Residential Land Property News Section

Renting a property in Central London? Here are some financial considerations

Renting a Central London property is a great way to establish a base in one of the world’s most exciting capital cities and with the right financial planning, it can be a very rewarding experience.

Residential Land - Flats to Rent in Central London

The set up costs to rent a property are often cheaper than taking out a mortgage. For starters, there isn’t the same hefty deposit to pay. When buying a property, usually a deposit of 25% of a home’s value is needed to secure the best mortgage rates – which would be an astonishing £138,050 using today’s average price of a London property, according to Rightmove.

 There are fees and costs associated with renting; here at Residential Land we believe in a very transparent and open approach to what we expect our tenants to pay. We also want to make sure every tenant is aware of the financial costs of running a home, so they are comfortable throughout their tenancy.

We’ve created a quick guide to the most important financial considerations tenants should be mindful of when renting a Central London property:-

  • How much can you afford in rent each month? This is probably the most important question. Government figures suggest 35% of take home pay is what most people can afford to devote to monthly rental payments, but this could be higher or lower depending on other outgoings and financial commitments, the type of property that is being rented and in what location.
  • Have you got a guarantor? Some tenants – especially younger people who haven’t been able to build up a lengthy employment history or credit record – may be asked to provide a rental guarantor who would pay the rent if the tenant wasn’t able to. A guarantor usually needs to be a UK homeowner with steady long-term employment and a good salary and/or someone with a good credit score.
  • Budget for a security deposit. As you will be living in a property owned by someone else, it is usual for tenants to pay a security deposit of between one month and six weeks worth of rent before the tenancy starts. Residential Land is proud to hold each tenant’s deposit with MyDeposits, which is an insurance-based deposit scheme offering full cover to all deposits taken. Your deposit will be returned within 14 days from the end of the tenancy.
  • Budget to pay an upfront payment. Your security deposit will need to be paid upfront to cover the initial cost, as well as a month’s rent in advance which will continue throughout the term of the tenancy. It is worth bearing in mind that your last payment of rent will be a month before the date your tenancy ends.
  • Budget for administration fees. Residential Land prides itself on having some of the lowest – if not the lowest – administration fees in London at just £50. It’s one of the brilliant upsides of dealing direct with a landlord. By renting through Residential Land, you’ll cut out inflated charges levied by High Street letting agents. As a large landlord we firmly believe in keeping administration fees to a minimum, making renting an affordable start to your residency in London.
  • Ask about extra charges. Check with your landlord to see if you are expected to pay anything towards the heating and water, especially in large blocks of flats, as well as a fee for using a car parking space or garden.
  • Budget for the ‘running’ of a home. Living in a rented property is not like living in a hotel. You’ll be expected to carry out and pay for essential jobs and DIY tasks, such as changing a lightbulb, replacing a fuse and unblocking a sink. It’s also worth checking if a property is being offered on a ‘furnished’ or ‘unfurnished’ basis. If it’s empty, you’ll need to buy furniture.
  • Don’t forget your bills – while some properties to rent in Central London will be marketed as ‘bills included’, the majority are not. Usually the tenant pays for the council tax, all utility bills (including broadband), a television licence and contents insurance.

If there is any aspect of budgeting you’re unclear of, Residential Land would be pleased to guide you through the process. Contact us today for rental advice and a wide selection of houses and flats to rent in Central London.

Market update: ‘brand’ landlord gaining momentum

The private rental sector is changing. We’re moving into the era of the professional landlord, more recently referred to as ‘brand’ landlord and the effects will be felt the most by small portfolio and accidental landlords.

Brand landlord gains momentum

Professional or ‘brand’ landlord is not a new concept, as Residential Land has been a private landlord brand since 1991. Organisations like us want to change the perception of renting, acting as professional landlords yet operating within a bigger company structure.

‘Brand’ landlord is the product of a number of current factors, although Residential Land has always been ahead of the game. There is a growing need for fair, transparent and fit-for-purpose rental accommodation and some private landlords are not in a position to deliver this. Large branded private landlords like Residential Land have the resources, infrastructure and specialist skills to deliver quality professionally-managed properties across Central London.

In fact, we are signed up to The London Rental Standard – a voluntary set of minimum standards that the Mayor expects from landlords, managing agents and letting agents that operate in London’s private rented sector. Our tenants also benefit from clean and modern properties, dedicated building managers and 24-hour maintenance support.

