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After the year we’ve all had what better way to bring some joy into your life by going all out for Christmas. Making your home festive and cosy can lift your spirits and add a little touch of sparkle to your world. On those dark winter days, there’s nothing cosier than being at home surrounded by a twinkling tree, the smells of Christmas and staying snug. 

If you’re in a rented property, there may be a few things you’ll need to consider before you turn your house into santa’s grotto. We’ve put together a few key things to consider when decorating your property so you keep your property in great condition and will still leave the walls and your deposit fully intact. 

Oh Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is without a doubt the star of the show. If you’re currently in an apartment and are lacking space, there’s some lovely potted trees you can get for smaller spaces with lights and decorations on them. You can get these from most supermarkets and garden centres. You could also jump on the branch decorating bandwagon, where you just decorate a branch? Either way, you don’t need an 8ft spruce to feel festive. 

If you prefer a real tree then measure the area first where it will be. Dragging a real tree in and stuffing into a tight corner can end up damaging the place, plus needles falling into the woodwork and scratching the floors. If you don’t want the hassle, you can get some lovely artificial trees dusted in snow that look lifelike. For minimum hassle have you seen the pop up artificial trees? Now that is a game changer! 

Garlands

If you have a fireplace, this is another place to make into a focal point. Place a garland on top of the fireplace with lights strung over it. If you want to add stockings, place some metal hooks into the garland to hang the stockings from without needing to hammer any nails into the fireplace. 

A beautiful garland trailing up the banister or over a door always looks very classic and stunning and helps to bring the festivities throughout the house. All you need to do is simply wrap them around the banister and rest on top of the edge of a door but if they do need to stay in place. You can easily add some pine cones, bows or lights to the garlands too and make a more inexpensive garland look more grand.

Scents

You can also feel Christmassy with different scents and this can add to the Christmas ambience. Check in your tenancy agreement to see if you can have candles before you have them planted throughout your house. To be on the safe side, you could place in the hallway winter potpourri full of cinnamon spices, dried fruit and berries to heighten the senses. You can even buy mulled wine and gingerbread room diffusers and air fresher too.  

Credit: Annie Spratt

Light up your life

At Christmas, sparkling fairy lights on the tree, fireplace and throughout your home is beautiful but they can also be a hazard and can cause fires due to overheating. Lights shouldn’t be left on for long periods of time and not overnight. It’s a good idea to look at getting some battery powered fairy lights. If you want to go all out and have outdoor lights too, you could also end up running a massive bill, so perhaps look at using a light projector instead. You can have snowflakes, santas and elves lighting up your home and giving it a festive feel. This can also be used indoors so consider something such as this rather than placing stickers on windows and leaving marks. 

Bring the outdoors in

Bring nature indoors and create some beautiful decorations . When you’re next out walking, keep an eye out for pinecones, holly and mistletoe. You could spray pine cones with gold spray and place in a decorative bowl as a cute coffee table centrepiece. Holly will also look lovely woven into a wreath or your garland too.

Be on Point-settia

With it’s red and green colour nothing says Christmas like a poinsettia. They instantly add a festive touch to a bookshelf, bedside table or hallway. 

Deck the walls 

Be careful about wall damage and ensure your decorations don’t leave marks. Avoid as much as possible nails, screws, paint, stickers and tape to hang up decorations. Command tape is a better way to hang up any decorations. If you want to display cards, rather than blu tacking them to the wall or doors, you could use a card holder or a hang ups christmas card holder which is a damage free way of displaying cards.  

A Cosy ho ho home

Christmas is all about feeling warm and fuzzy and there’s no simpler way to do this then making your home really cosy. Think faux fur throws, knitted cushions or chunky cashmere blankets sat on the armrest ready to wrap you up.

Get crafty 

It’s often the living room that gets all the Christmas love but it’s good to have a sprinkle of Christmas magic throughout the house. In the kitchen, you could use jars and vases in a new way and get creative. Fill them up with candy canes, gingerbread men and Christmas cookies. 

Credit: Debbie Hudson

The Main Event

On Christmas day, everyone will sit around the table so it can become a real festive centrepiece. Firstly, place a tablecloth or table runner on the table. It doesn’t matter if your table has gone beyond shabby chic, you can cover it up and add plenty of table decorations. Consider having a centerpiece on the table or at different ends of the table (depending on how big it is) such as some wreaths, stunning candle holders too with some Christmas candles in them. You could then cover your chairs with a range of different covers. The santa’s hat one is a fave! When it’s time to set the table, just a few little touches will make the difference – a festive napkin with a holder, Christmas crackers nestled in each place and of course, bring out the best festive cutlery and crockery. 

Credit:NeONbrand

We hope you’re feeling festive and your home is super cosy. Have a great Christmas! 

