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UK landlords should hold tight despite stories of gloom
As an experienced letting agent in the Poole and Bournemouth in the south of England, I am not getting worried by the stories of doom and gloom that the papers seem to love at the moment. Despite the worries of a pending recession, my belief is that 2008 is going to be a good year for the rental business. We are anticipating that prices for renting will increase and more people will be renting than ever before and for longer. Why do I think this? Well, where mortgages were once cheaper than renting, we are now seeing the reverse; hence an increase in rental prices will naturally follow over the next few years while they play catch up.
The UK Government also gives statistics of 16 million more people moving into Britain by the year 2025 ? to put this into perspective, this is the size of London and these people will need to rent somewhere! Put those together with our own siblings not being able to afford to get onto the property market until their late twenties/early thirties, the prospect for the property lettings industry has never been so good! We know for a lot of Landlords, they have struggled with increasing mortgage interest rates and are having to dip into their reserves to cover shortfalls, but if they could hold on just a little longer, we believe we will see the interest rate drop this year. With the increase in rents playing catch up, landlords will truly start to see the benefits. We have to remember that most of us purchased these properties for our pension and we would expect to pay into a pension! Property investment in the buy to let market should be seen as a 10-15 year plan. Historically property has doubled every 10 years or so in price, that's a very good return for your money. That aside, tenants do expect more for their money.
With all the new builds coming onto the market tenants have a wider choice of good quality lets to choose from. Landlords need to take heed that if their property is to remain tenanted continuously they need to make sure their property is maintained. For example a fresh coat of paint every 2/3 years will keep the property fresh.
A new kitchen/bathroom should be looked at being replaced every 10 years. In addition to keeping on top of property maintenance, landlords need to keep their eyes on UK legislations are continuing to change at a pace. In April 2007, we saw the introduction of the Tenant Deposit Scheme. This means that all deposits taken under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be lodged with one of 3 schemes within 14 days of taking the deposit (not when the tenancy starts). Failure to do this will allow the tenant to claim 3 times the original amount put down and the Section 21 notice will not be recognised in a court of law.
The next legislation coming in on the 1st October 2008 will be the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), where all rented properties will be graded A-G with the most efficient homes in band A. There are grants to help Landlords insulate their properties for free and now is the time to perhaps look into these schemes. With all this to think about managing a portfolio of properties can quickly become a full time job. When you have a few properties it could be time to consider employing an experienced lettings agent. If you are letting property in the Poole and Bournemouth area, we would be very pleased to help you.
If you live elsewhere we recommend that you find an experienced letting agent you trust, especially if they are going to be managing your property.
Sharon Moore is the owner of Move On Rentals in Parkstone, Poole. Sharon has been in the lettings industry for over 16 years. As well as running Move on Rentals she manages her own portfolio of rental properties. For more information about letting property and letting agentplease visit: www.moveonrentals.com
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