Archives July 2020

Viewings: How To Make Your Rental Property Appeal

After all of the pictures are shot, the listings have been tweaked and checked and gone up online, and (hopefully) the phone calls and email enquiries have begun to come in, that is when the actual work starts when it comes to ‘selling’ your rental property to prospective tenants. Unless you happen to be in an area where rentals are snapped up quickly, or you have something truly exceptional (or cheap), it could take many weeks – even months – of viewings to get someone who wants to make your house their home. This does need to be remembered when you are preparing the place for viewings.

Showing folks around your home is among the most crucial components of the marketing procedure. It enables a prospective tenant to discover the specifics about the property, where it’s located, measure up for furniture, get a good feel for the place, and decide whether or not they can live there. Online viewings are all very well and good, but that gut feeling is crucial to many, and nothing really beats physical viewings. Thankfully, the pandemic is now in a position where this is possible, so lettings should be easier than they have been.

Here are some useful tips for ensuring that your viewings go as successfully as possible, cutting down on the time and expense it will take to let your property.

Pick Good Times for Viewings

Let the letting agent (if you’re using one) know the viewing times that suit you ahead of time. The way you are not rushing a viewer around the house so that you can go and get the kids from school on time, for example. Don’t have them book viewings during your working hours, or when you already have commitments in place. Or, if you don’t want to miss out on prospective tenants, have the agent do some or all of the viewings for you. This can actually work out very well since they won’t have an emotional attachment to the place, and some tenants prefer to have an agent show them around anyway.


Despite having said this, it’s still important to be as flexible as you can. If your property is suitable for commuters, you may have to show it at weekends or in the evening. If it’s a family home, you might have to fit in viewings during school hours.

Remember Kerb Appeal

The very first thing a viewer will see regarding the property will be the outside, therefore however glamorous and spotless it is on the interior, it has got to look great in the open air too! It’s all about kerb appeal. Keep the driveway clear and the front garden (if there is one) tidy. Make sure the front door is in good condition and the door furniture is shiny and new. It won’t cost a lot, but could be the difference between quickly finding a tenant or waiting for weeks without any rent coming in.

Make It A Home

In order to help someone envisage themselves in the property, tell them more about it. Let them know what you loved about it, why you bought it, the history of it. Give them something to think about.

Keep your rental property tidy and spotless, but looking as it has been lived in. It needs to feel like a home to viewers; they shouldn’t be afraid to touch anything or worried that any little mark is going to be a huge issue. They need to be able to live there, after all. But equally, let them know that you care about it and take care of the place. This fine line can easily be balanced, and it will help you greatly.  

Don’t Oversell

No one likes a pushy salesperson, so if you’re showing someone around your property, don’t make them feel forced into making a decision and never, ever lie to them. Even if you think that whatever it is you have to say is going to push them towards buying, don’t do it – it will only come back to bite you later on, especially if they ask you to put certain points in writing which you can’t deliver on.


Make A Lasting Impression

Try to keep your property’s greatest feature for last when viewings are happening. Whether that’s the amazing view from the master bedroom, the gorgeous, brand new bathroom, the garden, the peace and quiet, the huge inglenook in the living room, if you can (and it will depend on what it is and the layout of the house) leave it until last because that will be the main image people walk away from your property with. It might be the thing that persuades them they need to live there.

What Is A Break Clause?

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, the specifics of your lease are there to protect you, therefore it’s essential to recognise what a break clause is and just how it might be used – if you need to.

If a break clause is added to a lease, it means that either party – landlord or tenant – can end the lease early should they wish to. It might be that a tenant wants to renegotiate their lease and they use the break clause to do it, or it could be that the landlord isn’t happy with the tenant (perhaps due to complaints or late payments) and decides it’s easier to break the lease than continue with it.

break clause

The Lettings Industry

With more emphasis being put on helping people to buy property, the letting market isn’t what it used to be, and landlords are often feeling progressively anxious. When this is in addition to tenants feeling the touch of difficult economic problems, it’s not surprising the break clause has been invoked a lot more recently.

Remember that even with a break clause, there might be conditions that either party has to go through before they can be successful in breaking the lease without penalty.

