Only My Share seeks to reassure private renters

Only My Share seeks to reassure private renters

United Kingdom ,
  • 25% of tenants fear falling into rent arrears (Landlord Information Network)
  • Clarity lacking on eventual outcomes for renters struggling due to pandemic
  • Only My Share offering reassurance to renters in shared households 

It’s a troubling time for renters. While the UK’s major banks are working with the government to provide property owners who need it with a three-month mortgage break if required, plans for private renters (who account for one in five UK households) have unfolded far less rapidly and clearly. 

What the government has done is announce that “no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.” 

“While ensuring no evictions is a positive step, it does nothing to address the issue of tenants who find themselves unable to pay their rent and are thus building up rent arrears. Many people who are self-isolating or looking after children who would otherwise be in school or early years childcare settings, may suddenly find themselves unable to work and unable to earn. If they’re building up rent arrears, what will happen as soon as the eviction ban lifts? The government’s plan to leave landlords and tenants to ‘work together to establish an affordable repayment plan’ doesn’t sound very reassuring.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

Cases of tenants who are seriously behind on their rent were already rising, before the added complication of the global pandemic. The Landlord Information Network reports that over 25% of tenants fear they will fall into rent arrears. 

For those living in shared houses, the issue of rent arrears has been a thorny one for some time. ‘Joint and several’ tenancy agreements mean that all tenants are equally liable for each other’s obligations under the contract. This means that a tenant can be taken to court for their housemate’s rent arrears (once the courts begin processing such cases again).

Those who are concerned about being in such a situation are not without options. Rent arrears protection service Only My Share exists to deal with precisely these circumstances. Housemates and their guarantors can both enjoy protection of  up to £10,000 of fellow housemates’ arrears from just £99 per year; subject to their standard terms and conditions

“Many sharers don’t realise that they could be liable for thousands of pounds of rent arrears based on payments that were never theirs to make in the first place. With the current pandemic highlighting the precarious conditions that many renters face, services like Only My Share can provide a very welcome degree of reassurance.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

Only My Share is part of the Housing Hand group. Housing Hand provides a UK rent guarantor service, while Only My Share protects the guarantor… and the tenant. 

For more information please contact Only My Share today on +44 (0) 203 887 2961 or visit https://www.onlymyshare.com/ 

Putting the PR into PRoperty: AB Property Marketing celebrates 15 years of success

Putting the PR into PRoperty: AB Property Marketing celebrates 15 years of success

United Kingdom
  • Agency has represented property clients around the world for past 15 years
  • From Albania to Zambia, from new builds to BTR, PBSA, B2L, second homes & interiors
  • Agency based on a passion for property, innovative PR techniques & attentive client service

March 2020 sees leading property PR agency AB Property Marketing celebrating 15 years of successfully representing clients around the world. From a two-woman Surrey start-up, the company has grown and flexed since forming in 2005, finding new and innovative ways to promote a wide range of different property clients and their projects.

Now based in London, Founder and Managing Director, Charlotte Ashton, comments,

“It’s incredible to think that the start-up I co-founded all those years ago has grown to represent household names within the property industry. I’m so proud of the work that the team has undertaken in gaining in-depth knowledge of our clients, their markets and products. We’ve purposefully kept a focus on property alone and strived to deliver an attentive service that you can only get with boutique PR agencies, meaning that our clients always get fully committed, bespoke services.”

Over the past 15 years, AB Property Marketing has worked with leading names in the property sector, including Taylor Wimpey, Quintain, JLL, Tipi, be:here, Millgate, Alexander James Interior Design and Currency Index. The company has delivered PR expertise for UK new homes, international second homes, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), hotels and resorts, investment properties (from buy-to-let to care homes), the build to rent sector and much, much more.

“We’ve worked with AB Property Marketing for over a decade now and are still impressed by the team’s enthusiasm, knowledge and personal service. I’m delighted that they are celebrating 15 years of success – but certainly not surprised!”

Marc Pritchard, Head of Sales and Marketing, Taylor Wimpey España

One of the keys to AB Property Marketing’s success has been the company’s willingness to adapt. Popular property investment products and locations change over time, as does everything from the types of second homes available to property-related tax regimes. By utilising their passion for property and staying two steps ahead, AB Property Marketing has been able to support clients to navigate the shifting landscape, just as it has done itself.

