Posts tagged canterbury letttings
Here at iConn we secure our tenancy deposits with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). ARLA gives us a brief overview of the various deposit protection services available and the necessary links for more information:
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is an Insurance-based scheme run by an organisation called The Dispute Service and was established back in 2003 to provide independent dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry. It has been running a voluntary tenancy deposit scheme for use by regulated agents since that time and is backed by the three professional bodies for letting agents in the residential property sector, ARLA, NAEA and RICS. For more information visit the website www.tds.gb.com or call 0845 226 7837.
Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL)
Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) is an Insurance-based scheme; it is a new company set up as a partnership between the National Landlords Association and Hamilton Fraser insurance brokers. For more information visit the website www.mydeposits.co.uk
The Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) is the sole Custodial scheme – the running costs of this scheme are funded entirely from the interest earned on all the deposits held by the scheme. The Custodial scheme is run by Computershare who have administered similar schemes for some years in other parts of the world, particularly Australia and New Zealand. For more information visit the website www.depositprotection.com.
Countdown to Right to Rent as Home Office updates Code of Practice – iConn Property Management, Canterbury0
Rosalind Renshaw keeps us all updated with her article for Property Industry Eye;
With landlords and letting agents faced with getting to grips with Right to Rent less than a month away, the Government yesterday updated its statutory Code of Practice.
In doing so, there is still a certain amount of muddle, as the Code suggests there will not be a big bang introduction, but one that will be phased in geographically.
The Code says that the scheme will be implemented “on a phased geographical basis, and will apply to residential tenancy agreements entered on or after the date of implementation for that area”.
However, users are then directed to the Right to Rent website where it says that for tenancies starting on or after February 1, “landlords of properties throughout England should check that someone has the right to rent before letting them a property”.
This morning, a Home Office spokesperson confirmed that the reference in the Code to a phased geographical implementation is both a reference to the pilot scheme in the west midlands, where landlords – or agents acting on their behalf – have had to carry out Right to Rent checks for just over a year and also to the UK-wide roll-out. However, the spokesperson confirmed that Right to Rent goes live throughout the whole of England on February 1.
The Code also clarifies its own legal status, saying: “This is a statutory Code. This means it has been approved by the Secretary of State and laid before Parliament. The Code does not impose any legal duties on landlords, nor is it an authoritative statement of the law; only the courts can provide that.
“However, the Code can be used as evidence in legal proceedings and courts must take account of any part of the Code which may be relevant.
“Home Office officials will also have regard to this Code in administering civil penalties to landlords and their agents under the Immigration Act 2014.”
The Code is here
Here Rightmove advise on the dos and don’ts of being a landlord:
Managing a residential lettings property means covering all the bases – a combination of common sense, practical organisation and using a letting agent who signs up to the standards of a professional body such as ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents).
Alongside this there are a range of basic do’s and don’ts; ARLA President, Peter Savage, highlights these below.
Notify your mortgage and insurance providers
Speak to your lender about your mortgage terms. Letting a property requires a different form of mortgage to owner-occupation and the same applies to insurance so discuss the change with your provider as buildings and contents may not be covered. It is also worth taking out insurance to protect against a tenant defaulting on rent.
Sign up to Deposit Protection
It has been a legal requirement for Assured Shorthold Tenancy deposits to be protected by a government backed scheme since 2007. For more information, visit our page Deposit Protection or go to the Communities and Local Government website.
The pros and cons of furnishings
A furnished property can be let at a higher monthly rental however if the furnishings are second-hand or ‘leftover’ it can deter prospective tenants. You also need to consider whether everything meets Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.
Pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
There are also regulations governing the installation of electrical equipmentin rental properties – ensure that these are being followed and that any equipment in the property is regularly tested, as you will need to prove your property is safe.
Enlisting a managing agent to oversee the property can help you to overcome all of these hurdles, especially if you are moving away from the area. At the very least work with a lettings agent to find your tenant as this helps to make the process smoother and can ensure that your tenants have undergone checks. Select the agent carefully, always use a professional agent (such as ARLA members) to ensure client money protection thereby securing both your money – and that of your tenants’ – and access to a redress scheme should it be required.
Finally, when making decisions about letting out your home, try to remember that you are handing it over and hopefully creating an income stream. It may have been your home or that of someone else in the family but you now need to allow someone else to make their home in it me for someone else and, hopefully, an income stream for you. The chances are that accidental damage or wear-and-tearwillhappen, and tenantswillcomplain – so try and keep a clear, detached head when dealing with those kinds of issues, and don’t take it personally.
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/
Congratulations to Nadine in lettings for passing her fourth and final unit in NFOPP Technical Award in Residential Letting and Property Management, and of course to Paul in maintenance for passing unit one!
Nadine has now obtained the industry recognised ARLA membership, meaning that four members of staff here at iConn are now ARLA qualified.
Rightmove reveal a few handy tips in order to prevent losing your deposit at the end of your tenancy:
As a young professional, moving into your first rented property is an exciting time; exploring your new local area, buying a variety of brightly coloured decorative items for your various rooms and ‘investing’ in homely goods (slow cookers, smoothie makers etc.). You’ve made it! You have your own home!
