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Are You Putting Your Rental Investment at Risk?

There’s a lot to think about when you are a landlord.

 

You’ve got the ever-changing rules around rental property to consider.

 

Then there’s ensuring your property is well maintained and your tenants are happy.

 

Add to that the cost of living crisis, pressures on the economy and political instability, and you could be forgiven for thinking, ‘what’s the point?’.

 

But before you sell up, let’s look at your alternatives.

 

We believe that the best way a landlord in Leeds can run successful rental property portfolios is to

work with an experienced, knowledgeable and conscientious letting agent.

 

Now, more than ever, landlords must know what they are doing and have access to expert advice.

 

Below is an example of what can happen when that doesn’t take place and how much it can potentially cost a landlord.

 

The wrong (and right) way to find ideal tenants

Mr Smith is a landlord. He has marketed his property himself, putting it on a local Facebook group. He rented it to the person willing to pay the highest monthly amount.

 

Mr Smith didn’t bother with references as the person paid a deposit, and he also ‘saved’ himself money by using an online tenancy agreement template.

 

What Mr Smith didn’t realise was that he limited his number of potentially suitable tenants by only marketing in one place. He also didn’t check his tenant’s background and employment status.

 

If he had, he would have realised his tenant has a track record of falling behind with their rent, leaving properties in bad condition and generally being problematic.

 

Now, we must stress most tenants are responsible and reliable.

 

But by cutting corners to save a few quid, Mr Smith has potentially cost himself thousands of pounds in lost rent, the cost of court proceedings and damage to his property.

 

A good letting agent would have marketed his property across multiple platforms to showcase it in its best possible light and to the widest possible audience.

 

This creates demand for the property and gives Mr Smith several suitable tenants to choose from.

 

A good letting agent would then advise Mr Smith on the most suitable tenants (not just someone willing to pay the highest rent). Then, stringent referencing checks covering employment, rental history and financial backgrounds would ensure the risk of the tenancy turning sour is dramatically reduced.

 

Not only that, but once a tenant is in place, a good letting agent can manage the maintenance and repairs of a property so that small issues don’t become big, costly problems. Again, saving a landlord thousands.

 

We believe the key to unlocking your rental property’s potential (and saving you time, money and hassle) is working with an agency like us, now, more than ever.

 

So, if you are a landlord who wants to do things the right way, contact us today.

 

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WINTER-WISE LETTINGS: THE TIME IS NOW TO GET YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY READY AND LEGAL FOR WINTER

Winter is the time when most problems arise in rental properties.

Emergency callouts abound, and insurance claims rocket, mostly from water or weather damage. While your policy might cover the costs, the inconvenience of midnight phone calls, stressed-out tenants and urgent repairs is something every landlord wants to avoid.

Autumn is the perfect time to plan for the colder months, get ahead of the elements and give your property a seasonal MOT and fix any minor repairs before they become a major headache.

Covering everything from your legal obligations, the checks to make at your property, and the conversations to have with your tenants, this week’s blog is a complete landlord’s guide to getting your rental property prepared and protected for winter.

 

VISIT YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY

The first step in making sure your rental property is ready for the rigours of winter is to go and see it. To get the most out of your visit, here are some guidelines for arranging, carrying out and following up on your inspection.

  • Make an appointment with your tenants (they don’t necessarily need to be present).
  • Ensure all safety certificates and service contracts are up to date.
  • Check the inside and outside of your property thoroughly (more on that later).
  • Identify any winter comfort measures and safety precautions your tenants need to be aware of.
  • Confirm any advice in writing.

 

Performing a pre-winter check-up now can save you a whole lot of drama later on. More than that, it’ll give you and your tenants peace of mind, knowing that your rental property will stay warm and dry, whatever the weather may bring.

 

PROTECT AGAINST THE ELEMENTS

Unsurprisingly given the British climate, most home insurance claims over winter are down to water finding its way in, either from weather damage at the time or simply that the property is another year older.

