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Condensation, the Landlord’s Curse...

VIEWPOINT:

It’s that time of year again, a time when tenants are most likely to complain about the mould appearing in those corners of the property where the walls and ceilings are really cold, and hot air with moisture always rises to the top. If it’s black mould at the top of walls, you can bet your bottom dollar its condensation and not just damp.

As winter approaches outside temperatures drop and this perennial landlord’s problem of winter condensation and black mould rear their ugly heads yet again. I say yet again, because once the mould spores are there, they will keep re-occurring when the conditions are right.

The big question is, how do you know if this is caused by the building itself or the tenant’s lifestyle, or is it a combination of these two? At the risk of repeating myself I’m re-stating a lot of what I’ve said before, but as a long-term landlord I think I’ve seen enough of this to become something of an expert and it’s become a pet subject of mine.

Dampness or condensation symptoms are very similar but the cures are very different, and to the uninitiated applying the wrong methods can be both expensive and ineffective.

When tenants start to complain about “damp” to their letting agents and landlords, you need to have some answers.

• What causes condensation?

• Is it the same as dampness?

• Why is it that some tenants have condensation problems, while others don’t, even in the same property?

• Why is it that the condensation problem is more prevalent in rented properties?

• Why are older properties affected more than modern ones?

• What effective measures can be taken to solve this problem?

• What can landlords...

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Last push needed to fight devastating tax changes

Calls for new Chancellor Philip Hammond to ditch the mortgage interest relief changes proposed by George Osborne have intensified ahead of next month’s Autumn Statement.

The RLA is asking members for one last push to let MPs and Ministers know the devastating impact these changes will have on them – and their tenants.

The legal bid to force a judicial review of the Government’s controversial MIR – or Tenant Tax - plans failed at the High Court.

But while this was a huge disappointment all is not lost. The RLA is continuing its high level political lobbying to persuade the Chancellor to rethink plans to stop buy-to-let finance costs being a legitimate business expense.

The RLA has been campaigning since the proposals were first announced in 2015. Representatives...

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Tenants trashed my home, but no-one believes me

When tenants hand in their notice, less interested landlords strap themselves in for the inescapable deposit dispute. Proactive landlords will be comfortable, knowing how to safeguard themselves and their property from the start of a tenancy agreement.

Where we fail

Most landlords are aware of the gaping grey area that sits between a check-in and check-out inventory. Fair “wear and tear” can often be badly defined and therefore leaves certain classifications of damage open to debate.

Cleanliness now accounts for 53% of all deposit disputes, which has increased by 13% in the last three years. The key is to raise observations around cleanliness during the check-in inventory, writing that you expect your property to be in top condition when the tenant checks-out. It’s also important to raise any concerns during periodic property inspections throughout the tenancy.

It’s equally difficult to prove if damage such as blocked drains and wall plaster chips are down to negligence and not legacy issues from before the tenancy began. Again, the only way to counteract this argument is to identify these issues in writing from the outset.

For example,...

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What does Heathrow expansion mean for property?

Expanding airport capacity in the UK has been a hot topic for years. The South East of England has taken the limelight in the political debate, as Gatwick and Heathrow became the top contenders for expansion proposals. For big business, Heathrow has always been the preferred option. However, it has also attracted the most criticism from both Tory MPS and local residents alike, claiming that the expansion would increase noise pollution due to low flying aircraft over nearby schools.

Despite the opposition, Theresa May’s government ministers approved the long-awaited decision at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday 25th October 2016. Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, described the decision as “truly momentous”, indicating that the expansion would improve both trade and jobs. But what do the proposed expansion plans mean for property?

Due to delays in decision-making, the construction work is not likely to begin until at least 2020. This means that Heathrow’s third...

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Property Portfolio Management Software: Your Unfair Advantage

Work in the property sector moves fast. This frenetic pace requires property sector businesses to always be on top of all aspects of their work.

That’s where property portfolio management software comes in. Managing agents, surveyors and property syndicate managers can use property portfolio management software to reduce their workload. It saves time by streamlining their day-to-day tasks. This allows them to spend more time driving their business forward, giving savvy landlords an unfair advantage over the competition.

Managing the Stress of the Property Management Sector

Property professionals are under a huge amount of stress. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 54% of property professionals are close to burnout. The same report found that property professionals are even more stressed than those working in finance.

