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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.

A move away from short lets

Since 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.

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Can I sell my property while the tenant is living there?

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.

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Positive actions lead to success

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.

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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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