Monday, 29 June 2020

The Lockdown in TUNBRIDGE WELLS in Numbers

13 Ways Lockdown Changed People’s Habits in TUNBRIDGE WELLS

As we get used to the ‘new normal’, we take a quick look back at how people’s habits dramatically changed during the lockdown

Recently The Sunday Times published a fascinating collection of statistics around how the lives of people in the UK transformed during lockdown.

We’ve broken it down into four sections – Health, wealth, happiness and of course, homes.
These national trends have been reflected across TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

*Figures are comparing April with March 2020 and sourced from John Lewis and the Office for National Statistics unless stated.

With gyms closed and time on their hands people turned to exercising at home.
300% - The fitness app Strava saw a massive leap in usage.
72% - Rise in sales of sports shoes.
496% - The purchase of gym equipment surged.

60% - Drop in withdrawals from ATMs.
£16.2 billion - Rise in household savings in April.
200% - The share price of video conferencing app Zoom rocketed this year. (Up to May 31).

To keep our minds off you know what, we turned to:
240% - Board games and jigsaws proved hugely popular with soaring sales.
18% - An increase in online chats recorded by dating app OkCupid.
50% - Increase in sales of rose wine. *Source Majestic Wine.
76% - Rise in sales of sherry. *Source Majestic Wine.

With more time spent at home, people have been turning to DIY and splashing out.
480% - Argos reported selling out of hot tubs, and eBay reported a massive spike in demand.
18% - On May 27 property portal Rightmove recorded its busiest ever day, up 18 per cent on the previous year.
74 % - Of households carried out some form of DIY during April and May according to

At Martin & CO Tunbridge Wells we’ve seen a surge in interest as the lockdown relaxes and people want to get moving again.
Of course, the most important and heart-breaking statistics during and after lockdown are the number of people who sadly lost their lives to this terrible illness.
Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones.

Thanks for reading, and if we can help you in any way, please get in touch. you can read other stories and fact at mt property blog just google Royal Tunbridge wells property Blog.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Getting Through 2020 – What the Rest of The Year Holds for TUNBRIDGE WELLS Landlords

Read what lies ahead for landlords in 2020.

If you had to sum up 2020 in one word (without using “unprecedented” because it has been overused) what would it be?

Weird? Abnormal? Or what about unheard-of? Okay, maybe that is two words, but you catch our drift.

Whatever adjective you choose, it is a safe bet that you will not forget the first six months of 2020 in a hurry.

But as things slowly edge towards getting back to normal, it is wort

h taking a moment to look beyond the pandemic.

As we gear up for the second half of the year, there are other issues specific to landlords that are also important to consider.  

Legislative changes

It is vital you stay on top of any new rules or regulations that might have come into place over the past few months – or indeed may be on the horizon.

The situation with Covid-19 understandably absorbed most of our attention, but in the background, lots of other things have been going on.

Make sure any important legal changes do not slip under your radar.

Breach the law and the excuse “I was busy watching the daily press briefing” will not cut it.

In England and Wales, for example, check up on the changes to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) that were introduced in April. The MEES now applies to all private lets meaning that if your property has an energy rating of F or G you cannot rent it out (the fine for doing so could reach £4,000).

If you want to feel reassured that you have got a handle on all your legal requirements, get in touch with us. It is our job to know when new guidance is published and when laws are introduced. 

Tax changes

A change which came into effect in April while we were all adjusting to life in lockdown relates to changes to tax relief.

These changes have been phased in over several years, but the final stage kicked in on April 6. Landlords will now receive a tax credit based on 20% of mortgage interest payments.

This is different to a few years ago when they could deduct their mortgage interest from rental income before calculating tax.

Changing tenant priorities 

If you are looking to let a property in the next few months, take time to reassess its major selling points. Do you need to change your marketing strategy?

Whereas, once proximity to public transport may have been the top drawcard, now the sunny courtyard or the large living Tunbridge wells could be the real winner.

