It would be easy to let this edition of our newsletter be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will of course discuss it, but rather than look back at what has happened, we want to look ahead to the new letting year and how our service will be adapting and changing to keep tenants safe. We would like to thank you once again for your support and patience this year. It has been a unique and challenging period for everyone, and we think that we have managed those demands effectively and together we have put ourselves in a good place to meet future requirements.
What happens now?
As you will be aware both Leicester Universities are opening at the beginning of October. Our team have been welcoming our new residents from the end of August. We have also been able to reopen our offices on the De Montfort Campus in September. This is all positive and bodes well for a successful year. We are still waiting for confirmation on the opening of our new office in the Percy Gee building at the University of Leicester.
Staying safe with increased demand
The overriding priority now is to ensure that our tenants stay safe. Our property management team will be ensuring government guidelines are followed and that tenants are given the practical help and information that they need to be healthy during their stay in Leicester. There has also been a high level of interest in properties during the summer months. As restrictions have eased, so demand for accommodation has increased, all the way through to clearing and beyond. We are sure that once safe households have been established in our houses there will be a strong desire for rebooking next year.
Increased visibility on our website
We will also be giving houses more prominence on our website. We currently only have one navigation ‘tile’ on the home page. This will be increased to 5 and will balance the emphasis between private accommodation and purpose built halls and will increase the visibility of the houses that we list. It has been an exceptional year, where many of our normal practices and cycles have been disrupted. We have been able to adapt together and ensure that we are well placed to maximise the opportunities of the new sales period which will start in the autumn.
What’s been happening at Sulets?
In the past few months, there have been several developments and changes in the Sulets team. We know that most of you will be up to date with these developments, but just in case you are not we have summarised our own news here.
Carrie Whiting joined the team in February. No sooner had she joined than the Campus Centre Building was closed, and we were all working from home. Carrie will be covering credit control for Fatima while she is on maternity leave. Many of the Property Management team have completed the ARLA Propertymark Technical Award in Residential Lettings & Property Management qualification, to further improve the skills and knowledge available to landlords.
Charlotte will be leaving to start her maternity leave at the beginning of October. During this time, the other Property Management Officers (Lottie, Angela and Ruta) and our Head of Operations (Emma Fox) will be picking up the work related to Charlotte’s portfolio. If you have any queries, any one of the PMOs team will be able to assist, but they may have to get back to you on some things. We can guarantee that our service to you will not be diminished during this time.
The DMU office is now open again. If you do need to visit us, please let us know in advance that you are coming. That way we can control the numbers in our shop space. Please remember to wear a mask and to observe the national guidelines for safety. When we have confirmation about moving into our new office on the UoL campus we will let you know. For now, managing one outlet will be the best way to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, so the DMU branch willbe our office for a little while yet.
One final quick note, we have been nominated for an award in the Leicester Live Business Awards. The category is Excellence in Training and Development. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak the awards ceremony has been put back to 2021, so we remain a nominee, keeping our fingers crossed for a win!
It’s time to act now. Next summer is closer than you think
Although we are just coming to the end of this summer, it is important to remember that for the 2020/2021 session our tenancies will end on 31 July 2021. That means new tenants for the 2021/2022 session will have occupancy rights (and will be paying rent) from 30 August 2021. This gives us only 4 weeks to complete property inspections and cleaning.
If you are planning to have work done to your property, it makes sense to organise this for the Christmas and Easter breaks, when it is reasonably likely that students will go home for the holiday period. This will leave the summer 4 weeks for cleaning only. If you do have plans, please contact your Property Management Officer for a chat.
We are looking for other landlords like you
We have a favour to ask If you like the service that you receive from Sulets and our ability to reach a profitable market place that allows you to rent your houses successfully, then we would be grateful if you could recommend us to other landlords who have the same ambitions as you.
To say thank you for your help, if the person, or persons, that you recommend sign up to Sulets we will give you a gift of £100 for every property that they list and go on to successfully let through Sulets. If you know someone who wants to rent their properties through an agency that delivers on professionalism, profitability and honest communication then please let them know about Sulets.
If you have someone in mind, then let us know who they are.
- We will need to know: Name Contact email Phone number Or they can get in touch with us directly.
- For houses close to De Montfort University, contact Emma Godsell on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0116 467 0315
- For houses close to University of Leicester, contact Jake Lewis on email@example.com or 0116 467 0315
Remember to make sure that they mention your recommendation when they get in touch!
Students like what you are doing
The Sulets Annual Moving Out Survey allows us to ask students what they think of our houses and service. We then benchmark those results against previous years to ensure that we continue to improve and meet customers’ expectations. This year our tenants have been keen to give their feedback, with a higher response rate than the last year. The good news is that students are very satisfied with the quality of accommodation on offer and the service that they receive.
Why is that important to you?
In short, the more positive the feedback, the more likely it is that we will let your property next year. Satisfied students recommend us to others, in fact 91% of this year respondents said that they would recommend Sulets (and therefore our houses) to other students. It also means that we are improving our standards, which leads to full value rental amounts. Building a strong reputation for quality, safety and service is crucial to long term success for all of us.
Feedback specific to our houses and rent levels included: “I felt the property was clean and of a good standard on moving in” This year 83% agreed or strongly agreed with that statement. Last year that figure was 68%. This shows that the work our property management team do with our landlords and contractors has helped to raise the quality of our properties for tenants when they move in.
“I feel that my weekly rent provided good value for money” In response to this statement there was slight increase year on year by 1%, rising to 87%. The lack of significant movement in either direction suggests that rent levels are probably at the right level for most students.
These results set against the backdrop of the pandemic, are extremely pleasing and show that the Sulets brand, the quality of our houses and the relationships with our landlords, put us in a good position to be successful in the future.