Prevention is always cheaper and far less hassle than cure, so check the following vulnerable spots:

 

  • gutters, down pipes, and drains for blockages from rubbish or fallen leaves (water needs to run freely to avoid overflowing and seeping into walls)
  • roof coverings (including slipped tiles and slates, loose flashings and seals on asphalt)
  • cracks or holes in render, bricks or mortar (from climbing plants or general ageing)
  • window frames and woodwork (are the seals water and airtight, and is any wood or paintwork in need of repair?)
  • boundary walls and fences for any rotting or loose posts and panels that might collapse in high winds
  • chimneys (open fireplaces are about to get some serious use, so make sure the chimney is cleared and cleaned, and the cap is in place to stop rain coming down the stack)

 

Having all this sorted now will boost the resilience of your rental property from the elements and minimise the potential for water damage and costly repairs.

 

CHECK THE HOT WATER AND HEATING

Getting a call from your tenants at an unearthly hour that there’s no hot water or the heating doesn’t work, or turning up for your spring inspection to find condensation dripping from mouldy ceilings, is hardly a landlord’s dream!

The good news is that you can minimise the risk with a few pre-emptive checks.

 

  • Ensure the boiler is serviced and has enough pressure (1 to 1.5 bar is normal, but refer to the manufacturer’s handbook).
  • Turn on the heating and feel the radiators to see if they’re warm all over, or whether they need bleeding (get a key from somewhere like B&Q and show your tenants how to use it).
  • Look at pipes under sinks, boilers and hot water tanks for signs of leaks or rust, and include the dishwasher and washing machine connections while you’re there.
  • Inspect bathroom extractor fans and ventilation sources, then speak to your tenants about preventing condensation (you can’t make them use the heating, but you can help them ventilate correctly, so they don’t end up with a repair bill).

 

Fortunately, the days of frozen pipes are mostly behind us with modern insulation and installation methods. But, if your rental property has any exposed pipework that could be at risk of freezing (is any mounted on an outside wall?), wrap them in foam tubes or heat tape.

 

LOOK AT SAFETY & SECURITY

Whether your rental property is empty or occupied, it’s most at risk from intruders during the winter months. Longer nights give burglars more opportunities to strike, both at vacant homes and from tenants being at work while it’s dark.

Even if your rental property is unfurnished, intruders still damage door locks, windows and permanent fittings when breaking in, or steal things like copper pipes. So it’s well worth carrying out some checks to ensure your property is safe and secure.

  • Double-check that all window locks work and make sure your tenants know how to use them.
  • Test the locks on sheds and garages – these are particularly vulnerable, so remind your tenants to be mindful of what they store there.
  • Try the alarm, including the keypad and any movement sensors.
  • Cut back any hedges that provide a hiding place.

 

If you want to install some extra deterrents, consider motion-sensor lighting at the front, back and any side entrances, or a path of stone chippings that crunch underfoot to prevent a silent approach.

 

FOLLOW THE LETTER OF THE LAW

Landlords have a lot of legal obligations, and failing to meet them can have huge ramifications for your tenancy, from handling disputes to getting your property back.

You are responsible for providing a home that is safe, secure and habitable, so now is the perfect time to ensure your rental property makes the grade before winter kicks in. Among your main look-out points are:

 

  • gas and electrical safety with up-to-date certificates from qualified engineers
  • having smoke alarms on every floor of living accommodation and testing at the start of each tenancy
  • hot and cold water supply and adequate sanitation
  • the structural integrity of the building
  • ensuring sufficient natural light and ventilation
  • maintaining and repairing the property, including appliances and fittings.

 

As a managing agent, we need to stay on top of the ever-changing legislation to protect our landlord clients from falling foul of the law. If you’d like us to do the same for you, drop us a line at info@silverspringlettings.co.uk or call us on 0113 460 2416 to see how we can help.

 

How well prepared is your rental property for winter?

