- Hits: 295
In this two-minute speed read; we look at what the new tier system means for landlords and people looking to rent in Havering.
The tier system announced by the Government this week to combat the increase in Covid-19 cases has caused some concern from landlords and people who are looking to move.
The good news is that it shouldn’t.
This is because even in the highest tiered areas which the Government has said are at very high-risk, people can still move. Albeit with extra safety precautions which we’ve been practising since the lockdown.
In Havering, we are currently in Tier 2 – which is described as ‘high alert’ and imposes several restrictions including pubs and restaurants shutting at 10 pm and no households mixing indoors.
But even in high alert areas, Government guidelines say you can still move home.
According to a statement on its website on Friday 16 October the Government advised: “You can still move home if you’re in a high alert level area. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work, and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.
Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.”
Our priority is your safety. And that’s why we have the following measures in place to allow us to show people rental properties they are interested in.
Here are six of our Covid-secure steps.
- We wear masks on all viewings.
- We wear disposable gloves on each viewing – these are only worn once then recycled.
- We wear shoe coverings on each viewing.
- We carry and use hand sanitiser before and after each viewing.
- We will be the only people to open or touch handles or cupboards.
- We will wipe down any surfaces touched after the viewing has finished.
Everyone has a part to play in helping us all get back to normal as soon as possible, and we take our responsibility to keep you safe very seriously.
So, we’ll be following the guidelines and updates daily. And we’ll continue to help people move homes safely, securely, and successfully.
If you are a landlord or tenant in Havering and have any questions about what the tier system might mean to you, please get in touch.
- Hits: 303
In this three-minute read, we outline five ways to streamline the home-selling process.
Selling a home can be stressful, but by following a few easy rules at the start of the process, vendors can save themselves time, money, and heartache.
A little bit of pre-sale prep will help you avoid the two most common home-selling horror themes.
Scenario one: The process is painfully slow and drags on for months (or sometimes years) leaving the vendors living in limbo and tearing their hair out because they can’t seal a deal.
Scenario two: The vendor falls in love with another property but can’t shift their own quickly enough to keep the chain moving. As a result, they lose their dream home – and blow thousands of pounds in surveys and legal fees along the way.
Here is a five-step plan to help you prepare for putting your home on the market.
1 Manage your expectations
It’s human nature to place a high value on something to which we have a strong emotional attachment. But you need to step into the shoes of a potential buyer. They will view several properties in Havering as part of their search. How will yours stack up? Be realistic with your asking price; over-valuing a home is a sure-fire recipe for a drawn-out sale. We have detailed market data and can provide expert advice.
2 Research agents and don’t be led by price
You get what you pay for. Someone who promises you the earth for next to nothing is most likely stringing you along. If they suggest a ridiculously OTT asking price, ask yourself why? Do they possess magical selling powers? (Hint: the answer is no). Or do they want to lure you in with a big promise, tie you into a long contract, and then drop the asking price like a hot potato?
3 Phone a friend
Ask a straight-talking buddy for a brutally honest appraisal of your home. Don’t be offended if you don’t like what you hear. If they tell you the front room stinks of cat, it probably does – so do something about it. If they confess that the life-sized portrait of Grandma on the wall creeps them out, take it down. Dress your home to appeal to a range of buyers, not your personal taste.
Following on from the previous point, review the furniture and décor in each room and decide what needs to go (if you want to keep it, put it into storage). Remove personal photos and objects, and bulky furniture which can make a room look smaller.
5 General repairs and maintenance
Sort out minor DIY issues such as broken door handles or mould in the bathrooms and give tired rooms a fresh lick of paint. Trim shrubs and smarten up the garden. Don’t bother with costly renovations that won’t add value.
Many people search for their next home before they put their own on the market and wind up facing Scenario Two (as discussed above). When you find your dream home, you need to move immediately and know exactly how much you can offer. We recommend you put your home on the market first, so you’re pumped and primed to make your next move.
