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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Electrical Safety Standards

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.

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The Tenant Fees Act – transition period ending

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.

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VE Day celebrations in lockdown: how to celebrate at home

VE Day marked the end of World War 2 and this Friday the whole country will commemorate the 75th anniversary. At 3pm on 8th May 1945 Winston Churchill told the nation that the war was over, and Britain and its Allies celebrated the defeat of the Nazi regime. As wartime Prime Minister, Churchill declared 8th May a public holiday and Victory in Europe (VE) Day was met with parties, dancing and singing in the streets. It’s fair to say that this 75th anniversary will be unlike other years, but that’s not to say you can’t mark the occasion and pay your respects at home.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

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Here for those stormy days…

Our Property Managers have been busy dealing with the fallout of Storm Ciara this week with no fewer than 46 fallen fences reported across our managed properties, as well as several roof tiles and one fallen tree hitting a parked car. However, this is not the first storm our property management departments have withstood. Ellie Madeley, Property Department Manager of our Bicester office said, “Based on previous experience of dealing with the damage that strong winds cause to fences, we got in touch with our preferred fencing contractor and asked them to purchase and store as many panels and posts as possible as many suppliers ran out quickly last time and our tenants had to wait for materials to come back in stock. This should put us in a good position for ensuring the damage is fixed as soon as possible.”

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Are The Clouds Lifting?

With the general election concluded and Brexit on the horizon, 2020 is set to be an interesting year. There will undoubtedly be changes which will impact landlords, and although some of the detail remains cloudy at this point, our eight offices are set to deal with the changing face of the private rental sector (PRS).

A window of certainty

Nearly four years of uncertainty caused by protracted Brexit negotiations have clearly impacted the PRS. We have seen tenants demanding far more flexibility in their contracts and prospective landlords delaying letting properties due to ‘the unknown’. As such, the conviction of the government’s plan for the UK to leave the EU on 31st January could result in moderate improvements in demand from tenants and landlords as optimism returns – assuming any post-Brexit Right to Rent issues are properly addressed. There are, of course, longer-term uncertainties which could affect the market, but we are likely to see a bounce in the first six months – make hay while the sun shines!

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Here for those rainy days

Using experts can help you through challenging times and can help protect your investment.

Being a landlord can be a tricky business at times. There are myriad regulations with which to conform, rent levels to set, tenancies to look after and future planning to consider. The last couple of years have been filled with political and economic uncertainty and although we may start to see some direction in 2020, we suspect that there are still some storms to weather in the coming months. Our local team will provide you with the expert guidance you need to be a successful landlord in 2020.

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Looking back at our client events 2019

We first started hosting events for our clients in 2013 as a small way of saying thank you to our landlords for their business and for their loyalty.  We see it as a benefit of being a Finders Keepers client and try to include a mixture of both fun and educational activities so that there is something for everyone. 

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