Autumn really is the best time of year to get your rental property ready for a smooth and event-free journey through the colder months.

 

If you’re a landlord in Leeds we’d love to show you how we take care of everything for you. Call us on 0113 460 2416 or email us at info@silverspringlettings.co.uk to tell us all about your property.

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Make Your Rental Stand Out with These Techy

It’s fair to say that tenants’ needs have changed in recent years. With more people working from home than ever, has your rental property got the tech to appeal to top tenants?

 

In the current digital age, there are countless smart apps and devices that can help your property stand out in a crowded market.

 

In this quick read, we look at some easy ways to become a tech-savvy landlord, attract the best tenants and save money. 

 

Broadband

Let’s start with the basics. Everyone wants to be connected, so ensuring you offer the fastest broadband at your property is a must. While there’s no obligation to provide tenants with broadband, it’s much better to get it installed before a property is occupied rather than receiving irate calls from fed-up tenants struggling to connect (or letting them do it themselves).

 

Smart meters 

If your rent includes bills, then a smart meter is an excellent way to understand how much you’re paying and identify potential savings. Similarly, if your tenant is responsible for bills, a smart meter will make them aware of their energy usage and spending. Smart meters are being rolled out to anyone responsible for paying energy bills and are an essential budgeting tool in the current cost of living crisis.

 

Smart heating

This wireless thermostatic device is a great way to save money and energy. It allows tenants to control the property’s heating from their phones, so if they’re going to be home later than expected, they can adjust the thermostat accordingly. The temperature can be controlled on a room-to-room basis and uses artificial intelligence to learn people’s heating needs.

 

Smart doorbells 

These not only improve the security of your property but make a home more attractive to renters as they can see who’s coming and going and manage deliveries. With the added ability to record and store footage, this is a great safety feature.

 

Smart lighting 

Smart lighting is a great asset if you own an HMO with communal areas. It allows you to control the times when lights come on and off or when motion is detected – saving money and reducing energy expenditure. Landlords of high-end properties can take smart lighting to another level, offering tenants mood lighting – all controlled by an app.

 

Smart smoke detectors 

Installing smoke detectors is a legal requirement for all rental properties. But why not go one step further and install a smart smoke detector that will notify you if there’s a problem. This is helpful if your property is vacant or your tenants are away, as you can act quickly to ensure the safety of your rental.

 

If you’ve got a property to let out, contact Silverspring Lettings so we can find you the right tenants.

 

 

 

 

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World Smile Day: Why Grinning is Winning

They say the best things in life are free, so here’s a quick and easy way to brighten someone’s day that won’t cost you a penny – but will make you feel good.

 

He may have been known as ‘Cranky Franky’, but crooner Frank Sinatra is responsible for popularising a very cheery message that has stood the test of time.

 

Sixty years ago, he enjoyed a hit with When You’re Smiling, a tune best known for the catchy lyrics “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”.

 

Cynics may think the song’s theme is a little cheesy, but research has shown it’s actually true. Smiling is contagious and good for our health. Let us explain why.

 

The science behind smiling

Researchers have discovered that when we smile, our brain releases the feelgood chemicals serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. In other words, flashing a cheeky grin improves your mood and lowers your blood pressure and anxiety levels.

 

And as we humans are hardwired to mimic the mannerisms and facial gestures we see around us, chances are the person you smile at will smile back – and also enjoy a dose of positive chemicals.

 

World Smile Day

This brings us to World Smile Day, which is today (7 October). The event was started by Harvey Ball, who designed the iconic yellow smiley face image that has appeared on countless badges and t-shirts (and inspired the smiling face emoji).

 

Ball created the image in 1963 but never trademarked it (he says he was never money driven). However, by 1999, Ball felt that the original meaning behind the symbol (friendship and kindness) was getting lost, so he started World Smile Day. It aims to encourage people to spread good cheer through random acts of kindness.

