We work with Government subsidiaries to provide long term furnished accommodation to the asylum and refugee sector. With over 6 years experience, we are experts in this niche market.
We have been offering this investment since 2012 and it has proved to be very successful for our clients.
The renewed lease has now been agreed to run for another long period, with the length dependent on the area. Typically, the new rental guarantee arrangements will be for a minimum of 5 years, to a maximum of 10 years.
What is the investment offer?
It is a guaranteed rent lease, with no void periods and all maintenance paid for (up to a certain fixed amount):
Generally, the standard of the property that we provide to the Home Office subsidiary has to be a good level. We accept and encourage this as we also want to provide a good quality home to the social tenants.
The rental returns do vary, depending on what the property is being sold for and what rental amount is agreed, but it generally varies from 8% to 11% net yield for 5/10 years.
Why do we work with this social tenant type?
We have been investing in property for over a decade now, and we believe that the best tenants are the ones that truly value the roof over their heads.
For clarification, we do not offer investments where the tenancies are given to LHA (local housing allowance) tenants as there's just too much headache involved with managing this type of tenant.
Working and professional tenants are also good, but they need a degree of hands on management.
However, in our experience, the asylum seeker and refugee tenant type has worked out well for us. We are experts with the tenancy type as we have a background from the charity sector; this is helpful when trying to understand the needs of the tenant.
What is our offer to investors and landlords?
In summary, we have three options for our investors:
Basic let only service
You already own a property. Rental income expected in month 3 to 4 from initial contact with us.
Ready made investment
You buy a property from one of the ones we own. It's income producing already.
SOURCE + REFURB
We source and project manage
You pay us a fee and we source. Rental income expected in month 5 from initial contact with us.
(a) Let Only
In this option, we first do all the necessary checks to see if the property location is suitable for asylum seeker and refugee rentals. If so, we then proceed to check the property itself is suitable.
From there we offer 3 further options: Standard, Furnish or Complete which vary from fixed £750 to £1350 +10% management depending on the service. To read more about this, please click how to let properties to asylum seekers.
(b) Turnkey Sale
With this service, we buy properties at below market value, undertake the necessary refurbishment and then once complete, we provide all the furnishings and sell on to our clients on a minimum 5 year lease to the government.
This is a full armchair investment which requires very little input from the client. Our properties start from £95,000 up to approximately £140,000.
(c) Source Package +Refurb
This option is for clients that want to be involved from the very beginning. We work with the client in identifying the right property, the client buys the property under our guidance and then we move on to refurbishment and then furnish the property with view to a minimum 7 year rental guarantee with the government. With this option, we charge a fixed fee of £7,000 for each property from start to finish. Please note, any acquisition, renovation and furnishing costs are borne by the client. Our role in this is to manage the entire procedure from start to finish on behalf of the client.
Historical Listings from the last 18 months
This is just a selection of the properties we've sourced for clients over the last 18 months. More examples are available upon request.
Renting out your house to asylum seekers and refugees
Since we have gained a wealth of experience in selling asylum seeker investments to our UK and international clients, we’ve had a number of requests from clients who did not end up buying from us but asked for something else very similar.
These clients were happy to pay a fee and we’re now offering this service to all clients who fit the profile and want to rent their houses or flats to asylum seekers.
In short, if you have a property that you’d like to let out in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire area on a 5 (or 7) year guaranteed rental contract and as long as the property matches what we’re looking for, we can offer the following:
- STANDARD – Property assessment and consultancy only with view to acceptance for £750
- FURNISH – Property assessment, consultancy and a complete set of furnishings required for £1,350 inclusive
- COMPLETE – Property assessment, consultancy and a complete set of furnishings required for £1,350 inclusive + 10% ongoing management
In effect, the lowest cost solution is the STANDARD service which incorporates a property assessment and discussion with you to see if your property fits the profile for these long term rental investments. Once the property is accepted, we ask for a one time £750 fee.
In all cases, these properties need to be furnished with beds, wardrobes, chest of drawers, sofas and dining table with chairs as a minimum.
If you’d like us to provide the furnishings in addition to the basic service, then we can do it for £1,350 inclusive of delivery and construction/fitting as per the FURNISH service above.
As a final option and something which is completely and wholly hands free is the COMPLETE service above whereby we offer a 10% management fee for ongoing services.
What this means is that we will liase with the Home Office agents and asylum seekers and will only bother you when something needs paying for e.g. washer machine repairs, boiler repairs and so on.
Any asylum seeker related damage or issue will not be your concern. This is dealt with as part of the lease.
We would recommend options STANDARD and FURNISH to everyone, but especially the COMPLETE option if you have a property in the North West or Yorkshire but live too far away to attend any property concerns.
