Last month was our busiest yet with lots of re-lets of houses. Some new tenant applicants have taken advantage of our "Nil Deposit Scheme". From 1 June, we will only be able to take a maximum of 5 weeks deposit (including any pet deposits). We and some pet owners have said it's silly because it will deter more landlords from accepting pets! Plus we will be barred from asking tenants to professionally clean the property prior to leaving. So some issues for all landlords to think about with any new re-lets after 1 June.
LETTINGS TRENDS by Sandra Banks, Lettings Negotiator
We have now got a new software that handles all letting enquiries and books viewings 24/7, so any enquirer can book a viewing from the comfort of their homes even when we are closed. Having used it now for a month, it has resulted in more viewings booked and therefore more people seeing the houses we are marketing. All that equates to finding tenants quicker! I am also able to send landlords a more thorough weekly report when their houses are being advertised containing information like how many enquiries have come in, how many viewings were handled and so on!
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT by Josie Humphreys, Property Manager
Currently, I am dealing with a lot of Section 8 and 21 notices, terminating tenancies due to arrears, problems or landlords selling or moving back into the properties. I have also been handling a higher than normal number of tenants or applicants with social problems like drinking or drug-taking and mental health problems like anxiety. As letting agents we are like social workers at times!
As for property maintenance, the top repair reports are boilers and damp. These are expensive jobs and many landlords haven't got a contingency fund for these. I would encourage all landlords to put aside a small percentage of the rental income for these big repairs.
SELLING HOUSES by Matthew Burton, Sales Negotiator
Introducing a new-ish member of staff who's come from Reeds Rains following their local branch closures. Matt has been helping grow our sales side, taking on more houses to sell each month.
We have sold a few of our landlords' houses the last few months, to first time buyers, landlords and even the tenants themselves! Our NEW virtual property tours enable people to walk through the houses before booking the viewing, reducing time wasters and getting offers quicker. It's a bit more difficult with tenanted houses as the presentation of the house isn't always as best as could be. If you're thinking of selling up, please give Matt a ring to discuss strategy based on your house and tenant.
All Belvoir landlords have access to a free consultation with our tax and wealth advisor Nick Evans who can give wholistic advice about things like your capital gains tax liability if you sell your rental house, how to structure your income and pensions, reduce your tax liability and much more!
To take advantage of this opportunity, drop us an email.
Wills and Powers of Attorney
Many of our landlords ask us to liaise with their spouses, children or siblings on property decisions. Do you know that legally you should put a Power of Attorney in place to enable someone else to make property decisions for you? What about protecting your assets in the future against being taken to cover care costs? Our expert Anthony Heath from Wills For You will be happy to give you a free consultation on how to protect your assets in the future. To take advantage of this opportunity, drop us an email.
ROUND UP by Ramona Hirschi, Managing Director
We are bracing ourselves for the 1 June tenant fee ban. We will lose a bit of income from tenant fees but we used to discount them for poor tenants and not charge for hard to let houses! I have been focusing on software to create more efficiencies as well as more suppliers and contractors to improve the quality for our service and products.
I am a member of BNI, an international networking organisation, so if any of you are members of BNI with your own work, please let me know! In January I was also elected onto the Board of the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, where my volunteer role is to help regenerate North Staffordshire, create a better economy and help local businesses grow. I'm also a volunteer mentor helping 2 other women start and grow their startup businesses.
As a business we continue to donate to the Catch the Dream social enterprise, helping build toilets in Sierra Leone following the ebola crisis and more locally to a local radio station because of their positive impact on society.
Thanks for reading!