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    20 Common Mistakes Made by Portfolio Landlords (and How to Fix Them)

    Owning and managing a property portfolio can be rewarding, but it’s not without challenges. Here are some common mistakes portfolio landlords make and how to avoid them, ensuring your investments remain profitable and stress-free.

    Not Fully Understanding Lease Responsibilities

    Many landlords overlook the specifics of lease agreements, leading to potential legal issues and tenant disputes. It’s vital to understand every clause within your lease agreements, including tenant and landlord obligations, maintenance responsibilities, and renewal terms. Misinterpretation or ignorance can result in costly disputes and legal complications.

    Don’t risk legal complications – let our experts handle your lease agreements and ensure compliance.

    Not Knowing How to Recover Rent

    Effective rent recovery is essential to maintain cash flow. Many landlords struggle with this, resulting in financial strain. The process involves legal know-how and consistent follow-ups, which can be time-consuming and stressful if you’re not well-versed in property law and tenant management. Ensuring timely rent recovery protects your income and maintains a healthy financial status for your portfolio.

    Struggling with rent recovery? Our professional debt recovery services can streamline this process and secure your income.

    Not Conducting Rent Reviews

    Failing to regularly review and adjust rent can result in missed revenue opportunities and undervalued properties. Regular rent reviews help you stay competitive in the market and ensure that your rental income reflects the property’s current market value and condition. This practice not only maximises your returns but also keeps your investments profitable over the long term.

    Not Taking Advice

    Going it alone can lead to costly mistakes. Professional advice is invaluable in navigating the complexities of property management. Experienced advisors can provide insights into market trends, legal requirements, and strategic planning, helping you avoid pitfalls and capitalise on opportunities.

    Maximise your portfolio’s potential with our landlord investment services.

    Energy Performance Certification (EPC)

    An up-to-date EPC is not only a legal requirement but also beneficial for improving property value and energy efficiency. Properties with high energy efficiency ratings are more attractive to tenants and can command higher rents. Regularly updating your EPC ensures compliance with regulations and enhances your property’s marketability.

    Ensure your properties comply with EPC regulations through our comprehensive EPC certification services.

    Minding Your Own Business

    Balancing property management with other responsibilities can be overwhelming, leading to neglect and inefficiency. Delegating property management tasks allows you to focus on your core business activities while ensuring your properties are managed effectively and profitably.

    Focus on what you do best and leave the property management to us.

    Thinking Ahead: Allowing for Unforeseen Costs

    Unexpected expenses can quickly erode your profits. Anticipating and planning for these costs, whether for repairs, legal issues, or tenant turnover, is essential. Creating a budget that includes a buffer for unforeseen costs ensures that you are not caught off guard and can maintain your portfolio’s profitability.

    Plan for the unexpected with our proactive property management services.

    Dealing with the Tenant Deposit Correctly

    Mismanagement of tenant deposits can lead to legal issues and financial losses. Proper handling involves understanding deposit protection schemes and ensuring that deductions for damages or unpaid rent are fair and well-documented. This practice not only protects your interests but also maintains a good relationship with tenants.

    Let us handle tenant deposits to ensure compliance and avoid disputes.

    Failure to Get the Correct Certificates

    Landlords need various certificates to comply with legal requirements and ensure the safety of their properties and tenants. Failing to obtain the necessary certifications can lead to fines, legal issues, and potential harm to tenants.  

    Ensure full compliance and safety with our comprehensive certification services tailored for landlords.

    Carrying Out Regular Inspections of the Property

    Regular inspections are crucial for maintaining property conditions and tenant satisfaction. Inspections help identify maintenance issues early, ensuring they are addressed promptly to prevent further damage. They also provide an opportunity to ensure tenants are complying with lease terms.

    Schedule regular property inspections with our professional team.

    Allowing for Buy-to-Let Tax Changes

    Tax regulations for buy-to-let properties can be complex and frequently changing. Staying informed about these changes and understanding their implications for your investment strategy is crucial. Proper tax planning can help you minimise liabilities and maximise after-tax returns.

    Choosing the Right Location

    Location is key to property investment success. Poor location choices can result in long vacancies and low returns. Conducting thorough market research and understanding area dynamics ensures that you invest in locations with strong rental demand and growth potential.

    Take a look through the list of locations in the Wirral where we operate, and look at the average rent and yield.

    Meeting the Tenants or Vetting Them Properly

    Proper tenant vetting is crucial to avoid problematic tenants. This process includes background checks, credit history analysis, and reference verification. Thorough vetting helps ensure you select reliable tenants who will pay rent on time and care for your property.

    Ensure you have reliable tenants with our thorough vetting process.

    Choosing the Right Insurance Cover

    Inadequate or incorrect insurance can leave you exposed to significant risks. Choosing the right cover involves understanding the specific needs of your property portfolio, such as landlord liability, building insurance, and rent guarantee insurance. Proper coverage protects your investment against potential threats.

    Underestimating Maintenance and Repair Costs

    Maintenance costs can add up quickly if not accurately estimated and planned for. Regular maintenance and timely repairs prevent small issues from becoming major problems, saving money in the long run and preserving property value.