“In the past 15 years, we’ve gone through everything from a major global recession to the painfully drawn-out Brexit process. Factors such as these can have a dramatic impact on the property market, both domestically and overseas. That’s why adaptability and horizon-scanning are so essential when it comes to working in the property industry over the longer term.”

Charlotte Ashton, Founder and Managing Director, AB Property Marketing

AB Property Marketing has become the partner of choice for developers looking to bring new property products to market, as well as established brands with their own long history of success. The agency is also a long-term friend to those who write about property, providing up-to-the-minute commentary on political developments, local insights into sun-kissed holiday destinations and everything in between.

“Charlotte’s longevity is proof of her talent for good PR in a very transitory business. Never just reactive, she is great to deal with and great at balancing the often-conflicting demands of property client and journalist (!). Experience does count.”

Liz Rowlinson, freelance property writer for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times & Editor of A Place in the Sun magazine

For all your property public relations needs, contact AB Property Marketing on +44 845 054 7524 or visit www.abpropertymarketing.co.uk.  

Housing Hand highlights pressure on UK universities as political and economic factors take their toll

Housing Hand highlights pressure on UK universities as political and economic factors take their toll

United Kingdom
  • Enhanced further education sector in China may dent UK’s international student numbers
  • Potential tuition fee cuts could jeopardise course quality
  • Brexit’s impact on the 18% of academic staff who hail from the EU is not yet known

The UK’s universities are under increasing pressure to do more for their students, even as resources are being cut, UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand reports. Housing Hand is working in partnership with select universities in order to better support students in accessing safe, appropriate accommodation during their studies. Most recently, it launched a year-long trial with Goldsmiths, University of London, that sees the Housing Hand rent guarantor service available to all Goldsmiths students at a significantly reduced rate.

Academic institutions in the UK are trying to deal with a range of issues at present, while still trying to fulfill their duty of care to all those who study at them. We’re looking for innovative ways to try and help universities support their students in the face of diminishing resources, so that they can ultimately deliver greater value.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Housing Hand helps students with no UK-based rent guarantor to secure suitable accommodation, whether that be through a landlord, agent or other student housing provider. By using Housing Hand, students can mitigate the need to pay 6-12 months’ rent upfront – a standard requirement for those who have no guarantor. The service is available to domestic students, as well as those from the EU and further afield. At present, domestic students account for around 40% of those that the company serves with the other 60% coming from overseas.

International students are a particular point of concern for many universities at present. China, which sends more students to the UK than any other country, accounting for 106,530 students in 2017/18, has recently done much to improve its own higher education offering, creating more attractive degrees at home. The UK also compares unfavourably with countries such as Canada when it comes to visa terms for those who’ve graduated here, even accounting for the recent announcement that international students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduating.

Then there’s Brexit. Not only does Brexit have the ability to cause a drop in EU student numbers, it can also cause headaches for those establishments employing foreign teaching staff. Universities UK reports that 18% of the UK higher education sector’s total academic staff in 2017/18 had an EU nationality. And that’s not to mention the loss of EU research funding.

It’s no wonder that universities are doing all they can to support international students and increase their numbers. Part of this includes using services such as Housing Hand to help students deal with the chronic undersupply of suitable student housing in many UK cities and ensure that they can access safe, appropriate places to live.”

Saasha Verma, University Partnerships Manager, Housing Hand

The pain felt by universities as a result of international competition and domestic political pressures is exacerbated by potential fee cuts. Earlier this year, a landmark review commissioned by the government recommended that tuition fees be capped at £7,500, instead of the current rate of £9,250. Such a move would have a dramatic impact on the funding available to the UK’s higher education establishments and likely an inescapable knock-on effect on the quality of the courses on offer.

The UK’s universities have been turned into businesses – businesses that are trapped between government controls and deregulation. Competition is fierce, with the 450+ institutions struggling to find the flexibility to generate additional income.