The lettings landscape will also alter as Build to Rent gathers pace. This Government-backed initiative is encouraging developers, organisations, charities, REITs, pension funds and other investment vehicles to build new homes, retain ownership and release the units into the private rental sector.

Build to Rent is an approach that’s here to stay. The British Property Federation has just recommended that a quarter of all public land in London be earmarked for build-to-rent projects, and that the rate of build in London should be doubled. It is also encouraging the Mayor to identify 20 new build-to-rent opportunity areas in the capital.

It’s also worth mentioning what’s happening to small property investors and one-man band landlords. The National Landlords Association (NLA) reports that the proportion of landlords in Central London who intend to sell property has quadrupled since 2015’s Budget, squeezed by a new second home stamp duty levy (from 1st April 2016), cuts to mortgage interest relief and alterations to the wear and tear tax break. This trio of changes will mean some landlords will run at a loss, perhaps prompting them to sell up and leave the private rental sector altogether.

Private lettings is becoming an institutional grade investment business with a corporate face and household names behind new rental communities. Tenants are savvy. They want a trustworthy source, professional assurances and a smart lifestyle – something that ‘brand’ landlord is ready to deliver.

If you are looking for short or long term rentals in Central London, Contact Residential Land, we have a portfolio of over 1200 flats and houses in some of the best postcodes across the Capital.

MIPIM report: World property experts shape the future of Central London PRS

MIPIM – the real estate extravaganza took place during March in Cannes. It’s probably the biggest gathering of leading industry professionals, investors, advisors and companies, and Residential Land, once again, took part, with CEO, Bruce Ritchie, sitting on a seminar panel and giving a video interview for leading industry publication, Property Week.

You might ask why an event like MIPIM is so important to tenants – both current and prospective. The Central London private rental market is at a crucial juncture. Demand is soaring and as an industry we are looking to increase the supply of decent, well managed rental property. We’re also facing uncertain times ahead of the BREXIT vote, with many experts speculating how an ‘out’ vote might affect the UK’s property market.

 Bruce Ritchie has expertly linked the two milestones together, stating that Residential Land is looking for opportunities in turbulent times. He pointed out that BREXIT is making many property owners and investors nervous, and that Residential Land will look to make wholesale purchases from those wishing to sell Central London property. The byproduct will hopefully be an enlarged portfolio of quality property to rent in Central London from our professional landlord brand. Of course, our teams will make sure every flat or house is up to scratch with an expert management team in place before it reaches the open market.

 MIPIM brings together the world’s top property investors and a large contingency of those are looking to invest in Central London, thanks to our stable economy. MIPIM is a great chance to ‘power network’ – to make valuable connections in a short space of time. Forging new partnerships is vital as lettings moves into the era of institutional investment. Both the Build to Rent programme and the property-led focus of REITs is set to inject millions into the Central London private rental sector, and Residential Land wants to position itself at the heart of investment for the benefit of our tenants. For all the handshakes and signatures on dotted lines, the objective is to always bring more quality rental property to Central London and to make renting more affordable – both will become possible with increased investment.

 It’s fitting that we conclude with a look to the future. The buzzword to come from MIPIM 2016 was ‘professional’. With private lettings set to expand, the general consensus was the industry needs professional investors, professional landlords and professional bodies overseeing the sector for the benefit of all tenants. It’s something Residential Land wholeheartedly supports.

If you’re weighing up buying or renting in prime Central London, contact us to arrange a consultation or a viewing of our extensive portfolio of properties. We’re certain to have something to suit your needs and help you make the right decision.

How to avoid rogue landlords when renting a property in Central London

The phrase ‘rogue landlords’ has crept its way into popular language over the years, and unfortunately, it gives the lettings industry an unfair reputation. Although used profusely by journalists in headlines, rogue landlords are not as common as you might think.

Residential-Land-How-to-avoid-Rogue-landlords

If you are looking at property to rent in Central London, however, there are far more flats and houses to choose from and a greater chance that you might stumble across an unprofessional landlord.

 The Evening Standard’s Homes & Property section recently ran a headline using the term ‘rogue landlord’, even throwing in a ‘bogus landlord’ reference as well. It quoted an estimated 3,000 tenants in the UK who were ‘swindled’ by a landlord during 2015 –  a rise in this type of incident of 50%. Sadly, you could become the next statistic.

