Categories
Lettings Group 2

7 ways to improve your chances of renting with a pet

Whether you have bought a puppy to keep you company now you’re working from home or you have a fondness for rescue cats, there is no doubt that a pet can be the most wonderful companion.

What isn’t always compatible is the need to rent a property and take your pets with you. Attitudes to lets with pets are, however, changing and tenants now stand a greater chance of renting somewhere that welcomes Fido or Felix.

What has changed already

In January 2021, the Government’s Model Tenancy Agreement – a blueprint document that some, but not all, landlords and letting agents use – was changed. Previous wording suggested a blanket ban on pets in lets has been removed and now landlords must provide a good reason why not to let pets stay in a property they rent out.

Landlords warming to the idea of pets in lets

Business insurers Direct Line surveyed current landlords on the matter of lets with pets soon after the Government amended its Model Tenancy Agreement. Nearly half welcomed the revised document, suggesting that there is a softening of attitudes around tenants moving in together with their domestic animals. 

Future pet-friendly changes planned

Although still not fully passed, the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill would force letting agents and landlords to remove ‘no pet’ clauses from their in-house tenancy agreements, meaning that all tenancy agreements created could not contain an outright ban on pets.

The new Bill would be a step forward but it’s also worth noting that tenants would have to meet a new set of conditions before moving a pet in. These include: passing a test of responsible ownership, with certification from a vet; proof of an up-to-date vaccination and flea treatment schedule and in the case of dogs, proof of micro chipping and a demonstration that the pet responds to basic training commands. 

7 ways to improve your chances of renting with a pet

If you’re searching for a rental property but can’t bear to be parted from your pet, or your current landlord needs convincing on the matter of moving an animal in, you might like to try the following:-

  1. Compile a pet CV: this should detail your pet’s breed, age and veterinary practice, along with the animal’s vaccination record and details of any training it has completed.
  2. Obtain pet references: a short statement from your vet, dog sitter/boarder or trainer may help convince your landlord that you own a well behaved pet. Even better is a reference from a past landlord if they let you have a pet.
  3. Invite a future landlord to meet your pet: if a landlord can see how your pet is cared for, its temperament and in what home environment it’s kept, it may help your cause.
  4. Offer to pay a rent premium: as tenancy deposits are now capped, taking extra money to hold against pet damage is now banned but as a renter, you may want to offer a small amount extra on top of the advertised rent as a substitute.
  5. Commit to professional cleaning: if a landlord is worried about the condition of the property after it has housed a pet, you could offer to pay for a professional deep clean to be conducted at the end of the tenancy – a condition that can be written into the tenancy agreement. 
  6. Opt for lets that have been vacant for some time: every landlord dreads an empty property, so the most open-minded may be those who have endured long void periods.
  7. Take out insurance that covers pet damage: landlords will feel more comfortable with pets in their property if you can prove your insurance covers damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling. There will be extra bonus points if your policy also includes accidental damage, such as if your dog knocks over the TV, but read the small print as not all pet-friendly policies will cover the same aspects. 

Contact us if you’d like your next rental property to be pet friendly or if you’re thinking of moving a pet into where you currently live.

Categories
Lettings Group 1

Landlords: how to expand your buy-to-let portfolio in 2021

The intention to invest in property looks as strong as ever and while there are signs that new landlords are hoping to enter the market, there is also mounting evidence to suggest existing investors are looking to grow their buy-to-let portfolios in 2021.

When 900 landlords were questioned about their future plans by one specialist mortgage lender, the results showed 19% of respondents intended to purchase additional buy-to-lets in the coming 12 months.  

Those already managing larger portfolios were found to be the keenest to buy extra investment properties, with 31% of those with eleven to nineteen properties harbouring expansion plans. Additionally, 28% of those who manage twenty or more buy-to-lets intend to increase the number of investment properties they have.

Ways to expand your buy-to-let portfolio:

If you are an existing landlord with plans to purchase more buy-to-let properties, you may like to consider the following options:

