By Jill Stevenson on 28/05/20 | Lettings Advice

Lockdown restrictions for landlords have already begun lifting in England, while Scotland and the rest of the UK are due to experience similar this week.

But what will landlords find when they can once again meet with tenants – and get to check out their properties (albeit from a distance)? And what new government measures can they use to ensure their buy-to-let continues to work for them?

 

Paying the buy-to-let mortgage

Under the Coronavirus Act, buy-to-let landlords, like other home owners, have had their mortgage payment holiday extended for another three months, making that six months in total. This means that if your tenants are finding it difficult right now to pay rent - due to furloughing or losing their job – you have some financial breathing space while they access benefits.

Scottish landlords, meanwhile, are entitled to an interest-free small business grant of up to £10,000 to tide them over (provided they have commercial premises for their business).  In England it’s more complicated. Landlords may be able to claim the self-employed grant if buying/selling and managing property is their full-time occupation.

Another way round the financial difficulties the coronavirus lockdown may have caused is to defer tax. Rather than paying in July this year, landlords with problems paying can defer until January next year.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by the Think Tank Centre for Cities shows that the biggest jump in Universal Claims last month was in the North of England. This is where there are more buy-to-let mortgages than anywhere else in the UK, implying landlords there may be struggling when lockdown finishes and ‘normality’ kicks in. 

In the North East, for instance, 67 per cent of landlords who have bought in the past three years, are mortgaged. The figure for Yorkshire and Humber is 60 per cent. This is compared to 48 per cent of landlords in the West Midlands and 50 per cent in the South East.

 

Landlord insurance and coronavirus

Some landlord insurance policies will cover the fact tenants can’t pay rent due to complications surrounding coronavirus. However, they might insist notice on the tenant/s has to be served first, or there are stipulations around how long those rent arrears are before insurance kicks in.

Meanwhile, some landlords will have empty properties with tenants (particularly students and other individuals living on their own) having gone back to their family home. This doesn’t mean, however, that they can claim back their rent for the period when they weren’t in the property. With respect to commercial tenants, only those whose lease contains a 'force majeure' clause might be in with a shout. Or, if the property was damaged in some way, then a reduction in rent could be asked for.

 

Maintenance

Just like landlords can’t move tenants from their property right now (they must give three months’ notice of the intention to do so), tenants can’t expect landlords to ‘magic up’ repair men. In other words, legal obligations towards repairs aren’t practical right now. Provided you do as much as you can in the present circumstances to get the repair done – and record it – there can’t be much else expected of you.

 

Utilities

 Landlord body the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) are urging the government to give their members a similar deal to motorists and MOT certificates for utilities. RLA say they want a six-month extension from April 1 for gas and electricity certificate expiry dates. That’s for the simple reason that due to  social distancing rules many landlords and contractors can’t enter rental properties at the moment.

 

Get in touch!

Are you planning to invest in a buy-to-let property in the future? Perhaps you’re thinking of renting out your existing property due to a job or personal relocation? If so, get in the touch with the team here at Griffin Lettings for up-to-the-minute advice and help. Tel 0345 561 0050 or email via the Contact Us page on our website.

By Jlll Stevenson on 14/05/20 | Lettings Advice

Today marks the first day of a ‘new normal’ for England’s property market. High Street estate agents have been given the orange light to open again. We say ‘orange’ because it’s not quite the ‘green’ light in that social distancing measures will still be in place.

Property Market

What it does mean, however, is that viewings will be allowed to resume – both for selling and letting. The new guidance will also be a driving force for removals firms to restart, while surveyors are expected to resurface by the end of the week.

This freeing up of lockdown measures will bring relief to thousands of home owners and landlords in England. Towards the end of April, property website Zoopla reckoned there were more than 45,000 individuals and families who had been forced to put moving in plans on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. The value of those sales was estimated to be worth around £82bn.

Property in other UK nations remains in lockdown

Meanwhile, it might be good news for English movers but those planning to locate anywhere else in the UK will be sorely disappointed. That’s because in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the property market remains shut – thanks to differing lockdown rules.

This begs the question, will people in England feel safe venturing out again? The fact that we have all been cooped up indoors for so long is likely to encourage people to get out and view new properties, say many analysts in the industry. And, indeed, online portals have seen a surge in traffic of up to one fifth in recent days. And, anyhow, for those who still feel a little tentative about mixing with others, there are plenty of video and online viewings to sign up to. A final physical viewing must be carried out though to make property sale transactions legally viable.

