Author: twentytwo

When the cold weather sets in, it’s important to keep your home warm and ventilated to avoid condensation and damp, but at the same time, it makes good sense to be mindful of usage not only for the sake of the environment, but your wallet too!

To help you reduce your energy consumption this winter, we’ve pulled together some top tips for how to use energy wisely in the winter period.

5 ways you can save energy, even when it’s cold

  1. Avoid leaving appliances on standby and switch them off entirely by unplugging them. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save around £30 a year just by avoiding using your appliances standby mode.
  2. Turn your thermostat down. According to the NHS if you’re under 65, healthy and active you can safely have your home cooler than 18ºC, so long as you are comfortable.
  3. Switch to energy-saving LED bulbs. Although these might be more expensive in the short term, in the long run it is estimated they will save you money on your bills as well as being a smarter choice for the environment.
  4. Wash your clothes at 30°C. Most laundry detergents are designed to work effectively at 30°C or even lower so try washing at lower temperatures.
  5. Treat yourself to a snuggly throw! Is there anything cosier than a snuggling under a blanket during a Netflix binge? Plus it also means won’t need your heating on full blast.

If you are on one of our standard Bills Inclusive Tenancies, remember that the Fair Usage Policy applies, so it’s always a good idea to think twice about how you can save energy this winter. However, even if you are on a Premium Package – with unlimited energy – it’s still a good idea to do your bit for the environment.

When the cold weather sets in, it’s important to keep your home warm and ventilated to avoid condensation and damp, but at the same time, it makes good sense to be mindful of usage not only for the sake of the environment, but your wallet too!

To help you reduce your energy consumption this winter, we’ve pulled together some top tips for how to use energy wisely in the winter period.

5 ways you can save energy, even when it’s cold

  1. Avoid leaving appliances on standby and switch them off entirely by unplugging them. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save around £30 a year just by avoiding using your appliances standby mode.
  2. Turn your thermostat down. According to the NHS if you’re under 65, healthy and active you can safely have your home cooler than 18ºC, so long as you are comfortable.
  3. Switch to energy-saving LED bulbs. Although these might be more expensive in the short term, in the long run it is estimated they will save you money on your bills as well as being a smarter choice for the environment.
  4. Wash your clothes at 30°C. Most laundry detergents are designed to work effectively at 30°C or even lower so try washing at lower temperatures.
  5. Treat yourself to a snuggly throw! Is there anything cosier than a snuggling under a blanket during a Netflix binge? Plus it also means won’t need your heating on full blast.

If you are on one of our standard Bills Inclusive Tenancies, remember that the Fair Usage Policy applies, so it’s always a good idea to think twice about how you can save energy this winter. However, even if you are on a Premium Package – with unlimited energy – it’s still a good idea to do your bit for the environment.

Author: twentytwo

HOP has been preparing our Landlords for new Electrical Safety Standards in the PRS since May 2018. During that time, we have helped our managed Landlords to not only be ready for this inevitable change, but also be proactive about ensuring the highest levels of Tenant safety.

The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 has been published by the Government. It came into force as of 1st June 2020 and has been designed to to improve safety in all residential premises and will affect every Landlord.

Whilst regular testing has been mandatory for HMO’s, new legislation dictates that all properties across the private rented sector must adhere to new standards. The legislation requires Landlords to have the electrical installations within their properties inspected and tested, by a qualified and competent electrician, at least every 5 years.

We have been working alongside our preferred electrical contractors to provide better value for money for our Landlords and, by leveraging economies of scale, we’ve been able to agree favourable terms on pricing of the electrical certification.

The new legislation means that Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

    • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
    • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
    • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test, which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
    • Supply a copy of this report to the existing Tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
    • Supply a copy of this report to a new Tenant before they occupy the premises.
    • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective Tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
    • Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
    • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
    • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
    • Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1st July 2020 and all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. The full Government guidance for Landlords can be found by clicking here.

What do Landlords need to do now?

If HOP already manages your property, then we will ensure you meet your legal obligations by automatically instructing an EICR at the beginning of every new Tenancy from 1st July 2020. If you already have a current EICR, please send us this report straight away so that we can file it and provide to new Tenants.

If we don’t already manage your property, now is a good time to consider moving to one of our fully managed services! As well as this new piece of legislation, there are over 150 pieces more that Landlords need to adhere to. Our property experts will help you ensure compliance, giving you peace of mind that everything is covered.

HOP has been preparing our Landlords for new Electrical Safety Standards in the PRS since May 2018. During that time, we have helped our managed Landlords to not only be ready for this inevitable change, but also be proactive about ensuring the highest levels of Tenant safety.

The new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 has been published by the Government. It came into force as of 1st June 2020 and has been designed to to improve safety in all residential premises and will affect every Landlord.

Whilst regular testing has been mandatory for HMO’s, new legislation dictates that all properties across the private rented sector must adhere to new standards. The legislation requires Landlords to have the electrical installations within their properties inspected and tested, by a qualified and competent electrician, at least every 5 years.

We have been working alongside our preferred electrical contractors to provide better value for money for our Landlords and, by leveraging economies of scale, we’ve been able to agree favourable terms on pricing of the electrical certification.

The new legislation means that Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

    • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
    • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
    • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test, which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
    • Supply a copy of this report to the existing Tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
    • Supply a copy of this report to a new Tenant before they occupy the premises.
    • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective Tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
    • Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
    • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
    • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
    • Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

The Regulations apply to new tenancies from 1st July 2020 and all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. The full Government guidance for Landlords can be found by clicking here.

What do Landlords need to do now?

If HOP already manages your property, then we will ensure you meet your legal obligations by automatically instructing an EICR at the beginning of every new Tenancy from 1st July 2020. If you already have a current EICR, please send us this report straight away so that we can file it and provide to new Tenants.