    Keep your properties in top condition without breaking the bank – let us manage your maintenance needs.

    Overestimating Rental Income

    Overestimating rental income can lead to unrealistic expectations and financial strain. Conducting thorough market analysis and understanding realistic rental rates for your properties helps set achievable income goals and avoid financial shortfalls.

    Get accurate rental valuations with our market analysis.

    Getting a Tenant from Hell

    Problematic tenants can cause significant stress and financial loss. Dealing with issues such as non-payment, property damage, and legal disputes requires time, effort, and sometimes legal intervention. Proper tenant screening and clear lease agreements can prevent many of these issues.

    Avoid tenant troubles with our comprehensive tenant management services.

    Screwing Up the Tenancy Agreement

    A poorly drafted tenancy agreement can lead to disputes and legal issues. Ensuring that your tenancy agreements are clear, comprehensive, and legally compliant protects both you and your tenants, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and conflicts.

    Ensure watertight tenancy agreements with our professional drafting services.

    Not Evicting Fast Enough

    Delays in eviction can result in prolonged loss of rental income. Understanding the legal eviction process and acting promptly when necessary helps minimise financial losses and restore rental income flow as quickly as possible.

    Expedite the eviction process with our tenant eviction service.

    Investment Property Management Reduces Risks

    Effective property management significantly reduces investment risks and maximises returns. Professional management services provide expertise in tenant selection, maintenance, legal compliance, and financial management, ensuring your portfolio operates smoothly and profitably.

    By addressing these common mistakes, you can ensure your property portfolio remains profitable and hassle-free. Ready to take your property management to the next level? Contact us today and let our team of experts help you succeed.

    How to Find Your Perfect Tenant: A Guide to Tenant Screening for New Landlords

    As a new landlord stepping into the world of property ownership, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is selecting the right tenants for your rental properties. Finding responsible, reliable tenants who will treat your property with care and respect is essential for a successful and stress-free landlord-tenant relationship. However, navigating the tenant screening process can be daunting without the right guidance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps of tenant screening to help you find your perfect tenant.

    We take the hassle out of finding tenants with our Tenant Finding Service in the Wirral

    8-Step Screening Procedure

    1. Establish Screening Criteria

    Before you begin the tenant screening process, it’s crucial to establish clear criteria for evaluating prospective tenants. Consider factors such as credit history, rental history, income level, employment stability, and references. By defining your screening criteria upfront, you can streamline the process and ensure consistency in your evaluations.

    2. Require Rental Applications

    Requesting rental applications from prospective tenants is the first step in the screening process. A comprehensive rental application should include personal information, employment details, income verification, rental history, and references. Encourage applicants to provide detailed and accurate information to facilitate thorough screening.

    3. Conduct Credit Checks

    Reviewing a tenant’s credit history provides valuable insights into their financial responsibility and reliability. Look for a history of timely bill payments, manageable debt levels, and a lack of major derogatory marks such as bankruptcies or foreclosures. Consider setting a minimum credit score threshold as part of your screening criteria. 

    Wirral Homes offers a credit checking service as part of our let-only and full management packages.

    4. Verify Income and Employment

    Verifying a tenant’s income and employment helps assess their ability to afford rent and meet financial obligations. Request recent pay stubs, employment verification letters, or tax returns to confirm their income level and stability. Ideally, tenants should earn a gross income that is at least three times the monthly rent.

    If you determine that a prospective tenant is of a slightly higher risk, then you could consider a guarantor agreement.

    5. Check Rental History

    Contact previous landlords or property managers listed on the rental application to inquire about the applicant’s rental history. Ask about their payment history, adherence to lease terms, and any issues or complaints during their tenancy. A positive rental history is a strong indicator of a reliable tenant.

    6. Contact Personal References

    Reach out to personal references provided by the applicant to gain additional insights into their character and reliability. Personal references can include colleagues, friends, or mentors who can vouch for the applicant’s integrity, responsibility, and suitability as a tenant.

    Find out more about Wirral Homes’ referencing checking service.

    7. Consider Criminal Background Checks

    While not always necessary, conducting criminal background checks can provide peace of mind and help ensure the safety and security of your property and other tenants. Look for convictions related to violent crimes, drug offences, or property damage that may pose a risk to the rental community.

    8. Evaluate Overall Fit

    Beyond meeting the basic screening criteria, consider the overall fit between the applicant and your rental property. Trust your instincts and assess factors such as communication skills, demeanour, and compatibility with your rental policies and expectations.

    By following these steps and conducting thorough tenant screening, you can identify the most qualified and trustworthy tenants for your rental properties. Remember that finding the perfect tenant is a collaborative process that requires clear communication, diligent evaluation, and a commitment to upholding high standards. With the right approach to tenant screening, you can build a reliable and harmonious landlord-tenant relationship that benefits both parties.

    Wirral Homes Can Help You With Tenant Screening

    Are you a new landlord seeking assistance with tenant finding and screening? Contact us today for expert guidance and comprehensive management services tailored to your needs. Our team of experienced professionals is here to support you every step of the way on your journey to successful property ownership. Let us help you find your perfect tenant and maximise the potential of your rental investments.

