How often can and should you inspect your property?

How often can and should you inspect your property?

And do you need your tenant’s permission?

In my last blog, I was discussing allowing tenant pets into your property and the importance of regular landlord inspections. Which raises an important and often misunderstood question: as a landlord, how often can you inspect your own rental property?

Of course, there will be times when you want or need to visit a property that you own, i.e. because the tenant has raised an issue or because you have concerns of your own. But how often and in what circumstances can you do so and is your tenant ever able to refuse you entry?

A Landlord’s Rights of Entry

The Housing Act 1988 provides that as a landlord, you have to provide your tenants with at least 24 hours’ written notice before entering the property. Your tenancy agreement will probably also state that visits must only be made at ‘reasonable’ times of the day. If it doesn’t, you should stick to this anyway.

Repairs

property inspectionsYou have a right to enter to inspect the state of repair of the building or to empty a fuel slot meter but you must give 24 hours’ written notice before you enter.

You also have a right of reasonable access to carry out repairs. What amounts to reasonable will depend on the particular circumstances. If there is imminent danger and or an urgent need for a serious repair (water pouring through the ceiling from a burst pipe for example), it will probably entitle you to fairly immediate access but if the issue is one of fixing a curtain rail then urgent entry is not so reasonable.

For some multiple occupancy tenancies, there is sometimes a right to enter in order to provide cleaning services but this will depend on the terms of the actual tenancy agreement in place and whether you have agreed to provide a room or common area cleaning service. Check the terms of the tenancy agreement if this applies to you.

Mandatory gas safety inspection

Any gas appliances and flues in your property must be safety checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. New regulations were introduced in April 2018 and you can read about them here.

Your tenancy agreement should allow access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be carried out. However, if your tenant refuses to give you or your contractor access to the property, then you will need to be able to show that you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law. You will still need to give 24 hours’ written notice and then make reasonable but repeated attempts to carry out the safety check.

If necessary, write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and keep a record of the letter or email (and how and when you sent it).  If your tenant still refuses you access, you may need to take legal advice.

Frequency of inspections

There is no hard and fast rule about the frequency of landlord inspections, but anything from once a quarter to annually is reasonable. Multiple occupancy properties may require more frequent visits (monthly) and a couple of visits early on in a tenancy is always advisable, to help tenants settle in.

Your tenancy agreement should specify how often you will carry out routine inspections but if it doesn’t, let your tenant know and explain why. Remember, this is their home and many tenants worry that an inspection is an attempt to catch them out!

Emergency

home protectionIn some rare cases, you can access your property without giving 24 hours’ notice because it’s an emergency and there’s a threat to safety, such as:

  • A fire in the property
  • The smell of gas
  • Structural damage that urgently needs attention
  • The suspicion of a violent or criminal incident.

End of tenancy

If your tenant has given notice that they want to end the tenancy and move out, you can visit and show the property to prospective new tenants but only during the last 28 days of a standard assured shorthold tenancy agreement (unless your tenant is happy to let you show people around earlier). And you should still give 24 hours’ notice in writing.

Failure to comply with the rules

However frustrated or concerned you may be, it’s important to remember that you cannot visit and inspect your property whenever you like. It’s illegal for a landlord or your agent to enter a property without agreement from your tenant and they can refuse you entry. What’s more, you also run the risk of being prosecuted for harassment under the Housing Act 1988.

Summary

Always give your tenants 24 hours’ written notice of any planned visits. Try to be flexible and reasonable about the time.  Don’t visit more than is necessary and never just let yourself in without permission, unless there’s an emergency.

Finally, bear in mind that even if you’ve done everything by the book and given 24 hours’ written notice, some tenants can still be difficult and refuse access. Never assume that they will let you or a contractor in, always keep records and however difficult your tenant is being, always ensure that your conduct is “reasonable”. That way, if you do need to get legal advice or assistance, you’ll be in the strongest possible position.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

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Should you allow your tenants to keep pets?

Should you allow your tenants to keep pets?

Do you allow your tenants to keep pets?

There’s often pressure on landlords to accept tenants with pets. However, under the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, a landlord can refuse permission for a tenant to keep a pet, if it’s reasonable to do so, for instance on grounds of the animal’s size, the damage it could cause and its impact on future rental prospects. As a result, many rental agreements drawn up by landlords insist on no animals.

Increasing Pressure

Back in February this year, the BBC reported that Labour wants to strengthen the rights of tenants to keep a pet in their properties, by creating a default right for them to do so unless there is evidence their pet will be a nuisance.

