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Saturday, 26 May 2018
SAY hello to Romans’s Henley branch lettings manager Ellie Milne.
Ellie, 31, joined the Hart Street branch at the end of last year, but has worked for Romans for the past 11 years, so she knows the company inside out.
“I started out at our Camberley branch and have worked at the Farnborough, Woodley and Wokingham branches before coming to Henley,” she says. “The interesting thing about the Henley market is how different it is to these other locations. It’s much more personal here — we work really hard to provide a personal service to match.”
By this she means Henley landlords tend to be renting out their own home. Henley is not as much of an investment town as Reading can be.
“People are much more emotionally attached to their properties here,” adds Ellie. “It means that finding the tenant with the perfect fit is absolutely crucial.”
Ellie likens the Henley rental market to that of Wokingham.
“Wokingham is also a market town with a close-knit community and many local clubs and events. Compared with other locations, it’s somewhat quieter, too. People tend to want longer letting terms.”
Ellie covers both the Henley and Woodley offices, so has an in-depth knowledge of both the Berkshire and South Oxfordshire property market.
“It means that if a tenant can’t find a house that suits their needs in Henley, I’m able to show them suitable options further afield,” says Ellie. “This is especially valuable when you have so many potential tenants looking to buy but wanting to test-drive an area first.”
Put Ellie’s skills to the test yourself by popping in to see her at the branch on Hart Street to find out what she can do for you.
In the meantime, Ellie has the following advice for landlords:
l A recent survey by McBains Cooper states that four in 10 tenants expect to be renting for up to a decade. By making minor improvements, either between tenancies, or whilst your current tenants are on holiday, you are likely to increase the desirability of your property to longer-term renters and can also help to justify any increase in rent.
l Industry guidelines suggest that landlords should redecorate every three to five years. It’s important landlords adhere to this advice and regularly refresh both the interior and exterior décor.
l When viewing a property, prospective tenants will look at the quality of décor and will not only focus on the walls and windows, but also on locks, taps, door handles, curtains and blinds.
l Despite it being your property, it’s best to leave your tastes at home when it comes to décor. Sticking to neutral colours not only ensures the property appeals to all tenants, but the paint will be easy to touch up during the tenancy, too.
l Many people overlook the exterior and focus on the interior. However, kerb appeal is key. Ensure the exterior of the property looks just as cared for and clean as the interior. Simple touches such as adding hanging baskets or window boxes can boost a property’s appeal to long term renters looking for a permanent home.
l We are seeing a surge of interest from families looking for a suitable rental home in Henley. Homes of three bedrooms or more, in close proximity to the train station are in high demand and short supply. Anyone considering investing in property in Henley should look to invest in property suitable for growing families who are likely to stay in their rental home for a number of years.
l This new generation of renters is seeking permanent residences and so they expect a higher quality property. Long-term renters will be looking for properties with a well-kept exterior, presentable and modern interior and will highly value the ability to hang pictures and put up shelves to make the property feel like a home.
Currently, landlords must adhere to 140 different pieces of legislation. Keeping on top of these changes can be difficult but is vital for a successful tenancy. Key changes in 2017 which landlords should be aware of include mortgage interest tax relief changes.
These will be phased in over the next four years and will result in landlords only being able to claim tax relief on 20 per cent of their mortgage interest charges.
Tenants are also now legally entitled to request that energy efficiency improvements are carried out on their rental homes and landlords are unable to unreasonably refuse.
Working with a licensed letting agent will help ensure you’re always kept up to date with the latest legislation changes and your rental properties are compliant with the law.
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