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New Addition to The Happy Tenant Team!

The Happy Tenant Company are excited to announce their latest addition to the team. Elaine Aristides has joined as Business Development Manager mainly tasked with promoting their services to Portfolio Landlords and ‘Build to Rent’ Developers who can benefit from this one stop shop of services. Elaine comes with over 15 years’ experience within the property industry in various roles including Head of Property Management and Business Development.

This experience gives Elaine a solid understanding of both Landlord and Tenant needs and what a model property management service should offer. Elaine says, “The Happy Tenant Company prides itself on transparency and integrity, which is often lost among many traditional Managing Agents who can tend to be more focused on sales and lettings as opposed to the actual management of the property.”

Elaine has been hired by The Happy Tenant Company in order to promote their unique property management service which incorporates not only the day to day management but also how they are able to offer Landlords reduced Tenant Finding fees with no renewals via a panel of Letting Agents.

This is just one example of how they are leveraging their size to gain discounts from suppliers in order to maximise their Landlords return on investment. Having carried out recent surveys on Landlord requirements and concerns, The Happy Tenant Company always try to be proactive with new technology, better communication and staying on top of new Regulations.

The team are very excited to see what Elaine can bring to the table and are confident that their success will continue to grow across London. Please kindly refer to the website for further information on services.

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Business Development Manager Elaine Aristides

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How to Conduct Property Viewings

We live in an age where people want things instantly. Especially in London, where you will find people passive aggressively tutting at the slightest delays of their train or bus. The ability to access any information you want in a matter of seconds with a device that fits in your pocket has certainly furthered this attitude.

Embrace the On Demand Property Viewing

It would be wise for property management companies to embrace this change in people’s way of life. The competition is always increasing and companies offering everything online, including property viewings at a time that suits the customer.

Whilst you may finish work at 5 pm/6 pm, your website is always on. The online forms are ever present there, as is your phone number and email address. This tells the potential customer that you are open 24/7 and that they can contact you whenever they want and expect a swift response.

People are able to watch any film or TV show instantly, listen to any song instantly, buy almost anything and have it delivered to their home the next day. This has taught people that they can have anything on demand, even a property viewing.

It is important to have an accompanied viewing, a property expert there to answer any questions a potential tenant may have. Therefore, property companies need to be prepared to cater to viewings outside of their office hours. Especially as you should consider that most potential tenants will have the same office hours. This could involve hiring staff to work evenings and weekends to ensure all time requests are covered.

This all may seem excessive and like adding more work but ultimately it should lead to a happy tenant.

If you want to know more about how a property management company can help you, then please contact us today.

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How to fix property management

HTC achieves NLA Recognised Supplier status.

CEO Adam Joseph explains how our fixed fee management is disrupting the market.

How are you challenging the status quo in the residential property market?
Our philosophy as a firm is captured in its name: The Happy Tenant Company, as we believe that serving tenants well is an obligation of the landlord, but it is also completely in their interest to develop a better long-term relationship. Whether you manage your own properties or use an agent, we provide a superior, better-value and more-effective service. That’s because, unlike agents, we don’t mark up any services or take any kickbacks from service providers. We make sure you’re not at risk from not meeting all your obligations, and we take away all the hassles of managing the property from the moment you let it through to the day-to-day challenges that can come from keeping tenants happy. We are challenging the market, as we believe that we manage properties better than everyone else, having created the most efficient formula for property management. Many landlords we speak to like the idea of being a landlord, but just don’t want the burden of the responsibility that goes along with managing their own property. Our view is that being a letting agent and a managing agent are two very different specialist functions that are too often connected in order to maximise profits. We don’t take commissions or kickbacks from anybody – our fixed annual management fee is the only payment required for us to do our job. All cost savings we can make for our landlords are passed on in full.

