Rental – Do’s & Dont’s

Following the Referendum and the Remain camps ‘Project Fear’, Prime Central London Tenants seem to believe they are the last Tenants left in London, making life increasingly difficult for the long term investor Landlord.

While Article 50 has yet to be triggered, the concerns over Brexit has slowed the PCL lettings market and is forcing Landlords to acknowledge the unpalatable truth that there is now more, well priced, properties available than before.

The experienced London tenant makes up a much larger percentage of our applicants than the new seasonal arrivals we used to see year after year.

Decisions to view a property are now based on the 2 dimensional appearance of the property on line, with Tenants far less likely to be influenced by their agent. Time is short as we are all under pressure to work longer hours so their viewing appointments are based on pre-selected and thoroughly vetted short list.

To achieve the best possible return and to let without a void period, it is vital that the rent asked is competitive and that the décor is neutral and contemporary. If you don’t you will narrow your audience to the few that like the décor you have chosen.

So, with the above in mind, here are the Do’s and Don’ts to help ‘avoid the void’.

DO:

1. Everything possible to ensure your property is ‘best in class’. Presentation is absolutely vital in a stock heavy lettings market. Tenants really do have choice now so make sure yours stands out from the crowd for the right reasons.

2. Create a consistent, ideally contemporary, style throughout. The image of the property will help sell a lifestyle, which in turn will help Tenants to imagine themselves physically living in the property.

3. Think about your investment long term. Yields are currently low against capital values, this will however correct itself in due course. Provided you invest in the ‘best in class’, there is no better mid- long term investment than PCL rental property. If in doubt, ask a trusted agent with both a sales and lettings department.

4. Consider contributing to your agents marketing costs. An upscale property shoot including a full lighting rig for example can make all the difference to achievable images, the two dimensional version of your home is now the most important.

5. Ensure you have excellent lighting throughout – good lighting does not mean lots of lighting, it means you are highlighting any lost dark corners and emphasising the space. 

DON’T:

1. Chase the market downwards. A good agent will give you straight forward advice to enhance your asset, so follow it. Continually reducing the price rather than spending on presentation can result in poor quality tenants.

2. Be overly optimistic with what is currently achievable rent wise. The best approach in the current market is to look at what you are competing with and ask a market realistic rent with the emphasis on the quality of the tenant.

3. Be stubborn. Just because your property let last time at £X, without the hassle of redecoration / removing or installing furniture, does not mean it will today. Vacancy levels have never been higher so Landlords are having to work harder to attract the right tenants. On this market holding out for your price will achieve you a long void or a dodgy tenant. If you do find a good tenant to overpay they will leave at their first break clause.

4. Overexpose your property. Instructing lots of agents from the outset will not necessarily reduce the risk of a void period or reduction in achievable rent. Stick to one or two agents you trust to give you measured considered advice based on experience, rather than giving you the hard sell.

5. Forget the independents and the specialists! It can be tempting, to employ a large corporate estate agency or indeed an agency offering cheap fees. If you have a special property you need a specialist with a vested interest in getting you the best tenant at the best price. If however your property is a little pedestrian and cheap then sausage factory service and cheap fees are probably all you require.