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Online House Hunter: Don’t move, rent

Alan Cleaver
brightonsml 300x169 Online House Hunter: Dont move, rent

Right on Brighton: Topping the list in rental demand

MUCH of the talk about the revival of the lettings market has concentrated on first-time buyers opting instead to choose to rent. But Graham Norwood looks at another player in the changing property scene in today’s Independent article, How To Rent Your Way Up The Ladder.

He focuses on a family who wanted to move to a new catchment area for their children’s education. Instead of taking to the uncertain waters of selling and buying elsewhere the Chowdhury family opted instead to let out their own home and rent elsewhere. It also enabled them to upsize to a five-bedroom house.

Graham’s feature coincides with figures released today by 1st Property Lawyers which looked at the reasons for house sales falling through. Top of the list was sellers withdrawing from the market. 1st Property Lawyers believes the elimination of Home Information Packs in the second half of 2010 is a major factor for the increase. Sellers now being able to test the market without having to pay any upfront costs – bar the Energy Performance Certificate. Speculating homeowners can test the market with over optimistic valuations.

But also on the list is the seller deciding to let instead of sell – up from 5.1% in 2009. Oft-quoted figures about a rise in the national average of number of tenants or rents can be deceiving. The figures are largely being driven by London and the south-east. Easyroommate website has listed its top ten of cities with the highest rental demand per room. Perhaps not surprisingly it reads like a roll call of the UK’s student towns. Top is Brighton with 13.3 renters seeking each room and paying an average rent of £419 pcm. It’s followed by Cambridge, Oxford and London. Edinburgh and Aberdeen then make an appearance for the Scottish side of the border, followed by Manchester, Bristol, Belfast and Bournemouth.

Jonathan Moore of Easyroommate points out it’s not just new students pushing up the demand: “Thousands of students look to flatshare each year to save as the cost of university soars, but thousands more remain in the area after completing degrees, looking to live in affordable flatshares while they begin their careers.”

Graham Norwood pulls together a practical six-point list to consider when renting out your home and below are some of my lettings bookmarks to help those thinking of dipping their toe in the lettings market.

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  • ombudsmans61percent

    Renting has one clear advantage over buying – you don’t need a survey. Not only are surveys expensive they’re sometimes not worth the paper they’re written on. When you discover this alarming fact sometime later, the surveyor will no doubt wash his (or her) hands of you and point you in the direction of OS:Property. And which point they close the office door behind you and heave a huge sigh of relief. This is when your trouble really begins. OS:Property claim to be totally independent but were set up by RICS, have RICS Executives sitting on their Council. Its then no surprise that the Ombudsman finds overwhelmingly in favour of her fee paying Members – surveyors. Join the Ombudsmans61percent Campaign in asking for a public inquiry into this organisation. The whole of the housing market – both buying and renting – needs proper independent regulation and not what we have now which are powerful vested interests policing themselves. Ombudsmans61percent Campaign.


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