Even though many people will be returning to offices soon, flexible working is here to stay.

Expect more people to work from home at least some of the time – hence where they live will be more important to them than ever.

So, consider how you can make your property more appealing to someone who works from home.

Are there small changes you could make inside or out that would make it more marketable?

Ask us for advice about trends in TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

A quick note
Last week the government finally released guidance on the finer details of the Electrical Inspection Condition Reports (EICR) system, which is due to start in England and Wales next month.

This was then promptly withdrawn due to “inconsistencies”. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for a revised version of the guidance any time soon.

Here at Martin & Co , we want to help landlords get through the rest of 2020 and thrive in 2021 and beyond.

If you have any questions about the rental property market in TUNBRIDGE WELLS, get in touch.

You can read other blogs and info at

Monday, 22 June 2020

Are you getting ACE estate agency service in TUNBRIDGE WELLS or double faults?

Today we look at the similarities between tennis and how we deliver exceptional service for people in TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

Next Monday the All England Lawn Tennis Championship was set to start.
Wimbledon's hallowed courts were to welcome the very best players on planet Earth.
But like many of the sporting, social and cultural events across the UK, it's been cancelled.
While we can't sit back and watch the likes of Federer, the Williams sisters, Nadal, and the Murray brothers, we can explore why great estate agency shares many things with tennis.

Service – The power and accuracy of a player's serve can elevate them to the highest heights. And when people instruct us, they can expect a level of service that's friendly, expertly delivered, and fast. But not as fast as big-serving American Taylor Dent who fired across a record-breaking 148 MPH serve at Wimbledon in 2010.

Rallies – According to the Wimbledon Tennis Lawn Museum, the longest rally in the tournament's history saw the ball fly over the net 643 times. A tennis rally is not dissimilar to the back, and forth that happens during a property negotiation. We know what it takes to hit a winning shot that seals deals.

Tantrums – John McEnroe had legendary on-court tantrums, and it's not uncommon for players to vent their frustrations at the umpire/line judge/ball boys and girls / their racquet. And over the 30 YEARS, we've been helping people sell and buy property in TUNBRIDGE WELLS we've often been a calming presence and sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

Aces – The most aces in a match at Wimbledon was 113 by John Isner during his 11-hour marathon against Nicolas Mahut. At Martin & Co (Tunbridge Wells) we have a team of our own champions who love what they do and the positive difference they can make to our clients' lives.

Love – We promise you'll love the experience of us working for you. We can't say the same for poor John Hartley who was defeated by three sets to zero in just 36 minutes in the 1881 Wimbledon final by William Renshaw.

Game Set & Match – From the warm-up right through to winning the game we're by your side every step of the way when it comes to your property journey.
Our job is always to ensure our clients get a result they are delighted with.
If you want to know the value of your home in this current market, please feel free to give us a call.
Thanks for reading, if you want to read other blogs I have posted please visit

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Why Now Is Not the Time for Landlords in TUNBRIDGE WELLS to Go Solo

Excuss this four-minute read, but I think you will find it worth it, we look at the eviction ban extension and explain why now, more than ever, landlords need a property partner who has their back.

Whether you’re a veteran landlord with years of experience, or a rookie still finding their feet, now is NOT the time to be going it alone.

After all, Starsky had Hutch, Cagney had Lacey and Mulder had Scully (yep, we’ve watched lots of old crime shows during lockdown).

TUNBRIDGE WELLS landlords currently find themselves in a unique situation, one that won’t be back to “normal” soon. This was made clear by the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last week when he made two announcements.

Minister’s announcements
You’ve probably heard the first one already: the ban on evictions has been extended in England and Wales by another two months. It will now end on August 23, effectively creating a five-month moratorium on evictions. This will create an almighty backlog for the court system and prove particularly nightmarish for landlords with anti-social tenants, or tenants who are perpetrators of domestic violence (a little bit more on that in a minute).