“Housing Hand doesn’t have the power to solve every issue that our universities are facing, but when it comes to student welfare, we are here to help. Higher education faces a tough few years ahead, which is why a plethora of independent services are needed to work alongside the UK’s universities in order that they can remain attractive to bright young people from around the world.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

 

 

Housing Hand to meet Housing Minster in bid to support those who find it hardest to access housing

Housing Hand to meet Housing Minster in bid to support those who find it hardest to access housing

United Kingdom
  • Rough sleeping up 165% between 2010 and 2018 (MHCLG)
  • Housing Hand meeting Ester McVey to discuss UK housing solutions
  • Supporting people at risk of becoming homeless is key CSR priority

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK rose by 165% between 2010 and 2018 according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Supporting people to get off the streets and back into mainstream housing is a complex issue and one that is better addressed by supporting those at risk of becoming homeless in the first place. As such, local councils need to do all they can to support those who find it harder to access housing, according to UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand.

The Museum for Homelessness reports that a homeless person dies every 19 hours in the UK. With homelessness rising so sharply over the past eight years, a solution is needed fast. Housing Hand is one organisation seeking to be part of that solution. The company is due to meet with Housing Minister Esther McVey this month to discuss supporting those who find it harder to access housing, including working with local councils.

Housing Hand acts as a guarantor for students and working professionals who rent their homes and don’t have a UK guarantor. The company has covered £120,000,000 in rent to date and has worked with over 3,000 accommodation providers. Now, it is piloting a scheme working with local councils to support some of those who are most in need of support with accessing appropriate housing.

“Local authorities have a complex task ahead of them when it comes to meeting the housing needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Doing so requires them to work with a range of external agencies and to find new ways of supporting their constituents. As such, Housing Hand is trialling a new way of working with local councils to ensure that those who need housing are better able to access it.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

Housing Hand’s service involves it stepping in to act as a guarantor should the tenant not be able to pay their rent. The company works directly with landlords, local councils and tenants in order to provide stability within the rented accommodation sector. It is undertaking the trial with local councils as part of its corporate social responsibility agenda.

“There’s nothing that can’t be solved when it comes to addressing the problems with the UK housing market – it just requires the right combination of vision, practicality and funding. Our business has evolved significantly since we first started providing rent guarantor services and we are delighted to be in a position now to support some of those who find it hardest to access housing to do so with a sense of security.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

 

 

Pending A level results and rising room costs drive interest in Only My Share’s housemate rent arrears protection

Pending A level results and rising room costs drive interest in Only My Share’s housemate rent arrears protection

United Kingdom
  • 54% of all students rent their homes privately (Save the Student)
  • Over 500,000 HMOs in England alone (National HMO Network)
  • Room rents up 11% over past year (Ideal Flatmate)

With A level results due out in just a couple of days, the question of student accommodation is uppermost in many parents’ minds right now. 54% of all students rent their accommodation from private landlords and estate agents, according to Save the Student. Many of them live in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), of which there are more than half a million in England, based on National HMO Network figures.

For students and those who act as guarantors for them, renting a room in a shared home like this carries a particular risk: if one housemate doesn’t pay their rent, the others (and their guarantors) may end up liable for their share. That’s why rent arrears protection service Only My Share exists.

“There are countless cases of students and their guarantors having suddenly become liable for monies owed to HMO landlords as a result of other tenants not being able to pay their rent. Only My Share seeks to protect students and their guarantors from being in this situation so that they can have peace of mind and enjoy their university experience to the full.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

The problem of rent arrears is widespread. The National Landlords Association reports that 32% of landlords have suffered from rent areas, while court order eviction rates and rental default claims are rising. Meanwhile, the LIN reports that 25% of tenants fear that they will fall into rent arrears.

Against this worrying backdrop, Only My Share provides up to £10,000 of housemate rent arrears protection for just £99 per year. When tenancy agreements are ‘joint and several,’ all tenants are equally liable for each other’s obligations under the contract. However, if a housemate fails to pay their rent, Only My Share will stand as a guarantor in order to protect others from becoming liable for that housemate’s share.

With a simple, online application and payment process, which has been streamlined as part of the company’s new website, Only My Share makes it easy for students and their guarantors to enjoy far greater peace of mind.