    Understanding the Role of a Management Company in Property and Portfolio Management

    In the dynamic world of real estate, efficient management is key to unlocking the full potential of properties and portfolios. For those navigating the intricate landscape of property ownership, a rental property management company serves as a vital partner in ensuring smooth operations and maximising returns on investment. But what exactly does a management company entail, and what responsibilities does it shoulder? Let’s delve into the multifaceted role of a management company, particularly in the context of property and portfolio management on the Wirral.

    Core Responsibilities of a Management Company

    At its core, a management company is entrusted with the oversight and optimisation of properties and portfolios on behalf of property owners and investors. Whether it’s residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties, the responsibilities of a management company extend across various facets, encompassing both operational and strategic functions.

    Maintenance and Upkeep of Properties

    One of the primary responsibilities of a management company is property maintenance and upkeep. This includes regular inspections, addressing maintenance issues promptly, and coordinating repairs and renovations as needed. By ensuring that properties are well-maintained and in optimal condition, a management company helps preserve their value and attractiveness to tenants or buyers.

    Tenant Management and Relations

    Tenant management is another crucial aspect of a management company’s role. From finding and screening tenants to handling lease agreements and rent collection, managing tenant relationships requires a delicate balance of professionalism and interpersonal skills. Effective tenant management contributes to tenant satisfaction, reduces turnover, and ultimately enhances the financial performance of properties.

    Financial Oversight and Management

    Financial management is yet another key responsibility of a management & portfolio company. This involves budgeting, accounting, and financial reporting to provide property owners with clear insights into the financial health of their investments. By meticulously managing income and expenses, a management company helps optimise cash flow and maximise profitability for property owners.

    Strategic Portfolio Management

    In addition to day-to-day operations, a management company also plays a strategic role in portfolio management. This entails developing and implementing investment strategies aligned with the objectives of property owners, whether it’s maximising rental income, optimising property values, or diversifying investment portfolios. By leveraging market insights and industry expertise, a management company helps navigate the complexities of the real estate market and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

    Liaison and Compliance

    Moreover, a management company serves as a liaison between property owners and other stakeholders, including tenants, contractors, and regulatory authorities. From handling tenant inquiries and resolving disputes to ensuring compliance with local regulations and building codes, effective communication and coordination are essential to maintaining smooth operations and mitigating risks.

    Advisory and Consultation Services

    Beyond the operational realm, a management company also provides advisory services to property owners, offering insights and recommendations to help them make informed decisions about their investments. Whether it’s assessing market trends, conducting property valuations, or identifying growth opportunities, a management company acts as a trusted advisor, guiding property owners towards achieving their long-term objectives.

    Why Choose Our Management Services?

    For property owners on the Wirral seeking professional management services, our management company stands ready to deliver unparalleled expertise and personalised solutions tailored to your unique needs. With a proven track record of excellence in property and portfolio management, we offer a comprehensive suite of services designed to maximise the value and performance of your investments.

    What Is The Difference Between A Portfolio And A Property Manager?

    For any investor venturing into the world of real estate, the path can seem complex. Two terms frequently encountered are property management and portfolio management. While they may sound similar, their functionalities differ greatly. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for maximising your investment’s potential.

    Property Management Explained

    Imagine a single rental property. Tenants come and go, leaky faucets need fixing, and rent needs collecting. This is the domain of the property manager. They act as the owner’s on-site representative, handling the day-to-day operations that keep a rental property running smoothly.

    Here’s a breakdown of a property manager’s key responsibilities:

    Benefits of Property Management:

    Who Needs a Property Manager?

    Property management is ideal for investors who own one or a few rental properties, particularly if they are geographically distant from the properties. It’s also a good option for those who lack the time or expertise to handle tenant issues and property maintenance.

    Portfolio Management Explained

    Now, let’s zoom out. Imagine owning not just one rental property, but a collection of them. This is where portfolio management comes into play. A portfolio manager takes a big-picture approach, overseeing the strategic growth and performance of your entire investment portfolio.

    Here are some key areas a portfolio manager focuses on:

    Benefits of Portfolio Management:

    Who Needs a Portfolio Manager?

    Portfolio management is a valuable service for investors with a significant number of properties or those with a complex investment strategy. It’s also beneficial for those seeking to minimise their involvement in the day-to-day operations of their properties.

    Choosing the Right Manager For Your Investment

    The decision between property management and portfolio management depends on the scale and complexity of your investment portfolio. Here’s a simplified breakdown to help you navigate:

    The Final Word

    Property management and portfolio management are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can work together to create a well-oiled investment machine. Property managers ensure your individual properties run smoothly, while portfolio managers take care of the big-picture strategy. 

    If you’re looking for a company that can look after your investment whether you need a property or a portfolio manager for your Wirral investment look no further than Wirral Homes. We offer a comprehensive suite of services designed to take the stress out of real estate investment.

    Take a look at our portfolio and property management services or get in touch for a chat about the services we can offer you.

