When an elegant Victorian house in Chesterford Gardens, Hampstead, came up for rental recently, no-one was more surprised than Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings, who have let the property on a sole agency basis continuously for over 25 years, when prospective tenants were thin on the ground. Tired, outdated bathrooms were letting the property down so we suggested a refurbishment to boost its 'wow' factor and the home, which belongs to a well-known musician who now lives in the US, was let immediately - before the refurbishment works were even completed!
The initial difficulty in letting the property is a sign of the current rental market in London. While smaller one and two bedroom apartments are renting like hot cakes, large family homes at the top end of the market (£1500+ per week) are taking considerably longer to let due in part to staff cut backs in large companies, and because many Landlords are failing to keep their properties fully up to date with tenant trends.
With seven double bedrooms - one of which is a tastefully updated master suite with en suite bathroom - an vast 60ft reception room, spacious dining room, family room, playroom and large country-style kitchen/diner, the Chesterford Gardens property is an impressive family residence. And, of course, its large, mature garden and close proximity to Hampstead Heath is another huge attraction for families.
"In the past, up to three potential tenants have bid for the property at the end of a previous tenancy, but in this challenging market, we felt a little 'TLC' was needed to bring this charming house into the 21st century" says Simran Prasad, Director of Property Management at Benham and Reeves Lettings.
So we brought in rental property interior design and refurbishment specialist In:Style Direct to breathe new life into the property.
The company, refurbished two bathrooms and also fitted new tiles in two guest cloakrooms. In the master ensuite, In:Style Direct retained the elegant Victorian roll-top bath and installed a new washroom-style shower enclosure, while replacing all the taps and hand-held shower fittings. They also fitted new metro-style white wall tiles with a black edging and black Porcelanosa floor tiles.
The second bathroom on the first floor was completely refurbished, and new tiles were fitted in the first floor cloakroom. In the ground floor cloakroom, timber panelling was fitted to match the property's existing style, while mosaic black and white floor tiles have been laid to complement the entrance hall.
The result is a tasteful interior with lots of period charm and a high specification that appeals to the most discerning of corporate tenants. And, with an asking rental of £2,950 per week, the property was snapped up by a casino entrepreneur and his family, even before the refurbishment project was completed.
Although high calibre corporate tenants are harder to find in the current market, properties that are maintained to the highest standards will always let more quickly, as Simran explains: "We know from experience that corporate tenants demand a high standard of presentation. Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly important and are often the deciding factor when choosing a family home. Get these right and you will find that the property lets much more quickly. A landlord won't necessarily get a higher rental, although this can often be the case, but if a property lets quickly then potential void periods are reduced, substantially increasing the rental income of the property."