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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! 

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. 

 


Long gone are the days where an evening’s entertainment is confined to only four channels. With thousands of channels offering unlimited options, it is no surprise that many tenants are keen to have satellite tv options installed in their rental properties.

So, if a renter requests a satellite service, what should a landlord say? After all, with satellite dishes adorning the roof and cabling snaking through the inside, installing entertainment isn’t always a simple job. 

On the flip side, once the components are in place to receive satellite services they will remain in situ even after the current tenant leaves and this can be a real selling point for future tenants, who wouldn’t have to worry about arranging installation themselves!

Getting appropriate permissions

Any permanent changes that a tenant wants to make to a rental property should of course be ok’d by the landlord, and having satellite TV fitted should be no different.

Whether the subscription requires the installation of a dish or just internal cabling, changes are required to be made to the property, and as such it is important that the landlord gives their full approval before the tenant proceeds.

As well as being good rental practice, there are certain elements of an installation that a tenant may not have considered – failing to tick all of the correct boxes before pressing ahead could leave the property owner in trouble!

For example, if the landlord is a leaseholder, they may have to get the permission of the freeholder before making changes to the exterior of the property. This could mean reaching out for permission for a tenant to erect a satellite dish. On the flip side, there may be strict rules in place over whether dishes are allowed at all, they may be deemed to infringe on common areas of the property (the exterior) and be against the rules. Installing one dish could break the terms of a landlord’s lease.

Even if the property isn’t bound by a leasehold agreement, there are other potential pitfalls to consider. Blocks of flats often have limits to how many dishes are allowed (more on managing this below) and listed buildings are unlikely to be granted planning permission to erect a dish.

If you are unsure if your property is bound by any planning permission regulations, clear guidelines are available in the Householders Guide to Antennas and the Government’s Planning Portal.

Is there a chance of damage?

If your tenant is having a reputable organisation carry out the satellite dish installation, there should be no major concerns about damage.

The installer will attend the property and assess the best location for the dish, and any internal cabling. The dish installation will require a hole to be drilled through the property’s external wall to allow a cable to be passed through, and then the dish will be mounted onto the external wall. The engineer will position the dish to be angled to pick up the satellites required to access the service – usually this is south facing. The dish will be positioned in a location that it can be accessed for maintenance, if needed. Depending on the location of the dish, the installer may need to drill a hole in the external wall to secure their ladders, however all holes will be made good.

Ask to be present during the installation so you are able to query any issues you have a concern over. If there are any problems with damage, raise them with the service provider. Sky have an Engineer Complaints Department and if a complaint is made a manager will be sent out to review the situation and resolve it. It is worth noting that Sky does use third party engineers for communal set ups and work higher than first floors.

With a dish in situ, it is advisable to add the dish to your list of points to check when you carry out your maintenance checks on the property – they can be sensitive to high winds, so make sure you keep an eye on it if the weather takes a turn! If your property is overseen by a letting agent or property management agent, be sure to let them know that it has been installed and should be monitored.

Tenancy agreements

If there are any strong elements one way or another regarding the installation of satellite tv services, it is wise to include details in the tenancy agreement, so that your tenant is aware of the situation from the start of the process. This would be a reasonable restriction, if it was made clear from the start. 

If the property’s permissions prohibit the installation of a satellite dish, consider including a clause in the agreement specifically prohibiting them. Most agreements include a general clause prohibiting changes to the property without consent, however it is wise to be very clear if there is a specific issue, such as the potential breach of a leasehold.

If a tenant chooses to ignore this clause, they are in breach of the rental agreement and the landlord would have options with regards to how to proceed.  Eviction proceedings could be started, using a Section 8 notice using ground 12 (Breach of tenancy obligation) or a Section 21 no-fault notice. The Section 8 notice has a two-week notice period, but is a discretionary ground, meaning its success is down to a Judge’s decision. With this in mind, if eviction is the end goal, a Section 21 no-fault notice, with a two-month notice period, is a more reliable option.

If the issue is not quite so severe as to want to evict tenants, but damage has been caused in the installation of the dish, it is possible to highlight this to a deposit protection scheme at the end of the tenancy. Rectifying the issue may require remedial work, the cost of which can be recovered from the tenant’s security deposit.

Alternative options

Before worrying too much about the impact of a satellite dish on the aesthetic of your property, you could look into the possibility of ‘dishless’ options instead.

Sky provide the Sky Q option which is able to be installed without a dish – instead being delivered through a box via a broadband connection. Virgin Media is delivered through cable, which prevents the need for a dish – however this isn’t available everywhere, so make sure to check.

With more people looking to the private rented sector than ever before, identifying your top tenants is key, and understand what your target audience are looking for.

Knowing exactly the sort of tenant that is likely to fall in love with your property is the first step to designing the perfect property marketing campaign.

However, identifying that market segment doesn’t just stop with what lies behind the front door. Taking a wider view at the surrounding neighbourhood and local amenities is really important when it comes to understanding who may be interested in your property.

