Oct 18

Overseas property expert Simon Conn has seen an increase in the number of buyers not carrying out proper checks before signing on the dotted line and has put together a list of the 20 top issues to look out for.

With the overseas property market becoming more complicated and competitive, prospective buyers are being urged to undertake thorough research before committing to a sale abroad.

1: Ask questions about where a property has been built: For example, if it has been built on an area that should have been set aside for green belt or agricultural land, then the chances are there is a risk.



We offer all customers a free house valuation Kent service. We offer free, no-obligation quotes and guarantee that all valuations are accurate, the current market price, and which will get you the most profit for your property

To learn more about our free house valuation in Kent service, then please do give us a call or drop us an email today! Alternatively, you can fill out our online property valuation form and one of our property managers will soon be in touch.

Oct 18

Interesting article that came across my desk the other day that I wanted to share!

Although it may seem somewhat self-explanatory at first glance, behaving in a tenant-like manner could really mean anything and would, therefore, be open to interpretation without solid guidelines behind it. Thankfully, such guidelines exist, and in this post we’ll explore exactly what behaving in a tenant-like manner actually means so you’ll know exactly what your responsibilities are.

What are the origins of the phrase, “tenant-like manner”?


Oct 18

Halifax has reported that house price growth between July and September was 1.8% higher than in the preceding three months, marking the third consecutive quarterly rise.

Halifax revealed that on a monthly basis, average house prices fell by 1.4% in September, the second consecutive fall for this measure.

Mortgage approvals showed a small rise in August. Bank of England industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages approved to finance house purchases – a leading indicator of completed house sales rose to 66,440 in August from 65,156 in July. The figure is very close to the 5 year average approval rate of 66,550, but is 2,000 above the monthly average for the previous 12 month period of 64,638.

The number of completed UK home sales remains near the monthly average for the past 12 months. On a monthly basis, sales rose between July and August to 99,120. In the three months to August sales increased by 1.2% from the previous three months. The volume of residential transactions has been broadly flat over the past year and is likely to remain so in the coming months.

CLICK HERE to read full story

Oct 18

The latest research from Paragon has found that a third of landlords are less likely to buy property if three-year tenancies are made compulsory under new government proposals.

According to the report, 32% say they would be less likely to expand their portfolio further should government press ahead with compulsory or default three-year tenancies.

Paragon surveyed landlords on the issue to gain a deeper understanding of their views following the government’s recent consultation, ‘Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the PRS’.

Asked if the introduction of a compulsory three-year tenancy would make them more or less likely to consider certain tenant types, the highest proportion of landlords said they would be more likely to consider older couples (36%), retired people (29%), families (25%) and older singles (25%).

Interestingly, landlords felt a compulsory three-year agreement could potentially make them less likely to consider mobile and itinerant groups, including students (45%), migrant workers (40%) and young singles (24%).

Working in concert through the then Council of Mortgage Lenders to co-ordinate action across the lender community, significant change was achieved and today many of the biggest lenders in the buy-to-let sector support landlords offering tenancies up to three years in duration.

John Heron, Director of Mortgages at Paragon said: “Landlords are highlighting that the diversity of the tenant population calls for a diversity of tenancy arrangements. While some groups value greater security, many other tenants favour flexibility. Young professionals, for example, value the flexibility that the PRS brings to move to different areas and to different types or property.

In light of these findings, rather than impose longer-term tenancies as the primary or default arrangement in law, it may be preferable to bolster tenants’ rights to choose from a range of different tenancy lengths and boost incentives to landlords to enter long term arrangements where requested.”


Original Story CLICK HERE

Sep 18

Local authorities will collect a whopping £79million from 77,000 landlords this month as new licensing rules come into effect, This is Money can reveal.

HMO licensing - which stands for houses in multiple occupation - already applies to landlords who rent their properties to five or more tenants from two or more different households where the property is three or more storeys.

But from 1 October, any property let to five or more tenants from two or more households will be caught by the rules - regardless of the number of floors.