A change in house hunting priorities

Some analysts are predicting that house hunting priorities will also have changed for many buyers and renters. Where in the past a spare bedroom was a luxury, for many it will now prove to be very much an essential. This is especially the case for those who plan on working from home, at least some of the time, on a more permanent basis. The coronavirus scare will also have made properties with gardens more favourable – for families in particular.

A hit to personal finances will probably also result in more price haggling when it comes to property buying and selling, say those in the industry.

Meanwhile, both the property and construction industries (the latter returned to work this week), have always been seen as reflective of the country’s economic situation. Kickstarting both, it’s hoped, will help quells fears of an on-going recession over the next few months (even if that economic downturned is short-lived).

Get in touch today!

Interested in letting or renting? Then do get in touch with the team here at Griffin Lettings. As professional online estate agents, we offer a property listing package starting at just £19.95. We also offer plenty of advice and tips to first-time renters, couples and families. Why not let us help you find your perfect rental today? Call 0345 561 0050 for email us via our contact page.

By Kylee Ryers on 03/06/19 | Lettings Advice

As rental prices in cities rise, young professionals are increasingly looking to suburbs and areas away from the city to rent in. These areas need to be close enough to a larger city to allow for an acceptable commute, but far enough away that their rental prices aren’t too high. Southend-on-Sea seems to be this perfect rental hotspot, and it even ended up topping the UK’s buy-to-let investment table last year.

This phenomenon is because graduates and students in London are looking to maximise their savings as they search for places to live, yet still be able to commute to the city centre, and it’s making a real difference in the buy-to-let market. Areas that were once considered "undesirable” areas to live are now seeing new life as those looking to save money flock to them. This makes now an excellent time to get in on this new profitability.

Southend’s Success

Why is Southend the perfect spot to rent? Firstly, it’s within commuting distance of London, while still being far enough from the city centre to be peaceful and inexpensive. Additionally, the investment cost for properties there is only slightly higher than the national average, but they still yield over 6% rental profits.

Southend’s success also comes partially from its competitive real estate market, its easy commute to the city, and its high rental yields for landlords. Its beautiful seaside location doesn’t hurt, either. The town also has good airport connections in addition to the other things going for it. From a landlord’s standpoint, though, the most important thing about Southend is its investment to payoff ratio. For a relatively small amount of money, real estate investors can buy up properties and let them out to rent-savvy people – like the graduates and students we mentioned above – who don’t mind commuting to the city.  Southend may not have the highest rental price outright, but it’s the ratio between the investment and the payoff that really matters to most investors.

Suburban Investing

Investing in suburban rather than city areas has some upsides and downsides. The most obvious upside is that you get much more bang for your buck when you’re willing to look outside the city. This means, for the same price, you’ll be able to afford a much larger dwelling than you would be able to in the city. Though this might not make a huge difference to singles, it’s excellent for family living. Properties in the suburbs are also almost always quieter and safer than alternatives in the city.

There are a few downsides to suburban buy-to-let investing too, though. For one, there’s historically been less interest in them than there has been in inner-city locations. However, this is slightly balanced out by the fact that renters in the suburbs tend to stay for much longer than city renters do. Additionally, some people view the suburbs as boring if they’re too far from the city. However, when someone’s willing to make that sacrifice of not being in the city, they might find that the cost savings and safe location is worth the humdrum. 

 Guest Blog by Kylee Ryers

By Griffin Lettings on 16/01/19 | Lettings Advice

When it comes to renting out your property, you need a property lettings agent you can trust. At Griffin Lettings, we believe in making the letting process as simple as possible, finding you the right tenant and all for one transparent and affordable price. Whether this is your first property rental or you have been renting out properties for years, we would be delighted to assist.

Choosing the Right Lettings Agent For Your Property

List your property for only £19.95

One of the most important priorities for us as a company is to give our customers value for money. Where other letting agents might hit you with confusing or hidden charges, we make it very simple with our fixed fee listings. For just £19.95, we’ll list your property with the UK’s leading property rental portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla, so that your property is put in front of thousands of people looking for a property like yours.

Sign-up is as easy as 1, 2, 3

Signing up and listing your property really is as easy as 1, 2, 3, and we’re on hand to help you every step of the way. If you’d like to have a chat with us about listing your property, our team is available to give you advice on the important things like taking photos, choosing a rental price, formulating a tenancy agreement and writing a great description.

1. Signing up

In 20 minutes or less, your property will be listed online using some of the most well-known and reputable property portals in the country.

2. Upload and go live

You can upload your property in mere moments. Our letting experts will check the details before your listing goes live to the nation. Once your property is live, you can sit back, relax and wait for prospective tenants to get in touch. And because we’ve carefully selected the most popular portals used by tenants today, we are sure you’ll be hearing from them very soon!

