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TMCNet:  This could be the year you decide to consider letting ; How is the rental market looking for Hull and the wider East Riding in the coming months? We... [Hull Daily Mail (England)]

[February 13, 2014]

This could be the year you decide to consider letting ; How is the rental market looking for Hull and the wider East Riding in the coming months? We... [Hull Daily Mail (England)]

(Hull Daily Mail (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) This could be the year you decide to consider letting ; How is the rental market looking for Hull and the wider East Riding in the coming months? We asked some of the region's leading letting agents for their views and for their advice for potential landlords and tenants This year is set to be an interesting one for the lettings industry. The continuing increase in rental demand across the UK combined with a widening variety of buy-tolet mortgage products available will allow new and experienced investors to take advantage of an increasingly buoyant property market.


This potential for new investors coming into the area will, we hope, lead to more landlords and a wider variety of rental property becoming available to tenants.

As the East Yorkshire and Humber regions offer some of the best value-for-money rents available in the Yorkshire region, as well as further afield, this can only be good news for current and potential tenants.

A recent poll from the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) found that more than four in five (83 per cent) of tenants in Yorkshire and the Humber, believe their rent to represent good value for money, compared with other regions such as the East Midlands, where value for money was considered as "poor" or "very poor".

As an independent letting and property management specialist, we at RPMS Letting are enjoying a fantastic start to the year. As an independent letting specialist we are delighted to have welcomed a number of new clients and secured several new instructions, adding to our increasing quality property portfolio in and across the East Yorkshire region.

The positive start to the year has resulted in our professional and friendly lettings team continuing to successfully match tenants to a high standard of choice properties and in doing so, surpassing our January targets as well as closing in on targets for February, too.

Potential new landlords and investors reading this should be encouraged to bring their properties to RPMS Letting and help meet tenant demand.

In addition to plenty of rental activity and client interaction, RPMS Letting has also been working hard behind the scenes to analyse the effectiveness of our processes, systems and brand awareness.

Our 2014 aim is to ensure our customers continue to receive the best and most transparent service available in the area, together with realistic rental valuations.

Our clients' satisfaction is of paramount importance to us and, with this in mind, we have joined the explosion of businesses networking on social media.

We have created a new dynamic website, rpms.co.uk, and we are building an active social media presence via Twitter and Facebook. These media outlets are allowing us to interact with local businesses and have a greater presence to become more involved more readily in local community events.

The website will continue to evolve and has been designed with an emphasis on excellent usability, essential information and useful hints and tips, allowing us to go the extra mile to help existing and potential landlords and tenants to fully understand what is involved in letting or renting a property responsibly.

We cover topics useful to landlords, such as the latest HMRC initiative, named the "let property campaign", which is focusing on second property owners declaring income, many of which are "accidental landlords", as well as tenants' guidelines for the tenancy deposit schemes and how to ensure a deposit will be returned in full.

As the debate surrounding regulation of all letting agents in order to rid the industry of the minority rogue agents continues, RPMS Letting is proud to be registered with Safe Agent and the Property Ombudsman. Our lettings team are fully qualified members of Arla and we are committed to continued professional development, which is important from an individual perspective as well as a client viewpoint, given that legislation in the industry is constantly evolving.

Our goal for 2014 is to have our most successful year yet as we turn 21 and move into a newly refurbished office space within our existing building.

It may be easy to assume that renting your house out is relatively straightforward - however, there are many landlords, new to the industry, who would tell you otherwise.

Since April 6, 2007, all landlords who let properties under assured shorthold tenancies have been obliged to protect their tenants' deposits in a tenancy deposit scheme.

The scheme allows the tenant to oppose any proposed deductions by the landlord at the end of the tenancy and also ensures the deposit is repaid to the tenant promptly.

We have increasingly found that a great number of inexperienced landlords are still failing to protect their tenants deposits in one of the Government-backed schemes.

This can be a big mistake as the implications of not protecting a deposit are very serious indeed, and experienced and novice landlords alike are finding this out to their financial detriment.

Firstly, if you fail to either protect the deposit in the scheme, or to write to the tenant with the prescribed information, then Section 214 of the Act allows the tenant to bring a claim against you in the county court. If this claim is successful, you can then be ordered to repay the deposit to your tenant, as well as pay a fine of three times the deposit.

Secondly, the landlord forfeits the right to successfully end a tenancy under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 by serving two months' notice. A section 21 is the most relied-upon avenue to successfully gain possession of a property, so not having the ability of this option could seriously undermine a landlord's financial position. Problematic tenants or tenants in arrears could end up having a greater ability to stay in a property longer, causing the landlord increased stress and financial strain.

