Benefits of having a property management company assist you with your lettings

If you are considering letting a room, studio flat, house or even an estate, a property management agent can be very valuable in taking care of the whole process for you.

Property management agents are able to provide a variety of services; from the collecting of rent, the day-to-day management of the property and also dealing with any legal aspects of the property and the let on your behalf. So we have highlighted some points below that property management agents can offer you and which ones you should look for when selecting the right agent for your property?

What’s the right time to use a management agent?

Whether you are an active landlord or you are managing the property yourself, the choice as to whether you would like a property management company to undertake the tasks on your behalf is down to you and your circumstances/experience. Another thing that can determine this is if you own several properties, letting out to several people or own a large area of land, then you may not be able to handle all the logistics of keeping the properties maintained, so that’s where a property management company could come in and assist you.

Also, you may not want to deal with all the financial and legal aspects of the letting the property directly with your tenants and prefer to have it all dealt with by experienced professionals. Whatever your circumstances, a property manager can provide you with a wide range of services designed to make the process easy and relatively painless for you as a landlord.

What services do a property management companies offer?

A property management company will provide you with the full range of management services for your properties. In certain circumstances, the property owner will only hand over a selected few tasks to a management company and choose to handle some aspects themselves, but if you choose, you can pass full responsibility to the company. So what are the services a typical property management company offer?

The property management company will act as the middleman between the owner of the property and the tenants who are renting it and are often responsible for the following:

  • Advertising/Marketing your property to potential tenants

  • Sourcing suitable and reliable tenants for the property

  • Accompanying potential tenants to view the property

  • Obtaining references and conducting credit checks on potential tenants

  • Providing you with all information on the latest safety regulations

  • Preparing the tenancy agreements on your behalf

  • Organising and managing the collection of the tenant’s deposit

  • Preparing the inventory and conducting a state of repair assessment on the property

  • Checking in the tenant and agreeing on the inventory

  • Collecting the rent from the tenant

  • Transferring the rental income to your account and providing you with statements of account

  • Managing and arranging any necessary repairs

  • Inspecting the property periodically and feeding back any comments to you

  • Providing tenants with notice at the end of the tenancy

  • Re-letting the property as quickly as possible and minimising any breaks in income

Dealing with legal aspects of the tenancy and property, including evictions, non-payment, harassment or problems with squatters is also another service property management companies provide.

What do I look for in a property management company?

One of the most important things to look for in a management agent is their qualifications and credentials. Check to see if the management company is a member of the Association of Rental Letting Agents. ARLA has recently introduced an award called the Technical Award in Residential Lettings and Property Management. Look out for this accreditation when selecting a property management company. ARLA lists qualified management agents on their website, so it’s a great place to start looking for one that lives near you.

A good recommendation can go a long way. Check with friends or acquaintances that also employ a property management service to understand what their experience has been with their agent.

The majority of property letting agents will offer both letting and full management services, but talk to several and negotiate and understand their terms before deciding which to the agent to instruct. Make sure you know which services you are getting and what you’re paying for, either as part of a package or as extras. Ask about ‘To Let’ boards, newspaper adverts, websites, magazines and their own marketing ideas.

How much does a property management company cost?

The cost of instructing a management agent will depend on which services you buy into. The majority of management agents will ask for a percentage of the gross rental income, rather like a commission. Don’t always be tempted by the cheapest fee, however. You want your agent to be motivated to keep the property occupied and the tenants happy at all times, so negotiate a mutually rewarding deal where you can. Fees can range from anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of your gross rental income for a basic service to 15 percent or more for a full management service.

 

New build vs. Second-hand homes in London: house price report reveals six-figure gap between new and resale flats

There’s a huge gulf between the average price of old and new-build flats in London. New builds can offer peace of mind while ex-councils flats are best for value so weigh up the pros and cons carefully before you buy.

Ex-council vs. new-build prices in every London borough

The six-figure price gulf between new and resale property, and between privately built and former council homes, is revealed in a new study focusing on London.

Research comparing the cost of one-bedroom flats in every borough shows pre-owned homes cost an average £542,715, while a new-build one-bedroom flat costs an average £679,671. That’s 22 percent — or almost £137,000 — more.

An ex-council one-bedroom flat is the best value of all at £396,317 on average, the Hamptons International study shows. This is more than £146,000 — or 31 percent — less than buying a privately built flat, and more than £283,000, or 52 percent, cheaper than a new-build flat.

New build is always the premium buy, for the peace of mind that comes with a modern, well-insulated home, often with such extras as communal gardens and sports facilities. In today’s tricky market some developers are offering good deals such as paying buyers’ stamp duty to stimulate sales, but the property will always come out more expensive with annual service charges on top.

