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Monday 30 March 2015

What are your tenants saying about your property?

A new website has been set up which allows tenants to rate rental property. allows tenants to rate specific properties which can then be searched for by inputting the address.
Tenants can rate the property for leaks, condensation, flooring, brightness, noise pollution, rodents, induction, parking, neighbourhood and safety, energy efficiency, traffic, landlord responsiveness and the deposit refund process. Unlike other rating websites, there is no free text field in which to write comments. The website was set up by a tenant who claims she and her family had to live in a damp, insect-infested flat. A spokesperson for the site told Landlord Today the aim of the site is to make fair to both landlords and tenants. They also sent Landlord Today a full statement about how the site works. It said:
“During property rating process, tenants are asked a few questions – answers to these questions are preselected to best answers in favour of property/landlord. If tenants do not agree with best answer they need to manually change the answer. In cases like mould, boiler, leaks and condensation a follow up question is then activated asking tenants if the problem is now fixed. If problem is resolved there is no negative scoring against the property. The rating process is very fair and defaulted in favour of property not having issues.

“Secondly, the questions are not only about property but parking, aircraft/traffic noise, safety in the area, traffic and other general questions nothing to do with landlord. We focus on property and area to help tenant with renting decision – not just on landlord. We have just one question out of 14 on landlord responsiveness. The way questions are phrased, a responsive landlord who deals with genuine requests of tenants will score well on ratings. 65% of properties rated on our website have a score above 7/11 and 38% have scores over 9/11.

“If a landlord does not agree with the rating or thinks that rating is not genuine they can ‘report the rating’. We take all reports very seriously. On receipt of the report we will contact the tenant on the registered email address and give them three days to respond.

“If landlord claims the tenant is not genuine we may request an image of a tenancy agreement or proof of addresses. If the landlord claims that property did not have problems called out by tenants we may request copies of correspondence with the landlord or/and images. If we do not receive the response we will exercise our discretion and take down or hide the rating so that it is no longer visible. We may decide to hide/take down the rating sooner if we find it suspicious. We aim to complete investigation and respond to landlords’ reports within seven days. The process is documented in terms of use policy on the website.

“Like all other review websites, ratings are views expressed by other users on our site. They do not represent our views or values. We will not be responsible or liable to any third party, for the content or accuracy of any reviews, ratings or other content posted any user of our site.”

Deregulation Bill receives Royal Assent

Any deposits taken after April 2007, that were protected with the prescribed information and have been served at some stage during the initial tenancy, will be treated as if the prescribed information had been served on every renewal or whenever a statutory periodic tenancy arose.

Any deposits taken before April 2007, which became periodic before that date must be protected or the money must be returned to the tenant (or the person who paid it) before a section 21 notice can be served. Landlords will not be liable for any financial penalty for non-protection.

The prescribed information rules have been amended to allow for agents’ details to be given instead of landlords’ details where the agent is dealing with the deposit. The 90-day period is a chance for all landlords and letting agents to regularise the situation regarding their deposits.
However, although the Deregulation Bill clears up much of the confusion around deposit protection, it also makes it illegal to carry out a so-called “revenge eviction”.

David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said this will create a number of unintended consequences.
“The measures will mean that protections previously afforded to compliant landlords may be eroded by dishonest tenants using the new powers to defend against legitimate possession proceedings; possibly by intentionally causing damage to properties,” he warned.

Now it’s been given Royal Assent, the Deregulation Bill needs a “commencement order” to bring it into force – it’s thought this will happen in October.

Friday 27 March 2015

Great Southampton 2 bed house for sale at £190k will yield 5.5%

This superbly presented mid terrace home has just come on the market. It is located in the Regents Park area of Shirley close to Regents park Community College, local shops and amenities. The property has a fantastic open plan living and dining area and a fully fitted kitchen. Upstairs the master bedroom is larger than normal and bedroom 2 is a good double - this makes it ideal for professional shares if that is your target tenant pool. The property also benefits from a large bathroom on the first floor. The property has a nice back garden and although there is no off road parking, on road parking is available by permit.
This home will appeal to professionals, young families and medical staff as the General Hospital is a short distance away. The property extends to over 900 sq. ft. and will let well. We would anticipate a rental income in the order of £875pcm which will give a gross yield of 5.5% based on asking price.
If you would like more information on the rental market in this area, or any other part of Southampton, please do drop me a line or call into the office.