Posts tagged looking for a rental property
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:
Our new lettings list for July 2013 – June 2014 is now available, click on the image below to view in full
Early signs show a busy student market for this year so are not expecting these properties to be on the market for long.
Vicky Owen, Office Manager at iConn Property Management writes:
Over the past few years the way we advertise and market properties to rent has evolved dramatically! Prospective tenants have replaced peering in the window fronts of local agents with anytime internet search sites giants like Rightmove, Primelocation and Findaproperty.
In a age where Internet is King – with nearly 98% of our sucessfully let properties coming from an internet enquiry, it is important for us to keep up with our prospective tenant habits.
We now take “Featured Property” slots on the three largest property portals – www.rightmove.com; www.primelocation.com; www.zoopla.com meaning that our clients properties are advertised at the top of the page, seperating them from the competition, highlighting them first and giving their properties a head start.
Now we see another change to the media market with the use of social media sites becoming more popular and opening companies out to interactive, on the spot feedback; the biggest being Facebook and Twitter… even the mighty property portals now provide links for people to “Like” or “Share” their properties on their page!
We have now signed up to PropertyPlace which is an app on these sites created to advertise properties which has over 10,000 monthly users showing the evolution of these social sites to a place of advertising potential.
Our social media sites are growing by the day, with our company Facebook page having nearly 350 likes, our Twitter account has over 600 followers coupled with our blog following and our LinkedIn sites and the new Google+ page – we are bringing our properties to a new market.
Although this highlights the benefits to our Clients as this new advertising potential unfolds, there is a huge benefit to the prospective tenants - social media is instant, with property portals taking up to 24 hours to update their new listings – social sites provide an exclusivity in a fast moving rental market. It provides interaction for the customer not only with the company that is advertising but also with their friends: liking a property or commenting on a post spreads their activity to all their friends who then comment with advice or provide feedback for that person.
The secret to this social media growth is connectivity, interesting and relevant posts and recommendations. Please take a moment to explore our sites and by providing recommendations or getting involved and interactive with us helps us to broaden our auidence which in turn benefits our clients and tenants.
Click on the links to join in:
You can link with our personal Linkedin Profiles here to:
Iris O’Connell, Managing Director of iConn Property Management writes:
I am writing to advise you of a Government initiative which takes effect from January 2013.
In order to detail and explain the initiative clearly, I have taken abstracts from literature from The Department of Energy & Climate Change for your information.
The Green Deal is a government initiative to improve energy efficiency in UK households; its aim is to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient in a cost effective way. The scheme will be available to home owners and tenants (with the consent of their landlords) and has also been extended to businesses.
The scheme lets customers pay for some or all of the improvements over time through their electricity bill. A home assessment will be undertaken by a Green Deal assessor who will create a report recommending the best improvements to minimise the utility bills in your home. If you are interested, you will be able to choose a Green Deal provider who will offer you a quote for a Green Deal Plan and access to the finance. The financial package is not a loan; although interest is added to the final total. The debt is attached to your property rather than you or the tenant, so it will not be means tested, therefore credit checks will not be undertaken.
In order to have any improvements undertaken, the improvements must be eligible under the Green Deal and recommended for your house following your home assessment. These measures will be expected to be able to show real savings over the repayment period. This is the Golden Rule of the Green Deal which states that the expected savings made from the home improvement must be the same or greater than the total cost of implementing the improvement itself. This rule protects the property owner, ensuring that they are not paying back more money as a result of the Green Deal scheme than they are actually saving on their energy bills.
Once the home improvements have been undertaken, the Green Deal will be paid back in installments attached to the electricity bill. The repayments will be affordable to everyone as they will be based on the savings made by the household as a result of the new home improvements.
In order for the home improvements to be beneficial, the Golden Rule states that you should not be paying more money on your repayments than you are saving on your utility bill. For example, if you have had new insulation fitted, and this gives you a saving of £25.00 on your heating bill each month, then you will be expected to pay less than £25.00 on your repayments.
Additionally, the length of time for the repayments should not exceed the expected lifetime of the home improvements itself. For example, if solar panels were to be installed and they have an expected lifespan of 30 years, then the repayments should not last any longer than 30 years.
Your tenant needs your permission before taking out a Green Deal. If your tenant wishes to take out a Green Deal Plan, they will first need your agreement to both the improvements and the financial aspects of the plan, If you do not agree to all, some or any of the assessors recommendations; the tenant is not permitted to proceed.
Click on the link for the official brochure provided by The Department of Energy & Climate Change for a comprehesive guide:
If you require any further information, please feel free to contact me.
What do we do about house bills?
Often students will ask us how much their bills will be, it is very hard to say as obviously your bills are based on your usage….so if you have the lights on a lot, a telly in each room, heating on constant and nice hot baths everyday your bills are going to be higher then the house that are more conscientious of their usage.