If we don’t already manage your property, now is a good time to consider moving to one of our fully managed services! As well as this new piece of legislation, there are over 150 pieces more that Landlords need to adhere to. Our property experts will help you ensure compliance, giving you peace of mind that everything is covered.

Author: twentytwo

Lettings and Estate Agents are once again permitted to undertake certain property-related activities. While we are thrilled to get back to work in the office, our branches currently remain closed to the public with meetings strictly by appointment only and we have put new safety measures in place for Viewings, Valuations and Property Visits.

As of Wednesday 13th May 2020, Letting and Estate Agents are once again permitted to undertake certain property-related activities that include valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories.

The safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority so have adapted and reviewed our company policies and procedures in line with government advice. Adapting to this “new normal” means taking extra care, so please take a look below at the new precautions and guidance for viewings, valuations and property visits.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Tenant and self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding, it is imperative you us know as soon as possible, so we can update our records and ensure we don’t offer viewings or arrange to attend your property.

All our Tenants will be contacted with 24 hours’ notice, should we require access to your property for viewings, maintenance, inspections, check-ins, check-outs and inventories.

Guidance for Sales & Lettings Viewings

Our highly trained staff are perfectly placed to talk through the properties with any prospective Tenant or Purchaser, to help ascertain if it is the right property for them before booking in a viewing at the property. We will ensure that, wherever possible, virtual tours take place before arranging a physical viewing, to further increase the likelihood of a good match. In addition, we will only permit viewings with customers that have confirmed a serious intent to move.

For all viewings of rental and sales properties, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

    • We will not attend any property where anyone in the household is feeling unwell or showing symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever or continuous cough.
    • Throughout the viewing, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to offer customers lifts to the property at present.
    • All viewings should take place will involve no more than two members of a single household and children are not currently permitted to attend.
    • We advise that viewers bring their own a mask and hand sanitiser to the appointment.
    • Property Negotiators will be equipped with their own mask and hand sanitisers.
    • Hand washing (ideally with disposable towels for drying) or hand sanitising will be carried out by all viewers and negotiators before entering a property and immediately after leaving every appointment.
    • All our Property Negotiators have all been supplied with masks to wear in the event that social distance cannot be easily maintained within the property. They will also use them at the Tenants’, Vendors’ or Viewer’s request.
    • We politely ask that Tenants or Vendors vacate the property during the appointment to minimise contact and to maintain social distancing measures.
    • Prior to the viewing, we request that all internal doors and windows are be opened in order to minimise contact with hard surfaces and to ensure good ventilation.
    • After each viewing, the Tenant/Vendor should sanitise all door handles and other hard surfaces that may have been touched, with standard cleaning products or sanitising wipes.

Guidance for Sales & Lettings Valuations

For your convenience, and to minimise risk, we offer virtual valuations with our experts for those wishing to sell or let out their property. If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, please click here. In instances where we undertake a valuation in person at the property, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Customers should not book a valuation if anyone in the household is shielding, self-isolating or feeling unwell.
    • We request that handwashing facilities (ideally with separate or disposable towels for drying) are made available to us, however, our Valuers will always be fully equipped with suitable hand sanitisers and/or protective gloves which can be used throughout the appointment.
    • Throughout the valuation, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • Much as we enjoy a cuppa when discussing your property, you should not provide refreshments.
    • When it comes to doing an inspection and taking notes for the floorplan, we politely request that customers vacate the property to minimise contact and to adhere to social distancing measures.
    • Prior to the appointment, we request that all internal doors and windows are be opened to minimise contact with hard surfaces and to ensure good ventilation.
    • If your property benefits from outside space, please open bi-fold or patio doors for us in advance for access and increased ventilation.

Guidance for Property Visits

Other reasons we may need to enter a Tenant’s property is for maintenance, property inspections, taking inventories, check-ins or check-outs.

    • Neither Staff nor Contractors will not attend any property where anyone in the household is self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding.
    • Throughout the visit, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • We request that handwashing facilities (ideally with separate or disposable towels for drying) are made available to us, however, our Staff and Contractors will always be fully equipped with suitable hand sanitisers and/or protective gloves which can be used throughout the appointment.
    • Staff and Contractors will carry hand sanitizer, which will be used before entering a property and immediately after leaving every appointment.
    • If a distance of 2m cannot be maintained within the property, our Staff and Contractors will wear masks accordingly.
    • If we are attending your property to carry out maintenance, you should ensure easy access to all the parts of the property they need to work in, and make efforts to minimise contact with the Contractor or Staff while they are at work, for example by staying in a different room.
    • You should not provide any refreshments to Contractors or Staff during an appointment.
    • After each appointment, the Tenant should sanitise all door handles and other hard surfaces that may have been touched, with standard cleaning products or sanitising wipes.

We hope that the above help to explain our new processes and offer reassurance that we are following Government guidance and doing our very best to maintain the safety of our customers and staff.

Should you have any queries, then please do ask when you are booking your appointment or if you are a Tenant, do not hesitate to give your Property Manager a call.

Lettings and Estate Agents are once again permitted to undertake certain property-related activities. While we are thrilled to get back to work in the office, our branches currently remain closed to the public with meetings strictly by appointment only and we have put new safety measures in place for Viewings, Valuations and Property Visits.

As of Wednesday 13th May 2020, Letting and Estate Agents are once again permitted to undertake certain property-related activities that include valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories.

The safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority so have adapted and reviewed our company policies and procedures in line with government advice. Adapting to this “new normal” means taking extra care, so please take a look below at the new precautions and guidance for viewings, valuations and property visits.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Tenant and self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding, it is imperative you us know as soon as possible, so we can update our records and ensure we don’t offer viewings or arrange to attend your property.

