Understanding insurance for landlords

6When renting out a property you need to be aware that you will require specialist landlord insurance. General home insurance isn’t right for you as it doesn’t cover all third party risks that you may encounter by having tenants.

Right Estate Agents provide you with a quick look at the different options available to you.

Landlords specialist buildings Insurance
Your mortgage provider will require you to purchase specialist landlord buildings insurance for your rental property.

As standard buildings insurance generally covers your property against loss or damage caused by:

  • Fire or smoke
  • Theft, vandalism or civil commotion
  • Oil or water leakage and burst pipes
  • Lightning, storm or earthquake
  • Subsidence
  • Damage caused by vehicles, falling trees, animals, aircraft, aerials and masts

In the case of complete destruction of your property, buildings insurance also covers full replacement or repair costs as well as the cost of clearing the area.

As well as covering all of the above, a landlord’s building insurance policy differs from a standard home insurance policy when it comes to cover elements that relate to tenants living in the property such as:

  • If your tenants can’t stay at the property as a result of damage or a buildings claim. In this case specialist landlords insurance will provide temporary accommodation cover for your tenants and in some cases, provide an element of loss of rent cover to protect your rental income
  • If your tenants or their guests cause malicious damage to your property a specialist landlord policy would cover the damage caused
  • Probably the most important of them all, if you don’t have specialist landlord buildings insurance policy in place and need to make a claim, your insurance could be invalidated and declined

Landlords contents insurance
Landlords don’t normally need full contents cover for their rental property, unless the property is let fully furnished. However you may want to give yourself some protection for the things you do provide.

You can usually choose the level of cover that suits your rental property to protect your items against fire and theft. Landlord’s contents cover includes furniture, household utensils, kitchen electrical equipment and soft furnishings, including carpets and curtains – basically anything that could be removed from the property. You can often extend the cover to include accidental damage too, a popular addition for landlords.

Rent Guarantee insurance
Economic times have led to more and more landlords needing to protect their rental property investment and their income more than ever before. Even the best tenants can find their circumstances changing, resulting in them being unable to meet their rental commitments.

Having a rent guarantee policy in place can protect you from being out of pocket by helping you recover rent arrears. Legal cover is often provided as standard as well, giving you access to a panel of solicitors to provide help and advice on legal matters, not limited to letting a property.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Who needs to know you’re moving

T5here’s so much to think about when you’re moving home.
We, at Right Estate Agents  have brought together a list of people you must inform of your new address to ensure you have alerted everyone who needs to know!

1. Utilities

You can take your old provider with you when you move, or you can use this as an opportunity to change suppliers and reduce your bills. Whatever you decide to do, contact your supplier at least 48 hours before your move.

2. Water Suppliers

You need to find out who supplies water and sewerage to your current home, settle the bill and determine who your new water provide will be. It’s just a matter of information; unlike gas and electricity, you have no say over who your water supplier is.

3. The Post Office

Remember to get your post re-directed to your new address. You can do this by downloading a form from the Post Office website. Do this in advance, as it can take up to 10 days to set up. There is a charge for re-directing your post.

4. The Bank

Let your bank know your change of address and think about transferring your account to a branch closer to your new home. And don’t forget any items that are held by your bank for safe-keeping. Think about other companies that you may have standing orders or credit cards with, as you will need to tell them too.

5. Providers

For your landline and broadband, contact your suppliers and let them know your moving date. Moving home is also your chance to compare quotes for both TV and broadband to find a better deal. Don’t forget to let your mobile phone provider know your change of address too.

6. Electoral Register

The Electoral Register is updated every month and you need to be included on it to vote. A form is available from the Electoral Commission’s About my vote website. You can complete the form online, or download and send it to the Electoral Registration Office which is based at your local council.

7. Home insurers

In addition to notifying your buildings and contents insurance company that you’re moving, check that your current policy covers your possessions during the move.  Find out if your change of address means a change in premium and make sure you have adequate buildings cover on your new home.