  • Buy a property with sitting tenants already in place: also known as ‘tenants in situ’, sitting tenants are long–term residents and it’s quite common for a landlord to sell a property with renters as part of the package. Homes with sitting tenants tend to appeal to experienced landlords so if you’ve already got a portfolio, you may like to add a ‘ready made’ let to your collection. As a note of caution, some mortgage lenders will not loan on properties with sitting tenants, so seek financial advice.
  • Remortgage to release equity: if you want to add to your buy-to-let portfolio and have equity in your existing properties, remortgaging can free up cash to use as a deposit on a new investment property. There are specialist lenders who look after portfolio landlords who own 10 properties or more, and they can advise on matters of first and second-charge lending.
  • Take out a loan: if an unmissable opportunity presents itself and you want to add it to your portfolio, a loan may be the quickest way to finance a purchase. Both personal and bridging loans are available but investors will need to scrutinise the interest rates and repayment terms to ensure the numbers stack up.
  • Draw down on your pension: did you know that over 55s can withdraw some or all of their pension pot? You’ll have to weigh up the tax implications and how this may affect your future income but drawing down is one way to access a lump sum of money that can be used as a buy-to-let deposit. 
  • Find a property investment partner: if you have some but not all of the money required to make an additional buy-to-let purchase, you might consider finding a friend or family member to join you in your next venture. We can advise you on the purchasing side of any arrangement, such as joint tenancy versus tenancy in common, and a mortgage broker will talk you through joint financing strategies.

If you would like any lettings, property management or buy-to-let purchasing advice, please contact our team today.

Categories
Lifestyle Group 1

5 ways to fake the top interior trends

Has an interior design trend ever caught your eye and drawn you in…..until you get to the price? If you’re furnishing on a budget but don’t want to compromise on style, there is good news. 

We’ve tracked down the easiest, cheapest and most effective home hacks that even novice DIYers can follow. Why not try one out this weekend?

  1. If you follow interior fashions, you’ll know that Crittall style windows, doors and partitions are all the rage. The Crittall style is when a plain pane of glass is divided into sections by a black metal grid for an urban look. Off-the-shelf options can be expensive to buy and install but there is a quick and cheap fix. Armed with nothing more than a £2 role of electrical tape, people are creating stunning – and temporary – Crittall-style shower screens and doors. Take a look at this home hack and start taping.
  2. Reeded glass is having a design moment and the textured look can be seen across drinking glass, light fittings and doors. Replacing existing glass to get the look isn’t always practical but you could try this brilliant cheat. The DIY approach involves the application of temporary reed-effect film, which can be applied to glass-fronted cabinets and internal doors. 
  3. Even TikTok has been taken over by the interior design experts and one of the most popular tutorials has been posted by Geneva Vanderzeil, as detailed in this upcycling article, and features a surprising kitchen store cupboard staple. People are using a mix of acrylic paint and baking powder to give plastic or glass surfaces an earthen, on-trend terracotta-style texture. You keep costs down even more by browsing charity shops for vases and pots that could be transformed with a quick lick of this home-made mix.
  4. If you’ve been browsing the interior design shops, you may have noticed spirit bottle table lamps made from your favourite tipple. While some are merely stuffed with fairy lights, there are now more substantial versions – with hefty price tags – that are sold with a proper light bulb fitting, flex and plug. It is, however, relatively easy to make your own. This bottle lamp kit is just £14 – just add an empty bottle, shade and bulb for a stunning effect!
  5. When rattan is all over design stores Swoon, MADE.com and Oliver Bonas, you know it’s a trend to emulate. Rather than shell out hundreds of pounds for ready-made items, it’s actually very easy to adapt existing items of furniture. Armed with a jigsaw tool, a staple gun and a pre-woven roll of rattan, you could take on one of these DIY cheats. One of the most popular – and impactful – involves cutting out the middle panel of cabinet doors and fixing the rattan over the gap left.

If your design ideas go above and beyond furniture accessories, why not speak to us about moving home? Our friendly team is on hand to help, so contact us today.

Categories
Lifestyle Group 2

Upcycle basics for the uninitiated

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ and while it’s traditionally a slogan applied to household waste, it’s also a sentiment that spilling over into interior design.

The practice of shunning brand new furniture in favour of repurposing what already exists has the dedicated and more glamorous name of ‘upcycling’, and is often used in the same sentence as ‘pre-loved’, ‘vintage’ and ‘revamped’.

Whether you’re a skip rat on the hunt for a cast aside gem, want to refresh what you already own or are reducing your carbon footprint by refusing to buy new, upcycling is the easy way to breathe a new lease of life into items.

This Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Upcycling is a great place to learn all the dos and don’ts, especially on matters of preparation and tools, and there are links to some great finished projects for inspiration. If you’re nervous, however, why not start with one of these simple ideas that are perfect for upcycle novices:

Replace the handles:  if you have a screwdriver, you can change door knobs and drawer handles. A trip to B&Q or Ikea is a good place to start but for a myriad of choice, take a look online. Currently in vogue are leather pull handles, knurled details and matt black bar handles.

