Sunday 26 November 2023

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 3 bed house in Tangmere, £320,000, 5.3% yield

3 bed house in Tangmere
Listed for sale on 04/08/23 @ £365,000
Now = £320,000
Rent = £1,400pcm
Yield = 5.3%

The property is on the market with Cubitt & West and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:

Thursday 23 November 2023

How to move tenants in

As a landlord and letting agent it is crucial to have processes in place to ensure you not only provide a consistently good service, but that all the legal stuff is taken care of. The move-in process I created can be a pretty mundane hour or so of paperwork checking, contract signing and multiple page initialling! But, it’s crucially important that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed to ensure the tenancy gets off to the right start. Done properly, it will also mean a tenant is fully-equipped to enjoy their new home, whilst keeping it in good order for the landlord.

Here at CRJ Lettings we use a ‘move-in checklist’ to ensure nothing is missed; starting with the paperwork. The tenants sign the tenancy agreement (sent to them in advance so they can read it first), along with the security deposit certificate and prescribed information forms.

The tenants are then shown where the water stop tap, gas safety valve, fuse box and mains isolator switches are and what to do in case of an emergency. Showing tenants these is both crucial for their safety, as well as helping to minimise any damage to the property (for instance, in the case of a water leak). Meter readings are taken too and the tenants are shown any communal areas of the property, along with how the heating system and kitchen appliances work.

Just in case the tenants forget any of this important information though, they are provided with a house manual (prepared for our fully managed properties). This lists the location and operation of all the above, as well as setting out other general tips about good home management, along with all the contact details they’ll need throughout the tenancy. It also contains the property’s safety certificates and EPC, as well as the governments ‘How to Rent’ guide, as legally required (all of which are e-mailed to the tenants prior to the commencement of the tenancy).

The last bit of paperwork to go through is the inventory, which outlines the condition of the property and forms the basis of how it should be returned at the end of their tenancy. Fortunately, the tenants are given seven days to look through this beast of a document (typically 50+ pages) to report any errors or omissions.

Finally, the keys are distributed to the tenants and any other questions can be answered. It’s also a good opportunity to explain when they’ll next be contacted in regards to the receipt of rent and future check-ups.

The completed ‘move-in checklist’ also provides proof that all the legal requirements have been completed (including showing the tenants a working smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm, if required).

A thorough move-in process creates a good start to the relationship and helps to ensure the landlord is legally compliant, whilst the tenants are aware of everything they need to know about the property and tenancy. 

If you’d like a free copy of my ‘move-in checklist’ please contact me and I’ll be happy to send it to you via e-mail.

This article was featured in...

Monday 13 November 2023

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 2 bed house in Chichester, £274,950, 5.0% yield

2 bed house in Chichester
Listed for sale on 26/04/23 @ £279,950
Now = £274,950
Rent = £1,150pcm
Yield = 5.0%

The property is on the market with Bell & Blake and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:

Thursday 9 November 2023

Preparing your property for Winter

The following tips can be applied all year round but they’re particularly relevant at this time of year as it gets colder, darker and wetter outside.

Familiarise yourself with your property

Ensure you know where the fuse box, gas safety valve and water stop valve are and how they operate, in case of an emergency (I provide a house guide to my tenants with this information and also show them when they move in).

Keep on top of basic maintenance

Check roofs and gutters for slipped or damaged tiles and for any leaks. Check overflows and pipework for any leaks as well as damp smells or flaking paint, which may indicate a hidden problem.

Bleed the radiators and check the pressure of the boiler to see if it needs topping 

Avoid condensation

Build-up of condensation can be more prevalent in winter as more heating is used, clothes are dried inside and there is a tendency to want all the windows shut.

All this moisture in the property needs to go somewhere and will invariably attach itself to cold surfaces (exterior walls/window surrounds) and create unsightly 
   condensation/mould patches.

  Keep windows open throughout the property, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens 
  and especially during and after showering/bathing and cooking. Use extractor fans 
  where fitted and wipe down any wet surfaces after using the shower/bath.

