

The Autumn budget will be published on Wednesday 22 November 2017. As most of you will already know, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond announced in his Autumn statement 2016 that there will only be one fiscal event each year, held in the Autumn. From 2018 there will also be a Spring statement responding to the OBR forecast, but no major event.

The NLA’s intentions are to ensure that investment in private rented property is better supported by fiscal and economic policy, and that the future Homeless Reduction Act is bolstered with sufficient funding. A stand-out request put forward by the NLA, is to introduce a ‘Capital Gains Tax reduction’ package. The purpose of these measures is to encourage the sale of poorly performing investment properties, properties invested in and utilised for more than 10 years, properties that are eligible and suitable for sale to existing tenants, and properties where the sale proceeds will be entirely reinvested back into the lettings business.

Other interesting proposals are to introduce measures to facilitate the tax-efficient movement of a letting portfolio into a corporate structure, establish a government-backed investment vehicle to allow the sale of properties into a managed fund, and abolish the Stamp Duty Land Tax levy on additional property.

The full submission can be seen on the links below however we feel the likelihood of these representations being approved by parliament are extremely low.

Source - https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/news/nla-submits-wish-list-treasury-ahead-budget 
Source - https://www.landlords.org.uk/sites/default/files/2017-09/NLA%20Budget%20Submission%20-%20September%202017%20%28final%29.pdf

 

 

With such uncertain times ahead for the UK with Brexit on the horizon and more and more legislation and procedures coming in to place for landlords there now is at least a slight bit of good news for landlords across the country. The average rent has risen by 2.4% since August last year according to the HomeLet Rental Index, which is the highest annual inflation since November 2016. The average rent across the UK is now £939pcm. In the South East the average rent went up by £3 from July to August 2017 to £1,028 per month and remains the second most expensive region to live in the UK, behind Greater London. 

The South East looks to of stabilised, for the time being, as we have seen a 0.2% decrease compared to August 2016.  Although 17.9% of landlords surveyed by the HomeLet Rental Index said they would be putting their rents up in the next 6 months and a further 18.7% in the next year. This is mainly down to change in tax relief and landlords needing to make their investments more financially efficient.

Although rental increases may be more in other areas of the country, Brighton is seeing healthy growth in the capital appreciation with a £13,754 increase in price according to Zoopla, a 3.58% increase. The area is still very desirable and people are looking to move to the city no matter if it is rented or privately owned. 

 

Following research from Post Office Money it has been revealed that many first-time buyers are now looking elsewhere to find their first home with many willing to travel an average of 26 minutes from their ideal location.

Brighton property value has soared by 8% over the past 12 months from an average property price of £352,303 in 2016, meaning that just 2% of properties in the city are affordable to first time buyers, down from 9% in 2015. Despite huge financial pressure however, many first-time buyers (44%) still find the idea of owning their own property exciting with many happy to make a compromise where possible. 

Just 1 in 6 buyers were said to be “frustrated and stressed” due to borrowing money from family and friends to achieve home ownership and almost a quarter of first-time buyers were caught out by unexpected costs during the purchase process, such as legal fees and stamp duty.

Post Office Money have labelled Brighton the least affordable city in the UK however Southampton was found to be one of the most affordable in the south. 

More than half of homes were out of reach to first-time buyers in four of the 14 cities included in the study. We will have to wait and see if any of the government initiatives employed will alter this. Will enough new affordable property get built or will more property come onto the market as a response to tax changes on landlords coupled with more strict legislation? We will have to wait and see.