 

So now it’s over to you. How will you mark World Smile Day? You could:

  • Flash your pearly whites at passers-by as you go about your daily business.
  • Give up your seat on public transport to someone.
  • Stop to chat to a neighbour who you rarely talk to.
  • Dish out thoughtful compliments to people whom you encounter in person and online.
  • Donate to a local charity that is doing positive work in your community.

 

From all of us here at Silverspring Lettings, stay safe and keep smiling.

 

 

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Why You Need Generation Z to Rent Out Your Property

They’re young, they’re moving out of their parents’ homes, and they could be your next tenants. We’re talking about Generation Z, the workforce of the future and a generation that’s ready to pay rent.

 

Over the next three years, it’s estimated that Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2012) will pay a larger share of the UK rent bill than any other age group, as found by property giants Hamptons.

 

While it’s true that some 20-somethings choose to stay in the comfy nests made by mum and dad for a bit longer than other age groups, more and more are cutting the apron strings and venturing into the rental world. So, what do you need to do to attract the best Gen Z tenants?

 

  • Get connected

Gen Z don’t know a world without the internet. Wireless technology, smartphones and streaming are the norm. (Most won’t have ever seen a cassette tape. A Walkman? What’s that?)

 

Fast, reliable broadband is a necessity. In fact, not having broadband already installed in your property would probably be a huge drawback for Gen Z tenants, as much of their life revolves around being connected.

 

  • Office kit-out

At this age, some might be starting their first jobs, but others already make up the army of employees totally used to working from home. With this in mind, location and proximity to transport links may not be as important as they once were to tenants. In fact, Gen Z has been described as the first generation of digital nomads (able to work from anywhere).

 

So, now what really matters is home office space. Furnishing a rental property with desks and chairs or a cool breakfast bar (for coffee shop vibes), having enough plug points, wireless internet and so on will help boost a property’s desirability.

 

  • Communicate

Described as a generation of savvy consumers who value integrity, sustainability and ethical buying, Gen Z tenants are likely to be passionate about things like home improvements, tenant rights and eco-friendly properties. So, to be a good Gen Z landlord, it’s important to keep an open line of communication and be prepared to be challenged if you fall short of your obligations.

 

  • Use a reputable letting agent

If you want your rental property to reach potential Gen Z tenants, the best way to do so is by working with an experienced letting agent. They’ll have tried and tested marketing strategies to target young professionals looking for rental properties (and access to a marketing budget which you might not). Take advantage of their skills and expertise by hiring a team that can find you the best tenants for your property.

 

If you need tenants for your rental property, contact Silverspring Lettings to get the search started.

 

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Chemical-Free Cleaning Is Easier Than You Might Think

Sometimes (or very occasionally), there’s nothing better than doing a big clean. But have you ever thought about what you’re cleaning with? Every polish, spray and cleaning solution we use contains hundreds of chemicals, yet we liberally spray them all over the surfaces we cook on and eat off.

 

Could there be a better way? Can you get the same results with chemical-free products? Supermarkets offer many natural, toxin-free products, but why pay through the nose when you can make your own.

 

Here’s a round-up of some of the best natural cleaning solutions you can use to spruce up your cleaning routine.

 

  • White vinegar

No cleaning hack is complete without a bottle of the whiffy stuff (not the same as what you pour onto your fish and chips FYI). It’s a miracle ingredient and cleans stubborn kitchen grease and dirt as well as removing stains from clothes. It’s eco-friendly, biodegradable and super cheap.

 

To make a white vinegar solution, mix 250ml of vinegar with 250ml of cool boiled water. Eliminate the smell by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil, pour into a reusable spray bottle and get cleaning.

 

Tip: As white vinegar is acidic, don’t use it on stone surfaces or metallic paint.

 

  • Olive oil

Not only is it delicious, but olive oil is a handy, chemical-free cleaning product and can be used to polish up items around the house. Stainless steel pans lost their shine? Add a bit of the good stuff to a soft cloth and rub your pots, pans and even your sink. It can also make your patent, leather or rubber shoes shine again.