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New — what £350,000 buys you: a flat at Leven Wharf, Poplar, with a terrace and city views but only one bedroom. For sale with My London Home (020 8012 5708)

Not long ago you could have said a new-build flat, bought off-plan, would make you a profit by the time you moved in. The direction of the current market is anybody’s guess because of stamp duty hikes and the fallout from the Brexit vote.

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Adrian Plant, director and head of new homes at estate agents Currell, says: “With the new build, you hope you know that for the first 10 years there will not be any major costs. You won’t need to pay for builders and plumbers, and many developments now come with a concierge to handle maintenance and sort out issues like arranging for parcel delivery or laundry, at a cost of service charges.”

Buyers of older homes pay less to purchase, but often then stump up for renovations and/or extensions. Of course, an older home may bring the bonus of period features such as cornicing, wide staircases, stained glass and Victorian tiled floors.

WITH GREAT VALUE COMES GREATER RISK

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Old — what £329,999 buys you: a second-floor ex-council flat with two double bedrooms in Clapton E5. Former council homes can be great value, but ask locals what life on the estate is like before you commit to buying

Ex-local authority homes are fantastic value but this is the riskiest sector to buy into. Generally, those built before the Sixties and Seventies are higher quality and larger than a more modern home. But on estates blighted by years of underinvestment, flats can be shabby, common areas depressing and getting a mortgage can be a pain.

However, Stephen Lovelady, sales manager at Foxtons’ Pimlico and Westminster branch, says ex-council homes on his patch are often well built, with good security and sometimes well managed. He says most lenders will offer mortgages on ex-local authority homes in central London, although some will not lend on buildings above six storeys, or of poor construction standards.

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Beyond Zone 1, broadly speaking, lenders are happy with ex-council homes in desirable areas and less keen on run-down locations. Buyers must research whether there are any major repairs planned for the block or estate because they, unlike the council tenants, will have to pay a share of the cost. Request a work plan from the local council which will give a five-year list of any projects plus an estimated cost. Your solicitor should investigate any major works when conveyancing your sale.

Communal halls, lifts and walkways are often grim. Bad management, crime, drugs and gangs of teenagers making life a misery are all possibilities on a big estate. A safer bet is a small, low-rise block that’s well integrated into local streets, although this might be more expensive than average.

So before you buy, contact the tenants and residents association to discuss any major problems, knock on doors and chat with residents, talk to the local paper, study police crime statistics and visit the flat during the day and at night.

 

Protecting Vacant Property

With a recent and controversial change in the law making squatting a criminal offence, the media has been awash with opinion pieces on the matter. Alongside all the polite debate and raging arguments, there has been a very public renewal of interest in the security of properties which are vacant, for however long and for whatever reason. Property Property Property are pleased to present the following guest post from the nice folks at Safe Site Securities, who have some advice about leaving your property vacant. Rent in London can take a chunk out of your monthly income; so you don’t want to be paying out to replace stolen objects or repair broken property.

When your property becomes vacant, it is paramount to ensure that you don’t get caught out when it comes to insurance. The majority of standard property insurance policies only continue to provide cover for a maximum of 30 days should the property become unoccupied, with the most generous policies only allowing up to 45 days.

Why is a Property Vacant?

Both residential and commercial property can become vacant for a number of reasons. It could simply be a time lapse between tenants for a landlord, or a death in the family may leave a property vacant whilst probate is administered and the property is left until prepared for re-sale, and sometimes property owners simply aren’t able to manage resulting in properties lying dormant. A job relocation could result in a property lying vacant whilst a buyer is sought, and many holiday homes are only occupied during certain times of the year. Both professional and amateur property developers regularly buy a renovation property at auction which may lie empty for many months before it is ready for occupation once more.

Why bother with Specialist Insurance?

The answer is simple – to protect your assets. Vacant properties are at constant risk from vandals, arsonists, thieves and decay. Whilst at first glance opting not to take out vacant property insurance may seem a risk worth taking, spend a few moments thinking about the consequences if something does go wrong.

Left unnoticed and not dealt with, prolonged water damage can ruin the fabric of a building. Whether the source is simply a blocked drain or missing roof tile water can quickly penetrate walls and joists potentially resulting in hefty repair bills.


Any obviously empty property offers a great temptation to both vandals and squatters. The damage caused by such criminals can be endless – from smashed doors and windows, to fires, theft of fixtures and fittings, graffiti and the build up of debris and detritus. The eviction of squatters can be both a lengthy and costly affair, and the bill from professional repairs and a thorough cleanse of a property really can run into thousands of pounds.

