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Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you rent your property to family or friends.

 

Do they need to sign a tenancy agreement?

Yes, yes, and yes again! They might be family, but they’re also your tenants and both parties need to know what is expected of them. For example, they might say they want to stay for 12 months but then leave after just six. Without a tenancy agreement, there’s nothing to stop them – putting your income at risk.

 

Should I take a deposit?

This is a personal decision that you need to make, as there’s no legal requirement for a landlord to take a deposit. However, it is a good way to protect your property and any contents from damage.

 

Similarly, by having a professional inventory carried out before they move in, both parties know the exact condition of the property and how it should be left.

 

Should I do a tenant reference check?

Asking family for personal finance details? It might make you feel awkward just thinking about it, but it’s an essential step of the rental process.

 

While you may think you know your family/friends’ financial background, it’s still worth making extra checks. Referencing will ensure that your potential tenant can pay the rent and highlight any issues with previous landlords.

 

Are there any legal issues I should be aware of if I rent to family/friends?

Not exactly, but renting to family/friends could cause problems if you have a mortgage. In fact, a lot of lenders are quite strict about this issue, and you may need to ask their permission before you move family in.

 

This is because the lender could be concerned that you’d charge family members less rent, or be more lenient if they didn’t pay – both of which could impact loan repayments.

 

Renting to friends or family can often be a great option, but it’s one you need to consider carefully and go into with your eyes wide open.

 

For more advice on anything and everything related to rental property in Havering, call our lettings team today.

 

When they run smoothly, joint tenancies can be a good source of income for landlords. This three-minute read explains how to get the best out of them.

Joint tenancies are a great way for friends or couples to live together and share the rental burden. (Think about best buddies and flatmates Joey and Chandler in Friends, they had a ball, right?)

And joint tenancies can also be good news for landlords, providing steady long-term income and low tenant turnover. (If your tenants are happy and get along like Joey and Chandler, they’ll stay for years.)

But sometimes, the relationship between tenants turns sour and things can get complicated. Before we look at managing tenant relationships, here’s a quick recap on joint tenancies.

  • As a general rule*, all tenants in a joint tenancy are liable for the rent. This means that if one tenant falls into arrears, the landlord can ask any or all the other tenants to cover the shortfall. 
  • The same goes for damage to the property – all tenants are liable. Even if only one tenant (or their guest) caused the damage, any or all tenants could be required to pay for the repairs.
  • One person can’t pull the plug on a joint tenancy; the landlord and all tenants must agree to end the tenancy. 
  • If end-of-tenancy deductions are agreed upon, they’re taken from the overall deposit.

Getting the best out of a joint tenancy

  • Never rely on one tenant to share important information with other tenants for you (they may fail to do so or may get it wrong). 
  • If there’s an issue with arrears, notify all the tenants and explain that they’re all liable. Tenants who have paid their share of the rent can be valuable allies and help persuade the tenant who is behind to get back on track.
  • Remain professional and don’t get caught up in a melodrama between friends or lovers who have fallen out (they may want you to take sides). Remind all parties of their joint liability and encourage them to sort it out amongst themselves. 
  • Always notify people who sign up to be the sole guarantor on a joint tenancy that they’re liable for all rent and damages. Often a parent thinks they’re just covering their own child – not all the tenants.

To find out how Accord Sales & Lettings can help manage your property and avoid tenancy troubles, get in touch.

 

*Always check the terms of your rental agreement and, if in doubt, seek expert advice.

 

 This three-minute read looks at the current market trends and what they mean for people who are looking to sell up.

Are you thinking of selling your Havering home? Then let’s look at two trends that have dominated the market over the past year and see what they mean for you. 

 

Demand is strong

Many people predicted that the robust demand seen in early 2021 would fizzle out when the Stamp Duty holiday ended – but they were wrong! 

2022 kicked off with a bang. Over the New Year period, UK housing demand rose by 49% compared to the same period in the previous three years* and asking prices were up in January.

 

Pressure on stock

Running parallel to this strong demand has been a shortage in housing stock (in other words, there are not enough properties on the market to meet buyer demand).

In December 2021, there were 24 buyers for every available property.** One of the reasons for this pressure on stock is that people are staying put in properties for longer. We assume society is more transient these days, but housing sales figures don’t bear this out.

In 2008, people who sold their home had, on average, owned it for ten years. By 2021, that figure had jumped to 14 years.***

Many people appear to be opting to extend an existing property instead of trading upwards, which partly explains this trend.

 

Implications for sellers

With demand high and stock levels low, sellers are in the driver’s seat. However, if you’re planning to sell and then buy another property, it’s not quite so simple.

While you’ll be in a prime position to sell your current home, you’ll need a clear plan of action to secure your next property.

Many people start by looking for a suitable property to purchase before preparing their own home for sale. But given the market is so competitive right now, it’s worth doing things the other way round and getting your property on the market first.

That way, when you do find your dream home, you can move quickly. Sellers are much more likely to look favourably on your offer if you can show you’re ready to go (they won’t want to wait around for you to get your act together).

You don’t want to be outmanoeuvred by someone who can move more quickly than you.

 

For more information about the Havering property market, get in touch with us here at Accord Sales & Lettings.

 

* Source: Zoopla. This period takes in four weeks leading up to 16 January 2022.

** Source: Propertymark.

***Source: Savills.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of cutting corners with reference checks – it’s a sure-fire way to wind up with a nightmare tenant. A three-minute read.

 

When it comes to tenant selection, there’s a saying that all landlords should heed: Go with the right tenant, not the first tenant.

Sometimes, landlords are so eager to see rent payments rolling in that they treat the reference checking process as a tick-box exercise rather than an investigative one.

But rushing to greenlight the first person willing to take your property can come back to haunt you.

 

What do reference checks involve?

It’s a complex process (for a full list get in touch with us here at Accord Sales & Lettings), but key aspects include:

  • ID checks (to make sure the candidate is who they say they are)
  • Credit history
  • References from previous landlords and current employer

 

Credit checks

County court judgments and unpaid debts are obvious red flags, but it’s important to delve deeper than that. You need to review a candidate’s full credit report and get a clear overview of their financial commitments and history.

What kind of outgoings do they have regarding credit cards, loans, and bills? It may be that technically the candidate can afford the rent, but with their other debt repayments, it would be a serious squeeze.

Also, examine their track record when it comes to paying bills. A history of late payments suggests that they’re disorganised with their finances – bad news if you want the rent paid on time.

 

Landlord references

References from a candidate’s previous landlords are useful – up to a point. We know of cases where a landlord has written a troublesome tenant a good reference just to get shot of them (not ethical, but it happens).

If you have doubts about a candidate’s suitability, don’t let a positive landlord reference be the deciding factor in giving them a property.

 

Employer references

It’s important to check a candidate’s salary with their employer, but don’t take a company email at face value (sometimes people get a ‘mate’ in HR to inflate their earnings).

Ask to see payslips and bank statements and ring the employer yourself to verify the accuracy of the email’s contents.

 

Top tip

Gambling on a risky tenant can turn out to be a costly decision – so invest time and energy in the tenant referencing process.

 

Get a good letting agent on board if you’d like an expert to handle it for you.

Contact us here at Accord Sales & Lettings to learn about our property management services.

 

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