Coastal cities often have plenty of cheap property. At the same time, rents are often relatively high. This may be because they often have young and transient populations who are keen to rent, but not to buy. Continue reading
There is nothing worse than finding out that one of your properties has become subject to a pest infestation, especially as it means that not only will you have to organise removing them but potentially also move your tenants out of the property until the pests are gone. Often pests can be dealt with easily, but there are ways to prevent them in the first place. Here we look at what you need to know about pests in your properties: Continue reading
Landlords are being warned that the HMRC are looking to crack down on those who don’t pay enough tax. It’s easy even for conscientious landlords to sometimes fail to pay their dues, especially as tax affairs can complex and difficult to manage. But with HMRC targeting landlords now is a good time to make sure you’re paying enough. Continue reading
It is standard for rental contracts to not allow tenants to have pets. It is obvious why: pets have claws which can damage furniture and decor, they have fur that can be almost impossible to clean away, and they can cause a nuisance to neighbours.
Most tenants understand why landlords are generally reluctant to take pets, but that does not mean that they are always willing to give up their furry friends when they move into a new rented property. The growing number of renters who have been forced out of home ownership may have had their well-loved pets for years. Finding that they cannot get a landlord who will allow them to have pets, they often decide that they will keep their pets regardless, and hope they don’t get found out.
Dealing with pets
Landlords who find that their tenants have been keeping pets against their contract terms are, of course, within their rights to evict. But with Britain being such a nation of pet-lovers, would it be better if landlords took a more flexible view of pets in their properties? Given the risk that tenants will move their pets in regardless, it can be best to allow pets, but only if certain conditions are met. There are ways for landlords to protect their homes against pet damage.
-Talk to the tenants’ previous landlord before you let – ask for a reference for their pet, as well as for them.
-Consider the type and number of pets: a single cat or small dog is much less likely to cause problems than several cats or a couple of big dogs.
-Ask for an extra deposit to cover any damage caused by the pets.
-Carry out regular inspections to check for damage. If there is any, ask tenants to make it good themselves or you may have to go through your landlords insurance.
-Impose extra conditions on the tenancy: for example, pets to be kept in at night, or tenants to redecorate at the end of the tenancy.
Landlords who do allow pets may find that they reap rewards. Tenants who may have spent several frustrating weeks looking for a landlord who will allow them to keep their pets are likely to want to stay put for a long time rather than repeat the process.
The UK property rental market is one of the country’s biggest. Many of us will spend most of the wealth accumulated in our life time on either a mortgage, rent or home improvements of some kind. This is however proving to be a lucrative market for scammers and con-men who are using fake identities to coax landlords into providing them with housing.
Identity fraud is a staple for a scammer. False papers can be provided to check references and fake deposits paid in. By the time the landlord has realised that the check has not gone through, the tenant is securely housed and cannot be moved easily. Eviction takes a number of months and can mean that tenants are being housed for free, they may also damage the house or steal electrical items, furniture and so on.
How to spot a scammer
The deposit bouncing is the first sign that your tenant may not be genuine. Ensure that a deposit has gone through before handing the keys over. Check references in depth, and question in detail various aspects. Talking to a tenant normally is also a good way to determine whether their intentions are honourable. If a tenant is uneasy, not willing to talk about their personal life or willing to go in depth on any matter, it could be suspicious.
Very few will have enough in the bank to keep on going without rental income coming through, so ensure you have landlords insurance in place. You will need the funds coming through if you are being conned, not only so that you can reclaim losses, but also so that you can put your efforts towards removing the tenant. Tell the police if you’ve been conned, as for many of these criminals it won’t have been their first time, and it won’t be their last.
Whilst in the UK, the risk of being a victim of fraud is comparatively minimal; however you don’t want to be complacent. Check all the references check the details and if you have an uneasy feeling, it may be best to follow your instinct. Being defrauded in this way is costly as well as emotionally damaging.
