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Property update – Letting agents, viewings, Welsh market

Enhanced Transcribe:

Hi folks Dr Ro here, just a very quick message. I’ve had several phone calls in the last couple of days from letting agents for those of you that are property investors.

If you haven’t done this you might want to check with your agent pretty much proactively saying you want to get out and initiate some viewings and two things have been happening.

Viewings for the properties where we may have a few rooms empty and we’ve got, one with students that haven’t yet taken the house, so there’s a bit of a pause, so we said carry on viewing. So that’s the one thing and then also just wanting to get back into properties and check them out.

Actually, which was great. So that’s a little thing I wanted to share with you that if you’ve got a portfolio already, there are maybe two things to consider. One is what properties that you have during lockdown maybe been empty or possibly the tenants have moved out gone back home maybe still taking the tenancy, but just not necessarily there.

If it still under the tenancy agreement you need to abide by the terms of the tenancy agreement, which is normally 24, but that’s something you can talk to the agent about. With properties as you probably know with mortgages, etcetera and insurance properties left empty for more than 30 days, again depends on the term of the agreement.

Normally they are a bit funny about that. Of course with Covid-19 everything’s taken a slight change, but I think it’s worth checking because properties left unattended, not lived in, even if they’re still there, but they’ve left for a period particularly in this country damp is an issue. Heating been left on possibly hot cold spots, house not breathing anything like that I think is worth getting it checked. Particularly if they’re not planning to come back yet for weeks or even a month or so.

I think that’s something to consider now that the agents are open and more prepared to do so, we’re certainly getting proactive requests, so that’s great so I wanted to let you know if you haven’t heard from your agent I would certainly pick up the phone and give them a shout. Find out what the current status is after the last announcement we had from the government, that’s the first thing.

The second thing is I’ve had a few people enquire with me about Wales now a lot people I know have gone out and bought properties in South Wales. I probably still have maybe about half a dozen, 10 properties between myself and a partnership there.

Those properties themselves are subject to a different set of rules. So in Wales at the moment social distancing is the same but they are not allowed out in the same way that we are allowed out. So, here in England we now can go to public spaces, there is relax rules now on viewings, letting agents and an estate agents not in South Wales.

In South Wales they can’t go out into the public space as far as I understand, they’re still fairly housebound. We tried to initiate a couple of calls as we need some work done on a few properties and unfortunately we couldn’t do it. So whereas we can activate certain things here, so having a few properties checked out can’t do that in  South Wales unfortunately at the moment.

So be mindful of that if you have got portfolio building properties over there. Viewings as well, so agents are now opening up and being more relaxed so that means that they’re open to going obviously you need to get consent if there are tenants there, or if you’re looking to do a sale of a property you own, then you’ve got to find out if there is somebody in the property at the moment, are they okay for the agent to come round social distancing all those rules still apply.

We are using videos a lot and we have been actually so we’ve let properties out. We’ve done video viewings; we’ve had agents been prepared to go out and do that. That’s worth considering as well does seem to work very well actually if you get a good quality video of the property as long as they hold the camera well and pan it around and give a sense of the space that really carries a lot of weight.

I know several people that have had success with it that I’ve suggested to so that’s worth looking at. The other thing of course is I would definitely check-in on if you’ve taken out mortgage holidays. It was typically when it kicked off was, March, April, May, in some cases, April, May, June, so you either potentially coming up to the end of the holiday going into June, or it might be that your last holiday is June, but then July kicked back in again. S

o if you anything like that with mortgage holidays I would certainly just make sure you understand what the next step is. Will the payment be the same as before, or will it be adjusted according to the amount you haven’t paid?

How have they requested that you do it?

Also double check that it hasn’t gone onto your credit file. As some people I’ve become aware of have had a few challenges with mortgage applications going through and now it’s been found that they’ve taken a mortgage holiday and it’s kind of affected that process.

Strictly speaking it shouldn’t because I believe the Council of mortgage lenders have asked the lenders not to take that into consideration. It should be independent, but I would say check your credit file.

Make sure nothing’s been affected same thing with credit card holidays. Some credit card companies are sending out automatic mail that says you’ve defaulted on your payment and in fact you haven’t. But it’s still come out, my suggestion from my experience with these things is just double check with your credit file.

Go to check my file.com go to Experian or whoever your credit cards are with and just double check to make sure that you are in a good place and nothing’s been affected.

We’re still in a semi-lockdown situation, whether they’re prepared to extend any holidays I don’t know I haven’t looked into that myself yet, but that’s certainly worth looking into.

I would also just be prepared for this next phase as we start to, in theory, come back out of it. If you have any properties, start thinking about how you can actively, if you’ve got rooms that are empty how you can actively start to look at promoting them.

There is a formal document that you as a landlord should have issued to properties particularly with HMOs where you’ve got tenants in there. It’s a PDF document. It basically spells out the rules for how they should operate inside of an HMO social from a social distancing perspective, but also if there are any concerns about not being able to pay the rent and vice versa for you as a landlord. It gives you some advice there as well.

I think that’s worth checking that document, but also it should really be issued to the tenants as well. If you still have tenants in your properties.

Hope you’re well have an amazing weekend, spend time if you can reflecting, maybe connecting with your family.

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