There was no clarification of what evidence would be needed to establish the animal was a nuisance.

Increasing Demand

What’s more, with increasingly larger numbers of people renting as a long solution to their housing needs, there is also an inevitably increasingly large demand for those long-term tenants (who are making a rented property their permanent home) to be allowed to keep pets.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that as much as half of the UK population owns a pet and, according to a recent survey by the Dogs Trust, 78% of pet owners have experienced difficulty in finding accommodation which accepts pets and 54% were never able to find a suitable property. Which means there’s an extensive market of potential tenants for landlords to tap into if they’re willing to accept tenants with pets.

Take Precautions

Pets are all very well, but we all know the problems that can result: damage to a property, not to mention additional odours and mess.

Of course, in meeting both pressure and demand, landlords are able to take appropriate precautions to mitigate any risk of damage. These measures should include taking out a more comprehensive landlord insurance policy, increasing the property’s damage deposit and ensuring that an independent and professionally compiled inventory is carried out.

But there’s a catch

Actually, there’s more than one catch. Firstly, as of next year, it is likely that damage deposits will be capped at a maximum of six weeks’ rent according to details in the Tenant Fees Bill introduced into Parliament last month. The cap on security deposits was initially announced in November last year during the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Secondly, some landlord organisations are concerned about how easy it will be for landlords to enforce breached tenancy conditions relating to pets. This will remain to be seen.

On the upside

Just because a tenant has a pet, doesn’t mean they’re going to damage your property. Tenants who want to make a property a long-term home for themselves, their children and their pets are often the best tenants – who pay on time and treat your property with respect.

So what’s our recommendation?

Don’t rule out tenants with pets. Instead, carry out some of the basic checks we’ve listed below:

  1. Check references in respect of previous properties the tenant has rented with their pets very carefully. How long did they live there, what sort of pets did they have, how did the pet behave, what condition was the property left in?
  2. Discuss the pets concerned with the tenant. What animals would they be, what is their temperament and behaviour like, would they be left alone, do they treat them for fleas etc.? Remember pets don’t just include dogs and cats and could be anything from rats to snakes!
  3. Consider asking to speak to their vet about the appropriateness of housing their pet in your property.
  4. Ask to meet the pet and check how many pets there will be (and their size).
  5. Ask who will look after the pet in an emergency. You want a name, address and phone number.
  6. Review your tenancy agreement and insurance policy to ensure they provide adequately for pets, including provision for potential pet damage (as this is not normally covered by normal insurance policies). Review the level of deposit required and consider the cost of professional cleaning after the tenant has left.  Make provision for what happens if the tenant goes away on holiday and provide for regular landlord checks.
  7. Once the tenancy has started, make sure you do check the property regularly.

Of course,  there will be occasions when despite your best endeavours, your tenant acquires a pet without you knowing. So in my next blog, I’ll be talking about what to do then and how often you should carry out inspections.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether the rules will eventually be changed about allowing pets.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Do you know about the new rules about gas safety?

Do you know about the new rules about gas safety?

New rules about gas safety checks came into force on the 6th April 2018. They came in slightly under the radar meaning many landlords and tenants simply aren’t aware of them yet. But they do make life a little easier!

Recap of landlord gas safety responsibilities

home safetyAs a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants and that includes making sure gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe (including any in a communal area used by tenants).

You are also responsible for their maintenance and repair by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You must ensure an annual gas safety check is carried out within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance or flue which you provide and annually thereafter by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

The pre-existing law required you to keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed as well as issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

New regulations make things easier for landlords

Under the new rules, you can now have the annual gas safety check on each appliance or flue carried out up to 2 months before the date the check is actually due but still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check. Confused? Let me explain by example…

If your annual check is due on the 1st September 2018, you could have the check carried out as early as the 1st July 2018 and still keep your next renewal deadline of 1st September 2019.

But it’s only a 2-month window  

If you decide to undertake your gas safety check less than 10 months since the date of the last check, then the new expiry date would be 12 months from the date of the latest check, not from the date of the check the year before. Confused again?

So, using our example, if your safety check was due on the 1st September 2018 but you got it done on the 28th June 2018 (2 months and 2 days before it was due), your new safety check date would be the 28th June 2019. Meaning it is important to check your dates if you want to take advantage of the new 2-month window.

A two-month window for new appliances

gas safety engineer If a new appliance is installed or changed in the property, you previously had to have it checked within 12 months. However, the new rules allow you two months after the expiration of that 12 months if it is in order to bring it in line with other appliances in the house.

