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Changes to the Housing and Planning Act 2016 – recovering abandoned properties

It has long been a very difficult and drawn out process to recover abandoned property through to courts but new measures have been introduced to allow landlords to legally recover abandoned property without needing to go to court.

These regulations are expected to come into force from October 2017 and should make the whole process somewhat easier for landlords and agents. Eligibility Under the act, a new statutory code is being introduced enabling landlords in England to recover property if the assured shorthold tenant has abandoned it, without the need to serve a Section 21 Notice or obtain a Possession Order. NB: the tenant must owe more than two months’ consecutive rent and must have left the property. What does this mean? The landlord or letting agent may give a tenant notice bringing the tenancy to an end on the day on which the notice is given if the tenancy relates to property in England, more than two months’ consecutive rent is owed, the landlord or letting agent has given the required warning notices and no tenant, named occupier or deposit payer has responded in writing to any of those notices before the date specified in the warning notices. NB: a deposit payer means a person who the landlord or letting agent knows paid a tenancy deposit in relation to the tenancy on behalf of the tenant. NB: a named occupier is a person named in the tenancy as a person who may live at the premises to which the tenancy relates.

What you need to do Where the landlord or letting agent believes that the premises has been abandoned, three warning notices must be given (at different times) to the tenant, any named occupiers and any deposit payers. The third notice must be stuck to the property, such as the front door. If none of these notices are responded to saying the property is not abandoned and/or no rent at all is paid can the property be repossessed.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 15.21.01Reinstatement

Where the tenancy has been brought to an end by a warning notice and the tenant didn’t respond but they had a good reason for failing to do so the tenant may apply to the County Court, within six months starting when the order was given, to reinstate the tenancy. NB: if the County Court finds that the tenant had a good reason for not responding to the warning notice, the court may make any order it thinks fit for the purpose of reinstating the tenancy.

Want to find out more? Call Ben Siggins estate agents in Maidstone or estate agents in Ashford today.

Landlords to stand by agents in wake of tenant fees ban

questions to ask estate agentThe majority of landlords (71%) who use a letting agent will continue to do so even if they see their premiums rise following a ban on tenant fees, according to a recent survey (NLA/UKALA Quarterly Landlord Panel – Q4 2016). The research, from UKALA, shows that eight in 10 landlords (79%) think their letting agent will increase their fees as a result of the proposal to ban charges to tenants, as announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last year. However, just 9% of landlords say they will part ways with their agent if their premiums rise. The ban is criticised by UKALA which argues that affordability in the private-rented sector cannot be addressed by preventing agents from charging for legitimate business services and that the costs will eventually be passed onto tenants in the long-term. In response to a potential increase in agent fees following a ban, the research shows:

• 40% of landlords said they would increase rents to cover the cost

• 22% said they would look to shop around for a better deal

• 13% would attempt to negotiate or refuse to pay

• 9% would pay the additional fees • 9% would leave their agent

• 7% were unsure.

The findings contrast with recent research from UKALA which showed that almost half of landlords (47%) would forego the services of their letting agent if their profits fall following the changes to landlord taxation from April (2017). Both sets of research were undertaken by UKALA in conjunction with the National Landlords Association (NLA), in order to better understand the impact that recent government policy decisions will have on the professional lettings sector.

Are you a landlord looking to rent our your property, get in touch with our estate agents in Maidstone and Ashford here.

Landlords Pet Hates Unveiled!

questions to ask estate agent

With the lettings market booming, we’re digging deep into the minds of the landlord. This month, we’re exploring landlords’ top pet hates that all tenants should keep in mind…
There are many advantages to renting a property – as a tenant, you have the flexibility to move home freely without the financial pressures associated with owning a property. Yet on the flip side, a long-term tenancy can provide you with the same sense of stability. However, your experience as a tenant will only be as smooth as you make it.

Late payments, damage to property and not reporting problems are just a few of the things that irk even the most laid back of landlords. As part of a study conducted by Endsleigh, 29% of landlords were frustrated by damage to the property and furnishings, while 24% of landlords hated it when tenants kept quiet about problems with or damage to the property. 22% of landlords were also annoyed when tenants check out and leave the property in a worse state compared to that documented in the check in inventory.
To avoid any awkward encounters or receiving a negative reference further down the line, we’ve put together a few key pointers to ensure you and your landlord foster a good relationship.