    How To Manage a Rental Property Portfolio in the Wirral

    The Wirral, with its proximity to Liverpool and beautiful coastal areas, presents a fantastic opportunity for property investors. However managing a rental portfolio, even in a desirable location, requires organisation and knowledge. This blog post will guide you through the key aspects of managing your Wirral rental properties, empowering you to maximise returns and minimise headaches.

    Manage Your Wirral Rental Property Portfolio By Following These Steps

    1. Setting Yourself Up for Success

    Before diving in, consider these foundational elements:

    2. Finding the Right Tenants

    The quality of your tenants significantly impacts your experience. Here’s how to find reliable individuals:

    Wirral Homes offers a reliable and comprehensive tenant-finding and tenant-reference screening service. We conduct viewings and set up the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST).

    3. Streamlining Rent Collection and Expenses

    Efficient financial management is crucial. Here are some tips:

    Wirral Homes provides a rent collection service and issues you with monthly statements as part of our full property management service

    4. Property Maintenance and Repairs

    Maintaining your properties protects your investment and ensures tenant satisfaction:

    5. Legal Considerations and Regulatory Compliance

    There are legal aspects to navigate as a landlord:

    Wirral Homes provides a comprehensive selection of landlord safety certificates & testing to ensure your compliance. 

    6. Considering Professional Property Management

    As your portfolio grows, managing everything yourself might become overwhelming. Consider these options:

    Conclusion

    Managing a rental property portfolio in the Wirral requires planning, organisation, and a commitment to providing quality housing for your tenants. By following these tips and leveraging the resources available in the Wirral, you can build a successful and rewarding property investment strategy.

    By following these comprehensive steps and staying informed on your legal responsibilities, you can confidently manage your Wirral rental portfolio.  

    However, if you’d prefer a hands-off approach, Wirral Homes can help. We are experienced portfolio managers with a proven track record of maximising returns for our clients. We offer a range of services, from tenant screening and rent collection to maintenance coordination and legal compliance.  

    Contact Wirral Homes today for a free consultation and discover how we can take the weight off your shoulders and ensure your Wirral property investments reach their full potential.


    Additional Resources

    How to Change Letting Agent: A Comprehensive Guide for Landlords in the Wirral


    Are you feeling a bit underwhelmed with your current Letting Agent? Are you wondering how you go about switching to a new agent? The good news is that whether you have a single property or a large portfolio of properties switching your letting agent in the Wirral or anywhere else in the UK might be easier than you think.

    Why Consider Switching Letting Agents?

    Switching agents can be a smart move for various reasons:

    How to Move Letting Agents

    Step 1: Check Your Contract

    First, review your contract to understand any limitations or notice periods. The terms may vary based on whether it’s a let-only or managed service. Also, check for any termination periods.

    Step 2: Find a New Letting Agent

    When looking for a new agent:

    Step 3: Give Notice

    Notify your current agent in writing of your intent to terminate the contract. Inform your tenants of the change, and obtain their contact details from your agent. Secure confirmation and details of any exit fees from your current agent.

    Step 4: Collect Keys and Paperwork

    Gather all necessary property paperwork, safety certificates and keys. Ensure the tenant’s deposit is correctly transferred or managed.

    Do You Have A Tenancy Agreement In Place?

    It’s important to have a tenancy agreement in place between landlord and tenant. If you don’t already have one in place we can help. As part of our let-only and full management services, we offer a tenancy agreement set-up service. Please get in touch if we can help you with this. 

    Thinking Of Changing Your Wirral Letting Agent? 

    Switching letting agents can bring fresh perspectives and improved services to your rental properties, whether you’re a new landlord or managing a growing portfolio. By carefully selecting and transitioning to a new letting agent, you can enhance the success and profitability of your rental business.

    If you’re a landlord with property in the Wirral, why not explore our range of services to find out how we can support you in managing your rental properties:

    Contact us to learn how we can help you optimise the management of your rental properties, no matter the size of your portfolio.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can You Change Letting Agent Mid Tenancy?

    Yes, as the agreement is between you, the Landlord and the tenant. The agency simply manages the agreement. However, it’s always wise to check your contract first.

    How Easy Is It to Change Letting Agents?

    Generally, it’s straightforward, as most new agents will handle the process.

    How Do I Find a Letting Agent?

    Do your research, read reviews, and speak to several agents to understand their offerings.

    How Do I Give Notice To A Letting Agent?

    After deciding to end the contract, you must give a written notification to the letting agent. This notification can be sent through email or as a physical letter, and it should specify the date on which you intend for the contract to terminate.

    Signs of Slowing Growth Despite Double Digit Capital Appreciation in May

    House prices increased 0.9% month-on-month over April in tenth consecutive month of growth according to building society Nationwide, despite growing economic uncertainty and ongoing cost-of-living crisis.


    As we’ve reported over the last few months, the slowing growth was to be expected as the year progressed, though an expected increase in interest rates from the Bank of England is likely to bring the most significant drop in growth.

    However, Nationwide’s figures suggest that May was the tenth successive month of growth, meaning that the annual growth of house prices has remained in double digits overall.

