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Private rents rise, changes to the How to Rent Guide, and what buyers and tenants really want from a home

New opportunities open up, different challenges come along, and the business environment for the buy to let landlord is forever in flux.

So that you keep abreast of those changes, seize any new opportunities and rise to any challenges, it is important to stay tuned to the news. So, here are a few snippets as to what has been going on in the world of buy to let investors recently …

Latest changes to the How to Rent Guide

As a landlord, you probably know that you are required to give (or email) any new tenant a copy of the official How to Rent guide.

But had you considered that the version of the guide you provide to any new tenant must be the current version – and that the versions change on a fairly regular basis (updates were issued as recently as in June and again in July, for example)?

The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) issued a warning on the 13th of August reminding landlords that you must give your tenants a copy of the latest version of the How to Rent guide for the date on which the tenancy started.

If you fail to do so, you are likely to find it difficult if you subsequently try to serve a Section 21 “no-fault” eviction notice to the tenants concerned.

Private rents rise by 1.3%

Landlord Today reports that average rents in the private sector have risen by just 1.3% in the year to the end of July.

This is the third month in a row that the average private sector rents have remained the same. It also means that rental income for landlords is effectively falling, relative to inflation.

Rents may have risen by 1.3% in the past year, but inflation has climbed more steeply over the same period – by 2.1% when measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and 2.8% in terms of the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Section 21 is not responsible for causing homelessness says NLA

The National Landlords’ Association (NLA) robustly challenges any suggestion by government that the use by landlords of so-called Section 21 – or “no-fault” eviction notices – has led to an increase in homelessness.

Research by the NLA instead suggests that the main reason for homelessness is the result of family or friends no longer being prepared to share their home with them.

Where former tenants have become homeless at the end of an assured shorthold private rented tenancy, this has been because of the landlord evoking Section 8 “fault” eviction notices, or the tenants have simply abandoned the let property or have fallen into rent arrears.

What constitutes the perfect home?

Online estate agents Zoopla – in a joint exercise with the Society of Garden Designers – have discovered the somewhat surprising premium which house hunters place on a well-groomed garden.

A pleasant outside space appears to be just as important to those looking for a new home as the latest in designer kitchens or bathrooms – and those looking to buy a property are prepared to pay an average of £15,000 for a home with a garden.

The priority given to that outside space is underlined by the finding that 74% of homeowners have already invested in improving their garden or are planning to do so soon – in the expectation of the investment increasing the capital value of their property.

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