I have done a quick video to summarise key topics from discussions with our Landlords clients this week:
Covid-19 – Me and my team have adapted (my team have been amazing during this time)
We have utilised technology, with our core team working from home, zoom meetings taking place throughout the day, video inspections taking place (when required), zero contact move-ins, central inbox (email@example.com) guaranteed response time within 30 mins during office hours (9am – 5pm – Monday to Friday// 10 -2pm Saturday), introduction of Whataspp for our managed Landlord Clients (07879 051501)
Due to our offices having to be closed we would request ideally you contact your Propery Manager directly via email, email our central inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tenants – rent holidays?
Simply, there is no rent holiday for Tenants unless you, the Landlord grants them one. We have had numerous conversations with tenants and we will consider each case on an individual basis. However, the key facts are this, anyone who finds them self, unemployed can apply for housing benefit and universal credit (Claims are being fast tracked), most of the workforce find themselves on paid furlough and for our tenants that received support for their rent via the local authorities, will remain to do so. As one of the largest agents on the Fylde Coast we have the privilege to be able to accumulate data from a large sample base, average rent for our managed properties £518.33 and the average property size is 2.4 rooms. An individual who is unemployed and is entitled for the two bedroom rate of housing benefit will receive £495 and a tenant entitled to the three bedroom rate will get just over £560 pcm.
Time to invest?
Cash buyers who don’t require a survey, may have opportunities out there in the market. You have to be aware we are one of the few agencies who have adapted to operate all functions of our business, but most agents are closed and hence difficult for you to view (virtually) properties.
If you require lending, buy to lenders have stopped any new lending (due to them assessing risk and unable to carry out valuations). But I would recommend scouting properties and when the lock down restrictions are lifted, to start negotiating and I am sure there will be some great deals. Me and my team provide free Investment advice, utilise our team of experts!
Checkouts are classed as essential travel and we are doing them as normal. From the 1st of April 2020 we have introduced 360 tours as part of our inventories and checkouts (first agent in Lancashire to invest in such technology), reducing potential disputes at checkout and more evidence if we need to defend your claim for dispute with the deposit protections service.
Link below for an example video:
Government advice on home moving
Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
At Martin and Co, we understand the importance of trying to reduce void periods and we are doing our best to operate in the conditions we currently all find ourselves in. We are conducting video viewings with interested parties and recording videos of all the properties on the market at no additional charge. Our team have managed to Let three properties this week (week commencing 30th of March 2020) via virtual viewings.
MEES – THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY REGULATIONS 2015
As Landlords you will have all come across the Energy Performance Certificate which became a legal requirement to be in place for the property to be either marketed for Rent of for Sale. From the 1st of April 2018 no rental property was allowed to be marketed unless it achieved an E rating or higher. From the 1st of April 2020 this now applies to all tenancies in the Private Rental Sector. If the property isn’t at an E rating you as a Landlord can face a fine of upto £4000. In addition, if the property is to be sold and is a ‘typical buy-to-let investment’ if the property isn’t at an E rating, some buy to let lenders will refuse to Lend and Investors will consider a reduced price for the property. More details on this legislation can be found below:
My team are reviewing every property we manage throughout the month of April and we will be in touch if the Energy Performance Certificate for your property has expired or/and below the E threshold. There is government funding in place to improve energy efficiency for tenanted properties and for our Managed clients we will do applications on your behalf.
Compliance certificates – gas safety/electrical safety
|Gas Safety renewals and other safety related repairs & maintenance work the legal obligation still applies so we must TRY to comply/complete. However, not all contractors are working and most tenants (understandably) are refusing access. I am sure common sense will prevail. Any urgent/emergency jobs are still being prioritised as normal.|
|Electrical checks and remedial works still need to be completed for all new lets relets and renewals by 1 July. Any properties we remarket our Property Managers will discuss getting this certification in place.|
We are here for you
Me and my team love what we do, we are working harder than ever and we want you to know we are here for you. Communication is key in this time and our team are ensuring even with the large influx we will aim to get back to you within reasonable timescales, I have also opened up my diary for one to one video/phone calls with all Landlords who want any sort of advice, please book in appointment via the below link. The tax year is coming to an end and please send any requests for an annual income statement (for accounting purposes) to email@example.com head of property management!