All our Tenants will be contacted with 24 hours’ notice, should we require access to your property for viewings, maintenance, inspections, check-ins, check-outs and inventories.

Guidance for Sales & Lettings Viewings

Our highly trained staff are perfectly placed to talk through the properties with any prospective Tenant or Purchaser, to help ascertain if it is the right property for them before booking in a viewing at the property. We will ensure that, wherever possible, virtual tours take place before arranging a physical viewing, to further increase the likelihood of a good match. In addition, we will only permit viewings with customers that have confirmed a serious intent to move.

For all viewings of rental and sales properties, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

    • We will not attend any property where anyone in the household is feeling unwell or showing symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever or continuous cough.
    • Throughout the viewing, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to offer customers lifts to the property at present.
    • All viewings should take place will involve no more than two members of a single household and children are not currently permitted to attend.
    • We advise that viewers bring their own a mask and hand sanitiser to the appointment.
    • Property Negotiators will be equipped with their own mask and hand sanitisers.
    • Hand washing (ideally with disposable towels for drying) or hand sanitising will be carried out by all viewers and negotiators before entering a property and immediately after leaving every appointment.
    • All our Property Negotiators have all been supplied with masks to wear in the event that social distance cannot be easily maintained within the property. They will also use them at the Tenants’, Vendors’ or Viewer’s request.
    • We politely ask that Tenants or Vendors vacate the property during the appointment to minimise contact and to maintain social distancing measures.
    • Prior to the viewing, we request that all internal doors and windows are be opened in order to minimise contact with hard surfaces and to ensure good ventilation.
    • After each viewing, the Tenant/Vendor should sanitise all door handles and other hard surfaces that may have been touched, with standard cleaning products or sanitising wipes.

Guidance for Sales & Lettings Valuations

For your convenience, and to minimise risk, we offer virtual valuations with our experts for those wishing to sell or let out their property. If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, please click here. In instances where we undertake a valuation in person at the property, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Customers should not book a valuation if anyone in the household is shielding, self-isolating or feeling unwell.
    • We request that handwashing facilities (ideally with separate or disposable towels for drying) are made available to us, however, our Valuers will always be fully equipped with suitable hand sanitisers and/or protective gloves which can be used throughout the appointment.
    • Throughout the valuation, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • Much as we enjoy a cuppa when discussing your property, you should not provide refreshments.
    • When it comes to doing an inspection and taking notes for the floorplan, we politely request that customers vacate the property to minimise contact and to adhere to social distancing measures.
    • Prior to the appointment, we request that all internal doors and windows are be opened to minimise contact with hard surfaces and to ensure good ventilation.
    • If your property benefits from outside space, please open bi-fold or patio doors for us in advance for access and increased ventilation.

Guidance for Property Visits

Other reasons we may need to enter a Tenant’s property is for maintenance, property inspections, taking inventories, check-ins or check-outs.

    • Neither Staff nor Contractors will not attend any property where anyone in the household is self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding.
    • Throughout the visit, social distancing of 2 meters will be adhered to at all times.
    • We request that handwashing facilities (ideally with separate or disposable towels for drying) are made available to us, however, our Staff and Contractors will always be fully equipped with suitable hand sanitisers and/or protective gloves which can be used throughout the appointment.
    • Staff and Contractors will carry hand sanitizer, which will be used before entering a property and immediately after leaving every appointment.
    • If a distance of 2m cannot be maintained within the property, our Staff and Contractors will wear masks accordingly.
    • If we are attending your property to carry out maintenance, you should ensure easy access to all the parts of the property they need to work in, and make efforts to minimise contact with the Contractor or Staff while they are at work, for example by staying in a different room.
    • You should not provide any refreshments to Contractors or Staff during an appointment.
    • After each appointment, the Tenant should sanitise all door handles and other hard surfaces that may have been touched, with standard cleaning products or sanitising wipes.

We hope that the above help to explain our new processes and offer reassurance that we are following Government guidance and doing our very best to maintain the safety of our customers and staff.

Should you have any queries, then please do ask when you are booking your appointment or if you are a Tenant, do not hesitate to give your Property Manager a call.

Author: twentytwo

This is worrying time, but we want to reassure our Tenants that we are here to support you. This article will be kept up to date with the latest measures we are taking to adapt the business so that we are able to continue to provide our Tenants with an important service during this unprecedented time.

We are committed to doing our very best to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are responding daily to advice from ARLA and Public Health England. This post will be kept up to date with the latest information for our Tenants.

Update as of: 24th July2020

Branches Open to the Public – please wear face coverings

We are welcoming customers back into both our Leeds and Pudsey branches, with additional safety measures in place. We also ask that you ensure you wear a mask or face covering while at the premises.

Our usual phone lines are still open and our Administrative Team are working hard to answer any queries. We have heavily embraced Video technology to conduct meetings and Video calling through FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom so that we can maintain a personal level of service.

Property Visits and Viewings

As of 18th May, we will be resuming property visits and viewings in line with government safety measures. However, we are still urging customers to make use of our virtual tools , such as utilising virtual viewings wherever possible.

As a Tenant, if you are self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding then it is imperative that you let us know so we have a record of it.

Maintenance

We are continuing to provide 24/7 online repair reporting for your Tenants through Fixflo, and our Property Managers are able to video call with you to help diagnose the issue, assess, advise and potentially even talk you through the self-repair of minor issues. We can now provide maintenance on properties where it is safe to do so.

Paying your Rent

Rent will continue to be due as per the Tenancy Agreement and fixed term tenancies will follow to their end date. It is important that you let us know if your rent is going to be late, so that we can make your Landlord aware of the situation and work with you to get through it. Communication is so important in these unprecedented times. If you are having financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19, we would encourage you to apply for Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit if you are eligible. The Government has introduced temporary changes to make it easier to apply. Further details can be found here https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/. We hope that the government will announce further measures to support businesses and tenants in the near future.