Please get in touch if any of these services interest you and we’ll be happy to discuss things with you at a preliminary stage. Once we’ve done the fact finding mission, we can give either a positive or negative response and then take it from there.
What type of properties are suitable for asylum seeker and refugee investments?
That is the question we’ve been getting asked in the last few months. The uptake and interest on refugee and asylum seeker property investment has been excellent, but there have been a couple of similar concerns, which we will outline here as a future reference.
It should be noted that the rent, whilst government backed, will not come directly from the council into your bank account.
It is first channeled through one of the three agents in the North West who have full expertise in working with refugee and asylum seeker tenants and then the rent will be cleared to you, based on the net figures as highlighted on a previous article on refugee rental properties.
Coming back to this particular write up, the biggest concerns seem to be:
Let's deal with each question below.
Are we offering HMO’s with asylum seeker or refugee tenants?
The simple answer is no, but this is not set in stone. Apart from 3 of the 17 houses that we have recently offered across the Greater Manchester and Merseyside area, the rest were single let properties to families or groups on the same tenancy.
We do not let each room out individually and the 15 other properties did not have their own wash facilities or WC’s in each individual bed space. In short, they did not require a HMO license of any kind as they were not HMO’s.
Won’t the Asylum Seeker tenant or refugee tenant drive down the value of the property?
This is a valid question and we understand the concern. The bottom line is that the properties that have been acquired, refurbished and let out to these government backed tenants are in areas that are in the lower to mid-end of town properties.
If you are the type of landlord that believes letting out properties to working professionals is the only way, then we ask you to not enquire or take this further.
We have many landlords that understand letting out to well managed DSS, LHA and social housing tenants are, in many cases, better than letting to professional working tenants, so we would be happy to offer these properties to them.
As for appreciation, Unless something unforeseen occurs in the next 10 to 15 years, you will never be able to claim that you own a property in the nicest part of town. This is not to say that the prices won’t appreciate, but do not expect to see central-London type of growth(!)
Additionally, The government has a clear mandate on what types of areas it will pay these rents, so the properties on this scheme must be located in pleasant and established communities.
Again, to reiterate the point, these types of investments are for professional landlords and investors who are focused on an excellent cash-flow model and can see the benefit behind a 5 or 7 year lease that is government backed. Anything else is a bonus!
Can I sell the property on at any time? What happens to the 3, 5 or 7 year lease?
It would be your property with full-title, registered at the Land Registry, so yes, feel free to keep hold of it or sell it on.
The question is still valid however – since the lease is for a predetermined amount of time, the next buyer of the property would be encumbered with the remaining years on the lease, so it is obvious that should you wish to sell on during this time, the only buyer that you could sell it to would be an investor.
Please note, that the rents would be index linked and you would see an increase in rent over the lease period in line with inflation, so you could technically sell it on for the same yield that you bought it at (but at a higher price), but again, this is speculation.
Once the 3, 5 0r 7 years are up, then yes, your options to sell it on would be opened up to both homeowners and investors.
These were the 3 main questions that we’ve been asked about refugee rental investments and asylum seeker investments. If you have any questions about this type of property investment, please get in touch.
Asylum investment requires a different mindset
The key thing to stress and what we have continued to stress in the last few years is that asylum property investments are not for everyone.
They definitely add to the diversification of an investment portfolio, but it requires a certain type of investor to truly benefit from the product.
First and foremost, it sits very well with investors that understand asylum seekers and refugees are vulnerable groups that need support and protection.
“If you want to target the high end of the market with en-suites in every room, then this type of investment isn't for you.”
Yes, there have been stories in the last decade where scrupulous individuals have unethically made vast sums of money in this sector but we do not wish to engage with such types of investors, nor do we encourage it.
We’d like to think that by offering such a product, we can alleviate the burden for the government and at the same time, offer good quality and presentable homes to individuals that need basic provisions.
In return, we’re happy to secure good, long term rents secured on a long term contract.
It has to be said, the sourcing of these types of asylum seeker investments requires a methodical understanding of all stakeholders needs and requirements. We must contend with the demands of our investor clients, the stipulations in place by the government agencies and just as important, the long term needs of the prospective tenant.
This last point also has an overarching imprint on the longevity of the tenant and thus the ‘hands-off’ model for the investor client. For example, we need to be able to secure the property in an area in which the tenant will feel comfortable settling in and making it their home for the foreseeable future.
Whilst the contract is long term and up to 10 years inclusive, there is a break clause in place should the government find that the tenants cannot settle due to the difficulties and social wellbeing of the asylum seeker tenant.
