Archive for June, 2015
Another relevant article courtesy of Property Industry Eye;
A new online tool has been launched, aimed at making rented homes safe and legally compliant.
The ‘safe and secure’ toolkit, which features a clickable house icon, has been launched by the Residential Landlords Association.
Advice includes how best to ensure gas, electrical and fire safety, as well as information on how to prevent damp and mould, improving the energy efficiency of a property and how to prevent trips and falls around the house.
Each part of the house, when clicked on, provides details of the legal requirements for a landlord and information on the likely cost of fitting safety features such as window safety locks, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarms.
It also includes a simple, easy to understand checklist about features a landlord should check regularly.
According to the most recent English Housing Survey, 16% of private rented sector properties have at least one hazard that means the home fails the minimum safety standards expected of them.
Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, said: “Providing a safe, legal and secure home should be the first duty of any landlord to their tenant.
“Whilst the vast majority of homes to rent meet the legal standards required of them, we must do all we can to support landlords to address hazards quickly when they arise.
“The reality is that there are a large number of legal requirements expected of rented homes.
“The problem is not a lack of law but of enforcing these requirements and ensuring landlords understand the complexities of renting homes out.”
The toolkit is here
Calling all students!! Please note that your keys must be returned by 5pm on Tuesday 30th June. Keys returned after this date will result in tenants being charged a days rent for each day these are not returned. Any problems contact Amy and Nadine in lettings on 01227 765008
Property Industry Eye explains why traditional agents are the best:
A property search agent has strongly advised people against trying to sell their own homes via one of the ‘passive intermediary’ sites on the internet.
David Brooke-Smith, of Stacks Property Search, also said that while online agents offer a better chance of success, there is still potential for failure.
He said: “Traditional agents tend to charge somewhere between 1% and 2.5% of the selling price, plus marketing costs, plus VAT. So it’s no great surprise that people are tempted to do the job themselves.
“A plethora of TV programmes has produced a nation of property experts, and there is now a range of options available to the would-be DIY seller. But I would encourage caution.
“If you are in a position to know the true ‘value’ of your property, if you know how to present it at its best, if you have a significant level of IT and SEO skills, if you have strong negotiating and diplomatic skills, if you have endless patience, and if you’re prepared to put in full-time effort and place your life on hold for several months, you may stand a chance.
“In our experience, those that try to go down the DIY route often find it’s simply not working and revert to more traditional methods.
“The greater chance of success comes from using an online agent that offers help with photography, floor plans, and crucially, listing on the main portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
“But even with all this help, there’s still a great deal of potential for failure.
“Valuing is the first hurdle to overcome. Vendors may find it difficult to recognise the weaknesses in their own property and will consequently overvalue and discourage enquiries.
“The owner will of course be required to conduct viewings, and whether or not this is a process they embrace, they will have to fall in with potential buyers’ timings, and adopt a non-emotional technique, not always easy when it’s the family home.
“If a vendor should succeed in overcoming these hurdles, potential failure still lurks at the negotiating and conveyancing stage.
“A good estate agent does a great deal of behind-the-scenes work holding a deal together and ensuring it reaches a successful conclusion. It’s often difficult to maintain a professional approach to tense negotiations, and sentiment can be the greatest saboteur of a property transaction.
“The problem with this journey, apart from not achieving a sale, is that you will have incurred substantial non-refundable expenses.
“Selling online requires upfront fees, so if you revert to selling through an agent, you will be duplicating a fair proportion of the cost.”
Source: Property Industry Eye http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/use-a-traditional-agent-property-search-man-tells-sellers/
Here Endsleigh offer some pointers with regards to tenant landlord relationships:
In our recent research into the private rented sector, we discovered that more than a third of UK landlords have given their tenant a welcome or farewell gift. Having surveyed more than 2,600 UK landlords and tenants, we found that 34% have presented their tenant with a gift such as a bottle of wine, while 30% of tenants have received an act of kindness, such as help with DIY or a break from paying rent.
The research is part of our 2015 ‘Better Relations’ campaign, which aims to encourage stress-free lettings for both tenants and landlords. So what sorts of gifts have been given by landlords?