“Issues around providing rent guarantors can be a real source of stress for students. With little to no credit history, many have to rely on their parents to act as guarantors. While many parents are happy to do so, they are less keen to sign up to potentially cover their child’s housemates’ rent as well – and with one in ten students dropping out in their first year, that risk is far from insignificant.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

The average yearly student rent is £6,792, according to 2018 figures from Save the Student, while Cushman & Wakefield report that private rental sector increases are outstripping those of university bed spaces, at 3.0% and 2.6% respectively from 2017/18 to 2018/19.

Only My Share is part of the Housing Hand group. Housing Hand provides a UK rent guarantor service, while Only My Share protects the guarantor… and the tenant.

“We discovered, through running Housing Hand, that there was a necessity for a separate service that worked with those at risk of paying another’s rent arrears. We created Only My Share in order to fill that gap, ensuring that as many students’  needs as possible are met through the Housing Hand group.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share 

Only My Share is also available to others who rent accommodation in HMOs, with a commission structure in place for letting agents that are keen to see their constituents benefit from the scheme. Outside of the student sector, room rates are also rising, with Ideal Flatmate reporting an increase of 11% over the past year. London’s rooms are the most expensive, at an average of £745 pcm, followed by Glasgow (£588 pcm) and then Bournemouth (£575 pcm). The organisation projects further rises over the remainder of 2019, with high demand and insufficient stock fuelling the increases.

 

For more information please contact Only My Share today on +44 (0) 203 887 2961  or visit https://www.onlymyshare.com/

 

 

 

 

Housing Hand partners with Goldsmiths, University of London to help students afford their homes

Housing Hand partners with Goldsmiths, University of London to help students afford their homes

United Kingdom
  • The service marks 3rd Housing Hand university partnership in UK 
  • Just 23% of care leavers attend higher education by age 23 (NNECL)
  • Goldsmiths to fully fund service for 35 vulnerable students
  • Housing Hand service available to all Goldsmiths students, in push to prioritise academic ability over socio-economic factors

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand has announced a new partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London. The organisation is collaborating with the university to deliver an enhanced rent guarantor service available for all its students, regardless of nationality, to secure suitable private rental accommodation.

Housing Hand works with landlords, agents and other student housing providers to help students with no UK-based rent guarantor to secure their preferred accommodation without the need to pay 6-12 months’ rent upfront. Housing Hand is working with Goldsmiths Student Support Services to establish a rent guarantor service at a significantly reduced fee for all Goldsmiths students. The service will be available to international, EU and home students, including both continuing students and those about to start in September.

Under the new partnership, Goldsmiths will also sponsor this significantly reduced fee for up to 35 students:

  • 20 international and EU students
  • 10 home students.
  • 5 care leavers and estranged students.

Housing Hand and Goldsmiths hope that their new partnership will be a success and provide a better experience for students.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London to try and ensure that higher education is available to all based on academic ability rather than particular socio-economic factors.” 

Saasha Verma, University Partnerships Manager, Housing Hand

“We understand the challenges faced by students looking for a home and were among the first universities to offer a guarantor provision scheme.  Our new partnership with Housing Hand will enable us to extend this facility to all our students, particularly those who are most in need and provide them with an enhanced service.

Pewist Osman, Head of Student Support Services, Goldsmiths, University of London

The Housing Hand partnership with Goldsmiths is a year-long pilot. It marks Housing Hand’s third higher education venture, following a successful partnership with the University of Bristol, launched in March 2017, and a subsequent one with the University of Salford, launched in February 2019.

Goldsmiths provides its students with a wide range of support, with the university one of the first in the higher education sector to provide its own rent guarantor scheme. To enhance their existing offer, Goldsmiths opted to develop a partnership with Housing Hand to meet increased demand and to offer an improved service available for all its students.

Having already worked with over 3,000 accommodation providers and covered more than £120 million in rent, Housing Hand is in a strong position to ensure that every Goldsmiths student is eligible to apply for its service.

The partnership will help make it easier for students to find quality homes to live in during their studies and will help make the process of finding a home easier. Housing Hand is also well-positioned to support Goldsmiths – along with other higher education establishments – to deliver better services and greater value to their students in a climate of ongoing change and funding constraints.

