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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.

Location, location, school catchment

We once asked a school receptionist when they thought that new families start coming to look round the school and area with a view to starting in the next academic year. “Usually just after Easter” was the response, and they were not wrong. We have noticed a big jump in the number of families looking for new properties, and more often than not it’s all about the children.

Some families need a home within the catchment area of a certain school while other families would just like to be nearby so that the school-run is as painless as possible. Interestingly, in the last couple of weeks two of our landlords have put their own property on the market to let in order to rent a property closer to the school of their choice.

One family have three children, although only one of them has yet to ‘fly the nest’ and is still at school in Oxford. Fed up with running back and forth from their home in Horspath to the centre of Oxford, they have decided to move to the city centre for the next two to three years (until their son finishes school). This allows for their son to be able to make his own way with minimum hassle.

Oh, and did we mention that they also had three dogs? You may have read our previous blog post regarding the tricky matter of pets in rental properties. This time we were in a slightly unusual situation because we had visited the tenant’s own house in Horspath (as we are renting it out for them) and so were able to honestly advise their new landlord that they are likely to keep the house in immaculate condition – even with three dogs, one of which is a Newfoundland! Their new home has the added bonus of being close to Port Meadow – perfect for walking their pets.

Our second landlord is moving from their home on Five Mile Drive to a property which is in the catchment area for their desired primary school, so that their three year old can attend next year. They also have a one and a half year old, and a third child on the way so this could also be extreme forward planning!

They were really pleased with our applicant matching on their own home, as we found them an ideal tenant on the day they instructed us. The house was let (before hitting the market) to a family from the USA who have taken the property unseen.

We are always keen to help families move, whether it is a move within Oxfordshire or whether they are new to the area, or even to the country! To this end, we added the ‘schools’ function to our new website which allows applicants to see whether a property matches their needs. In April, this prompted someone in Canada to complete our website feedback form, saying “[I like that] I can get to the information I want very quickly. Love the information about school catchment.

As far as we know, nobody else in the UK provides the information about state school catchment areas or lists the 15 nearest fee-paying schools on each home. Of course, this eagerness to help doesn’t end with a search function on our website. If you are looking to move, and it’s all about your kids, come in and see us!