Must landlords use a deposit protection scheme?

Government approved deposit protection schemes have been around since 2007 but despite this some landlords still believe it’s adequate to bank their tenants’ deposits and not bother with one of the three official schemes. But the Housing Act 2004, which introduced the tenant deposit legislation, is clear about the penalties should a landlord fail to comply with the regulations. These... Read more


Guest post: 3 Reasons Why Your Property Doesn’t Look Like a Showroom (And How It Can)

Showroom designers are experts in making mock-ups of rooms that look warm and inviting. They understand how to work with limited space and resources to turn a fake room inside a large department store into a place that shoppers envy. While the challenges of designing for a department store are different to the challenges of designing a room for a real home, you can use some of the tricks of the... Read more


Guest post: Heat Loss Around The Home

Last year the UK experienced the coldest winter on record, so knowing how to keep yourself and your tenants warm and cosy is crucial to keeping your relationship with them smooth and keep them, above all, happy. Heat can be lost in several ways around the home, so figuring out what parts of the home need attending to can help you to be the best landlord you can possibly be. Most of us use more... Read more


Is PAT testing compulsory for rental properties?

Portable Appliance Tests or PATs are an electrical check carried out on ‘movable’ items such as kettles, microwaves, hoovers, table lamps, toasters and coffee machines and many electricians will tell you they must be carried out before tenants move into a property. Legally speaking this is not true. There is no law that says PAT checks must be carried out, something the government recently... Read more


Are dishwashers and microwaves essential or a luxury?

There is no legal obligation for a landlord to provide any white goods within a property. Despite this, and particularly given the ongoing competitive market, both landlords and tenants consider fridge freezers, washing machines and ovens to be standard issue whether a property is advertised as furnished or unfurnished. Not providing such ‘basics’ may severely reduce a property’s appeal... Read more

Minimalist Interior

Guest post: Top tips for creating the perfect minimalist interior

Minimalism involves clutter free, clean and simple décor, perfect for both rented and owned properties. However one mistake that many people make is assuming that "bare" and minimalist are the same thing. Minimalistic design is simple, but successful design involves more than just taking things away. Here are some tips to help you achieve success with your minimalistic designs to either... Read more


Do you allow tenants to put nails in the walls?

One of the more difficult questions landlords field when conducting viewings is whether it’s OK for the tenant to hammer nails into their walls. On the one hand it’s lovely to hear how keen potential tenants are to make the property their home and give it some personal touches. But it tends to leave walls covered with a forest of nails and, if the tenants possess poor DIY skills, lots of... Read more

tenant agreement

How much should a rental deposit be?

Just a few years ago it was normal for a landlord to ask for a months’ rent in advance for a deposit but more recently this has been increasing to six weeks. But why? A landlord is free to demand whatever deposit they desire but competition between landlords had, until recently, kept it at four weeks. Now, many experts say the recession has in fact helped push up deposits. This is because... Read more


Deposits – When is damage ‘Wear and tear’?

If there is a single event that vexes landlords most it’s when a property is deliberately or carelessly damaged by tenants during a tenancy. This ranges from broken furniture to cracked windows both of which a post-tenancy inventory inspection will flag up and the relevant deduction will be made from the deposit. But there are a host of other types of damage that are in a much greyer area.... Read more


How to win deposit deduction battles

The three approved deposit protection schemes are well established but most landlords don’t want to go through the pain of arbitration if damage to a property is contested after a tenancy ends. So how to best win arguments about this before the legal paperwork starts flying? The functionality argument They say: Tenants may argue that a damaged kitchen top, for example, still... Read more


A quick guide to Premium Listings

- What is a Premium Listing on RightMove? Rightmove Premium Listings mean that a property is highlighted to feature more prominently to attract interest. In practice this means when a tenant sees their search results the premium listing will be highlighted with a red rosette and a different coloured background. Most importantly, 3 photos of the property are visible rather than the usual... Read more


Guest post: Do first-time buyers ever think home ownership is possible?

The Government’s ‘Help to Buy Scheme', which brought forward plans to add to purchaser’s deposits from January 2014 to October 2013, was met with much interest. Eager first-time buyers, who felt that they might be able to get on the housing ladder, were quick to enquire. You can find out if you are eligible for Help to Buy here. One major mortgage lender reported that, since the... Read more

Council High Rise

Guest post: Understanding HMO

With the rental market’s recent acceleration showing no signs of letting up and the slew of new landlords still on the rise, owning an HMO has never seemed more attractive. As properties that cater for a higher number of tenants, landlords of HMO’s – a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ – tend to see far higher profit margins than other types of residential lettings. But while the... Read more


Ten tips from the top

James Davis set up after twelve years spent as a private landlord having started at just 22 year old with his first buy-to-let investment after graduating from university. Here he reveals his top ten tips for fostering good relations with tenants. 1. Maintain an open dialogue from the start Doing this will minimise any disputes further down the line. 2. Ensure your tenants can... Read more


Tenant survey reveals the good (and bad) landlords

The research As the government prepares to regulate the private rented sector more closely with a code of practice and a draft Tenant’s Charter, the UK’s largest online letting agent, publishes research into what tenants believe makes a good or bad landlord. Upad asked 720 tenants what they thought made an ideal landlord and the answers highlight the qualities that tenant... Read more