Thursday 30 November 2017

Warrington Rents Set to Rise to £659 pm in Next 5 Years

It’s now been a good 12/18 months since annual rental price inflation in Warrington peaked at 1.9%. Since then we have seen increasingly more humble rent increases. In fact, in certain parts of the Warrington rental market over the autumn, the rental market saw some slight falls in rents. So, could this be the earliest indication that the trend of high rent increases seen over the last few years, may now be starting to buck that trend?

Well, possibly in the short term, but in the coming few years, it is my opinion Warrington rents will regain their upward trend and continue to increase as demand for Warrington rental property will outstrip supply, and this is why.

The only counterbalance to that improved rental growth would be to meaningfully increase rental stock (i.e. the number of rental properties in Warrington). However, because of the Government’s new taxes on landlords being introduced between 2017 and 2021, that means buy-to-let has (and will) be less attractive in the short term for certain types of landlords (meaning less new properties will be bought to let out).

Interestingly, countless market experts assumed at the start of 2017, that the number of rental properties would in fact drop throughout the year. The assumption being as the new tax rules for landlords started to kick in, landlords looked to kick their tenants out, sell up and invest their capital elsewhere. (Although ironically that would lower supply of rental properties, decreasing the supply, meaning rents would increase again!).

Anecdotal evidence suggests, confirmed by my discussions with fellow property, accountancy and banking professionals in Warrington, that Warrington landlords are (instead of selling up on masse), actually either (1) re-mortgaging their Warrington buy-to-let properties instead or (2) converting their rental portfolios into limited companies to side step the new taxation rules.

The sentiment of many Warrington landlords is that property has always weathered the many stock market crashes and runs in the last 50 years. There is something inheritably understandable about bricks and mortar – compared to the voodoo magic of the stock market and other exotic investment vehicles like debentures and crypto-currency (e.g. BitCoin). 

Remarkably, there is some good news for tenants, as Tory’s recently published the draft Tenants’ Fee Bill, which is designed to prohibit the charging of tenants lettings fees on set up of the tenancy. However, looking at evidence in Scotland, I expect rents to rise to compensate landlords, thus hammering faithful tenants looking for long-term tenancy agreements the hardest. This growth will be on top of any usual organic rent growth.  It really is swings and roundabouts!

So, what does this all mean for landlords and tenants in Warrington? In my considered opinion,

Rents in Warrington over the next 5 years will rise by 9.3%, taking the average rent for a Warrington property from £603 per month to £659 per month.

To put all that into perspective though, rents in Warrington over the last 12 years have risen by 15.2%. In fact, that rise won’t be a straight-line growth either, because I have to take into account the national and local Warrington economy, demand and supply of rental property, interest rates, Brexit and other external factors. Please see the graph for my projections 


In the past, making money from Warrington buy-to-let property was as easy as falling off a log. But with these new tax rules, new rental regulations and the overall changing dynamics of the Warrington property market, as a Warrington landlord, you are going to need work smarter and have every piece of information, advice and opinion to hand on the Warrington, Regional and National property market’s, to enable you to continue to make money.

One place for that information is the Warrington Property Market blog -

If you are a landlord who may have a void property over winter, then feel free to get in touch and let us at Hamlet Homes provide you with a fully reference checked and credit checked tenant in your property before the weather gets even colder, to ensure your property is protected.

Email me on or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on 6 Bankside, Crosfield St, WA1 1UP. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Top Tips – Protecting Your Warrington Property Over Winter

Just how quick has this year gone by, did we even get a summer? Im not sure why i am even complaining, I really enjoy the Winter season, dark at 4pm the morning chore of de – icing your car and taking each step with caution in case you slip! Winter can be a tough time for everyone – but none more so than landlords.

These colder months present potential risks to your rental properties, which could lead to costly problems.However, taking some time now to check your properties can help with un-expected costs and help ease you through a disaster free winter.
The key to protecting your rental property over winter is making sure you have good tenants living inside them - if a house is being lived in, that means its warm, safe and providing the tenants are good it means your investment will be looked after. 

