I hope that this newsletter finds you in good spirits and that the rather drab weather isn't proving to be too much of a drag.
We are cracking on with various areas of the business at the moment. In terms of lettings, we saw a gentle slowdown towards the end of last month (which is seasonal and pretty normal) and then this month has picked up a bit as the month has progressed - but it is important to highlight properties do have to be keenly priced to secure an offer without things getting protracted.
This month we had the government white paper on housing. As many commentators noted, it was a bit of a damp squib. Its main focus was on the building of new homes and the initiatives it wanted to push forward were for local councils to identify more land for development, a simplification of planning laws and a diversification of the development market, allowing access for more of the smaller developers.
There was little on the private rental sector other than a desire to increase rental lengths for family tenancies - although this applied more to institutional landlords than private individuals.
However, we all have to be aware that the government is increasingly focused on the sector and there seems a growing tendency to vilify the private individual property owning section of the market (and the agents they employ) in favour of the institutional provider. There is also a broader shift away from a (Tory) government representing the interests of the property owning population to one more focused on the needs of the population actually renting property. This is a subtle but actually fundamental shift in ideology for a British government of any persuasion, as it suggests it is becoming uncoupled from the objective of trying to see as many people as possible becoming homeowners.
View from a local level
As I mentioned in my Christmas letter, one of our objectives as a company in 2017 is to try to interact with our tenant base more often and not simply when dealing with a management issue or at the beginning and end of a tenancy. Given the fundamental industry changes mentioned above and also simply that we want to develop a more positive relationship with our tenants, which can sometimes feel a little 'them and us,' we are endeavouring to offer tenants more services which are positive to them in terms of renting through us. We have been thinking about the various services tenants need when they move into a new property and are then talking to suppliers to see if we can beat the deals offered in the general market place. All this will take a little time as we are a relatively small company but we hope to show that we, representing you, are an important and positive influence in the private rental sector.
Here's to Spring.