Contacting the Team

We continue to be available by phone, email and in branch and should you have any maintenance issue this should be logged in the usual way. Out of hours support is available by calling the office number and through Fixflo as standard

Please do take care, look after yourselves and ensure you keep abreast of the most up to date advice as it changes rapidly.

We thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation during this unusual time.

If you have any queries or concerns, please call us, we are here to help.

This is worrying time, but we want to reassure our Tenants that we are here to support you. This article will be kept up to date with the latest measures we are taking to adapt the business so that we are able to continue to provide our Tenants with an important service during this unprecedented time.

We are committed to doing our very best to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are responding daily to advice from ARLA and Public Health England. This post will be kept up to date with the latest information for our Tenants.

Update as of: 24th July2020

Branches Open to the Public – please wear face coverings

We are welcoming customers back into both our Leeds and Pudsey branches, with additional safety measures in place. We also ask that you ensure you wear a mask or face covering while at the premises.

Our usual phone lines are still open and our Administrative Team are working hard to answer any queries. We have heavily embraced Video technology to conduct meetings and Video calling through FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom so that we can maintain a personal level of service.

Property Visits and Viewings

As of 18th May, we will be resuming property visits and viewings in line with government safety measures. However, we are still urging customers to make use of our virtual tools , such as utilising virtual viewings wherever possible.

As a Tenant, if you are self-isolating, symptomatic or shielding then it is imperative that you let us know so we have a record of it.

Maintenance

We are continuing to provide 24/7 online repair reporting for your Tenants through Fixflo, and our Property Managers are able to video call with you to help diagnose the issue, assess, advise and potentially even talk you through the self-repair of minor issues. We can now provide maintenance on properties where it is safe to do so.

Paying your Rent

Rent will continue to be due as per the Tenancy Agreement and fixed term tenancies will follow to their end date. It is important that you let us know if your rent is going to be late, so that we can make your Landlord aware of the situation and work with you to get through it. Communication is so important in these unprecedented times. If you are having financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19, we would encourage you to apply for Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit if you are eligible. The Government has introduced temporary changes to make it easier to apply. Further details can be found here https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/. We hope that the government will announce further measures to support businesses and tenants in the near future.

Contacting the Team

We continue to be available by phone, email and in branch and should you have any maintenance issue this should be logged in the usual way. Out of hours support is available by calling the office number and through Fixflo as standard

Please do take care, look after yourselves and ensure you keep abreast of the most up to date advice as it changes rapidly.

We thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation during this unusual time.

If you have any queries or concerns, please call us, we are here to help.

Author: twentytwo

Update as of: 24th July 2020

Branches Open to the Public – please wear face coverings

We are welcoming customers back into both our Leeds and Pudsey branches, with additional safety measures in place. We also ask that you ensure you wear a mask or face covering while at the premises.

Our usual phone lines are still open and our Administrative Team are working hard to answer any queries. We have heavily embraced Video technology to conduct meetings and Video calling through FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom so that we can maintain a personal level of service.

Property Visits and Viewings

The Government announced that as of 13th May, valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories can now be conducted. The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we prepared the business to resume property visits as of Monday 18th May 2020.

We have been carrying out virtual viewings and valuations during the period, and these will remain available for the convenience of all our customers. As of 18th May, we have resumed property valuations, visits and viewings in line with government safety measures. However, we are still urging customers to make use of our virtual tools , such as utilising virtual viewings wherever possible.

If you would like to book a sales or lettings valuation of your property, please click here and one of our team will get back to you to arrange a convenient time to meet.

Virtual Valuations

Although we are now able to attend properties to complete valuation, we are continuing to offer Virtual Valuations for people interested in selling or letting their home too. This involves an initial face-to-face video discussion and a video tour of the property; then we use our local knowledge and research tools to come back in 1 hour with a valuation range either For Sale or To Let.

Another easy – and contact free – way of determining an estimated rental or sales value of your property is through our online valuation tool.

If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, virtually or in person, please click here or call 0113 320 2000

Accounts Team and Rental Arrears Management

We do understand that now will likely be a time of great concern for our Landlords and it is also likely that some tenants are going to be under huge financial strain due to unemployment and self-isolation.

Arrears management will be key during this period. Let Leeds have increased resources in our accounts team to enable more communication and deal with an increase in arrears which is currently running at 14%.

It is expected that Landlords will need to have a degree of understanding in this situation, as rent recovery may not always be possible.

Government guidance reiterates that tenants are still liable for their rent during this time, and encourages Landlords and Tenants to work together to arrange a payment plan if the Tenant thinks they will be unable to pay their rent.

We are grateful for the continued support, understanding and flexibility being demonstrated by our Landlords.

Should you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call the team, we are here to help!

Update as of: 24th July 2020

Branches Open to the Public – please wear face coverings

We are welcoming customers back into both our Leeds and Pudsey branches, with additional safety measures in place. We also ask that you ensure you wear a mask or face covering while at the premises.

Our usual phone lines are still open and our Administrative Team are working hard to answer any queries. We have heavily embraced Video technology to conduct meetings and Video calling through FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom so that we can maintain a personal level of service.

Property Visits and Viewings

The Government announced that as of 13th May, valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories can now be conducted. The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we prepared the business to resume property visits as of Monday 18th May 2020.

We have been carrying out virtual viewings and valuations during the period, and these will remain available for the convenience of all our customers. As of 18th May, we have resumed property valuations, visits and viewings in line with government safety measures. However, we are still urging customers to make use of our virtual tools , such as utilising virtual viewings wherever possible.

If you would like to book a sales or lettings valuation of your property, please click here and one of our team will get back to you to arrange a convenient time to meet.