More guidance is on its way
The second part of Mr Jenrick’s announcement got a lot less attention in the mainstream media but is still enormously relevant to landlords. The government is preparing “guidance” for the courts concerning evictions. This is to ensure that when things get back up and running “rules are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding”.
While we don’t yet know the finer details of this, the government has said it expects landlords to exhaust all other options, including flexible payment plans, before instigating eviction proceedings.

What are the implications of all this? And how a letting agent can help
Now more than ever, you want to avoid the eviction process.
Before Covid-19, the eviction process was stressful and took at least six months. Add in a five-month backlog and an increase in cases due to Covid-19, and it is clear things will become even more drawn out. If you’re having difficulty with a tenant, you want to pursue all other avenues first.
A letting agent can help you with this. They can take the burden off your shoulders and contribute different ideas and strategies to deal with tricky situations. In these unusual times, flexible and agile thinking is the order of the day.

This is no time to wing it
If you’re relatively new to the lettings market, firstly hello and welcome! Secondly, a word of advice now is not the time to wing it.
Even in “normal times” (don’t they seem like a long time ago?) there were plenty of potential pitfalls for landlords around deposits, maintenance, regulations, and tenant checks. But right now, things are more complicated than ever. You must ensure you meet all your legal obligations (the fines are enormous if you don’t) and stay on top of any new announcements. Having an expert to help you do this will save you time and money in the long run.

Old pros are in new territory
If there’s a word that sums up 2020, it’s “unprecedented”. A few others that we won’t forget in a hurry include “lockdown”, “furlough” and “shielding”. Even the most experienced landlords are dealing with a host of issues for the first time. Good letting agents are keeping abreast of the changing situation and talking to industry bodies and colleagues in other parts of the country and sharing best practice. Make your life a little easier and utilise this expertise.

A quick note: As we mentioned above, there is concern about the eviction ban, particularly concerning the dealing with anti-social or violent tenants. The National Residential Landlords Association is pushing for these cases to be fast-tracked through the courts. In domestic violence cases, for example, landlords often end a tenancy agreement and start a new one with the victim but without the abuser. Many worry the lengthy delay in dealing with these cases is trapping victims of domestic violence in unsuitable tenancies. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of this campaign.

Here at Martin & Co Tunbridge Wells, we are committed to supporting our community through these difficult times.

Our experienced team is on hand to help the landlords and tenants of TUNBRIDGE WELLS.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Space – The final frontier for homebuyers in TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Space may well have been the final frontier for the crew of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek, but it’s also made the news recently much closer to home.

According to a BBC report based on data from property portal Rightmove the Covid-19 induced lockdown has changed people’s priorities when it comes to buying or renting a new home.

Indoor and outdoor space has always been a big draw for home searchers. But it’s now top of most people’s lists as the article suggests.

These new desires may end up being temporary, but they do make for interesting reading.

The findings also highlight that due to the rise in home working, having a spare room which can be used as an office or workout Tunbridge Wells, is increasingly popular with property seekers.

As is good wi-fi, a pet-friendly home and having parks or a natural environment nearby.

Number two on the buyers wish list is having a garden. With many of the 4000 potential movers surveyed saying it was what they desired most from a home.

Flats have dropped out of the top five wanted list for buyers according to Rightmove’s research based on the number of enquiries per property of each type. 

Record-Breaking Weather

May was the sunniest UK calendar month on record according to the Met Office.

And it’s possible that all that good weather played a part in another trend the article covered – a rise in demand for properties in coastal Tunbridge Wells.

Here’s a list of the most significant changes in home searchers desires:
Access to a garden
A bigger home
Access to a garage
A better home workspace
Live closer to parks
A pet-friendly home

At Martin & Co Tunbridge Wells we have over 11 years of experience working within the TUNBRIDGE WELLS property market.

We’ve seen its ups and downs and observed the changing trends and priorities of sellers and buyers over the years.