8. Car insurance provider

Notify your car insurance company of your change of address. Your premium is likely to change with your new postcode and if there is any change to your parking arrangements. You may also be charged for updating your existing policy so it’s worth shopping around for a cheaper quote before you commit to staying with your current car insurer.

9. DVLA

You need to update your driving licence and your Vehicle Registration Document. Failure to inform the DVLA with your change of address within a reasonable period of time can result in a £1,000 fine so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute!

10. Friends and Family

Finally, don’t forget those people closest to you! There’s no need to buy expensive “change of address” cards. Most people have access to the Internet so send an email, or you can find a good range of “change of address” e-cards online.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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What are the 10 things you need to know before you rent out your home?

4If you’re thinking of renting out your home, what are the things that you need to do before you put your property on the market? Right Estate Agents present you a list below about the most important ones.

 

  1. Make it safe. This means checking things such as the gas and electrics. If they are not safe, you’re not safe as you may be liable to prosecution. A letting agent can help by booking an engineer and will provide you with the relevant certificates if the appliances pass testing – such as a gas safety certificate.
  1. Make sure it is clean. Your definition of clean will be different to someone else’s. And clean in the property world means no trace of a human. This is important because if you hand it over to a new tenant in this condition, then you can insist it is returned to the same state.
  1. Present it to suit your market. For example, if you have a smarter property set in an area of professionals, then you are not going to attract the tenants if it looks like a student pad. Instead, you may end up alienating them instead.
  1. Speak to your lender. You will need consent to let your property if you have previously lived in it otherwise you could be breaking the terms of your mortgage agreement. You will already be covered if you have brought the property specifically as an investment with a buy-to-let mortgage.
  1. Make sure you have leaseholder consent. Your leaseholder may not allow you to rent out your property or they may charge you to obtain a licence.
  1. Notify your insurers. It is unlikely that they will continue to insure the property if you move out and a tenant moves in. You will probably need insurance specifically for landlords.
  1. Tenancy agreement. The most common is a shorthold tenancy agreement, but an alternative agreement may be required depending on the circumstances, such if you are doing a corporate let. These will be provided by your letting agent, who will ensure it up to date and relevant to your situation.
  1. A letting agent will also help to arrange your inventory. This needs to be as detailed as possible, possibly extending to more than a dozen pages. It needs to outline the decoration, style and cleanliness of the property. You may not think this is needed, particularly if you’re renting the property as unfurnished. But ask yourself how you’d feel if the tenant painted the property without asking you in a colour that left you having nightmares or removed the radiators without asking you. An independent inventory by a letting agent is your best evidence against this happening.
  1. Deposit. Your letting agent will let you know which deposit scheme you are using as there are quite a few to choose from. You will need to issue the certificate for that scheme to your tenants. Also give them the terms and conditions leaflet. You need to let them know where it is registered.
  1. Use a lettings agent to manage the on-going tenancy as well as for finding the tenant. They will know what laws you need to abide by, helping to ensure you have a hassle free let.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Paint or Wallpaper – What are the Pros and Cons When Decorating?

3The best thing about the walls in your home is that they can completely transform your space and style in a quick and easy way. Using paint or wallpaper, you can easily spice up a boring room just by changing up the colours and textures.


There are many different pros and cons when it comes to deciding whether to decorate your walls using paint or wallpaper, including the price, the level of difficulty and the versatility. So check out Right Estate Agents guide below before making your decision:

Kids and Pets

Believe it or not, this may be the best place to start when deciding between the two, as both can cause damage in a home and ultimately end up leaving marks on your walls. Many young children like to demonstrate their more artistic side by drawing on newly decorated walls, and muddy pets can often fall asleep against them leaving a dirty dog-shaped mark.

Paint is not very easy to clean once it is on your walls – you can of course re-paint over any marks and dirt, but that can be a bit of an effort to do regularly. If you want wallpaper, then it is best to choose a vinyl material, as it does not damage as easily as other materials and is also easier to clean.

Preparation

You need to take into account how long it will take to decorate using either paint or wallpaper, although starting from scratch on a bare wall means they may take around the same amount of time.