Serving The Break Clause

All clauses will vary, and if you want to use yours, you will need to establish exactly how the notice should be served. Check the lease and, if you have one, check with your letting agent – getting this right will avoid any nasty confrontations and it will save you money too because if you break the lease in the wrong way, you could be liable for the rent that’s due.

It’s wise for landlords to check in with their tenants on a regular basis. After all, knowing that there’s a problem and pre-emtping any request to leave can put you in a stronger position to either agree to new terms or fix the issues and stick with the original price or other terms.

break clause

When To Deliver The Break Clause

The choice of when you should use the break clause is going to depend on several variables. This might be after a particular time period has elapsed and there might be specified dates when it is able to take place. It’s crucial that this is completely crystal clear in the conditions of the lease.

Tenants must understand the dates specified in the clause and also aim to discuss the options no less than a year prior to the notice period commences. If you’re uncertain of the dates on the break clause, you need to find clarification. Don’t do anything at the last second, as any plans you make might fall apart if the break clause isn’t what you thought it was or can’t be used for some reason.

As a landlord, a greater connection with the tenant is going to allow you to foresee whether a rent increase will mean they invoke the break clause, and therefore provides the opportunity to decide whether to invoke the increase. This can be a big reason why many tenants decide to leave.

The Problems Of A Break Clause

All tenants should make sure to pay any outstanding bills and rent up to the break clause. If anything is left outstanding, they might find it is taken out of their deposit, and that can lead to issues if they were expecting to use that money for something else. Remember, just because you decide to invoke the clause, that doesn’t mean your responsibilities are ended.

Inventories and Check-Ins: What’s The Difference?

Inventories and check-ins… aren’t they pretty much the same thing? Do you really need to have both? Well, yes and no. They are similar, but they’re not the same and they do different jobs. As for whether or not you have to have one, that’s your choice – but we always recommend you do. It keeps your investment safe, and helps your tenant feel comfortable too. Let’s look a little closer at each of these reports and determine what the differences are.


The Inventory

When a new tenancy begins it is crucial to have a new inventory report carried out too. At Looksy Inventories we thoroughly and carefully inventory the condition and cleanliness of the property before the next tenants move in, giving you – and them – complete peace of mind.

Our inventory reports contain information on the condition of the walls, floors, and ceilings. We count the plug sockets. We note colours and patterns. We spot issues that you may not have noticed. We make sure you’re aware of it all. This accurate and detailed account on the condition of your property makes being a landlord or managing agent that much easier.

The Check-In

Whereas the inventory is ideally carried out by the inventory clerk by themselves, the check-in is carried out when the tenant is moving in. The inventory clerk will walk through the property with the tenant, pointing out anything that was noted on the inventory. This way, the tenant is made aware of any issues.

When the check-in is done, the tenant will sign the inventory to say they agree with it, or they will request changes.


Why It Matters

If there was to be any kind of dispute when the tenant moves out, the original inventory, agreed by both landlord and tenant, can be used to determine the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. Without these reports, the tenant would not be able to be held responsible for any damage – who’s to say it wasn’t there before they moved in? Without the report, there is no proof either way.

Although most landlords will agree to having an inventory carried out, not as many choose to have a check-in done for the same property. Ideally, you would choose both to ensure that everything is as it should be.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Looksy Inventories today – we can help you get the job done.

Looksy Inventories is a family run, independent, small business. A husband and wife team who want to enjoy their work, have more time for their family, but work hard in the process. We’re not a large corporation, we’re not a franchise with a huge back office behind us. We’re just us, just Looksy Inventories, just here for you.

Contact us today to find out more.

Fair Wear and Tear: Is It Really Fair?

Nearly two out of every five tenants might be mistakenly losing their deposit money for claims on what is really fair wear and tear, a study indicates.

A survey of 2,000 tenants by Nationwide requesting explanations as to why renters have lost their deposit money found that thirty-nine percent had gotten deductions at the conclusion of the tenancy for basic wear and tear.

fair wear and tear

The research did not delve into the amount of the damage, but comes despite assistance from the deposit safeguards systems declaring that landlords must allow for “fair wear and tear” when considering deductions.

Assistance from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) stated this ‘fair’ usage is among the primary disputes.