Lastly, as a final blow, you may still be ordered to pay the tenant's legal costs for bringing the application to court.

So, the moral to the story is, do not under any circumstances fail to protect a tenant's deposit, otherwise becoming a landlord could turn into a very stressful and exspensive lesson to learn.

Any good accredited letting agent can give you the right coaching to ensure that this doesn't happen to you.

Wow, what an amazing year for lettings at Riverside Property. We had a very successful 2013, assisting people from all walks of life in finding a rental property in Hull and the surrounding areas.

Lettings is a busy and fast-paced industry with potential tenants seeing two to three properties before making decisions. However, in many cases, we have a quick turnaround on the properties we have.

This year is off to a great start for the industry. We are taking on new landlords and meeting new tenants.

We feel the market will continue to be strong and tenants will have a great choice of quality accommodation in the future. Due to the sales market increasing, we have lots of investors looking for rental properties in this area.

An increasing number of people say they are relying on property to help provide them with an income in retirement, with the source of this income being one or more buy-to-let properties. Why is this? The IPD Residential Investment Index shows that, over the decade ending December 2012, residential market lets have shown an annualised return of 8.5 per cent, compared with 8 per cent for equities and 6.6 per cent for bonds with inflation for the period of 3.3 per cent.

Add to this greater uncertainty about returns from company and private pension schemes and falling annuity rates and it is no surprise that residential property returns look attractive.

For some, investing in a tangible asset such as bricks and mortar in a local area they know well has more appeal than investments in less tangible things such as shares and bonds.

From its peak in 2007, home ownership is expected to keep falling for a number of years and with an increasing population, the demand for rented housing is increasing.

If you add to this the attractive rates for buy-to-let mortgages, buy-to-let investing becomes a potentially attractive source of income both now and in the future - for example in retirement - and so, not a bad idea. However, investing in property should not be done at the expense of saving into a pension or other tax-efficient ways of retirement planning.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, the average rental yield for 2013 was 6.5 per cent, despite a slight fall in average rents to Pounds 530. This local yield is above the England and Wales average of 5.3 per cent for the same period.

All the above indicate that property as an investment can work well. If you are thinking of taking the plunge and becoming a buy- to-let property investor, there are a number of things to consider. Buying to let is quite different from simply renting out a property because you are in negative equity or have inherited a family asset. While the latter can be a useful short-term option, buying to let has to be seen as a business proposition with a long-term strategy. Things you should consider are: ? Be clear about where property will fit alongside and complement your other investments. ? Do your homework by visiting the area in which you plan to buy and speak to property letting and management agents and experienced investors.

. ? Identify your target rental market. Do you want to invest in houses that will have multiple occupants, e.g. students, or do you prefer houses to rent to working families? ? Think about how much you will be involved in day-to-day management of the properties, dealing with tenant issues, repairs and maintenance. Use of an experienced letting agent frees you from dealing with routine matters, while leaving you in control of all the key decisions concerning your property. ? Make sure you do your sums. Consider how much cash you are investing and whether you will need a mortgage and how much this will cost you. You also need to factor in the cost of repairs and maintenance, agents fees, and tax. ? Ensure you are properly insured, not just for the property itself but for liability, loss of rent if a tenant does not pay or the property becomes unlettable, say, from a flood.

. ? Understand your legal obligations by reading up on landlord and tenant law. ? Be aware of the downsides such as void periods and rent arrears.

It may seem daunting at first to a novice investor. However, with sound planning and good independent advice, the returns from buy-to- let property investment can be very worthwhile.

You do not strictly need a written tenancy agreement; however, if you don't, this can have unintended consequences. There are obvious advantages in having a tenancy agreement in that it protects your property, sets out your obligations and that of your tenant, plus it prevents potential disputes between you and your tenant in the future.

A formal agreement protects your position and regulates the tenant's use of the property and, if you intend to take a damage deposit, which has to be protected under one of the statutory tenancy deposit schemes, you will need to make an agreement.

If no written tenancy agreement is provided, you are required by law to provide the tenant with written details of the main terms of their tenancy within six months; so you may as well provide a proper written agreement to begin with.

Making arrangements informally with your tenant can lead to arguments later about the tenancy terms, even if these were clearly discussed when the tenant moved into the property, and you will not be able to use the accelerated possession procedure to evict the tenant, when there is no written agreement.

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