 If you’re viewing properties to rent in Central London or are wondering how safe it is to trust a landlord you may encounter via an online advert, we have prepared some safeguard advice that should help protect you and your deposit:-

  • Ask to meet the landlord at the property when you conduct any viewings and never agree to rent a property on the strength of online photos – always visit the property in person.
  • Use a legitimate website or agent when searching for properties to rent in Central London – some unscrupulous people advertise lets that don’t exist. Extra caution should be applied when following up rental leads on social media.
  • Ask for proof of how the landlord will hold and protect your deposit – there are a number of Government-backed schemes the landlord must use – we use MyDeposits.
  • Be aware if you are asked to pay a huge ‘holding’ fee to secure a rental property, especially if they ask for the money in cash.
  • Be suspicious if you are not asked to produce photo ID, proof of earnings and references. As of the 1st February 2016, Right to Rent checks have become mandatory and a law-abiding landlord will need retained proof that the tenant has the right to rent in this country. By asking for documentation, a landlord will be acting within the law.

Residential Land is a new type of private landlord – the largest in the capital, in fact – set up so tenants can rent a Central London property with peace of mind that they are dealing with an authentic, transparent landlord and a registered business. We have multiple industry-specific accreditations and memberships, including The British Property Federation, the National Association of Landlords, The Housing Ombudsman Service and The Association of Residential Management Agents, among others, and we comply with The London Rental Standard set out by the Mayor of London.

For extra security, Residential Land has a Tenants’ Charter that applies to every Central London property let and managed by us. This ensures we offer  the best possible service to every tenant, and that our actions are accountable at all times. Our full Tenants’ Charter is available to read online.

Browse online to read more about us and view our current properties to rent in Central London.

Why and how is the Central London rentals market growing?

London. It’s a dynamic, ever-evolving city where commerce, creativity and culture thrive. We’re proud to offer tenants first-class rental properties in high-quality locations so more people can enjoy living in the capital. The Central London lettings sector is growing at an astounding pace and as 2015 has now passed and 2016 starts, it’s a good time to assess the private rental sector and what might lie ahead.

residential land - central london property

Why is the Central London lettings market growing?

There is no one answer, rather a combination of factors. These include:-

Flexibility and choice unique to renting – many tenants choose to rent so they can move about the capital as they need to, whether it’s for work or social reasons. Today’s tenants are confident in their choice of status and benefit from the quicker set-up timeframes and lower initial move-in cost compared to buying a property – especially when they deal directly with a landlord like Residential Land.

Better quality of Central London rentals – landlords such as Residential Land are focused on providing tenants with bright, well maintained, modern properties to rent where people would want to call home. One of the best things about renting a property is that they hold less responsibility than owning your own home, especially with a 24 hour maintenance service available, such as the one provided by Residential Land which suits busy London residents who have peace of mind provided by a professional landlord.

A more transparent, governed industry – protecting our tenants is of paramount importance and we ensure every let we manage is legally compliant and safe. We make it our business to stay on top of the industry’s laws and legislations for tenants’ peace of mind. We are determined to be the respected, trustworthy face of lettings in London, delivering a first-class service direct to tenants and pushing rogue landlords out of business.

A competitive buying market – more Londoners are turning to the rental market as they have found buying a property in Central London a frustrating or fruitless process. For many, a rental property has become the quickest way of securing a premium address in the capital, with some exemplary rental properties in enviable locations available through Residential Land.

Central London rentals – the future
There’s good news ahead, with plans to increase the number of properties to rent in Central London, catering for an increasing population and rising desire to live in the capital. Institutional investment in the private rental sector – of which Residential Land was one of the first – is being backed by the Government’s £1 billion Build to Rent scheme, with quality accommodation for more conscientious tenants who expect a professional service.

If you would like to know more about the rental market in Central London, including what it’s like to rent directly from a professional landlord like Residential Land, contact us today. Why not take a look at our current portfolio and find your next rental property in Central London. Search here >>

The secret of securing a property to rent in Central London

If you are looking for a property to rent in Central London, we can confidently guess you’ve searched the property portals and even letting agents’ own websites and found lots of suitable properties….only to discover a tiny tag on the corner of the photo that says ‘let’.

property to rent in Central London

Frustratingly, many agents choose to list properties they have already let to boost their online presence, while others may be slow to remove listings once a new tenant has been found. As you may have discovered, the Central London rental market moves at the speed of light and you might already have experienced disappoint that a rental property you have found has already been let by the time you make an enquiry.