- Sarah, a tenant in Berkshire: “My landlord offered to decorate when we were expecting our baby.”
- Anna, a landlord in Kent: “I provided starter kits of cutlery, pots, glasses, mugs, tea and biscuits and some cleaning things.”
- Derek, a landlord in Perth and Kinross: “I collected the tenant from the airport when they flew in from Australia.”
- Wanda, a landlord in Fife: “I put credit on the electricity meter to get the new tenants started when they first moved in.”
- Tom, a landlord in Oxfordshire: “I gave my tenant a rent holiday during a period of unemployment.”
- Alison, a tenant in London: “My landlord gave us a bottle of wine when we moved in, as well as a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.”
- Pam, a tenant in Cumbria: “My landlord paid for half of our Sky connection.”
The results of the survey demonstrate that the giving of gifts has an impact on the relationship between a landlord and a tenant. In fact, nearly three quarters of tenants who had received an act of kindness from their landlord said this positively changed their perception of them. A positive relationship seems to have an impact on the length of tenancy too; 70% of tenants who have received an act of kindness stay in their property for 24 months or more, compared to just 53% who haven’t. For more information on how you can foster a better relationship with your tenant, which can lead to longer, happier tenancies, keep your eyes peeled for useful tips and insight on Talk Lettings.
Source: Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/talk-lettings/better-relations/2015-mar/how-to-build-a-better-relationship-with-your-tenant/
For all of you students securing your accommodation for the next academic year, check out this useful article from Rightmove, which details helpful tips regarding council tax, bills and other relevant paperwork:
Student Council Tax Exemption
If you live in University halls or live in a shared house where all the occupants are full-time students, you will be exempt from paying council tax.
The definition of a full time student would be someone enrolled in an educational programme lasting at least one year and which you are expected to attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year and study for at least 21 hours per week during term. Or, you are under 20 and your course leads to a qualification up to A Level standard (or equivalent), lasts more than three months and comprises more than 12 hours of study per week.
There are some other categories of students who may also be eligible. You can always check with the National Union of Students for advice by calling 0871 2218 221.
If you live with someone who does not fulfill these criteria, you may still be eligible for a discounted council tax rate so check with your local council.
The bills you have to pay when renting student accommodation vary enormously depending on the landlord or agent.
Traditionally, as a household, you will be responsible for TV license, gas, water, electricity, phone and internet. However, to entice you as a tenant, sometimes some of these are included in the rent.
Students should always check if something is included, if is it capped (i.e. if you use a certain amount of electricity, are you likely to suddenly get a huge bill?) and also if the rate that is “included” is unrealistically high (i.e. you would never use that much gas and so the landlord will end up in profit).
The best way to check is to ask the previous tenants if you can see their bills so you can make a comparison between the average rent for the street and how much these “included bills” are costing.
How to pay
If you do have to pay bills as a household, there are companies who can look after this for you by taking a certain amount of money each month from each tenant and then splitting it amongst the bills equally. They will usually charge a fee for this but it can solve issues that you may have otherwise such as arguing over water usage or someone always covering someone else’s share. Your letting agent can usually recommend someone.
Otherwise, you will need someone to take charge of paying bills and ensuring that there is enough to cover them monthly.
What else can you expect?
- You should be given an inventory to check for the contents of the property, and their condition. If not, then make sure you do one yourself and take photos of any damage so you are not liable when you move out
- A recent Gas Safety Certificate
- An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property
- A Fire Safety Certificate if you have a furnished property
- Current gas/electricity meter readings. If not, take your own readings as soon as you move in
- You will need to sort out your own contents insurance – make sure it sufficiently covers all your belongings including laptops and musical instruments. (Also, read the small print – you won’t be covered if you leave doors and windows unlocked!)
- You will need to arrange to collect the keys on the day of the tenancy agreement start date (you may be able to leave belongings in the property over the summer months by prior agreement and usually at a reduced rent)
- Moving Day! Picking your room and moving in your belongings is the exciting bit – make sure you bring cleaning products (boring but necessary), extension leads and toilet rolls! Everything else can be sorted out later in the day but without these necessities, you won’t get very far