Posts with tag: ARLA Propertymark

How to prepare your buy-to-let property for colder weather

Published On: October 15, 2020 at 8:49 am


Categories: Landlord News,Property News

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With autumn now in full-swing, ARLA Propertymark has provided information on how to prepare let properties for the change in weather conditions.

They hope to help landlords avoid too many costly repairs with the following weather-proofing tips:

Clear out the gutters

Falling leaves may look picturesque, but they can cause big problems if left untouched in your gutter. Frozen water, heavy leaves and blockages can all lead to leaks and water damage or even broken gutters, so it’s important to keep them clear from any debris to minimise the risk. 

Keep it breezy  

When it’s cold or wet outside, windows usually stay shut; however, this can lead to condensation in your property which can cause damp. You should speak to and educate your tenants on the issue and encourage them to open windows in particularly humid areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.

You can also help by ensuring extractor fans are working properly in these areas. 

Bleed the radiators  

If your tenants are feeling cold despite having the heating on, it could mean that the radiators need bleeding. Bleeding the radiators doesn’t need to be a big job and it will make sure the pipes in your property are being heated properly when the temperature drops. The best thing to do is to speak to your tenants and explain that this will keep them warmer too!

Alternatively, if local restrictions permit it, you can go to your property and bleed the radiators yourself. Remember to speak to your tenants before visiting to make sure that they are not shielding, self-isolating and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. It’s also important to remember to socially distance and wear a mask to protect them once inside the property. 

Trip Hazards

Wet and cold weather leads to slippery drives and icy steps, but this can also lead to cracks in pathways which may cause tenants to trip and fall. In order to prevent this, it’s best to stay on top of any existing cracks from small to large and either get someone professional to fix them or clear the debris and fill them yourself.

man fixing a heating radiator

Check the boiler 

It’s good practice to get your boiler serviced around once a year, but with lower temperatures outside, tenants will be making the most of their heating, especially as many will be working from their homes, so it could be worth getting an extra service.

As long as your tenant is not self-isolating, they can allow a plumber into the property to check the boiler works efficiently which will keep them warm and your property in good condition. 

Safety first

With long dark nights drawing in, it’s worth double checking that the burglar alarm and security lights are working in your property. Tenants might not be out and about as much as expected due to social distancing restrictions, but with less natural light, a visible alarm can still be a good deterrent.

You may also want to consider chatting to your tenants to make sure they don’t leave expensive items on display which could attract thieves when they are out the property. 


Even with all of these checks, things can still go wrong particularly if the weather really takes a turn, so you should ensure your current landlord insurance is up to date and check the policy gives sufficient protection for any weather-related damage particularly to your boiler and roof.  

Angela Davey, President, ARLA Propertymark says: “Whether you’re a first-time landlord or have let out properties before, everyone should think about how best to weather-proof their property for the colder months and living in Britain means that temperatures can drop at any time of the year.

“Taking a few simple steps and checking the essentials will help keep you free from any costly surprises and your tenants happy.”

Government begins consultation for private rental sector EPC improvements

Published On: October 2, 2020 at 9:13 am


Categories: Law News,Property News

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The Government is seeking views on proposals to raise energy performance standards for the private rental sector (PRS) in England and Wales.

The consultation includes information on proposals to introduce changes to the sector to help meet energy efficiency targets. The Government states that it is committed to upgrading as many PRS homes as possible to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2030.

The Government’s plans include:

  • Reducing energy bills and increased comfort for tenants and supporting delivery of our statutory fuel poverty target of EPC C by 2030
  • Potential property value improvements for landlords
  • Delivering carbon emission savings over Carbon Budgets 4 and 5, making progress towards our net zero target

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager for ARLA Propertymark, has commented on the consultation: “On the face of it these proposals simply do not take into account the state of the UK’s housing stock.

“We all want to see more energy efficient homes, but the new rules and requirements must be realistic and achievable. Landlords and their letting agents are already taking the brunt of tax changes and many are providing support to tenants with COVID related arrears.

“A simplified exemptions regime and additional financial support must be made available otherwise the measures in their current form, will not be achievable and that would mean further reductions in the supply of rented accommodation available.”

Martyn Reed, Managing Director of Elmhurst Energy has commented: “As the Government has acknowledged, the PRS has some of the worst performing properties with 67% of PRS homes currently rated less than EPC band C.