The TDS stated an adjudicator would permit fair usage based upon the duration of the tenancy, the number and age of the occupiers, and also the quality and state of the property when they first moved in. So clearly, having a thorough inventory is going to clear up at least that last point – if the previous tenants left the property in a bad state, why should the current ones be penalised?

This was not the sole reason behind deductions, with forty-one percent losing money due to lack of cleaning (and this number rose to sixty-eight percent for 18 to 24-year-olds).

One in seven had at least part of their despoit debited for redecorating expenses and twelve percent had been charged for damage to contents. Another five percent needed to cover damage to the building itself, and four percent had cash taken from their deposit for rent arrears.

When tenants did get their deposit returned, the typical time it took was 1.8 weeks.

Nearly half (forty-six percent) of private renters surveyed received the deposit back within 30 days of leaving, and almost one in five (eighteen percent) have been created waiting even more than three weeks along with an additional one in twenty five (four percent) waiting for over six months.

Paul Wootton, director of specialist lending for Nationwide, said: “While our investigation indicates that the majority of landlords return tenancy deposits fairly and quickly, it spotlights areas of confusion over what can or can’t be debited from the deposit.

“Both landlords and tenants are able to take steps that are simple at the beginning and end of every tenancy to guard against discrepancies and also understand their personal duties – causing a much better experience for everyone.”

Now, it’s clear that Looksy Inventories is going to suggest that a good inventory is one of these safeguards against fair wear and tear or anything else – but it’s true. So get in touch today to find out how we can help you.

fair wear and tear

A Rent Payment Holiday: What Landlords Need To Ask Before They Agree

We are all saying it, aren’t we: these are the strangest of times. And because of that, there are a number of things that are happening in all sectors that would never have happened before. In the rental sector, landlords might be finding that their tenants – tenants they’ve never had issues with in the past – are asking for a rent payment holiday due to lockdown and coronavirus.

In normal circumstances, most landlords wouldn’t need to be asked, and most wouldn’t agree even if they were. But right now, the government has put measures in place that mean landlords should be giving rent payment holidays when they can. It’s just a temporary thing; the rent would still need to be paid, it would just be delayed.

Yet not all landlords can afford to do this – they’ve got their own bills to pay too, and if they’ve not been able to negotiate a mortgage holiday on the property, there could be problems for them that seriously impact their future.

rent payment holiday coronavirus

The Landlord’s Dilemma

Understanding, flexibility, and communication are going in order to be crucial in order to work through this, as well as to devising realistic repayment plans. For instance, you cannot look for double rent for the subsequent three months as this is simply not going to be possible.

It is a hard harmony to achieve, but if you’re considering what to do, here are some questions you might want to ask your tenants before you decide whether to allow a rent payment holiday or not.

rent payment holiday coronavirus

Ask The Right Rent Payment Holiday Questions

  1. Ask the tenant if they have been made redundant or been furloughed. There is a difference – made redundant and they might have a small payment but no income. Furloughed, and they should be getting at least 80 percent of their salary from the government’s scheme (and the other 20 percent is meant to be topped up by their employer). Do they really need a rent payment holiday in that case?
  2. Can they supply proof of their current situation from their employer? This could be useful if you need to ask your mortgage provider for a mortgage holiday as you can explain that your tenant is having issues.
  3. Have they developed an expenses spreadsheet to show their monthly budget?
  4. Are there any loans or credit cards that payment holidays can be taken out on rather than causing issues with your rent?
  5. Do they have savings? Tenants might be unwilling to make use of savings, but they may have to – we’re all having to use money we would rather use elsewhere if the furlough issue has been handed to us.
  6. Is there anybody else residing in the home who can help? Or is there a family member who can assist in any way?
  7. Make sure they know their rent remains legally due and will be a debt if they don’t pay – ask them if they are away of this, as it might be the catalyst they need to look at their savings or ask for family’s help.
  8. How do they propose to pay back the rent payment holiday amount?
  9. Would a rent reduction be better?

Finding out as much as possible about the situation, the reason for asking for a rent payment holiday, and what the tenants hope to do in the future regarding the debt is crucial – only then can landlords make an informed decision.

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