The government today has updated the Right to Rent guide which landlords supply to their tenants. The last right to rent guide was updated in 2019 and it’s vital that landlords provide tenants with the latest right to rent guide.

When a landlord is letting out a property, it’s important that they provide their tenants with a copy of the right to rent guide. The reason for this is that if you need to serve your tenants with a Section 21 notice to evict them, it may be invalid and tenants can contest this if a right to rent guide hadn’t been given to them. 

This can cause serious issues for landlords down the line if you need to evict tenants. Our advice is to check out the latest right to rent guide and to pass this on to any tenants before they move in to the property. 

A section 21 notice can’t be served if tenants were never given:

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there are a number of restrictions in place around evictions. Discover more on the government website.

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve recently won two lucrative awards. We’ve won the Best Online Business at the Growing Business Awards and the Best Letting Agency in the Property Reporter Awards in association with NRLA. 

It was a tough category in the Growing Business Awards with companies such as Mindful Chef and Snag Tights as other finalists but we’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious accolade. It’s truly a testament to the tireless work of the Howsy team and has shown how far we’ve come. 

We’re continuing to grow and we’re all about shaking up the lettings industry and flipping the traditional estate agency model on its head. So therefore, getting an award such as Best Letting Agency in the Property Reporter Awards has really shown how we’re making real headway within the industry. To be recognised by such a prestigious awarding body is fantastic.

The judges for the Property Reporter Awards have said “Their desire to challenge the status quo with more efficient processes stood out” “Well ahead of their time” “Flexible, transparent & responsive” 

We’re truly on a mission to make renting better for everyone, so winning this award as Best Letting Agency is really special for us. For so long the lettings industry hasn’t been working for landlords and tenants and we’re dedicated to making it work for everyone. It’s great to be recognised as the Best Letting Agency.


Self-managing your property can provide you with a range of benefits. It can save you a fortune in agent fees for a start. Letting agencies typically charge between 8-20% of your rental income for property management, so it’s no wonder many landlords are beginning to look to self manage their properties to increase their buy to let yield. 

However, self-managing properties can be a lot of work and there’s a fair bit of legislation that you also need to know in order to be a compliant landlord. It can be a minefield knowing how to go about managing your properties on your own and where to even begin. 

Often, if a landlord has moved away or simply doesn’t have the time to manage their properties, they’ll turn to a letting agent to manage this. But if you do want to D.I.Y, we’ve created a list of things you need to know to help you get started:

1. Get your property rental ready 

Before you rent out your property, you need to ensure that the home has no repairs that need doing and that the home is safe to be rented out. It’s a good idea to get gas appliances  (i.e. boilers, ovens, radiators) tested by registered engineers to check that all lights and electrical outlets are working safely. Older boilers may be considered unsafe by modern standards and could need replacing before tenants can move into the property.

You’ll also need to ensure that safety devices (e.g. smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors) are all installed too. 

In order to ensure that all electrical appliances are safe to use, it is often necessary for a PAT test to be carried out on a rental property. Likewise, landlords are required by law to produce an Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate and also an E.I.C.R (which was only recently introduced) before renting out their properties. 

Often, if a landlord has moved away or simply doesn’t have the time to manage their properties, they’ll turn to a letting agent to manage this. But if you do want to D.I.Y, we’ve created a list of things you need to know to help you get started:

2. Kerb Appeal

You may even need to give your place a mini-makeover to make it more appealing. Opt for a neutral colour palette so there’s room for personalisation. If you’ve got bold and striking colours and accent walls, consider toning them down because they won’t be to everyone’s liking. Tenants need to feel like they could move in and wouldn’t need to do much work to the property. 

If you’re advertising your property as fully furnished, ensure that the furniture is of a high standard and you have all of the key pieces in the property, including a sofa, dining table and chairs, bed stand and storage space. Not everyone enjoys a flat pack Ikea home.  

Credit: Francesca Tosellini

3. What rent to charge

You don’t want to overvalue your property as this can put tenants off and can leave your property vacant a lot longer. If you undervalue it then you’ll reduce your potential yield. Therefore it’s vital you get this part right. Compare via property portals the price of other properties in the area that have the same amount of bedrooms, bathrooms and similar furnished/unfurnished homes. 

4. Property advertising

When your property is good to go, you can now advertise it to attract prospective tenants. 95% of tenants start their search for properties by looking at websites such as RightMove, Zoopla, On the Market and Facebook MarketPlace. Advertise your property across these leading websites for maximum exposure. There’s several tools on the market to help you easily do this, including companies such as Upad and Urban.