The changes to the law are set to affect over 160,000 properties in England and Wales, with 77,194 landlords being expected to apply for the new licence.

a large brick building with grass in front of a house: The changes to the licensing are set to affect over 160,000 properties, ran by 77,194 landlords© Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedThe changes to the licensing are set to affect over 160,000 properties, ran by 77,194 landlords
Research, commissioned by Currys PC World Business and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research exclusively for This is Money, has revealed that licence fees alone will hit English landlords with a bill for £1,027 each - £495 per property.

Local authorities can each stand to receive £243,070 on average from the fees.

Cebr also estimateslandlords will have to spend around three hours per property applying for licences, familiarising themselves with legislation and taking time out to facilitate property inspections.

On top if this, Government predicts that a total of 87,011 HMOs will be impacted by additional rules around waste disposal.

Overall, Cebr predicts the combined cost of time, licensing fees and complying with new bin rules will cost landlords a total £95million.

What is an HMO?

An HMO stands for a house in multiple occupation. It is any property let to five or more tenants who come from two or more different households and at the moment, licensing only applies where the property is three or more storeys.

Examples would be typical student housing and properties let to young professionals in city centres. HMOs are increasingly common as a buy-to-let investment for a few reasons.

Because the property is let to a number of different tenants, if one tenant falls behind on their rent, the landlord is usually still able to cover their mortgage payments from the rental income from the other tenants.

a group of people in a room: HMOs can be typical student houses and properties let to young professionals in city centres© Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedHMOs can be typical student houses and properties let to young professionals in city centres
Letting to multiple tenants on different tenancy agreements also means that landlords can generate higher rental incomes.

For example, letting a three-bed house to a family might generate £2,500 rent a month.

Letting the same property to three separate tenants might allow you to charge each one £1,000 a month, stepping up overall income to £3,000.

Following several changes to mortgage rules and tax treatment over the past few years, buy-to-let has become less profitable. Because this type of property offers higher returns, many landlords have sold out of lower profit properties and reinvested in HMOs.

Landlords breaking the rules could face a £30,000 fine, and may end up with a criminal record© Provided by Associated Newspapers LimitedLandlords breaking the rules could face a £30,000 fine, and may end up with a criminal record
What happens if a landlord doesn't comply?

Your local authority may decide to request details of room sizes that are used for sleeping accommodation as part of the application process - and they may also choose to inspect properties at their discretion.

If a landlord breaks these rules and is convicted, they are liable to an unlimited fine, or the local housing authority may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

The local housing authority must allow a 'reasonable period' of up to 18 months for any overcrowding problems to be solved once identified.


If it turns out you need a mandatory HMO licence, you'll need to apply to your local council.

They'll most likely want to see a floor plan, and you'll need to pay an application fee. These fees vary by council but are usually around £500 and last for five years.

Once you've submitted your application you will have to be vetted by the council before you receive your licence. Check with your local council to see what their specific rules are.

As with breaching the licence, failure to obtain one can result in prosecution, fines, and a criminal record - and you must apply by 1 October.

Sep 18

Newly released data from Foundation Home Loans has revealed that savvy landlords are switching to social media to screen tenants before letting them live in their property.

According to the findings, popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram could reveal valuable insight into how they would be as tenants and is the first port of call for an estimated 11% of landlords.


We offer all customers a free house valuation Kent service. We offer free, no-obligation quotes and guarantee that all valuations are accurate, the current market price, and which will get you the most profit for your property

To learn more about our free house valuation in Kent service, then please do give us a call or drop us an email today! Alternatively, you can fill out our online property valuation form and one of our property managers will soon be in touch.

Sep 18

Residential property is complex but fascinating. Here are 7 interesting facts on property that you may not have known!

1. Did you know that trespass is not just confined to people? If climbing plants such as ivy or wisteria extend into a neighbouring garden it is considered trespass and if damage is reported the home owner could be liable.