 

Tip: Squeaky cupboard door? Spray a little olive oil onto the hinge to get rid of noise.

 

  • Bicarbonate of soda

Just like white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda comes high on the list of natural cleaning ingredients that are super effective and eco-friendly. It’s also a great way to get rid of bad smells. Mix it with water to get rid of dirt and grease in the kitchen or sprinkle it on a sponge and scrub pots and Tupperware that have got stubborn stains.

 

  • Lemon juice

While freshly squeezed lemon make a delicious cup of lemonade, it’s also a handy addition to your cleaning supplies. Mixed with water and some rinds, lemon juice can remove caked-on dirt and grime and adds a fresh-smelling scent to your home. Pour it down the sink to clear out your drain or mix it with white vinegar and water for an effective floor cleaner.

 

What are your favourite natural cleaning products or hacks? At Silverspring lettings we love to hear our customers’ solutions – comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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RENTAL RED FLAGS: HOW TO AVOID PROBLEM TENANCIES AND CREATE THE PERFECT LETTING

Nothing is more important than getting the right tenants for your rental property – because the choice you make will have a profound impact on your peace of mind and finances.

Whenever we’re contacted by a landlord who’s been having problems at their property, there’s very often something that was missed or skipped before the tenancy started.

A typical story is that things started well, everyone got along, and the landlord was pleased with their choice of new tenants. Then, at some point, something went wrong, and the landlord was left frustrated, disillusioned and out of pocket.

So how can you tell if you’ll get respectful, responsible and reliable tenants before you hand over the keys? More than anything, it’s all about the setup, and this week we’ll take you through our tried and tested process, to avoid problem tenancies and create stable and long-term lettings.

RUN A COMPATIBILITY CHECK FIRST

The first step in creating the perfect letting is to minimise wasted viewings by checking that your property and whoever is enquiring about it are the right fit for each other.

Some of the factfinding we undertake before booking a viewing includes asking potential tenants about:

  • what they need in terms of space, rooms, garden, location, parking, and transport;
  • their household setup (couples, singles, families, sharers) to be sure your property fits the bill;
  • whether they have any children or pets (look at our previous blog for top tips on this);
  • why they are moving, how long they plan to rent for, and whether they have a longer-term plan;
  • where they work and who they work for (some employers have notoriously high staff turnover, while others have an excellent reputation for stability).

You might feel uncomfortable asking so many questions, or pushing further if an answer is vague, but we speak from experience when we say it removes so many unnecessary appointments. In fact, the best tenants love having their time and property search taken so seriously.

INSIST ON FACE-TO-FACE VIEWINGS

Never rent your property to someone you haven’t met.

Regardless of anyone’s urgent timescale, and even if they’re moving from abroad, a face-to-face viewing is a priceless insight into someone’s character and whether they actually like your property. Video viewings can be a useful first step for someone who can’t get there in person just yet, but don’t take your property off the market until you’ve personally shown them around.

Here are some things to look out for on viewings:

  • Do potential tenants offer to take their shoes off and ask before opening cupboards, particularly if your property is currently occupied?
  • If you have family viewers, do they let their children run riot or manage them well?
  • If someone gets delayed, do they let you know in advance, after they’re late, or only when you call them?

Finally, listen to your sixth sense. After carrying out thousands of viewings, we know how to spot the really good tenants. If we have any doubts, we keep looking until we find the perfect match.

DON’T SKIMP ON THE REFERENCING

Once you’ve found a tenant you’re happy with, don’t ignore the referencing process. No matter how great you feel about someone, it’s not the same as actually knowing that they can afford to rent your property and are financially stable.

Here’s our checklist of the references we take up and what we look for to identify the very best tenants.

