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RIGHT TO RENT: EVERYTHING LANDLORDS SHOULD KNOW
Introduced in 2016, Right to Rent had something of a rocky start but has since become an integral part – and legal requirement – of every Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
The scheme was initially met with some dismay among landlords who argued that checking people's immigration status was the government's responsibility. In fact, in 2019, a high court found Right to Rent unlawful and racially discriminatory, particularly against people with minority ethnic backgrounds. The ruling was later overturned after a government appeal, and Right to Rent became law.
Whatever you feel about the rights and wrongs of Right to Rent, it’s something all landlords must follow, but what exactly does Right to Rent entail, and how much of a burden is it when letting your property?
This week’s article zeroes in on the Right to Rent scheme and what it means for you; how to comply; and the possible penalties for ignoring it.
Read on to discover the finer details of Right to Rent.
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ANIMAL INSTINCT: SHOULD YOU LET TO PEOPLE WITH PETS?
How do you feel about allowing pets in your rental property? Or even in your own home? Are you a card-carrying animal lover with pets who cherish your home as much as you do, or are you simply not a fan and want to avoid the worry of possible damages that are a hassle and expense to fix?
Around 44% of UK households have pets, but only around 7% of landlords stipulate that pets are welcome in their properties. That's a large discrepancy for a nation of animal lovers, and the Government is looking to make the UK rental market easier for "responsible pet owners" to find a home.
Back in January 2020, Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: "Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owners through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property."
Given our British love affair with pets, why do so many landlords and managing agents shy away from allowing people with pets to rent their properties? Obviously extreme stories that make the news can be grim reading, but so can those of tenants without pets: good behaviour simply doesn't make good news!
So this week's blog looks at the realities of renting to people with pets: what to know, what to ask, and what to consider. As well as showing you how you can benefit from keeping an open mind, we'll provide useful examples of simple clauses and protections to give you comfort in the decisions you take, and to widen your audience to include this ever-growing demographic.
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PROFESSIONAL HELP: DO YOU REALLY NEED A LETTING AGENT? MAYBE.
When it comes to human endeavour, most of us could do almost anything if we put our minds to it. We could service our own cars, repair our own washing machines, and even clean our places of work.
But are we the best person to do those things, and are they the best use of our time and energy? We’d all accept that a car mechanic would very likely do a faster and better job of changing our brake pads or fixing our suspension, but does the same reasoning apply to using a letting agent to care for your rental investment?
As a landlord with one or more properties, you’ll clearly be capable of showing tenants around, carrying out referencing and dealing with day-to-day issues that arise from owning a home where other people live. Your abilities are beyond refute, but could a letting agent add more value to that process?
Let's take a look at five factors that could benefit you and your life when it comes to finding, keeping and managing tenants for your rental property.
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HAPPY TOGETHER?: LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONSHIP
As strong as the bonds of any marriage or partnership, our relationship to where we live can take a similar path and have a profound impact on our lives. Having found our perfect match, we look forward to the excitement of living together, making a home and creating memories to look back on with fond delight.
All relationships take work, and bumps in the road are an inevitable consequence of spending so much time in each other's company. Each day reveals more and more character traits as the business of being alive and being together brings both moments of joy, and irritation.
Although landlords and tenants don't share the same home to live in, they do share the same home to care for. And even if they are at different ends of the financial arrangement and tenancy agreement, they ultimately both want the same thing from the property (and each other): to make their lives better.
So let's take a look at how landlords can lay the foundations of long-lasting and easy tenancies, and how to keep a level head when things don't go to plan.
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ASKING TOO MUCH: WHY ARE AGENTS OVERPRICING HOMES?
The market is booming, prices are rising, there's a stamp duty holiday and buyers are out in droves: could it be any more of a seller's market?
And it's true: we are achieving record prices for property; multiple offers have become the norm and, for many sellers, their home is only available for a matter of days before they receive an offer that is not only acceptable, but more than they dreamed possible.
But while there is plenty to celebrate for homeowners during this bonanza, a darker side of estate agency has unfortunately come to the fore: overvaluing. While it’s nothing particularly new, the practice has been historically limited to a small number of estate agents. But now it’s become rife and causes untold heartache and stress for sellers, with results that can be seen in the high percentage of properties that are not selling (even with the favourable conditions of today): 70% of UK homes put on the market in the last month have not sold.
So let's take a look at why overvaluing happens, why it's increasing, the problems it causes and the true path to getting the best price. Having the tools to spot an overvaluation and knowing how to deal with it can help you minimise the damage to your move.