COVID 19 -What can Nuneaton Landlords do about empty properties?

Well, I don’t know about you but during lock down I’ve perfected the art of baking as well as Lego houses and sunbathing.

In all seriousness, I am working from home running my Lettings business as well as managing my own properties (and trying not to let my 5 year old become a tech monster!).

I have had several people contact me saying “my rental house is empty and i want to get a tenant in ASAP”. I shall share with you what I told them… If a house move is non-essential then it should be postponed until it is safe to do so. For example, if a person is in an abusive relationship and it would be a danger to life if they did not move, then that would be acceptable OR in a case that i dealt with, a family had a house fire and were living in a hotel. The hotel then closed due to COVID 19 and they would’ve been homeless had I not sorted everything out for them.

Even if you do have a prospective tenant in desperate need for homing, how will you go about doing a viewing, all of the paperwork, right to rent checks etc without breaking government guidelines?

The answer is- it’s possible but a longer drawn out process.

I manage a Facebook page called ‘Nuneaton Houses To Let For Sale or Wanted’ and we have had about 200 new members since lockdown and lot’s of people looking to move. I appreciate that people may “want” to move but if they don’t “HAVE” to move then they should stay put. I also appreciate, as a landlord, that we don’t want our property empty, however, given the circumstances I think it’s best that we stick to the guidelines.

In the mean time, go and check on your empty rental once a week/once every couple of weeks. Speak to the neighbours (from a distance) and pass on your number and ask them to get in touch if there are any problems.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to do a bit of maintenance/ painting. Spend a bit of time getting the house tarted up, ready for letting.

If you’re looking to find a tenant for your rental property after lockdown or want any advice on property rentals in Nuneaton, feel free to give me a call.

For now, stay at home, stay safe

Melissa

COVID 19- most Nuneaton Landlords now working from home…

….me being one of them!

So, i’m doing my best to retain some sanity whilst sat at home trying to run a business, home school my 5 year old, trying to block out the constant chit chat while i’m responding to emails and taking calls. It’s all good fun! I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat (some of you will have the even bigger challenge of multiple children… enjoy!).

I’ve not been doing so many written blog posts on the Coronavirus because I’ve mostly been doing video blogs for landlords and tenants, helping them to decipher the vague announcements from the govenrment over the last few days. If you want to see any of the videos, please click here.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you will know that the government have announced that lenders will be offering a 3 month “mortgage holiday” to help relieve the financial pressures of those “impacted” by COVID-19. They also said that there will be a complete ban on evictions for the next 3 months to ensure that tenants are safe during this time of uncertainty. Both fair. Both necessary.

However, what was not made clear was what happens in the event that tenants cannot pay the rent and STOP paying the rent. The landlord may have the mortgage holiday but they have to pay this back eventually and are losing income in the mean time. Do tenants have to pay the lost rent back?

I have a couple of contingency plans in place in case this happens. If you would like to know what they are, please feel free to get in touch.

I know i’m a bit of a joker at times but, I just wanted to say that if any of you are feeling anxious or worried at this time about what will happen to you, your tenant or your investment property, please feel free to get in touch for a chat. I may not have ALL the answers but i’m hear if you need me.

If you do call, please excuse the noise in the background. It turns out that 5 years old aren’t particularly quiet!!

wishing you all the best. Stay safe.

Melissa

*STAR BUY* for Nuneaton Landlords!

Whilst doing my usual trawl through On The Market, I noticed this gem pop up. Admittedly, I am not usually a massive fan of flats. I have several of my own flats and can’t say that they’re my favourite but I do have some at Simon Close (where this flat is for sale) and these flats are, BY FAR, my favourite! The management company are fantastic and the flats rent very quickly here.

This flat is on for offers over £80,000 but it has been on since December so I’m thinking there may be some flexibility here.

Lets look at the fun stuff…
If you purchase the flat for £80,000 and the current tenant pays £500. The ground rent and service charges are £1210/year, which would leave you with a gross yield of 7.50% and a net yield of 5.99%.

However, I will share a little secret with you….I charge £525 for both of my flats at Simon close so, if the rent were to be increased, you could be looking at a gross yield of 7.88% and a net yield of 6.36%.

Not bad, ey!!!

If none of you snap this one up, I might add to my Simon Close collection!