 

  • Landlord references are even more valuable if you can follow them up on the phone – an okay reference, rather than a glowing one, may hide a deeper story.
  • Employer’s references (or accounts for self-employed people) are essential to check income and work status.
  • Bank statements not only confirm salaries; they also reveal spending habits and financial management. This helps you gauge whether renting your property will be comfortable for a tenant, or push them to their limit.
  • Credit checks can deliver the odd surprise. Some tenants are genuinely unaware they have a CCJ (County Court Judgement), usually because they forgot to inform everyone when they moved. CCJs are often for small amounts related to phone bills or online shopping accounts, but they can give you an idea of someone’s financial awareness.

Just as you’d do your research when choosing a letting agent, thorough referencing for every tenant is time and money well spent.

PREPARE A DETAILED INVENTORY

A detailed inventory signed by the landlord and tenant is not only your protection in the event of a dispute, it also shows respect for your tenants by giving them an accurate record of your property’s condition when they move in.

  • prepare the inventory for signing at check-in, or put a condition in the tenancy agreement that your tenants have 7 days to question anything before the inventory is deemed as accepted;
  • include EVERYTHING at your property, from the condition of kitchen and bathroom fittings to the state of the décor and right down to power sockets, light switches and doorknobs;
  • take supporting photographs or videos for absolute clarity;
  • use a third party like a letting agent or inventory clerk as impartial inventories carry more weight in the event of a dispute.

Remember: it’s a landlord’s responsibility to prove any fault on the part of the tenants. Without clear before-and-after evidence you’re likely to lose any dispute, so an inventory is a must-have for every tenancy.

INSPECT YOUR PROPERTY REGULARLY

Writing into your tenancy agreement that you’ll be carrying out mid-tenancy inspections shows that you’re serious about your property being looked after, and allows you or your agent to see that all is going well.

Things to consider around mid-tenancy inspections include:

  • an inspection in the first month with your tenants present to discuss any teething issues and uncertainties around how things work;
  • carrying out future inspections at least once every six months (if your tenants are out, an inspection generally only takes between 15 and 30 minutes);
  • checking for water stains, mildew, limescale and broken hinges and handles, along with testing smoke alarms and looking inside any

appliances you supply.

What’s next for you?

Finding the very best tenants who are the perfect fit for your rental property is the special sauce in avoiding problem tenancies and creating stable lettings. It’s also our speciality!

If you’re a landlord in Leeds, we’d love to show you how we keep tenancies running smoothly at the rental properties we manage. Call us on 0113 460 2416 or email us at info@silverspringlettings.co.uk to see how we help our clients enjoy a profitable lettings business.

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Seven Tips to Get Young People Reading

In the lead-up to International Literacy Day on 8 September, this article shares ways to promote good literacy skills among children and teenagers.

 

To quote The Cat in the Hat creator Dr Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

 

The good doctor (we use the term loosely, it was a pen name) was right: being able to read and write is economically and intellectually empowering.

 

On the other hand, illiteracy hampers education and employment opportunities, making navigating everyday life more difficult. If you can’t read or write, you can’t check the labels on medicine bottles, study the terms of a contract or understand road and safety signs.

 

So, spare a thought for the 750 million people in the world (two thirds of whom are women) who are illiterate.*

 

Literacy in the UK

You might think illiteracy is only a problem in countries with limited access to education. But 16.4% of adults (7.1 million people) in this country have ‘very poor literacy skills’. **

 

And education experts fear this statistic could worsen in years to come because many children fell behind in literacy due to Covid lockdowns.

 

Here are seven tips to help raise a curious reader.

 

  • Make time each day to read together. If your child is a reluctant book reader, try magazines. Many magazines are aimed at children, so choose one on a topic that matches your child’s interests, such as football, animals, or cars.
  • Don’t forget the importance of talking to your child. Good language skills are associated with good literacy skills.
  • Join your local library so you can borrow numerous books (fiction and non-fiction) for free. Experiment with different genres and authors to find out what your child likes.
  • Send a card or letter in the post – children love to open envelopes addressed to them. Also, encourage your child to write to a loved one.
  • BookTok, a sub-community on TikTok where readers post book recommendations, is hugely popular with teenagers. If you’re struggling to get your teen to read, look at what’s trending on #BookTok.
  • Never criticise a young person’s choice in books. If they’re reading something that engages them, go with it.
  • When watching a film or TV show, turn on the English subtitles. Researchers think this activates the ‘listening’ and ‘speaking’ parts of the brain and helps reinforce our understanding of words.

