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4th January 2019

Let’s Talk Lettings

As I sat down to write this article I spoke to my lettings team about topics they thought I should address.

The overwhelming feeling was to address the real shortage, yet huge demand, for family homes across the lettings sector in Sheffield and Chesterfield.

Going to press we have 58 families registered on our database looking for high-end properties throughout Sheffield and Chesterfield.

So, I spoke to several of these families and asked what their top five requirements are when looking for a rental property. Their answers and the order of them make for interesting reading – especially for landlords or potential landlords.

– Choice. Tenants want the choice of high-end properties for let, despite looking up to £2,000 PCM, the availability is often only up to £1,000 PCM and the houses are not fit for their purpose.

– Quality homes with a high specification

– Location and schools

– Long term letting

– Acceptable for pets

Firstly, there really is a lack of stock for the higher end of the market so there is very little choice for tenants. We are finding that a lot of current landlords with family homes are looking to capitalise on high sales values and are selling their properties rather than going down the rental route.

In addition, it is not often that investors think to buy larger properties due to the lower yield and higher capital outlay but this could be a short-term view.

There are examples of this where a 4-bed detached property in Dore, in the south west of Sheffield, could cost £650,000 – the rental value tends to top out at £2000 PCM. This only gives a gross yield of 3.7 per cent however if you include capital value increases at say 4% per cent (the average price increase in Dore for the last four years) then over a four-year period the property could have gone up by £81,000.

Secondly, we do attend a lot of valuations where properties are in average condition. At this higher end, specification is very important with modern kitchens and bathrooms, quality clean floor coverings, numeral wall colours and double glazing. If landlords wish for properties to be looked after and attract a long-term tenant then finishing a property to a high specification is important. I found it interesting that tenants will consider specification above location – which emphasises just how key this.

Location and schools will always be a factor for families and understanding catchment areas and local facilities before buying a property is key.

Both Sheffield and Derbyshire Councils have a handy tool on their website which allows you to find which school serves the area in which you live or want to live in. This is well worth a look as catchment areas can often change from year to year.

Long term letting has become more of a norm in today’s market as families have dependants who need stability for schools, friends or family. Instead of yearly contracts we often have requests from families for five-year tenancies.

Not everybody wants to buy a home, for a variety of reasons, and if more long-term tenancies were available this market will grow even further.

The subject of pets can be a difficult one and it is a topic I am often asked about by landlords and tenants alike. It is very normal for families to have pets yet there are very few landlords that will accept them in their properties. I do understand the argument for this as there are some stories about young dogs who could potentially destroy carpets, flooring or even walls. There can also be issues with asthma, animal hair and the notorious animal odours.

However, pets are often an integral part of the family and I know people who wouldn’t even consider moving without their furry friend.

I do think landlords need to be mindful of pet power as the family executive market really is huge, with tenants sometimes offering 20 per cent more rent or higher deposits if pets are acceptable.

It is also possible to take out insurance (which the tenant pays for to protect your home).

Overall, this insight feedback from our Tenant database really does show what is required to satisfy their needs.

Although letting out an executive family home can be an expensive outlay, the rewards can also be very healthy.

We would be happy to provide any advice on this matter or any letting requirement you may have.

Call us on 0114 361 0140 for Sheffield Lettings or 01246 380414 for Chesterfield. Alternatively, email us on lettings@redbrik.co.uk.