Conditions of Empty Property Insurance

Vacant Property Insurance comes with a host of conditions that must be adhered to for the cover to remain valid. Some of these can be considered common sense, such as ensuring adequate locks are fitted to all doors and windows. Other conditions are more extreme, such as the requirement to ensure the property is inspected on a regular basis for signs of damage, decay and developing problems, and any concerns are both recorded, reported and dealt with swiftly. There may be a requirement that surrounding land is kept maintained, as well as simple tasks such as ensuring a letter box is regularly cleared.

Call in the Specialists

If your property is to remain vacant for a long time period, it pays to call in the experts. Not only will this enable you to obtain the highest levels of vacant property insurance, it will ensure that your property is far more likely to remain safe and secure. Security specialists can not only advise on securing doors, windows and other access points effectively, they can carry out enhanced security measures such as installing steel security screens and mobile security alarms. If your empty property isn’t local to you, reputable security firms can be a god send, able to carry out professional property inspections both internally and externally weekly or bi-weekly as required by your insurance firm.

Whilst all this might seem a little extreme, in my mind it makes perfect sense. Property is money, why risk it?

Safe Site Facilities are empty property security experts, with extensive knowledge of the concerns and risks that property owners face with their uninhabited properties. SSF know that with a few simply deterrents and barriers, you could save many thousands of pounds in damages.

How To Keep Your Home Safe and Secure

Here at Property Property Property, we’re mainly concerned with estate agents and great property to rent and buy. But once we’ve helped you find your dream home and it’s yours to live in, you might be concerned with keeping it safe. Read on for some top tips on how you can guard your home from unwanted guests.

As part of our Bodyguard Week to celebrate the debut of the West End adaption of The Bodyguard, today we’re going to look at home security. In the film, Whitney Houston’s pop star hires Kevin Costner’s bodyguard when she becomes the victim of a stalker. Hopefully you’re not at risk of receiving such unwanted attention, because a bodyguard might be a bit much. However, it still pays to take precautions and not to be careless when it comes to property security.

Some choose to go all out and have special surveillance and preventive equipment installed. This can be a good investment if you live in an area that is particularly at risk; however, always assess that what you’re buying or the work you’re having performed is absolutely necessary and a security company isn’t merely exploiting your concerns for their own profit. It’s easy for many, when it comes to their and their family’s security, to go overboard, out of fear. Do your own research and make an informed decision. So below we look at some easy tips to take on board when it comes to making sure your home is secure, and that you’re safe.

Locks

On moving into a new property, whether buying a house or flat, change the locks as soon as possible. You can’t always account for who owned the property in the past. Review your locks at least twice a year. Slamming doors or windows, as well as general wear-and-tear might weaken a once-strong lock. Always hire a locksmith with good references to perform this work too. Get used to opening only a few windows so you don’t forget to close any when you leave or go to bed.

Double Doors

If you live in a flat, make sure that you always close the main communal door, as you come and go. Some can be quite heavy and don’t always close properly. Listen out for the ‘click’ it should make. If it has been left open, as if someone is moving furniture, check ten minutes later if it is still open. If no one is around, close it yourself. If you live in a home with a porch or gate, always keep both locked as it provides an extra defence.

Loiterers

Get to know your neighbours. It’s not so much about being nice but to know who lives where, the rough times they come and go, and most importantly, who they are. It can be very easy to be anti-social and concentrate on your own business. Unfortunately, this can lead to incorrectly assuming that a potential intruder is a neighbour when you might be allowing an intrusion to take place. Even if you don’t wish to become close friends with your neighbours, get a good idea amongst yourselves who lives where and any regular visitors, they receive like family. If you can befriend one or two neighbours, you’ll have someone nearby to keep an eye on your home when away.

If you live or rent in London, Manchester or a similarly large city, where crime is often higher on average, you may find it difficult to tell who is hanging around suspiciously, and who is simply passing by. This can be aggravated if you live on a main road with a lot of foot-traffic. Is anyone walking past more than a normal number of times that you know doesn’t live close by?

Valuables

Keep laptops, tablets, mp3 players and anything mobile and expensive out of sight from windows. This might simply involve putting them in a desk-drawer. It can also be very easy to keep car keys and wallets as you come in to the property, like in a keybowl. Intruders can use an instrument to pluck these up through the letterbox, or simply find what they want quickly if they choose to break the lock and enter.

Sabotaging Yourself

It’s common to keep ladders or garden furniture lying around outside your house when and where you need it. However, these can all be utilised by professional intruders to get into your home. Are there any ledges or walls around your property, which can easily assist someone in reaching a window? Ornaments or other objects might also be used to break a window or lock, so keep this in mind when decorating the exterior of your home.