When you think of empty houses, you immediately think of problems regarding squatters and others trespassing on your property. Whilst certain landlords insurance policies may cover these eventualities, you may not always be fully protected , especially from the social repercussions which are generated by partially vacant neighbourhoods.
Inflexible Contracts and High Rent
The reality of the situation is that, whilst the solution to empty homes is to get people in them, many simply won’t due to the extortionate rent prices as well as inflexible contracts demanded by certain landlords. Whilst renting out in an HMO may prove to be a temporary solution, it is simply not feasible for a family. As such, there certain areas of the UK which are experiencing high vacancy rates which, if the situation is bad enough to have social consequences, could bring yield levels down in the long term.
The Vicious Reference Cycle
Some tenants are stuck in a position where they have received one negative reference, and as such, are unlikely to pass any reference checks in the future. Very few landlords will be willing to take the risk of taking on such a tenant when they can in fact much more easily get a low-risk tenant. A system needs to be implemented however, to better understand why a poor reference has been given. Is it the nature of the tenant? Is it their circumstances at that particular point in time? Many more questions need to be asked to clarify the matter.
Letting to the Council
In North Devon, there has been set up a new scheme whereby landlords can let their properties to the council, who then fill the properties with social tenants. This is set to give landlords a good rental income over a guaranteed period of time whilst ensuring that when the property finally becomes empty, it is the landlord’s property. This scheme should help those landlords who have previously been unsuccessful in renting out their properties.
The situation is complex, and although it is essential for social (and financial) reasons for properties to be rented out and whilst some landlords are guilty of over-charging, responsibility should lie with local government too.
Many of us dream of owning a property outside of the UK after having had a taste of life abroad. Whether it’s a family trip to the Algarve or a romantic holiday in Dubrovnik, the thought of having an abode outside the rainy British Isles is quite appealing. It is easy though, for sentimentality to get in the way of a good purchase. Sentimentality can add value which would otherwise be absent in the market in question, something which is often exploited.
Most Brits choose to purchase in resorts, as there can be great deals available and numerous benefits including shared swimming pools, competitive utility prices, a sense of community and so on. If you’re going to be using the property, you may want to calculate how much you would spend on a villa hire over several years of holiday, and see if it’s worth buying outright. You may find that it’s worth it, and you can sell the property if you need to – you can’t sell a holiday you’ve just had.
Managing an overseas property can be a challenge, however you can find overseas management companies who tend to charge around 8% of rent income, as well as a portion which should be used for overseas property insurance. This may prove worthwhile though as managing your property remotely can be costly and time consuming.
Choose a lucrative location
Make sure that you choose a popular location, or you won’t get any tenants, certainly not at the right price, at any rate. Whilst the idea of purchasing a property in the middle of the Sahara may be your dream, others may not share your enthusiasm. To get the best estimate of value for money however, you must calculate it from the point of view of the property being a normal investment, as well as value added through your use of the property (hence subtracting holiday rental costs).
If you’re looking to get your perfect house, and you think you’ve found the one, how do you get it for the best price possible? The current housing market is somewhat unpredictable, but as it gets better and house prices start to rise again, negotiating the right price for a property becomes harder. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your money.
5. Clearly define your limits
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you should know your limits. If you are selling, you need to clearly define to yourself from the outset, how far you are willing to go to let your property go. If you are a buyer, make sure you don’t overdo it and set a glass ceiling.
4. Talk to an estate agent
It would be worth talking to estate agents to try and find out whether offers have been made on the property concerned. Also enquire as to whether there are any flaws with the property, things such as subsidence etc. There is a legal obligation for such things to be made transparent and that the buyer be told of any flaws. If you do not do this, you may well invalidate any property insurance policies you may have, which may be very costly.
3. Build a relationship
It should be obvious, but things always run much more smoothly when personal relationships are good. The more you endear yourself to the person in question, the less likely they will be to try and mess you around.
