Posts tagged property management

Countdown to Right to Rent as Home Office updates Code of Practice – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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

 

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/countdown-to-right-to-rent-as-home-office-updates-code-of-practice/

 

Right to Rent: A simple guide to checks that must be made – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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Yet another useful article courtesy of Property Industry Eye, detailing the various identification documents required for all new tenants:

Under Right to Rent, landlords or their agents should check identity documents for all new tenants, and take copies.

The documents include:

  • a UK passport
  • a European Economic Area passport or identity card
  • a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
  • a Home Office immigration status document
  • a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen

A full list of documents is available here

Agents should bear in mind that the checks should be carried out on all, not just some, new tenants.

There are codes of practice to be followed, including guidance on avoiding unlawful discrimination which was drawn up with the assistance of the Human Rights Commission.

There are four steps involved in making a Right to Rent check:

  1. Check which adult tenants will live in the property as their only or main home
  2. Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK
  3. Check the documents are valid with the tenant present
  4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check

If a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, you can conduct a check on that person’s ‘right to rent’ via the Landlords Checking Service.

Landlords and agents in the pilot area (Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) should continue to make the checks as they have been doing since December 1, 2014.

 

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/right-to-rent-a-simple-guide-to-checks-that-must-be-made/

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations passed – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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With ten working days to go, our Property Manager Paul Lang has a very important message for all Landlords on behalf of ‘Landlord Zone':

As announced recently by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, from October 2015 Landlords will be required by law to ensure working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rental properties in England. The information below is intended to help you understand your responsibilities in relation to the new legislation.

Why have these changes been made?

This legislation has been proposed to address the imbalance between protection levels for private tenants in contrast to residents classed as owner occupiers, or social housing occupants.

It is estimated that the national percentage of all households with a working smoke alarm currently stands at over 90% compared with 83% in rental properties. Although a seven percent difference between the level of protection in rental properties and the national average may seem relatively minor, the numbers are much more compelling when qualified in terms of casualties. Between April 2013 and March 2014, 97 people died and 1900 were injured in domestic fires affecting properties where no smoke alarm was present.

Why do you need to install a CO detector?

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that there are approximately 50 deaths per year and over 1100 hospital admissions annually as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas that is produced by incomplete combustion. A common source of CO in a domestic property would be a faulty appliance such as a boiler.

Statistics show that residents of privately rented accommodation account for a much greater proportion of annual carbon monoxide incidents than could be expected. A report by the Gas Safety Trust into carbon monoxide risks per housing sector showed that the likelihood of an incident in privately rented accommodation was significantly higher than that associated with any other housing sector. According to statistics gathered since 1998 residents of rental properties are on average three times more likely to suffer a CO related incident.

Although landlords are already obliged to have a yearly check carried out on any gas appliances, this alone cannot guarantee protection from carbon monoxide. The installation of a CO detector is quick, easy and cheap, and ensures your tenants are protected from what is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’.

Current advice from the Health and Safety Executive already states that a CO detector should be installed in rental properties, but this has always been down to the discretion of each landlord or letting agent. From October 2015 it will become law that that any high risk room, i.e. those containing a heating appliance, must have a CO detector installed.

What happens if you don’t act on these changes?

Failing to comply with the legislation planned to come into force from the 10th of October 2015 will leave you open to a penalty of up to £5000.

What does this mean for you?

As a private landlord, a professional landlord, or a letting agent, you must consider the effect this legislation will have on your portfolio.

Building regulations already require that properties constructed after June 1992 have a mains powered, interconnected smoke alarm system installed to BS5839-6 2013 Grade D. Therefore, many landlords may find their smoke alarm provision already meets the new requirements.

There has previously been no legislation requiring landlords of properties let to single family units and built prior to 1992 to have smoke alarms. However, these properties will now be subject to the new legislation, meaning smoke alarms will need to be installed by October.

HMO’s are already subject to tighter legislation in accordance to The Housing Act 2004, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

It is likely, however, that Landlords of all of the above property types will need to consider their carbon monoxide detector provision in light of the new regulations.

 

 

Source:http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/content/the-new-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-england-regulations-2015

 

 

Tenants working from home: Government reacts – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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Another interesting read concerning the question of tenants working from home:

 

Agents and residential landlords have long been concerned about tenants who work from home.

There has always been a worry that by permitting the operation of a business the landlord will inadvertently create a tenancy under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and the tenant will then gain the automatic right of renewal provided by Part II of that Act.

The Government has reacted to this concern by passing Section 35 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/26/section/35/enacted].

This creates a new definition of a “Home Business Tenancy”.

This is any tenancy under which the tenant is required to occupy the rented property as a home and is also permitted to run a home business from the property.

A home business is defined as any business which can reasonably be run from home but specifically excludes any business for the sale or supply of alcohol.

Where a tenancy is a Home Business Tenancy it will automatically be excluded from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and will count as a tenancy of a single dwelling for the purposes of the Housing Act 1988.