What’s your favourite childhood book? Let us know what stories inspired you growing up by posting on our social media @Silverspring.lettings.

 

* Unesco

** National Literacy Trust

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BUY-TO-LET AND WORKING FROM HOME: TAP INTO THE TREND TO BOOST YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY’S INCOME

Can you believe the average UK employee now spends just 1.5 days a week at the office? Unimaginable just a couple of years ago, it’s now abundantly clear that the way we work has changed forever.

 

The new era of flexible working spells good news for landlords, with the chance to increase the income of your existing rental properties. Government figures confirm that hybrid workers are more likely to be high earners, which makes them an audience well worth targeting.

 

More people than ever are working remotely, including those looking at properties to rent in Leeds. Everyone accepted makeshift arrangements during lockdown, from Zooms on the couch to laptops on the stairs, but tenants are now prioritising their health and wellbeing.

 

Today, homes are being scrutinised for how suited they are to double duties, with high demand for clearly defined workspaces. So whatever the size of your rental property, here’s our guide to using what you’ve got to maximise the performance of your investment.

 

DESK THE HALLS

Before you start wondering which room might take a desk, have you thought about the entrance hall or landing? These can provide the perfect spot for a workspace that’s physically separate from the living areas.

Does your rental property have any of the following spaces you could turn into – or advertise as – a space to work from home?

 

  • A wide or square entrance hall with enough room for a desk without blocking the way.

 

  • An understairs area like a cupboard or recess: these can be repurposed as a tucked-away workspace that can be closed off with a door or screen.

 

  • An upstairs landing: many have a space originally designed for a wardrobe that works equally well for a desk, often with a skylight above for natural daylight.

 

Don’t forget the experience of working there. Nobody wants to spend their days crammed into a Harry Potter-style broom cupboard, so think about how you can create an enjoyable and productive space.

 

LEVERAGE THE LIVING ROOM

As the biggest spaces in most homes, living rooms have the most potential to host a desk. Sometimes, they’re the only option.

But living rooms are central to enjoying some domestic downtime, so we’ve put together a few guidelines for a workspace that takes a back seat when the working day is done.

 

  • Choose an alcove or corner where there’s a power socket.

 

  • Look for a space behind where sofas or armchairs would face, so the desk is out of sight after work.

 

  • Paint the workspace wall a different colour to provide a visual separation between the living and working zones.

 

If you want to go one step further, install a drop-down desk in your chosen spot to show potential tenants just how easily it fades into the background when not in use.

 

COOK UP A KITCHEN OFFICE

Cooking, laundry, washing up, coffee…  kitchens are our most dynamic rooms and the place to get things done, which makes them a natural fit for working from home.

While dining tables have become a favourite for laptop users, smaller kitchens can also make the grade with tricks like:

 

  • extending an existing work surface

 

 

 

Another natural advantage of kitchens is their collection of built-in cupboards. These give tenants the perfect hiding place for their printer, paperwork, stationery and laptop without having to find a clever storage solution or upsetting the design.

 

THINK INSIDE THE BOX ROOM

Not so long ago, plenty of landlords saw homes where one of the bedrooms was tiny as too much trouble. Single tenants and couples didn’t want to pay the extra rent, while sharers would be forever replacing the housemate in the smallest room with a single bed.

But now there’s a new wave of tenants who specifically want a dedicated workspace, and who don’t need an extra double bedroom. This gives box rooms multiple benefits that include:

 

  • Attracting wealthier tenants like consultants and practitioners who need a private room for their work, perhaps for visiting clients.