How did you come to be an NLA Recognised Supplier? What assessment did you have to go through?
It did take a long time, which is a good thing. The NLA is a well-respected organisation, so I appreciate it’s not going to make just anybody a Recognised Supplier. The team that considered our application did their due diligence. I had to complete a lengthy application form, give two landlords as references (and I know they were both contacted); they looked into our accounts, checked our client money-protection policy, and I’m delighted that we were approved. I’m excited to get involved with the NLA and I look forward to speaking to the chief executive at some point to see how I can get involved in committees and panels, and offer any help that I can.

What are today’s tenants looking for in a rental property?
Tenants are very clued up about the market now. They’re aware of overcharging and how high reference fees can be, and they won’t stand for it any more. They want to be able to trust their landlord and property manager. The properties they are renting are their homes. They have every right to feel safe and secure. It pays to look after good tenants. And if the tenants are happy, the landlord will be happy.

What are the hot topics you feel the most passionate about?
I think it’s crazy that anybody off the street can set up as a letting or managing agent. In the US, you need to have a real estate licence to even show a property, let alone let one. It should be the same here. I was just emailing Heather Wheeler MP about her new working group, tasked with setting up a new regulation for letting agents and managing agents specifically around the behaviour of agents so that there is a higher degree of professionalism in the sector. We are all for that. We’re not afraid of regulation. In fact, we’d welcome it!

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Tenants can sue over poor housing

The Happy Tenant Company comments on Bill allowing tenants to sue landlords over poor housing

Today, MPs have voted in favour of The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill. The bill hands more power to tenants and will allow them to sue landlords over poor housing. The vote also takes it a step closer to becoming law.

Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company which manages over £500m of property on behalf of London landlords, comments:

“On the whole, this is a positive step forward in holding landlords accountable for the condition of their properties. This forces them to raise standards and consistently maintain their property portfolios. It goes without saying that homes should be presented and maintained in a state fit for human habitation. Any subsequent law brought in will have little impact on the vast majority of professional landlords who already take their legal and moral obligations seriously. Any change which helps force those unscrupulous landlords, who are happy to take a rent cheque without ever tending to their responsibilities, out of the market should be welcomed.

“However, there’s a concern that this could lead to unjustified claims for compensation by tenants. It will now be paramount for landlords, who use managing agents, to be kept up to date on the wellbeing of their tenants and property. Transparency and clear record keeping of regular itemised inspections from managing agents will be fundamental to landlords.”

Contact one of our specialists today to find out how The Happy Tenant Company can help manage your property.

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Landlord aims to raise money for charity

Happy Tenant Company Landlord aims to raise £100,000 for charity in 3000 mile bike ride

Stuart Bookatz, a landlord member of the The Happy Tenant Company, is aiming to raise £100,000 for charities on both sides of the pond in an epic 3000 mile coast to coast bike ride from the Pacific Ocean in California, to the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.

 

The fully supported bike ride will start in San Diego on 1st April 2018, and go through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and finally into St Augustine, Florida on (date), taking a total of 46 days to complete. In the UK, Stuart will be raising money for Make-a-Wish UK, Mental Health Awareness, Variety Club and Jewish Care and is appealing to his supporters to donate to the charity of their choice.

 

The Happy Tenant Company has supported the charity Make-a-Wish UK, which grants magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions, since the company began in 2012.  Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company says: “Stuart has been a landlord member of The Happy Tenant Company for 5 years, we have come to know him very well and know that whilst he is not an iron man or an athlete, he is passionate about helping others. We’ve supported many of our members over the years in various initiatives, but this really would be an exceptional achievement both personally for Stuart and financially for the charities.” To support Stuart in this grueling challenge and help him achieve this remarkable target, HTC will be donating and raising awareness throughout their network of agents and landlords.”

 

Commenting on embarking on this challenge, Stuart Bookatz said: “People have asked me the question, “Why are you doing this bike ride?”.  My answer is this, over the last 5 years I became an avid cycliust and it’s something that I took to and really enjoyed. Over that period, I took part in various bike rides, notably London to Paris, which was an incredible experience, as well a 500 plus mile trips to California, Israel and Europe.