If anyone is looking to have their Nuneaton Property managed or if you just simply want us to find you a tenant, please feel free to get in touch on 02477674545 and we’ll gladly help.

The trials and tribulations of one of Nuneaton’s accidental Landlords


I wanted to share with you a story that I feel a lot of landlords could benefit from. Some time ago we had a phone call from a panicked Nuneaton landlord (and avid blog reader) . They are one of the many accidental landlords in Nuneaton and their story goes a bit like this…

(Just out of interest, see how many mistakes you can spot along the way)

They were left a property by a family member who sadly passed away and, rather than selling, they thought “why not rent it out?” so, with a WH Smith tenancy agreement in hand, they let the property to an applicant they found on Gumtree, took a deposit and kept it safe in their savings account. Does anyone else see where this story is going? I’m not mocking them. Even I made mistakes back in the day when I first started out with my first investment property (14 years ago…wow that makes me sound old!). I’m happy to report that I am wiser and (sadly) older now and there are no school girl errors!

Anyhoo, I digress….As is usually the case, their tenant was absolutely great for the first few months and then the late rent payments started (although they were still paying intermittently). When the landlords went round to do an inspection they were incredibly disappointed to see that the house was not being looked after. So, after some deliberation, they decided it was best to ask them to leave.

You must see where this is going now?…

They spoke to the tenant a few days later and told them that they were giving them one months’ notice to leave the property. After a month, the tenant had not left the property and had also completely given up on paying the rent. The landlord told them that if they didn’t move out, they would keep their deposit as compensation for lack of rent.
This went on for a further 2 months before the landlord got in touch with us as they were at the end of their tether.

Ok, now’s the time to see how many mistakes you noticed (red pens at the ready). We had to tell them in the nicest possible way that, without seeking legal advice and support, they would only continue to struggle getting the tenant out and it would probably end up costing them more than legal fees in the long run.

Mistakes:
1. WH Smith Tenancy agreement (not sure how up to date they are but they change quite often!)
2. Gumtree (say no more)
3. They didn’t secure the deposit in a recognised scheme
4. Landlords give tenants 2 months’ notice. It is Tenants that can give one months’ notice
5. The landlords would not have been able to keep the deposit because it was not protected properly (even though there were rent arrears and damage to the property)
6. There were several other mistakes the landlord made at the start of the tenancy with regards to certificates and paperwork as well (but these weren’t mentioned)

What they did right:
Seeking advice as quickly as possible

Landlords are often incredibly embarrassed and ashamed when things go wrong with a tenancy and often feel incredibly isolated but, it’s happened to thousands of landlords. The best thing you can do is seek advice as quickly as possible.

It’s great when people self-manage their buy to let investment but it’s only worthwhile if you do it properly and understand EXACTLY what is expected of you.

I’m happy to report that said landlord did seek legal advice and did manage to get the tenants out. We now manage the property for them so they can sit back, relax and enjoy the monthly rental income (which is guaranteed!).
If you have had issues similar to this, please feel free to get in touch to see how we can help. It is incredibly stressful and you don’t have to carry the burden on your own.
We’d love to hear from you 02477 674545

Is your Nuneaton buy to let attractive to Tenants?

One of our tenants has decided to move out because they need a bigger place due to their expanding family. I’ll be sad to see them go but, said I’d help in any way I could to help find them somewhere to suit their family’s needs (because I’m just nice like that).

So, I got to looking at some properties to rent in Nuneaton and was pretty surprised by the condition of some of them and it got me thinking how much rent landlords are missing out on because they don’t want to spend money making the place look a little more modern and attractive. Yes, they might be an accidental landlord and just not have the cash to inject into the place or, they may just be quite happy paying a low mortgage, getting a decent enough rent and letting the money come in each month.

Me, personally, I like to ensure my properties are done up to a certain standard and we also choose to work with like-minded landlords when it comes to the properties we manage.

If I let a property, I always ask myself the question, “would I be happy living here?” Or “Would I be happy for my son to live here?” It doesn’t have to be a palace (although that is what I’m accustomed to….in my dreams!) but something light, airy, spacious, clean, modern enough not to be embarrassed to invite friends over etc.

