NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2021
The latest property news
With my own children now on summer holidays, and thankfully having not had to stay at home due to any outbreaks when they were in class this year (which has not been the case for many local schools), it has been nice to be able to plan some activities with relaxed restrictions due to the virus.
I think that even simple pleasures like a meal out have been sorely missed – even with the inevitable squabbling of my children!
We are of course still mindful of the virus and taking precautions for our staff and the tenants in your properties.
GENERAL MARKET CONDITIONS
The market has been, to put it mildly, quite incredible in the past 4-6 months. We currently have no properties available from our stock of just under 300 we manage for you, with RDA Estates, in many cases for our overseas clients. We have some that are awaiting works so have some stock due back on and I am incredibly confident of achieving higher rents when they are listed.
The tactic of virtual viewings – which were deemed essential as per government guidelines – has meant that we often had people taking the property having only seen a walk though due to a fear of missing out. As an agency, we like to ensure that applicants have physically viewed homes to avoid issues but in some cases we have literally had people clamouring to take the properties.
It has genuinely got to the point that properties are having, on some occasions, to be physically taken off of the market within 20 minutes of them being placed as we cannot cope with the phone lines and have already secured a applicants – long may this continue!
The above leads me nicely into the fact that we intend reviewing all rents from September. As I have advised previously, with the uncertainty around Covid, we have not done this for some time. I am a great believer that a tenant paying rent is better than a possible rent increase and void but the market currently does dictate that rents can and should rise.
Part of our duty to you as clients is to assess rents and increase where possible. I am aware that many landlords simply want us to do this but equally there are those that prefer discussion or to leave rents where they currently are. If you would like to discuss the rent you are receiving in any way please do contact me on receipt of this newsletter and we will work with you to determine that level.
COST OF MAINTENANCE
I wanted to highlight that general materials’ costs have risen sharply in the UK in the past 12 months – and I am guessing around the world. For example timber has soared in price and this is being reflected in some of the costs obtained from contractors for works. There is no real comfort I can give except to say that Town and Country, and our colleagues at RDA Estates, use trusted contractors that we insist give us best price for works instructed on your behalf.
We constantly monitor prices and achieve comparable quotes and I am therefore confident we are obtaining best value for works on your properties with top quality contractors.
One final issue we are seeing problems with is that due to a combination of factors – older properties in Brighton and Hove and people being at home more due to Covid – is an increase in reported condensation issues; particularly prevalent last winter.
By and large, condensation forms as a result of living conditions such as unopened windows but there are other factors such as property levels (basement flats will always suffer more) and extraction systems in kitchens and bathrooms.
Now that we are inspecting properties, along with RDA on those jointly managed units, we will of course advise you if this affects any of your portfolio and if there are any practical steps to help alleviate these issues.
SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE
It’s a great honour to be serving as Adur District Council’s Chairman this municipal year, which is the equivalent of a Mayor’s role in a Borough.
I’m delighted to be supporting my chosen charity – Esteem – which runs volunteering, mentoring, wellbeing and social opportunities for 14-24 year-olds locally.
I have agreed to do a 10km run for them in September and we have several other things up our sleeves to help raise vital funds. My JustGiving page details are below and will be updated regularly – please help support us if you can.
Once again, we hope that from wherever you are reading this, you are happy and well.