Monday, 4 June 2018

Does your #investment comply with #EPC changes in time for your next void period? Ask #Spencer #Sheffield

Energy Efficiency Regulation Changes
The government has decided that tenants in low energy-rated rental properties spend significantly more on energy bills than those in high energy-rated properties. According to figures, over 33% of tenants are reportedly unable to afford their fuel costs, this rises to 45% for tenants in F/G rated properties. 
If your rental property already has an energy efficiency rating of E or above, then you are already compliant and can relax FOR NOW.   If not then you need to start to think about what changes you need to make to improve your properties energy efficiency rating.
From 1st April this year ALL rental properties with new tenancy agreements signed MUST have an EPC rating of at least an E, if you already have a tenant living in your property before this time who is happy to continue without signing a new tenancy agreement then you are safe FOR NOW.    These regulations will be extended to landlords of existing tenancies whether a new tenancy agreement is signed or not by 2020.
Image result for epc

Things to do if you have a low rated EPC

1.       Check the recommendation section on your current EPC, this will advise you on what changes can be made to increase the rating. Some may be small others may be more expensive.  

2.       Speak to the assessor who did your original EPC as they may have more in depth advice without spending too much money.

3.       Make the changes in plenty of time of your next void time and have a new EPC generated

4.       BE COMPLIANT to avoid fines of up to £5,000 PER property.

If you need help or advice please contact our team at Spencer so that we can help you make sure you comply before the next void period so that we help to mitigate any losses. 

Call Lynn, Emily, or Ash now on 0114 2683682 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Minimise Void Periods in #Rental #Property - #Blog by Emily from #Spencer #Sheffield

Tips to minimise void periods in rental properties

Usually when a tenant moves out of a rental property there is a short period of time when a property remains empty before the new tenant moves in, at Spencer we encourage this and usually suggest a week between tenancies. It can be a beneficial time to ensure the property is ready to be re-let by having any maintenance work and cleaning carried out so it’s in tip-top condition for new tenants.
However, this is not always the case and unfortunately some properties remain empty for a period of time. Every landlord should be trying to minimise the void periods where possible, because at the end of the day empty properties cost money. Whether it be through the mortgage, council tax, utility bills or service charge there is always some cost the landlord has to pay. 
There are a number of things that landlords and agents can do to ensure void periods (AND COSTS!) are kept to a minimum.
1)      Start marketing early
At Spencer we always contact our tenants at least 2 months before their move out date to find out their intentions at the end of the tenancy, we aim to advertise properties 6-8 weeks before the available date. This means that any prospective tenants looking for a new home have plenty of time to give notice on their current property.
2)      Renew contracts without delay – avoid periodic where possible
As mentioned above we always contact tenants 2 months before their vacating date to find out their intentions, this gives plenty of time to arrange any contract renewals. Where possible we advise landlords against periodic contracts as it means that tenants can give their one month notice at any time, if a tenant was to give notice in the winter months then it can be more difficult to re-let the property.
3)      Keep an eye on the property during tenancies
We recommend carrying out regular inspections on rental properties to ensure that they are being looked after by the tenants and that any maintenance issues are noticed and dealt with quickly & efficiently. At Spencer we carry out regular property inspections and provide our landlord with a full report and photos on the condition of the property.
4)      Keep the property in good condition
Once you have a good tenant in your property it’s important to keep it in good condition for them to want to stay, maintenance issues should be dealt with quickly & efficiently and we recommend being open and accommodating to reasonable tenant’s requests. Ongoing investment in the property especially in bathrooms and kitchens can also help secure tenants and always helps when re letting the property.
5)      Utilities – take meter readings!
As soon as a tenant vacates meter readings should be taken of all the utilities, this ensures that landlords aren’t paying for the previous tenant’s usage, it ensures the void period costs are kept to a minimum.  As part of the check-out process we take all meter readings to provide to landlords along with a detailed check out report.
6)      Expect a void period
The average void period in the UK per year is between 2 and 4 weeks, it is recommended to budget for one month per year to avoid any unexpected costs.
7)      Find good tenants – and keep them!!
The best way to minimise void periods is to avoid them completely!! Once you have the right tenant in your property, at Spencer we fully reference and credit check all our tenants and always ensure they are the best fit for your property. We then work constantly to ensure tenants are happy and keep them in your property! If you don’t believe us just check our 5* Facebook and Google reviews!
Whether you are a landlord letting your property for the first time or a landlord stuck with a vacant property, our focus and attention at Spencer will always be to provide you with practical and honest advice. If you need help re-letting your property please get in touch with our rental team. 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Interview with Nicola Spencer - Spencer. The Estate Agent, Sheffield #iamspencer

Q: How is the housing market faring in Sheffield (prices, hotspots, activity, who’s buying etc.)
A: Sheffield has always had a remarkably robust property market, even through troubled times, we haven’t seen the disastrous effects like some smaller cities and towns. Currently we have plenty of first time buyers looking and the Help to Buy has definitely encouraged some to the market, as well as having encouraged some lenders to compete with similar products. Aspirational movers are also on the up and up, and a shortage of supply in the most popular areas is meaning that there are multiple bids pushing the values higher, sometimes with extraordinary results. Largely this is led by school catchment, and is usually a consideration for resale, even if the current buyers don’t have children of their own. Investors are cautious with the changes in regulations and taxation, but are still out there in their droves buying particularly in the city centre.