The Housing Act 1988 already permitted some home working as long as the tenancy was substantially for the purpose of providing the tenant with a home. As a result, all forms of home working will now be possible and those tenancies will fall within the Housing Act 1988.

However, that does not mean that everything is now okay.

While there may now be no issue from the landlord’s perspective in relation to home working, there are other parties to consider.

Mortgages, superior leases in flats, and insurance policies all routinely have clauses requiring home use only and prohibiting business use of the property.

Depending on how these are worded, permitting business use by the tenant, even as a home business, may not in fact be an option for landlords.

The changes also do not apply to any tenancy which exists before the new provisions come into force, which they have yet to do, or which are renewals of tenancies which existed before the provisions came into force.

Therefore, while this is a sensible change which is welcome, it will be of no effect unless it is taken up by notoriously conservative mortgage lenders and insurers. Hopefully, the Government will take steps to encourage changes in their terms to allow this in future.

* There is an interview with David Smith on the Property Tribes website in which he spells out some current concerns for the private rented sector.

 

Source: Rosalind Renshaw, Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/essential-advice-is-it-okay-for-tenants-to-work-from-home/

Tenant who tripped on path not owned by landlord wins case – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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

 

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/tenant-tripped-path-owned-landlord-wins-case/

 

 

Reminder to Landlords: January Tax Return is now due – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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

 

UK rental prices rising at a slower rate – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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

 

Ban on agency fees rumbles on – iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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).

 

Source: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/will-ban-letting-agent-fees-vows-labours-shadow-housing-minister/

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How to avoid Condensation & Damp, iConn Property Management Canterbury

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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!

BEDROOMS

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.

SHOWER/BATHROOM

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.

KITCHEN

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.

LIVING AREAS

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.

GENERAL

Make sure that any ventilation bricks or openings in the building are not obstructed.

WINDOWS

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.

LAUNDRY

Avoid drying clothes on radiators. Tumble dryers should be vented to the outside, unless fitted with a condenser.

HEATING

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 HEATERS

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.

REMEDIES

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.

 

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Wedding Announcement and Congrats!! iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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! :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Staff success! iConn Property Management Canterbury

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director at iConn Property Management writes;

We are pleased to announce that our Property Manager Tanya MacLeod has recently passed all four units of the NFOPP Level 3 Qualification for the Technical Award in Residential Letting & Property Management, and our Lettings Negotiator, Sam Macdonald is also on her way and passed the first unit towards her qualification last week!  Well done to both of you!

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Be safe this summer! iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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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

Support Cancer Research UK!! iConn Property Management Cantebrury

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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!

http://www.justgiving.com/cancerresearchuk

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New member of the iConn Team!

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director of iConn Property Management writes:

I am pleased to introduce a new member staff who will be working alongside Sam Macdonald in the lettings team.  Amy Chilvers is our new Lettings Negotiator and has previously worked in Lettings & Property Maintenance for over 18 months.

If you have any tenancy queries, you can contact Amy on:  amychilvers@iconn.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenants! Get ready for your departure, iConn Property Management

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Changes to your waste collection in Canterbury – iConn Property Management

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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.

Recycling sacks

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr O’Sullivan, Tenant guarantor with iConn Property Management

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So many thanks for all your very professional advice and tremendously helpful information.

With thanks, and my best regards

Mr Gerard O’Sullivan

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First Aid Training, iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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Tanya Macleod, Property Manager at iConn Property Management writes;

 

In April, two members of staff attended their annual First Aid Training Course and I’m pleased to announce that they both passed with flying colours!  Congratulations to Iris O’Connell, Managing Director and Sam Douglas, Accounts Coordinator! We are in safe hands for another year!! :)

 

 

New Member of the iConn Team

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director of iConn Property Management writes:

I am pleased to announce that we have a new Property Manager.

Tanya Macleod has worked for over six years in the Lettings and Property Management industry and specialises in Property Management.

She has previously worked for a well known large Agent in Canterbury and brings with her a wealth of knowledge.

Going forward, if you have any maintenance queries, please contact Tanya in the first instance tanyamacleod@iconn.co.uk

 

 

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STUDENT REMINDER!! iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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Sam Macdonald, Lettings Negotiator for iConn Property Management writes;

 

 

 

 

 

REMINDER!! Student Tenancies for 2013-2014 – Your administration fees are due to be paid by the 1st May 2013… remember to budget for this in the next month :)

 

 

 

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Easter Student Admin Fee Sale – iConn Letting Agent Canterbury

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Easter Opening Times, iConn Property Management, Canterbury

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Important Safety Alert! iConn Property Management

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Sam Douglas, Accounts co-ordinator for iConn Property Management writes;

 

I came accross an article from LetRisks which I think may be an interesting an useful read.

Important safety alert

March 21, 2013  By Leave a Comment

In a recent claim a landlord suffered over £100,000 worth of damage to his property and loss of rent following a fire from a faulty fridge freezer. This case highlights the number of potentially dangerous brand new appliances in rented property and the action that letting agents can take to protect their landlords and tenants.