Sadly though, the sting comes at the end of your tenancy, when it comes to getting back your deposit…
Many landlords and letting agents have had problems with tenants in the past so those contracts you signed, without scrutinising, at the start of your tenancy can sometimes come back to bite you at the end. So here’ some things to think about before you jump in, to ensure you glide happily into your next home:
Before you move in
At the start of your tenancy, go around your property with the landlord or letting agent and go through each point on the inventory, with particular attention to damages. Only sign the inventory when you are happy that everything is included. If they claim they will repair something which is broken, as it is not on the inventory, then follow the conversation up with an email so you have a paper trail. It is also worth recording the meter reading.
Take photographs of all rooms before you unpack (to show the condition in which you received the property) and of any particular issues or broken objects on check-in, preferably with a camera which displays the date, to prove when it was taken.
During your tenancy
At any point during your tenancy, if anything is broken or damaged which you cannot repair, such as damp or electrical faults, tell your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. If you talk to them via phone, follow it up with an email so that, again, you have a paper trail. And, again, take photographs of any damages.
On check-out, get out your contract and inventoryand read it thoroughly before you begin. If it states in your contract that you should professionally clean the property, do so and retain the receipt – as if the landlord disputes the standard then you have evidence. Adhere to any other conditions, such as defrosting the kitchen’s white goods, if it is in your contract.
You should leave the property in the same condition as you moved in, but your contract will state, and it is legally projected, that ‘fair wear and tear’ is completely expected and acceptable. Things which don’t class as ‘wear and tear’ and which you should sort out are, for example, damp around the grouting of sash windows, limescale around the bathroom and general dirt and grime. This should have been maintained by you throughout the tenancy and is therefore not acceptable to leave behind.
Before you leave, and preferably when you have moved out your belongings, take photographs of all of the rooms, as you did when you moved in. Also, take pictures of any problems or damages, which you will have, hopefully, discussed already with the landlord or letting agent. Remove all rubbish and belongings from the property, even if you don’t wish to take them on with you, and check your meter reading again.
It is definitely worth requesting to go over the check-out inventory with the landlord or letting agent. If they allow that, you can look at any issues together and any reductions from your deposit won’t be a surprise.
If, after following this advice, you do have any problems with retrieving your deposit, you can log an issue with the tenancy deposit scheme with which yours is registered, who will give you advice, guidance and, if it comes to it, mediate a fair communication between yourself, the landlord and the letting agent with all of the evidence you have – so the paper trail and photos you have will be handy – to decide what portion you will get back.
Moving house is a busy enough time, so taking a little time before, during and at the end of your tenancy to protect your deposit is well worth it to save you the hassle and bad taste left afterwards.
Don’t get stung! Get back your deposit and enjoy your new home.
iConn ensure all deposits are protected with an appropriate scheme. If you have any questions regarding the above, or cannot locate your inventory and wish to have a copy emailed out to you in preparation for your check out, please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01227 765008.
If you wish to speak to a member of our lettings team to discuss, please call either Amy or Nadine on 01227765008.
Rosalind Renshaw, on behalf of Property Industry Eye, writes about this interesting case that will see changes being made in property inspections by agents on behalf of landords:
An important new case has major implications for letting agents who manage properties and for landlords.
It may also have implications for insurance.
In the case of Edwards v Kumarasamy, the tenant tripped on a path outside the block of flats where he lived on the second floor, injuring his knee.
The landlord did not own the path and did not own the block. However, the landlord did own a flat within the block and the path was the essential means of access to the block.
Until now, it has always been assumed that repairing obligations only apply to what the landlord actually rents out to the tenant, and also that the landlord cannot be held liable if they have not been notified of the need for a repair.
However, in this case, the tenant took a disrepair claim under Section 111 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and, at the Court of Appeal, won his case.
Solicitor David Smith, of Anthony Gold, says this is “a big deal” for agents and landlords, and will have “serious consequences”.
Smith warns that as a result of the case, any landlord can now be sued for disrepair to areas serving their property, irrespective of ownership.
It also means that agents doing property inspections should look not just at the property itself but also at areas over which the landlord has rights, such as paths and drives.
There is, says Smith, no obligation on the tenant to report disrepair, so it is up to the landlord or agent to identify it and resolve it.
This particular case also raises another question, although one not dealt with by the Court of Appeal: paving stones that are merely uneven, rather than being in a state of disrepair.
The full case is reported here
David Smith’s commentary is here
Rightmove have printed this relevant article taken from The Muney Advice Service, reminding Landlords to complete their tax return before the end of the month:
There’s more to being a landlord than collecting rental payments and deposits. Paying your tax is one job you really need to be on top of – and the clock is ticking.
You must complete the online tax return by 31 January (if you’ve not paid in another way by 31 October 2014) having registered for self-assessment by 5 October.
All landlords need to keep HMRC in the loop
You must inform HMRC as soon as you start renting out a property, even if you’ve not yet made any income from it. Once you have earned £2,500 in rental income, you may be liable to pay tax on it. Landlords whose properties generate more than this amount in rent each year must complete a Self-Assessment Tax Return.
How you can reduce or avoid a tax bill
The amount of tax you pay depends on the type of property you are renting out and your personal circumstances. The tax obligations are different for each of the three categories – residential properties, furnished holiday lets and commercial property.
As a buy-to-let landlord you – or your company – pay tax on any profit you make from renting your property to residential tenants. This means you don’t pay income tax on what are known as allowable expenses – and there are plenty of these to get your teeth into. For example, you can claim back letting agents and accountant’s fees. Maintenance and repairs are also covered, as are buildings and contents insurance premiums.