The condition of the property also reflects the rent that you will get for your Nuneaton buy to let investment. Now I know most of you are thinking “well duhhhh, of course” but you’d be surprised how many rental properties that we have been to, valued according to its condition and the landlord has said, “well the one down the road gets £95/month more rent” and I have to politely explain that the one down the road has a new kitchen, more modern bathroom and doesn’t have a brick featured wall and fireplace in the lounge, is freshly decorated and doesn’t have carpets from the 60’s. The rent reflects the condition and there’s no doubt about it.

Here are a couple of properties that I have found to explain what I mean…
£675/month
£595/month

Those of you who know Nuneaton and are thinking “well these two are in different areas”, yes they are but, there’s nothing stopping the Heath End Road house getting a much higher rent if it was more modern.

The condition of your property also reflects what type of tenant you will attract so, keep this in mind.

If you get a good agent on board who will, not only assess the suitability of the people who apply but use their instincts to find you the right tenant, do regular inspections and keep up with any maintenance work (which should be minimal if you’ve done things to a decent spec) then your property will be in good hands.

If you have any questions about this article or are looking to let your Nuneaton property, please feel free to get in touch and we’d be happy to come and advise you on value as well as what improvements could be done (within your budget) either now or over time. We’re just by the train station in Nuneaton or alternatively, you can call us on 02477 674545

It’s been a pleasure as always folks. Until next time…

Nuneaton HMO’s are growing increasingly popular…Have you got the bug?

A Nuneaton property, which we recently sourced for an Investor, has just completed. While we were discussing the project management details to transform it into a 5 room HMO, we got to thinking about the rest of our lovely blog readers and thought we would share why, we believe, we are having a sudden influx of calls from investors looking for property in Nuneaton.

Over the past 5 months it has become very evident that investors from near and far (mostly from the Capital) have been contacting us and coming to speak with us about investing in property in Nuneaton. For those that don’t know, Nuneaton is smack bang in the middle of ‘the midlands’ , a small town with a population of around 87,000 with great transport links to the bigger cities such as Birmingham, Leicester and, even London can be traveled to in around an hour by train!
Nuneaton has primarily been a sought after area by investors for your typical 2/3 bedroom terrace houses which would then be rented out to families, however, in the past few months investors have seen the benefits in not only buying here, but also turning said terrace properties which come onto the market into HMO properties.

Here’s the money part:

3 bed terrace property purchase price £130,000 – monthly rent of around £650-£695 PCM = an annual yield of 6.2% ( at a rent of £675).
3 bed terrace property purchase price £130,000 , £10,000 (roughly) spent on HMO licence and making the property compliant /furnishing etc, turning it into a 4 bed HMO by utilizing the front reception room and then charging around £375 PCM including all utilities, per room, giving you an annual yield of 13.8%.

You can see why investors are so attracted to the idea of buying these types of houses at these kinds of prices to achieve these kinds of yields!

If you would like to join our database of investors please feel free to give us a call for a chat on 02477 674545 so that we can understand your requirements in order to be able to help you best.
Not many of our readers are aware (as we don’t like to harp on about ourselves TOO much) but we are able to help source investment properties and project manage the refurbishment as well as fully manage the property to a very high standard giving you peace of mind that your investment is in very good hands….good ‘ey!

What type of property makes the best Nuneaton Investment?


I bumped into an old school friend the other day and he said “Ohhh, I’ve been reading the blog and I wanted to come and talk to you about investing a couple of properties in Nuneaton. I’m thinking of doing it as a little retirement plan for the family. I’ll catch up with you to find out what properties would be best to invest in and we’ll go from there”. Well my friend, this article is for you!

Now a couple of years ago I would’ve said, get a 3 bed terraced at a good price and it’ll be a nice little earner with an annual yield of around 7-8%. Is it still the same now?

Well I got to doing a bit of research and looked at the following property types within a mile radius of Nuneaton town centre: 2 bedroom terrace, 2 bedroom semi, 3 bedroom terrace and 3 bedroom semi. I looked at the cost to buy as well as how much rent they are going for at the minute (I know, you’re thinking “blimey this lady is efficient”. I thought that too!) and this is what I found (please note this research was done 25th April 2018):
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT…

What I was most surprised by in my research was how VERY similar the prices are for 3 bed terraced and 3 bed semi-detached properties. At the minute, the most popular price for both seems to be £149,950.

