Archive for November, 2011

vicky

Advice for Potential Landlords looking to invest in property…

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Vicky Cranthorne, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) provides this useful article for potential Landlords looking to invest in property…

http://www.arla.co.uk/buy-to-let/dos-and-donts/

DO
Think of buying to let as a medium to long term investment.
DO
Seek advice from an ARLA letting agent on local market demands.
DO
Get your sums right. Will the rent cover borrowings and costs, after allowing for void periods?
DO
Decorate, fit out and furnish to high quality standards, especially kitchens and bathrooms, to attract the best tenants and let quickly every time.
DO
Use an ARLA member as your letting agent. They are bonded, hold Professional Indemnity Insurance to required standards, have staff trained to ARLA’s competency standards and are kept up to date with the latest legal and regulatory requirements.
DON’T
Let personal taste cloud your judgement. Be sure the property you choose meets market requirements.
DON’T
Purchase anything with potential maintenance problems like a lot of woodwork or large gardens. It will add nothing to the rental value and cost a lot to keep up.
DON’T
Think that the running of an investment property to let can be left to friends or relatives in your absence. Tenants require a full management service.
DON’T
Use off-the-shelf tenancy agreements from HMSO or law stationers, or forget to issue the right notices or fail to have a proper inventory and condition report made before a tenant moves in. Leave all documentation to a professional agent.
DON’T
Furnish with second hand furniture or cast-off soft furnishings. These will probably contravene the Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.

vicky

Tenancy Deposit Service

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Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

Most landlords and tenants are aware of the change in legislation in April 2007 which requires landlords to hold their tenants deposits within a secured scheme. At iConn we use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme – (TDS).

Our tenants and landlords may find this website useful as it provides the guidelines and processes involved when using the TDS.

http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/landlords-faqs.html – For landlords

http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/tenants-faqs.html – For Tenants.

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Digital Switchover and Television Aerial Updates – Landlords Responsibility

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Sam Douglas, Accounts Co-Ordinator for iConn Property Management writes:

With all the promotion recently, most people are aware in some way or another about the Digital Switchover; the plan is that all Analogue transmitters will be switched off and Analogue Aerials will be phased out and replaced with the new digital transmission.

The switchover date for South and East Kent has recently been announced as 13th June 2012 – when the BBC 2 Analogue will be switched off followed by all analogue channels being turned off completely on the 27th June 2012.

As a Landlord you will be responsible for the television aerial on the roof of your property being upgraded from analogue to digital, if you have not already done so.

We would strongly suggest that you complete this upgrade sooner rather than later as I am sure that the closer to the digital switchover we get, the more expensive the upgrade will be!

On average costings are coming in anything from £65.00 to £200.00 depending on upgrade works required.

I have spoken with Alexandra Aerials and CHP Electrical and Maintenance and both companies pricing are about the same. They have both said that if only the aerial needs replacing its £50.00 for the aerial plus labour (normally an hours work) but if the wiring also needs to be updated too, then you will be looking at between £150.00 – £200.00. They would then replace the aerial and all cable and then rewire this into the property.

Please contact me on 01227 765008 if you would like me to arrange this upgrade for your property or alternatively to set up a payment plan for the next few months to cover this expense next year.

You may wish to source your own quotes or complete the work yourself so please let me know if you need access to your properties at any point.

sam

Tenancy Notice Periods in your AST Tenancy Agreement

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Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator for iConn Property Management writes:

Tenants and Landlords often get confused by the notice clause in their A.S.T (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) Tenancy Agreements when it comes to needing to give notice.

Commonly the confusion comes when deciding how much notice should be given and how to give notice.

Here are the basics:

If your tenancy is in a fixed term contract:

This means that your contract is still within its initial fixed period, dated on the contract ie. 1st January 2011 – 31st December 2012. Whilst within a fixed term you are unable to give notice. Instead you will need to wait until the contract expires. The Agent or Landlord must serve a Section 21 noticeto end the contract, otherwise the contract will roll over and then both parties will be subject to the Statutory Periodic notice terms (See below). The notice must be served two months before the end of the tenancyand in most cases they are accompanied will an offer to renew the contract if possession is not required from the landlord.

If it is the tenants intention to leave they need to confirm this to the agent or landlord when they receive the section 21 notice.

This also applies to tenancy agreements which have been renewed using a fixed term addendum as a new fixed contract has been agreed to be extended by certain dates and so the landlord and tenant are liable for the term again, until it expires.

If your tenancy is Statutory Periodic:

This is when your fixed term has expired and you are now on a rolling contract.

In this case you are able to provide notice and the standard notice lengths are one month notice from the tenant to vacate the property or two months notice from the landlord for possession of the property. The notice from the tenant must be provided in writing to either the agent or landlord. The notice from the landlord must also be in writing and should be accompanied with a section 21(4)(a) notice. The notice from both parties must be in line with the rental date. So, for example, if you pay your rent on the 5th of the month your notice will be in force from the 5th of the month, even if you provide a written letter before this date it will not come into effect until you pay your last months rent.

Full and further information regarding to notice periods under the Housing Act 1988 are available from this website:  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/contents

vicky

Boiler Flues – Changes to Safety Checks

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Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

There is a major change to the gas safety certificate requirements which will be coming into effect from 31st December 2012 which some landlords will need to be aware of.