Keep a record of your property-related outgoings
There are plenty of elements to renting out property that you need to keep a record of, including Council Tax bills, any utility bills you pay on the rented property and other direct costs like advertising and phone calls to tenants. Even so, it’s probably best to seek professional advice when calculating tax obligations and allowance expenses. The HMRC Self-Assessment helpline can be reached on 0300 200 3310 if required.
What you can’t claim for
You can’t claim for capital expenses such as buying the place or renovating it, but can lodge a claim for wear and tear. Be aware through that excessive claims will be scrutinised, so don’t think the tax office will automatically claim for the cost of a new bathroom suite or a plush kitchen. HMRC allows you to claim up to 10 per cent of the net rent as a wear and tear allowance if you provide a furnished flat or house, but make sure you have the receipts to hand.
Cheap rentals and HMRC
Even if you don’t earn £2,500 a year from your tenants – after considering all the costs you can claim to reduce tax – you still need to keep HMRC in the picture. They will be able to help ensure you tick all the right boxes as a landlord. You can also visit the Money Advice Service’s guide on your responsibilities as a buy to let landlord for more information.
Source: Rightmove, on behalf of Money Advice Service http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/buy-to-let-landlord-dont-forget-your-january-tax-return
Numerous student properties still available for the next academic year – iConn Property Management, Canterbury0
Calling all students still searching for their property for next year! We still have a few three, four, five and six beds available for the next academic year, some even offering FREE JULY and AUGUST RENT as well as NO DEPOSIT TO PAY!!
Furthermore, for all tenancies that are compelted within the specified time frames, you will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win £200 CASH!
Please check out our remaining properties on the link below, and should you wish to organise a viewing feel free to contact either Amy or Nadine in the Lettings Department, who will be happy to assist you
Our offices will be closed from 1pm for a staff training afternoon tomorrow; if you have any emergencies please contact One Call Property Services on 07515369200.
For more information visit our website: http://www.iconnproperties.co.uk/emergency_contact.php
Landlord immigration checks – pilot scheme takes effect from 1st December 2014 – iConn Property Management, Canterbury0
‘Nearly Legal’ has informed us all that pilot areas for the landlord immigration checks came into force from the 1st December, under the requirement of the Immigration Act 2014. These areas include Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. Other areas are expected to be announced in 2015.
Giles Peaker writes:
The equipment will apply to all tenancies, leases below 7 years, sub-lets or lodging arrangements granted on or after 1 December 2014 in the affected areas. Existing or renewed agreements where the tenancy/lease/lodging etc. is continuous from before 1 December will not be affected.
Councils are exempted (including discharge of homeless duty via private sector), as are other social landlords (where they have already been required to consider prospective tenant’s immigration status before allocating them the property) and hostels and refuges ‘which are managed by social landlords, voluntary organisations or charities, or which are not operated on a commercial basis and whose operating costs are provided either wholly or in part by a government department or agency or a local authority’.
Here at iConn we’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you all up informed as and when we know more, especially concerning Canterbury and the surrounding areas!
Here are a few key tips to ensure your home is ready for winter!
Protect your pipes from freezing: Insulate your pipes with pipe insulator to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting
Check drains and gutters: Remove all debris and blockages from your guttering to prevent the water from draining away and in extreme circumstances causing flooding
Clear paths from debris: C lear any leaves and debris from your paths to prevent any accidents; wet weather and frost can lead to extremely slippery pathways
Keep your garden tidy: To ensure your property isn’t damaged in bad weather and especially high winds, make sure any garden furniture is stored away if possible, and branches cut back where necessary
Bleed your radiators: Bleeding your radiators is a great way in which to ensure they are working to their full potential
Organise a kit for emergencies: Put together a box full of matches, candles, a torch, batteries and blankets in preparation for any power cuts
Calling all students looking for accommodation for the academic year 2015-16!! Here at iConn we have just released out student property list detailing all available properties. Some are even offering FREE JULY AND AUGUST RENT and NO DEPOSIT TO PAY so check out our list now and contact either Amy or Nadine in the lettings department on 01227 765008 to arrange a viewing today! Visit the website below for more information:
Paul Lang, Maintenance Coordinator for iConn Property Management writes:
Some advice for student tenants regarding their utility bills and what to do when things are not right;
SENARIO ONE: If we are the managing agent for your property.
We have notified the utility companies on your behalf. When you first move into your property you are provided with an inventory which contains meter readings which were taken at the beginning of the tenancy. These meter readings are provided to all the utility suppliers registered for your address via our office as your opening readings. Some utility companies will take a while to update there information but you should start to see bills arriving this month.
SENARIO TWO: If your Landlord provided you with your inventory and completes your maintenance.
You need to confirm with your Landlord if they have notified the utilities on your behalf, if they do not then you will need to call the utility companies yourself and set up your new accounts. Use the start date on your tenancy agreement as your opening account date and provide them with meter readings. These should be on the inventory provided by your landlord but if not then call your landlord direct to confirm them and what companies are the suppliers.
SENARIO THREE: If your bills are included in your rental price.
You need do nothing further as the accounts for the property will remain in the landlords name.
ADVICE FOR ALL:
If post arrives that is not addressed to you then please either drop it into our office or back in the post box with “Return to sender – Not at this address” on the envelope. This is normally due to a cross over of information being received by the companies and by returning to the sender it should stop them from writing to the address again.
