RENT

HEAD OF RENTALS AYLESFORD INTERNATIONAL

Q. I'm a homeowner with a property in central London - despite the fact that this area isn't directly affected by the Olympics, I am keen to capitalise from the influx of tourists coming to London in the summer, but where do I start?

A. Many homeowners across London are considering the option of a short let for their property, as demand from potential tenants for the Olympic period starts to show itself. There are various points to consider in order to weigh up whether the ultimate income is worth the upheaval. Firstly, insurers and mortgage companies must be notified as permission may be needed and premiums increased. Local councils should also be consulted as some have restrictions on short lets, and planning permission can even be required. Provision of efficient property management will be important as short term tenants are less tolerant of small maintenance issues. Various regulations governing furniture, gas and electricity must also be explored. If you decide to hold a deposit against dilapidations, this may have to be logged with a Government-approved deposit scheme. Of course tax is payable on rental income, so this must be declared. Seeking advice from all relevant sources will be essential, and your agent should be equipped to make you aware of the risks as well as the costs involved.

Q. I'm a first-time buyer looking to invest in a buy-to-let property - what is the outlook like for the rental market in 2012?

A. Traditionally January is busy, but given the highly volatile year we have experienced, it is difficult to make predictions for 2012. We are very dependent on what happens to the economy. The Government is indicating that they are going to make it easier for first time buyers to purchase properties, but without the benefit of job security, many may opt to continue renting. The properties at the lower end of the market in central London should continue to rent quickly. We are finding that a lot of tenants are opting to renew tenancies at the moment, so the rents are usually being increased at least by the RPI which is currently 5.4 per cent. We are suffering from a lack of good quality properties at all levels, as we are seeing less investors coming back into the market.