I have also been an advocate for the awareness of mental health, something which I and close family members have struggled with. This bike ride gives me the opportunity to raise awareness and money for some important causes, whilst enabling me to thank those who have helped me through a tumultous period and it helps me affirm a life goal of a spectacular bike ride.”


If you would like to help Stuart reach his £100,000 target, you can donate to any of his chosen charities by visiting the following links…

www.justgiving.com/stuart-bookatz

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Landlord’s New Year’s Resolutions

It has been well documented that the introduction of tighter rules on tax relief and borrowings will hinder some landlords’ ability to profit from buy to let in the future.  However, while changes may have dampened the appetite to expand portfolios, those who already have successful buy-to-let businesses, be that one or ten properties, are looking at ways to make their investment work harder.  Our top tips for 2018 are:-

  • Have a good grasp on your existing financial affairs. Landlords with mortgages need to understand what impact changes to mortgage interest tax relief will have on their profits. Some landlords may consider realigning their portfolios, selling off properties which are perhaps in less attractive areas or in need significant updating, and replacing with more appealing investments which offer higher yields.
  • Put a price on your time – If you are struggling to keep on top of changing legislation and your obligations as a landlord, seek professional help. The cost of having your asset taken care of will be far less than a fine for non-compliance.
  • If you are going to be looking for new tenants and you have already considered a particular agent, it may be worth checking their first year rates because when the tenant admin fee ban comes in next year, they may have to increase their fees to landlords
  • Keep stringent records of all costs associated with your portfolio.  Following the introduction of stricter affordability tests imposed by lenders this year, landlords need to have this information readily available.  Getting organised and forming a business plan is now essential in supporting a smooth mortgage application.
  • Use any down time to carry out essential repairs and renovations to your properties so you can command the market rate for your property
  • Avoid void periods – If you have had a void period on your property, now is the time to seek some advice on changes you can make to either your marketing strategy or your property itself.  If your tenant turn-over is high, find out why. Are you managing the property efficiently? Happy tenants tend to stay put for longer so get some feedback and make some changes.
  • If you are self-managing, make sure you are carrying out inspections. We recommend quarterly or 6 monthly. Quite often, repairs are needed, and tenants aren’t aware of their obligation to inform the landlord.
  • Check with an accountant what landlord expenses are tax deductible – you may be surprised!
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MPs call for “fairer property management”

The Happy Tenant Company reacts to calls for a “fairer property management system”

Today, ministers outlined plans to protect leaseholders and tenants in England from unfair costs in the property management system.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, will launch a six-week “call for evidence” to establish whether a regulatory overhaul of the sector is needed.

They say they want to clamp down on a “small minority of rogue agents” operating property management services who force consumers to pay over-inflated charges and will consider changing the law so all letting and management agents must be qualified and regulated to practise.

In response to today’s announcement, Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company comments: “Enforcing transparency is the best way to give landlords, renters and leaseholders greater confidence that their managing agent is acting professionally and ethically. Whilst it may only be the minority of unscrupulous agents that load invoices with excessive charges for menial tasks, it tarnishes the reputation of the whole sector and must be stopped.

Landlords and tenants should be able to see invoices from contractors and, in most cases, be given the option of 2-3 quotes to choose from before the work is carried out, particularly on more expensive maintenance works, such as boiler installations. Proptech software has made the sharing of maintenance works and associated costs really easy to facilitate, and any reputable managing agent should be happy to disclose all costs.”

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Barratt London partners with Happy Tenant

Barratt London partners with The Happy Tenant Company to offer free property management

Residential asset management firm The Happy Tenant Company (HTC) and housebuilder Barratt London have formed a partnership.  Over the next three months, they will be offering free property management to existing and potential HTC members looking to expand their buy-to-let portfolios from three Barratt London schemes*.
The partnership will initially be rolled out on Barratt London’s schemes in three sought after London locations; Camden Courtyards, Kidderpore Green in Hampstead, and Lombard Wharf in Battersea. Potential investors will receive direct access to Barratt London’s sales team for each development, fully-fitted furniture packs and up to three years membership to The Happy Tenant Company.