“Partnerships like this represent a new way to help support students. Running a rent guarantor service in-house costs universities in both time and effort, as well as increasing their liabilities and insurance costs. We bring a network of industry contacts and relationships to the table, as well as the required staff expertise, insurances and the ability to cover larger amounts of debt. It’s a partnership designed to ensure that everyone wins.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0)20 7205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

 

 

 

Love the landlords – it’s not their fault!

Love the landlords – it’s not their fault!

United Kingdom
  • Nearly half of UK rents pouring into government coffers (Housing Hand)
  • Huge profit from Generation Rent doing little to inspire government to change housing priorities
  • Only radical new approach likely to fix broken housing market

 

“Theresa May has not only failed to fix the broken housing market but has dealt it repeated blows during her time as Prime Minister. And it’s easy to see why. Despite her rhetoric around encouraging home ownership, the government is unlikely to turn down the near-50% tax that it receives from rents in the UK.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Tax changes that have pushed the majority of landlords into paying 40% tax on their rental income – plus VAT – means that the government is profiting hugely from Generation Rent. While landlords and agencies have taken their turns at being vilified for keeping young people locked into renting for longer, not enough has been said about the government’s lack of motivation to fix the housing market, according to UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand.

The ban on letting agencies charging fees to tenants is likely to drive up rents, just as it did in Scotland. As agencies increase their fees to landlords, landlords will increase the rents they charge to cover the fees. Both have shouldered their fair share of blame for the situation. However, the government is certainly doing little to step back from the additional tax that will pour into its coffers as a result.

“Though a well-intentioned idea, the Tenant Fees Act has made the broken housing market worse. It comes on top of successive changes that have served to drive landlords away from the private rented sector. What we’ve actually been left with is a growing pool of tenants fighting for a reduced number of rental properties. The result? Again, rising rents, as demand increasingly outstrips supply.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Only radical changes will fix the damage that Theresa May’s government has caused, according to the UK-based guarantor experts at Housing Hand. Reverting to taxing landlords on their profits rather than their income is the first step. After all, what business can survive being taxed at 40% on its income, rather than its profit? Scrapping the tax grab will see landlords returning to the market, rebalancing supply and demand and lowering rents as a result.

Then it’s time to address home ownership. Housing Hand advocates a government-backed deposit scheme, where individuals find a 2% deposit and the government loans them the other 8%. Doing so would move a whole generation into their own homes. Appropriate insurance – a reimagined mortgage protection insurance scheme, say – could easily be paid for by the home buyers as their mortgage payments would be so much lower than their current rental payments.

With more people buying, builders would step up their game too, as it would reduce their reliance on investors buying homes to rent out and line up a whole generation of would-be owner occupiers.

“As a result of years of mis-management, the new Prime Minister has a huge challenge on his hands when it comes to the UK’s housing sector. The leadership contenders’ promises will mean very little unless the government dares to make some radical decisions. Sadly, with so much to gain from the growth of Generation Rent, it seems unlikely that any big changes will be made anytime soon.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

 

 

 

Housing Hand trials new commission-based approach to rent guarantor service for select letting agent partners

Housing Hand trials new commission-based approach to rent guarantor service for select letting agent partners

United Kingdom
  • 25 letting agents/branches to participate in new commission trial
  • Commission in addition to guaranteed rent, free leads & wider pool of secured tenants that over 3,000 accommodation providers already benefit from
  • Service will support letting agents to reshape their business models

Letting agents haven’t had the easiest start to the summer. This time last year, they were contending with a fall in the number of rental properties, with Home.co.uk reporting a drop of 24% (as at August 2018) in the number of homes to rent in London that had been on the market for 20 weeks or fewer. Now, the banning of fees under the Tenant Fees Act means that agents are not only competing to rent out fewer properties, but with a reduced income.

Against this backdrop, the UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand is offering a ray of light, albeit not a direct substitute. Beginning with letting agents in the UK (with a later rollout to Ireland intended), the firm is trialling a rent guarantor service focused specifically on letting agents’ needs in this brave new post-Tenant Fees Act world. Housing Hand’s award-winning rent guarantor service already supports agents in filling vacancies quickly and efficiently, reducing agents’ in-house admin whilst completely removing tenant default risk, allowing agents to accept a wider pool of qualifying and secured tenants and providing free leads.

