Let’s start with a couple of definitions:
MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard.
EPC – Energy Performance Certificate.
Since October 2008, landlords in England and Wales offering property for rent have been required by law to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for their property. The certificate must be provided free either when or before any written information about the property is provided to prospective tenants or a viewing is conducted.
I expect you have heard of property developer, entrepreneur and TV presenter Sarah Beeny. As she explained in a recent interview in The Daily Telegraph, she knew that she wanted to go into property development from a young age.
While friends and contemporaries were studying hard at university, Sarah was checking out the property market and by her mid-20s had an established property development business. A chance meeting and conversation at a hen party resulted in a successful screen test and when her first TV show Property Ladder appeared her career really took off.
I am often asked why a landlord should employ an agent when letting property. To my mind the answer is a combination of saving you time, aggravation and quite possibly substantial amounts of money.
It all begins with finding the right tenant. You may well be quite happy to advertise your property, arrange and conduct viewings and make follow up calls to ascertain whether the person liked the property and if not why not. Once you find someone who is interested there are the referencing and tenant checks to carry out.
I read some research recently that showed the number of landlords in the UK had grown by 27% in the last five years.
It was London based estate agent Ludlow Thompson who produced the figures showing the number of landlords had risen for the fifth consecutive year and that on average they own 1.8 investments each.
My goodness but it has been chilly recently!
Apparently last year’s insurance claims for boiler faults from landlords showed an increase of over 5%. The sub-zero temperatures brought on by the Beast from the East are sure to see this rise again.
So you have bought a property and need to get it ready to let. How far should you go with a refurbishment? There will be several factors to be considered.
Who is going to do the work? If you can do it yourself, so much the better as this will keep costs down. Otherwise you will need to get some quotes from professionals.
It is the start of a New Year and the time for considering how you can improve things in your life. If you are a landlord, you might consider these questions:
Are you happy with the service you get from your current letting agent?
I know that this is a contentious issue for both tenants and landlords. It is estimated that 90% of independently adjudicated cases are awarded to the tenants and it is often the case that a landlord has unrealistic expectations of what constitutes fair wear and tear.
At the end of October the government launched a consultation looking into ways of making the house buying and selling process faster, cheaper and less stressful.
I was shocked recently to read in the papers about a lady who decided to leave the buy-to-let market for a variety of reasons, including the new tax increases. What was upsetting was the abuse she subsequently received online, including her Facebook page, primarily for her simply being a landlord.
Of course all landlords are not perfect and there are a fair number of rogues out there. There are plenty of rogue tenants about too, of course.
It is not something that everyone will be aware of, but I am pleased to say that we are members of a redress scheme overseen by the Property Ombudsman.
Back in October 2015 the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015, known as the ADR regulations, officially came into force.
Tenants deposit fees are non-refundable.
Payment of Rents Due:
Tenants paying rent will only be refunded if the rent is found not to be due. Refunds will be made back to the card from which they were paid and will be paid within 7 days of funds being requested for refund and accepted by Charles Carter Lettings as being owed.
In All Cases:
If any refund is deemed due by Charles Carter Lettings, refunds can only be made to the card that was used to purchase the goods and/or services.
I read about an interesting case the other day concerning a landlord who was querying some requests made by the tenant of his terraced house.
Over just a couple of months the tenant requested call outs to clear a blocked drain and to deal with two mice infestations. The landlord was enquiring whether these calls were justified and if they were in fact his responsibility.
I was interested in a recent article on the Letting Agent Today website. It concerned the recent suggestion that tenants are seeking tenancies of five years or more.
It looked at a survey carried out by insurers Cover4LetProperty which made these interesting findings:
• 48% of tenants have lived in two or three different rented properties in the last five years.
• 47% of renters have lived in the same property for the last five years or more.
• 5% have lived in four or more properties in the last five years.
I realise it may seem like an ideal situation to let your property to someone you know, such as a friend or family member. The key, however, is to always remember that this is a business arrangement, not a favour.
Many agents will advise against it and some mortgage lenders absolutely forbid it. Problems can arise when one party or the other forgets that this is a legally binding situation and even the best of intentions can go wrong.
Bristol Charity for Vulnerable Tenants tops list of UK’s Most Prosecuted Landlords!
I spotted a recent article in The Guardian that reported a Bristol-based charity has topped a list of the most prosecuted landlords in the country.
Alternative Housing was set up to provide accommodation for homeless people in Bristol and has received thousands of pounds in housing benefits. It has been convicted of housing offences on six separate occasions in the past two years.