Q&A

Q.We are looking into purchasing a buy to let investment. Is there a better time of year to do this?

A.The central London lettings market is seasonal to an extent. Traditionally the busiest months of the year are January, June, September and October. The months to avoid if possible are December, April and August.

In January there is always a glut of people looking that should have moved if the Christmas holidays had not been in the way. September and October are by far the busiest months of the year with pretty much all property having a strong chance of letting quickly. A vast majority of lettings in London revolve around the academic cycle either beginning or ending. Whether it be from high net worth students, post graduates, second or third year bankers/lawyers or high end Corporate tenants relocating with their families. Having the property in tip top condition and launching it onto the market at the end of August/beginning September will increase the chance of a better quality tenant with a healthy budget.

Q.My husband and I are looking to short let our property, is there anything we need to be aware of?

A.We have a few basic golden rules when it comes to successfully short letting a property. Firstly all monies including a security deposit must be paid up front. This alone is a very good filter when it comes to the quality of tenant. Second is ensuring that you have a very good idea of the profile of your prospective tenant and their level of accountability. Nearly all of our short term rentals are taken by corporate or corporate quality tenants therefore minimise the risk of any bad apples. For all other tenants we scrutinise the detail for our clients and are careful not to recommend proceeding until we are sure that we have a good candidate.

From a presentation point of view, a short let property should be fully furnished with all cutlery, crockery and two sets of bed linen and towels provided. It is a very good idea to ensure that the property has some kind of cable television package and an absolute must nowadays is wireless broadband connection. These little extras can very often be what are needed to clinch that perfect short let tenant. My final piece of advice would be to only use agents who are experienced in the nuances of short term rentals.