Repaint the surfaces: thanks to some highly advanced primers and good old fashioned sandpaper, almost any surface can be treated and repainted. A great place to start is Zinsser, whose primers make light work of wood and plastic finishes. Take a look at their ‘how to’ guides before tackling your paint job.

Change table legs: it’s highly likely that any side, coffee or dining table will have legs that are simply bolted on. If that’s the case, it’s super easy to transform the entire look of an item with new legs. Today’s most fashionable option is hairpin legs and there’s even a company dedicated to selling these in different colours, styles and sizes. The Hairpin Leg Company’s website will give you all sorts of ideas – take a look!

Apply interesting elements: even the plainest bedside cabinet can become an eye-catching statement piece with a little imagination. Vinyl decals, stencilling and decoupage can add interest in the form of colour and pattern, while gluing on wood beading and moulding can add texture. 

Choose a new top: sticky back plastic isn’t just for Blue Peter or exercise books! This self-adhesive film has a myriad of applications in the home, especially on flat surfaces. One of its best uses is to recover existing furniture tops and with retailers including Wayfair stocking on-trend prints, including terrazzo, hessian, distressed wood and marble, you can quickly upgrade your look as you upcycle. 

If you’re a design conscious home mover and would like a new home to match your style, contact us for a list of available properties in your area. 

 

Categories
Sales Group 2

Stamp duty: when does the holiday end?

Are you one of the many home movers who think the stamp duty holiday ends on the 30th June 2021? A reduced rate of property tax actually runs right through until the end of September this year but there are some changes to note. Home buyers will still pay less when they complete on a property purchase, although the discount will be reduced.

If you are thinking of moving home, now is a good time before this window of opportunity closes. Here’s a summary of all the details and deadlines:-

Stamp duty rates until 31st June 2021   

The Government introduced temporary stamp duty thresholds during the pandemic to keep buying and selling activity fluid. The initiative applies to both owner occupiers and property investors, with cash savings of up to £15,000 per transaction.

As per many Government schemes, there are terms and conditions that, in this case, apply until 30th September 2021.  The current stamp duty threshold for residential properties is £500,000. There is zero stamp duty to pay on the first £500,000 of a property purchase, although tax is still due on the portion over £500,000. 

Rather than the stamp duty holiday coming to an abrupt end in June, the Chancellor announced a tapering of the initiative, which effectively softens the blow for home movers. The stamp duty holiday continues after 30th June but in a reduced capacity.

Property purchases from 1st July 2021 to 30th September 2021

Instead of the first £500,000 of a property purchase being stamp duty free, this figure will be revised down to £250,000 from the 1st July 2021. This new level of discount will run until 30th September 2021.

Property purchases from 1st October 2021

Unless the Government intervenes and extends the deadlines again, the stamp duty thresholds will revert to their pre-Covid levels as of the 1st October 2021. These will be:-

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) thresholds will be:

Property purchase price = £0-£125k

Owner-occupier stamp duty rate 0%

Buy-to-let & second home buyer rate 3%

Property purchase price = £125,001-£250,000

  • Owner-occupier stamp duty rate 2%
  • Buy-to-let & second home buyer rate 5%

Property purchase price = £250,001-£925,000

  • Owner-occupier stamp duty rate 5%
  • Buy-to-let & second home buyer rate 8%

Property purchase price = £925,001-£1.5m

  • Owner-occupier stamp duty rate 10%
  • Buy-to-let & second home buyer rate 13%

Property purchase price = £1.5m+

  • Owner-occupier stamp duty rate 12%
  • Buy-to-let & second home buyer rate 15%

Special rates for first-time buyers

The Government is keen to encourage first-time buyers onto the property ladder, so it is making a stamp duty exemption for property novices. From 1st July 2021, first-timer buyers pay less stamp duty or potentially even no tax if both the following apply:

  • all those involved in buying a property are first-time buyers
  • the purchase price is £500,000 or less

This discount is being applied retrospectively, available to those who bought their first home before 8th July 2020.

Please contact us if you need help with working out what your stamp duty bill might be if you decide to buy this year. 

 

Categories
Sales Group 1

Broadband becomes the number one priority

Whether you work from home, are a serious gamer or like streaming films, super fast broadband is a must. Home movers are increasingly motivated by the reliability, speed and type of broadband supplied to a property, especially as we move towards a more permanent work-from-home approach to professional life. 

