By Fiona Guthrie
// Wed 2nd
The rental market has slowed in the last quarter of the year and this is only to be expected.
The rental market has slowed in the last quarter of the year and this is only to be expected. Typically though we experience a short flurry in December and January can be a busy month.
An influx of new legislation has kept us extremely busy. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, legionella risk assessments, changes to Gas Safety Regulations, How to Rent Booklets given to tenants, Deregulation Act and changes to Section 21 Notices and procedures, Retaliatory Eviction and the most complex of all - the Immigration Act. There have been other less significant changes too. The Immigration Act formally comes into force on 1st February 2016. It requires all landlords of private rented accommodation to carry out Right to Rent checks (for new tenancies) to verify that the occupier (aged 18 and over) has a right to live in the UK. Strict procedures must be followed and records kept. Fines will be imposed by the Home Office of up to £3000 per occupier for non compliance by the landlord. We have been diligently learning the requirements of the Act so that we can advise clients and put procedures in place.
On a positive note, we have experienced a higher percentage of tenancies renewing this year at 82% compared to 74% in 2014 and 68% in 2013. Generally our tenancies have rather enviably long term tenants and we strive to ensure we match the right property with the right tenant. We also do our utmost to ensure both parties are happy throughout the tenancy, keeping in contact during the term. This also applies to properties where we are not acting as managing agents; we still keep in contact with our landlords and tenants offering advice and keeping clients up to date on any relevant changes in legislation as well as tips on how to handle a tricky maintenance situation if they need it. However, our Property Management Department offers a superb service and fully managed properties do generally have the longest tenancies.
As the market slows, tenants become more discerning and their expectations are higher than ever. Newly refurbished, stylish properties which are still affordable are always the most popular. It is absolutely vital for properties to be clean and fresh and well presented. We know the styles that appeal to most tenants and can give landlords advice on presentation tips, redecoration, new furniture or a total refurbishment.