Void Periods

Void periods are a major threat during the cold months. If you know that your property is likely to be empty over the winter, you need to make extra plans to ensure its upkeep. Make sure that you visit regularly to open windows and check on the heating. If you can’t do this yourself, make sure that you arrange for someone else to visit.

If your property is likely to be unoccupied over the Christmas period, either while students are returning home or your tenants are taking a long holiday, ensure that you take the following precautions as expensive items on display are an easy target for thieves.

Invest in theft deterrents such as alarms (visible from the exterior of the property) and motion sensors. Ensure that the locking mechanisms meet the insurance policy requirements (usually 5 lever mortise locks but this may vary from policy to policy).

It’s also worth checking if there are any neighbourhood watch groups operating in the area and advise them of any void periods over the festive season.


Even before you get to winter, get things checked out well in advance.If you are not covered by a guarantee or warranty it will probably cost more to get stuff fixed at Christmas time (and even if you do have a warranty it will take longer.) So, if the boiler is making a wheezing noise or the washing machine is clanking, have it checked out now. 

Keep Tenants Informed

Well-informed tenants are the best protection against winter property damage. Don’t assume that your tenants know how to deal with the cold weather; many won’t. Similarly, you should remember that it is your responsibility as a landlord to make sure they have the information they need.

Consider putting together an information pack, including things like the location of stopcocks, basic boiler operation, and so on. Remind tenants to periodically turn the heating on (using the timer system if one is available) if they go away over Christmas, in order to ensure that pipes don’t freeze. Another great way to warm up your property is to bleed the radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm the property more efficiently. It may be worth dropping off some radiator keys to your properties and showing your tenants how to use them.

Make sure they know where the fuse box is and that they know how to turn off the gas. Tell them to keep a note of the number 0800 111 999 – they should call this if they smell gas.

Ask friends for names and phone numbers of good plumbers, heating engineers and other trades people. Have some portable electric fan heaters you can use to give your tenants to keep them warm if the heating conks out and no one can come out and fix it promptly.

Getting the Work Done

Only use properly qualified tradesmen who are member of a national body of association. Check what membership of the body gives you and check they really are members by asking for ID. For example, all gas engineers should be listed on new name for Corgi)

Decent plumbers and some heating engineers should be in also has a list of plumber and heating engineers who are available over the Christmas period) or the Association of Plumbing and Heating Engineers. Some white good suppliers are closed for only one day at Christmas.

If you are a landlord who may have a void property over winter, then feel free to get in touch and let us at Hamlet Homes provide you with a fully reference checked and credit checked tenant in your property before the weather gets even colder, to ensure your property is protected.

Email me on or call on 01925 235338. If you are in the area, feel free to pop into the office – we are based on 6 Bankside, Crosfield St, WA1 1UP. There is plenty of free parking and the kettle is always on.

Thursday 9 November 2017

Ask Andy – My Warrington tenants may have sub let, what are my responsibilities?

Dear Andy,
I have been notified by the council that my tenants may be subletting, apparently 2 of the sub letters are trying to claim benefits. Where do I stand legally?
Thanks Amanda

Andy’s Answer:
Hello Amanda,
I hear your concerns, finding out a tenant may have sub let a room in your buy-to-let can be a worrying time. However there are landlords out there who will consider allowing tenants to take in lodgers. People who cannot afford a place to call home unless they rent a room may otherwise become homeless -ethical reasons why landlords may consider allowing subletting.
If your tenant looks after the property and pays the rent on time, is it in your best financial interest to evict the current tenant and start all over again?
Questions questions questions!

