What has 2012 in store for private rented sector housing in Cambridge? Terry Lucking of Belvoir one of the leading lettings agents in Cambridge, summarises some of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for 2012.
Supply of Rented Homes
The number of people renting privately is expected to continue increasing beyond its current estimated level of 17% (3.6million households). Terry expects one in every 5 households to be privately rented by 2015. As the average length of private tenancies is increasing it is reducing the amount of relet stock on the local market. Compared to the 2001/2007 period there are significantly less new investor landlords entering the market most likely thanks to uncertainty over house prices. Monthly rents can be expected to increase during 2012 unless we see an increase in the supply of rental properties.
Demand for individual rooms with ensuites and shared kitchens is increasing as renters try to make their income go further. If you are considering investing in this type of property take advice before buying. Location is critical and there are various additional regulations. You will also need to ensure your property is well presented and well maintained as renters expectations are also increasing.
How to Avoid the Minefield of which Agent to choose
Over the past 4 years we have seen the number of businesses offering a letting ‘service’ double in the Cambridge area alone. There are no national controls regulating who can run a lettings business so tenants and landlords have to be careful how they select an agent. SAFEagent (a new Kitemark which identifies agents who are members of a Client Money Protection insurance scheme) received backing from Grant Shapps (Housing Minister) in 2011. SAFEagent is aimed at addressing a key area of concern tenants and landlords alike have in dealing with letting agents – making sure their money is safe. Many of those involved in the private rented sector often worry about what protection is available if an agent were to go out of business or, in extreme cases, abscond with their rent and deposits.
For more information and advice from the Department of Communities and Local Government visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/privaterentedhousing/ This website includes some very useful factsheets for tenants and landlords.