5. Viewings 

Once you have viewing requests come through, you’ll need to attend these yourself as a D.I.Y landlord. It’s a great way to gauge your prospective tenants and to get a feel for what they could be like. Try and be available in unsociable hours as tenants may need to view properties in the evenings and at weekends around work commitments. 

7. Tenancy security deposit

Once you’ve found your tenants, you may ask them for a deposit to secure the home or room. You’ll need to consider how much of a deposit you want to ask for. As a general rule of thumb, the deposit is normally no more than the cost of a month’s rent upfront. Or are you happy to proceed without a deposit and look at an insurance based scheme instead? 

If your property is in England and Wales and will be let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), you are legally required to hold the deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). This is a legal obligation that you must uphold. A TDS is an independent third-party scheme that offers protection to the landlord and the tenant. The three providers landlords can choose from are The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, The Deposit Protection Service and MyDeposits. 

You’re required to submit the deposit and the tenants should receive confirmation of this within 30 days of sending the deposit. The deposit should also be given back within 10 days of the tenant leaving the property. 

8. Money Money Money

Now you need to be able to agree on a date that the rent’s due and how to collect it. Will the tenant transfer it into your bank account via a standing order? Will they pay you in cash directly to you? Figure out what’s best for both parties. 

9. Managing Repairs 

As a landlord you’re responsible for the following repairs or issues within the property:

  • electrical wiring
  • gas pipes and boilers
  • heating and hot water
  • chimneys and ventilation
  • sinks, baths, toilets, pipes and drains
  • common areas including entrance halls and stairways
  • the structure and exterior of the building, including walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
  • Damp, mould 
  • Rat and mice infestation

10. Evicting a tenant

Hopefully your time as a landlord goes smoothly but it’s a good idea to get eviction cover if things don’t work out with a tenant. For instance, if a tenant isn’t paying their rent or there’s anti-social behaviour going on and you need them removed from the property, this can end up being quite a draining task – not just on your emotions but on your bank balance. By having eviction cover, you can cover the legal fees if in the worst case it needs to go to court, the cost of bailiffs and also the cost of locksmiths in certain cases. 

Keep up with regulation

It’s important to keep up to date with different regulations that come in over time so that you stay compliant and you know that you’ll be a law abiding landlord. It’s easy to miss a piece of legislation or not keep in the loop with changes but it’s important to always keep in the know. A good starting point is to keep an eye on the NRLA website.

An extra helping hand

Being a D.I.Y landlord can be massively rewarding and you can really reap the rewards. However, we can’t deny that property management can be time consuming and everyone needs a helping hand. Our Howsy Connect product gives landlords the tools they need to make property management that bit easier. 

Through the Connect dashboard you can instantly market your property across Rightmove, OntheMarket, Zoopla and more, manage viewings and negotiate offers. We’ll even include two free references and credit checks.

In addition to this, automated rent chasing and collection with same-day payment processing is set up, so you are never out of pocket.

Finally on top of all this you will also receive eviction cover, including court fees, bailiffs and locksmiths. 

Discover more about Howsy Connect

Workers look to move out of the commuter belt to London, as remote working gives people more freedom and choice. Living by the sea can now be a reality!

Credit: Andrew Buchanan

Since the Coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, many office based workers have been forced to work from home in a bid to curb the spread of the outbreak. Offices have been left empty for months, as many workers have had to set up office at home. As this remote working life is set to continue, it’s left many people questioning where they live. As people no longer need to commute to work for the most part, the opportunities to live anywhere have really opened up.

If you ever wanted to live in a remote cottage nestled in the countryside or always longed for that sea view, it could now be a reality. Office based work is being done from anywhere and so the focus becomes more about where you’d want to live rather than moving to where the work is.

Where are people moving to?

According to research by RightMove, there is noticeable migration out of the centre of London and way beyond the commuting towns. The top three cities people are flocking from London to are Cambridge, Gloucester and Oxford. Cambridge alone has seen a 76% increase in searches. Rents in these cities are higher than the national average but still around £600 cheaper than London per month. 

Credit: Magna V

In London, Kingston upon Thames and Chessington are now London’s new prime renting locations with searches for rental properties in Chessington increasing by 99%.

Rents are still high in Chessington and according to Yahoo Finance have increased by 4.3% over the last year averaging £1,258 per month. Yet, this is still on average £742  cheaper than the average rent across the whole of London.


It’s becoming evident that people are moving to the outskirts of London and out of the city altogether. The shift from swapping urban areas for a slower pace of life appears to be happening over the last few months. With more people working remotely and having time to reassess their life and where they want to live, these moves are sure to continue.

This is undoubtedly going to change the rental landscape as new hotspots open up across the country and not just in major University towns or the capital. As the working world has currently changed and companies embrace this new approach to a work/life balance, this could open up opportunities for everyone.