“This move to improve the energy performance of PRS homes, began two years ago with the regulations stipulating that PRS homes should meet EPC band E. Elmhurst always believed that this was just the start of the journey and are pleased to see that the Government are considering a tightening of restrictions to not only improve the energy performance of PRS homes but also to reduce fuel poverty.

“Elmhurst’s Domestic Energy Assessors are well placed to help in this area, as they can identify the current energy rating of a property for landlords and property agents and can recommend potential improvements/next steps.”

The consultation is scheduled to close on 30th December 2020. You can read and respond to it on the Government website:

Tenant demand continues to reach record levels, says ARLA Propertymark

Published On: October 1, 2020 at 8:21 am


Categories: Lettings News

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The latest Private Rented Sector (PRS) Report from ARLA Propertymark shows that the number of new prospective tenants continued to rise in August.

The number recorded during that month was the highest since records began in January 2015. The average letting agent branch registered 101 new tenants, which breaks July’s previous record of 97.

Demand from tenants by region in August

The report also records 208 rental properties available per letting branch in August. This remained the same as the record high figure recorded in July, which beat the previous record of 192 properties managed per letting agent branch in July 2017. 

Tenancy lengths have also increased to an all-time high, with tenants staying in the same home for an average of 21 months. Regionally, this figure was highest in the East Midlands with tenancies lasting 25 months. Tenancy lengths are currently lowest in the North East at 10 months.

The number of tenants experiencing rent increases has gone up in August. 48% of agents have witnessed landlords increasing rent, compared to 29% in June and 39% in July. Year-on-year, this is still 16% lower than in August 2019, when the figure stood at 64%.

Angela Davey, President, ARLA Propertymark, has commented: “Our latest figures reveal the rental market still isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. We continue to see record breaking levels of rental stock and demand from tenants, painting a positive picture for the future of the private rented sector.

“With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions starting to increase again as we head towards the colder months, it’s more important than ever for landlords to communicate well with their tenants, and that tenants continue to pay their rent to ensure the market remains strong over the next period.”

View the full report here:

Sadiq Khan makes request for two-year rent freeze in London

Published On: September 18, 2020 at 8:21 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request powers to implement a two-year rent freeze to help prevent COVID-19 evictions.

This freeze would be introduced as an emergency measure. It would mean that private Landlords could reduce rents in London but not increase them.

Recent research from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and YouGov has revealed half a million London tenants are potentially facing eviction.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has commented: “More than ever, COVID-19 means that many of London’s private renters are facing a really uncertain future. More likely to be in lower-paid and insecure work, the end of the furlough scheme means even more renters in the capital are now at risk of pay cuts or losing their job.

“Yet at every stage of this pandemic, renters have been treated as an afterthought by the Government, with protection measures only ever rushed out at the last minute.

“This uncertainty is causing unnecessary anxiety and stress. I’m today calling on ministers to give me the powers to stop rents rising in the capital for as long as this virus is with us, to give London’s 2.2 million renters more financial security. If Berlin can freeze rents for five years, there’s no reason London shouldn’t be able to freeze rents for two years in these extraordinary times.

“Without an operational vaccine, the economic fallout of COVID-19 will continue for months into the future. A rent freeze is only one part of a package of measures renters urgently need from Government to ensure no one is forced out onto the streets as a result of this pandemic.” 

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “Evictions have been paused, but that hasn’t stopped some London landlords from raising the rent, which can force a tenant to leave their home.

“At Generation Rent we’ve heard from tenants who have been hit with a rent increase after telling their landlord that their income has been affected by the pandemic. Unwanted moves can leave struggling tenants with nowhere else to go and contribute to the spread of coronavirus. 

“With the economy in recession and coronavirus cases on the rise, landlords should not be permitted to raise rents and force a tenant into an unwanted move.

“We’re delighted that the Mayor has adopted Generation Rent’s proposal for a freeze on rents to ensure tenants are able to stay safely in their homes for the duration of this crisis.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark, comments: “Government has provided protection to tenants through the stay on evictions and the job retention scheme, while landlords have fallen outside of government support.

“It is important to be proportionate to all involved in the sector – tenants, agents, and landlords – as the economy struggles to recover in this period. 