If you are going to be using wallpaper, you need to make sure the walls are completely clean, flat and undamaged before you start. When it comes to redecorating, wallpaper can be quite hard to get off as well, so this is something to consider. Paint usually takes a couple of coats and simply requires a level of primer underneath, and it also tends to be very easy to cover up.

Choice

If you are incredibly arty, then you can create whatever designs you want on your walls using paint, but for the majority of us any swirls and intricate detail can only be added with the use of wallpaper.

Paint comes in a huge selection of colours and finishes, but wallpaper can create a range of different surface and texture too. It comes down to a matter of preference, but if you are looking for a large stylish print, then you will almost certainly need to use pre-designed wallpaper.

Costs

Both wallpaper and paint come in a large range of prices, but in general wallpaper costs more. Paint requires very few supplies, whereas wallpaper will usually require the rolls, the paste to stick it to the walls with, and a table to prepare it on.

Many people will also hire a specialist to put wallpaper up as it can be quite tricky to do on your own, but if this is not the case then you could easily save some money by doing it yourself.

The Big Decision

Deciding between wallpaper and paint is really a decision that needs to be made based on a range of factors including those above. The great thing about walls is that they provide you with a great decorating canvas and are easily changed and customisable.

Whether you choose to go with the easy option of paint, or the more customisable option of wallpaper, both are sure to give your room a splash of colour and transform your interior design. If you fancy a bit of both, then there is always the option of paintable wallpaper – this provides you with a way to create a painted but textured effect and have the best of both worlds.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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5 handy tips to help renovate a bathroom on a budget

2The bathroom can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate in a property, but it is also one of the rooms that yield the greatest return on investment. You may consider renovating your bathroom for a number of reasons, maybe you want to sell your home and realise you will get a better price if you renovate your bathroom, or you may want to buy a home but the bathroom is outdated and tired looking.

Renovating your bathroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in this article Right Estate Agents will provide you with a number of tips that will help you to renovate your bathroom on a tight budget.

Refurbish bathroom cabinets rather than replace them

If your current bathroom cabinets are damaged or looking tired, sand the wood down and then stain it. Alternatively you could sand the cabinet and repaint it a colour that matches the rest of the bathroom. White is usually the best colour choice for a bathroom cabinet, but if you want to create a quirky look, go ahead and use a bolder colour. Before painting or staining your cabinets, make sure you fix any dents or broken parts. Dents can often be fixed by the simple use of wood putty, which is then painted over.

Use paint rather than wall tiles

If your walls are looking tired and your budget can’t stretch to wall tiles, don’t panic, you can make a huge difference to the appearance of your bathroom by painting the walls. It’s surprising how much a fresh coat of paint transforms a bathroom. If your walls are wallpapered, use a steamer to remove the wallpaper, these aren’t too expensive to buy, or can be rented for a small charge. Before painting the wall, be sure to remove all lumpy and dirty areas by lightly sanding over them and then giving them a quick clean. Painting your walls can turn the most expensive part of a bathroom renovation, into the cheapest.

Compliment your existing bathroom with new accessories

It’s surprising how much of a difference new accessories can make to the look and feel of a bathroom. Replace your curtains, rugs, and shower curtains with fresh alternatives. This doesn’t have to be expensive, you can purchase the accessories separately, make sure they match though. Adding art work or pictures to the walls can make a difference (but be careful not to overdo it). New accessories can give your bathroom a new look even if you don’t replace or refurbish the walls, cabinet or flooring.

Fix your floor tiles or replace them with antislip alternatives

Tired looking, broken or cracked tiles can really affect the look of a bathroom. It is one of the first things that people notice about a bathroom and it says a great deal about the overall maintenance of a home. If your tiles are in a fixable state, fix them and you will be amazed by the difference it makes to your bathroom. If the floor tiles are too damaged to fix, it’s definitely worth replacing them, there are some fantastic flooring tiles available for bathrooms at the moment.

