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Your Move Property Blog

Thoughts, Opinions & Analysis of the UK Property Market

Are rental regulations working?

August 3, 2014 12:37 by YOUR MOVE

 

There is currently a huge demand for affordable rental accommodation and sadly, nowhere near enough supply. As a result, the Government is relying on private rented sector (PRS) landlords like you to make more properties available to tenants. However, latest research shows that the level of regulation and the way it keeps increasing could be hindering rather than helping these tenants.

The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) recently commissioned research into what effect current regulations have had on the PRS and has produced a very interesting report on their cost and effectiveness.

As each new regulation has been introduced by the Government, they’ve suggested it’s to help local authorities crack down on rogue landlords and improve things for tenants. And good landlords and agents are very much behind having a more regulated industry where tenants’ safety and rights are protected.

However, the report suggests that what’s actually happened is the unscrupulous landlords have continued to ignore existing regulations and appear ‘unfazed’ by new ones, while the decent majority – such as you – have had to incur increased costs which have had to be passed on to tenants via increased rents. Part of the reason increased regulation hasn’t had as much effect as previously thought is that local councils don’t have the manpower, time or money to track down, monitor and penalise them. So, while those tenants who can afford to rent from legitimate landlords and agents at least benefit from increased safety measures, poorer tenants are being targeted by rogue landlords and are potentially being put at risk ending up living in unsafe properties.

Tenancy deposit schemes were one of the regulations the report reviewed. While they cost good landlords around £275m a year in administration fees, only around £7m a year that would otherwise have been ‘unfairly withheld’ is actually returned to tenants. At the same time, the scheme doesn’t protect the good landlords if tenants disappear owing money and it can take some time to reclaim the deposit funds yourself, especially if your property and deposits protection isn’t handled by a letting agent.

The research also looked at landlord and property registration. This is where a landlord may have to be registered themselves or pay for a license to rent out a property, such as one that’s classed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO). While the cost was mentioned, a bigger issue for landlords was found to be the differences from one area to the next of what’s required and why. And it makes things particularly difficult for landlords who own properties across different local authorities.

Interestingly, the latest data from the Scottish Government estimates 15% of landlords – representing up to a quarter of PRS rental stock – haven’t even registered with their own official national licensing scheme and very little has been done to penalise them.

Yet, despite the serious questions over the effectiveness and benefits of investing in all these new initiatives, they keep coming. With an election next year, Labour is already proposing more changes, such as a cap on rent increases and the introduction of more secure tenancies.

At Your Move we welcome any legislation that protects tenants from unscrupulous practice and which can ensure the good landlords and agents stand out from the bad.

However, we also think that before new regulations are introduced, costing more money to both landlords and tenants, a thorough cost/benefit analysis of any new proposal should be carried out before further regulation is introduced.

 




It's Yorkshire Day

August 1, 2014 15:21 by YOUR MOVE

To celebrate Yorkshire Day, we've picked out some of our favourite houses in this beautiful county.


5 bedroom grade II listed property in Halifax £210,000

 

 

4 bedroom penthouse apartment Huddersfield £395,000

 

 

 

4 bedroom detatched house in Mexborough £725,000

 

 

 

4 bedroom renovated family home in Ossett £335,000

 

 

 

3 bedroom detached property in Sheffield £330,000

 

 

 

5 bedroom arts and crafts inspired house, in Keighley  £950,000

 




Your 5 step moving plan to protect fragile items

July 30, 2014 11:31 by YOUR MOVE

Moving is stressful enough without worrying about your valuables surviving the journey. Whether you’re using a removal service or going it alone, you’re going to need our 5 step plan to protect your valuables during transit.

Start in advance

It’s not just the move that can cause damage, that antique crystal vase could slip right through your hands during packing if you’re rushed. With your moving day fast approaching, you should take your time a few weeks in advance to pack a few boxes per night. You’ll find that this will also help you transition from one place to another with a steady no-hassle move.

Decide on which room to pack first and use this place to store boxes away ready for your moving day.

Wrapping

Each piece should be wrapped in at least 2 layers of bubble wrap. Although you should handle each possession with care, try to keep the bubble wrap quite tight as this adds extra protection. If your bubble wrap is not tight enough, your property could become loose and prone to damage. Keep it tight and don’t be afraid to be liberal with the sticky tape.

Often people use small towels or plastic bags to wrap their goods, but this is simply not good enough. Nothing beats the protection of bubble wrapping your property.

Boxing

Choosing the correct moving boxes is of high importance. Reusing boxes can be risky as they may have become tattered during previous moves. If they are crumpled or damp, they won’t offer the same protection and may be crushed under the weight of other boxes.