Now, the trial of a new batch-based commission structure will see agents have the opportunity to enjoy a new income stream as well. The 25 selected agents/branches have all been chosen to avoid crossover with Housing Hand’s pre-existing partner arrangements with other affiliates such as Universities, Councils and Embassies.

The initial trial runs for 12 months from 17 June 2019. Letting agents refer applicants to Housing Hand for processing, then invoice the company in batches. The system allows agents to earn £25 each for the first batch of 15 tenants that use Housing Hand as the guarantor, £35 each for the next batch of 15 and £50 each for any further tenants. The fully disclosed and transparent structure has been developed in full compliance with the Tenant Fees Act. It delivers legislative compliance, a new source of income for letting agents and a fairer deal for private tenants.

“We’ve striven to develop a system where everyone wins. Housing Hand has already worked with over 3,000 accommodation providers, helping and processing more than 70,000 applicants and covering £120,000,000 in rent. This has given us a deeper understanding of the issues that both tenants and lettings agents face when it comes to guaranteeing rent and managing risk. While many companies are dressing up what are essentially just insurance products as ‘rent guarantee services,’ we’ve worked to develop a completely different product – one that works more effectively for both parties.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

A review after three months will consider expanding the trial of this new form of service delivery to additional agents/branches that are deemed a good match to Housing Hand’s targets.

From the tenant side of the transaction, property guarantor services are used by everyone from international students to working professionals. By removing the need for tenants to pay large amounts of rent upfront, they remove a major stumbling block from the rental process. Housing Hand reports there is a particular demand from those looking to hire a guarantor to help them secure rental homes in London (notably East and West London) and other major cities. Under the new trial, tenants will continue to receive the same supportive, professional service for which Housing Hand has become so well known.

“The market is changing and the letting fees ban is the latest twist in the tale. We’ve designed our trial to support agents to deal with the post-ban lettings landscape more efficiently. We look forward to analysing the results and expanding the trial in due course.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

Is now the time for London’s buy to let resurgence?

Is now the time for London’s buy to let resurgence?

United Kingdom ,
  • London rents to rise by 15.9% in 5 years to 2023 – faster than UK average (Savills)
  • Luton voted 2019 top commuter hotspot (Jackson-Stops)
  • New development The Orion key to addressing Luton’s housing shortage (Surrenden Invest)

With prices correcting over the last two years, London has definitely not been the choicest of locations when it comes to buy to let investments. However, specialist property investment agency Surrenden Invest believes that the capital’s fortunes are on the turn, making now the ideal time to consider commuter belt properties in areas of pent-up demand, such as Luton.

“Life in Luton means easy access to the best that London has to offer but without the capital’s extortionate housing costs. The town has excellent amenities with a lively local culture that appeals to those looking to balance access to London with a realistic lifestyle. This is one of the reasons that Luton exhibits such excellent growth potential.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

According to Savills, London will lead the UK’s compound rental growth over the five years to 2023, with growth or 0.5% this year accelerating to 1.5% in 2020, 4.0% in 2021 and 4.5% in the following two years. The overall growth rate of 15.9% compares to growth across the rest of the UK (excluding the capital) of just 11.5%. This is certainly good news for those looking at investing in residential property in and around London.

Luton is a growing town that is known for being one of London’s most sought-after commuter locations. Indeed, Jackson-Stops has just flagged it up as the top commuter hotspot for 2019.

Luton is located 30 miles north west of central London. Direct trains run into London St Pancras International in as little as 22 minutes. 167 trains per day provide an almost round-the-clock service. Rents, meanwhile, are around 1/3 of the cost that they are in London. For renters, it is the ideal combination.

Luton’s population is increasingly rapidly. Between 2018 and 2041, the Office for National Statistics projects that the town’s population will grow by 12.9%, to 248,500. At the same time, it is in the grips of a serious housing shortage, as is the case with many towns and cities in the UK. However, Luton’s housing shortage is more acute than most, with Project Etopia projecting that it will be 22.1 years behind where it needs to be in terms of housebuilding by 2026, if the current rate of development continues. At present, Luton is building 430 new homes per year – it needs to be building 1,417 to meet demand.

