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Professional & Surveying Services

Commercial Property Services

The following is a direct quote from the website of The Property Shop Ltd, estate agents based in Windmill Street Gravesend.

'Our company has built up a strong reputation for Letting and Selling property quickly, efficiently and at the best price. We pride ourselves on offering consummate levels of service to all sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants. You can trust that you won't find a better service anywhere else.'

The website is still live – even though the company has 'gone into liquidation because of poor company practice' – according to a report in the Daily Mail on Saturday 12 September.

Landlady Claire Deane had left on a 5-year sojourn in South America entrusting the letting and management of

her two bedroom terraced property in the hands of The Property Shop Ltd. She paid them £6000 in commission and trusted that they had made regular inspections. However, on her return the tenants, who should have moved out were still in situ, no rent had been paid for the month of August and the house and garden were in such a mess that Miss Deane fears she has lost £20,000 on the value of her once beautiful home.

Alan Stewart, director & head of Residential Lettings & Management at Caxtons Chartered Surveyors is frustrated that there is still a lack of statutory regulation. Earlier in the year another unregulated Kent based agent, Sweet Property Services, went to the wall, allegedly owing landlords thousands of pounds after rents were withheld, and leaving tenants concerned that their deposits were unprotected and irrecoverable.

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Alan Stewart

Caxtons has residential lettings offices across Kent. Amelia Singer is Residential Lettings Manager of our Medway offices and says that she has a list of 'top tips' as long as her arm. However, top of her 'top tips for getting property let really fast' list are:

Photographs – make sure you check what you are including in the photo : Take care to present your property in the best possible light.

  • Ensure that kitchen work surfaces are clean and clutter free (as far as possible)
  • Tidy away slippers from under the bed or dressing gowns / clothes thrown over a chair in the bedroom, no knickers on the floor!
  • Reception rooms should be clean and tidy – if there are any, cushions should look plumped up and tables should be clear of clutter
  • Loo lids should be firmly closed, sinks / baths / showers clean and fresh looking, towels should look neat and clean
  • Viewings – agents should get there well in advance of any potential tenant
  • Check the property and, if occupied, tidy (diplomatically) if necessary
  • If any remedial works need to be or will be done before the new tenant occupies, make sure you tell the viewers
  • If areas are in need of repair, painting or cleaning (possibly carpets / windows etc) make sure the potential tenants know that all will be done before anyone occupies
  • If gardens need tidying up make sure that the potential tenant knows this will be done before they move in
  • Amelia  Singer Singer Amelia

    Amelia Singer

    For some months now correspondents have been reporting increases in private rents across the country and forecasting more of the same to come.

    In April, Reeds Rains Buy to Let Index* revealed a 4.6% increase on the same month in 2014 with an average rent across England and Wales of £774 – the most expensive rental prices on record. Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains put this down to "...a fundamental shortage of housing ...".

    Anna Brosnan of the National Housing Federation warned that with rents accelerating upwards, tenants would be hard pressed to ever save enough "...to achieve their aspirations of owning a home.".

    When broken down regionally and over that same period, the average East of England rental income grew by 12.5% 2014-2015 (up on the 12% recorded in the

    2013-2014 Index) achieving an average rent of £810. London followed with an annual increase of 7.8% and Yorkshire & the Humber was third with a 2.2% rent rise across the equivalent time.

    However, there were some negatives. Wales recorded rents falling by 2.8% between April 2014 and April 2015 as did the North East and East Midlands with reductions of 0.8% and 0.2% respectively.

    More recently, figures released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) record a higher number of letting agents reporting rent increases between May and June.

    Their numbers reveal 36% of ARLA letting agents returning month-on-month rent rises – the highest since this data collection began.

    Again, supply and demand was blamed.

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    Alan Stewart