Q: Are there any up-and-coming places?
A: Once upon a time, not so long ago, the idea of living in Sheffield City Centre was laughable, but the truth now is that it is affordable, convenient, diverse, and on the rise in popularity. We thought we were taking a bit of a chance taking on volumes in the city centre over the last couple of years but now that we are the top selling agent in S1, it seems to have been a risk worth taking. The buyers are as diverse as the properties; the quality of properties and the quality of buyers mean that you have to know your market, but plenty are selling, prices are stable, and the long term prospect of the city centre is such that it is worth looking into.

Q: If you were the Housing Minister what would you do and why? (i.e. bring back council housing, change stamp duty etc etc
A: The regulation of the estate agency business is a MUST in our eyes, Spencers have been regulated and licensed for decades and have always felt that the credibility of being audited and regulated should attract more conscientious clients and discourage those with the wrong intentions. With the changes in CPR and the soon to be changes in GDPR, the regulation of certain EU requirements are pushed on to agents, yet the agents have little or no policing and the OFT, Ombudsman, and the ASA do little to monitor rogue agents, unless a consumer reports them. If landlords were licensed and so were agents, we would not need such heavy over protection of tenants, which would lead to a fairer overall management of property, tenancies, monitoring of bad advertising, and would improve the industry overall. And the internet agencies would need to comply!  

Q: What are the best and worst things about working in property?
A: I love my job. There is nothing at all bad about working in property! Every single day is different, every client, property, circumstance, is different to the last and so life is never dull. My worst day ever was probably attending a repossession on behalf of a bank about 20 years ago, the lady had mental health problems following the suicide of a loved one and had started to collect animals for comfort. When she was repossessed the RSPCA took all her animals at the same time and my heart broke for her. On the flip side of that though, many people feel super excited to move and can’t wait to get their keys for their new home so it is great to hand them over at the end of their journey, which is usually an interesting one! It can be pretty stressful moving home, and when people are under pressure it can bring out the worst in them, so patience is key and a good listening ear needs to always be on hand. If you like architecture though, and are nosy about how others live, you just need to add in tenacity, enthusiasm, and a thick skin and you would love it!

Q: Where and what your ideal home?
A: Not to be greedy but I would need two! If price and location and planners were not a consideration I would have a Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater inspired house surrounded by hills and views and countryside and fresh air with an internal courtyard and large mid-century style open plan rooms, water features, and trees. On the flip side of that, I would also love a penthouse apartment in the thick of it with a huge roof terrace and with extensive city views! If money were no object though, I’m not quite so sure that either of these places would be in Sheffield, the apartment would likely be in New York or Paris and the FLW would likely be in Mykonos….. one can dream!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Tenant Fee Ban - #Blog by Lynn Braha of Spencer's Estate Agents #Sheffield S11

Agency fee ban!

Lynn Braha talks about the tenant reference fee ban that has been suggested. Lynn is a Senior Lettings Manager at Spencer, here on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

"How are things going to change you ask? 
I say for the worse. I’m not convinced this is going to help anyone. 

"The ban is meant to help people afford to rent in the private sector, or so they say but this is debatable. In my opinion part of the problem comes from local councils selling off the bulk of their housing stock and leaving them with less social housing stock for people on a low income. 

"The main suggestion to counter the fee ban is higher agency fees being charged to landlords for tenant finding and property management, in effect the landlords will pay the tenants agency fees instead, but this will no doubt encourage landlords to increase rents to cover this and so in the end it will be tenants who ultimately pay, as rents will go up overall and tenants could be having to pay what they cannot realistically afford.

"Landlords may also stop accepting people on housing benefit, as the rates will not cover the increased rents.  This will cause an increase in homelessness and so defeating the objective.

"Another suggestion is tenants will be expected to pay the whole tenancy rent in advance to reduce the risk to landlords again making it more difficult for people on a low income.

"How is this helping people in the long term, yes it will get them into a rented property initially but will they be able to afford to sustain it?

"In my opinion the fee ban is not the answer, a cap on these fees would have been a better solution.

"Maybe if the government had a register where agents can register bad tenants minimising the checks that agents need to do to reference potential tenants.

"Only time will tell if this idea is going to work, watch this space!"