    Nationwide also commissioned a report to add context to these figures, about which Chief Economist, Robert Gardner said the following:

    “May saw a slight slowing in the rate of annual house price growth to 11.2%, from 12.1% in April. Prices rose by 0.9% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal effects – the tenth successive monthly increase, which kept annual price growth in double digits.

    “Despite growing headwinds from the squeeze on household budgets due to high inflation and a steady increase in borrowing costs, the housing market has retained a surprising amount of momentum. Demand is being supported by strong labour market conditions, where the unemployment rate has fallen towards 50-year lows, and with the number of job vacancies at a record high. At the same time, the stock of homes on the market has remained low, keeping upward pressure on house prices.

    “We continue to expect the housing market to slow as the year progresses. Household finances are likely to remain under pressure with inflation set to reach double digits in the coming quarters if global energy prices remain high. Measures of consumer confidence have already fallen towards record lows. Moreover, the Bank of England is widely expected to raise interest rates further, which will also exert a cooling impact on the market if this feeds through to mortgage rates.”

    What the report says

    Conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Nationwide, the report aimed to add some context to the housing price growth year on year, but also to the slow down. While the report found little surprising around various economic pressures, it did discover that, rather than sell up, 54% of respondents were looking to make improvements to their properties, with more than a third looking to add more space, but almost a third looking for energy efficiency improvements.

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    As we stated at the beginning of the boom in property prices, Wirral landlords are in a strong position based on capital appreciation versus the cost of investment. Wirral has consistently outperformed the market average for property price growth over the course of the last three years, while rental yield has remained high versus investment.

    With rental demand still high, this leaves Wirral landlords in a unique position – as one of the few places in the country where vital modernisation and efficiency work required on aging housing stock could well be paid for by refinancing existing portfolios to take advantage of capital appreciation.

    However, the time to do this is running out – with interest rates set to rise multiple times in the coming year, the aim for anyone wishing to take advantage of capital appreciation to meet changing efficiency regulation should do so quickly to lock in lower interest rates, a move which could see them better prepared to ride out any potential economic that arrives with the coming recession.


    The TLIC and NRLA Have Their Say on the Future of the Private Rental Sector

    The NRLA promises a ‘sensible, straightforward solution’, while the TLIC wants to ‘find a balance between encouraging investment in the sector to increase available homes and ensure they are of consistent good quality’.


    What is the Renters’ Reform Bill?

    Aiming to address growing concern around the lack of social housing, the difficulties faced by a generation feeling that home ownership is unattainable and a swathe of media coverage of rogue landlords throughout the UK, the Renters Reform Bill will ‘improve the lives of millions of renters by driving up standards in the private and socially rented sector’, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

    The announcement of the bill features the following key points:

    What the TLIC are saying

    The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) report deals predominately with how to deal with the end of Section 21 notices, and what can be done to make a success of the move for both landlord and tenant alike. Among the key recommendations the report makes are the following:

    1. All tenancies should have a written tenancy agreement or, at least, a written Statement of Terms in place, with the Model Tenancy Agreement used as the default agreement where there is none.
    2. The route for dealing with ‘abandonment cases’ needs to be clarified, removing the need for recourse to the court where a tenant has clearly already left the property.
    3. Cases with high or persistent rent arrears should be prioritised, dropping review hearings, while more judges should be employed to further reduce the workload and strain on the courts.
    4. Other than where there is clear evidence the tenant cannot afford to pay the rent; mediation should be a recommendation in all cases. This could reduce court hearings by up to 25%.
    5. Government should consider providing its own bond/loan solution or offer financing for local authorities to issue their own bond guarantees for tenants on Universal Credit and/or in receipt of specified benefits. This would ensure that the deposit problem is specifically targeted at the right demographic.
    6. Using Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) would allow for a single, searchable source of documentation for rental properties.
    7. A Regulator for Regulation to help simplify and centralise a host of complicated processes and provide tenants with a single portal which then signposts where they need to go.

    Chair of The Lettings Industry Council, Theresa Wallace, released the following statement:

    “Each year, in an attempt to combat some of the issues experienced in the private rented sector, including sub-standard properties, rogue and naïve landlords, and untrained agents, more and more legislation has been introduced, confusing even diligent landlords with the complexities in providing a rental home.

    “So far, these changes to legislation, which often come at a financial cost to the landlord, have just compounded the problems further and is a core reason given for why landlords are exiting the sector, leaving a shortfall of available rental properties.

    “As a result, in 2022 we are experiencing the biggest crisis we have seen surrounding the shortage of rental property.  We need to encourage investment into the market and that includes private landlord investment.

    “The Renters’ Reform Bill provides a once in a generation opportunity to improve the lives of Renter’s.  However, in order to achieve maximum impact and create true strategic change, we believe it is crucial to phase in these significant changes in a considered manner over a period of time, avoiding unexpected unintended consequences which only hurt those we are seeking to protect the most – tenants.

    “This report seeks to find a balance between encouraging investment in the sector to increase available homes and ensure they are of consistent good quality through natural supply and demand competition.”