If you’re thinking about selling your home, talk to us at Accord Sales & Lettings. We can help make your next move happen.
- Hits: 312
In this three-minute read, we look at why a landlord needs a professional mindset, and what can go wrong if emotions cloud your judgment.
There’s a line in the classic film The Godfather that neatly sums up what landlords need to know about letting properties.
“It’s nothing personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business,” drawls a brooding Michael Corleone as he plots a daring and ruthless double hit.
Now, here at Accord, we’re law-abiding citizens, so we’re certainly not suggesting you become a cold-blooded Mafia boss or fraternise with Sicilian mobsters.
But we do recommend that Havering landlords take a business-like approach when they let a property.
One of the biggest mistakes a landlord can make is to allow their personal feelings to impede their decision making; this often happens when:
A landlord has a strong emotional attachment to a property (perhaps they used to live in it, or inherited it from a loved one). When a tenant moves in, the landlord views every minor scrape to the woodwork or carpet stain as a personal affront. Landlords need to accept that some wear and tear is inevitable.
A landlord has carried out DIY work at the property to their own taste instead of keeping things neutral, making it less appealing to tenants. They may also see no need for electrical and gas safety inspections because they’ve “had a look over it themselves”. Fact: gas and electrical inspections are legal requirements.
The landlord knew the tenant before they moved in, so the professional boundaries are blurred. Things often go awry because the landlord hasn’t conducted a reference check (because a friend or family member has vouched for the tenant). Even worse, some landlords don’t make their tenants sign a contract; it’s all done on a wink and a handshake.
The tenant/landlord relationship grows too cosy over time. As a result, the landlord is lax about inspections or hasn’t raised the rent for years because the tenant is a “friend”.
The tenant/landlord relationship becomes so toxic that the landlord loses perspective. (As they say in The Godfather: “Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”) Determined to settle a score with a nightmare tenant, the landlord cuts corners on inspections or evictions – a decision that later proves costly. Sometimes the most financially astute course of action is to compromise (even if it is through gritted teeth).
Being a landlord isn’t just about managing a property; it’s about working with people. Whether it’s dealing with a tenant who has lost their job and can’t pay their rent, or managing a messy dispute between a tenant and neighbour, you need to remain calm, clear-headed, and professional.
Landlords don’t have to be unsympathetic or insensitive but do need to balance their duty of care with their financial responsibilities.
One way to manage these difficult situations is to draw on the expertise of us, we will be able to:
Come up with workable solutions to all manner of problems (as experienced agents we have seen all sorts over the years).
Ensure landlords stay on the right side of the law.
Talk to people from all walks of life and clearly articulate a tenant’s legal obligations.
Step back from complex scenarios and take a broader view.
Here at Accord Sales & Lettings, we can take the stress, emotion, and guesswork out of managing a property. Please get in touch if you’d like us to help you.
- Hits: 312
In this three-minute read, we look at the long-term forecasts for the housing market and what they mean if you’re thinking about moving in Havering.
After one of the most unusual years on record for the housing industry, the latest market predictions from a major property chain make for interesting reading.
Think back to March, when the housing industry screeched to a halt for more than seven weeks during what is typically a busy time of year for property sales.
Then jump ahead to May and June when the UK’s market re-opened – and demand rocketed. A month later, the Stamp Duty holiday was announced, leading to feverish activity from June to August.
After so much fluctuation, it’s understandable that people mulling over whether to sell up or stay put might ask: ‘what’s next?’
According to a report from Hamptons International, the outlook over the next four years is for steady growth.
It forecasts house prices in the UK to rise by 2% this year and by 8% over the next four years.
HMRC is also forecasting improvement, predicting a steady rise in completions, year on year over the next four years, in line with economic recovery.
Many industry insiders have been surprised by the resilience the market has shown in 2020 (let’s face it, it’s been one helluva year). Looking ahead, Hamptons notes that growth is expected to rebound to 8.7% in 2021 (assuming there is an EU trade deal).
