Landlords: Researching a new property? Start here

If you’re a landlord who’s thinking of investing in additional properties, you need to do your research. There are lots of property related websites where you can enter the postcode of a place you’re interested in buying, to get related data, but you won’t get all the information you need from a single source.

Until now. Our friends at Property118 have built this handy tool to search across multiple sources, to give you the information you need to base a decision on. The beauty of it is, you only have to enter one postcode. And it’s free.

In one single step you can look at information sourced from the three major property sites – RightMove, Zoopla, and of course, SpareRoom, together with information on planning applications, local crime rates, LHA rates and more.

You can use it now – here!

UK Property Research Tool
What you need to know and where to find the information

Making fees transparent

For many tenants they are the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and the bane of their rental lives. Fees are a contentious subject, though, and ask any lettings agent and they’ll probably tell you it’s essential to be able to cover their costs. Fees have been banned in Scotland for a while and there’s an argument that says if agents and landlords can’t charge fees, then they will just charge higher rents, and there’s some evidence of this happening already in Scotland.

Whether fees are charged for admin, tenant referencing or drawing up a contract, it’s only fair that the tenant should know how much they’ll be expecting to shell out, in advance of making a commitment. The biggest single problem with fees has been the tendency for them to raise their ugly heads only at the last minute, when the tenant has already given notice on their current place, and it’s too late to back out. Stories of agents deciding to disclose the fact that there are hundreds of pounds to pay in fees, on the day of moving, before handing over the keys, are only too common.

So it’s a universally good thing that fees now have to be transparent. The recent CAP ruling came into force on 1st November and means that any party charging a fee to tenants (be that landlords or letting agents) must disclose them right from the start. That means the amount to be charged and what they cover must form part of every property advert. Tenants will now know from the start what they can expect to have to pay, before committing to a rental.

Room ads will be subject to the CAP ruling just as much as whole property ads. From now on, any landlord or letting agent advertising a room on SpareRoom will be asked to disclose the fees at the point of advertising. There’s a new tickbox to show that fees apply, and further details should be outlined (what the fees are for, and how much they typically will cost a tenant) in the ad details section.

Here’s to a new era of transparency, which should mean no more nasty surprises for unsuspecting tenants.