If landlords want to talk to us about their investment property or properties we are happy to help. Call us on 0114 268 3682 or email to arrange to meet up on Ecclesall Road. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Sheffield Property Market and Final Offers - how high do you go? #Blog by Philippa Peasegood at Spencer The Estate Agent

You've found it, your dream home, your forever home - exciting!!!!
So you ring the estate agent full of confidence to place your offer. Then come the dreaded words "we currently have 5 other offers on this property". Suddenly you realise your dream home is also someone else's dream too. How can you detach from this property when your emotions are so invested in it? Questions fly around your head, "what do we do to ensure we get it?" - and so the process begins....
Best and Final Offers
This may seem a harsh system when your heart is set on a property - but is it really that unfair?
Prior to reaching this stage the Negotiator will speak with each offeree informing them of the latest amounts and frequently applicants want to increase on their offer. This process can be lengthy with small increments causing the price to escalate bit by bit. It can be agony or irritating for you when the Negotiator calls back with the latest offer, particularly if it's the amount you would have also offered, and then you might feel the urge to increase, hence repeating the cycle. 
So, when is it right to call time on this pain and go to sealed bids? Typically when there are numerous offers, the Negotiator discusses them with the Vendor and then a date and time for final offers is agreed. At that point the top offer becomes the 'Highest Disclosable Offer' and all future bids are then confidential.
At Spencer. The Estate Agent all offerees are equal. We feel a level playing field can only be achieved if we don't divulge the positions of all parties, just the Highest Disclosable Offer, and this sits in line with regulations and advice. We are frequently asked by those in the running what the position of the other parties is, are they in rented, do they have a property to sell etc, but this information will only go to the Vendor. That way you can put an offer forward without gambling on the fact that you are in a better position than your rivals, and we stay within our responsibilities for protection of other people’s data.
The question begs - how high do you go? There is no crystal ball to give you that answer, but our advice is to decide on an amount you're happy with, be confident that that's the value you would place on the property, and put that forward. It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and put a bid in to eliminate others, but would that give you peace of mind knowing that you paid more than you wanted to and eating into any future resale value? Take a step back, evaluate the situation and keep level headed. 
When the Vendor accepts an offer, all applicants are immediately informed. This can be devastating when your heart is set on a property, but there can only be one buyer.
There is a dream home for everyone, you may just have to offer on a few frogs to find your true love. 

Come and meet us at Spencer at 469 Ecclesall Road, or call us on 0114 268 3682 to have a chat or email us, if you prefer, at and we will offer friendly advice. 

Monday, 12 February 2018


Queens Buildings is located on Queen Street in the City Centre of Sheffield. For those who don’t know it, it’s in a fantastic up and coming part of the city that is a stone’s throw away from Sheffield’s shops, bars and restaurants, the Universities, the Hallamshire hospital, and Kelham Island.
 Formerly used as offices, the building has been completely renovated to an immaculate standard by a national developer, who we have been working with from design stage. Queens Buildings offers a different kind of city centre living to the typical high rise apartment, they have been finished to an extremely high spec, all with new windows, granite worktops, and oak doors. We have noticed since working with this developer,  an incredible attention to detail, the site has been unbelievably well run and the end product looks fantastic.
We have 24 apartments, 10 one beds, and 14 two beds, and almost all of them feature a different and unique layout. The prices range from £90,000 through to £175,000, affordable city centre living that is unrivaled in its standards. There will also be parking spaces available to purchase for an additional cost. We at Spencer’s will be taking over the block management of the building, so any potential issues will be dealt with directly by us keeping management local and affordable too, and we hope you like the show flat, which is also our work.
Calling out to investors looking for a property with a great potential rental yield (in a great rental area), or first time buyers looking for a city centre home (with Help to Buy available), or anyone in between, an apartment in Queens Buildings would be a wise acquisition.
If you would like to view this exciting development please call our office on 01142683682 or email us at or if you are a developer that would like to work with us on a project, or want to know about our show home set up services, or our block management, please get in touch - happy to help! 


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

FIRE! Smoke Alarms are ESSENTIAL! Please read! #Spencer #Sheffield

Fire! Fire!!

Now, I know everyone bangs on about health & safety and there are more regulations than you can shake a stick at when it comes to rental properties and building work, but let me tell you… now I know why.
Growing up, smoke alarms were seen as a nuisance in our house so we didn’t have any. When we had an extension on our family home, regulations meant that we had to have hard wired smoke alarms fitted throughout the house. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly keen on the idea; what if they go off randomly in the middle of the night in a power cut and wake the kids up? Do we really need them in so many rooms? What a nuisance!
Until last weekend when they worked and showed me how important they really are…
Just before midnight we were woken by an almighty shrill throughout the house and after a moment of bewilderment we ran through the house and finally got to the kitchen to find a room full of smoke and a pan on fire. I had gone to bed and not turned the gas hob off. My amazing partner managed to get the pan out of the house so there was minimal damage and the wonderful South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue were there in a matter of minutes too. They checked everything was out, got rid of the smoke, chatted to the kids and looked after my partner having had inhaled rather a lot of smoke. I cannot praise them enough. Despite it being my entire fault they were friendly, helpful and so kind. Not once did they tell me off, thankfully.
So a few hours later once the kids were finally in bed and we’d calmed down, I realised how important the smoke alarms were. What could have happened, especially to the kids, doesn’t really bear thinking about… it might be a pain testing smoke alarms or even getting them fitted in the first place but please do remember why they’re there. They are SO important!!