You can buy high quality double and triple corrugated boxes online for maximum protection. Look for the sturdiest option for materials such as glass, crystal and china.

Take into consideration the size of the piece you are packing. You’ll need to eliminate space for the goods to move around, so don’t put small goods in large boxes. For example, when packing plates, wrap them in bubble wrap and lay them vertically on top of one another in a shallow box. The less space above them, the less they will move around.

Always ensure that heavy items are not put in the same box as lightweight valuables, this is a recipe for disaster! Even with box dividers you’re risking a hefty crash in the back of your removal van by packing mixed weight items.

Filling

If you just can’t seem to find a smaller box, or your goods are an odd shape and don’t quite make a snug fit, you should fill the gaps to cut down on dangerous movement.

There are plenty of materials you can use to stuff the gaps in your box. Those plastic bags that you may have been tempted to wrap your goods with can be used to secure your property once inside the box. Scrunch each bag into a tight ball and put them into the space between your box walls and property. You can also use newspaper and magazines in the same way.

Packing peanuts are designed specifically for this purpose if you don’t have the time to screw up paper or plastic bags. They come in a variety of materials, from polystyrene to the more eco-friendly corn-based shock absorbers. As they are so lightweight, they won’t add any extra hassle to your move. If you’re running out of time, these may be a more suitable option.

Box dividers may not fill the gaps, but if you’re putting multiple fragile goods into one box they will stop the goods from colliding with each other during transit.

Label your boxes

Don’t forget to clearly label each box. It’s a simple task that many people overlook and suffer the consequences. We’d like to think that a removal service or friends and family helping on the day will take good care when unloading our packaged goods - this is not always the case. Accidents happen and when we start to lose momentum and get tired, we often start to get sloppy with the way we handle things.

Don’t risk heavy-handed mishaps when you’re taking your possessions from one property to another. Let it be known to anyone handling your boxes which ones need extra care.

The trick of a successful move is all in the planning, so take heed of our 5 step plan and move your goods with ease. Don’t put a dampener on your exciting new move by taking risks with your packing. With the right know-how and a little bit of patience, you’ll be able to move swiftly and begin to make your new house a home.

Sioban Clarke writes for Box Shack, suppliers of durable, industry grade moving boxes to protect your precious possessions during transit.




Student letting: are landlords providing homes ‘fit for study’?

July 27, 2014 11:49 by YOUR MOVE

©Eric via Flickr  CC 

In an effort to improve the overall student letting experience, the National Union of Students (NUS) has just published the results of some fascinating research. Surprisingly, this is the first time such a report has been commissioned. ‘Homes fit for study’ tackles the myth that students don’t care about where they live and gives landlords and agents some very useful information about what students want and need. It also highlights where improvements could be made at every stage of the renting process.

While many could choose to live at home or in halls, 44% of full-time students go with the private rented sector (PRS). The top three things they consider when deciding whether to rent privately are: location and specifically how convenient it is for their campus, cost and how easy the process is going to be. Once they’ve decided to go with the PRS, they choose a property based firstly on price, then convenience of location and property condition. So, from your perspective as a landlord, if you get the location and price right, you should attract maximum interest. But in order to get the best tenants, who are prepared to pay the best price, you must make sure the condition is up to scratch.

One important issue raised, which is really useful for you to know as a landlord, is that around three quarters of students have complained about a property’s condition – mainly on damp-related issues and the fact that they found their home too cold. If you’re intending to rent to students, bear in mind many of them spend a lot of time studying in the property during the day. So if you can highlight how well insulated your property is and how cost effective it is to heat, that should be a real selling point.

On a similar point, we’ve always found that if you provide decent quality accommodation and keep it in good condition, tenants treat it well too and, despite what you hear, students are no different! So offer them a good standard of living and make sure their home is energy efficient, safe and secure. A good rule of thumb is to imagine if your own child was renting your property: could they afford it and would you be happy for them to live there?

The great news that came from this report is that most students were happy overall with their PRS accommodation and found it cost effective compared to bespoke student residences.

However, there were some insights which might be useful. When searching for a new home, 20% of those surveyed had felt pressurised into either signing their contract or paying a holding deposit before they’d seen the contract; around half either didn’t know whether they’d received a copy of the EPC or couldn’t recall receiving one; roughly half had to pay fees they reported they hadn’t known about and only just over half were sure that their deposit had been protected.