1. Late payments

Unsurprisingly, late payments or no payment at all is considered the absolute bugbear for landlords. Regardless of how many properties the landlord may own, one month’s rent does not go unnoticed. According to property blogger, Brandon Turner, many landlords actually lose money every month if you take into account the mortgage repayments, taxes, maintenance fees etc. Landlords aren’t in this game to make lots of money, they’re in it for their retirement – it’s an investment which can only be made viable through guaranteed streams of income. Should you foresee an issue, it is advisable to demonstrate a proactive attitude by calling ahead to make your landlord aware of the situation. Notifying them after the rent is due not only shows poor money management skills, but it could also put your landlord in a difficult position financially if they were not warned in advance.

2. Undisclosed pets

Whilst many of us appreciate a furry companion, in the rental property market you must tread very carefully with the issue of pets. It’s not the fact the landlord wants to see you lonely, it’s more a case of the repercussions of bringing an animal into the property. Many landlords don’t allow pets and it’s easy to understand why. Pets can be destructive and messy. If you keep a pet in your rented accommodation without the permission of the landlord, you are not only breaching the terms of your contract but you will inevitably be imposing extra financial costs on your landlord at the end of your tenancy. Why should your landlord foot the bill for replacing damaged furniture or carpets caused by your pets?

3. Long-term visitors

While it’s acceptable for tenants to have guests stay overnight from time to time, any adult who is living in a rented property for a long period of time must be listed on, and sign, a contract. ‘Rogue’ tenants or long-term guests are people who are considered to have taken up residency in a property without the landlord’s approval or consent. If you’re allowing someone to stay in your home, you may not realise you are violating the conditions of your rental agreement.

The trouble with rogue tenants is that they can cause a big problem for landlords. If they are not listed, they are not subject to the terms and conditions, meaning the landlord cannot make them accountable for rent – and damages. To avoid a disgruntled landlord, you should make him or her aware of any long-term guests and their circumstances – this will dictate the best course of action to take moving forward.

4. Cleanliness

It’s not just pets and late payments that can raise the blood pressure of landlords – it’s the general state of properties after they’ve been vacated. The cleanliness of a property on exit remains the single most contentious issue and is the root cause of most disputes relating to deposits. Hobs, ovens, and fridges are susceptible to a whole host of substances – such as dirt and grease – that, if not regularly cleaned, are impossible to shift without the help of industrial products and professional services. If you’re about to rent a property, request a thorough inventory and photographs so you know exactly how to leave the property. Failure to vacate the property in that exact condition will result in a percentage of your deposit being held back.

5. Unreported issues

Another concern for landlords is when tenants take matters into their own hands, or worse still, don’t report problems or damage, such as leaks or breakages. It might be that you don’t want to disturb or worry your landlord, but neglecting to divulge this information can possibly lead to further costs or damage to the property. Inform your landlord of any problems immediately, and they will endeavor to assess and fix the issue as soon as they can. You may think you’re being helpful by turning to your cousin’s electrician, for instance, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to hire a professional – that way they can be sure any work that needs to be done complies with regulations and doesn’t compromise the property’s insurance policy.

Landlords want to rent to conscientious tenants who’ll look after their property and provide a reliable stream of income. The key to a successful tenancy and a happy landlord is respecting their property and the terms and conditions of your contract.

If you’re looking to rent a property, why not have a look at our Lettings Page – you might just find the dream rental property for you. Estate agents in Maidstone and Estate Agents

This article was written by Ben Siggins Estate agents in Maidstone and Estate Agents in Ashford.

 

How to avoid having empty properties

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Empty properties are a nightmare for any landlord or letting agent. The lack of rental income alone is painful, but the cost in time and effort to attract the right new tenants is significant too. Here, Martin Calvert at digital marketing specialist, Blueclaw, offers his tops tips to ensure your property is found.

Take a marketing mindset – and learn from competitors

It’s important to take a marketing mindset with any property you want to rent out quickly.

If your advertisements, imagery and approach are nothing to be excited about, then potential renters won’t be in any hurry either.

If you’re advertising your own property, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking like a marketeer. A marketing mindset means thinking about renters as potential customers who are shopping for a product you’re offering – your advertisements are the equivalent of a product on a shelf, and they evaluate it alongside a whole range of others.

In many cases, those properties won’t be significantly different to yours – but their ads will sell them better and (crucially) drive more bookings from people who are serious about renting the property.

