Posts with tag: void periods

West Midlands offers the Most Affordable Rents for Tenants

Published On: March 7, 2019 at 9:03 am


Categories: Tenant News

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The West Midlands offers the most affordable rents for private tenants in England and Wales, based on an average renter’s annual income divided by their yearly rent costs, according to the latest Rental Index from Goodlord.

The letting agent software platform found that landlords in the West Midlands offer the most affordable rents across the country, at an average of £689 per month. Based on a typical salary of £18,000 amongst tenants in the region, renters spend 24% of their annual income on rent, compared to 29% nationally. 

However, landlords in the Midlands – both the East and West – face the longest void periods in the country, at an average of 33 days. 

Overall, void periods were down in February for five out of the eight regions in England and Wales, to an average of 23.75 days, from 28.6 in January.

Landlords in London faced the shortest wait for new tenants, at just 13 days on average. 

Nevertheless, the least affordable rents in the country were found in the capital, at an average of £1,619 per month, which is a whopping 114% higher than the national average. Tenants in London, however, have the highest typical income, at £36,000 per year.

Despite offering the cheapest rents in the country (£635), rental properties in the North East eat up an average of 44.8% of a tenant’s income, due to their low average salary of £17,000. 

In terms of length of tenancy, London offers the longest average fixed term agreement, at 14 months, which is three months longer than the next region, which is the South East.

Landlords, how do these figures compare to your own experiences of rent prices, void periods and tenancy lengths? 

Perhaps the data may influence your decision when looking for a new investment property – will you focus on affordable rents or low void periods? 

Void periods could rise if ban on fees goes ahead

Published On: March 28, 2017 at 8:55 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Alterations to letting agent fees could well lead to higher rents and greater repossessions, as a result of lesser quality of tenant referencing in the private rental sector.

Insurance provider Endsleigh has raised the concerns, also highlighting fears that if letting agents are banned from charging fees to tenants, the quality of referencing could fall. This is due to agents potentially sourcing cheaper referencing alternatives to offset any future losses of income.


Presently, tenants can be charged fees for a number of administration tasks, including reference, credit and immigration checks. This however looks likely to change as the ban on agent fees comes into force soon.

It is now four months since the ban on fees was proposed by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in the Autumn Statement. Endsleigh fears that this proposal has created confusion in the private rental sector.

David Hadden, head of Endsleigh Let, noted: ‘The private rental sector is currently in limbo waiting for further details on the fee ban but the topic appears to have fallen off the agenda, causing confusion for both letting agents and tenants.’[1]

‘As a partner to the sector, we’re keen for this discussion to move forward so that the letting industry can properly assess and address the likely impacts of these changes,’ he continued.[1]

Void periods could rise if ban on fees goes ahead

Void periods could rise if ban on fees goes ahead


Both referencing and insurance are two areas likely to be impacted upon by the changes, according to Hadden. However, he acknowledges that the scale of this is unclear as the Government decides how best to press ahead with the ban.

Continuing, Mr Hadden said: ‘Our letting customers have told us how concerned they are about these changes and what it means for the private rental sector.’[1]

‘Poor quality referencing could lead to higher eviction numbers and longer void periods. This, in turn, could affect connected insurances such as rent guarantee, with the likelihood of claims to be perceived as increasing, premiums would surely follow suit,’ he concluded.[1]



Landlords Offered Cash Incentives to Bring Empty Properties Back into Use

Published On: June 3, 2016 at 10:35 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Landlords and homeowners across the Deepings and Bourne districts of Lincolnshire are being offered cash incentives of up to £5,000 to help bring empty properties back into use.

As part of a nationwide effort to help boost the supply of rental homes to cater for growing demand from tenants, South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) is offering the payments, which are part of the Government’s £4.8 billion Empty Homes Community Grants Programme, to help landlords and building owners re-let properties that have been classed as long-term unoccupied.

SKDC’s Business Manager for Environmental Health, Anne Marie Coulthard, says: “It can be challenging for some owners of homes that have not been maintained over a number of years to bring them back into habitable condition.

“Therefore, the Government’s Empty Homes Community Grants Programme is a channel to help improve the condition and value of the property and, in some cases, allows landlords to let the property in order to generate an income.”1 

To qualify for funding from the scheme, the property must have been vacant for at least six months and owners must agree to charge rent below the Local Housing Allowance weekly rates of between £58.38-£153.02 for a minimum period of three years. Additionally, the property must be brought back into use within 12 months of work starting.

Landlords Offered Cash Incentives to Bring Empty Properties Back into Use

Landlords Offered Cash Incentives to Bring Empty Properties Back into Use

New research by property crowdfunding platform Property Partner estimates that England has over 203,000 long-term empty homes with a value of over £38 billion.

In London alone, 20,915 homes were empty for more than six months in 2015 – around £12.4 billion worth of empty property, despite a chronic housing shortage in the capital.