    What the NRLA are saying

    Focusing on a subject we’ve mentioned previously – the ‘Property Passport’, the NRLAs main proposal ties in nicely with points six and seven of the TLICs recommendations – allowing for the centralisation of documentation and the simplification of the process of proving compliance to both government and to tenants, which would then also make enforcement easier in turn.

    The report, linked to in a blog by Chief Executive, Ben Beadle, makes the point that the overwhelming majority of properties in the private rental sector are already compliant with regulations and that their passport scheme would make rooting out the rogue elements in the sector far easier while also simplifying the process of checking out prospective properties and landlords far easier for tenants.

    In the conclusion of the report, the NRLA states the following:

    However, the foreword – by Beadle and Jodie Berg OBE – offers a fairly comprehensive and concise argument in favour of the scheme, stating:

    “That is why, aside from having clear expectations of both private and social rented housing, mechanisms need to be developed to enable all types of landlords to demonstrate that the properties they let meet these standards. Those who already do this have nothing to fear from such a move. All it would do is provide clear information to tenants that properties are of a decent quality through the development of a property passport.

    “Setting standards is not the only answer. In the end, all the rules in the world will mean nothing unless they are properly enforced. Data that the NRLA has obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that far too many councils are failing to make use of the powers they already have to tackle bad practice.

    “Aside from the acute problems this causes affected tenants, the vast majority of responsible landlords feel frustrated and let down when those failing to do the right thing seem to get away with it. All they do is bring the sector into disrepute.

    “The NRLA stands ready to work constructively with the Government and others on this important issue. However, it is vital that it results in proposals that are both clear to understand and can be properly enforced.”

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    As things stand, both organisations are still at the lobbying stage – but with what appear to be a fairly unified message, and some realistic recommendations, the hope for local landlords (and the industry more broadly) is that it could stave of an increase in regulation in favour of an increase in accountability and a refinement of existing processes.

    As with most things in politics, such reports and bills move slowly, but it’s interesting to see what seem to be workable proposals from representatives of the private rental sector in advance of the bill itself – and we can only hope that common sense prevails and further legislation and legislative changes can be avoided and existing ones improved upon for the benefit of landlord and tenant alike.


    The sector is in what seems to be a constant state of flux at the moment, with reports, reviews, laws, legislation and regulation cropping up at speed. Need some help keeping up? Contact Us to see what our experts can do to help.

    Zoopla’s Q1 2022 Rental Market Report Digested

    With the average let time for a property remaining at around a fortnight on average, the demand for properties has remained stable despite annual increases hitting almost 16% in London and just over 9% excluding the capital.


    What the report says

    Overall, the Q1 report provides no great surprises for anyone that has read previous reports – but after a couple of overly exciting years for a lot of sectors, predictable ongoing trends feel like a relief. The report does touch upon the historic levels of inflation, but mostly in relation to rental growth – so it has to be pointed out that affordability is used here only as the report itself uses it (as a proportion of average income).

    The report covers the predicted return of rental value in city centres, but also touches upon the trend of tenants extending their stay at rental properties as a way to combat inflating rental prices elsewhere – with landlords saving on void periods and tenants benefiting from stable rental prices. The report states that the ‘average time between rental listings coming to the market has risen by 5 months, from around 1 year in 2017 to 75 weeks in March 2022.’



    The outlook, the report states, is that the pent-up demand and threats to affordability from national economic conditions will likely begin to slow rental growth through Q2 and Q3 – but points out that there are structural issues in the private rental sector that will continue to exacerbate problems with rental growth, as demand is hugely outstripping demand, while new investment has fallen following tax changes introduced in 2016.

    Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla states that ‘[high] levels of demand amid constrained supply is still putting upward pressure on rents, but affordability pressures will mean an easing in rental price growth through the rest of 2022.’

    Key takeaways

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    As things stand, though we’re in the middle of general economic turmoil, the private rental sector is performing relatively well – and with Wirral rental prices generally lower than other areas of the country, remaining below 30% of the average monthly income, and Rightmove reporting continuing capital appreciation despite inflation, there are reasons for landlords to remain cautiously optimistic that the sector may avoid at least the early effects of the country’s economic difficulties.



    The year ahead holds a number of challenges for landlords – there are multiple regulatory and legislative changes covering everything from environmental concerns to tax, and there are unpredictable economic conditions arising from geopolitical issues, but for the moment it seems as though Wirral landlords, and tenants, should be able to ride out the worst of it with some careful planning.


    Need a little help keeping up to date with industry trends? Contact Us and speak to one of our experts to see what we can do for you.

    First Details Emerge of New ‘Private Rental Portal’ for England

    With more information on promised reforms slowly surfacing, it was no surprise that the Queen’s Speech would feature some new information for landlords and tenants in England, but details remain sketchy and besides some basic information, there was little concrete information.


    What is the Private Rental Portal?

    Simply put, the private rental portal (PRP) is likely to be a searchable database of all rental properties in England, along with information on the owner of the property, the company managing it and contact details for the appropriate individual or company.