The antislip tile range from Direct Tile Warehouse  is a prime example of how cost effective flooring can be aesthetic yet practical. Moroccan floor tiles are another popular choice of flooring for bathrooms and have become synonymous with contemporary bathroom decor. Tiling a bathroom floor is a complex task and not something that should be rushed, so it’s important to have patience and place extra emphasis on accuracy.

Replace lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures are an integral part of a bathrooms appearance and usability. Old lighting fixtures can really get a bathroom down at times. Consider replacing your tired lighting with new lighting fixtures, this is a quick fix that can make a considerable difference. Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives, it may not save you a huge amount initially, but in the long run it will be worth it. It’s recommended that you shop for lighting fixtures in person, as bathroom light fixtures can look a lot different in a picture.

If you would like some assistance to sell or let your property, please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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The Basics About Renting

BlogThese days, an increasing number of people are renting and the quality and range of rented accommodation is better than ever.

Renting is usually cheaper than owning and bills are more predictable too, which is great news for those who prefer stable finances. And with fewer outgoings, you can save more.

Renting offers more flexibility than owning – you can move somewhere else relatively quickly – useful if you plan to move for a new job or are going away to study. Also, it’s less hassle than being an owner as you won’t need to pay for property maintenance – most of that will be done for you.

What type of property should I look for?

First of all, think carefully about the type of property you’d like to rent and which best suits your lifestyle.

For example, if you are only there during the week, a small place might do just fine. If security is important, then a ground floor flat may be out. If you have a car, then a parking space is a must.

Do you want furnished or unfurnished accommodation or would something that’s just part-furnished be okay? Often it doesn’t make much difference to the rent.

If it’s furnished and you are sharing with others, do you trust them to look after the furniture – because you may lose some or all of your deposit to pay for damage even if they are responsible for it?

Other key questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is a purpose built shower essential or can you make do with a shower attachment in the bath?
  2. What facilities are there for washing and drying clothes?
  3. Does the property have all the appliances you need?
  4. Do you need a garden?
  5. Are you prepared to share with someone else – if so, could you share with a live-in landlord?

Where should I look?

It can be difficult to find good property to rent. Sifting through adverts in newspapers is hard work and the time from print to publication often means that by the time you see the ad, the property has long since been rented to someone else.

If you are prepared to share, you may be lucky and know someone who is looking for a flatmate. If your workplace has an intranet site, find out if it has a section that lists properties for rent. Many universities and colleges have an accommodation office, so if you are a student, find out what yours has to offer.

Another great place to look is the internet! There are many different portals, most of which you can register your requirements on and receive updates of the properties that gets put on the market, like Rightmove and Zoopla.

These days, an increasing number of people are renting and the quality and range of rented accommodation is better than ever.

Renting is usually cheaper than owning and bills are more predictable too, which is great news for those who prefer stable finances. And with fewer outgoings, you can save more.

Renting offers more flexibility than owning – you can move somewhere else relatively quickly – useful if you plan to move for a new job or are going away to study. Also, it’s less hassle than being an owner as you won’t need to pay for property maintenance – most of that will be done for you.

What type of property should I look for?

First of all, think carefully about the type of property you’d like to rent and which best suits your lifestyle.

For example, if you are only there during the week, a small place might do just fine. If security is important, then a ground floor flat may be out. If you have a car, then a parking space is a must.

Do you want furnished or unfurnished accommodation or would something that’s just part-furnished be okay? Often it doesn’t make much difference to the rent.

If it’s furnished and you are sharing with others, do you trust them to look after the furniture – because you may lose some or all of your deposit to pay for damage even if they are responsible for it?

Other key questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is a purpose built shower essential or can you make do with a shower attachment in the bath?
  2. What facilities are there for washing and drying clothes?
  3. Does the property have all the appliances you need?
  4. Do you need a garden?
  5. Are you prepared to share with someone else – if so, could you share with a live-in landlord?

Where should I look?

It can be difficult to find good property to rent. Sifting through adverts in newspapers is hard work and the time from print to publication often means that by the time you see the ad, the property has long since been rented to someone else.