Our advice would be to all sit down when you arrive and work out a budget to all put in a pot each month. You will need to consider your gas, electric, water rates and TV license payments then any additional extras you would all like…telephone, internet, Sky TV, regular window cleaner or gardener?! Work out how much this will cost you on a monthly basis and then divide it by the number of housemates. Then as the bills come in you can review and adjust your costings accordingly. It’s a good idea to pay the same amount for your gas and electric each month as although you may not use the heating in the summer months your winter bills will be higher so it will even out over the year instead of being caught with a large bill at the end of winter. If you do want to pay more on a pay as you go basis then remember to always take meter readings as the bills comes in. Companies will often estimate your usage and so if you haven’t been there they may be charging you for more usage, if you call them with your actual meter readings they will adjust the bill and you will only ever pay for what you have actually used.
When your tenancy starts either your landlord or iConn will take meter readings for your gas and electric meters. If we complete your inventory we will notify the utility companies of your details and the bills will begin to arrive at the property in your name. If your landlord completes your inventory, either they will notify the companies or they will provide you with the details of who to call to complete this yourself.
Remember that you are responsible for bills from when your tenancy starts so just because you pay half rent over the summer months does not mean that bills will not accumulate over the summer months. Obviously your gas and electric bills will be minimal if you are not in occupation but other utilities like the water companies have a standard charge for the year and so there bill will still be payable.
If you are all students in your household you will be exempt from Council Tax. We will notify the council of your details but they will write to you separately when you arrive to confirm your details.
The Television Licence Fee is the responsibility of the tenant. You can arrange payment of a new license or transfer an old one by telephoning 0300 555 0281 or online at
Some properties have Sky Dishes installed; however they will not be activated. If your property does not have a Sky Dish and you wish to have one installed, you must get permission from the landlord first by contacting us. Once permission is granted, you are responsible for any installation costs, ongoing bills and any contract you have with sky. You can contact Sky on 08705 800 874 or apply online www.sky.com
Most properties have telephone lines / internet connection already installed but they may not be activated when you arrive as the current tenants may take their line with them. Due to data protection we are not allowed to organise the connection of the phone line for you. Telephone lines are installed by BT and you can arrange connection/activation with them by calling 0800 800 150 or online at www.bt.com/Choices . This also applies to internet/Broadband connections. There are many different providers some include, BT Internet, AOL, Tiscalli and Freeserve.
Vicky Cranthorne, Office Manager from iConn Property Management writes:
Our friends from Propertyads have provided us with their top tips for Landlords – Hope you find them useful.
Top tips for landlords considering buy-to-let properties
Buy-to-let properties can be an excellent way to supplement your income or your pension, and a little research and a bit of clever property market know-how can help you make the most out of your buy-to-let property. So if you’re considering adding a little extra to your pocket each month, here are our top tips for potential landlords looking at getting into buy-to-let properties.
1. Investigate the best area for good investment Before you buy a property, you have to think about what kind of tenant you want, and where you want to buy. Your rental property doesn’t even need to be in the same city! For example, buy-to-let properties in Sheffield and Canterbury, student cities, are a great investment. Each year new students arrive to study, and each year they need additional accommodation. Investing in a student area is an excellent idea when you’re looking for almost-guaranteed income. Much like student rental properties, investing in a business-oriented city near a financial district such as Canary Wharf in London will be a costly venture, but will also help you to secure a tenant relatively easily.
2. Decorate for demand to cater to your tenants Decorate and furnish your home according to your ideal tenant’s requirements. If you’ve bought a buy-to-let property in Canterbury, for example, make sure that each bedroom is furnished with a bed and a desk to allow multiple students to rent out the rooms. A large living room and plenty of storage space in the kitchen are also preferential, so make sure you don’t clutter it up with unnecessary décor.
3. Plan for empty flats As a landlord with a buy-to-let property, it’s important that you make financial provision for empty flats. If you’re unable to find a tenant you will still need to make mortgage repayments. Make sure you have access to funds if you need to do this. Another option would be to sign with a rental agency that guarantees rentals for your flats so that you’re always covered, or take out an insurance policy that insures you against non-payment of rent during a rental agreement.
4. Write in increases to your tenancy agreements and set up a direct debit Make sure that you write in annual increase agreements in your tenancy contracts to make the most out of your rental property. Setting up a direct debit agreement will guarantee the rental income on a particular day (instead of collecting funds on different days each month when the tenant remembers to pay)
5. Protect your property with insurance Landlord’s insurance can help you protect yourself against unpaid rental, theft by tenants, or damage to a property due to tenant negligence or weather damage. A good insurance policy is a good investment when you’re in the landlord market to make money out of your buy-to-let property – especially if it is situated in a different city to your own residence
If you are looking to grow your portfolio or first time invest into the property market in the Canterbury area please contact us for free independent advice.
The service I have had from iConn has been excellent.
What I rate most highly about iConn is their punctual correspondence, their ability to take the initiative in my interest, and their help with difficult problems. Monthly statements from iConn have never been late and are always well explained, particularly when there are delays in payments from tenants or additional costs due to work on the flat.