One development racing to meet this demand is The Orion, located just minutes from Luton train station and town centre. The 67 high-end apartments are precisely what contemporary renters are seeking – high-spec homes in a superb location that provides easy access to both London and Luton itself. Offering a mix of one- and two-bedroom homes, they are also ideal for investors looking to capitalise on the resurgence of the London commuter belt as an investment prospect.

Luton’s housing shortage spells good news for buy to let investors over the longer term, as it points to a sustained level of demand for private rented accommodation in the town, as tenants snap up those homes that are available. It also has the potential to drive up house prices (as well as rents and yields). Luton is already bucking the trend in terms of house price rises. While many southern locations are seeing a market correction at present, with falling prices or nil growth, Luton’s prices rose by 1.6% in the year to April 2019. Savills, meanwhile, projects growth of 9.3% in the five years to 2023 for the wider South East region.

In terms of its rental market, Luton enjoys an average rent of £632 pcm for a one-bedroom apartment and £828 pcm for a two-bedroom one, according to Zoopla – significantly less than equivalent homes in London.

“It is Luton’s combination of capital growth potential and pent-up demand for private rented sector homes that has caused the town to top LendInvest’s UK buy to let index for so much of the past three- or four-year period. This is a town with outstanding growth potential.”

Jonathan Stephens, MD, Surrenden Invest

 

For more information, visit www.surrendeninvest.com or call 0203 3726 499

Housing Hand responds to increasingly challenging deposit requirements with rent guarantor scheme

Housing Hand responds to increasingly challenging deposit requirements with rent guarantor scheme

United Kingdom
  • Rents rising at the fastest rate in over 2 years (HomeLet)
  • ‘Non-typical’ renters having to raise 6-12 months’ rent in advance (Housing Hand)
  • 40% of deposits larger than 1 month’s rent (Tenancy Deposit Scheme)

Rents in the UK are rising at their fastest rate for more than two years; HomeLet reports a rise of 3.3% in the year to March 2019. With tax changes making buy to let a less attractive option to investors and the letting fees ban due to take effect from 1 June, everyone from landlords to agents are looking to rents to make up the difference.

Those entering this difficult market for the first time face a number of challenges. Much has been made of the issues that first-time buyers face in terms of large deposits and house prices that are significantly out of step with salaries. However, the challenges are also there for a growing number of would-be renters, according to UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand.

“Figures from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme show that more than 40% of deposits for private rented homes are more than a month’s rent. For those who don’t fit the profile of a ‘typical’ renter – students, first time renters, care leavers, professionals coming to work in the UK from overseas, for example – deposit requirements can quickly spiral. It’s not uncommon for landlords to ask for six or even 12 months’ rent as a deposit or a down payment in such situations, which is beyond the reach of many people.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The requirement to pay such large amounts upfront is often dropped if the renter can provide a guarantor for their rent. However, this is often yet another challenge for many of those looking to rent a home in the UK. This is where Housing Hand steps in to help. The company provides a rent guarantor service to students and working professionals, helping them to reduce the upfront costs of renting a home. Those coming to the UK from overseas to work or study can also access the scheme, as can workers on zero hours contracts.

The guarantor service is simple. The tenant engages Housing Hand to act as their guarantor, with the option of instalments spread over several months or making a single payment from as little as £295 for the service. Housing Hand then liaises with the landlord, letting agent or university in question to make the relevant arrangements. The company is even inbuilt into many of its partners’ booking forms, from letting agents and universities to accommodation providers, in order to streamline the process. The individual can thus rent their home without having to find thousands of pounds to use as a deposit.

Housing Hand has already helped and processed over 70,000 applicants from 141 countries. The company works with more than 3,000 accommodation providers and covered more than £120 million in rent. Their flexible approach means that even those with qualifying guarantors can protect themselves and their guarantors from up to £10,000 of potential rent liability when living in shared student digs, through the Only My Share scheme.

The average rent in the UK is now £1,041 pcm, according to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. In London, it is closer to £1,750 pcm. Not only that, but the rate at which rents are rising is projected to increase. RICS reports projected growth of around 2% over the year ahead, jumping to a rise of approximately 3% per annum by 2024, thanks to the growing imbalance between supply and demand.

“Moving into your own home should be an exciting milestone. We are doing what we can to ensure that people can achieve that dream in the face of increasingly difficult circumstances.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

 

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/