If you are prepared to share, you may be lucky and know someone who is looking for a flatmate. If your workplace has an intranet site, find out if it has a section that lists properties for rent. Many universities and colleges have an accommodation office, so if you are a student, find out what yours has to offer.

Another great place to look is the internet! There are many different portals, most of which you can register your requirements on and receive updates of the properties that gets put on the market, like Rightmove and Zoopla.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents 01367 520555 or visit our website.

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Landlord Law – Paying Tax

 

  • BlogAre you a landlord?
  • Are you paying tax?

Amazingly it seems that vast numbers of landlords are receiving rent and not paying tax on it. For example, this report in the Guardian says that about one-half of landlords in Newham are not paying tax.

Now I don’t know about you, but I pay my tax. And being someone who pays her tax (sometimes with difficulty) I am not particularly happy about people not paying tax!

It may be I suppose that many landlords genuinely believe that their rent is not taxable (tip – it is). Although I think it is more likely that they are being ‘knowingly innocent’ and chancing their luck.

Well, if so they ought to take warning that their luck is likely to run out any time soon.

A warning to defaulting landlords

HMCR is actively hunting out landlords who don’t pay tax and cross referencing the various databases available to them.

These include Local Authority licensing schemes and tenancy deposit scheme databases. If you appear on one of these but do not appear to be paying tax on rent they will shortly be knocking on your door.

When this happens landlords will get a nasty shock. Not only will they have to pay tax on rental income for the past 20 years, they may also have to pay a penalty of up to 100% of that tax. Plus they may be the subject of a criminal investigation.

Not something you will want. However, it does not have to be like that.

The Let Property Campaign

There is a way you can disclose your earnings to HMRC now and get off considerably more lightly. This is via HMRC’s Let Property Campaign.

If you voluntarily contact HMRC under this scheme

  • You will pay a lower penalty — or in some cases, you may not have to pay any penalty at all
  • HMRC  may not  go back the whole 20 years
  • You will be given time to pay
  • You won’t be prosecuted (save in exceptional cases)

However, if you wait until they catch you they will have no sympathy on you and you will end up paying a lot more money.

Be warned!

This Blog was written by Landlord Law, find more of their blogs on their website.

You can read more about the Let Property Campaign here.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 01367 520555 or visit our website.

Questions to ask when Buying

BlogOf course, first impressions count when you’re buying a new home or moving house. You’re picturing how you’ll furnish each room, which shades of paint will create that cosy atmosphere for you to call “home” and mapping out where you’ll place all your bits and bobs. But, personal touches aside, it’s not always easy to see, or know, what might need fixing until you move in which makes the prospect of moving house seem a little daunting, to say the least.

 

The AA’s handy homebuyers checklist will keep you aware of what to look for when looking at a property, and it may even help you when agreeing a price.

What to do when buying a house?

Once you’ve saved up for your deposit and stamp duty, and spoken to your broker or bank about how much you can borrow, you’re ready for the exciting bit. There’s many things to do, see, check and follow up on but it’ll all be worth it once you find your dream home. If you’re lucky enough to have already found a suitable property, it’s worth getting a house survey report done.

Why is a homebuyer’s checklist useful?

When you’re viewing a potential new home your imagination might be running wild with things you want to add. A brand new kitchen, a cosy fireplace in the living room, maybe a built-in sound system if you’re really lucky? But, even if the property looks great, there might be less obvious things you need to check for and ask about. Using a homebuyer’s property checklist can help highlight any work that needs to be done when you move in, and help avoid unexpected bills for emergency repairs. It gives you practical advice on what to look for in the following key areas:But even if the property looks great on the initial visit, there may be things you missed.

  • Central heating and radiators
  • Electrics and alarms
  • Roofs and attics
  • Household pests
  • Walls, floors, windows and doors
  • Drains
  • Damp
  • Exterior and gardens

New build vs old house?

Apart from how they look, older buildings and new builds should be treated in the same way. During the home buying process, it’s worth knowing that newer builds tend to have better energy efficiency standards and there’s often less to repair, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still check everything with a fine-toothed comb as it may affect your insurance.

