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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Caution Needed in the Rent Setting Debate

Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation

Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation

In May the British Property Federation (BPF), like many other organisations, heard alarm bells ring when Ed Miliband, realising the voting potential of ‘Generation Rent’, set out a range of rental reforms that included the possibility of what looked like ‘rent controls’.

Recognising the pressing need for more rental accommodation and the disquiet of many of those forced to rent, Miliband proposed that a Labour government would introduce three-year tenancies, ban letting agent fees, and put a ceiling on rent increases.

The latter part of the proposals caused particular unease amongst the property sector, which feared that a ceiling on rents posed a very serious threat to the health of the UK’s emerging Build to Rent sector.

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The Importance of Referencing

The Importance of Referencing

The Importance of Referencing

It is best practice for an agent, on behalf of their client, to carry out a thorough reference check to reassure the landlord that they are doing everything in their power to reduce the risk of letting to an unsuitable tenant.

Referencing is used as a tool to check the suitability of a tenant generally before a Tenancy Agreement is drawn up and signed. A thorough investigation is carried out to confirm the tenant’s identity, income, financial status in terms of affordability, employment status and rental history in an attempt to expose any issues that could be a concern for the landlord.

The necessity for tenant referencing stems from the need of the landlord to mitigate any risk of possibly letting their property to a tenant who could cause them an issue at a later date. Also, with the Immigration Act potentially taking effect from October, the onus is now on landlords, or their agents, to check the immigration status of any prospective tenant.

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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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Number of Amateur Landlords on the Increase

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

According to a new report the level of amateur (part time) landlords, those who use their investment property to supplement their other income, have reached the highest ever levels.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) claims that amateur landlords now make up more than 70% of the Private Rented Sector and that they typically own around four properties.

Due to the current strength of returns seen in the rental market 25% of these amateur landlords are intending to add to their property portfolio with 40% planning to use buy-to-let financing to fund their lettings portfolio.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Private Rented Sector Operations – Why Function When You Can Really Fly?

Neil Young

Neil Young, CEO Young Group & Young London

With its focus on operational aspects of the Private Rented Sector (PRS), the latest edition of our Biannual PRSupdate publication has gathered together a selection of articles that gives a flavour of the elements required in managing PRS assets on a day-to-day basis.

Undoubtedly clearly defined processes, supported by robust procedures are at the heart of successful PRS operations, as Kris Wadia explains. Kris was, until recently, a Managing Director with Accenture, a global consulting organisation.

He is now CEO of Humanized Leadership, which advises businesses on profit improvement. However, it is how those processes are brought to life within the business and delivered (both internally and externally), and the tools that are employed that have the potential to differentiate between a business that functions and a business that flies.

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Involving the Private Rented Sector in the development of official statistics

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

Wikipedia describes statistics as ‘the study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data’. Having worked closely with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) statisticians for the past few years, I can appreciate the importance of each of these elements, no more so than in developing official statistics.

However, from my experience, there are two really important things missing from Wikipedia’s description; understanding what your audience want from your statistics, and then involving them in the ongoing development process.

As we aim for National Statistics accreditation they are the two aspects the VOA is now focussing on, starting with our Private Rental Market (PRM) official statistics.

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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: Sometimes It’s Not What You Know…

David Mackenzie, Director of Asset Management, Young Group

David Mackenzie, Director of Asset Management, Young Group

Currently, articles abound, enthusing about how companies, family offices and individuals are getting into the business of investing in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in the UK.

Whilst there is usually a lot of excitement around the physical product and getting it to completion, it can sometimes seem that the huge piece of work and pre-thought that needs to happen in setting up the ‘operator’ side of the investment, in a nutshell the Asset Management of the PRS portfolio, is forgotten.

This encompasses everything from algorithmic based pricing, to marketing, release phasing and mix, through to lettings, property management and back office technical support.

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Government releases “How to Rent” guide

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

The Government has released its guide, How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England, in a drive to educate the public about renting best practices.

The guide, in an attempt to inform and educate tenants and landlords, has all the important ‘need to know’ rental information in one place.

The Government hopes that, by making the public more aware of their rights, they can help the industry as it strives to stamp out bad practices.

Kris Hopkins, the Housing Minister,  said that “encouraging a new generation of well-informed tenants with easy access to useful and understandable information would help root out the small minority of rogues and raise the game of any landlords who don’t know what is expected of them.”

Young Group believes that educating tenants and landlords is an important step in helping to improve the sector. This guide is a step in the right direction in the fight to help improve the growing Private Rented Sector market.

Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting in London. Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting. A market of informed renters will demand positive renting experiences which will in turn raise standards and root out bad practice.

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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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In Conversation With… Gary Trent

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

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 features 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 Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead at the Valuation Office Agency.

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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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