There are a few tricks of the trade if you want first refusal on houses and flats to rent in Central London. Here are our top three suggestions that will put you in pole position:-

Cut out the middle man – a landlord can be a large reputable company as well as an individual, so don’t discount going directly to the property’s owner. Residential Land is one of capital’s biggest private landlords, with a portfolio of over 1,200 houses and flats to rent in Central London.  All the properties we let are clean and modern, managed by dedicated building managers and supported by a 24-hour maintenance team. When you deal directly with Residential Land, you skip the letting agent, resulting in quicker access to lets and less red tape.

Register directly with a landlord or agent – did you know that landlords and agents hold waiting lists of tenants who get first refusal on properties? To get on the list you need to register with the company directly, leaving your requirements and contact details. You’ll then be contacted as soon as a new rental property matching your description is taken on. It’s highly likely you’ll be notified before the property is promoted to the mass market or published online.

Set up property alerts – a great way to ensure you don’t miss a rental as soon as it goes live online is to create property alerts. Rightmove and Zoopla offer a ‘property alert’ facility, which emails you as soon as a property matching your requirements is published online. Residential Land is pleased to list all its houses and flats to rent in Central London on both Rightmove and Zoopla, so create an alert today!

Why not jump to the front of the queue by contacting Residential Land to register your details? By dealing direct with us – the landlord – we can notify you of new London rentals as soon as they become available, reducing the chance you’ll be pipped to the lettings post.

Top 10 tips on how to keep your home safe while you’re away

Christmas is finally upon us, which for many Londoners means one thing: time to escape the city! But whether you’re heading to the Cotswolds or The Alps, the last thing you need is to worry about the security of your home while you’re away, or worse, come home to a break-in.

To keep your mind at ease, we’ve put together our top ten tips of how to keep your home safe and sound while you’re away, so you can enjoy your heard-earned break without a care in the world. Happy holidays!

Lock - Residential Land

Lock your doors and windows | Image credits:- www.moneysupermarket.com

1. Lock all windows and doors securely

As obvious as it may sound, you’d be surprised how many people forget to lock the bathroom window or bolt the terrace doors. Take the time to check every window, door and possible entrance to your property has been doubly locked, and never leave keys in the lock – keep them all in a designated safe place such as a drawer instead.

2. Unplug all electrical items

Avoid the consequences of an unexpected power surge by unplugging all electrical items while you’re away, including microwaves, televisions, kettles and toasters. Switch off the gas supply and check smoke alarms are in working order too, so if a problem did arise the neighbours would be alerted to it.

Instagram post | Image credits:- www.instagram.com/feedingthecat

Instagram post | Image credits:- www.instagram.com/feedingthecat

 

3. Don’t tell the world that you’re going away

As much as you want to boast on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that you’re off on a sunny holiday or enjoying a cocktail on the beach, wait until you return to share those envy-inducing pictures and updates. Not only will you be telling the world that your house is empty, you may also be voiding your insurance policy, as some companies refuse to pay out following a burglary if you’ve publicly declared your absence on social media.

4. Inform your building manager that you’re going away

If you live in a property with a building manager, let them know that you’ll be away and how long for so they can keep an eye on your property and deter any suspicious-looking visitors. They may also be able to store your mail for you if it’s kept in a public place.

Don't leave valuables visible | Image credits:- www.thesweetsetup.com

Don’t leave valuables visible | Image credits:- www.thesweetsetup.com

 

5. Move high-value items out of sight

Any items of value such as laptops, jewellery and cameras should be hidden in a safe place away from windows. Under pillows, in drawers beneath clothes and full laundry baskets are good hiding places, and for anything of particular value consider investing in a small safe for true peace of mind.

6. Clear out the fridge

The last thing you want after a relaxing holiday is to return to a smelly fridge, so go through it carefully before you leave, taking care to check the use-by dates of any particularly pungent items and throw them away if necessary.

7. Empty all rubbish bins

Hot weather and rubbish bins are the perfect breeding ground for bugs and rodents. Empty and bleach all bins before leaving to ensure you don’t return to an unwanted colony of beasties.

Mail | Image credits:- www.wikipedia.org

Mail | Image credits:- www.wikipedia.org

 

8. Put your mail on hold

A growing pile of mail, flyers and free newspapers on the mat is not only a nuisance when you open the door on your return, but equally alerts criminals to an unoccupied property if it can be seen through a window. Ask a kindly neighbour to collect your mail and parcels, otherwise you can use the Royal Mail holding service while you’re away. [http://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/keepsafe]

9. Add a timer to visible lights

Closed curtains and a dark property is a clear sign to thieves that the building is empty. To avoid this, keep some curtains partially open (upper floors are ideal) and add a light timer so that light is emitted during the evenings to give the impression that someone is home.

