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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A Smarter Design For A Smarter Home

Todd Lundgren, Regional Practice Group Leader, RTKL

Todd Lundgren, Regional Practice Group Leader, RTKL

Over the last decade, the proportion of households in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has risen from 10% to over 17%. By 2016 it’s expected that one in five households will be renting privately.

The average age of tenants has also increased, with the fastest growing group of private tenants now between 35 and 44 years old. Of these households, between 25% and 33% are families with children who, broadly speaking, are looking for secure accommodation over a long period of time to lay down roots in the local community.

There is also a growing community of young people – postgraduates from university – who have grown accustomed to the quality of accommodation and service from the purpose built student housing market, and who find the current offer in rented accommodation sorely lacking.

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Extolling the Benefits of Living Closer to Work

Live closer to work and avoid crowded public transport

Live closer to work and avoid crowded public transport

With working days getting longer, continual transport issues and the ever increasing cost of commuting I know that many people (including myself) have asked, “Wouldn’t it be nicer to live closer to work?”.

There’d be no overcrowded buses or tubes, no delays, no traffic jams and (possibly) no travel costs. Just a delightfully slow amble or bike ride to the office each morning, as the rest of the country battles their way in.

It seems I am not the only one who thinks like this, as Young London has recently seen a jump in the number of requests for rental properties within an easy commute (walk or bike ride) of the main employment areas in London’s Zones 1 & 2. As these are the areas we specialise in we’ve been more than happy to help people in their search.

But moving closer to work is not just about decreasing travel stress! There are also a raft of other benefits that this move can provide.

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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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In Conversation With… Phil Buckle

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

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 Phil Buckle, Director General at Electrical Safety First.

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10 Golden Rules for Dealing with a Disappointed Customer

10 golden rules for dealing with a disappointed customer

10 golden rules for dealing with a disappointed customer

No matter the size of your business it’s likely you will have to deal with a disappointed customer at some point.

While the old adage “you can’t please all of the people all the time” springs to mind when dealing with an issue this should never be used as a reason to shy away from the issue at hand. What many fail to grasp is that for every issue raised there could be 100 people who have faced the same problem but decided to stay quiet and to simply take their business elsewhere.

While it’s easy to play the blame game the best course of action is to remain professional and have a proactive approach to problem solving. Dealing with an issue should be seen as a great opportunity to learn and in doing so; save a deteriorating relationship, protect existing customer relationships and maybe even generate some new referrals too.

As the Head of Service Delivery I have complied these 10 golden rules on how to handle an issue raised by customer:

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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 Coles

John Coles, Director, Evenbrook

John Coles, Director, Evenbrook

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 Coles, Director at Evenbrook.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Delivering A New Way Of Renting At East Village

Stuart Corbyn, Chairman, Get Living London

Stuart Corbyn, Chairman, Get Living London

As the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close it was hard to imagine that it had been nearly two years since the eyes of the world were on a corner of the East End during the London 2012 Games. And, while the spotlight on Stratford may have diminished since the summer of 2012, the level of work and regeneration in the area has only increased.

For us at East Village, the new neighbourhood at the former Athletes’ Village, the progress has been particularly significant. Over the past 18 months, what were beds for athletes have been transformed into new homes for Londoners and in November 2013 we welcomed our very first residents.

While the Olympic sports venues are making their own strides towards their post-Games use, having the first residents living in a brand new neighbourhood next to the Olympic Park is arguably the strongest legacy of the London Games so far.

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What does the future hold for the Private Rented Sector?

David Lawrenson, Director, LettingFocus.com

David Lawrenson, Director, LettingFocus.com

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) is in a constant state of flux and it is impossible to tell, with an absolute certainty, what is in store for our sector, especially with a general election looming on the horizon.

No doubt there will be many Think Tanks producing reports to pontificate on the sector! But, on a serious note, I am sure we will see a step towards more regulation and I do not believe all of it will be for the betterment of the sector!

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Labour defeated in move to ban lettings agency fees

Government

Government

As PRSupdate reported last week, Labour tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

But, after much debate, the motion was defeated in the House of Commons by 53 votes.

Hours prior to the vote the Government had announced it would put forward its own amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. Details of the Government’s proposed amendment have not been fully revealed, as it has yet to be tabled, although it is known that it will compel letting agents to publish all of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices.

The requirement would goes a step beyond the current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recommendations, including the ability to fine any agents who fail to comply.

The Government said it would plan to monitor the regime for a year and ‘put the industry on notice’ that it would be ready to consider further steps if it deemed necessary.

Young London, Young Group’s operational business, is fully prepared if these new proposals come into force as it already displays all fees on the its website and provides them to every applicant as part of their viewing pack.

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PRSupdate – 100 Not Out

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

From our very first newsletter we wanted the publication to become a source of information, guidance and discussion for those operating in, or looking to enter, the Private Rented Sector (PRS). I am proud to say that PRSupdate has surpassed all of our expectations.

Reaching 100 issues is a testament to the calibre of our guest authors, the knowledge of internal contributors and readers continued appetite for PRS content.

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Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Ed Miliband will set out the Labour party’s planned reforms of the lettings sector – if the party wins the 2015 general election. A future Labour government would impose longer tenancies, stable rent increases and an end to up-front lettings fees.
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Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for Tenants

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) isn’t only confined to sales.  It’s important that tenants remember that they could have an obligation to pay SDLT when renting a property.

SDLT is due on rents that exceed £125,000, cumulatively, during tenancies and (unlike SDLT for sales transactions) is charged at 1% on any amount over and above that threshold, not on the entire cumulative amount of rent.

Here is some additional information, and a link to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website, that you may find useful.

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DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG's consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

Following the 2013 call for evidence on Private Rented Sector quality, regulation and levels of rent (which Young Group responded to), the DCLG has called for further comment on  its Policy Paper ‘Review of Property Conditions in the PRS’, covering a raft of issues, including:

  • Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • Retaliatory evictions
  • Illegal evictions
  • Safety conditions
  • Licensing of rented housing
  • Housing Health and Safety Rating System

As an organisation with a long-standing vested interest in the Private Rented Sector, Young Group wanted to ensure that our experience and views were shared.

Our full response can be found here but we have included a few extracts in this blog post to highlight our stance on the issues raised.

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