 

  • Removing the need for other rooms to double up on duties and preserving their intended purpose.

 

  • Keeping the office physically separate from home life, hidden away behind a door until it’s time to work again.

 

Box rooms also cost much less to heat; a huge advantage with current energy prices. So if your rental property has a small single bedroom, make sure the description shouts about its suitability for a home workspace.

 

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Given our less-than-tropical climate, and that tenants aren’t always the most motivated pruners and mowers, a garden room can add a real wow factor that provides a luxury workspace and significantly increase the sales value of your property.

Most garden rooms are considered permitted development and don’t require planning permission if they are less than 15m2 and not used as a bedroom. You can buy them at hardware stores like B&Q as well as many specialist dealers like Green Retreats.

 

  • Depending on the size and specification, expect to spend between £10,000 & £20,000

 

  • Garden rooms are estimated to add at least 1.5x their cost to your property, with higher estimates between 5 and 15% depending on how upscale you go.

 

  • You’ll need to connect your main electricity supply and install heating so the garden room can be used all year round.

 

A cheaper option would be a large garden shed or summerhouse where you get the electricity run in by an expert and complete the final finishes and installations yourself. You’ll save on costs, but remember that the added value to your property will also be lower.

 

Could your rental property be more profitable?

Don’t miss out on high-earning consultants, practitioners and hybrid workers. If the tenancy at your rental property is coming to an end, or you’ve got your eye on another buy-to-let, get in touch today. We’d love to help you optimise its working-from-home potential.

 

Call us on 0113 460 2416 or email us at info@silverspringlettings.co.uk for a friendly, expert chat about rental property in Leeds  and finding the perfect tenants.

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Renting for the First Time? Read On

Are you a renting newbie? Are you flying your family’s comfy nest? Well, this one’s for you. Renting your first place isn’t as simple as moving in and unpacking – there’s a lot you need to know.

 

In this quick read, we help you prepare to sign on the dotted line and start your first tenancy. 

 

Step 1: Budget

Have you planned your finances? Do you know what you can afford every month? Have you saved enough for a deposit?

 

Remember, it’s not just rent you must pay; you also need to budget for utility bills and council tax (unless they’re included in the rent), food and travel. Also, when you move in, you’ll have to pay for a TV licence, broadband installation and contents insurance.

 

Step 2: Search 

If you know where you want to live, research the types and prices of available properties. Think about whether you want to move into a flat share, an HMO, or a place just for you. Speak to a local letting agent to discuss what’s available.

 

Be ready to move quickly once you’ve found a property, as the rental market can be competitive.

 

Step 3: Understand your tenancy agreement 

Once you’ve found a place, you’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement. This details your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, your landlord’s responsibilities towards the property and you, notice periods and the rental amount. Keep a copy of this throughout the tenancy period.

 

Your deposit will be held in a tenancy deposit scheme, which means it’s protected. It will be returned to you at the end of the agreement if there are no disputes around the property’s condition.

 

Step 4: Moving in

Before you start lugging boxes into your rental, you should be provided with an inventory. This details the condition of the property and any furniture or fittings. Make sure you look at this closely. Tell your agent/landlord if there are any discrepancies between the document and the property’s actual condition. Sign it and keep a copy.

 

Check that there are working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a legal requirement. Make sure you know about any fire exits or safety points.

 

Step 5: Landlord details 

Your tenancy agreement will contain your landlord’s contact details. It is the landlord’s duty to maintain the property, for example, if the oven stops working or the toilet starts leaking. However, if a lightbulb goes out but it was working when you moved in, that’s for you to replace. Similarly, if you cause any damage during the tenancy, it’s up to you to sort it out.

 

However nice your landlord is, remember, they’re not your friend. It’s a business relationship. Renting a property is a transaction. So, keep interactions polite and professional.

 

If you’re searching for your first rental, our team will be happy to help. Contact Silverspring Lettings today.