Central Rentals

We sat down with Jordan Kennedy, MARLA, our Central Lettings Manager, to find out more about the rental market at the moment:

1. What are the main changes in lettings legislation that landlords and tenants need to consider?
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have now passed through Parliament and came into force on 1 April 2019.

This means that from that date onwards the ‘no cost to the landlord’ exemption is no longer available and will no longer appear on the PRS Exemptions Register after 31 March 2020. The Government has said that all affected landlords will be contacted directly at the start of April.
Under the new rules, landlords will be expected to contribute up to £3,500 (inc. VAT) per property to make energy efficiency improvements to raise a property’s EPC rating to a minimum of an E. Any landlord we work with can, of course, talk to us to find out more about this.
Another update is The Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which finished its parliamentary journey in December 2018. Since 20th March 2019 all social and private landlords, including letting agents, in England are required to comply. Known as the Homes Act, landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf will be required by law to ensure that a home is fit for human habitation from the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy. If a home is found to be hazardous, and the issue is not resolved, tenants will have the right to take direct legal action in the Courts for breach of contract.
**LANDLORDS BEWARE: No HMO licence = UP TO £30,000 fine and landlords could be required to pay tenants up to 12 months’ rent, or be given a Banning Order.**
We deal with reputable landlords and do not foresee this Act causing particular concern to landlords or tenants we work with; of course, we are always here to discuss any issues about the properties we manage and can provide further details on this Act if required.

2. What are the top reasons cited by tenants for renting in the areas covered by Jackson-Stops?
Our research department tells us that requirements are markedly localised throughout our London and Surrey branch network. Here are just a few of the trends we’re seeing within a small selection of our branches:
In Pimlico we’re helping a large number of tenants to move closer to their place of work; generally our tenants are looking to commute to Victoria but are keen to try living in a new area of London such as Nine Elms, which offers fabulous lifestyle opportunities to young professionals and growing families alike. We’re also seeing a trend for ‘try before you buy’ tenants – people who are ‘trying out’ areas by renting for a short time before deciding whether to buy there. 
In this leafy suburb, tenants are looking for good value for money in an area which provides top class schools at all levels, a good mix of High Street and independent boutique shops, the tranquillity of Bushy Park and great commuter links for busy professionals.

We see a definite geographical trend of movement into this area: couples typically start renting in Chiswick or Richmond and move further out to Teddington when they start a family and feel the need for more space around them. 

Mayfair, St James and Marylebone are all wonderfully luxurious, high-end destinations. The most cited reasons for people looking to rent here are the range of incredible housing opportunities on offer and the lifestyle amenities nearby: the high concentration of Michelin-starred and fine dining restaurants, the luxurious global fashion brands within walking distance, the cultural attractions…the area is also nestled between two wonderful London parks, Green Park and Hyde Park…what’s not to love?
3. What are the latest trends in property rentals that you're seeing in the areas we work in?
In Pimlico, we’re seeing a real rise in the number of tenants looking for serviced apartments, which offer easy living to busy professionals – there’s increased interest in high-end, newly-renovated one and two bedroom flats. These properties often have regular cleaning services and gym/spa facilities within the building, which is a great time saver for those working long hours.
In Teddington, working from home is the latest ‘thing’ – tenants are looking for sheds or studios in the garden to work from in order to create a better work/life balance. Oh, and dogs, dogs, dogs! Everybody has gone barking mad for small dog breeds such as Boston Terriers or French Bulldogs. Bikes are also very ‘on trend’ right now, with cycling enthusiasts or commuters requiring suitable, secure storage space when looking for a rental. 

In Mayfair there are several new luxury developments completing in the area which offer onsite gym facilities, concierge services and entertainment lounges. These are really popular with younger tenants such as high net worth international students and young professionals seeking good levels of security when living in the UK for the first time.

As I say, it’s all pretty localised in terms of tenant requirements, which keeps our busy lettings teams tuned in to their surroundings and certainly keeps them on their toes.

4. What are the main benefits of a landlord instructing a reputable agent to manage their property or property portfolio?
So many! There are currently over 125 (and counting) pieces of lettings legislation for landlords to understand and digest. By employing professional agents to manage their properties landlords can be assured that they will be fully compliant and avoid the risk of serious fines and ongoing worry. Our comprehensive management service takes care of the day-to-day running of the property; from managing statutory testing, transfer of utilities, insurances, carrying out inspections, through to the management of maintenance. Our service also extends to the care of vacant property.
New landlords are often unaware that we will deal with deposit negotiations at the end of tenancies, which can be extremely complex and time consuming for all parties. We also ensure that all maintenance matters are dealt with using reputable, insured, licensed and qualified contractors through our robust selection criteria. Landlords will be saved time and expense when relying on us to instruct contractors.
Our highly experienced property management team can also assist in refurbishments and preparing the property for re-let, which leads to shorter vacant periods. We feel that our service is here to reduce stress, increase freedom and free up valuable time.
On a final note, it’s important for our landlords and tenants to know they can contact us to discuss any matter relating to their tenancy. We pride ourselves on offering a personal, friendly service based on trust and experience and our teams are always happy to help.