So this has blown my original theory from two years ago out of the water….or has it?

If someone had bought a 3 bed terraced house as an investment a couple of years ago they would’ve paid, on average, just over £100,000 (based on sold prices in 2016 for 3 bed terraced properties). So if I gave you that advice two years ago and you’re now nearly £50,000 richer, you are welcome!

Despite the average figures as listed above, it’s not to say you can’t still grab a bargain and get a decent annual yield from it. For example, I’ve found a 3 bed Terrace house on Alexander Street (off Edward Street), which is a 5 minute walk to Nuneaton town centre, close local amenities and walking distance to the hospital etc for £107,500. Now it does need a little TLC but it could rent for £625/month (minimum) giving you an annual yield of 6.98%, which is pretty darn good considering the figures above.

So, take from this article what you will. The evidence suggest the yields aren’t great on 3 bed terrace properties, however…and it’s a big however, if you find one at the right price, it could be VERY rewarding because, as we have seen, you get a good annual yield and a decent return on investment…you couldn’t ask for more!

I hope you have found this article useful and it has provided some insight into the Nuneaton property market for you eager property investors. If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article or fancy popping in for a chat, we’d love to help. For more info on us and how to get in touch, please feel free to visit out website.

Are you saving money by self-managing your Nuneaton property investment?


I bumped into a couple of our lovely Landlords in town last week and we decided to have a catch up over a Costa coffee (we should really be paid commission from Costa!). Terry and June used our Tenant find service a couple of years ago. As they are a retired couple, they decided they had the time to manage things themselves, which is great.
I asked how things were going with the house and immediately saw on both their faces that the answer was “not great!”. They said “well it’s funny that we’ve seen you today because we were going to pop in and have a chat about finding us some more tenants…and taking over the management for us”.
They went on to tell me that once the tenants had moved in, they had intended to do regular inspections (every 4 months or so) but, when it came time to schedule them in they had unexpected hospital visits (both ok thankfully), family birthday events to attend, last minute holidays…and the list goes on. Anyway, 4 months turned into 6 months, 8 months, 12 months and, before they knew it, two years had passed and the tenants had given their one month notice to leave.
The tenants had been paying the rent each month and had been cooperative when arranging the annual Gas Certificate so, Terry and June just assumed all was well. A mistake that many landlords often make.
When it came time to the check-out June said that she was so upset she nearly cried. They had spent around £4,500 on improvements prior to letting the property and, although the house wasn’t “trashed”, it was not in the same state that it was handed over to the tenants. It was evident that they had been smoking in the property (evident from the smell and yellow staining), the carpets were well trodden and quite mucky (they obviously were a fan of removing their shoes) and they had also noticed a stained patch on the ceiling which indicated a leak somewhere upstairs.
Luckily Terry and June had protected the tenants deposit, however, their inventory was not very detailed and they did not get the tenant to sign the inventory. They knew this was advised but it was just an oversight on their part. Anyhoo, the tenants (who were all lovely and accommodating to begin with) refused to accept responsibility for any of the issues raised and insisted that the full deposit be returned to them. The landlords disputed this with DPS and after months (yes, months) of disputing the matter, they lost and the entire deposit was returned to the tenants.
The reason for this was that the inventory was not detailed enough and there were some things that they did not mention (like the ceiling) and the fact that the carpets were newly fitted etc. The fact that they did not get the tenants to sign the inventory also went against Terry and June who were then left with a grubby house with a leak, no rental income and no funds to claw back for repairs!
The sad fact of property investment is that you often don’t realise how bad things are until it’s too late! Certain things HAVE to be done prior to a tenancy, on the tenancy start date, throughout the tenancy and, if they are not done, the consequences are often pretty horrible but, of course, by then, it’s too late.
Terry and June put it down to experience and they even considered selling the property because of it. However, they know the benefits of investing in Nuneaton property and, in the right hands it can be very successful.
I absolutely admire Terry and June for giving it a go but, it’s not easy. They may have saved themselves management fees in the two years they self-managed but, they worked out that it would’ve cost them just under £1,500 over the two years but it has cost them just over £2,000 to rectify things. They’ve now come to the conclusion that they’d rather pay the monthly management fees and know that everything is in hand rather than worrying that something like this will happen again.
If you have had a similar experience or are considering having your Nuneaton property investment manage, please feel free to give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see how we can best help.

