Oxford office has had an extremely busy summer, letting 109 properties between
the start of June and the end of August. This is impressive not only because it
broke any previous records held for the team, but because they were able to
achieve this success in very challenging times. Many of these properties were
snapped up really quickly, including the examples below.
Oxford City Council has launched a public consultation on two licensing
schemes aimed at improving conditions in the private rented sector (PRS).
Following agreement by the cabinet on 9th September, the council is seeking
views on its intention to:
Extend the current ‘additional’ licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) until 2026 A house in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property rented out by three or more people who are not from one ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom. In 2011 Oxford became the first council in England to introduce a citywide scheme requiring every HMO to be licensed, ensuring the property meets safety standards among other things. The current scheme is due to expire in January 2021 and consultation is required as a condition of renewing the scheme for another five years.
lockdown an increasing number of landlords have made the decision to shift from
short- to long-term lets to ensure continued income on their investment
property. Reduced numbers of tourists during the pandemic has resulted in a
dramatic drop in demand for short-term lets. In July, the CEO of Airbnb
announced a loss of 80% of their business in just 6 weeks1 and
recent reports claim that Airbnb lets are “flooding the market” in London2.
When looking to sell a tenanted property it can be difficult
to decide the best course of action: regain possession before selling or sell
with sitting tenants.
The former might be thought of as the ‘traditional’ way, but
this process can take months. It involves serving notice to terminate the
tenancy, waiting to gain access, checking for any necessary repairs or
redecoration, preparing and marketing the property then waiting for a sale.
A black swan is a rare event that has a major impact and is both difficult to have predicted but is considered obvious in hindsight. The first half of 2020 has all the markings of a black swan. However over our 48 years we have worked through different global crises and so, as before, we continued to work as a team to deliver a quality service to our customers and clients. Doing so has led to real successes across our eight offices in Oxfordshire.
Until this year electrical
safety certificates were not a mandatory requirement for rented properties. However,
as landlords have a common law duty of care to their tenants, our company
policy has always been to strongly recommend that our clients have an
electrical safety test carried out on their property as
a way of ensuring that the electrical installations are safe. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private
Rented Sector Regulations 2020, introduced this year, are a welcome piece
of legislation that will help to clarify the definition of ‘safe’ and mean that
all landlords will now be required to do what good landlords already do: to
ensure that the electrics in their rental property are not dangerous.
The Tenant Fees Act came into effect in England on 1st
June 2019. The law bans letting agents and landlords from charging tenants any
letting fees other than rent, tenancy deposits, holding deposits and explicitly
stated default charges.
At the same time, a deposit cap was introduced meaning that
tenancy deposits are restricted to five weeks’ rent (or six weeks if the annual
rent is £50,000 or more). Since last year, any existing deposit over this new
5-week cap had to be refunded on any new or renewed fixed-term tenancy
agreements created on or after the 1st June 2019.