Young professionals

Working professionals are considered by many to be the ‘ideal’ tenant. In a stable profession, this type of tenant is often keen to find a property based around providing a good work/life balance, providing them with a simple commute, and ability to make the most of their downtime.

As businesses move their headquarters from major UK cities out to more regional locations, we are seeing more young professionals move with them, and as such the rental landscape is shifting as we flex to suit the ever-changing locations of this huge market segment. Identifying the needs of these top tenants is key, so what exactly are they looking for in their perfect prime location?

Close to public transport

Whilst arguably a huge draw for anyone, busy professionals are likely to have a real need for easy access to public transport. Convenient travel into or around the nearest major town is a great asset, and if your property has good access to major hospitals, universities or business centres, that’s a huge plus too. 

Nearby shopping, restaurants, gyms

Taking time to unwind is vital, and being located close to shops, cafes, restaurants and gyms puts a big tick in the box. You can help your potential tenants really make the most of these exciting benefits with Howsy Club, a new initiative from Howsy aimed to revolutionise renting for both tenant and landlord. The scheme replaces high rental deposits, with a manageable monthly fee and delivers a host of additional benefits to the landlord. In addition, tenants receive a free Taste Card, giving them access to 2-for-1 meals at over 6000 UK restaurants.

Good internet connectivity

With more and more people working from home, super-fast broadband speeds are a becoming a prerequisite for tenants across the board, with many hoping to find properties pre-connected and ready to log on as they move in.

Families

As the housing market continues to creep skywards, the age demographic of renters is creeping up with it, and we are seeing more and more families look to the private rental sector to fulfil their housing needs.

This section of the market generally has a very specific wish list when searching for the perfect family pad, and identifying their top ‘wants’ is vital if you’re aiming for family tenants. But what exactly does the modern family look for in a dream neighbourhood?

Parking

Children bring with them plenty of things. From pushchairs to rugby kits, every parent knows that the day their child comes into the world is the day they wave goodbye to skipping out of the house with just keys, phone and wallet! With this in mind, it is no surprise that off-street parking is a huge bonus to families.

Great schools, nurseries and childcare

If your property is within the catchment area of a great school, it can be a major draw to parents looking to enrol their child. With entry restrictions often very tight, having the perfect postcode can make all the difference. Access to great nurseries and childcare options is also very important to many parents, so do your research on the options locally.

Parks and open spaces

No matter how perfect the property, there is no replacement for getting outside and having a run around in the open air. If you have great amenities such as parks, youth clubs or sports centres on your doorstep, shout about it!

Low crime rate

Obviously, this is an important element for everyone. However, with increasing fear around gang culture in teens and young people, this is a very real concern for parents of young adults. A safe and calm neighbourhood with active regional Neighbourhood Watch schemes or community support may offer peace of mind, and edge ahead over an area without such benefits. 

Students

Student tenants are key to the rental market of some of the UK’s major towns and cities, with student-based rentals making up a high percentage of some region’s private rented market.

However, this sector is not without its challenges and often requires slightly more hands-on management as students take their first steps on the path of independent living. But what regional benefits appeal to this young rental range?

Nightlife and entertainment

It may be an age-old joke, but easy access to bars and nightlife could be a real benefit to students, who may be excited to take the opportunity to make the most of life in their new city. Speedy routes to nightlife hotspots will appeal to students, whilst safe, well-lit streets will appease parents!

Life within walking distance

When it comes to prioritising how to spend a student loan, it is highly unlikely that many will choose to budget for a car… With this in mind, having all major amenities within walking distance is important to student tenants. Taking a stroll around the neighbourhood and jotting down walking times to university campus, local supermarket, transport facilities and restaurants, cafes and bars can help provide clear details in your advert. 

Mature tenants

Whilst students starting out on their rental journey is one end of the rental range, there is a widening part of the of the market appealing to a more mature tenant. Many landlords identify this market sector as top tenants due to them often looking for long-term, reliable tenancies and a good relationship with their landlords, what more could a landlord want?

With older tenants making up a growing part of the private rental sector, it is important that landlords are aware of the needs and desires of this tenant type. Finding the right neighbourhood is often key to more mature tenants, so what are they looking for? 

Access to medical care

As with schools, many doctors’ surgeries operate on a postcode system for patients. More mature tenants may be aware of the need for easily-accessible medical care, and are likely to be looking for continuity of contact with existing healthcare practitioners.

Like-minded neighbours

Feeling that you fit in within a community is key, so mentioning that the property is located in a ‘quiet residential street’ is likely to be appealing to a more mature tenant. Living in a property located amid busy restaurants, or sandwiched between student accommodation is unlikely to tick any boxes.

Identifying top tenant selling deires in your neighbourhood and highlighting them in your advert can bring a real boost to your marketing potential.

For some top tips on writing your advert, read our quick guide here. Alternatively, let the team at Howsy give you a hand crafting the perfect advert, designed to showcase the top selling points of your location, and property.

Give our team a call today on 0330 999 1234 to see how we can help