The London borough with the highest number of empty properties is Newham, where 1,318 homes were vacant for over six months in 2015. However, the greatest value of empty stock is in Kensington and Chelsea, where £1.7 billion worth of property is unoccupied.

Outside of London, Bradford has the highest number of empty homes, after recording an increase of 7% over the last decade to a total of 4,154 with an estimated value of around £400m.

Meanwhile, Manchester has seen the number of empty homes fall by over 84% in the last ten years, from 10,059 in 2005 to 1,599 in 2015.

West Yorkshire, including Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, has the greatest number of vacant homes than any other English metropolitan district, at 12,292.

The CEO of Property Partner, Dan Gandesha, comments: “These figures reveal a shocking waste of opportunity. Over a decade ago, the law changed, giving councils the power to seize empty homes through Compulsory Purchase Orders and rent them back out to tenants if they lay vacant for more than two years.

“But we still find not enough being done in many parts of the country. This is nothing short of a scandal. To be fair, some towns and cities are getting to grips with the problem of long-term vacant properties. Yet if just half of the current empty homes could be brought to market, it would go a long way towards resolving the housing crisis, particularly in London.”1 

If you are a landlord with a vacant rental property, you should protect your asset with Unoccupied Property Insurance, which covers any damage until the home is rented again.


Landlords Urged to Check Properties During Winter Void Periods

Published On: November 6, 2015 at 11:00 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Landlords Urged to Check Properties During Winter Void Periods

Landlords Urged to Check Properties During Winter Void Periods

We all know that our homes can take a beating during the winter months, but if you’re a landlord, it is vital that you protect your investment(s) at this time.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) is urging landlords or their letting agents to inspect their rental properties, particularly if they will be empty over the colder months.

Sometimes, your tenants may be away for the holidays or you may be facing a void period. The AIIC explains that if no one is going to be living in the property as temperatures drop, it will not be ventilated properly, which can cause damp, mould and other related issues.

Condensation is the main cause of damp and if windows are left closed for an extended period of time, damp becomes more frequent and the chances of mould forming rises.

The AIIC adds that the longer a home remains empty and unchecked, the higher the chances of drain blockages, pipe problems and clogged gutters, typically due to leaves. You should also check pipes for cracks and leaks, as these can worsen and cause more serious problems, especially if water freezes.

The AIIC suggests that all landlords, particularly those with vacant properties, make regular and thorough checks this winter.

Recent research from specialist lender Paragon Mortgages found that the average void period has fallen to less than 2.6 weeks per year. However, the AIIC warns that even this length of time is enough for winter-related issues to arise.

The Chair of the AIIC, Pat Barber, advises: “A detailed inventory, carried out by an independent inventory clerk, also allows a landlord to identify what needs repairing between contracts. This can be vital in ensuring the long-term condition of the rental property as well as helping to get it up to scratch for new tenants.”1















Greatest number of empty homes in the North

Published On: September 14, 2015 at 1:01 pm


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,

A new investigation by a national campaigning charity has given an insight into the regions with the greatest number of long-term empty homes in the UK.

Data from the research conducted by Empty Homes indicates that the largest number of these types of property (those that have been empty for six months or more) is in the North East of England.

Void periods

Empty Homes, with support from Aldermore, looked at the reasons behind this, including empty homes and deprivation, alongside issues in communities, such as poor housing in the private rental sector.

The report calls on the Government to bring back dedicated funding for local authority areas with large concentrations of empty properties, to enable to bring more homes back into use. In addition, Empty Homes suggests that the Government should assist in the creation of 20,000 affordable homes from long-term empty dwellings by 2020. The charity estimates that this will set the Government back around £450m over five years.

Utilising Government figures, the report shows that 0.88% of the country’s housing stock is listed as long-term empty. The North East has the largest proportion of regional stock classed as long-term empty, with 1.34%. This was followed by the North West (1.27%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.15%).[1]

London was found to have the lowest percentage of long-term empty homes, with just 0.6%.

Continuing problems

Results from the investigation show that there are still substantial levels of long-term empty properties in areas that were formerly Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder areas. These areas ran up until 2010, when they were replaced with the coalition Government’s, ‘Cluster of Empty Homes Fund,’ which set aside £60m to attempt to tackle the worst concentrations of unoccupied properties.

With the lack of empty homes funding, which was halted in March of this year, there is concern that attempts to create affordable homes form long-term empty properties will suffer in the face of new build schemes.