As well as a full property management service, the membership with HTC will offer landlords access to a free mortgage clinic with Lee Grandin, who specialises in mortgages for portfolio landlords, discounted letting agent fees to help find suitable tenants, as well as cost-price maintenance services for the life of the membership.

Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company, says: “There is no denying that changes to buy-to-let legislation have hit investors hard over the last 18 months, but interestingly some of our landlords are using this as the catalyst to realign their portfolios, selling off properties which are perhaps in less attractive areas or in need significant updating, and replacing with more appealing investments which offer higher yields. New build properties in sought after areas such as Battersea and Hampstead offer investors the advantage of an NHBC building warranty, lower maintenance costs, and additional incentives such as furniture, giving them a ‘ready-to-rent’ investment. Working with Barratt London gives us the opportunity to offer our landlords even greater incentives and we hope to be able to extend this further in the future.”

Camden Courtyards offers 164 one, two, three-bedroom apartments and duplexes, all with their own outdoor space and just moments from Camden Town.
Kidderpore Green offers a mix of 128 one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments and houses constructed in the area’s distinctive red brick, and within walking distance to Hampstead Heath and Hampstead Village.
Lombard Wharf is an architecturally exciting and well situated riverside building offering 134 one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses with views across the Thames, the City and beyond.

*Subject to Ts & Cs

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Happy Tenant wins gold agents award

The Happy Tenant Company wins Gold allAgents award for NW11

At The Happy Tenant Company, we’re pleased to announce that we have received the Gold Award for Customer Experience in the allAgents 2017 awards.

We are so excited to see that our alternative business model is being recognised and rewarded and we are also thrilled to see that landlords are being more open-minded and realising that they don’t have to pay through the nose for a mediocre service, when they can pay a one-off annual fee and have everything taken care of [review 261461].

In customer reviews, we were described as efficient, reliable and a first-class service.  One customer wrote:

“After switching from a traditional estate agent to The Happy Tenant to let our 1 bed flat in London Bridge for the past year I have been very impressed with how efficiently they have managed the letting and all issues that have arisen. They have always been very quick to communicate with me and my tenants and extremely clear about problems and the options to resolve them. I have felt they have used reasonably priced tradespeople on every occasion.”

allAgents is the UK’s largest customer review website for the property industry. The awards are entirely funded by allAgents meaning every listed firm and branch (over 20,000) is automatically entered, so awards are won based solely on agents’ own customer reviews and ratings and not based on their ability to pay to enter.

The reviews were accumulated during the qualifying period from 1st September 2016 to 31st August 2017 and every agent started day one on zero reviews with every result fully transparent and published on each firm’s profile page for the public to see.

Martin McKenzie for allAgents said that: “We are playing our part once again in recognising some of the best local and national estate & letting agents in the UK who have consistently provided excellent customer experiences over the past year.

With an industry that remains plagued with rogue agents, it is important that the public know that the need not to tar every firm with the same brush.”

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An Interview with our Senior Property Manager

1. What do you like about property management? Variety of my days. No 2 days are ever the same!

2. How long have you worked in the industry and what do you like about it? I have been in property management for almost 7 years. I first started out as an Assistant to a Lettings Manager within a family run Property Developers Team based in Crouch End. I like that there are many different branches to the role within property management and the opportunity to meet and speak with landlords and tenants alike forming valuable relations. It just takes one happy customer to make a bad day into a good one!

3. What are the main challenges to the role? Finding the balance between keeping costs down for the landlord and a middle ground for the tenants to feel that they are not just paying rent and not being able to have reasonable needs met when needed. It all about managing expectations on both sides!

4. What advice would you give to a new landlord? Spend enough to make your property desirable and be flexible with your requirements for tenants. Things that you may have put up with living in a property may not be what a tenant with years of renting experience would.

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