Online reliability moves up the must-have list

Rather than a trend based on anecdotal evidence, a number of new studies among the general public have shown that broadband is seriously shaping home moving activity. A 2020 study by TalkTalk revealed that nearly two thirds of Brits admit they would be reluctant to buy a house if it didn’t have a strong, reliable internet connection.

The survey also revealed 1 in 2 of us would consider a fast, reliable internet connection a priority when house hunting – a number that almost doubles to 9 in 10 when answered post-Covid-19. Even when someone has got the keys to their new home, TalkTalk found that setting up the internet connection was the number one activity – ahead of unpacking boxes and taking meter reading for 3 in 5 of those questioned.

A premium people are willing to pay

Home movers are now prioritizing broadband to such an extent that they are prepared to pay more to live in a home with excellent internet provision. A survey by Broadbandchoices discovered 62% of homeowners would pay more for a house in an area with a dependable and speedy internet connection. 

In fact, if a superfast broadband connection was guaranteed, 25% of those questioned said they could increase their offer by £3,000-£5,000, with 10% saying they would increase an offer by more than £5,000. Not only is this aspect important to sellers, it’s also crucial for landlords who want to attract tenants and add resale value for the future. 

Improve your broadband offering

If you have a property that’s destined for the open market and want to ensure it offers the best broadband connectivity to attract interest, there are a few steps you can take to improve speeds and reliability. 

These include:-

  • Making sure you’re signed up to the internet supplier who offers the fastest speeds
  • Checking that you’re receiving fibre-to-the premises broadband  
  • Improving your signal strength 
  • Exploring whether a wired connection would be better than wireless
  • Moving you router to a new location
  • Upgrading to the latest router
  • Considering installing Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders 
  • Connecting a better aerial to your router
  • Checking that neighbours are not using the same channel as your property

Moving home? Check the broadband beforehand

Instead of discovering a poor service after you’ve moved in, it is possible to assess the quality of the broadband before you’ve made an offer on a property.

As long as you know the postcode of the home, you can head over to Uswitch or Broadband Speed Checker, among others, and use their free online service that analyses the broadband. You’ll see the download and upload speeds, as well as the ping time in milliseconds (the smaller the better)

Further reading

If you’re new to broadband, Ofcom’s broadband basics article is a good place to get more information and if you already have broadband but you would like to improve your internet speed, there’s a wealth of additional and more in-depth suggestions in this guide. Most improvements start by contacting your current broadband supplier but be prepared to shop around for the best deal.

If you’re looking to move home, get in touch for advice and available properties.

 

Categories
Lifestyle Group 2

Ikea hacks for everyday items

Do you have grand furniture designs but a more modest budget? Do you dread the thought of having the same accessories as everyone else but don’t have the budget to buy high end? If this rings bells, you can achieve a very upscale look with a trip to Ikea and a few ‘hacks’ that are cropping up across the internet.

Furniture and accessory hacks are when you take a run-of-the-mill, boring or cheap item (you could turn to Argos or even a second hand furniture store instead of Ikea) and transform its aesthetic with a few bargain adaptations.

Types of hacks:

Hacks can be as quick and simple as painting a vase, or can involve a little more DIY skill for a total makeover. Here are the most common ways to change the look of an Ikea item:-

  • Repainting items to customise and match your interior design
  • Applying self-adhesive decorative film to a glass surface or panel
  • Adding skirting board and coving so a freestanding item looks built in
  • Removing, adding or changing doors
  • Replacing handles and legs
  • Adding mouldings, dowling or batons to a plain surface to add texture
  • Cutting out parts of doors and draw fronts and replacing with a different material
  • Wrapping items in raffia, string or rope to create a new look

If you like the hack idea but are not sure where to start, here’s our advice:-

Search Instagram: there are over 500,000 posts on this social media channel detailing Ikea hacks – simply search #ikeahack or #ikeahacks. The results are a combination of ‘reels’ – short step-by-step videos of how to undertake the hacks – and ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. You can also follow these search terms so your feed will always be full of novel ideas that are illustrated with photos and tutorials.

Visit YouTube: it’s a similar story on YouTube, where the search term ‘Ikea hacks’ produces thousands of results. The videos posted here are generally longer and more detailed than those on Instagram, making them the ideal choice for complete novices. Lone Fox and Liz Fenwick DIY both have some great suggestions for making everyday Ikea items look more bespoke than you thought possible.

Head to Etsy: there are multiple kits sold via this online retailer that make it super-easy to upscale Ikea furniture. The kits stocked on Etsy are sold for a particular item – including Malm, Besta, Ivar and Kallax – and the adaptations include vinyl self-adhesive decals and fretwork panels that can be glued on. Search Stickers Coloray, HomeArtStickers and TheUpScaleCollection for some stunning examples. 