“It is therefore vital that the situation is not worsened through any measures on landlords as a kneejerk reaction to the conditions created by Coronavirus.

“The vast majority of landlords are supporting good tenants to stay in their properties but a mandatory rent freeze would serve to deter investment in the private rented sector at exactly the time when more is being asked of landlords.”

Sadiq Khan has also asked for a wider package of support to renters, including:

  • Tenant grants to help them stay in their homes and clear arrears.
  • Expanding access to welfare, including scrapping the Benefit Cap uprating Local Housing Allowance to median market rents, and making additional discretionary housing payments to cover shortfalls and extending eligibility to all renters, including those not currently entitled.
  • Scrapping Section 21 evictions, and restricting access to Section 8 evictions until the above welfare changes have been made.

Evictions in England and Wales will see a ‘truce’ for tenants over Christmas

Published On: September 14, 2020 at 10:26 am


Categories: Law News

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The Government has provided a further update regarding legislation for private rental sector possession cases in England and Wales.

Once the ban is lifted and cases are yet again heard, evictions by bailiffs will still be suspended in locked-down areas and over Christmas. Exact dates for this have not yet been confirmed by the Government.

Court proceedings for evictions are due to continue from 21st September.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK.

“To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months.

“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice.”

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures. 

“But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the Government whether they can stay in their home.

“Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt. The Government must offer them more support than a Discretionary Housing Payment pot that was set up before the pandemic hit.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager for ARLA Propertymark, says: “Over the past few weeks the Government has drip-fed updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult months ahead. 

“The UK Government are moving the goalposts, introducing measures that will be difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns.  

“Whilst it looks like there will no further delays on the resumption of possession hearings, agents have profound concerns about investment in housing and this announcement offers no further support for the sector.

“The Government must now look at additional measures to provide direct finance to landlords and tenants to cover COVID related arrears and help boost confidence in the sector as we head into the winter.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform PlanetRent, comments: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the Government around the winter period and will now feel more secure in their homes.

“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the Government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether.

“However, it should be noted as recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association pointed out that the majority of landlords are trying to work with their tenants to resolve any issues such as rent arrears.

“Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation.

“Some renters may need more financial assistance from the Government but cancelling rents or getting the Government to pay would be hugely damaging.”

New prospective tenants and rental supply highest on record for June 2020

Published On: July 31, 2020 at 8:16 am


Categories: Lettings News

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According to ARLA Propertymark’s latest private rental sector (PRS) report, the number of new prospective tenants continued to rise in June.

This report, carried out by Opinium Research, involved an online survey of 210 ARLA Propertymark members that took place from 3rd to 20th July 2020. The results revealed an average of 79 new tenants registered per branch, compared to May’s average of 70.

Comparing year-on-year results since records began in 2015, this figure is the highest recorded for the month of June. The previous record was 71 in June 2019.

However, ARLA Propertymark does highlight that this is still down on pre-lockdown figures, with an average of 82 new tenants registered per branch in February 2020.

This report also shows that the number of rental properties on the market during June increased. Reaching another record high, there was an average of 200 properties managed per letting agent branch.

ARLA Propertymark comments that “this is down slightly from 208 in May, but still sets the market up for an active summer compared to the usual seasonal lull.”

Regionally, the highest number of properties being managed was in Yorkshire & Humberside, at an average of 264 per branch. Wales had the lowest average, at 104 per branch.

The number of rent price increases also grew in June. 29% of agents witnessed landlords increasing rents, compared to 14% in May. However, this remains the lowest number of rent price increases for the month since June 2016 (see Figure 1, below).

New prospective tenants
Figure 1: Average number of tenants experiencing rent hikes in June year-on-year

Average void period lengths decreased from five weeks in May to four weeks in June. Despite this decrease, this figure remains the longest average on record for void periods between tenancies in the month of June. 

Phil Keddie, President of ARLA Propertymark, comments: “Our latest figures show that the rental market is continuing to pick up following the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The record-breaking supply of rental stock and demand from tenants for this time of year paints an optimistic picture for the summer months, indicating that the market will be more active than the usual seasonal lull. 

“As the market continues to recover from the pandemic, it’s essential that everyone continues to keep up with their rent in order to sustain the market and help boost the economy during these uncertain times.”