Don’t turn the heating off completely

This is very important to prevent the freezing of the water system and expensive burst pipes. It’ll also help in the fight against condensation, which thrives on a changing temperature.

The easiest solution if you are planning to be away from the property is to leave 
   the boiler on and set the thermostat to a low temperature e.g. 12 degrees.

Fire safety

Do not overload electrical sockets with appliances and Christmas lights as this can cause a fire hazard. Avoid using candles, particularly near Christmas trees, decorations and curtains.

Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

I believe prevention is better than cure, which is why I pre-arm my tenants with a 'winter maintenance guide' at the beginning of their tenancy and re-issue it as winter approaches. You can download this short guide, free of charge, from

This article was featured in...

Monday 30 October 2023

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 4 bed house in Westhampnett, £435,000, 4.8% yield

4 bed house in Westhampnett
Listed for sale on 22/09/23 @ £475,000
Now = £435,000
Rent = £1,750pcm
Yield = 4.8%

The property is on the market with Bell & Blake and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link:

Thursday 26 October 2023

27,931 hours of minimum wage work to buy the average home

It was recently reported that average pay growth had risen above inflation for the first time in almost two years, with wages up an annual rate of 7.8% between June and August, whilst annual inflation for August stood at 6.7%. 

For those earning the minimum wage though the growth has been even better these past 12 months. The minimum wage was set at £10.42 per hour (for over 25’s) in April, which was a 9.7% increase on the previous level. 

Nevertheless, with the average property in the UK selling for £291,044, it would take a minimum wage earner 27,931 hours of work to buy that average home outright. That’s the equivalent of working for around 13.5 years based on a 40-hour working week (ignoring tax and not spending any money on, say, living…).

When the minimum wage was introduced in April 1999 (at a rate of £3.60 per hour for over 22-year-olds) the average home in the UK sold for just £75,995. That would have meant a minimum wage earner needed to work for 21,110 hours to afford the average home in 1999 using the same calculation (a little over 10 work years). So, whilst the minimum wage has increased by 189% since it was introduced, the average property in the UK is still less affordable now having increased by an inflation-busting 283%! 

Interestingly though, the greatest increase in property prices came immediately after the minimum wage was introduced. In fact, when the minimum wage was increased for the first time in October 2000 (by a measly 2.8%), house prices had already leapt by 23%! Only once out of the first eight times that the minimum wage was raised did it increase by more than the house price growth for the same period, whereas since then it’s swung the other way; with nine minimum wage increases being above house price inflation, and seven falling short of this.

I was quite surprised to see that in the past ten years the minimum wage has in fact very nearly kept up with house prices; since 2013 the minimum wage has increased by 65% (from £6.31ph to £10.42ph), whilst house prices have increased by 66% (from £175,378 to £291,044). Even more of a surprise was that in the last five years the minimum wage has actually grown more than house prices, with the minimum wage increasing by 33% versus a 29% increase in property prices.
With house prices expected to stall in the short-term and overall inflation (and political posturing) meaning the minimum wage seemingly only goes in one direction (up), it suggests housing may become a little more affordable for the lowest earners. A rise in the minimum wage could of course have the effect of flaming inflation, whilst also underpinning house prices against any substantial falls.

So, has the minimum wage helped wannabe homeowners? Well, unless it’s a coincidence, the introduction of the minimum wage coincided with a strong increase in house prices. The 2008/09 financial crisis brought things back into line somewhat and since then those on minimum wage haven’t actually lost out in the fight to keep up with house prices.

The problem is that buying a property has largely been out of reach for those on the lowest incomes in the past, which continues to be the case now. The income affordability requirements from lenders mean access to mortgages can be difficult, and that’s before saving for the deposit and other costs associated with buying. 

Monday 16 October 2023

BUY-TO-LET DEAL OF THE WEEK: 3 bed house in Chichester, £299,950, 5.2% yield

3 bed house in Chichester
Listed for sale on 29/06/23 @ £310,000
Now = £299,950
Rent = £1,300pcm
Yield = 5.2%

The property is on the market with Bell & Blake and full details can be found on Rightmove via the following link: