Category: Residential Lettings

Land and Property Professionals

We sell, rent, manage, survey, plan and advise...what can we do for you?

Bedford: 01234 351000 (Sales, lettings and viewing enquiries)
01234 352201 (Professional services and general enquiries)
Buckingham: 01280 428010

Robinson & Hall’s residential lettings department has had a busy first quarter. In fact, we have completed 33% more new tenancies this year compared to this time last year. Here are some examples of properties we have let so far this year.

In addition, we have helped our landlords to maximise their rental income by instructing approved and trusted contractors to complete renovation works prior to reletting. By undertaking works to the property, this does not just limit the possibility of a costly callout and works being required to the property once tenants move in but ensures landlords will receive a premium rent from the very start of the tenancy. Once works have completed, we have seen rents increase by an average of £330 per month.

An example of this is when we were instructed recently by a landlord whose previous agent let the property fall into disrepair. We conducted an initial inspection and found the property to have mould in the living room, the carpet was heavily stained throughout and there were historic leak stains on the ceilings and damp in the bedroom. This particular landlord does not live near the property and was unable to see the extent of the required works. Therefore, we created a report including over 160 photographs and a full write up of works required. We then organised for quotes to be generated from our approved contractors and talked the landlord through their options. We obtained consent from the landlord for works to proceed and instructed the contractors accordingly.

We use a mixture of locally respected quality contractors and were able to obtain a competitive quote and negotiate a prompt commencement of works. We carried out weekly inspections to make sure works were completed within the given time and supplied the landlord with regular updates. Meanwhile a ‘To Let’ board was erected and applicants were contacted with the intention of minimising the costly vacant period. Three weeks later the work was completed within the agreed deadline. A block viewing was arranged, and a tenant was secured within 3 days at an agreed rent of more than double what the landlord was previously receiving.

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Robinson & Hall continues to experience demand outstripping supply in the residential lettings market, leading to a continuing increase in rental levels. Frequently, our residential lettings department receives multiple offers on each property, and on average we are letting properties within a week of them coming onto the market. Subsequently, tenants are offering over the asking price to secure their next home.

Zoopla property news says that: “Average rents for new lets across the country have risen 9.7% since last year”. Bedford and the surrounding villages are well located for offering housing to the overflow of London tenants who are used to paying high rents but want a larger property and the ease of an under an hour commute to central London. 

The increase in rents is not just introduced for new lets either. Robinson & Hall recognises it is essential that comparable information is supplied to our landlords each year to determine if a rent increase is required to ensure the property keeps up with market values.

Due to the growing rents and the cost-of-living crisis, we suggest protecting your rental income by considering taking out a rent and legal policy. This then means that a landlord would receive the rent if a tenant defaulted on payments, and repossession legal costs are covered by the insurers.

If you would like to benefit from a free lettings appraisal to find out what rental value your property could achieve or for more information, please contact Calum.

New statistics show that average rents across the country have risen sharply with demand outstripping supply, resulting in record rents for landlords. Average rents across the country have risen to £1,278 per calendar month outside of London, which now means on average rents have increased by 10% from last year.

Robinson & Hall has found that many tenants are relocating from London to live in rural areas for lifestyle reasons, being able to work from home being one of the main factors. This therefore results in them being able to afford a better property than they would have if they stayed in the region.

Is your property winter ready?

With winter around the corner, we have made it our priority to inspect the properties we manage to ensure they are winter ready. We have supplied tenants with maintenance advice to minimise the risk of issues arising, in addition to keeping the landlord informed of the condition of their property by supplying a detailed inspection report.

Checklist for landlords during the winter months:

Included within our managed service, we supply tenants with an out of hours emergency telephone number, which is monitored by a member of our knowledgeable lettings team, meaning all emergency issues can be dealt with swiftly.

For more information or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal to find out what rent your property could achieve, please call me.