Virtual Valuations

Although we are now able to attend properties to complete valuation, we are continuing to offer Virtual Valuations for people interested in selling or letting their home too. This involves an initial face-to-face video discussion and a video tour of the property; then we use our local knowledge and research tools to come back in 1 hour with a valuation range either For Sale or To Let.

Another easy – and contact free – way of determining an estimated rental or sales value of your property is through our online valuation tool.

If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, virtually or in person, please click here or call 0113 320 2000

Accounts Team and Rental Arrears Management

We do understand that now will likely be a time of great concern for our Landlords and it is also likely that some tenants are going to be under huge financial strain due to unemployment and self-isolation.

Arrears management will be key during this period. Let Leeds have increased resources in our accounts team to enable more communication and deal with an increase in arrears which is currently running at 14%.

It is expected that Landlords will need to have a degree of understanding in this situation, as rent recovery may not always be possible.

Government guidance reiterates that tenants are still liable for their rent during this time, and encourages Landlords and Tenants to work together to arrange a payment plan if the Tenant thinks they will be unable to pay their rent.

We are grateful for the continued support, understanding and flexibility being demonstrated by our Landlords.

Should you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call the team, we are here to help!

Author: twentytwo

As the uncertainty and impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, most of the UK are currently in lock down self-isolating and social distancing to stay safe and help to stop the spread of the virus.

This lockdown period can be really tough times for some, particularly in terms of mental health, so please do check in on your friends, family and neighbours. We’re very lucky in this day and age to have access to facetime and video calls to maintain social interaction via modern day technology.

Having spoken to some Leeds homeowners, we found they were choosing to use this time at home wisely to get odd jobs done and make a start on their household chore list. We thought we’d put together a few tips and some advice on what you could look at doing to enhance your property’s value, or prepare it for sale should a move be on the cards this year – whilst also hopefully helping to keep your mind and body active during this time.

There are a few typical things that will put many buyers off that can be easily resolved by any competent DIY-er.

Here are our 7 Top Tips on areas to consider…

  • Decorating – Giving your home a lick of paint and doing some general maintenance can be done at a very low cost. Fresh paint in modern, neutral colours goes a long way to give your home a new lease of life.
  • Kitchen Makeover – Kitchens are usually the focus of a house for many buyers but having a brand-new kitchen installed can be costly as well as causing disruption in the process! Painting units, upgrading the work surfaces, or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cost-effective way of refreshing a kitchen.
  • Bathroom Makeover – Replace any moldy sealants in bathrooms or consider even re-grouting the tiles. This applies to kitchens too! Consider changing your taps, replacing your shower curtain, or perhaps adding a glass shower screen to modernise the space.
  • Lighting – Good lighting is key. Make sure there is adequate light in each room, particularly in the hallway, which tend to be darker areas. If there is not enough light, consider replacing a single pendant with a triple halogen spotlight unit, available for as little as £10. Adding a mirror to hallways and bathrooms can often help create the illusion of light and space.
  • Flooring – Removing tiles can be a difficult and very time-consuming job but consider painting unfashionable tiles with white tile paint. Perhaps look at replacing dated patterned carpets with an on-trend grey or other neutral colour.
  • Gardening – A good clean up can work wonders to outdoor space. Tidy litter, dead-head or remove dead plants and get rid of those weeds. Repair and feed the lawn, cut back overgrown trees and shrubs, create interesting shapes with beds and borders and add colour and interest with planting. Colour in your garden really can make the difference when it comes to taking marketing photographs. If you have children at home and are running out of ideas to entertain them, why not get them involved in planting too – it’s a great way of getting out in the fresh air and curing boredom! Another wise use of time is jet washing slippery paths or patios to ensure they are free of any moss that may have accumulated over the winter period.
  • Consider you first impressions – The saying is true, first impressions do count! Many potential buyers make a decision on a property simply from its kerb appeal, or the lead photo on a listing. A useful trick is to snap a picture of the exterior and interior yourself and then look at it with an objective eye. Sometimes it is hard to spot things when you see them day in day out, whereas a photograph can give you a fresh perspective and might notice something you can easily improve. Most buyers will decide if they do or do not like a property before they even get out of the car and it can be hard to shake off negative first impressions created by a poor or unattractive exterior. Consider replacing or painting the entrance door, and make sure you have a smart house sign/number visible so your property can be easily identified.

If you have concerns about renting, selling or buying during this uncertain time, or even just want a general chat, then please feel free to give us a call and we’ll be on hand to lend a friendly ear!

To book a Sales Valuation of your property – either face to face or virtually – please get in touch with Alexandra on 0113 322 9533.

As the uncertainty and impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, most of the UK are currently in lock down self-isolating and social distancing to stay safe and help to stop the spread of the virus.

This lockdown period can be really tough times for some, particularly in terms of mental health, so please do check in on your friends, family and neighbours. We’re very lucky in this day and age to have access to facetime and video calls to maintain social interaction via modern day technology.

Having spoken to some Leeds homeowners, we found they were choosing to use this time at home wisely to get odd jobs done and make a start on their household chore list. We thought we’d put together a few tips and some advice on what you could look at doing to enhance your property’s value, or prepare it for sale should a move be on the cards this year – whilst also hopefully helping to keep your mind and body active during this time.

There are a few typical things that will put many buyers off that can be easily resolved by any competent DIY-er.