    What additional information will be provided remains to be seen, but it is likely to at least cover areas of legislative compliance such as safety certification, energy efficiency and issues related to the ‘Decent Homes Standard’. In this regard, it will be interesting to see whether the ‘property passport’ proposed by the head of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Ben Beadle, will play a part in available documentation. On the subject of the passport, Beadle had this to say:


    “The passport would not mean more regulation, but would instead see landlords collate all documentation regarding each tenancy and related paperwork on safety and standards in one place. Tenants could the see at a glance if their landlords was [sic] fully compliant, without the need for new rules or legislation.”


    As part of an equivalent system in Scotland, landlords on the register are required to display their registration number on all property listings in order to allow prospective tenants to easily check the history of both property and landlord – it would be strange if this requirement were not duplicated in England. For the PRP to achieve its aims, there needs to be a significant amount of useful information available to help both tenants and local authorities.

    David Holmes, senior policy adviser for the private rented sector at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), said of the portal:


    “It could provide more data to give local authorities accurate information on private rental properties, and support the targeted enforcement of standards based on a better understanding of the stock.

    “Also, it could improve private landlords’ awareness of their obligations and be a conduit for communicating changes and provide tenants with more information on the standards of properties they are viewing and obligations a landlord could owe to them.”


    While the private rental sector has seen many recent changes to legislation as punitive, there are clear advantages to this over the more costly licencing initiatives that have attempted to clear the industry of bad actors. However, much of its usefulness to both the industry and to tenants will rely on its implementation.

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    For the moment, there are no imminent changes, but, in the medium-term, there will likely be slightly more bureaucracy to content with. Again, however, how much will depend on implementation. The correct systems could see integration with changes brought about by the ‘making tax digital’ initiatives, with property passports handled in a central location and managed from a dashboard, while poor implementation could see weeks of photocopying and sending documents back and forth to various government offices.

    Such a huge change, combined with the recently discussed loss of more than ninety thousand civil servants, seems to be suggestive of a government that has failed to give sufficient thought to the project before announcing it for the headlines. As such, it would be beneficial for landlords to start ensuring that they are maintaining a well organised and, where possible, duplicated file of relevant documentation in an effort to plan for the worst while the whole sector hopes for the best.


    Need help making sure your paperwork is up-to-date and futureproofed against changing legislation? Contact Us to see how we can help take the pressure out of your portfolio.

    The Best Ways to Reach New EPC Standards and Improve Property Value

    With stricter guidelines requiring all rental properties to reach a rating of C or above by 2025, and stricter guidance likely in the years after, one method of offsetting the cost of the required work is to boost the value of your portfolio using eco improvements.


    According to a government consultation in 2021, almost two thirds of private rental stock had an EPC rating of D or below, meaning that many landlords face estimated costs of between £17,00 and £27,000 to raise the efficiency rating of their properties to the minimum allowable standard. As a result, it will involve some smart work from landlords to mitigate bills it could take two or three years to cover.

    What the report says

    The report is largely targeted at the owner-occupier market, but the majority of the eco-improvements remain valid for landlords. The section of the report in question lists the average “perceived value increase UK homebuyers would attribute to each of the eco improvements” following a “nationwide survey [of] 2,000 UK-based homeowners and residents”.

    We’ve taken this a step further by sourcing the approximate average cost of each of these improvements and their potential EPC impact to allow a better overall judgement of the improvements a landlord could make prior to the tightening regulations. What should be noted, however, is that there needs to be work undertaken by central government to update how scores are calculated – as a recent article from Which? states – EPC ratings currently favour gas heating as the unit cost of gas has historically been lower, something which has closed since the lifting of price caps.

    The below table excludes the garden improvement, appliance replacement and electric charging point improvements mentioned in the report as they don’t impact EPC ratings.


    ImprovementValue IncreaseApprox. CostBenefit (minus)Potential EPC Impact
    Solar panels£13,512£3,000 – £8,000£5,000 – £10,000Can add up to 15 points – the equivalent of moving from an E to a D rating.
    Wind turbine£12,941£7,000 – £10,000£2,000 – £5,000Can add upwards of 10 points depending on size.
    Triple glazing£12,788£2,000 – £7,000£5,000 – £10,000Can add between 5 and 10 points – the equivalent of moving from a mid E to a low D rating.
    Underfloor heating£12,290£4,000 – £10,000£2,000 – £7,000Negligible.
    Ground source heat pump£12,251£13,000-£35,000(£1,000) – (£23,000)Can be negative due to current imbalance between gas and electricity point allocation.
    Double glazing£12,005£3,000 – £8,000£4,000 – £9,000As with triple glazing, may add between 5 and 10 points.
    Extra insulation, like cavity wall insulation£11,764£6,000 – £10,000£2,000 – £6,000Depending on existing insulation, addition of cavity and loft insulation can add up to 30 points.
    Biomass boiler£11,756£5,000 – £12,000£0 – £7,000While being more eco-friendly than many oil or LPG boilers that are used in their place, EPC reports are behind the times where biomass is concerned, meaning it could lead to a reduced score.
    Air source heat pump£11,670£6,000 – £12,000£0 – £6,000Despite being anywhere between 8% and 70% cheaper to run than electric, gas and oil alternatives, outdated scoring systems currently make this efficient heat source a negative for EPC purposes.
    Solar water heating£11,646£3000 – £6000£6,000 – £9,000Will improve EPC score by between 3 and 6 points for bands E and above.
    Green/living roof£11,477£7500 – £13000(£1,000) – £4,000Will often represent a similar increase to loft insulation and, therefore, an uplift of up to 20 points.
    Draught proofing£11,151£200 – £1200£10,000 – £11,000While we think the uplift in value is likely an artefact of a poorly phrased survey question, draught proofing can add a point to your EPC score. A change of lighting (bulbs etc.) can provide another cheap to achieve point.