Calum Weaver, Head of Residential Lettings at Robinson & Hall, provides a useful update on the residential lettings market…

Buyers are staying in the rented sector for longer to save for a higher deposit.

New statistics from the Mortgage Advice Bureau show first time buyers are aiming to save for a higher deposit before purchasing a property. Subsequently, many would-be buyers are staying in the private rented sector for longer and adding to an already crowded market.

Demand is outweighing supply.

Due to buyers staying put in the rental market, there is a large influx of people turning to lettings in comparison to a low number of rental properties coming to the market, resulting in huge demand for rental properties.

Record rents are being achieved.

The demand and supply issue is one of the many reasons we are achieving record rental figures for our clients. For example, we let a two-bedroom property in Kempster Court in Bedford last year for £850 pcm; this year it is achieving £1000 pcm. As part of our management service, we supply our clients with comparable property reports and market value figures annually. We then contact the tenant(s) to discuss the rent review.

Continue to maintain your property.

Another opportunity to maximise your investment is to, if required, carry out refurbishment works to the property once a tenant has vacated. As part of our managed service, we will attend the property with a company approved contractor when notice has been received to obtain quotes, meaning refurbishment works are scheduled to start as soon as the tenant vacates. This is in conjunction with contacting our database of prospective tenants to secure a replacement with the intention to eliminate or reduce a void period.

To find out more information about our residential lettings service or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please contact 01234 351000 or email lettings@robinsonandhall.co.uk

Calum Weaver, Head of Residential Lettings at Robinson & Hall, provides a useful market update…

 “Robinson & Hall has remained incredibly busy since the start of the year with a high number of tenants looking to secure their next home.

Online enquiries have not replaced the importance of face-to-face contact in property transactions. Through COVID we found virtual viewings to be a valuable tool, however we are now seeing increased in-person appointments. This means we can better understand the applicant’s requirements and can show them all suitable properties, including those properties that are soon to be coming to the market. There is every chance we already know the ideal tenant for your property!

We are expecting the demand to continue with a limited number of properties coming to the lettings market. This is due to a growing number of tenants relying on rental properties because of increased mortgage rates, and the cost of living crisis bringing challenges for first time buyers. This will result in record rent prices growing at the fastest annual rate for more than a decade.

According to Zoopla, the property portal, rents across the UK have been growing faster than earnings. Conscious of this, we want to further protect our landlords’ assets and minimise risk. Therefore, we have introduced rent and legal protection which you can decide to take out at the start of each new tenancy.

Robinson & Hall has further invested in its lettings division and introduced the benefit of each client being assigned to one dedicated staff member who has a strong understanding of the client’s property. The staff member will be first point of call, from arranging viewings to a tenant moving in, with regular feedback being given along the way. They will also provide the aftercare, including carrying out regular inspections, reporting and monitoring of maintenance works, maintaining the property’s compliance, issuing monthly rent statements and carrying out rent reviews.”

To find out more information about our residential lettings service or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please contact 01234 351000 or email lettings@robinsonandhall.co.uk

Our residential lettings department has a new Head of Residential Lettings, Calum Weaver, who joined Robinson & Hall in December 2022.

Originally from London, Calum has previous experience in working for both corporate and independent estate agencies and has worked with a range of clients and a wide variety of residential properties. He then moved to Bedford to gain experience as a Business Development Manager looking after the lettings department for several offices across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

Calum manages the Residential Lettings team at Robinson & Hall and is responsible for maintaining our large portfolio of lettings properties and ensuring that our landlords and tenants are provided with outstanding advice and customer service. His goal is to develop strong relationships with our landlords and continue to  develop his knowledge in this ever-changing industry.

In his spare time, Calum enjoys travelling, landscape photography and is a keen footballer.

If you are considering letting your property, would like to find out about the service we provide and obtain a free lettings appraisal on your property, then please contact Calum on 01234 362930 or email crfw@robinsonandhall.co.uk

Your rental property could be one of your biggest investments so it makes sense to keep it in good condition. Extreme weather conditions during the winter months can take their toll on homes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent or limit damage, which could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Below is an essential maintenance checklist to ensure your rental property remains in good condition during the winter period.