Making sure your advertisements are well-written, avoid clichés and actually sell the benefits of the individual home (rather than many others like it) is key.

Take a look at the advertisements of competitors – find five things they do well, five things they don’t and apply the insight to create a competitive advertisement – and market the property in the places where potential renters are already looking.

Seriously consider social media advertising and remarketing

When you are lacking rental income, it can feel even more daunting to take a paid advertising approach to marketing your property or properties. However, each month of emptiness you can save is very significant – and means you can get on with other things.

Social media advertising on platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more, can be surprisingly inexpensive – and the targeting options mean that you can be laser-targeted about showing your ads to the type of people that you think would be a great fit for your property.

Of course, organic social media efforts – using your personal and professional connections to get the word out about the property – can help but throwing some targeted weight behind the whole process with social media advertising should be considered.

Use remarketing and amplify your brand

Remarketing, which can be done via Google as well as a number of other providers, is a method of having your ads ‘follow’ a potential renter around the internet. It works by the technology placing a cookie on the potential renter’s computer when they view your ad, letting other sites around the internet that permit advertising know that your advert is a good advert to show them.

Like social media advertising, remarketing can be very cost effective and because it only targets people who have already viewed your ad, you will only be targeting people who have at least some interest in the property.

Having that extra visibility can make the difference between a potential renter who is on the fence about the property remember it and place a deposit, or being side-tracked by another property.

Remember local SEO – and prioritise profitable traffic

Though portals like Rightmove and Zoopla are often unavoidable, letting and estate agents in particular need to consider their own SEO.

With giant portals and national estate agents seeming so dominant in search engine results, local letting agents should be confident about their local credibility, and how favourable Google and the other major search engines view them as a brick and mortar business.

Local SEO – including directory listings, citations, acquiring links to your site from local media – is key.

This approach should be combined with a structured and committed approach to on-page content, ensuring that it is perfectly written for local audiences and the search engines that are continually assessing your site is key. When evaluating where your property should be listed and who with, landlords should assess the portals that rank well for the best local search results, and who benefit from the best quality and quantity of web traffic from potential renters.

These four methodologies combine to create a proactive approach to filling empty properties. Too many estate agents and landlords neglect the effective strategies that attract and engage potential renters. On the plus side, this means that there is plenty of scope for those who get it right to fill their properties faster, and move on to their next priority.

When it comes to attracting renters, the new possibilities that digital marketing makes possible are balanced out by new threats from competitors. The four tips in this short article are just the start of a profitable and sustainable approach to keeping empty properties to a minimum.

If you would like some advice on letting out your property or would like know what marketing options are available to you, contact our Lettings Service team on Maidstone (01622) 524110, Gillingham (01634) 581207 & Kings Hill (01732) 424090 or pop into one of our branches and we’ll be more than happy to give you some information!

Read more about our estate agents in Maidstone here. 

 

"When Ben came round and valued my property he explained in detail all the procedures, informed me of all the sites my property would be on."

– Sharon

"They went out of their way to help which should have been the job of our agent who we constantly had to chase."

– Colin Brackstone

"Ben made sure the photos were excellent, which is what really sold the property"

– Anchusa

"I was particularly impressed with the weekly updates from Ben and Dan detailing the number of 'hits' that my property had attracted on the big property search engines"

– Sarah

"I hope to be buying from you next year and will recommend you to future householders and tenants. Thank you Mr Siggins."

– Joe B
Maidstone
Call:

01622 524110

Email:

matthew@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

29 Pudding Lane,
Maidstone,
Kent,
ME14 1PA

Gillingham
Call:

01634 581207

Email:

mark@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

227 Canterbury Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 5XB

Kings Hill
Call:

01732 424091

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

26 Kings Hill Avenue
Kings Hill
Kent
ME19 4UA

Ashford
Call:

01233 646752

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

2 Market Buildings
Godinton Road
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1JA

Maidstone
Call:

01622 524110

Email:

matthew@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

29 Pudding Lane,
Maidstone,
Kent,
ME14 1PA

Gillingham
Call:

01634 581207

Email:

mark@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

227 Canterbury Street
Gillingham
Kent
ME7 5XB

Kings Hill
Call:

01732 424091

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

26 Kings Hill Avenue
Kings Hill
Kent
ME19 4UA

Ashford
Call:

01233 646752

Email:

ben@bensiggins.co.uk

Address:

2 Market Buildings
Godinton Road
Ashford
Kent
TN23 1JA

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