 When purchasing a new build, you should check with the building developers about the materials used, as these will usually be asked in your buildings insurance application process. For example, many new build houses are timber framed rather than bricks and mortar. They might have bricks on the outside, but the timber frames mean they are classed as non-standard constructions. This will need to be declared to your insurer so it’s important to know what materials are being used – in addition to which locks will be used on the property.

 Likewise, when buying an older property, make sure you know what materials have been used and whether any work has been done to the property. If it’s a listed building, make sure you understand the restrictions.

What other checks should I do?

Your potential new house is more than just four walls, bricks and mortar. There’s some extra things to remember when viewing a potential home.

 Double check how much council tax is for the area – you can do this by finding out the postcode and going to the government’s council tax band page. Also ask if the property is freehold or leasehold, if it’s leasehold, ask about the annual ground rent.

 It’s also worth looking at the surroundings outside. Everything may look great inside but you’ll need to check for things like missing tiles and the state of guttering and the brickwork. Look at the state of other properties in the area too. Whilst on the outside, also look into whether your property has an allocated parking space and/or if there are any parking restrictions in the area.

 If you have time, check out the neighbourhood to get a feel for local area and the people you might be living near. Visit at different times of the day and pop into local shops, public spaces and schools, if you have children.

 Ask as many questions as possible. The estate agent is there to help you. Any doubts you have can be answered there and then. It’s better to ask an obvious question early on than to find out when it’s too late.

Should I get buildings insurance for my new home?

Yes, you should. It’s important to take out buildings insurance as soon as you have agreed and exchanged the contracts. It’s at this point that the house becomes your sole responsibility and having building insurance means you’re covered if anything happens to it before you move in. Buildings insurance should be part of your moving house to-do list as it protects you against the cost of repairing damage caused by:

  • Subsidence
  • Collisions involving vehicles, airplanes, trees and lamp posts
  • Frozen and burst pipes
  • Vandalism and burglaries
  • Fires, storms, explosions, floods and earthquakes

Sorting out home insurance when buying a house

Whether it’s your first day or last day in your home, you still need to make sure you’re covered. Here’s what to do about home insurance when you’re moving.

Already insured

  • Let your insurer know about your change of address.
  • Leave plenty of time, so it can be done before the day contracts are exchanged. If things don’t work out, this can always be changed back.
  • Confirm that your current house is still covered by the insurance until you leave.

Not insured

  • You’ll need the address of your new home, its market value and the value of possessions you will need to cover.
  • Contact insurers and find a policy that suits you, it should cover both buildings and contents.
  • Arrange a policy that starts the day you move in, so that you’re fully covered.

Even if you think you’ve done your homework on a property, our home buyers property checklist is a good way to check you’ve covered all bases.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Responsibilities as a Landlord

2As a Landlord, you will have a number of responsibilities. This guide goes through some of the responsibilities you will have.

 

 

Your legal responsibilities

There are around 150 laws now that apply to a landlord when they come to let a property. Here we highlight some of the key legal responsibilities that landlords must adhere to when letting their property.

Ensure the property stays in good condition

As the owner of the property, you are required to ensure the property stays in sound condition and take care of any building works that are required. This includes, but is not limited to, fixing any structural damage, roof repairs and maintaining any exterior paintwork.

Gas safety

Landlords are legally responsible for the gas safety of their properties. They must make sure gas equipment is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must also have a registered engineer do an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue (boiler or gas fire). The copy of the Gas Safety Record must be given to each of the ingoing tenants before they move in and for any subsequent renewals, within 28 days of certification. You should also keep records of the checks for a minimum of two years.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Since 1 October 2015, when properties are occupied by tenants, landlords must ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of the property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt (e.g. wood, coal or biomass). Checks must be made by the landlord (or letting agent) to make sure that each alarm is in proper working order on the first day of the tenancy. We recommend recording the alarm check in the inventory check-in report.