So, if it’s a new home and space you’re looking for we’ll help you boldly go where you haven’t gone before.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

How we can help landlords in TUNBRIDGE WELLS comply with new electrical safety rules

As if landlords don’t have enough to contend with, new rules on Electrical Inspection Condition Reports (EICR) kick in next month.

Final guidance from the government on this legislation is expected any day now, but here’s an overview.

·       Every fixed electrical installation in a private rental property must be inspected and comply with the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.

·       This kicks in on July 1, 2020, for new tenancies and April 1, 2021, for existing tenancies.

·       Inspections must be carried out every five years by a “qualified person” (more on that in a minute).

·       If a problem is identified in the EICR, work to remedy it must be done within 28 days (or less if it’s urgent). Landlords need written confirmation that the work has been completed.

·       A copy of the electrical safety report must be supplied to a tenant before they move into the property. If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy, the report should be provided to the tenant within 28 days of its completion.

What does “qualified mean?” we hear you say
This will be clarified in the guidance. But it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t mean a mate’s brother’s ex-flatmate who likes watching DIY SOS. Industry insiders interpret it to mean an electrician with Electrotechnical Assessment Specifications qualifications. So, a professional with an industry recognised apprenticeship or Level 3 Certificates in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings.

What if a landlord fails to comply?
It’s going to hurt. Breach the new rules and face a fine of up to £30,000.

This all sounds complicated
Responsible landlords who keep their properties in good condition probably won’t get any nasty surprises. The rogue ones might be in for a shock though.

Tips from a sparky
Oliver Townsend, an electrician, who owns Townsend Electrical in East Sussex, has these tips for landlords about the EICR process.

If it’s too good to be true…
It probably is. If someone offers to inspect for next to nothing, ask yourself: ‘what’s in it for them?’ Oliver has heard of some electricians planning to use the EICR process as a loss leader. What they lose in carrying out the inspection, they plan to make up by diagnosing and carrying out expensive repair works.

Now most electricians are good people and wouldn’t do this. But be aware that the cheapest price doesn’t always represent the best value.

Are they registered?
Oliver recommends going with an electrician registered with a governing body such as the NICEIC. Other organisations to look out for include NAPIT, STROMA and the ECA.

Word of mouth
Ideally, you’re looking for an electrician who is registered with one of the above organisations and has a glowing reputation in your local Tunbridge Wells. So, seek out word of mouth recommendations.
“A good letting agent will have built up business relationships with reliable tradespeople including electricians, so ask them for advice,” says Oliver.
“It’s much better – and less stressful – to go with someone you can trust.”

Don’t dither
If you already have an existing tenancy agreement, April 1, might seem like a long way off. But as this deadline looms, electricians will be in hot demand, especially good ones.
Also remember that if you need to get remedial works done, this will take time. Give yourself a little bit of breathing space to ensure any last-minute panic and avoid looking like an April Fool next year.
At Martin & CO we’ll be reviewing all the government guidance on the new safety regs as it comes in and can advise landlords through the new EICR process. If you’d like to know more, get in touch, we’re here to help.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Housing Minister announced on the 5th June a two month extension to evictions .

On Friday evening, 5th June, the Government have extended the eviction ban for a further two months.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP tweeted "We are suspending evictions from social and private rented accommodation by a further two months. Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no one will be evicted from their home this summer due to Coronavirus."
The previous measures prevented new eviction proceedings for a three-month period, and was due to end on 24 June. According to ARLA and Training For Professionals, this has now been extended to 23 August.

Unless possession claims were made, some section 21 notices served before lockdown will be close to the 6 month expiry under section 36 of the Deregulation Act by the end of August.
Without any further changes to the legislation the stay on proceedings could be further extended until the end of October and a working group is currently considering what arrangements will need to be in place once hearings recommence.

further details will be provided as soon as they become available.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

What can landlords in TUNBRIDGE WELLS learn from the Google habits of private renters?

