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On Tuesday evening our founder James hosted a webinar to discuss how to make the most of the portals and how to create the perfect property listing. He was joined by over 200 of our Landlords.

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We'll be repeating the event for registered Landlords next Wednesday the 18th of June at 7.30pm, look out for the email invitation.

James answered questions posted during the event but we ran out of time to get through them all. So here is a full Q&A from the event: 

Is there a forum to report rent scams? I have let to a person who never moved in and immediately sublet and collected rent.

There are a few different sites catering for this:

www.landlordsbestfriend.co.uk

www.badtenantslist.net

www.tenantregistry.co.uk

www.tenantshistory.co.uk

Is there another forum for reporting inefficient sloppy letting agents? My tenant’s references were never done properly and they also gave him both sets of keys so we had no access to the flat

The Property Ombudsman's role is to investigate any mis-practice by it's members. His website can tell you how to report this agent: http://www.tpos.co.uk/

How do tenants search for properties within price bands and how may this influence your pricing?

Previously the property portals ranked property from the highest rent to the lowest within the tenant's search criteria. This meant pitching your rent at the top of a band was critical. This week Rightmove have changed the default setting to 'most recent', Zoopla hanged last year. Tenant's can still choose to rank them in price order, but this is an important change.

Nevertheless it is important to know the price bands as placing your property exactly on the price band will get in you in the search results for both. Note that the banding is different on each site.

If you do not get listing right first time how can you get back to the top of the portal listing?

Unfortunately this isn’t possible - Upad again stresses the need to get it right first time - first impressions count!

Is there a SLR camera you recommend for property photos?

Any good digital camera will do the job, but ideally one with (or combined with) a wide angle lens. We have tried one of the wide angle adapters available for smartphones and the results weren't great.

How long does the average tenant stay in a rental property?

The national average for a tenancy is reported to be between15 to 18months, with London closer to 12 months.

Any info on tax issues for new landlords please or a basic service?

We strongly recommend talking to a tax advisor to ensure you get things right. Landlord Tax Advisors come recommended. There are also several useful tax articles on our Landlord hints and tips blog.

Do you have a special section for shared accommodation?

Unfortunately we don’t at the moment; but it’s an area we are working on and will communicate it to our customers once it goes live.

I previously used you for single lets but do you advertise just rooms ie HMO's?

Yes, we list rooms on a monthly basis for £50+VAT. You can find more details here. http://www.upad.co.uk/room-listing

 Did you say we should put a photo of inside rather than outside?

Yes, we always recommend the kitchen or living room as the lead picture. The motivations of renting are different to buying tenants want to visualise the property they will be living in.

 How are landlords finding the current market at the moment?

With low interest rates, better lending terms and stable rents, it’s been a positive period for landlords. Although a rate rise will affect yields, the increased demand for rental this would have (as first time buyers dry up) should counteract any dramatic impact.

 Do you think tenants prefer to speak to a call centre / agent rather than automated system? I feel human answering the phone can weed out timewasters.

We operate a human tenant enquiry service to maximum the quality of those leads. Nevertheless having a set of 'filtering' questions ready when you make contact with that lead is still critical.

 Any idea how many private landlords at all in London?

Not precisely, however 1 in 4 households rent in the capital, equating to over 1.5m tenants

What is feed to Rightmove / Zoopla? How does it work?

Once you have listed a property with Upad and it’s been checked by the team, we send it to the property sites electronically. We call this connection a "feed". Each property site has a slightly different feed and we are constantly refining the system to ensure we get the perfect listing on that site as quickly as possible.

Can I view the references?

Once the report has been completed, this will be emailed to you for your consideration. The Data Protection Act means not every detail about the tenant can be revealed to the Landlord.

How long should it take to get the deposit released?

Assuming there is no disputes, deposits will be released with 14 days of the end of the tenancy

How do you deal with prospective tenants who view a property knowing the price but then expect to negotiate it down?

This clearly depends on your situation, but from our experience it’s far from the norm to negotiate a rental. Unless you are in a difficult situation it’s therefore worth sticking to your guns. If a tenant automatically expects a negotiation then you may want to reflect on what they will be like when it comes to other discussions later in the tenancy.

Does changing your advert to a lower price or enhanced photos then bring your property back to the top of the list? I reduced my cost and provided better photos and have been inundated with enquiries.

These changes are great for increasing interest but unfortunately it doesn’t put you back at the top.

When choosing the right tenant, how do you rank the importance of gut feel 1st impression, tenant attitude (their language, communications, appearance), and their credit report results?

If we had to choose then your gut feel is always critical. Don't go on this alone and certainly don't let any prejudices (even those based on previous tenants) cloud your judgment too much. The result of comprehensive referencing will either confirm or deny your instincts and therefore shouldn’t be skipped.

What if the property is being renovated and there are no photos available?

I would wait until the works are completed and then get some great professional photos taken.

What are your thoughts on videos?

For high end properties to buy they are very useful; for the rental market, professional photos and floor-plans will work really well for you.

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By Alan Duncan
12 Jun 2014

Categories: Upad, Webinars

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