England: Latest statistics from the English Housing Survey
At the end of February, the Government published its annual English Housing Survey and, for the year 2013 to 2014, the headline report had some encouraging data for landlords. The private rented sector remained larger than the social rented sector, even growing by 1% to 19% (4.4 million) of households in the country, while social housing held steady at 17% (3.9 million). And in terms of young adults renting, almost half (48%) of all households made up of 25-34 year olds rented privately, an increase of 3% on the previous year. That figure is more than double what it stood at a decade before. Over the same ten-year period, the number of households in this age group owning property fell from 59% to 36%. If this trend continues, albeit steadily, the demand for Private Rented Sector (PRS) accommodation will continue to increase accordingly.
In terms of rents, the average in the PRS rose over the five years since 2008-9 from £153 to £176 per week, an increase of 15%. Given that inflation stands at roughly 3% per annum, this means that landlords have just managed to keep their rents rising in line accordingly. If you don’t do it already, now is the time to check whether your own rents have kept up with inflation and the local market. If they haven’t, it means the value of your profit is falling year on year, so you may need to review your investment and take steps to ensure it produces the returns you need.
Visit or call your local Reeds Rains branch to discuss whether we can help you do any more to maximise your rents from a market perspective. Call 0845 450 0865*, or email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk
Scotland: Tenant antisocial behavior
Private landlords are responsible for any antisocial behaviour displayed by their tenants or guests in and around their property. That’s anything that results in others feeling alarmed, distressed or intimidated, all of which is subjective and therefore sometimes hard to tackle. To help you, Renting Scotland has released a new guide on how to minimise the chances of antisocial behaviour and what steps to take if it occurs.
Of course, if we are managing the property for you, we will look after any issues and try to resolve them before they become a major problem. If you do manage yourself, though, and receive a complaint from someone else in the property, a neighbour or the local authority, you need to talk to your tenant directly.
Explain what’s been reported, why it’s unacceptable and ask them to change their behaviour, then follow it all up in writing, so you have a clear record, should things escalate. Your tenant may not realise what they’ve done is considered antisocial and it could be easily rectified.
Importantly, then make sure you feed back to the complainant what you’ve done and how you and/or the tenant will attempt to rectify the problem moving forward. Often, the problem relates to noise so, for example, you may have agreed that they won’t play music or use a washing machine after 10pm.
If the behaviour continues, you can ask the council to apply for an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) or take steps to evict the tenant. Provided you have established a good line of communication and have dealt fairly and clearly with the tenant, you should find it simply a matter of process for them to leave. But do remember that if, at any point, you feel threatened by them, you can always call the police.
For more information, visit www.rentingscotland.org/landlords-guide
The market in Wales is currently pretty stable, with neither property prices nor rents rising, on average. At times like this, it is worth knowing what you can do to maximise your returns, through avoiding some costs and reducing others, ensuring your profits don’t drop.
The first thing to do is look at your expenditure. If you haven’t had a mortgage review in the past 12 months, contact your financial advisor or mortgage broker and ask them to see whether you could be on a better rate. Then look at your other monthly costs – utilities, services, etc. - and see if you can reduce any of those. To arrange an appointment with a Reeds Rains Mortgage Advisor, call 0845 450 0865*, email Landlords@ReedsRains.co.uk
The next thing you need to do might seem to contradict the last point, but make sure the property is well-maintained. When the market is stable, it’s an indication that supply and demand are balanced and therefore you need to work harder to get and keep the best tenants, as there’s no shortage of rental property for them to choose from. Do a thorough inspection (or we will happily come round and do this for you) and make sure you touch up paintwork, fix any little problems and generally ensure the property is looking good, inside and out. Your gas system and appliances should all be fine, thanks to the annual certification required, but if you haven’t had an electrical inspection for four or five years, have a ‘Part P’ registered electrician check the system is safe and certify that everything’s working properly.
Prevention is better and cheaper than a cure, and provided your on-going maintenance is thorough, you should be able to avoid having any unexpected bills in the near future.
Research into the rental market in Northern Ireland for the first half of 2014 has just been published and the overall picture for landlords is good, with rents up by 2.6% on the previous 6-month period, demonstrating a healthy demand for private rented sector property.
The volume of rental transactions was down by more than 16% over the six-month period and by over 11% on the same period in 2013, which estate agents have suggested is because the sales market is improving and therefore some landlords are exiting the market. If this continues, it’s good news for you, as reducing rental stock will keep demand high.
Belfast is still dominant and driving the market, with just over 40% of all rental transactions in Northern Ireland being undertaken in the city, and that figure shows a slight rise on the previous six-month period. In contrast, every council area outside Belfast recorded a fall in transactions. Outside the city, the next largest rental market is North Down, which stands some way ahead of the next four: Lisburn, Craigavon, Newtownabbey and Ards. The lowest rental transactions were recorded in Moyle, Strabane and Ballymoney, with the number of transactions in Ballymoney having fallen by more than half over the six months.
In terms of property type, two and three-bedroom terraces and townhouses continue to have the largest market share (39%) across Northern Ireland, with apartments close behind at 31%. In Belfast city centre, these two types of accommodation together represent nine out of every ten rental transactions.
YOUR PROPERTY MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE
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