Nuneaton private landlords do not panic. We are here to help!


After hearing many a story about landlords thinking of selling up to avoid any implications or fines that may come their way as result of being a private landlord I came across an interesting article , which suggested that landlords could indeed be selling up their buy-to-let investments due to increasing burdens on them in the buy-to-let market. Their findings suggest the number of new properties that came onto the market nationally (for sale) jumped by 11% across the UK as a result. These findings however do not specify if the increase in properties that have come onto the market are in fact residential or current buy-to-lets… so as ever, I suggest we don’t all go into panic mode but instead take the precautions necessary in order to keep your investment!

Those increasing burdens include new tax rules coming in over the next 3 to 4 years and the announcement that all self-managing landlords (i.e. landlords that don’t use a letting agent to look after their buy-to-let property) will soon need to register with a compulsory redress scheme to resolve tenant arguments and disputes; as Westminster wants to heighten standards in the Private Rented Sector.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a self-managed landlord from Coventry who didn’t realise the other recent legislations that have hit the Private Rented sector, including the ‘Right to Rent’ regulations which came in to operation last year. Landlords have to certify their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. This includes checking and taking copies of their tenant’s passport or visa before the tenancy is signed. Of course, if you use a letting agent to manage your property, they will usually sort this for you (as they will with the redress scheme when that is implemented).

If you are a self-managed landlord though, the consequences are severe because if you let a property to a tenant who is living in the UK illegally, you will be fined up to £3,000 – this came to a huge shock to said landlord!. That same landlord contacted me last week, and I checked all his paperwork to ensure he was on the right side of the law going forward – and I offer the same to any landlord in the Nuneaton area if you want me to cast my eye over your buy to let matters (and at no cost – maybe just a cream cake to have with a lovely cuppa)
If you are a self managed landlord and feel that the burden and risks involved to you personally with all these changes might be too much, just give us a call on 02477 674545 and we can make the whole process stress free for you, and you can just sit back and enjoy the rental income each month.

Do Nuneaton Landlords need letting agents?


The short answer is that landlords don’t need to use the services of a letting agent. Many landlords decide to be hands-on and undertake the whole lettings process themselves.

I started investing in buy-to-let property ten years ago and I was keen to learn and control the whole process myself. I was wary of entrusting others with what was ultimately my financial future, something no agent could possibly care about as much as me.

I appreciate that other landlords may share a similar viewpoint, wanting to do all the work themselves. I am happy to point this type of person in the right direction, ensuring they approach the magnitude of letting a property in the right way. For example, I would strongly advise joining a landlord association, which goes a long way to providing you with the tools and documentation required to do the job, alongside keeping you updated on the latest legislation.

One major difficulty for today’s private landlord is finding the best tenants in the quickest time possible. Traditional classified adverts have largely made way for an increasingly online society, whereby tenants (particularly the better quality ones) are now using the property portals (e.g. Rightmove) and social media (e.g Facebook) to find their next home.

To help connect Nuneaton’s DIY landlords with tenants, we set-up a Facebook group called ‘Nuneaton Houses To Let, For Sale or Wanted’, which is free for everyone to join and participate in (search for it on Facebook and click ‘join’). It allows landlords to post details and photos of their available properties and for tenants to post their requirements for property, in and around Nuneaton.

For many though, buy-to-let is seen as an investment rather than a second job. These landlords appreciate that a (good) letting agent is better equipped to take on the process as they often don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do the work themselves.

For these people, who often lack the hours required to conduct viewings, undertake thorough tenant referencing and keep on top of the admin involved in managing a rental property, whilst staying up-to-date with the ever-changing legislation, they may want to use a letting agent.

A competent letting agent who is diligent, pays attention to detail, treats each property as if it were their own, carries out a rigorous referencing process, makes their charges crystal clear from the outset and deals with maintenance issues quickly should be well worth the fee they charge to a landlord who simply doesn’t have the time or desire to take this on.

If you’d like to talk to me about how to do the job yourself or whether I, an experienced landlord and property manager (and all round superwoman), can help you with the management of your property, please feel free to give me a call on 02477 674545