Here are our 7 Top Tips on areas to consider…

  • Decorating – Giving your home a lick of paint and doing some general maintenance can be done at a very low cost. Fresh paint in modern, neutral colours goes a long way to give your home a new lease of life.
  • Kitchen Makeover – Kitchens are usually the focus of a house for many buyers but having a brand-new kitchen installed can be costly as well as causing disruption in the process! Painting units, upgrading the work surfaces, or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cost-effective way of refreshing a kitchen.
  • Bathroom Makeover – Replace any moldy sealants in bathrooms or consider even re-grouting the tiles. This applies to kitchens too! Consider changing your taps, replacing your shower curtain, or perhaps adding a glass shower screen to modernise the space.
  • Lighting – Good lighting is key. Make sure there is adequate light in each room, particularly in the hallway, which tend to be darker areas. If there is not enough light, consider replacing a single pendant with a triple halogen spotlight unit, available for as little as £10. Adding a mirror to hallways and bathrooms can often help create the illusion of light and space.
  • Flooring – Removing tiles can be a difficult and very time-consuming job but consider painting unfashionable tiles with white tile paint. Perhaps look at replacing dated patterned carpets with an on-trend grey or other neutral colour.
  • Gardening – A good clean up can work wonders to outdoor space. Tidy litter, dead-head or remove dead plants and get rid of those weeds. Repair and feed the lawn, cut back overgrown trees and shrubs, create interesting shapes with beds and borders and add colour and interest with planting. Colour in your garden really can make the difference when it comes to taking marketing photographs. If you have children at home and are running out of ideas to entertain them, why not get them involved in planting too – it’s a great way of getting out in the fresh air and curing boredom! Another wise use of time is jet washing slippery paths or patios to ensure they are free of any moss that may have accumulated over the winter period.
  • Consider you first impressions – The saying is true, first impressions do count! Many potential buyers make a decision on a property simply from its kerb appeal, or the lead photo on a listing. A useful trick is to snap a picture of the exterior and interior yourself and then look at it with an objective eye. Sometimes it is hard to spot things when you see them day in day out, whereas a photograph can give you a fresh perspective and might notice something you can easily improve. Most buyers will decide if they do or do not like a property before they even get out of the car and it can be hard to shake off negative first impressions created by a poor or unattractive exterior. Consider replacing or painting the entrance door, and make sure you have a smart house sign/number visible so your property can be easily identified.

If you have concerns about renting, selling or buying during this uncertain time, or even just want a general chat, then please feel free to give us a call and we’ll be on hand to lend a friendly ear!

To book a Sales Valuation of your property – either face to face or virtually – please get in touch with Alexandra on 0113 322 9533.

Author: twentytwo

The Government has announced that valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories can now be conducted.

The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, so we will be preparing the business accordingly during the rest of this week.

We will be conducting our own risk assessments, putting in place robust safety policies, and ensuring we meet all of the latest government guidelines.

Throughout the lockdown period, we have been successfully carrying out virtual viewings and valuations and these will continue for the convenience of all our customers.

We look forward to updating you next week with more details.

If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, please click here.

The Government has announced that valuations, viewings, move ins, inspections, check ins, check outs and inventories can now be conducted.

The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, so we will be preparing the business accordingly during the rest of this week.

We will be conducting our own risk assessments, putting in place robust safety policies, and ensuring we meet all of the latest government guidelines.

Throughout the lockdown period, we have been successfully carrying out virtual viewings and valuations and these will continue for the convenience of all our customers.

We look forward to updating you next week with more details.

If you would like to book a Lettings or Sales Valuation, please click here.

Author: twentytwo

It’s clear the property market hasn’t crashed yet, and we think it won’t crash at all.  In fact, demand is still there, and supply is short. The problem is the inability to transact right now.

We spoke with an Economist who has high hopes for the property industry towards the end of 2020. The reason for this is that UK expenditure is down 15%,whilst UK income is down only 5%. So, in fact, there is surplus money in the economy right now.

The economy is driven by positive feedback, and that’s why at the start of March, the stock market fell by nearly 40% due to the negativity surrounding Coronavirus. The stock market feared the worse and, guided by media negativity and sometimes sensationalist media, the stock market was heavily affected, even though 40% drop in share prices seems irrational.

What we are currently experiencing is a short sharp collapse, with no financial ‘depression’, and the potential for a strong recovery once restrictions are lifted.

The Government has taken extremely robust measures to prop-up the economy during this period. Whilst unemployment will surge, the Job Retention Scheme has kept a lot of people in employment, and when restrictions are lifted, employment will rise sharply as pent-up spending in the economy begins.

If you compare this period with the 2008 crash, there are huge differences. In 2008 lending stopped and loans were called in, effectively burning money and reducing the GDP as it removed capital. Whereas in this instance, the banks want to lend for the most part and are in much better financial position. Consumers will have money to spend, which is why there could be a big upwards bounce when restrictions are lifted.

Short term economic activity is driven by the flow of spending. The UK economy is now worth £2.2 trillion and the Bank of England are adding another £200 billion to that through issuing government bonds to provide bank borrowing and to pay for massive infrastructure projects. This will increase cash in the UK economy.

The Economist we spoke with estimates this will increase cash in the UK economy by 6%. When the supply of money increases, house prices also increase. Brexit uncertainty kept prices stable in 2019 and everyone had forecasted a ‘Boris Bounce’ at the beginning of 2020.

We think that Coronavirus has effectively put the ‘Boris Bounce’ on hold until we are in the clear and people can feel confident again. The money is in the system. We are just unable to spend it yet.

We like the analogy of a hosepipe. Think of money as water in the hosepipe. Boris turned the tap on full, releasing huge spending plans, massive infrastructure projects, but Coronavirus is like a kink in the hose. The money cannot be spent. The pressure will build and build within the hosepipe until the kink is released and the economy will be in full flow.

With that comes confidence in the property market. Mortgage borrowing at a 2-3% interest rate is almost like ‘free’ money when you consider the rate of inflation. More people buy and house price inflation starts, leading to more people buying in fear of missing out.