Sometimes they need to act quickly, and as I live in London, they have acted very effectively with only a quick nod from me, saving me considerable time.
A year ago, I had a difficult tenant who refused to pay rent. iConn was enormously helpful in leading me through the legal process that recovered my money. They also provide me with very helpful information regarding my tax statements, and always respond promptly.
I have had the pleasure of working with the whole team at iConn, who work together in a very efficient manner, and would recommend them strongly to anyone seeking an efficient and friendly letting agency.
My wife and I invested some money into two properties for rent almost two years ago. We had heard stories about bad tenants and the problems that could bring and so we were a little anxious. Not having any previous experience as landlords we approached iConn Property Management and we were very much assured by their professionalism.
iConn explained what was required but basically did all the work for us, including finding the right tenants, drawing up contracts and making sure we had the right insurance and safety certificates. The company regularly carry out inspections of our properties and keep us informed. In short, my wife and I can relax knowing that our properties are in good hands. We would certainly recommend iConn Property Management to anyone who has property to rent.
I have used iConn as my letting agent for over ten years and during that time I have been delighted with the level of service I have received. Over those years I have been consistently impressed with the professionalism and expertise shown by all iConn staff. I take the view that iConn has a very clear philosophy which includes providing a service second to none. I would recommend iConn to anyone with property to rent without reservation.
We have 2 properties which have been let by iConn since around 2005. I only have positive words to say about iConn, the staff that we have contact with (namely Vicky) is always helpful, friendly and efficient. Any problems have been dealt with professionally and swiftly and therefore we have the utmost confidence in them. I also know that they are helpful to our tenants. We have the pick of lettings agents here in Canterbury, but as we receive such an excellent service, I have no reason to move my business elsewhere – a completely satisfied customer on all counts!
The service level of iConn in terms of professional communication on all matters from tenancy agreement, proactive property inspections, quotations for works required etc. and looking after the landlords interest as if the property is their own is better than I have experienced from any other letting agent. With iConn’s managed services package I’m confident our properties are in good hands and therefore have not had to visit our properties that are managed by them for the last 8 years.
iConn Property Management have always provided a top quality service, I have let my property through them for over four years and I hope there will be many more years to come. They maintain an honest approach and always keep my informed as to the progress of letting my property. Over the four years there has never been a void period and this is down to hard working fully trained staff and quality marketing. I will certainly not be using any other agent and would recommend iConn to any Landlord.
Sam Douglas, Accounts Co-Ordinator for iConn Property Management writes:
The Localism Act comes into force on April 6th 2012 and makes an important change to the timescale for protecting deposits.
The timescale for registering deposits and serving Prescribed Information has increased from 14 to 30 days – but the 30 days is an absolute deadline.
Our prescribed information will be updated in our current tenancy agreements and terms of business and this change will only really affect tenancies created after the 6th April but current clients may wish to take note of these changes for any future tenancies.
Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator for iConn Property Management writes:
As the student market has begun again, those who are looking to move or are venturing off campus for the first time may find this advise useful:
LOCATION Research the local area thoroughly. Consider local public transport, good local amenities, good schools and Universities, easy access to motorways, good doctors, dentist, bars and restaurants and most importantly good neighbours.
CONDITION OF THE PROPERTY When viewing take a check list with you and make sure you know what you are looking for and what requirements are. Look for a property that has been well maintained. Check the windows, decoration, condition of white goods, heating system and types of shower. Don’t forget to check the outside and the condition of the guttering and garden.
RENT LEVEL Make sure that you research the local rent levels for the type of property you are looking for. There are many ways to make comparables with other properties. Try looking at main property portals like Right Move or Property Live to compare other properties currently on the market and the level of rent they are being advertised for.
LETTING AGENT If you decide to rent through an agent rather than a private Landlord, make sure the Agent is a member of ARLA, has a good reputation, charges fair administration fees and has the facility to protect your deposit.
And so it begins….. We have released our available properties for next years academic term. For your ideal student property in Canterbury Don’t Delay and Take a Look Today!!!
Viewings are available and demand is expected to be high this year, so don’t miss out on the ideal property in the best location and book today!!
Full details and more photos are available on our website: http://www.iconnproperties.co.uk/search.php?town_postcode=&searchtype=student&search.x=16&search.y=11
You will also find all the student terms and documents on this page: http://www.iconnproperties.co.uk/student_information.php
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 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 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 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%!
Iris O’Connell M.A.R.L.A, Managing Director for iConn Property Management writes:
What Insurances do I need?
iConn Property Management are members of ARLA and are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding lettings, property management, insurances or guarantees. As a Landlord you will require adequate buildings Insurance, contents Insurance for all fixtures and fittings and any items that you leave in the property for the tenants use and Public Liability cover. Tenants are responsible for insuring their own contents they bring to the property. iConn can provide free quotations for all Insurance policies. iConn is an appointed representative of Homelet and are able to advice you on all the different insurances available to landlords and provide competitive quotes. You can also find answers to other frequently asked questions on the link below.