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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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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Spring/Summer 2014: A Window On The World For The Private Rented Sector

Young Group Foreword

Having great homes, a superb service offering and the most efficient operation is all well and good, but if potential renters aren’t aware of your properties then they will stand empty and generate no income.

It may come as no surprise that around 90% of new home searches start online, so it’s vital that Private Rented Sector (PRS) operators capture the attention and imagination of surfing searchers.

Over the years many property portals have come and gone, and new entrants, such as Agents Mutual and NeedAProperty, continue to launch. However, Rightmove remains the market leader and is now the seventh most visited site in the UK, placing it firmly alongside sites such as Amazon, BBC and eBay.

I’m not suggesting that property portals are a marketing panacea but, as a direct channel to reach those who are actively looking for a new home, Rightmove can’t be beaten. So, here, Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s Commercial Director, provides advice on how the PRS can get the most out of this virtual shop window.

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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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Spring/Summer 2014: Making Customer Feedback Count

Howard Morgan, Managing Director, RealService

Howard Morgan, Managing Director, RealService

When RealService was founded 15 years ago the idea of measuring customer satisfaction within the UK lettings industry was virtually unheard of.

In 2014, customer satisfaction measurement has become a core operational skill for many of the leading owners and managers, looking for competitive advantage, in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

For years the PRS in the US has been gathering feedback from residents, and measuring customer satisfaction, but this is a practice that has only just started in the UK, where the PRS is still a developing market.

So, what lessons can we learn from the USA and the UK commercial lettings sector? And why bother gathering and measuring customer satisfaction in the first place?

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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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Spring/Summer 2014: Stamping Out Poor Practice

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Last year, as confidence began to return to the market, more people were looking to sell or let their property. All told, things are beginning to look up for the residential sector with the January RICS Housing Market Survey showing sales demand at a six year high and rental demand holding up well.

However, a pick-up in the market also means that the issue of industry regulation, for sales and lettings, has become more prominent in recent months. For far too long estate and letting agencies have operated without the necessary training or knowledge to properly serve their clients.

There is a need for a greater number of agents to be working to properly enforced standards.

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Operating in the Private Rented Sector: An Introduction

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

Young Group’s latest biannual PRSupdate publication will be landing through letterboxes just in time for the Easter weekend.

The theme of this new PRSupdate publication is Operating In The Private Rented Sector; timely, since over the past six months my fellow Young Group Directors and I have seen a noticeable change in discussions about the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

No longer is the conversation dominated solely by talk of acquisition, whether land or existing stock.

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House building data (December quarter 2013)

House Building

House Building

The latest data on House Building in England, for December quarter 2013, have been released by the Office for National Statistics. The statistics in the release are figures on new build housing starts and completions throughout England.

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The Retreat: A Refinance Case Study

The Retreat

The Retreat

Following on from the Santander article looking at lending for the Private Rented Sector Young Group has put together a case study on the refinancing of its property portfolio in The Retreat.

The Retreat, completed in 2008 and located in the London Borough of Wandsworth, is a gated development consisting of 26 luxury flats with secure parking that provide the perfect combination of luxury, convenience and tranquillity.

The development completed in the middle of the financial crisis. A few of the units had been sold, however, we decided to complete on the remaining majority as we could see the long term growth potential, despite the uncertainty in the market at that time. Five years later this decision has been vindicated as Wansdworth has experienced an increase in property values of 16.4% over the past year.

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RICS UK Residential Market Survey for December 2013

RICS

Image: RICS

The December RICS Residential Market Survey shows expectations for sales and prices remain firmly entrenched in positive territory at both the three and twelve month time horizons.

Although the headline sales expectations net balance for the next three months actually slipped back to +58, this still represents one of the highest readings since the series began in 1998 and is consistent with further strong gains in transaction levels.

Meanwhile, the twelve month number climbed to a new all time high (albeit that the series has only been running since early 2012). For price expectations, both series moved higher in December with the three month reading reaching its best level since 1999.

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Is there a need for longer term tenancies in the PRS?

Jeremy Leaf

Jeremy Leaf

In October 2013, the Department of Communities & Local Government (CLG) issued their “Improving the Rented Housing Sector” report, otherwise known as the Tenants’ Charter.

The report demonstrates a commitment by the government to increase the quality and choice in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). It is hoped that it might also result in increased investment and improved consumer protection against rogue landlords and letting agents.

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