80% of all lending is for mortgage finance and therefore neither the banks, the Government, nor homeowners would ever want property prices to fall. As long as house prices are stable, people are generally happy.

When restrictions are lifted and the lockdown is over, the economy will recover extremely quickly.

Austerity is old thinking. New government-thinking is that, as long as inflation doesn’t go up, debt and spending money is not a bad thing. Businesses are now retaining cash and borrowing new money at cheaper rates to pay back older debt on higher rates. The number of failed businesses is very low. Good, healthy businesses are able to go to sleep with the aid of government help. Business will come back stronger and more efficient.

Right now, house prices are stable. It’s the volume of transactions that have gone down, not the price of a property. There should be a significant upturn to pre-Corona levels. Mortgages have never been cheaper to source. Unemployment is temporary. Inflation adjusted mortgage rates are essentially free money.

Assuming money supply contributes to 6% growth and the lockdown is lifted, we should be in for a rise in house prices by up to 5% during the 6 months following, due to the limited stock and supply of property.

When shops start to reopen and restrictions lift, when it is safe to gather once again to watch sport and travel internationally, this will be the start of a sharp rise in economic output and a sharp rise in pent up demand to spend money, especially on property.

 

Luke Gidney
MD, Let Leeds

It’s clear the property market hasn’t crashed yet, and we think it won’t crash at all.  In fact, demand is still there, and supply is short. The problem is the inability to transact right now.

We spoke with an Economist who has high hopes for the property industry towards the end of 2020. The reason for this is that UK expenditure is down 15%,whilst UK income is down only 5%. So, in fact, there is surplus money in the economy right now.

The economy is driven by positive feedback, and that’s why at the start of March, the stock market fell by nearly 40% due to the negativity surrounding Coronavirus. The stock market feared the worse and, guided by media negativity and sometimes sensationalist media, the stock market was heavily affected, even though 40% drop in share prices seems irrational.

What we are currently experiencing is a short sharp collapse, with no financial ‘depression’, and the potential for a strong recovery once restrictions are lifted.

The Government has taken extremely robust measures to prop-up the economy during this period. Whilst unemployment will surge, the Job Retention Scheme has kept a lot of people in employment, and when restrictions are lifted, employment will rise sharply as pent-up spending in the economy begins.

If you compare this period with the 2008 crash, there are huge differences. In 2008 lending stopped and loans were called in, effectively burning money and reducing the GDP as it removed capital. Whereas in this instance, the banks want to lend for the most part and are in much better financial position. Consumers will have money to spend, which is why there could be a big upwards bounce when restrictions are lifted.

Short term economic activity is driven by the flow of spending. The UK economy is now worth £2.2 trillion and the Bank of England are adding another £200 billion to that through issuing government bonds to provide bank borrowing and to pay for massive infrastructure projects. This will increase cash in the UK economy.

The Economist we spoke with estimates this will increase cash in the UK economy by 6%. When the supply of money increases, house prices also increase. Brexit uncertainty kept prices stable in 2019 and everyone had forecasted a ‘Boris Bounce’ at the beginning of 2020.

We think that Coronavirus has effectively put the ‘Boris Bounce’ on hold until we are in the clear and people can feel confident again. The money is in the system. We are just unable to spend it yet.

We like the analogy of a hosepipe. Think of money as water in the hosepipe. Boris turned the tap on full, releasing huge spending plans, massive infrastructure projects, but Coronavirus is like a kink in the hose. The money cannot be spent. The pressure will build and build within the hosepipe until the kink is released and the economy will be in full flow.

With that comes confidence in the property market. Mortgage borrowing at a 2-3% interest rate is almost like ‘free’ money when you consider the rate of inflation. More people buy and house price inflation starts, leading to more people buying in fear of missing out.

80% of all lending is for mortgage finance and therefore neither the banks, the Government, nor homeowners would ever want property prices to fall. As long as house prices are stable, people are generally happy.

When restrictions are lifted and the lockdown is over, the economy will recover extremely quickly.

Austerity is old thinking. New government-thinking is that, as long as inflation doesn’t go up, debt and spending money is not a bad thing. Businesses are now retaining cash and borrowing new money at cheaper rates to pay back older debt on higher rates. The number of failed businesses is very low. Good, healthy businesses are able to go to sleep with the aid of government help. Business will come back stronger and more efficient.

Right now, house prices are stable. It’s the volume of transactions that have gone down, not the price of a property. There should be a significant upturn to pre-Corona levels. Mortgages have never been cheaper to source. Unemployment is temporary. Inflation adjusted mortgage rates are essentially free money.

Assuming money supply contributes to 6% growth and the lockdown is lifted, we should be in for a rise in house prices by up to 5% during the 6 months following, due to the limited stock and supply of property.

When shops start to reopen and restrictions lift, when it is safe to gather once again to watch sport and travel internationally, this will be the start of a sharp rise in economic output and a sharp rise in pent up demand to spend money, especially on property.

 

Luke Gidney
MD, Let Leeds

Author: twentytwo

HOP collects roughly £1m in rent each month. Our current arrears level is 12.8% of all rents to be paid, and that includes rents which have been gifted to Tenants by Landlords to help them though this period. This rate is better than we initially expected.

One of the reasons this rate is so low, is that most Tenants in the UK are still employed under the Job Retention Scheme, even if they have been Furloughed. However, there are still Tenants who have been made redundant, or are experiencing financial difficulties, therefore, it is important to ensure that these discussions are held on a case by case basis.