In this three-minute read, we discover what internet searches can tell landlords about the rental market in TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

If you’re wondering about the current mood of the lettings market in TUNBRIDGE WELLS, then the results of a recent Google analysis will be of interest to you.

A list of the most common property questions private renters typed into Google has been compiled by a firm called Boiler Plan.

The data covers April, and the market has shifted since then. But the results still provide a useful snapshot of tenant worries.

Here are the five most common questions private renters asked Google.
1 Can landlords increase my rent?
2 Can my landlord evict me?
3 What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
4 Can letting agents charge fees?
5 Can a landlord keep deposits?
What can landlords and letting agents learn from these questions?
Right now, people feel anxious.
Some renters are still on furlough but wondering what will happen when the scheme draws to a close. Others have lost their jobs and surviving on savings/the kindness of others/the Bank of Mum and Dad.
Many industry experts predict there will be an increase in tenants falling into rent arrears and evictions in the coming months. If as a landlord, you find yourself in a tricky situation with a tenant, the first thing to remember is that you must obey the law. There are clear rules about what you can and can’t do, and significant fines if you mess up. Contact us if you are unsure.
Assume tenants know their stuff
The fact private renters are googling the questions above, and not just searching up Game of Thrones or Dua Lipa, shows people are doing their research. The internet is awash with useful advice on tenants’ rights. So, don’t cut corners. It’s the wrong thing to do, and, it’s likely you won’t get away with it.
Evictions can be costly and time-consuming at the best of times, but there is, of course, another spanner in the works. Due to Covid-19, there is currently a ban on all evictions.
However, this is due to be lifted. When the court system does get up and running again, expect a hefty backlog of cases causing further delays.
Remember, evictions should always be the last resort.
It’s worth talking to an excellent letting agent like us. We have experience dealing with sensitive matters, and we can go into bat for you and find another way of resolving any dispute.
If you want to have a chat about any issues raised by the Google searches in this article, please call us at Martin & Co on 01892 543856 or email
We’re here to help you however and whenever you need it.

Monday, 1 June 2020

What we could say about the ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS property market

Bringing Help, Hope and Happiness to Home Seekers in TUNBRIDGE WELLS

We share a message with all of you in TUNBRIDGE WELLS who have been going through these surreal times we’ve been experiencing.

There are plenty of things we could say right now.

We could tell you about the pent-up demand being unleashed on the TUNBRIDGE WELLS property market as activity surges.

We could spell out the measures we are introducing to ensure the safety and well-being of our clients, colleagues, and community now that estate agency is back up and running.

We could even give you an insight into what looks set to be a six-month window of property changing hands right up until Christmas.
Yes, we could share all this with you, but not yet.

Our Message to You

And that’s because there’s a more important message we want to get across to you and our community in TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

We want to thank you for doing your bit to fight Covid-19.

We want to show our gratitude to you whether you are maintaining social distancing, carry out essential work, supporting a local business or volunteering to help your neighbours.

We also want to thank you for the support, messages, and patience you’ve shown us as we get our business up and running again in what looks likely to be the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future.

Help – Hope - Happiness

It’s said there are three stages of a crisis – Help – Hope - Happiness.
The first is when the crisis/disaster happens and then its immediate aftermath – this is the stage when people need help the most.
Then as time passes, it enters the hope phase as we start seeing the light at the end of our collective tunnel. And as the news ar

ound the crisis becomes more positive, we step into the happiness phase as life returns to normal.

We continue to do all we can to help our community in TUNBRIDGE WELLS. And we believe we are beginning to step further into the hope phase of the Covid-19 crisis as places start to reopen, the infection rate falls, sport and cultural events slowly start again, and the news becomes more positive.

Good News

From a property market perspective, there’s hope in the air.
And happiness is out there in the form of serious buyers and tenants keen to move following months of forced inaction.

We hope at some point we’ll get the chance to help you find a new home you’ll be very happy in.
Thanks once again and if there’s any community or property matter, you’d like to have a chat with us about we’re just a phone call away.

From all of us at Martin & Co