  1. Repair Cracks and Crevices

Any gaps or cracks in the exterior of your property could result in long term problems if left untreated. If moisture from the outside finds its way into the property, you could be facing serious damp and mould issues. This is easily avoided through regular inspections and property maintenance.

Key areas to focus on include:

  1. Check guttering and the roof

A blocked gutter might not seem like a big problem, but it can lead to major damage. An overflowing gutter or a split resulting in a leaky gutter can mean water discharging straight onto your walls. Water will penetrate brick and stonework leading to damp and if it freezes in the cold, water can quickly cause serious damage to masonry.

Keeping your roof in good condition is a year-round concern. Although in a stormy, cold wintertime, it’s even more important. Check for cracked, broken or missing tiles. These can all let water in, causing damage to the structure of the building.

Broken and missing tiles can also let high winds pass through, resulting in further tiles being lost. What could have been a relatively cheap and quick fix could turn into a major repair job.

  1. Boiler

Make sure the boiler has been serviced; it’s going to be working harder over the next few months. Consider putting a service plan in place and if it’s a gas boiler, make sure the gas safety certificate is up to date.

  1. Alarms

Every habitable floor of a rental property must have a working smoke alarm and any room with a solid fuel appliance, e.g. a working fireplace, must be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. While testing your alarms, check the burglar alarm is working for added tenant reassurance on dark nights.

  1. Pipes

When water freezes in extremely cold weather, it expands and can result in burst pipes. To prevent this:

  1. Door Locks

Sometimes extreme cold weather can freeze locks. Rather than getting a late-night call from a tenant locked out of their home or incurring an emergency call out cost from a locksmith, a pre-emptive spray with lubricant will prevent sticking.

  1. Emergency contact details

One of the most important ways you can protect your rental property over the winter is to provide your tenants with a list of emergency numbers to contact if things go wrong. This should include:

This is particularly important if you are planning to go away over the Christmas break.

By providing your own list of numbers, you can ensure that any repairs or maintenance issues are dealt with by reliable tradespeople. At Robinson & Hall our Lettings department has an out of hours line which tenants can call and we instruct a reputable contractor, so landlords don’t have to!

For more information or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please contact Raj.

Over the last ten years there have been changes to, or implementation of, over 175 sections of the regulations affecting the private rental sector. At Robinson & Hall Residential Lettings, we pride ourselves on being up to date with current legislation and best practice. We hold the ARLA Propertymark and as a firm are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our lettings team’s top 5 tips for compliance and a seamless tenancy in 2022 are:

  1. Has your tenant got the right to rent in the UK?

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, we can no longer rely on a European Economic Area (EEA) passport or a National ID Card to prove a person’s right to rent in the UK. Evidence of their immigration status must be obtained through the Home Office online service which stipulates their status and the expiry. It is therefore essential the checks are conducted throughout the tenancy.

The new Code paves the way for the introduction of certified digital Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) which will run digital identity checks for British and Irish citizens as part of the Home Office’s introduction of the Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) framework.

Adjusted checks, following on from COVID19, using video calls will continue to be accepted until 30th September 2022.

  1. Prepare for the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) changes

Landlords will have until 2026 to ensure all their rental properties achieve band C on the EPC before letting the property. For existing tenancies, the landlord will have until 2028 to meet the requirement.

Landlords under the current minimum rating of E need to invest only up to a maximum of £3,500 which means rental properties can still be let out despite being below an E rating.

The penalty for not having a valid EPC will also be raised from £5,000 to £30,000 from 2025.

  1. Carbon monoxide alarm changes

All landlords will also now be obliged to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room of their properties where there is a fixed combustion appliance (including a gas boiler). Where a new fixed combustion appliance is installed, a carbon monoxide alarm will be required to be installed by law. Gas cooker appliances are excluded from the new rules.