If the post is in the correct names but the dates or readings are wrong you will need to call the company and confirm your details with them. Use the date on your tenancy agreement as your start date (even if you did not occupy for summer months your tenancy started on this date and so you are responsible from the tenancy start date) then provide them with your meter reading from your inventory as your opening reading. You may want to provide them with a more recent meter reading at the same time. This is advisable as most companies base their bills on “Estimated” usage and if you have not been in the property they may be overcharging you, by providing a recent reading they will only generate the bill for your exact usage. Once you have confirmed these details with them they will then amend your details and resend you the correct bill.
Water bills – these are normally calculated at a set cost for the year regardless of occupation or usage. You should receive two bills for your water supply, one is the water IN and one is for the water OUT. You can arrange with them to pay on a yearly, quarterly or monthly basis dependent on your preference but again the account will be from the start date of your tenancy. Some properties may be on water meters and the companies will come and read these every few months and will adjust your payment schedule accordingly.
Council Tax – The Canterbury city council are notified through our office of all our student properties. They will sometimes write to the address with a yellow exemption slip for you to complete with your student details to confirm that you are entitled to the exemption. These forms are also in your welcome packs. This is standard procedure and once you have returned this to them they will send you a new bill with a zero balance to show that you are exempt. You must be aware that if your courses do not start till later in the year there is a chance they will charge you for the period between the start date of the tenancy and the course start date if necessary and if someone living in your property is not classed as a student then the exemption will not apply. They may be entitled to a reduction but the full exemption will not be allocated.
TV license, Telephone lines, Internet access, Sky or Digital Television Services – are not classed as utilities and you will need to set these type of accounts up directly with the companies you are choosing for supply.
At this time of year the utility companies do receive an excessive amount of notifications because of all the student tenancies in Canterbury which turn over in July and August. We do keep a record of the notification from our office as proof but, because of the large numbers of notification, the companies sometimes miss things or set up accounts incorrectly. It is no problem for us to re notify them for you but, if a bill is arriving in your name it is more advisable for you to call them direct, as once an account is set up the companies will sometimes not speak with us because of data protection. If bills are arriving in your name or some companies have your details but other do not it is evident that our notification has been sent and that some companies have not updated their details yet, so you may wish to call them to confirm your details or call us and we will re send the notification.
I hope this information is useful to you but obviously if you have any further queries then please do not hestiate to contact us and we can confirm the best way forward.
Another interesting article from Property Drum:
UK rental prices rose at a slower rate last month, with every region of the country witnessing smaller rises than in previous months, the latest index shows.
Fresh figures from the August HomeLet Rental Index reveal that the average rent in the UK now stands at £921 a month, compared to £851 a year ago.
The average monthly variation in rent across the UK was 2.3 per cent, led by the South East at 3 per cent and London at 2.4 per cent. The biggest drop in rental prices was recorded in the North West, down 3.5 per cent month-on-month.
Martin Totty (left), Chief Executive of the Barbon Insurance Group, which owns HomeLet, commented, “August can traditionally be a slower month for the rental market and similar dips have been seen in rental prices in previous years.”
“Nevertheless, the cooling in the rental sector may prove to represent the beginning of a trend towards a more settled market after several months of much more significant growth. A similar cooling has been seen in the wider housing market, with house price indices recording an easing of house price growth,” he added.
On an annualised basis rental growth remains firm, with only the North East and the East Midlands reporting lower rents for new tenancies in August than in the same month of last year.
Across the UK, the average private home rent increased by 8.2 per cent over the year to August 2014. In London, rents were up by 11.4 per cent on a year ago, while East Anglia saw annual growth of 8.4 pent cent and the South East 5.3 per cent.
Landlords in the UK are now estimated to be collectively earning more than £32 billion a year, or almost £2.7 billion per month, in rental income annually, according to new analysis by Direct Line for Business (DL4B).
Landlords in London collect the largest proportion of private rental income in England at £14 billion per year, more than the North East, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and East Anglia combined.
In total, 44 per cent of the entire country’s rent is paid in London. Outside the capital, Leeds pays the greatest amount of any city, with annual private rent totalling £565 million, followed by Birmingham at £521 million and Manchester at £401 million.
“Buy to let is becoming an increasingly attractive option for people as property prices continue to soar,” said Jazz Gakhal head of DL4B.
With landlords now playing an increasingly important role in the private rented sector (PRS), the Government last week launched a new PRS code, designed to provide guidance for letting agents and landlords on how to achieve high standards.
Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation, one of 17 organisations that assisted with the code, said: “As the private rented sector grows, it is coming under more and more scrutiny, and it is important that good practice is constantly encouraged and promoted.”
Christopher Hamer (right), the Ombudsman, said, “The new Code is a milestone for the industry as it provides a set of principles for every landlord and letting agent in the private rented sector to follow, which TPO has championed the idea of for many years.
“The new Code will act as a complementary pathway to the more detailed standards in TPO’s Lettings Code of Practice that was established in 2006 and which forms the basis of the decisions I make when reviewing disputes between member letting agents and landlords or tenants.”
“The overarching principles outlined in the new Code will ensure agents, landlords and investors across the industry have a shared understanding of what levels of service to expect from agents letting and managing property in the private rented sector in England.”