So back to our example again, your boiler is due to be checked on the 1st September 2018 but in July last year, you had a new gas hob fitted which is due its first safety check in July this year. You can now postpone that check to the 1st September to bring it in line with the boiler.

Record keeping

The law had required you to keep a record of the safety checks for 2 years which might mean only one check had occurred in that time. The new rules require you to keep the last two gas safety checks for the property, though it’s best practice to keep previous ones too.

Commentary

These may only be minor changes but it’s not often that I get the chance to report that new laws are making life a bit easier for landlords!

The changes should mean a chance to save some small costs (one engineer and call out rather than two or more) and give landlords just a little bit of time and flexibility without any compromise on safety. And that’s got to be good news!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Does a recent court decision mean a big shake up for conveyancing?

Does a recent court decision mean a big shake up for conveyancing?

Earlier this year I was writing about possible plans to change the law to prevent gazumping. If you recall the suggested change would mean bringing forward the point at which a house sale/purchase is legally binding for both parties.

Now a recent Court of Appeal decision in respect of two cases about property fraud could mean radical reform of other areas of the UK’s conveyancing procedure.

The two cases of property fraud

The two cases were brought by property developers who had been defrauded in 2013/14 by individuals who had posed as vendors of property that they didn’t in fact own.  In short, the Court of Appeal found the vendors’ solicitors liable for losses caused to the property buyers by the fraudsters, even where those advisers were not negligent.

In the first case, the fraudster claimed to live in Dubai, and the documents all came from Dubai, even though the property was in the UK.  The fraudster’s solicitors conducted the standard Anti-Money-Laundering checks which came back as ‘referred’ but the solicitors accounted for this by the fact that the client lived in Dubai.

In the second case, the seller’s solicitors admitted that they had not performed the necessary checks on their client.

Both sets of purchasers had relied on the professionals involved amongst other things to ensure that what they paid for is what they received.

Court of Appeal decision

Housing reformIn the first case, the Court of Appeal found the solicitors for the fraudster were liable and in the second case, the solicitors for the purchaser and the vendor were found liable for a breach of trust, despite the absence of any negligence on their part. The Court of Appeal added that it is the vendor’s solicitors who are in the best position to carry out appropriate checks and the purchaser’s solicitors may be reliant on them to do so.

What does this mean for us, Joe Public?

The cases were both complicated by a number of factors, but the fact remains that the Court of Appeal decision may now lead to substantial reform of our conveyancing procedures.

Both solicitors were criticised for their poor standard of identity checks and the decision underlined just how responsible and liable solicitors for a vendor are when it comes to checking their client’s identity – as opposed to the responsibility falling to the purchaser’s solicitor.

From a buyer’s perspective, the result is good news as it affords them greater protection. But at what price? Professional negligence insurance premiums will undoubtedly rise to reflect the risk.

Professional advisors will now also need to review their policies and procedures and put in place robust anti-fraud and identity check procedures but will the cost of all this just be passed on to the client? Will the whole process just grind to a halt as exhaustive checks are carried out or will solicitors just refuse to act if they’re even the slightest bit worried?

Perhaps the government will now intervene at last in a conveyancing system that is struggling under the strain and has long since been in need of a radical overhaul. Whether it’s further case law or legislation that next shapes the conveyancing landscape remains to be seen and as always, I’ll be keeping a watching brief. But surely with pressure continuing to build, reform must be within the foreseeable future.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Thinking of making changes to your home?

Thinking of making changes to your home?

Because your future home could be very different!

Look around your home for a moment and think about how much has changed since you were a child.

home decor For those of us that are old enough, it doesn’t seem long ago that there was no such thing as a family computer or laptop! Really.

Instead, there was a free-standing TV in the corner, a telephone on a lead (often on its own table) and if you were lucky, a record or cassette player. The garden shed contained … mowers and garden tools! Not a man cave or an outside office.

If you think back a bit further, duvets were an exciting innovation that replaced sheets and blankets, central heating and double glazing were not guaranteed and for the really mature amongst us, you might have had to go outside to the WC!

Out with the old, in with the new

Things have certainly changed and on the whole, they’ve changed for the better. And Anglian Home Improvements recently did some research into how we think our homes will evolve even more in the foreseeable future.

The research unsurprisingly revealed that working from home is having a big impact and is likely to change how we use our homes and our space. At present, the majority of us don’t have our own office space even though ever increasing numbers of us spend at least some of our working week at home.

home technology 35% of those surveyed also aspire to underfloor heating and reassuringly, 29% want their homes to be more energy efficient.  Entertaining, cooking and relaxing spaces were also important considerations for those planning their homes and 50% want technologically smarter homes.