If the boiler in your property is situated on an outside wall and you can see the flue then you will not be effected BUT if your boiler flue is concealed and runs behind walls or ceilings before reaching an outside wall then this change will effect you.

Gas Safe Engineers need to be able to inspect the flue all the way along to ensure that there is no carbon monoxide (CO) danger and in order to be able to complete a gas safety certification. If they can not see the whole flue they will need to install inspection hatches.

 Landlords will need to prepare for this added required expense and so we will be writing to our current clients whose properties will be effected to offer a payment plan and advice on contacting development managing agents if the proprety is in an apartment block.

The legislation comes into effect on the 31st December 2012 which will means that any certifications due after the 31st December 2011 will need to be brought up to the new requirements so that they are not invalidated when the changes are enforced.

This websites confirms the changes in more detail: http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/advice/flues_in_ceiling_spaces.aspx

and further information can be found on the HSE website : http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/fluesinvoids.htm

vicky

Winter Warmers For Your Property

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Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

The Autumn season is my favorite time of year and as we head closer to Christmas and rumours of bad weather keep surfacing its time to prepare for the frost!

Always keep your heating or hot water on froststat or on low to avoid the pipes bursting in really cold weather.

Nows the time to clear all your guttering and drains of the leaves and debris which has collected through the year so they are in the best shape they can be for the rain fall.

Set timers on your heating controls so you can be more energy efficient and careful with your bills.

Get out your winter duvet or add an extra blanket to your bed to keep heating costs down and add linings on curtains or thicker fabric to keep the draughts out.

Stock up on some long life milk and other essentials so that if the snow falls you dont have to venture out!

vicky

Student Properties and Student Rentals in Canterbury 2012

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Vicky Cranthorne M.A.R.L.A, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

It seems like only yesterday that the new student tenants picked up their keys and moved in but already were preparing our list for marketing for the next academic year!  

Our student lettings list, for houses available from July 2012-June 2013 in Canterbury, will be released on the 1st December 2011 with viewings available from this date.

The early bird catches the worm and this was certainly true of last year with 96% of our student houses secured before the end of February. Great news for our current landlords and great news for the student tenants! The demand for student houses was, as usual, over subscribed and tenants were pleased to be able to secure a property earlier on in the year and not have to worry.

If you are thinking of investing into the student market in Canterbury or have a property which you would like to find suitable tenants for then please contact us. We are happy to provide advice on all aspects of the lettings process. Also, Landlords that sign up to iConns management services this month will receive our special offer, with reductions of up to 2.5%!

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Student Properties and Student Rentals for 2012 – Renewing Tenancies

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Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator for iConn Property Management writes:

For our current tenants, I’m afraid it’s already time to decide on your accommodation requirements for the next academic year.

We need to know whether or not you will be renewing your current tenancy for the forthcoming academic year 2012/2013, or if you intend to leave at the end of your current tenancy in June 2012. Please complete the enclosed form and return it to us at the above address no later than  Friday 25th November 2011.

There was a substantial shortage of student accommodation this year due to the universities over subscribing and not being able to provide the amount of accommodation on campus as planned. Based on this expected demand for next year please consider your position wisely when deciding to either stay in your current property or vacate and look for alternative accommodation.

After all, why go through the upheaval of re applying and moving to a new property when you can just reapply and stay in your current property,  you also have the added benefits of receiving a 50% discount off your administration fees and not having to find the funds for a new deposit.

Please find below your options:

OPTION ONE: You renew your current tenancy and stay in the same property.

By doing this you will benefit from the following: (This also applies to any tenant who will be staying on in the same property and finding new housemate(s) to share with. Please note any new housemate will pay the full administration fee)

*Half price administration fees (£50.00)

*No need to pay a new deposit.

*A Free Gift from iConn when you collect your keys for the new academic year.

*A Welcome box delivered to your property.

*Plus you will be entered into the Renewal Raffle with a chance to win:

                **A 6 month subscription to Blockbuster worth £25.00.

                **A Dominos Pizza Voucher worth £20.00.

                **A Food Hamper worth £15.00. 

OPTION TWO: You do not renew your tenancy for your current property but instead rent      

One of our other student properties. By doing this you will benefit from the following:

*Half price administration fees (£50.00)

*A Welcome box delivered to your property.

Please be aware that you will have to pay a £400.00 deposit to secure a new property.

OPTION THREE: You do not renew your current tenancy and you do not rent another property through iConn Property Management.

We will be sad to see you go BUT we do not charge for future referencing of our tenants, so that is one benefit for you.

Some further points for consideration:

If we have not received your confirmation by November 25th, it will be assumed that you are not re-applying for a 2012/13 tenancy and your property will be included on our student property list as available for viewings for the next academic year.

If you do decide not to renew your tenancy, we will not be able to offer you the ability to stay on if you are unsuccessful in finding alternative accommodation due to the high demand and low supply of properties for next year. We are expecting to let all our student properties without delay from the start of our marketing period in December 2011.

If your property joins our availability list, your current tenancy agreement stipulates that viewings can and will be conducted by iConn after giving you 24 hours notice in writing or by telephone. Please advise us with reliable contact numbers to reach you on. Please note leaving you a voice mail message is deemed to be adequate notice. Please ensure that we have access to all rooms, including all bedrooms and that the property is kept in a clean and tidy order.

If you decide to stay in your current property please be aware that there will be an annual rental increase for the next tenancy term, the average being around £8.00 per person per month. The amount will be confirmed in the new year.  

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