Property advice Southampton

Harcourts Property News for Landlords and Investors

Lettings in Southampton

The lettings market seems to be calming down a bit now that the summer rush for student lettings has passed and tenants are settling down for the winter.

However, there is still a very good demand for properties to let in Southampton, particularly for houses, as there does still appear to be quite a shortage of suitable family homes in this area.

Families are looking for good quality housing which is clean, in good repair and has modern kitchens, bathrooms and affordable heating. A garage and garden are also preferred, although not all tenants make good gardeners and the landlord should be prepared that even if the house is returned in good order at the end of the tenancy, the garden may be overgrown unless regular inspections are made.

We are often asked whether it is worthwhile furnishing properties, but our own view is that basic equipment such as cookers, fridge-freezers and washing machines are all that are really necessary, together with carpets and curtains.

When a property is furnished then there are more things to go wrong, more checks to be made such as five-yearly hard wiring electrical inspections. Most modern working professional tenants would rather provide their own furniture. Therefore, although the rent for a furnished property may be a little more, you may have trouble actually finding a tenant who wants to move in.

Another query is whether to accept tenants who are on Housing Benefit. This is a rather more difficult decision as there may be benefits either way. Housing Benefit claimants who have a good reference from previous landlords can often be exceptional tenants as they usually stay in their rented accommodation for a long time. However, payments can often be delayed or even stopped, if there is any change to the tenant’s circumstances.

It is therefore usually an individual decision, which should be based on the type of accommodation and the references received. Remember that even a high-earning professional employee may be made redundant or lose their job so even this option has its risks.

If regular income is an issue, then there are various insurance policies which will cover legal fees should you need to take action to evict a tenant and some also cover unpaid rents. Any reputable agent should be able to assist here. At Harcourts we use LetRisks who have always provided a very good and reliable service. They obtain references and will cover claims should this be necessary.

If you need advice on any of the above points then please contact Harcourts on 023 8063 7438, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or go to our website www.harcourts-property.co.uk.

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