A RENTAL MARKET.
Property – August 1996

When I first came to Salisbury in 1974 there were no firms that dealt solely with rental properties. Most offices, including my own, dealt with renting but there were never enough instruc­tions to warrant having a separate department.

I think it was in the 1980s that a business subse­quently bought out by GA, came to the city to open a specialist rentals office and it is still there and going strong.  In the late '80s when the recession began and owners found that they could not sell their properties, either because there were no buyers or they were in a negative equity situation there was suddenly a lot of property available to rent. Many considered that with house prices sig­nificantly spiralling down there was no immediate future in buying again and in fact it made considerable economic sense to invest the money from their sale, earn a significant interest, and rent a home for the time being.

Government legislation has also been a factor in the changes, that have come about regarding the availability once more of unfurnished property.  For many years most instructions received were to let a house furnished, unless it was a property on an estate where a long term tenant was sought.  In the 70s and '80s the legislation gave the tenant a strong security of tenure. Now the shorthold tenancies have changed this and a high percentage of the properties offered are available unfur­nished, normally for six months, or a year less one day, because of stamp duty costs.

When I began my relocation busi­ness I was surprised how many enquiries I received and still receive from companies and private individuals seeking properties to rent. Michael Saunders, who runs his own estate agency business in Melksham, howev­er, tells me that he has seen a change this year. When I enquired for a client in August last year he had quite a few to show me,  several of these being prop­erties that were also for sale; owners were prepared to look at either option. 

The Black Horse Agency in Chippenham also finds that they would like more instructions for different reasons. The MOD relocation to Abbeywood in Bristol has created a strong demand for properties of all types because of the convenience of access via the M-4.

Lynda Like of Salisbury-based agents Middleton & Major pointed "out to me that there is a further change at the end of this year due to legislation. As from January 1 1997 furniture hired out as part of a furnished letting must satisfy the requirements of the 1988 Regulations in relation to non inflam­mable soft furnishings upholstery, loose fittings, permanent or loose covers and filling materials. These standards in some instances will bring about either a change in the quality of some furnishings or a preference for a prop­erty to be let partly furnished.

Miss Like and Katharine Gwyer,  Partner of LD Property Management in Salisbury can both offer a reasonable selection of prop­erties at the moment. Miss Like has been handling three properties in the love­ly village of Compton Chamberlayne. Apparently two and three bedroomed cottages in the area can be obtained for rents that vary between £450 and £500 a month. I am told these rents are controlled by the avail­ability of central heating when sought by business couples. After this winter, who can blame them! Generally speaking it seems that to obtain a quality modern home whether it be Salisbury, Marlborough or Trowbridge the rents are around the £1,000 to £1,500 mark and some of the better and larger properties will realise £2,000 a calendar month. 

Katherine Gwyer showed me a good four bedroomed house in Elizabeth Close, Downton, seven miles south of Salisbury. This could be rented at £850 per month including a gardener. Young couples who are seeking a small property will find that there is a good selec­tion of flats and town houses available at rents of between £300 and £400 a month.

Barbie Blanchard of John D. Wood & Co. has been dealing with apart­ments in a very exiting development of Wardour Castle which lies between Salisbury and Shaftesbury. The own­ers, Wardour Estates, have formulated their plans from those of the Palladian architect James Paine who designed the castle itself and Richard Woods who was responsible for the landscaping.  This imaginative project has made available accommodation in one of England's finest Palladian houses. Barbie has let the existing units which are of exceptional size varying from two bedroomed, two bathroomed apartments to the largest which has four bed­rooms and four bathrooms. The initial eight apartments were available unfur­nished with the rents ranging from £1,450 to £2,300 pcm. Director of Wardour Estates, Nigel Tuersley showed me the properties and it was truly a joy to see such a wonderful building still being used to provide unique homes in such a lovely part of the county.

Nigel Tuersley