Providing Applicants with an ‘Amazing Service’

"There’s no pressure on us to let a property at any cost, just the drive to get the right person in the property."

“There’s no pressure on us to let a property at any cost, just the drive to get the right person in the property.”

Young London’s focus has always been on providing the best possible customer service experience. As the Senior Property Consultant I know that providing a great experience – from the first moment we’re contacted by an applicant up until the time we pass them on to our colleagues in Contracts and Property Management – not only benefits the customer but also our landlords.

Making a lasting positive impression on an applicant can mean the difference between them staying with us for many years and moving on at the first opportunity.

In this blog I will talk about how my team goes about forging a great relationship with the applicant and thus fulfilling our all-important ‘Amazing Service’ mantra.

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Private Rented Sector: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Business Development, Young Group

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Business Development, Young Group

As 2014 is drawing to a close this PRSupdate article will focus on what has been happening over the past 12 months in housing and the Private Rented Sector, as well as a brief look ahead to 2015.

House Building

While the lack of housing stock is a current hot topic it has been encouraging to see statistics, released by the Government, which shows that house building has steadily been on the rise since the financial collapse of 2008.

The number of private dwelling construction starts for 2014 is set to exceed the 2013 levels by at nearly 25,000 units (106,750 in 2014 compared to 81,980 in 2013).

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Investment Analysis And Performance Reporting

Dominic Martin, Former Member of the Department For Communities & Local Government's Private Rental Sector (Residential) Taskforce

Dominic Martin, Former Member of the Department For Communities & Local Government’s Private Rental Sector (Residential) Taskforce

Introduction

New Investment Market & Data:
The UK is witnessing the emergence of a specifically designed and managed ‘institutional grade’ residential asset class, loosely referred to as the new Private Rented Sector (PRS), or as Build-to-Rent. However, for any investor, be this institutional, private equity, sovereign wealth funds or housing associations, there is a need to underpin entry into this sector with good quality data and analysis.

Therefore, this article looks to acknowledge some of the existing sources of data and provide commentary around these. Secondly, it highlights areas where improvement can be gained.

Investment Asset Performance:
In the medium to long-term, the aspiration from an investment performance perspective is that this market resembles the US ‘multi-family housing’ market (MFH), where detailed accounts of the performance of the investments are standard in any investment particulars. Investors need certainty around the investment performance of this asset class. This will comprise both the annual net returns (i.e. income less annual maintenance and management costs) and total long term returns (driven by either yield compression and/or House Price Inflation).

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Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful

Landlords find 'going it alone' stressful (Image by Firesam!)

Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful (Image by Firesam!)

A survey of 759 landlords found that 1 in 4 feel the whole experience of letting and managing their rental property was far more stressful than they had expected. A huge 67% of those questioned stated that they felt that their stress levels were higher than they were 12 months ago.

Unsurprisingly, expat landlords felt that they were under the most stress due the distance between them and their property, hampering their ability to properly manage it.

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Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

As the mercury begins to drop, signalling the start of Winter proper, it’s a perfect opportunity to remind renters that the cold weather can cause all manner of issues in your home, especially if no action is taken to counter the effects of the adverse weather.

To provide a lending hand the Young London Property Management team put our heads together and came up with some top tips that can help renters protect their home as the cold winter months close in.

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Attracting Large-Scale Private Rented Sector Investment

Bill Hughes, President of the British Property Federation

Bill Hughes, President of the British Property Federation

The UK’s housing crisis should not be understated. Not only does it represent one of the biggest potential drivers of inequality in the UK, but failure to address it could sabotage the UK’s economic recovery.

Increasing housing supply tops the priority list of all the major political parties, with the challenge – as set out recently by Labour – is to build 200,000 homes a year, across all tenures, by 2020. In any event, an overall shortfall will persist for another 10 years or more.

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) is clearly an important part of the supply side solution, both in terms of additional housing stock and affordability. The lack of mortgage lending at higher loan-to-value (LTV) levels is reducing the accessibility to ‘buy to occupy’ at a time when the growing population is continuing to put pressure on the chronically undersupplied housing market.

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Designing For The Private Rented Sector

Artur Carulla, Director, Allies and Morrison Architects

Artur Carulla, Director, Allies and Morrison Architects

In recent years, our designs have responded to the increasing housing demand, rising land values, new policies and regulations, changing market preconceptions and influences from overseas. Many of these changes are, to some extent, either the cause or the consequence of an increase in housing development densities and the consequent shift of home building from houses to flats.

While this trend developed long ago, it was only four years ago that the Mayor of London’s Housing Design Guide (LHDG) was first published. This document offered the first spatial criteria for residential developments since the abolition of the Parker Morris standards in 1981.