AXA Insurance have also been doing some research into what people want from their homes in the future. Again, unsurprisingly, technology ranked highly, with 27% believing we’ll all have smart TV screens in our homes to use instead of phones to contact our friends in the next 10 years.

Charging points for electric cars was another big hitter as was the belief that cars will be driverless in the foreseeable future.

Moveable space to suit your needs

With advances in artificial intelligence, my view is that the wish lists of those that took part in the surveys are actually remarkably modest.

Smart fridges and robotic hoovers are already a reality and many of us are also already controlling our heating, lights or security from our phone. Smart technology combined with a continued squeeze on space, means it’s not difficult to imagine how one room could soon become a central hub for all of a householder’s requirements (cooking, eating, entertaining and working) with smart worktops that can weigh, measure, stir and cook, and then convert into a table with in-built entertainment or a desk and a smart screen.

In fact, it’s perfectly feasible that walls and ceilings will be moveable soon too so that you can reconfigure your space throughout the day to suit your needs. And with that in mind, you have to wonder whether home decoration will soon become 3D and virtual, allowing you to change the colour of your walls at the flick of a switch (or rather, by using voice-activated technology)!

Of course with technology making such massive advances, design was always going to try and keep up! Ikea has already launched their “charging furniture” which includes tables and lamps which have integrated wireless charging points.

Other smart furniture is also already available (if currently a little expensive) including a sofa with integrated sound system and speakers, a fully interactive coffee table with integrated fridge, an intelligent mattress for sleep monitoring and anti snoring, and tables that talk!

The new Granny flat

One of the areas the AXA and Anglian Home reports didn’t touch on was the need or desire for multi-generational living, with independent Granny accommodation integrated under one roof. Of course, this is less of an innovation and more of a revival of how things used to be but it will be interesting to see if and how architects and designers incorporate this increasing necessity into our modern homes!

There’s no doubt that the need to create millions of more homes out of increasingly scarce space will result in exciting innovations that we’ve yet to imagine. Necessity can be a formidable driving force and I for one, am looking forward to my home being able to cook my dinner and tidy afterwards for me!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Could rogue landlords have their properties confiscated?

Could rogue landlords have their properties confiscated?

Reform of the Private Rented Sector

Last week the Parliamentary Select Committee published their report on the state of the private rented sector (PRS), following an intensive 3-month inquiry.

It’s a significant report which made some surprising and radical recommendations.

It’s all the more important when you bear in mind that a number of key recommendations in the last such inquiry of this nature (5 years ago) were subsequently adopted by government.

Private rented sector As well as a significant increase in the size of the PRS, the report noted that for an increasing number of tenants, renting is now a long-term prospect. The report also noted concerns that according to The English Housing Survey, an estimated “800,000 private rented homes have at least one Category One hazard, such as excess cold, mould or exposed wiring, while 41% of tenants reported that they had waited an unreasonably long time for repairs that their landlord was legally required to undertake.”

The committee also found concerns about Local Authority enforcement.

The report’s conclusions and recommendations can be summarised as follows:

  1. Quality of accommodation and the balance of power

The committee expressed the view that many tenants require yet more protection from retaliatory evictions, unfair rent increases and harassment.

Despite the evidence revealing that most PRS housing is of an adequate standard, the report concluded that there “continues to be a significant minority of private rented accommodation that is shockingly inadequate.” In fact, the committee received evidence that 27% of private rented homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard in 2016.

The report also concluded that there remains a clear power imbalance between landlords and tenants, with tenants often unwilling to complain to landlords for fear of retaliation. The committee went on to recommend that the Government provides “additional protections from retaliatory eviction and rent increases. Protections should also be extended to prohibit retaliatory rent increases for a period after making a complaint.”

Housing reformThe committee also agreed with the Government idea of providing a specialist housing court to make redress for tenants more accessible. They further recommended that “the Ombudsman be given sufficient powers and resources to provide tenants with the support they need when challenging inadequate standards in their homes, and to require the payment of compensation to tenants when appropriate.” 

Finally, the committee recommended that consideration be given to “introducing a new Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for studio accommodation, to reduce the incentive for landlords to break up larger properties into much smaller ones to enable them to benefit from the higher LHA rates payable for one-bedroom properties compared to the shared accommodation rate.”

  1. Legislative powers

home safetyAs with the last report 5 years ago, the report again recommended a review of PRS legislation with consideration being given to how to achieve greater clarity for tenants, landlords and local authorities.