Follow the interior magazines: even the stalwarts of home interior design have jumped on the Ikea hack bandwagon, and have gathered multiple ideas together in one place. There are 25 adaptations to try thanks to this Ideal Home feature and another 37 courtesy of House Beautiful. House & Garden has taken a different approach, offering a list of partner companies that will upgrade Ikea items on your behalf. 

Trawl the internet: you’ll find a myriad of sources just by typing ‘Ikea hacks’ into Google’s search bar. We like the advice and ideas from Houzz, the 30 hacks from Airtasker and the millions of photos posted to Pinterest

If you have success with an Ikea hack but feel your furniture would look better in a new home, contact us for a list of available properties.

Categories
Lifestyle Group 1

Hidden storage that’s good to go

There can be very few people who can confidently say they have enough storage in their home. If it’s not a case of clutter accumulating in every corner, it may be that the storage provided is a little on the stingy side, leaving items untidily on show.

One solution is to commission bespoke fitted storage solutions but this route can be just that……fitted, leaving you with an expensive investment that can’t accompany you to your next home. Thankfully, furniture designers and retailers have upped their game in terms of freestanding storage options that allow the owner to hide gubbins and junk out of sight.

No matter what room or your storage problem, there is a freestanding storage solution guaranteed to bring a new level of streamlined Zen to your home. Here are some options that have impressed us:-

Larders: also described as pantries, larders are the kitchen trend that shows no sign of going away and freestanding options are an excellent catch-all in the kitchen. The single and double door options from companies including MADE.com and The Cotswold Company hide a multitude of sins, with internal drawers, spice and bottle racks, and shelves all conveniently hidden from view when the doors are shut.

Armoires: originally designed to hold weapons and armour, today’s armoires are more likely to store linens and clothes rather than lances and swords. You can buy original antique items or off-the-shelf reproductions but one thing that marks out an armoire from a wardrobe is its ornate nature. Try Le Maison Chic for French-style armoires – many with mirrored doors.

Home offices: it’s no surprise that hide-away workstations – also referred to as micro home offices – have gained in popularity, as they offer a tidy alternative to spreading out over the dining table. Dedicated homes offices that are tucked away in freestanding cupboards have shelves set at the right height for keyboards and monitors, and come with the benefit of doors that can be shut to hide the working day. Try the Bruton hideaway home office from The Dormy House or the painted computer stations from Edmunds Clarke Furniture – a trade up from the traditional bureau.

Dressing tables: if you like the uncluttered look, a hidden dressing table is a great solution. The wide Luca wardrobe from Banbury Modern Furniture features sliding doors that open to reveal a drop-down dressing table with plenty of space for trinkets and beauty treasures. For something more space-saving, try Tikamoon’s floor standing ‘twig’ mirrored column cabinet, with its handy shelves hidden round the back.

If storage is such a problem that you need to move home for more space, contact us for available properties.

Categories
Lettings Group 1

Can I move my partner into a rental property?

You’ve moved out of the family home, bagged yourself a lovely flat to rent and have also found yourself a partner. We know it’s only natural to start thinking about living together if your relationship is blossoming but it’s not a case of simply adding another toothbrush to your bathroom when you rent privately. Here’s our advice to tenants who are thinking of moving a partner in with them.

Check your tenancy agreement

If you signed your tenancy agreement on a ‘single occupancy’ basis, the legal document will only allow you to live there as the named tenant. If you move someone else in who is not specified in the agreement, it is classed as subletting. This is usually prohibited and a reason for a landlord to take legal action against a tenant. 

So, I can’t move a partner in?

Even if your tenancy agreement is single occupancy, it doesn’t mean living with your partner in the property is off the cards. Your first step will be to contact your letting agent or landlord, telling them that you would like to move someone in. 

Ask them for permission first and if agreed, your agent can draw up a new tenancy agreement with both of you as named tenants in what is known as ‘double occupancy’. Be aware, however, that changes to an incumbent tenancy agreement are one of the few things an agent or landlord can still charge a tenant for.

Is that it?

It is highly likely that your partner will have to undergo the same referencing process as you, as the original tenant. If they fail to meet the necessary standards, residency for your partner may be refused. It could also be the case that your landlord will want to make a small rent increase, as an extra person in the property will lead to more wear and tear, and raise the prospect of damage. 

