RENT

HEAD OF RENTALS AYLESFORD INTERNATIONAL

Q. I'm looking to invest in a buy-to-let property and wonder whether one with off street parking and/or a garage might be a good bet in terms of increased rental return. Could I also benefit from renting the garage under a separate agreement?

A. There is currently a shortage of properties to rent in central London, so the demand from tenants for well located, immaculately refurbished properties is strong. With parking in London increasingly difficult, many people will pay a premium to be able to park outside their house or access their own garage. If you can offer parking and outside space (garden/terrace), your property is more desirable. It is difficult to calculate the increased rent in terms of the inclusion of a garage or off-street parking. In some cases it could be an extra £50 a week, for a smaller one or two bedroom property; but it could be as much as £200 a week for a large house. Once I had a prospective tenant with a particularly expensive car who was prepared to pay a much higher rent for a property which included secure parking. If the parking is not integral to the house, then we have had clients who have let their parking separately on a license. In many cases renting a parking space separately can be more lucrative, but if you own a flat in a building with communal underground parking, you need to check the regulations with the managing agents of the building.

Q. My current tenants are coming to the end of their contract and I want to do some improvements to my property before searching for new ones. What are some ways I can add value?

A. I would recommend that all landlords check their property carefully between tenancies. If it is looking a little tired, it is worth repainting, re-carpeting, re-grouting and re-sealing baths and showers to ensure it is in pristine condition. It may have been repainted prior to the previous tenancy, but even after a year, walls will need touching up, even if a complete repaint is not required. Presentation is very important and, for furnished properties, I would suggest the beds have smart bed covers and cushions and the furniture is in good condition. Empty properties should be cleaned regularly. Gardens should be maintained in immaculate condition as we are seeing less investors coming back into the market and even small things can make all the difference.