    As we can see from this, the biggest gains are likely to be the addition of renewable energy sources, triple glazing and insulation – all of which combined would cost a maximum of £35,000, could improve property value by up to £50,000 and improve the EPC score of a property by up to 65 points, the equivalent of an E – A improvement.

    EPC point tiers

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    While it’s unlikely that value improvements would be directly cumulative, it is similarly unlikely that most landlords would need to perform all upgrades to achieve the maximum 30 points they’d need to go from a low C to a low E. As such, the best approach is likely to be to have the property reviewed (unless you’ve already done so in the last few years) and to pick and choose the improvements most likely to deliver a return on investment and deliver the required points increase.

    One thing to remember, in addition to the EPC uplift of such improvements, is the possible increase in rental yield that an efficient property can provide. For the next few years, landlords that can act quickly will be offering huge savings in energy bills versus similar properties on the market, and that can come with a premium that will help to recover the costs.


    If you’d like some help to keep up to date with changing legislation and regulation, you can Contact Us to see what we can do to help take the stress out of managing your portfolio.

    Government ‘Regulation of Private Renting’ Report Released

    With recent legislative changes appearing punitive to many landlords and with tenants and tenant charities claiming that not enough has been done, it should be welcomed that the report from The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities seems to agree with both.


    What the report says

    The report, which is extensive, begins with an introduction that is firmly damning of a The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (referred to as ‘The Department’) and a sector that has been improperly regulated for far too long, leading to confusion, complexity and an inability for local authorities to properly police the legal obligations of landlords in their areas. This is followed by six ‘conclusions and recommendations’:

    Conclusions

    Recommendations

    Overall, the bipartisan report reasonably addresses some of the many and varied issues currently faced by both landlords and tenants in the UK. This is nowhere more evident than in the comment:

    Due to the Department’s lack of robust data, it does not have a good understanding of the impact of these changes on both landlords and tenants.

    The report consistently points out that introduction of legislation has been disjointed and has consistently led to poorly understood and complex regulatory landscapes that change from one area to another both in implementation and enforcement.

    While long overdue, this should be a welcome call for the proper collection and analysis of data so that the broader impact of new legislation on tenants, landlords and the housing market will be better understood. Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, released the following statement in response to the report:


    Today’s report rightly makes the case for a comprehensive, data driven strategy for the private rented sector. Too often reforms have been piecemeal, based on insufficient information to understand their true impact or how workable they are. Such a strategy needs to include assessing the impact of reforms on the supply of homes for rent at a time when demand for them is soaring.

    We agree with the Committee’s concerns about the postcode lottery that exists in tackling rogue and criminal landlords. Tenants and responsible landlords are being let down by the pitiful lack of enforcement action by councils using the array of powers available to clamp down on bad practice in the sector. Our research shows however that landlord licencing schemes are not a panacea to improving this.

    As Ministers prepare to publish plans for further reform, they should heed the Committee’s call for them to better understand the enforcement needs and capacity of local authorities.


    What the report means for Wirral tenants and landlords

    Despite many positives in the report, the end result is – at this point – simply a call for further reports. However, though things often move slowly in the world of politics, overcoming the inertia to get the ball moving initially is a huge victory.

    In the mid-term, though, there is a lot to be positive about as the report makes official observation of the many complaints that landlords and tenants throughout the UK have long made. The advice for regulation and enforcement to model itself on more successful areas such as consumer protection is a comparatively progressive move, while calls for there to be further (or any) consideration of how regulatory and legislative changes can impact both the sector more broadly, as well as other policy areas such as benefits and tax.

    One thing (mostly confirmed by a recent job advert) which now appears a virtual certainty, is the landlord register which, as the above report found ‘[an] estimated 13% (589,000) of privately rented homes in England have at least one category 1 hazard—a serious threat to health and safety that landlords are legally obliged to address’, should prove a positive for tenants nationwide.

    What happens next is a wait of six months to see what the required government response is to the assessment of local resources required for proper regulation (the one recommendation carrying a time limit) and to see whether the second requested report is allocated to a committee.

    These things seldom provide concrete details, but the recommendations here are generally of the kind that both landlords and tenants have both requested for too long.


    Want to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities in an everchanging industry? Contact Us to see how our experts can help.

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    Calculations generated by Zoopla Comparables report, from a 3-12 month period within 1 mile radius of each location.

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