More than 11,500 letting agents are already following TPO’s Code of Practice, which enables their landlords and tenants to access TPO’s free, fair and independent dispute resolution service.
TPO member agents will not be required to take any action following last week’s launch of the PRS Code, as their membership and commitment to follow TPO’s detailed Code of Practice means that they already meet the principles outlined in the new PRS Code.
Source: Property Drum – http://propertydrum.briefyourmarket.com/Newsletters/JUNGLEdrum—the-newsbeat-from-PROPERTYdrum124/Rent-increases-slow-down-as-new-PRS-Code-is-launched.aspx?utm_source=BriefYourMarket&utm_medium=Newsletter%2c+Email&utm_term=&utm_content=JUNGLEdrum+-+the+newsbeat+from+PROPERTYdrum&utm_campaign=Instance%3a+propertydrum.briefyourmarket.com+-+MessageId%3a+12270
Calling all professionals looking for a room available in a shared house! We have rooms located in Gordon Road, Tudor Road, Sturry Road, Old Park Avenue and Castle Street ranging from £310 PCM to £358 PCM! Call us today to organise a viewing!
Students! Read this interesting article by Property News with regards to settling in with your new housemates as University begins….
Ok, so you’ve just moved in with your mates and you’re ready to party, or perhaps you’ve never met your new flat mates but hey, it’s going to be great, right?
Not always! So although no one really wants to sound like their parents by setting out the ground rules, it’s best to have a open chat with everyone about how living together is going to work out for the best. Even the most domesticated Nigellas and budding Bob the Builders will soon get fed up of always doing the cooking or fixing the broken boiler.
So as you start your tenancy, here are a few things to consider:
– Make sure that everyone knows the details of the tenancy agreement – sounds simple, but if just one person took responsibility at the outset the others need to know their share of the rent, when and how it’s due and how long they are obliged to pay under the length of the tenancy agreement. It’s most straightforward these days to set up a standing order to pay rent directly into the Landlord or Estate Agent’s bank account.
– As a household you need to budget for additional bills like electric and agree at the outset if they will be divided equally among everyone. There’s no point arguing every quarter over who uses the electric shower more!
– It’s a good idea to split ownership of various bills or make sure that the bills are in joint names to avoid one person being responsible for everything and, in the worse case scenario, the one being chased for payment at the end of your tenancy. If student bills are left unpaid this will possibly incur a poor credit score which could come back to haunt you later in life.
– A kitty is a common sense idea for shared items like tea/loo roll etc! And it may even encourage everyone to be more sociable – why not add in a little extra every so often and eat together in the evenings or go out for a drink or two.
– Going one step further than a loose change kitty it makes sense to pool resources and cook together – a lot cheaper than take aways or meals for one. And if you’re environmentally conscious it’s a lot less wasteful.
– If there are a number of you sharing and cleaning the oven is the last thing on anyone’s mind, it might be cheaper than you think to club together and employ a cleaner for a couple of hours a week. One less excuse to fall out with each other over who’s turn it is to clean the floors!
– Be open and honest and don’t let grievances fester. If you are annoyed at ‘Jonny’s’ girlfriend practically moving in as a new house guest say so!
– Be respectful of your other house mates at all times. Yes, everyone likes to party but if someone has important exams on the horizon know that organizing a party the night before is not the best idea.
– Decide at the start of the tenancy if your house is going to be smoking or non smoking.
– Remember, a tenancy agreement is only for a maximum of a year so if things don’t work out you’ll find new flat mates next year!
Another interesting read by Rosalind Renshaw on behalf of Property Industry Eye:
The checking of prospective tenants’ immigration status by landlords and agents is set to become mandatory in October.
It follows the Royal Assent of the Immigration Bill last week – just days before the Home Secretary ordered an urgent investigation into an immigration documentation scam at the weekend.
Although the checking requirement – which will almost certainly fall upon letting agents who act for landlords – was highly controversial, it forms part of what is now law.
Its aim is to prevent people with no right to be in the UK from accessing private rented housing. The requirement specifically applies to the private rented sector, not the social sector.
Landlords – or their agents – will have to request to see at least one document from a specified list, yet to be published, to confirm if prospective tenants have the right to live in the UK.
The requirement will mean having to check all applicants – for example, birth certificates of those born in the UK, and passports, but checks might have to extend to much more complicated paperwork or its lack.
If the prospective tenant does not have permission to live in the UK and the property is subsequently let, the landlord could be fined up to £3,000.
If a tenant’s right to be in the UK has a time limit, checks must also be made either annually or before the expiry date if that is after 12 months. Failure to carry out these subsequent checks will also attract fines of up to £3,000.
There is also an obligation on landlords – or agents – to report to the authorities any suspicions that tenants might be illegal immigrants.
The landlord’s responsibility to make the checks and face the fines can be transferred to a letting agent, but that must be done specifically in writing – suggesting that agents will have to revisit their standard contracts, terms and conditions.
They will also need to see if their current referencing checks cover immigration status.
Agents and landlords should also be aware of some of the issues surrounding their new responsibility, not least that they could become liable to accusations of discriminatory practice.
There is also concern as to how far the responsibility extends. Lawyer Simon Kenny, of Moore Blatch, says: “If, for example, a landlord notes from the tenant’s visa that he has the right to live in the UK but not to work, does he breach these rules if he is also aware through credit referencing that the tenant works full-time?