What this means in effect that we should be careful to ensure that the areas where the properties are to be secured are safe and open to individuals and families of different ethnic persuasions. The last thing we need is a disturbance or incident which requires police involvement.
Will an asylum property investment require hands on management?
We get asked this question quite a lot and we offer our investors two options. Before we outline these options, it must be said that after 6 years of being involved in this sector, we would generally say that you would not require management.
We are certainly not helping ourselves here by potentially losing revenue, but in general terms and for what we’ve seen, there is not in general, a need to get this type of investment managed.
However, for every 4 properties where nothing ever goes wrong, there’s always 1 case where attention is required.
That is just the nature of the way things work and we usually see things requiring attention at the most inconvenient of times i.e. when it snows, during Christmas, during bank holidays and so on.
So, with these two considerations in mind, we offer two options.
- Managed – if you live outside of Greater Manchester and the North West of England in general, then yes, we would recommend that you get us to manage the asylum property investment. The choice is wholly and completely yours, but if you are unable to get to the property or to manage local tradesmen, then you need something to take care of this when things go wrong.
- Unmanaged – we would say that if you live within 30 kilometers of Manchester and have experience in managing your own portfolio of properties, then there really isn’t a need to use us as your property managers.
You can read more about the managed options we offer by reading on how to manage asylum property described above.
UPDATE from 2014 – we’re changing how we do it.
This section is a historical update from how we initially started in 2012
In the past we have offered asylum seeker investment to all our clients in the UK and abroad.
It is a particular niche of investment and those that have been able to grasp the benefits of being involved in such a long term contractual agreement with government service providers can see that there is a stable income to be made from refugee investments and by investing in asylum houses.
These social investments are definitely a niche and they are not for everyone.
We have fine tuned the requirements for acquiring these types of investments and work very closely with the government consultants on a weekly basis.
n essence, this duty as a buying agent for investors has enabled us to get a closer look and gain an intrinsic knowledge of how we can maximise this opportunity in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
Social Property investments in Greater Manchester
Our primary source of acquiring and offering these asylum housing investment was to buy in the properties via Lancashire repossessions and repossessions in Manchester (primarily through asset brokers, direct marketing and auctioneers), renovating and refurbishing and then selling them on with the 5, 6 or 7 year rental contracts in place.
This suited us and suited our investors as we could have clients in place by the end of the refurbishment and hand the keys over to the clients with a long term tenancy in place.
However, we are gradually moving away from this model and will soon be offering the following service only:
- We source a property which is bought by the client, we project manage any refurbishments and furnishings and get it tenanted on a 5, 6 or 7 year contract – a £3,500 fee applies.
- If you have an empty property, we can get a 5 year no void contract on it for a £750 fee. Please click here to read about this.
We believe that this renewed model will provide a clearer and even more transparent process for clients that want to invest in asylum seeker properties.
In effect, we are positioning ourselves as property finders and property sourcers (especially for asylum seeker accommodation investment).
How clients benefit when buying Investments through us?
We do not request upfront payment and will only ask for our entire fees once the project is complete* and the long term government contracts have been signed off.
This means that we won’t be able to source any old junk, label it ‘asylum seeker investment’ and charge a sourcing fee. The £3,500 is a very modest amount for the level of input that will be required and we anticipate an increase of this fee once the model takes shape.
Why Did we Change Our Pricing Structure?
There is an added bonus here for the client. In the previous model, we would buy the repossessed properties ourselves for a certain amount, undertake the necessary work for a fixed amount and then sell on to the investor once the asylum seeker investment contract is in place.
Our gross profits of this are a lot higher than the fee that we are looking at now. So by adopting this model, we are reducing our profits dramatically.
However, the advantages gained in other aspects means that we are prepared to take the hit. In short, this model will loosen up our capital to be involved in multiple projects at any one time; reduce the tax implications when it comes to Capital Gains Tax and the demonstrate even more transparency of which our clients directly benefit.
Streamlining the purchase
So there you have it. We hope you enjoyed this update and agree that this transition to an even more transparent solution is to the benefit of our clients and will enable us to provide a more streamlined service when it comes to sourcing asylum seeker investments.
Remember, we have built up years of experience in alternative property investments and this niche property investment opportunity is for clients who are prepared to tie themselves in for a minimum 7 years of rental income.
If you are interested in Aston Eaves sourcing a fully packaged asylum seeker investment, then please get in touch.
Please note, that we will still be offering the old service of selling fully furnished complete armchair investments, but our emphasis is now on this new model.
* We ask for 15% of the fee to be paid upon sourcing instruction which is a non-refundable deposit and the remainder of the fee to be held in escrow. Once we have completed the sourcing instruction, the remaining 85% is transferred to us from escrow. The client must pay any escrow charges.