The main points to consider when discussing rent and rent arrears with your Tenant are:

  1. Ensure the Tenant is aware that rent is still due.
  2. If the Tenant is experiencing financial difficulty, or has been made redundant, guide them to https://www.gov.uk/ where they can obtain guidance regarding pay, statutory sick pay (SSP) and other relevant up to date information.
  3. Once you have spoken to the Tenant, ask them to put their concerns to you in writing. It is important that you keep a log of these discussions for future reference.
  4. Speak to your lender to find out whether they are putting in place any mortgage holidays that you may need to take advantage of. Some Landlords have already offered Tenants a discount on rent or a “rent holiday”. But please remember that, as with the mortgage lenders, this deferred rent will have to be paid back at some point in the future.
  5. Speak to the Guarantor, where there is one. They should not be left out of any discussions regarding rent payments.
  6. Check whether your insurer can offer rent & legal protection. A lot of our Landlords have already taken Rent Protection insurance. Some insurers will decline any new business. However, make sure that you check the policies that you may already have in place.
  7. Keep records of every discussion. Each conversation over the phone, email, should be logged and documented as you may need an audit trail later if you make a mortgage or insurance claim.
  8. Any pre-existing arrears (pre-18th March 2020) cannot be factored into this Coronavirus situation.
  9. Please remember everyone is in the same boat. No one has experienced this before, and because it’s a public health matter, rather than a recession, the general mood is very different. We urge you to be compassionate and work together with your Tenants.
We hope this helps. Should you have any queries at all, or need any information or advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 320 2000.

HOP collects roughly £1m in rent each month. Our current arrears level is 12.8% of all rents to be paid, and that includes rents which have been gifted to Tenants by Landlords to help them though this period. This rate is better than we initially expected.

One of the reasons this rate is so low, is that most Tenants in the UK are still employed under the Job Retention Scheme, even if they have been Furloughed. However, there are still Tenants who have been made redundant, or are experiencing financial difficulties, therefore, it is important to ensure that these discussions are held on a case by case basis.

The main points to consider when discussing rent and rent arrears with your Tenant are:

  1. Ensure the Tenant is aware that rent is still due.
  2. If the Tenant is experiencing financial difficulty, or has been made redundant, guide them to https://www.gov.uk/ where they can obtain guidance regarding pay, statutory sick pay (SSP) and other relevant up to date information.
  3. Once you have spoken to the Tenant, ask them to put their concerns to you in writing. It is important that you keep a log of these discussions for future reference.
  4. Speak to your lender to find out whether they are putting in place any mortgage holidays that you may need to take advantage of. Some Landlords have already offered Tenants a discount on rent or a “rent holiday”. But please remember that, as with the mortgage lenders, this deferred rent will have to be paid back at some point in the future.
  5. Speak to the Guarantor, where there is one. They should not be left out of any discussions regarding rent payments.
  6. Check whether your insurer can offer rent & legal protection. A lot of our Landlords have already taken Rent Protection insurance. Some insurers will decline any new business. However, make sure that you check the policies that you may already have in place.
  7. Keep records of every discussion. Each conversation over the phone, email, should be logged and documented as you may need an audit trail later if you make a mortgage or insurance claim.
  8. Any pre-existing arrears (pre-18th March 2020) cannot be factored into this Coronavirus situation.
  9. Please remember everyone is in the same boat. No one has experienced this before, and because it’s a public health matter, rather than a recession, the general mood is very different. We urge you to be compassionate and work together with your Tenants.
We hope this helps. Should you have any queries at all, or need any information or advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 320 2000.

Author: twentytwo

With over a decade of experience in the industry, Alexandra has worked for both independent estate agents and large corporate firms, selling all kinds of properties.

“I’m thrilled to join the team”, says Alexandra “It was important for me to find an agency that shares and supports my commitment to delivering exceptional service. As an independent agency with an impressive track record, I’ve found exactly that in Let Leeds.”

Her expertise and outlook make her the perfect fit for our growing team. She has been tasked with further developing the sales side of the business, expanding our offering to the homeowners of Leeds, as well as continuing to facilitate sales and purchases for our extensive investor network.

Alexandra firmly believes that sales doesn’t need to be stressful with the right agent and that excellent customer service is the key to a successful sale.

From initial valuations and marketing your property through to managing the sales progression and completion, she will oversee every aspect of your journey, offering you fair advice and professional insight along the way.

“We’re delighted to have Alexandra on board” says MD, Luke Gidney “There’s a huge opportunity for us to bring our passion for property to the sales sector. We’ve already got a longstanding reputation for lettings and investment sales that we are incredibly proud of and we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve and grow”

We look forward to helping match first time buyers, homeowners and families to their perfect sales properties across Leeds.

To book a Sales Valuation of your property – either face to face or virtually – please get in touch with Alexandra on 0113 322 9533.

With over a decade of experience in the industry, Alexandra has worked for both independent estate agents and large corporate firms, selling all kinds of properties.

“I’m thrilled to join the team”, says Alexandra “It was important for me to find an agency that shares and supports my commitment to delivering exceptional service. As an independent agency with an impressive track record, I’ve found exactly that in Let Leeds.”

Her expertise and outlook make her the perfect fit for our growing team. She has been tasked with further developing the sales side of the business, expanding our offering to the homeowners of Leeds, as well as continuing to facilitate sales and purchases for our extensive investor network.

Alexandra firmly believes that sales doesn’t need to be stressful with the right agent and that excellent customer service is the key to a successful sale.

From initial valuations and marketing your property through to managing the sales progression and completion, she will oversee every aspect of your journey, offering you fair advice and professional insight along the way.

“We’re delighted to have Alexandra on board” says MD, Luke Gidney “There’s a huge opportunity for us to bring our passion for property to the sales sector. We’ve already got a longstanding reputation for lettings and investment sales that we are incredibly proud of and we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve and grow”

We look forward to helping match first time buyers, homeowners and families to their perfect sales properties across Leeds.

To book a Sales Valuation of your property – either face to face or virtually – please get in touch with Alexandra on 0113 322 9533.