You may have fears that your buy-to-let will be open to abuse and will become a house for all and sundry. The new occupiers are an unknown quantity, are they suitable to be living in your property and what about the right to rent laws?
Well, If the tenant has taken in a lodger without telling you it is your tenants responsibility to complete the right to rent check as the tenant becomes the lodgers landlord.
Your tenancy agreement should have a clause which stipulates no sub-letting whatsoever or at the very least without prior written consent from the Landlord. You do not have to give permission, if you do, you are at liberty to attach conditions to the consent if necessary.
A landlord cannot evict a subtenant. Remember, the landlord has no contractual relationship with the subtenant, even though the subtenant is living in the landlord’s property.
My take on this – I would rather know what’s going on in the property and retain full control. I would complete full checks on the new person and create a new tenancy with the new tenant added. This makes the occupier a tenant instead of a lodger but that way their status is clear and if one of the tenants leave, leaving the other in the property, possession is usually simpler.
Until next week

If you are a Warrington landlord or tenant and would like to talk about your property, I am here to help. All you need to do is give me a call on 01925 235 338 or drop me an email on

Thursday 2 November 2017

Warrington Homeowners Are Only Moving Every 16 Years (part 2)

In the credit crunch of 2008/9 the rate of home moving plunged to its lowest level ever. In 2009 the rate at which a typical house would change hands slumped to only once every 30 years. The biggest reason being that confidence was low and many homeowners didn’t want to sell their home as Warrington property prices plunged after the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. However, since 2009, the rate of home moving has increased (see the table and graph below), meaning today:

The average period of time between home moves in
Warrington is now 16 years.

This is an increase of 66.04 per cent between the credit crunch fallout year of 2009 and today, but still it is a 28.59 per cent drop in moves by homeowners, compared to 15 years ago (The Noughties).

Average Length of Time (In Years) between Home Moves in the
Warrington Borough Council Area


So why aren’t Warrington homeowners moving as much as they did in the Nineties?

The causes of the current state of play are numerous. In last weeks article I talked about how ‘real’ incomes and savings had been dropping. Another issue is the long-term failure in the number of properties being built. Only a few weeks ago in the blog, I was discussing the draconian planning rules meaning house builders struggle to locate building land to actually build on.

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as a country, we were building on average 300,000 and 350,000 households a year. The Barker Review a few years ago said that for the UK to stand still and keep up with housing demand (through immigration, people living longer, a just under 50% increase in the number of households with a single person since the 1980’s and family makeup (i.e. divorce makes one household now two)) we needed to build 240,000 households a year. Over the last few years, we have only been building between 135,000 and 150,000 households a year.

Finally, as the UK Population gets older, there is no getting away from the fact that a maturing population is a less mobile one.

So, what does this mean for Warrington homeowners and landlords?

Well, if Warrington people are less inclined to move or find it hard to sell a property or acquire a new one, they are probably less likely to move to an improved job or a more prosperous part of the UK.

Many of the older generation in Warrington are stuck in property that is simply too big for their needs. The fact is that, in Warrington, nearly five out of every ten (or 49.5 per cent) owned houses has two or more spare bedrooms; or to be more exact ...

30,477 of the 61,552 owned households in the Warrington
area have two or more spare bedrooms.

So, as their children and grandchildren struggle to move up the housing ladder, with those young families bursting at the seams in homes too small for them i.e. overcrowding, we have a severe case of under-occupation with the older generation - grandparents staying put in their bigger homes, with a profusion of spare bedrooms.

Regrettably, I cannot see how the rate of properties being sold will rise any time soon. Many commentators have suggested the Government should give tax breaks to allow the older generation to downsize, yet in a recent White Paper on housing published just weeks before the General Election, there was no reference of any thoughtful and detailed policies to inspire or support them to do so.

This means that there could be an opportunity for Warrington buy to let landlords to secure larger properties to rent out, as the demand for them will surely grow over the coming years. As for homeowners; well those in the lower and middle Warrington market will find it a balanced sellers/buyers market, but will find it slightly more a buyers market in the upper price bands.

Interesting times ahead!
Our office address is based at 6, Bankside, Crosfield Street, WA1 1UP. Many of my blog readers also email me with RightMove , Zoopla or On The Market  links to look at and offer a second opinion so if that’s more convenient my email address is

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