The committee expressed a strongly held view that the Government should “introduce a more straightforward set of quality standards for the sector, so that it is clear to everyone—not just to highly qualified professionals—whether a property meets minimum standards.”

The committee also agreed with:

– the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) that “legislation should be amended to make it mandatory for landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in the rooms containing any fuel-burning appliance.”

the Electrical Safety Standards Working Group that “mandatory five-yearly checks on electrical installations should be introduced as soon as possible in the PRS.”

The committee expressed support for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill. However, to give it more teeth they recommended that “Provision should be made for free and easily-accessible technical and legal advice to support tenants through this process.”

  1. Enforcement

The report dealt with Local Authority enforcement in some detail and concluded that councils have been inconsistent, and enforcement levels—formal or otherwise—are far too low.

The committee expressed the view that “local authorities should have the power to levy more substantial fines, which might stand a chance of breaking the business models of the worst offenders. Further, local authorities should have the power to confiscate properties from those landlords committing the most egregious offences and whose business model relies on the exploitation of vulnerable tenants. Coupled with the banning orders which came into force in April, this would act as a more powerful deterrent than the existing provisions.

  1. Selective licensing schemes

Finally, the committee concluded that decisions to implement selective licensing schemes should be made locally, where there is greater understanding of local needs and politicians are directly accountable to the electorate for their decisions.

The conclusion was that “the current process of application to the Secretary of State is not fit for purpose. Decision-making is too slow, lacks transparency, and is overly bureaucratic and unduly expensive.”

  1. Overview

For the majority of landlords, this report should be welcomed. In my experience, most landlords understand that providing their tenants with good quality accommodation and a good landlord experience is in their own interests in any event.

Anything that makes the legal and moral obligations of the relationship between landlord and tenant clearer, more easy to understand, more positive and more straightforward, has to be welcome.  Eliminating or at least reducing rogue landlords from the PRS landscape also has to be good news.

However, to what extent government decides to adopt the report’s recommendations, of course, remains to be seen. And of course, to what extent any changes (legislative or otherwise) have built-in safeguards against abuse by tenants is going to be key.

You can read the full report here and I’ll keep you posted on any developments of course.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Rental statistics for the South East for Q1 2018

Rental statistics for the South East for Q1 2018

The South East Rental Market 

If you’re a landlord in the south-east (or thinking of becoming one), you’re probably keen to track the performance of rental properties, in what continues to be an era of pre-Brexit uncertainty. Particularly as we move into the second quarter of 2018.

So at EweMove, we’ve been scouring the many and varied reports and predictions to find out how the rental market has performed so far and what we can expect moving forward.

And it’s good news for landlords!

Annual rents in the UK have risen, albeit modestly, according to the latest Your Move Rental Tracker for England and Wales.

What’s more, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (in their January 2018 Residential Market Survey), reported, “that tenant demand edged up in the three months to January”. And the Association of Residential Letting Agents also reported in their Private Rented Sector Report for January that “the supply of rental properties fell by 8% from December to January while demand for these properties grew”.

It would appear that this renewed demand may now be starting to have a positive impact on rental prices here in the south-east.  Welcome news indeed following the Office for National Statistics (ONS) finding earlier this year that, “private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by (just) 1.1% in the 12 months to February 2018; unchanged from January 2018.” and following the general media reports of gloom and doom in the autumn of last year.

Finally, Countrywide reported in late 2017 that some 64,672 tenants moved out of London last year, in order to rent elsewhere. This is the largest exodus since 2007 and represents a new trend of tenants moving out of London to rent elsewhere, rather than to buy. Countrywide estimates a quarter of households will rent privately by 2021 giving us cause to be optimistic about the future of rentals in our region.

Average rental prices 

Estimates of the average rental prices do seem to vary, but according to the Home Let Rental Index, the average rental price for the south-east is £995 pcm which remains higher than the national average. The Index also suggests that so far this year, rental prices here in the south-east have performed better than the previous two years.

The most commonly rented properties

Buy to letA report by London estate agent Foxtons found that the most commonly rented properties are 2 bedrooms (41%), 1 bedroom (23%) and studio apartments (16%). Just 6% of rental properties have 4 bedrooms.

EweMove overview

We don’t want to get overexcited about the latest predictions but it does appear to be a gradually improving picture for landlords here in the south-east and it means 2018 may well be a good year to take the plunge if you’re thinking of buying to let.

Certainly, our experience here in Dorking and the surrounding area is of a buoyant rental market and as we slowly come out of hibernation after some of the winter’s terrible weather, it’s a market that seems to be increasingly robust.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com