“It seems at least possible such a landlord could also be prosecuted in respect of ‘facilitating a breach of immigration law’ in this situation – an offence with a penalty of imprisonment.
“Guidelines are expected to say that a passport will be the main method of checking a prospective tenant’s immigration status.
“There is also likely to be an online checking facility, where the immigration status of a prospective tenant can be found, together with a free telephone checking service.
The Home Office may also confirm that the new system will be piloted in one area before being rolled out across the UK.
A good blog which outlines the main issues is at the link below this story.
However, it was written before any mention could be made of the latest scam, by which immigrants who speak no English can buy, for £500, a certificate saying they have passed a language test.
The false documentation could open the door to British citizenship but as yet there is no advice as to how letting agents or landlords could detect false paperwork.
Home Secretary Teresa May has ordered an urgent investigation.
Rosalind Renshaw from Property Industry Eye writes:
The lettings industry and the Labour party remain on a collision course ahead of next year’s general election.
Labour has repeated its vow to make letting agent fees illegal, while agents are stepping up calls for wholesale regulation of the industry.
Speaking after Tuesday evening’s failed bid by Labour to have fees banned, Paul Weller, managing director of lettings chain Leaders, said: “Fortunately common sense has prevailed, but the vote was a wasted opportunity.
“The vote should have been on banning all unregulated agents from practising.
“This would have enabled Parliament to tackle all the problems at the heart of our industry in one motion: 40% of letting agents are not members of a professional body so it is clear that self-regulation is not enough.
“What is needed is legislation that ensures that – as a minimum requirement – all letting agents are qualified, have client money protection and operate to an agreed code of conduct for the whole industry.
“The issues go much further than agents charging fees to tenants. We need to rid the industry of rogue agents who charge extortionate fees, who do not protect their clients’ money and in some cases abuse it, who put their tenants’ lives at risk in unsafe properties and who provide a sub-standard service with little regard for the law.
“The best action politicians can take to protect tenants is to properly regulate letting agents. We have been calling for this for decades.”
Ian Potter, outgoing managing director of ARLA, said: “Fees are not arbitrary or unnecessary – they represent a business cost that those tabling the amendment failed to recognise.
“ARLA’s call, as ever, is for wholesale regulation of the market to ensure fair and transparent practices for all consumers, landlords and agents alike.”
Darren Harley, of EweMove, said: “Whilst we agree that there are far too many lettings agents across the country who don’t disclose their application fees too readily, banning all fees to tenants isn’t the way to promote fairness. It will simply drive up fees to the landlords which, in turn, will drive rents up.
“Ewemove charges no application fees, and only ever charges tenants once a property has been offered to them. We believe this is a much better system because it ensures more applications per property, and we can find the very best tenant for the landlord every time.
“Yes, the agent earns slightly less under this model, but it’s not all about the agent.
“Regulation of the industry is clearly required.
“We’ve all seen the reports from Shelter and other organisations, declaring the unscrupulous practices of a few rogue agents. I really don’t believe that those horror stories are the norm in the UK, but I do think that things can be improved, and a professional standard would be the way forward.
“The most obvious route would be compulsory membership of ARLA, and ARLA’s standards being strengthened.”
However, one person who took to Twitter to complain about the way the vote went was London Evening Standard columnist and landlord Victoria Whitlock.
She said: “Am disappointed MPs bought that bunkum that tenants would have paid more if letting agent fees were banned.”
The tireless Stella Creasy, Labour shadow consumers minister, was back on Twitter yesterday claiming: “An agency has contacted me to argue fees to tenants justified because they ‘give them a bag for life & mug’ upon arrival. Yes really.”
Meanwhile, shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds put the industry on warning by making it clear that the whole issue has not gone away.
She said: “Generation Rent needs proper protection against being ripped off.
“A Labour government will ban letting agent fees on tenants.”
* There were just three rebels when it came to Tuesday evening’s vote on letting agent fees – one Tory and two Lib Dems who refused to toe their party line.
Phillip Hollobone, the Tory MP for Kettering, and Lib Dem MPs Julian Huppert (Cambridge) and Ian Swales (Redcar) all voted to ban letting agent fees.
Of the Lib Dems, 38 voted against a ban, and 16 were missing. Among the absentees were Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, Andrew Stunell, Sarah Teather and Jo Swinson.
There were 242 Tory MPs who voted against the ban, with 58 absent from the vote. Absentees included David Cameron and George Osborne.
Labour’s attempt to ban letting agent fees was defeated by a majority of 53 (281 to 228).
Another interesting read from Property Industry Eye:
Eric Walker, managing director of Northwood, was scathing about Labour’s proposals, including the pledge to make it illegal for agents to charge fees to tenants.
He said some agents would not be able to survive such a move. “Contrary to the universal misconception that agents are raking it in, many make small profits indeed and this policy may push some over the edge.”
He went on: “If agents are forced to scrap fees from tenants, then inevitably, landlords will end up paying more which in turn could increase the rent the tenant pays.
“Couple this with the proposed draconian rent-capping idea, then of course some landlords will reconsider their position.
“It is of sinister concern that rent caps would be introduced at a time interest rates are predicted to rise, which spells disaster for many landlords.
“The lettings market is fine. It’s regulation and consumer protection which should be Miliband’s priority, not State controlled pricing.”