3. Renting your property

We’ve also made it easy for you to communicate with prospective tenants through our secure online portal. From here, you can give prospective tenants more information and arrange viewings. Our letting experts are also on hand to help with credit checks, deposits and references.

 

The easy way to rent your property

If you are looking for a no-nonsense approach to renting your property that will help you to get maximum exposure and maximum returns on your property investment, come to Griffin Lettings. We have years of experience and are on hand to help with every aspect of the lettings process.

By Griffin Lettings on 14/01/19 | Lettings Advice

Viewing a property with a view to renting can be a very exciting time, but one where you will need to have your wits about you and also do a little research beforehand. Whether this is your first time renting or you are a seasoned tenant with a few properties under your belt, this is going to be your home and so it pays to ensure you get as much as you can out of the viewing. Here are a few tips for making the most out of that first viewing so that you can make a smart decision.

How to Make the Most Out of the Property Viewing

Find out as much as possible in advance

We live in an age where technology has brought the information we need into our homes and pockets. Most letting agents now publish the properties they have available on sales and lettings portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove and also on their own websites. These listings often have a lot of detail included like photos, floor plans, additional fees or charges, details about the area and many more nuggets of information that can help you to decide whether to book a viewing.

Phone a friend

If you are looking for a property on your own, it’s a great idea to take a friend or family member along with you for advice. You can view each room together, taking note of any defects or features along the way. The best bit is discussing the viewing over a coffee or glass of wine afterwards!

Make a list of pros and cons

A property listing online can give you a good idea of what to expect before you view a property for the first time. However, photos can be deceiving and they can be out of date. The best way to remember what a property looks like is to view the property and take photos and make notes as you walk around. Afterwards, you can make a list of pros and cons to help you make a decision. For example, there may be a lot of noise from traffic outside. Photos can never tell you this and while your agent may be honest about the fact, you really do need to experience it for yourself and decide whether you can live with it.

Look for defects and confirm features exist

From mould and condensation and the brightness in each room, it is important to look closely during your viewing to find the things that might not have been mentioned in the property listing. Also, is that airy bedroom really airy or freezing cold?

Check the area out before you arrive

Arriving early for your viewing and checking out the area beforehand can give you a real sense of what it would be like to live there. Spend some time walking around, taking in the daily traffic and the amenities as you go.

Wherever you plan to move, that first viewing is one of the most important aspects of renting a property. Take your time, take in as much information as possible and do your research. That way you can reduce the chances of any nasty surprises and increase your chances of finding a property to suit your needs.

By Griffin Lettings on 02/01/19 | Lettings Advice

The buy-to-let market is booming. As more and more young people struggle to build up the deposits they need to afford their own homes, they are turning increasingly to rented accommodation. If you see yourself as something of an entrepreneur or simply want to create a new source of income for your family, becoming a landlord could be a great idea. In this article, we’ll look at some of the things you’ll need to consider and how to get the best from the experience.

Do your research and learn from others

One of the best ways to learn how to become a landlord is to listen to others who have been there and done it. The National Landlords Association, for example, is a great way to meet landlords and letting agents and get trustworthy advice based on years of experience.

Which property?

At some point, you’re going to need to decide which type of property to let. Perhaps you already have a property or perhaps you are looking to invest in a property. Speak to a lettings agent in the first instance to see which type of properties are in demand and which areas have the most demand. This can give you a good idea of the type of property that will not only be easy to let today, but long into the future. For example, if you let out a property near a university or hospital, you will no doubt have many students and hospital staff looking for accommodation all year round.

Budget and income

Doing your property and area homework will also give you a good idea of the rate of rent you can comfortably expect. If you are considering a buy-to-let mortgage, seek the advice of a mortgage broker to help you to find the best rate of interest. You should also think about the amount of profit you can generate once the mortgage payments and any other charges are taken into account.

First impressions count

Once you have decided on the property you wish to rent out, ask yourself this question - would you want to live there? If the answer is no, then it’s time to take action and prepare your property for the first tenants. In addition to decorating and making each room presentable, you will need to consider safety aspects of your property, such as the boiler, electricity and whether there is any condensation or mould that could potentially cause health issues. All of these things should be in order before you put your property on the rental market.

Find a good lettings agent

Many landlords choose to use a lettings agent to handle the administration and management of their rented property. From arranging viewings and drawing up paperwork to managing rental payments and dealing with any issues, a lettings agent can do much of the hard work for you.

If you are considering renting out your first property, we’d be delighted to tell you more about the properties we have available and how to land your first paying tenant.

 

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