In an effort to improve the overall student letting experience, the National Union of Students (NUS) has just published the results of some fascinating research. Surprisingly, this is the first time such a report has been commissioned. ‘Homes fit for study’ tackles the myth that students don’t care about where they live and gives landlords and agents some very useful information about what students want and need. It also highlights where improvements could be made at every stage of the renting process.

This suggests that one thing we could all improve on is helping students properly understand what’s involved in the ‘pre-rental’ process and make sure we act not only legally but also ethically, to make sure they’re well informed from the start about all their obligations, rights and responsibilities.

Finally, when asked in the end what measures they thought would make the biggest difference to their experience of renting, the vast majority (66%) said they thought there should be a minimum condition standard, and for more services to ensure that agents and landlords fulfilled their responsibilities.

Valerie Bannister, National Property Director says “Students are more discerning about their choice of accommodation and we know that the key questions they ask are how previous students have found their experience with the agent and how quickly the agent or landlord then responds to repairs. The vast majority of students who are letting in the PRS generally involve their parents , and more often or not it is the “bank of mum and dad” who pay the security deposit, acting as Guarantor. This does mean expectations are significantly higher and parents are very keen to see a full return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy term.” 

Valerie’s top tips for landlords are:

• Ensure you have a gas safety certificate and say if there is a service repair agreement

• Make the energy performance certificate available to prospective tenants

• Protect the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme

• Have someone on hand to organise or deal with repairs

• Secure a good quality inventory prior to move in, which includes meter readings

• Give the tenant essential numbers And most importantly, let through a registered ARLA agent like Your Move to ensure the property is let legally and you always have up to date, best advice

For further information about letting your property through Your Move and the three service types available to you. Call 0845 450 5507** email Landlords@YourMove.co.uk or visit your local Your Move branch.

 

 




What to expect from a mortgage appointment

July 25, 2014 11:57 by YOUR MOVE

We are all finding it more difficult to get an appointment quickly and conveniently with our bank or building society to discuss obtaining a mortgage following the recent mortgage market review.

With our network of branches and our professional advisers we can offer a no waiting service so you can see an adviser without having to wait for weeks to obtain a suitable appointment time.

What is a mortgage appointment?

If you are thinking of buying a property the majority of people will need to obtain a mortgage to enable them to purchase a property.  An appointment with a Your Move adviser will enable you to see if you can obtain a mortgage by sitting down and speaking to one of our professional advisers who will give you a much better understanding of what you can borrow and what price of house you can buy based on your own situation.

How can I make the process smoother?

We would ask clients to be prepared for an appointment with an adviser by bringing along all their income details i.e.  3 months payslips (or 2 years accounts if self employed)  and details of any benefits they are entitled to.  Also bring in 3 months bank statements which will help when looking at a clients spending habits and what outgoings they may have.  In addition please bring up to date ID and also details of any changes that may be occurring in the future.

This all helps the appointment process.  A part of this fact finding exercise we will ask clients a lot of questions to determine their current financial position but also their future goals and  aspirations.

Buying a property is possibly one of the biggest financial outlays you are going to have so you need to ensure that you are obtaining the right advice for your own circumstances.

What to Expect:

Our advisers will look at the intermediary mortgage market.  This means we operate from a comprehensive range of providers to help ensure that we are obtaining the right mortgage for our clients.  Your Move do obtain many preferential rates from different providers that you will not be able to access yourself.  This means we may be able to save you money!

We not only help you obtain the right mortgage for buying your new home but we also help you through the whole buying process. 

Your initial appointment is free and will take approximately one and a half hours of your time.  We will explain to you about our service, ask you lots of questions and at the end of it you will have a much better understanding of how to buy a property and will know how much it is all going to cost you; from the costs in buying to the monthly outlays you will have for your mortgage and associated insurances.

What Happens Next?

Once you know you can obtain a mortgage then the fun starts.  It is now a case of helping you find the right property and guiding you through the buying process.  Our estate agents are on hand to help with this process at each stage and advise you on what you need to do and when you need to do it.  It’s all about find the perfect home and getting that home at the right price!

We will continue to work with you through the entire life of your mortgage and guiding you through the process of renegotiating your mortgage deal where appropriate, moving home and the associated insurances that come along with changes in your own circumstances eg. starting a family.

by Lorna Aird, Senior Financial Consultant Your Move  Falkirk

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

Our initial consultation is free. We will charge a fee between £349 and £699 on application. The amount we will charge is dependent on the amount of research and administration required.

07/14 EAF 5027




YOUR MOVE Blog

YOUR MOVE is a multi-award winning estate and letting agent with branches across England and Scotland

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