If you’re already living with other people and want to move your partner in, an unrelated, extra person living under the same roof may tip the property into the HMO category (a house in multiple occupation). In this case, the landlord may need to apply for a specific HMO licence to operate legally and be required to make changes to the property to meet compliance standards. If this is the case, the landlord may refuse the request.

What happens if I split up with my partner?

If you are each named on the tenancy agreement, both want to move out and are close to the end of the tenancy agreement, you can give ‘notice to quit’ and vacate the property at the end of the rental term. If your tenancy agreement has some time to run, you can ‘surrender your tenancy’ by asking your landlord to terminate the agreement early – but they do not have to agree to this. 

You’ll share responsibility for paying the rent and the property’s condition while you’re both named on the tenancy agreement, even if your partner moves out. It’s therefore important to request a change back to a single occupancy agreement if only one person wishes to stay in the property. If whoever stays is not on the tenancy agreement, they may not benefit from full tenant protection. 

Need further information?

If you’re in any doubt about the type of tenancy agreement you have signed, or are thinking about moving a partner in, please contact us for advice.

 

Categories
Lettings Group 2

Landlords: how to spot signs of subletting

Subletting is when a tenant turns landlord themselves. Instead of living in the property they have signed the tenancy agreement for, they rent out the property to others – either on an entire house basis, room-by-room or even as an Airbnb. Subletting is a way for tenants to make money, as they charge other tenants more than they are paying the landlord to make a profit.

The intention to sublet often goes under the radar as the legitimate tenant will move in friends, use word-of-mouth to attract people or advertise the property/rooms on social media platforms and places such as Gumtree – all of which are hard to track.

Is subletting illegal?

The answer is sometimes. The act of subletting is usually prohibited, as set out in the tenancy agreement, and the landlord’s mortgage may also forbid subletting. Therefore, the landlord is within their rights to take legal action against tenants who sublet. 

There’s also a note of caution when it comes to tenants who turn a property into a HMO (a house in multiple occupation, when rooms are rented out to different individuals with shared communal facilities). A recent case saw the original tenant of a four-bedroom house fined over £9,000 and receive a criminal record for subletting, while the property owner/landlord was also fined. Both parties were guilty of breaching housing laws and not obtaining the correct HMO licence. 

The property owner who fell foul of subletting was reported to have visited the property ‘occasionally’ in their role of landlord but missed clues that eight people – instead of the sole tenant who signed the agreement – were living in their property. So would you miss the signs of subletting? 

Subletting signs you need to recognise

If you are a landlord who suspects subletting in a property you rent out, you need to keep a vigilant eye on the following: –

  • Living areas that have been turned into bedrooms, such as dining rooms and lounges
  • More toothbrushes and towels than required for the number of tenants on the original agreement
  • Makeshift sleeping arrangements and bundles of bed linen on sofas and possibly in outbuildings
  • More domestic waste and recycling than you would expect for the number of tenants on the original agreement
  • If the property is rented as ‘bills included’, heavier use of utilities than during previous lets
  • Signs of increased wear and tear around the property
  • Reports of extra noise, unexplained comings and goings, or anti-social behaviour from neighbours
  • The original tenant refusing access to the property for an inspection
  • Different people frequently arriving with suitcases

Lodgers & holiday lets

Tenants should know that although the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme is perfectly legal, most tenancy agreements will prohibit tenants taking in a lodger, whether for financial gain or not. Holiday lets are another area of concern, especially with the popularity of staycations. An estimated 120,000 properties in the UK are illegally sublet through sites such as Airbnb. Landlords should also note that subletting for illegal activities is just as popular as offering properties to holidaymakers.  

Why is subletting an issue for landlords?

Subletting means tenants move into a property without undergoing reference checks – there’s no official record of their past behaviour, their status to rightly reside in the UK or their ability to pay the rent. Even a tenant allowing a friend to sleep on the sofa could be classed as subletting, and can be detrimental to the condition and value of the property, not to mention jeopardise legal compliance.

Professional property lettings: the advantages

Choosing to work with a professional lettings agency is the best way to avoid subletting. A good property manager will ensure any tenancy agreement has a clear no-subletting clause and they will undertake thorough tenant referencing to detect previous bad tenant behaviour. 

A lettings agency will make tenants aware of regular planned property inspections – which can act as a subletting deterrent – and if there is any hint of subletting, they can diarise more frequent visits. Don’t forget, a lettings professional will spot the more subtle signs of subletting and may also spot if your buy-to-let appears as ‘to let’ on property portals. If you’re worried about subletting, speak to us today.