According to the research, 78% of British voters believe the Government should place a larger emphasis on tackling the problem of empty homes. 36% said that these types of property blighted their local community.[1]

Greatest number of empty homes in the North

Greatest number of empty homes in the North


Priced out

‘With so many people priced out of decent housing across England, there is an imperative to make the most of the empty homes we have in all parts of England, alongside building new homes that are within the reach of people on low to ordinary incomes,’ said Helen Williams, CEO of the Empty Homes Charity.[1]

Charles Haresnape, Group Managing Director of Mortgages at Aldermore Bank, agrees that, ‘the lack of housing supply is the biggest challenge facing the housing market today.’ He says that, ‘until 1990, the number of homes built every year was over 200,000, but the total has only exceeded that level in four years since, during the period between 2004 and 2007.’[1]

‘To meet current demand we need to take a two-pronged approach; refurbishing empty homes and bringing them back into use, combined with building new homes,’ Haresnape added.[1]




Accidental Landlords Facing Difficulties

Published On: November 24, 2012 at 11:26 am


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,

Homeowners who plan to let out their property as a method of avoiding the negative housing market may be surprised at how difficult is to become a landlord.

Within the tough rental sector, only the top properties are letting quickly, and these so-called accidental landlords can expect lengthy and costly void periods.

Tim Hyatt, Head of Residential Lettings at Knight Frank, says: “Contrary to what people might think, the lettings market is not busy across the board. As a landlord, you have to be totally flexible and you need to treat the property as you would an investment property; it must be well-priced, neutrally decorated, and ready for someone to move into straight away.”

It is not the first time that accidental landlords have appeared on the private rentals sector, however the number has increased drastically in the last year.

A Director of Savills Private Finance, Melanie Bien, explains: “The stagnant housing market is making it virtually impossible for many people to sell; at least at prices they are happy with.”

This rise in supply has not been met with such an increase of demand, however, as the number of tenants is growing, but at a slower rate.

Richard Price, Director of Operations at the National Landlords Association (NLA), sees the influx of accidental landlords continuing. “It is likely that if property prices keep falling, we will see more people choosing to hold on to their asset and let their property rather than sell it,” he says.1

The lettings industry is now hugely competitive, thanks to the accidental landlords. Hyatt notes: “Stock levels in many offices are up 100% over the past 12 months, while in some offices levels are three times as high as they were at this time last year.”

Jane Ingram is the Head of Lettings at Savills, and says this pattern has been seen in letting agencies also. “They are significantly higher than a year ago, with the number of properties doubling, if not trebling; partly due to the rise in accidental landlords coming new to the market,” she says.1

Hyatt adds: “At the top end of the London market, there is a huge variety of stock for people to look at, so this is a highly competitive market. In some areas, landlords are having to look at rent reductions of 20% to 40% per week.”

Accidental Landlords Facing Difficulties

Accidental Landlords Facing Difficulties

Letting out a home in this market is not as easy as it may seem. Professional landlords are aware of the type of properties that are in demand in particular areas, but accidental landlords do not have this choice.

Website PropertyFinder has said that, “landlords who have not had the power to choose an appropriate property will find it difficult to cover their costs.”1

But this does not mean that renting out your residential property is not a good option. By researching the market, it is possible to find out what type of house is in demand and what rates they are going for. Hyatt says: “Take the advice of your local letting agent.

“I say this all the time but no one listens: ask your agent for some examples of properties that will let overnight and then compare them to your own. If your property does not match up, you should prepare for long void periods.

“Accidental landlords are people who are renting out private homes decorated to personal taste. These properties may not be idea for the rental market.

“You need to ask yourself if you are prepared to make the necessary investment in the property, and whether you are prepared to refinance in order to make that investment. If not, you may struggle.”1

Homeowners entering the industry must also be aware of rental arrears. “For the highly geared landlord whose monthly mortgage payments rely heavily on monthly rental income, tenants not paying can quickly spell disaster,” says the NLA’s Simon Gordon.1

Some mortgage lenders do provide buy-to-let loans to landlords with a 25% deposit; however experts advise having a larger share in order to make money.

Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank, says: “The only landlords who are going to make lets work over the next couple of years are those with a decent slab of equity in their property, around 40%.”1

If renting out your home is still an appealing option, the first step should be to notify your mortgage provider. Bien says: “If you fail to do this, you are in breach of the mortgage contrast.

“Theoretically, if the lender finds out, it could insist that you repay the mortgage because you have broken that contract.”

The mortgage lender may permit you to stay on your existing mortgage for a certain length of time before you change to a buy-to-let arrangement. You could be required to switch straightaway. “If you have to switch to a buy-to-let deal straight away, this may be problematic because there are few deals available, and both rates and fees are high,” explains Bien.1

As well as getting permission for the mortgage company, your household insurer will need to be informed. Also, if you plan to offer your property furnished, you should look into specialist landlord insurance.

There are many rules and regulations associated with being a landlord. It is advised that you join a landlord’s association to remain up-to-date on any changes. They may also offer discounts on services, for example, landlord’s insurance. It will cost around £70 a year to join.

It is a necessity for landlord’s to produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for tenants to examine. EPCs do last for ten years, however. Deposits must be placed in a deposit scheme, such as the Deposit Protection Service, or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Landlords with Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are required to have a licence from the local housing authority.