Over the past few years there have been hundreds of fires involving white goods, particularly fridge/freezers, tumble dryers and dishwashers, with more than a dozen blazes deemed “serious”. According to recent press articles, almost half a million potentially dangerous dishwashers are still being used in households because their owners cannot be traced. As an example, a batch of faulty Bosch dishwashers, made over a seven-year period, are at risk of catching fire. Just one in four has been traced.

Although manufacturers issue product recalls, via national advertising, letters and phone calls to consumers there are difficulties in tracing the purchasers, particularly if tenants have moved address or landlords have appointed an agent.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) found that the average success rate of recalls is just 10-20%. With 266 electrical product recalls in the last six years and manufacturers often producing hundreds of thousands of units, there are likely to be millions of dangerous products threatening safety every day. Following a survey, they claim that 2 million adults have purposefully ignored a product recall notice, a third won’t return an item if it seems too inconvenient and a fifth would not go without a luxury product such as a television or hair straighteners.

LetRisks has put together a checklist to help you protect landlords and tenants:

  • Register your contact details with the manufacturer for any new appliances when purchased. This is not just for marketing purposes – it may save a life.
  • Property management staff and inventory clerks should record the make and model numbers of each of the landlords appliances and check them against the Product Recall information websites (see below).
  • Ensure that appliances are checked regularly: The law surrounding Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) simply requires you to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained in order to prevent danger. New equipment should be “supplied in a safe condition”. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on how to maintain equipment including the use of PAT.
  • Remind tenants to check that any electrical appliances are safe and refer them to the Product Recall information websites. It is a condition of most tenancy agreements that the tenant must not bring on to the premises anything that might be a fire hazard.
  • Retain forwarding addresses for tenants and arrange for mail to be forwarded, if possible. It may include product recall information.
  • Use the Product Recall information websites (see below)
  • Electrical Safety Council (ESC): www.esc.org.uk/recall. You will need to enter a model number, brand name or description of a particular item. If the product has been recalled, the website will advise on next steps.
  • RecallUK is the primary product recall site that lists all UK product recalls, for all product types, announced in the last few weeks: www.recalluk.com/default.aspx
  • White Goods Help – Archives for Safety Warnings & Appliance Recalls: www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/category/safety-warnings-recalls-houshold-appliances
  • Arrange appropriate insurances, for both the structure of the building (that includes fixtures and fittings), and contents. Make sure that the insurance is suitable for let property and includes Property Owners Liability. Even if you are letting an unfurnished flat, we recommend that you arrange cover for limited contents (covering carpets, curtains and white goods) which will also come with cover for liability to the public and injury to tenants.

 

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Changes to the EPC Rules – Update from January 2013

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director for iConn Property Management writes:

Within the industry we are used to regulations being changed and updated but none so much as the requirements of the EPC (energy performance certificate).

I have detailed the amendments below for your information and future reference.

Changes to the EPC rules

Changes to the rules from 9th January 2013, include

  • Agents must ensure that an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) has been commissioned before they can market a property for rent.
  • From 9th January 2013, when a building or building unit is offered for sale or rent, the energy rating must be stated in “commercial media” (includes adverts and the internet) where one is available.
  • There is no longer a requirement to attach the front page of the EPC to any written materials.
  • The EPC must be ‘made available’ in copy form to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity and at the latest, before entering into a contract. When the letting is finalised, the EPC must be given free of charge to the tenant.

 

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The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow….

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Vicky Owen, Office Manager for iConn Property Management writes:

As most of Canterbury was covered with snow this week, which caused some disruption in Canterbury but also some great snowmen! its a good time to think on the winter repairs that may need attending to. Our referencing company LetRisks send us a monthly newsletter in line with trends they recieve on claims, they have really interesting article on inspecting flat roofs which is worth a read: Click on the link below for the full article:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Student Lettings List for 2013-2014 for Canterbury is released

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wedding Announcement – iConn Property Management’s Vicky Cranthorne ties the knot :)

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director of iConn Property Management writes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iConn Property Management are pleased to announce the marriage of our colleague Vicky Cranthorne to Colin Alun Owen.

Some of our clients and tenants may have noticed the name change already! 😉

Thank you to the new Mr & Mrs Owen for sharing their magical day with us and we wish you much love and happiness for the future.

 

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Social Media for Property Advertising – iConn Lettings, Canterbury

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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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landlord advice regarding The Green Deal – from iConn Property Management, Canterbury Lettings

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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.

iris

The Body Shop, Canterbury & iConn Property Management, Canterbury Letting Agent

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Iris O’Connell, Managing Director of iConn Property Management writes:

iConn works very closely with the Body Shop in Canterbury and supports their ethos.

They source raw ingredients from all around the world and their products are 100% vegetarian.

The Body Shop trades fairly and THEY NEVER TEST ON ANIMALS!!  So….keep a beautiful face, body and mind and buy from the Body Shop.

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