News & views from Urban.co.uk

Which uni town is best to invest?

Posted by: Adam Male on 16 August 2016
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A-Level results come out this week, and all around the country anxious students will be hopping from foot-to-foot waiting for the letter that could determine the course of their life...

Once they've got their results, the big decision on which uni they will be attending come October will take over, and the rush to organise accommodation for the first time will become a huge decision.

In today's hectic private lettings market, student accommodation is a very stable sector, and is a great investment for thousands of landlords. With plenty of university towns to choose from, where in the UK offers the best rental yield for landlords wanting to break into this lucrative market?

Urban.co.uk has created an interactive map to show you at a glance where offers the best rental yields:

Police smoke thousands of cannabis farms out of UK rental properties!

Posted by: Adam Male on 13 August 2016
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Landlords are being encouraged to be a little more aware of their tenant’s gardening habits, in order to ‘weed’ out the spread of cannabis farms in residential lettings properties. 

A new report revealed that the number of cannabis plants seized from rental properties across England and Wales is surprisingly ‘high’, according to landlord insurer Direct Line for Business, with police seizing 366,841 plants in 2014/15.

Properties in the West Midlands were the biggest culprits, with 54,700 plants seized. Suffolk Police reported the greatest increase, with 4,616 plants recovered in 2014/15, nearly seven times more than in 2013/14!

As a landlord, you could face legal action if it can be proved that you were aware that any criminal activities were taking place on your property, or received money or proceeds from illegal drug activities. In addition, there is also the matter of the significant amount of damage that a farm can cause to a rental property.

Farms often require whole rooms, or even floors of a property to be stripped, and significant equipment to be installed for the plants growth, all of which can have a terrible impact on the state of your property It is likely that you will have to replace floor coverings, possibly re-plaster ceilings and walls, and certainly redecorate before your property is ready to let again.

Urban.co.uk Q&A: What is a managed service, and will it impact my bottom line?

Posted by: Adam Male on 13 August 2016
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Q.

What is a managed service, and will it have an impact on my bottom line?

 

A. 

A managed service is designed to remove as much stress as possible from a landlord, with your letting agent taking on all of the tasks that you would usually have to shoulder!

The Urban.co.uk fully managed service includes:

Finding your tenant

  • Marketing your property until a suitable tenant is found
  • Carrying out tenant referencing and Right to Rent, to determine the suitability of the prospective tenant

‘Pre-move in’ preparation

  • Preparing the Tenancy Agreement
  • Collecting the deposit and one month’s rent in advance
  • Holding the tenant’s deposit in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
  • Preparing inventories and Schedules of Conditions
  • Handling gas safety certification
  • Pre tenancy maintenance
  • Contacting utility suppliers regarding meter readings and tenancy details

Ongoing management

  • Receiving rent from your tenant and paying it promptly in to your account via BACS
  • Looking after your property and tenant throughout the tenancy
  • Managing reported maintenance issues and arranging repairs as required
  • Handling emergency maintenance issues if required
  • Tenancy renewal and negotiation of rental increases

End of tenancy

  • Service notices if required
  • Full check out & Inventory update at the end of the tenancy
  • Deposit reconciliation

Whilst there is a fee for the service, this is negligible compared to the costs that can rack up should you fail to carry out any of the required tasks.

There is so much legislation surrounding the private lettings market, and failure to comply with requirements such as gas safety, or Right to Rent can carry fines of thousands of pounds – far pricier than a managed service!

There is no definite way to say if a managed service is right for you, but if you are time poor, or you have invested in properties that may be some why away from where you live, and you are unsure if you are going be able to manage your property portfolio, it could be the ideal option for you!

For more information on the Urban.co.uk managed service, contact the team today.  

 

 

 

Could your messy neighbours be costing you tens of thousands of pounds?

Posted by: Adam Male on 13 August 2016
Comments: 0

According to research carried out by Privilege Home Insurance, nightmare neighbours can cause more than just sleepless nights… they can actually knock thousands off the value of your property!

Living next door to a property which displays signs of poor upkeep and overgrown gardens can knock a whopping £17,000 off the value of the average home, the research reveals, with buyers not wanting to invest in property in a ‘poor’ neighbourhood. By contrast, a good neighbour can add £19,856 to the asking price.

The research revealed that the hot spot for ‘nightmare neighbours’ is London, with the worst likely to be a family living in the capital, where the parents are in their 40s and are unemployed. In contrast, the best neighbours are apparently retirees living in Plymouth.

Top neighbourhood property problems that could devalue your home:

  • Broken or boarded-up windows
  • Unsightly or imposing extensions and botched DIY
  • Rubbish in the driveway or front garden
  • Run down vehicles parked in the drive
  • Unsightly coloured external brickwork
  • Building work
  • Overgrown garden
  • Rotting or chipped window or door frames
  • Overflowing gutters
  • Dirty brickwork or property

 

Urban.co.uk's Legal Landlord quiz answers

Posted by: Adam Male on 8 August 2016
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If you've played along with the 'Are you a legal landlord' quiz on Urban.co.uk's social media sites, you can check out the answers here (no peeking before you've done the quiz though - you can have a go here!):


1. How often do you have to have a full gas safety check carried out, by a registered gas safety engineer?

  • Annually

 

2. When you're advertising for new tenants, is it a legal requirement to display an EPC?

  • Yes

 

3. What documents do you have to give to a tenant at the start of a lease in order for the agreement to be legally binding? (Tick any that apply)

  • Up-to-date Gas Safety certificate
  • Tenancy Deposit information pack
  • How to Rent Booklet
  • EPC Certificate

 

4. When does 'Right to Rent' come into force across the UK?

  • February 2016
 
 

5. What is the fine for not complying with the 'Right to Rent' scheme?

  • Fine of up to £3,000

6. If you don't include a Landlord contact address on your tenancy agreement, are you at risk of getting your tenancy agreement ruled null and void in court?

  • Yes, it could render it null and void
 
 

7. Do you need to have a smoke alarm fitted on every floor of a rental property?

  • Yes, one on every floor
 

8. In order to avoid a £20,000 fine, you have to hold a license to manage an HMO, so it's important that you know when your standard residential rental becomes one! What characteristics define an HMO?

  • A property with three or more tenants who are not related to each other
  • An owner-occupier with more than two lodgers who have a licence to occupy their accommodation
  • Students living in shared accommodation where they have exclusive use of the whole house
  • A property split into individual rooms where the tenant has exclusive use of their room but shares a kitchen, bathroom and toilet
 

9. What's your responsibility regarding legionella control?

  • Routine checks, advising tenants if any maintenance or treatment has to be carried out
 

 

 

10. In order to comply with Carbon Monoxide management regulations, which of the following statements are true?

  • A detector must be advised in every room with a fuel burning appliance
  • A ceiling mounted detector should be at least 300mm from any wall, and a wall mounted detector should be at least 150mm from the ceiling

  • Detector must be positioned above the height of any doors or windows in the room
  • Don’t position the alarm directly above a water source

  • The alarm can't be positioned in an enclosed space, or obstructed with anything

 

You can download a document of the answers here.