Carole Charge, director at lettings chain Leaders, said: “Labour’s three-year tenancy proposals are unrealistic. Without the right to regain repossession of their property, most investment landlords would not take the risk and pull their property from the market.
“The picture painted by Labour of tenants being forced out of their homes is not accurate. Reliable statistics show that the majority of tenancies are ended by the tenant rather than the landlord.”
Dorian Gonsalves, director of franchising at Belvoir, said his firm would be “dead against” the changes proposed.
“The existing Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement can already run for a longer period, and changes to this could have a devastating effect on the supply of available rental properties.
“Ultimately, tenants would bear the brunt of fewer rental properties, higher rents and no alternative housing solution being provided by the Government.
“Experts have warned of the dangers of making changes to the existing AST or forcing landlords out of the market, which clearly some of these proposed changes by a Labour Government are likely to do.
“Tenants already have the choice of not paying letting agent fees. They can rent privately and this may be attractive to those tenants who prefer a lower standard of service, with no consumer redress and a landlord who may or may not respond to maintenance issues.”
Carol Pawsey, lettings director at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, described Labour’s proposals as “disastrous”. She warned that rent caps could lead to “many” landlords quitting the market.
The National Landlords Association said the proposals were “completely unworkable”.
Richard Lambert, its chief executive, said: “Were they to become government policy it would strike a devastating blow to investment in housing of all tenures and further constrain supply at a time of real housing crisis.”
The Residential Landlords Association said Labour had quite simply got it wrong. Vice-chairman Chris Town said: “All the evidence clearly shows that rent controls of the kind proposed would critically undermine investment in new homes to rent and are not needed, given that official statistics show rents increasing by much less than inflation.”
The British Property Federation also savaged the rent controls proposal. Director of policy Ian Fletcher said: “It makes no sense.
“Good landlords will be getting a perverse message that if you are providing a premium product the most you can expect is the ‘average’, whilst bad landlords with sub-standard accommodation can find another justification for charging over the odds.”
Source: Written by Rosalind Renshaw on behalf of Property Industry Eye http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/ban-fees-tenants-kill-agents-warning/
Samantha Hooper, Lettings Negotiator at iConn Property Management writes;
Autumn season has arrived and we have been experiencing a lot of rain over the last few days! At this time of year, our tenants start drying clothes inside their homes, which later down the line can result in damp / condensation build up in the property. Here’s a few tips on how to avoid this common problem!
Open bedroom windows when you go to bed at night; a 10mm gap will do. If it really is too cold to do this, wipe the condensation off the windows first thing in the morning, but please do not put the cloth you used on the radiator to dry as this will create more condensation.
Ensure full use of extractor or ventilation fans. Where these are not provided, open a window after bathing or showering to give the steam and damp air a chance to escape. Wipe windows, walls and mirrors to remove condensation (a microfiber cloth is the most efficient means of doing this), and dry the shower tray or bath. Keep the door closed while the bathroom is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the house.
When cooking, cover pans. Use exactor or ventilation fans where provided. If you do not have an automatic kettle, take care to ensure it is not left boiling. These precautions will help to reduce steam and therefore moisture in the air. Keep the door closed while the kitchen is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the house.
Where there are chimneys, do not block them up. If a wall appears to be damp, do not put furniture right up against it; allow some circulation of air.
Make sure that any ventilation bricks or openings in the building are not obstructed.
Keep glass as clear of condensation as you can. Wipe away any moisture that has formed using a soft cloth. Leave open any ”trickle” vents in double glazed units. Get into the habit of opening windows to keep moisture content in the air down and to air the property when you can.
Avoid drying clothes on radiators. Tumble dryers should be vented to the outside, unless fitted with a condenser.
Provide a reasonable level of heating (no less than 10°C in an unused area, or 16C if in use); cold rooms are susceptible to condensation. Remember, the best way to heat a room and avoid condensation is to maintain a low level of warmth throughout the day rather than to turn the heating off while you are out and put it on at a high level when you return home.
Portable gas and paraffin heaters can create a significant amount of damp and condensation within properties. Please do not use these types of heaters unless you have permission from your landlord or property manager.
Mildew may be removed from clothes by using a dry cleaning process.
Remove and kill mould by wiping the affected area(s) with a fungicide which carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number, precisely following the manufactures instructions. Alternatively a mild bleach solution will have the desired effect, but do test on a small area first.
Do not disturb mould by vacuuming or brushing as this can give rise to respiratory complaints.
Iris O’Connell, Managing Director at iConn Property Management writes;
A huge congratulations to our Accounts Coordinator, Samantha Douglas who tied the knot to Shaun Burgess this month! We hope you had a fantastic day, and we wish you lots of happy years together!
Tanya MacLeod, Property Manager at iConn Property Management writes:
This article from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is a very interesting and informative read.
With millions of Britons planning to holiday in the UK this year the Gas Safety Register are again urging the public to stay safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from charcoal and gas barbecues, as well as potential risks from camping equipment and gas appliances in holiday accommodation.
The Gas Safety Register have produced leaflets, posters, web banners and article copy to advise people how to stay safe while on holiday, attending a music festival, sporting event or any one of the hundreds of things the Great British public get up to in their leisure time.
BBQ’s have been linked to several campsite deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous substance which is created when fossil fuels such as gas and solid fuels like charcoal and wood fail to combust fully due to a lack of oxygen. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly with no warning.