2. Movement due to the proximity of trees to a building is a common problem. A mature poplar can take up to 50,000 litres of water from the sub soil each year. The root radius of a tree is often equal to or greater than its height above ground level. In some cases, e.g. willow, poplar, elm the radius can be up to twice the height.

3. Did you know that it's possible to remove a chimney breast from a bedroom to make way for a fitted wardrobe, for example, and leave the chimney stack above? But you can’t just leave it hanging there – it will need to be properly supported, usually with a substantial concrete or steel lintel.

4. Efflorescence is a common sight in new brickwork. It’s caused by soluble salts in solution being brought to the surface as waste in the wall dries out. It is usually a harmless, temporary problem often occurring in spring following a wet winter. The main concern is the unsightly appearance caused by the white staining that it produces. Persistent efflorescence may indicate a design or construction fault.


5. The problem with wood worm is that it can fly! Woodworm isn’t a worm at all, rather it is the larva stage of the common furniture beetle. The female beetle starts the life cycle process by laying eggs directly into the timber through cracks, crevices and existing flight holes. The larval stage can last up to 5 years. The holes associated with woodworm are the flight holes of the emerging adult beetles.

6. If a chimney was built before 1965 the construction would have been controlled by local bye-laws. It was only with the 1965 Building Regulations that there was a requirement for all chimney flues to be built with liners. That is not to say older chimneys would have been unlined – often the flues were rendered with a lime render – but the approach was not consistent.

7. Radon gas is a radioactive gas, but you can't see, smell or taste it! Because it is radioactive, it has considerable implications for people’s health. It originates from the rocks and soil found everywhere in the UK. The radon level in the air we breathe outside is very low but can be higher inside buildings because it can accumulate in confined spaces. Public Health England has produced a map showing the areas where there is a greater risk of radon gas.

Sep 18

Opting to give up the comfort and security of the nine-to-five job, to dedicate your working life to being a landlord, is a big decision - and not one that should be taken lightly.

We’ve put together a guide to the basics, designed simply as a kicking-off point and something to inspire further reading and research…
Do your sums!


Sep 18

Solicitors have hit out at online agents as causing delays in transactions.

At a recent round table event, one solicitor said they were a cause for concern.

She said: “There’s no after-care service, they’re not project managing the team, they’re not making sure mortgage offers have gone out, that surveys are done.

“We’re all having to chase things like that now, whereas that was always the role of the estate agent.

“So if you’ve got an unsophisticated buyer who doesn’t know when they mean to be doing this and nobody’s telling them they need to do it, delays occur and deals fall through.

“I was six weeks into a transaction and we found out that the buyer at the bottom hadn’t even applied for their mortgage offer because nobody had told them they needed to do it.”

Residential property transactions are, however, generally taking much longer and the length of time between offer and completion is often “eye-watering”.

Solicitors are also reporting that what was a rarity – transactions falling through between exchange and completion – is now becoming commonplace.

At the round table organised by the Law Society Gazette, one lawyer said she had seen several transactions fall out of bed between exchange and completion.

Farrer & Co partner Laura Conduit said: “We’ve exchanged contracts and, for whatever reason, the money isn’t there on the completion date.

“We serve notice to complete, the money still isn’t there and we’ve rescinded contracts.”

Stephen Ward, of the Council for Licensed Contractors, said he has seen cases, adding: “Something else we’ve noticed is the greater time it is taking to get from offer to completion . . . extending out to quite eye-watering lengths.”

Attendees at the round table reported that many transactions are taking eight to ten months from offer to completion, with buyers calling the shots.

At the round table, there was also criticism of estate agents, with one solicitor describing it as “galling” that they receive “ten times a solicitor’s fee for less work”.

Another said that estate agents tend to present conveyancing “as a nasty technicality you have to get over so that you can have your housewarming party, rather than . . . extremely valuable professional due diligence”.

As such, consumers are motivated by price rather than quality – with concerns expressed that once law firms have to publish price information on their websites, consumers will focus even more on price rather than service.


Full Article here;