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Can The Planning System Help Or Hinder The Creation Of A Large Scale Private Rented Sector?

Karen Cooksley, Partner - Head of Planning, Winckworth Sherwood

Karen Cooksley, Partner – Head of Planning, Winckworth Sherwood

Residential developers who build for sale have, for many years, voiced consistent concerns about the length of time it often takes to navigate the planning system and achieve the consent required to build much needed homes. Inefficiencies in the processing and determination of applications can result from a lack of resources or experience at officer level.

There is frequently a lack of political will or leadership to help communities understand the need for more homes to be built in their locality and the wider social and economic benefits which will result. Each local authority has different policies and there is a frequent tendency to apply planning law and national policy in a different way.

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Land Acquisition In The Private Rented Sector

Darryl Flay, Chief Executive Officer, Essential Living

Darryl Flay, Chief Executive Officer, Essential Living

Rising house prices, demographic change and the tight mortgage market have led to a doubling in the number of renters in the UK over the last decade.

While no one doubts the UK’s penchant for ownership is about to change any time soon, there’s a huge opportunity in unlocking the kind of institution-backed sector that supports housing in the US. Replacing the reputation for poor standards underpinning the buy-to-let sector could, however, redefine the way the public approaches renting, while creating an exciting new asset class for institutional and, eventually, retail investors.

A growing number of large investors have been posturing on the sidelines for years and, over recent months, the talk has turned to action with major schemes in development across London and Manchester.

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Consultation on Definitive House Price Index

Office For National Statistics

Office For National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics has launched a consultation seeking input from “users” on the proposal of developing a single definitive house price index.

As I have blogged about previously, there is not a precise house price index as all of the current indexes source their data differently.

The move to a single, UK-wide, index would help end the confusion caused by the contrasting data thrown up by the current indexes.

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Funding Private Rented Sector Housing

Andrew Screen, Managing Director, GVA Financial Consulting

Andrew Screen, CEO, GVA Financial Consulting

The emergence of a significant Private Rented Sector (PRS) development and funding market has been driven initially by the public sector through various initiatives, including the formation of the Government PRS Taskforce and followed closely by investors.

These early investors included M3 Capital Partners, M&G, Apollo, Grainger, AGP, Qatari Diar, Akelius, Oaktree and Sigma, with many following suit in the last 12 months. On a monthly basis new investors are entering this market with c£500m to invest, all seeking PRS developers and suitable investment opportunities in the UK’s top 35 cities.

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Another Successful RESI

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

On September 10th the property industry’s best and brightest descended upon the Welsh countryside to attend the UK’s biggest property event, RESI 2014.

Once again we had more than 1,000 delegates in attendance networking, discussing the current state of the residential property sector and enjoying a full conference programme of opinion and debate, Chaired by Mark Eason, the BBC’s Home Editor.

Leading developers, researchers, financiers and politicians took to the stage to talk about the key issues facing the sector and I have collated some of the biggest talking points to come out of this year’s conference.

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Looking Ahead to RESI 2014

Young Group is again gearing up for the annual Property Week RESI conference, where we will again be sponsoring the RESI Café. We will also be providing conference delegates with a must read publication in the form of the latest edition of our biannual PRSupdate.

But we’re not the only ones looking ahead to the event. Cathy Fuller, Head of Events at Property Week, is here to provide us with a rundown of the latest preparations for, arguably, the most important date in the UK residential calendar.

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

RESI, the UK’s premier residential property market conference, is back for its eighth year and with our best line up yet.

I am proud to say that between September 10-12 the Celtic Manor, host location of the 2014 RESI Conference, will welcome more than 1,000 delegates from across the investment and development sectors; providing a forum for intellectual debate and unrivalled networking opportunities.

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Private Rented Sector Tenant Satisfaction on the Rise

Satisfaction with Private Rented Sector homes on the increase

Satisfaction with Private Rented Sector homes on the increase

The recent English Housing Survey ‘Households Report’ has provided some good news for the much maligned Private Rented Sector. The report (published by the Department for Communities and Local Government) has highlighted that 84% of Private Rented Sector tenants say they are either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with their homes.

While this represents only an 1% increase on the previous survey, it helps to counter the column inches that the press gives over to the criticism of landlords and lettings agents.

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In Conversation With… John Grimes

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

We are regularly in conversation with a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate. The purpose of this feature is to get them to discuss the topics and issues that are currently affecting the Private Rented Sector.

If you would like to take part in an In Conversation piece then please do get in touch with us.

Today we are in conversation with John Grimes, Managing Director at Drummond House Developments Ltd.

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