If you’re planning on using a BBQ, whether it’s a disposable one, gas or charcoal make sure you keep yourself safe and don’t put yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow these top tips for BBQ safety:
- Never take a smouldering or lit BBQ into a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking your BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.
- Never use a BBQ inside to keep you warm
- Never leave a lit BBQ unattended or while sleeping
- Place your cooking area well away from your tent. Always ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the area where the BBQ is being used.
- Only use appliances in accordance with the operating instructions
- Remember the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. If concerned, seek medical advice.
If you’re using gas camping equipment follow these extra tips to help you stay safe:
- Check that the appliance is in good order, undamaged and that hoses are properly attached and undamaged. If in doubt get the hoses replaced or don’t use it
- Make sure the gas taps are turned off before changing the gas cylinder and do it in the open air
- Don’t over-tighten joints
- When you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the BBQ controls – this means any gas in the hose and pipeline will be used up
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for gas escapes from hoses or pipework, e.g. brushing leak detection solution around all joints and looking for bubbles.
- Never take a gas stove, light or heater into a tent, caravan or cabin unless it is a permanent fixture, installed and maintained correctly.
Take care this summer and don’t put yourself or your family at risk.
For more information or advice please visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk/bbq or call 0800 408 5500.
Amy Chilvers, Lettings Negotiator at iConn Property Management writes;
Well done to our Lettings Negotiator, Sam Macdonald who did her bit for charity this month and ran the Race For Life in aid of raising money for an amazing cause, Cancer Research UK. If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to donate online and show your support!
Tanya MacLeod, Property Manager at iConn Property Management writes;
Canterbury City Council have introduced some changes to the collection of waste in Canterbury recently.
The Canterbury City Councils website states;
Changes to your waste collection service
In the summer we will be making some changes to the waste collection service. We will be picking up your food waste every week and collecting glass every two weeks. To complement the new service we will be giving you some new bins and boxes.
Once we’ve delivered your bins, your first collection will take place on your next scheduled recycling day. That week, put out your blue lidded bin (glass, tins, cartons and plastics) with your red insert box (paper and card) inside along with your food waste caddy. If you have a garden bin, put that out too.
Here is some useful information taken from the Canterbury City Council’s website which may help you with the new system;
What goes in my bins?
Black household waste bin
Your black wheeled bin is for household and food waste, and items which cannot be recycled.
You can recycle the following items in your clear sacks:
- Cans, aerosols with nozzles removed and aluminium foil.
- Paper, magazines, newspapers, catalogues and phone directories.
- Wrapping paper (remove Sellotape).
- Cardboard food boxes and egg cartons (flattened).
- Toilet or kitchen roll inner cardboard.
- Plastic drinks bottles, shampoo bottles, and washing up liquid bottles.
If the wrong materials are found in the sack, it will not be collected.
Please remember to flatten boxes, wash and squash plastic bottles and remove lids, empty and rinse food containers, put materials loose in your clear recycling sack and tie securely. Secured bundles of cardboard and newspapers will be collected if placed beside recycling sacks.
Green lidded bin
You can place the following items in your green bin:
- Grass cuttings, hedge clippings, dead plants and weeds.
- Cut flower and shrub prunings.
- Bark, leaves and small twigs.
- Branches (Up to 4cm thick).
We will not empty bins which contain the following:
- Stone, concrete, timber or builder’s waste.
- Glass, plastic, metal, paper or cardboard.
- Plant pots, soil or turf.
- Household rubbish and food waste.
You can also find more information regarding this matter on their website, https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/bins-recycling/
Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator at iConn Property Management writes;
Here’s some great advice from The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) regarding buy to let properties:
Think of buying to let as a medium to long term investment.
Seek advice from an ARLA letting agent on local market demands.
Get your sums right. Will the rent cover borrowings and costs, after allowing for void periods?
Decorate, fit out and furnish to high quality standards, especially kitchens and bathrooms, to attract the best tenants and let quickly every time.
Use an ARLA member as your letting agent. They have Client Money Protection, 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.
Let personal taste cloud your judgement. Be sure the property you choose meets market requirements
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.
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.
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.
Furnish with second hand furniture or cast-off soft furnishings. These will probably contravene the Furniture and Furnishing Regulations.
If you require any further information regarding renting your property, please feel free to contact us on 01227 765008.
Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator of iConn Property Management writes;
Information to landlords – iConn have noticed a rapid change to the student market this year which has been an accumulation of increased University accommodation, high University fees and a considerable reduction in UK and International students applying for places; which in turn has produced an unexpected high level of properties left on the market.
Normally at this time of the year most of our student properties have been Let for the next academic year.
We have been in discussions with other local agents whom are experiencing the exact same scenario and are looking at ways to attract those students that are still looking for accommodation.
What we are proposing to do is to reduce our administration fees for the students; making it more affordable for them at the start of the application process. A further option is to adjust the rental figure in order to become more competitive.
There will of course still be students that have not secured a property as of yet and those students that will come through the clearing process later in the year once their course has been confirmed.
We do not want to alarm you at this stage; however the purpose of this letter is to forewarn you of the situation and to agree a plan of action now in order to secure a tenancy going forward.
We would normally advise our Landlords to increase their rental income but with the high level of stock still on the market, an alternative solution must be found in order to secure you revenue for the next academic year.
If you would like any further information regarding this, please feel free to contact our office on 01227 765008.