  1. Invest in your rental property

With rents continuing to rise, it is good practice to decorate your rental properties every five years to ensure maximum rents can be achieved.

  1. Choose Robinson & Hall as your letting agent

Did you know that anyone can open an agency without having qualifications, experience or knowledge? Therefore, it is extremely important to choose an agent which is regulated by a respected industry body and has a proven track record of letting and managing properties within the area.

For more information or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please contact Yasmine.

Over the last ten years there have been changes to, or implementation of, over 175 sections of the regulations affecting the Private Rental Sector. At Robinson & Hall Residential Lettings, we pride ourselves on being up to date with current legislation and best practice. We hold the ARLA Propertymark and as a firm are regulated by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our lettings team top 5 tips for compliance and a seamless tenancy in 2022 are:

  1. Has your tenant got the right to rent in the UK?

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, we can no longer rely on a European Economic Area (EEA) passport or a National ID Card to prove a person’s right to rent in the UK. Evidence of their immigration status must be obtained through the Home Office online service which stipulates their status and the expiry. It is therefore essential the checks are conducted throughout the tenancy.

  1. Prepare for the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) changes

Landlords will have until 2026 to ensure all their rental properties achieve band C on the EPC before letting the property. For existing tenancies, the landlord will have until 2028 to meet the requirement.

  1. Carbon monoxide alarm changes

All landlords will also now be obliged to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room of their homes where there is a fixed combustion appliance (including a gas boiler). Where a new fixed combustion appliance is installed, a carbon monoxide alarm will be required to be installed by law. Gas cooker appliances are excluded from the new rules.

  1. Invest in your rental property

With rental market prices continuing to rise, it is good practice to decorate your rental properties every 5 years. This will almost guarantee a yearly increase as well as satisfied tenants.

  1. Chose Robinson & Hall as your letting agent

Did you know, anyone can open an agency without having qualifications, experience or knowledge? Therefore, it is extremely important to choose an agent which is regulated by a respected industry body and has a proven track record of letting and managing properties within the area.

For more information or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please contact 01234 351000 option 1.

Jennifer Holbrow, Head of our Residential Lettings department, outlines how we can let your property in six steps.

1.Choosing your letting agent
Once you have decided that you would like to rent out your property, you need to choose the best letting agent that suits your particular requirements. At Robinson & Hall, we have 139 years’ experience letting a wide variety of properties and work hard to get the best possible rental return within the time period allotted.

2. Choosing the right lettings package for your needs
Robinson & Hall offers two packages; fully managed and let only. Our bespoke property management packages are designed to suit your requirements, offering you full support along the way. Fully managed gives you the peace of mind that you can leave everything to us to deal with on your behalf, whilst in the knowledge that your property and tenancy will be fully compliant with all legislations. Let only allows you to have a more “hands-on” approach with the day-to-day running of your rental property.

3. Marketing your property
Robinson & Hall will market your property in order to get maximum exposure by using various advertising platforms. Your property will be advertised on the leading property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Robinson & Hall’s social media accounts and our own website.

4. Getting your property ready to let
First impressions are very important so it is crucial to ensure the property is as presentable as possible. With our extensive knowledge in the lettings field, we can work with you to ensure that your property meets the requirements for a rental and is appealing to potential tenants.

5. Moving in your new tenant
Prior to your new tenant moving in, Robinson & Hall will ensure:
• your tenant has been properly referenced
• the property is compliant with all essential regulations
• properly signed contracts are in place
• the first month’s rent and deposit has been paid
• the deposit has been protected

6. Completion
Upon completion, keys will be released to the tenant on moving in day. For managed properties, we will provide the tenant with contact details of their dedicated Property Manager.

For more information or to book a no obligation lettings appraisal, please call 01234 35100 or email lettings@robinsonandhall.co.uk