2. Don’t be Naïve
Whilst the former is true, ensure that you don’t get roped into a bad deal. At the end of the day, if the money’s not right, the deal won’t be. Be wary of people trying to scam you and be cautious. Whilst many people will be honest and abide by the rules, you may get unlucky.
1. Communication is paramount
If you start to stop receiving news, it is most likely a bad sign, and that you are going to lose out on your deal. Keep regular contact and make sure that you are in charge of the transaction, not your solicitor. Don’t forget, you are probably not the only one interested in the property so you have to keep your wits about you.
It’s a phenomenon that many of us will have considered, but few have actually had this happen to them. Many months of unpaid bills; letters from water companies, then suddenly a call from your tenants saying they have no water. Having your water cut off can be more than just a nuisance. What can you do to rectify the situation where tenants are not paying their bills?
Talk to the company
Landlords can have more influence and indeed more success talking to utility companies than tenants. Writing to them explaining a situation, giving assurances that bills will be paid and so on, will go some way to getting your services switched back on. You don’t want to be having to ring or spending time writing to utility companies, so firstly make it clear to your tenants that it is paramount they pay the bills.
Security deposits can be used as a means of paying unpaid bills, however the deposit may not cover the whole amount due. If this happens, you have a bit of a problem, as you can’t leave your tenants without electricity or water. You may need to pay the difference yourself and make a claim on your landlord insurance at a later date.
The last resort
If the problem persists, it may be an indication of financial difficulty which may well prove problematic for your rental payments in the future. You may want to proceed with the last resort – eviction, before searching for new tenants. Make sure you get utility companies to forward letters to you as well as your tenants so that you can keep an eye on the situation and avert any problems if needs be.
We know that adding value to your home is best done by adding floor space via conversions, but how is your home devalued most. Where should you spend that cash to make sure you don’t lose out on a best price? These are the top five ways to not splash your cash meaninglessly, instead, tastefully adding value to your home. Remember, not everyone will have the same tastes as you. For certain repair work, you may be eligible to claim for property insurance too.
5. External Paint
A bad paint job is up there in deterring house buyers. Having flakey paint is likely to leave any buyers under the impression that if you can’t look after the outside of your house, the inside isn’t going to be much better. The buck doesn’t stop there though. Even if you’ve just painted your house, painting it the wrong colour will likely offend any potential buyers. Try and stick to neutral colours if possible.
4. Distasteful Interior Aesthetics
Once you manage to get a buyer into the house, you can’t slip up on interior aesthetics. Anything over done, too brightly coloured, ageing, badly colour coordinated, from the 1980’s or any sort of strange textured wallpaper is a definite no no. Keep it inviting and not too lived in.
3. Disrepair/ Unfinished repairs
Getting this wrong is going to certainly put off potential buyers. Leaving serious repairs on show will put off most people. We’re talking heating, exposed plumbing, structural repairs, bad DIY work and even mould problems. It may cost you a few thousand to repair, but you can be guaranteed to lose a lot more than that in price offers if you don’t keep your property in good repair for viewings.
2. The Kitchen
Now we’re not saying remove the kitchen. That would be ridiculous. We’re talking kitchen’s that you’ve built to your own specification, kitchens which are slightly unique and even kitchens which are too high-spec. Kitchens are one of the most carefully analysed parts of the house. To get this room could mean you’re losing or even wasting your money. Don’t assume everyone has the same tastes as you do and whatever you do don’t splash out on an expensive kitchen as you may not see a return. Quality components can add value but what we’re saying is, don’t go overboard. Oh and, make sure it’s clean, free of marks and in good repair.
1. An overdone bathroom
Keep it simple. Much along the same lines as the kitchen, bathrooms are carefully looked at by prospective buyers and overdoing your bathroom can be problematic. You want to make sure your bathroom is neutral and not to gaudy. Make sure your bathroom is in good nick and you may want to invest in new flooring, tiles or a thorough tile re-grouting. Avoid Vinyl or Carpet in the bathroom (as with the kitchen) and stick to tiles or even a wood floor (depending on your property). Again, make sure its spotless.