Incomes are also expected to rise, by a smidgeon this year (just 0.2%, but every bit counts, right?) and 2.7% in 2022.
What Does All This Mean for Those Contemplating Moving?
For those weighing up their options, but who aren’t ready to make a move just yet, these market forecasts, along with the fact interest rates are low, will most likely prove reassuring.
Even if people are not in a position to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday (which ends on March 31), if their priorities or circumstances change, there will still be plenty of good reasons to act.
Consider too that most of us move for lifestyle reasons. Families grow, people retire, relationships blossom (or end) and employment opportunities change.
Major life events don’t necessarily mirror property trends. For most of us, moving is a big decision and we don’t do it on a whim. We weigh up the pros and cons and ponder our next move in our own time.
A Positive Outlook
This has, so far, been a year of famine and feast for the property industry, of low activity followed by hyperactivity. But remember, most years aren’t quite so dramatic.
The most recent forecasts should give potential-movers in Havering the confidence to make decisions on their own terms for the mid to long term.
If you’ve got any questions about the property market or would like to get advice specific to your situation, get in touch with us here at Accord Sales & Lettings. We’re here to help.
- Hits: 312
In this three-minute read, we look at how landlords can manage tenants who are noisy, aggressive or destructive.
Let’s start with the good news: the vast majority of tenants pay their rent on time and cause their landlords very little, if any, grief.
Now for the not so good news: a small percentage of tenants wreak havoc. They infuriate the neighbours, damage property and behave in a violent and aggressive way.
From a legal perspective, it’s difficult to hold a landlord responsible for the behaviour of a tenant (we’re all responsible for our own actions, right?). However, a landlord can be liable if it can be shown that they encouraged anti-social behaviour or did nothing to stop it.
Steps to Deal with Nuisance Tenants
1 Reference checks
The first step is to do all you can to avoid nuisance tenants in the first place. Check all references rigorously. Sometimes landlords take shortcuts because they want to let the property quickly or because “a friend of a friend” has vouched for a prospective tenant. Do all the relevant checks every time, even if Bob from the pub “swears” his nephew is a “real diamond”.
Take a detailed inventory of the property and photograph the condition of every room. This will serve as a useful record if you wind up in a dispute over damage to the property.
3 Read the fine print
Tenancy agreements should contain clauses relating to sub-letting, noise, pets and anti-social behaviour – all potential areas of conflict. If you need to evict a nuisance tenant later on, you may need to rely on these in court.
4 Regular inspections
Inspections allow you to spot problems early. They also send a clear message that you are on the case. Tenants are more likely to take liberties with absentee landlords.
5 Talk – and listen
If a neighbour complains about the behaviour of your tenant, you need to get the tenant’s side of the story. Stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions. It’s not unheard of for neighbours to make false complaints or to nit-pick. Try and pin your tenant and the neighbour down on details. Usually if a story is untrue it quickly unravels when you press for times and dates.
6 Strike a balance
Things get tricky if both parties accuse each other of lying. If this is the case, you’ll need to rely on your own judgement.
If you suspect your tenant is trying it on, ask the neighbours to keep a diary of anti-social behaviour.
Conversely, if the neighbour reminds you of nosy Mrs Mangel from Neighbours, ask your tenant to keep a diary of conversations and events.
7 Keep a paper trail
Follow up all conversations and meetings with emails, and keep details of any communications with neighbours, the council or police.
If the issue cannot be resolved, you could opt for mediation or push for eviction. If you pursue the latter and you’ve followed the steps listed here, you will have a useful body of evidence to help you to make your case in court.
Dealing with nuisance tenants takes the patience of a saint, the negotiating talent of a top diplomat and sharp-eyed detective skills. But if you’re not the embodiment of Mother Teresa, Kofi Annan and Hercule Poirot, don’t worry. We can take the stress and burden of managing a property off your shoulders.
Here at Accord we have the skills, experience and expertise to expertly manage any difficult situations.