Milk | Image credits:- www.marycrimmins.com

Milk | Image credits:- www.marycrimmins.com

 

10. Cancel any milk, grocery, or paper deliveries

A growing collection of milk and groceries outside your property is not only messy and wasteful in terms of perishable items, its also another clear sign that no-one is home. Put your regular deliveries on pause while you are away, and thieves will be none the wiser.

Residential Land goes offplan in west London

Residential Land is proud to announce that it has completed on Palace Wharf, a deal for a riverside scheme in Fulham that has planning permission for 27 residential units.

For further information please read the article in Property Week below or follow the link to read it on the Property Week website

Ritchie’s Residential Land goes offplan in west London

Bruce Ritchie’s Residential Land has completed a major off-plan residential purchase in west London, after taking advantage of a lull in the Asian forward-sales market.

Backed by Canadian pension fund giant Ivanhoé Cambridge, the private rented sector (PRS) specialist has forward-purchased Chase New Homes’ scheme at Palace Wharf in Fulham at £1,250/sq ft – with the deal worth around £37m in total.

Palace Wharf, Fulham

Palace Wharf, Fulham

The site, near the famous River Café, has planning consent for 27 residential units, comprising five townhouses and 22 flats. “We see that to fulfil our stock requirements we need to be buying new as well as existing [stock],” Residential Land chief executive Ritchie told Property Week. “There’s an opportunity while Asian markets cool for us to replace that Far Eastern buyer with investor money, PRS money, rather than ‘export money’.”

The deal is Ritchie’s first off-plan purchase with Ivanhoé Cambridge and comes after Ivanhoé invested in a fifth Residential Land fund in February. The new £650m fund is focused on a broader area of prime central London, and its upper price point for investment has increased from £1,500/sq ft to £1,650/sq ft.

As well as buying the Fulham scheme, Residential Land has sold a £47m residential block in Marylebone to a group of Middle Eastern investors. Elliott House, 1 Molyneux Street, has been sold to developer Coronado – with backing from Shariah-compliant Al-Rayan bank.

Residential Land had already stripped out the building after receiving planning permission in 2012 to increase the size of the 1930s block from 28,500 sq ft to 35,500 sq ft – increasing the number of flats from 23 to 31.

Coronado will now take over the redevelopment to create the enlarged building, with Residential Land exiting at a price of £1,650 on the existing square footage.

Ritchie said it was a sign Shariah-compliant purchasers were becoming more comfortable with development.

Prime Central London prices rise above 2007 peak values

Central London residential prices have now risen by about 16% above their 2007 peak values, but the widespread industry consensus of opinion is that values will continue to grow , putting the sector in to a super prime category compared to the rest of the UK and other world cities. This was highlighted in a recent CBRE report entitled ‘Why London Still Packs a Superprime Punch’ – download it here.

Residential supply remains restricted, and both domestic and international demand, particularly from the Far East remains very strong.

The reasons for this overseas demand remain the same, overall quality of environment for foreign owners, safety for assets and persons and easy access. In addition and as importantly there is a good choice of apartments and houses to choose from, all designed and finished to the highest world standards.

Residential Land remains committed to this sector, both in the traditional prime areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, but also in the newer prime pockets in St John’s Wood, Hampstead and Regents Park and are actively seeking to increase their portfolio.

If you have any opportunities, both existing or new build, contact our acquisition experts here or email enquiries@residentialland.com

Savills spotlight on Prime Rental Markets

Savills have recently produced their 2011/2012 Winter report on prime rental markets.

Their key findings are:

  • In the face of economic uncertainty, prime rental growth has slowed.
  • However, stock levels have been contained as renewal rates have remained high and tenants have sought increased tenancy lengths.
  • Over the medium term, tenant demand and rent levels will remain driven by limited mortgage availability and increased demand from those delaying house purchasing.
  • In the short term this will be tempered by the outlook for the financial and business sector, which is a key component of rental demand.

The report states that whilst growth has recently eased in the prime rental market of London, rental growth is expected to outperform the UK over the next five years.

Residential Land has all of its residential investment portfolio in prime central London and continues to experience high levels of occupancy and growing rent levels.  The company continues to look for new investment opportunities.

If you have any residential property opportunities within Prime Central London please contact one the Residential Land’s acquisition team or email enquiries@residentialland.com

To download a copy of the Savills report, visit:
http://www.savills.co.uk/research/residential-research.aspx