Right to Rent

Under the Immigration Act you are required to ensure that your tenant has a right to rent in the UK. To establish this, you will need to see a copy of their original ID (and visa if they need one to be in the UK) within 28 days of granting a tenancy. There are also ongoing checks that you will need to complete, either annually or on the expiration of the visa, whichever is longer.

How to Rent Booklet – For all tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015, all landlords in England must give their tenants the current version of the “How to Rent” booklet which is available on the gov.uk website.

Electricity

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property, and any electrical equipment provided, is safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration. They must ensure the electrical system (sockets, switches and light fittings) is safe and all appliances they supply are safe (e.g. cookers and kettles). Landlords should provide tenants with a record of any electrical inspections. Landlords are also responsible for communal areas of a house, block of flats, or estate that residents use in common with other tenants such as landings and kitchens.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

HMOs are usually properties in which unrelated people share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom. Large HMOs (of at least 3 floors and housing five or more people living as more than one household) need to be licensed. The landlord will need to contact their local council to apply. Licenses are generally valid for five years and landlords need a separate licence for each HMO they run.

Things to keep an eye on

In October, the UK Government published proposals to extend mandatory licensing of HMOs in England, removing the current three storey rule. The proposals also include a minimum room size and a requirement for landlords of shared homes to provide decent storage and rubbish disposal facilities. The person threshold of five people in two households will remain unchanged. The consultation ran until 13 December 2016.

Local Authorities are also able to apply Additional and Selective licensing schemes for other property sizes and types and each borough will have their own policy.  It is important therefore to check if you will need a licence before starting a tenancy.

When the Housing and Planning Act 2016 was passed in May the UK Government introduced an enabling power to set requirements for electrical safety standards in private rented sector houses in England. ARLA has been one of the organisations on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Working Group that has been tasked with shaping the proposals.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

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Making and Negotiating an Offer

blogOnce you have found the property of your dreams, the next step is to make an offer. It is important to consider a variety of factors when choosing your price level in order to achieve the right deal for you. Take a step back to logically look at all the things that matter before making your offer.

First time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers who have pre-arranged mortgages have a head start on most of the competition. If this is you, then make the agent and seller aware of this, as this can put you in a very favourable negotiating position, especially if the seller is in a chain. Be sure to check if they are in a hurry to sell or have been trying to sell for a long time. If so, they may be willing to accept a lower offer to make the sale. Sellers who are not in a hurry to move are more likely to hold out for a higher price.

Knowing your budget ceiling is crucial so decide your maximum limit from the start and stand firm. If the seller refuses to budge, you need to think very carefully if the property really is worth the extra money and of course, what you will have to live without over the long term. Do your homework and check what the property is truly worth. Whilst sold house prices can help give an idea of recent sales, it’s better to see what the competition is like now. If there are few similar properties for sale in the area, chances are the seller has the upper-hand. Also, if there are any faults or repair work required, use this to justify a lower offer. In tougher times when there are fewer buyers, sellers may be more willing to negotiate on price.

Once you make an offer make it clear that it’s subject to contract and a satisfactory survey. If you are buying from a developer, while selling an existing property, see if they will offer a part exchange to buy your existing house.

And good luck!

Offer accepted. What next?

Once the seller has accepted your offer, ask them to take it off the market. They don’t have to agree to this, but doing so will shut out other potential buyers. Now you need to move fast – the seller will want to see progress so try to avoid any unnecessary delays in getting the surveys and other legal work done. Complete the lender’s application form and send them the documents they require – this will include proof of your ID, evidence of your earnings, proof of your address over the last few months and your bank statements, so have these ready.

The lender will arrange for a valuation to be done on the property. If you are lucky enough to not need a mortgage, you don’t have to get a survey done, though buying a property without one is not advisable and risky. If you are buying an older property, one that needs repairs or just for your own peace of mind, you could consider getting a more detailed survey done than the basic lender’s valuation.

The lender will use the surveyor’s Valuation Report and other information you provided to calculate how much it will allow you to borrow by way of mortgage secured on the property.

If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.

 

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