Part of the stress...

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Fire Safety Tips For Landlords

Being a landlord is a lot more than just collecting the rent every month, as I’m sure you already know. There are many responsibilities which go hand-in-hand.

There are lots of rules and regulations which are in place to protect your investment, but more importantly, they also help to keep your tenants as safe as possible.

A responsible landlord who fulfils all their obligations can sleep easy at night, knowing they have everything covered.

People living in rented accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire than those living in homes they own.

Thankfully, in England and Wales, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is in place to keep everyone safe. And likewise, Scotland enforces the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and in Northern Ireland The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

In all honesty, they’re a bit complicated. It can be really hard trying to get your head around things and staying on top of everything. So to help you out, Fire Protection Online has put together some tips to make it a little easier.

Detecting A Threat

Everyone is aware of how vital smoke alarms are in keeping people safe. After...

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LendInvest Property Development Academy

New dates added to the schedule for the LendInvest Property Development Academy after overwhelming demand by applicants, The 20 & 21 January 2017 dates have been confirmed for a second course.

Interest in the first course, to be held in the second week of November in central London, has been enormous with 200 applicants for the 25 slots available.

As a result of the sheer level of demand, LendInvest has released dates for a second London course to accommodate some of the applicants who could not be included in the first Academy course. This second course takes place in the third week of January 2017. LendInvest will announce further course dates in London and other UK cities in early 2017.

In September 2016, LendInvest launched the LendInvest Property Development Academy...

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Eviction Expert Paul Shamplina


Do you have a Nightmare Tenant?

Would you like to expose them on National TV?

Eviction Expert Paul Shamplina founder of Landlord Action can help with this.

Channel 5 are currently filming a third series of Nightmare Tenants Slum landlords and we are looking for current eviction cases.

Please email: here

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RLA


Editorial - October 2016

It’s that time of year again. The nights draw in and with the colder weather the dreaded condensation and mould create problems for landlords. Our lead article spells out the problem, its causes and how you should deal with it. It’s a good insight into this perennial problem based on many years’ experience of dealing with this.

The RLA are calling on the new Chancellor Philip Hammond to ditch the mortgage interest relief changes proposed by George Osborne in a “last big push” attempt to change the law ahead of next month’s Autumn Statement. The RLA is asking members to let MPs and Ministers know the devastating impact these changes will have on landlords – and their tenants.

The courageous legal bid to force a judicial review of the Government’s controversial mortgage interest relief – or Tenant Tax as the RLA have dubbed it - plans failed at the High Court. But while this was a huge disappointment all is not lost say the RLA. They are continuing with high level political lobbying to persuade the Chancellor to rethink his plans to stop buy-to-let finance costs being a legitimate business expense - see the full article in this issue.

Richard Bowser of Property Investor News has been talking to a landlord who has come up with an innovative way of avoiding tenant problems, after some bad experiences he had. Being a landlord is not a “bed of roses” as we all know, especially if you are dealing with social housing tenants, but it’s not all bad news according to this story.

Mr Bowser says that Shelter draws attention through the national...

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Get £40 for 45 minutes


Get £40 for taking part in user research

Calling Landlords! We want to speak to you about managing multiple properties for an exciting idea we're developing. The interviews will last 45 minutes and we'll give you a £45 Amazon voucher in return.

You'll need to attend a short interview at our offices in central Manchester or elsewhere in the North West (we're flexible!)

Interviews slots are on Thursday Nov 3rd. If you're interested, please complete this questionnaire and let us know a time that suits you.

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Elfin Kitchens


Book Review - Repairs, tenants’ rights (Ed5) 2016 by Jan Luba QC et al, and published by the Legal Action Group

Why tenant’s rights you may ask, on a landlord focussed website? But renting is a two way process between landlord and tenant and issues which apply to one largely apply to the other. Understanding the principles is no different whichever side of the divide you are on, not that we should see it so much as a divide, as much as hopefully a friendly relationship.

Repairs have assumed a greater importance since the passing of the Deregulation Act 2015 and the “Retaliatory Eviction” rules it imposes on landlords. They need to pay much greater attention to requests for repairs and the way they respond and deal with them, otherwise landlords face being barred from using the no-fault Section 21 eviction process.

Tenants' Guide To Successful Renting

In additional, landlords have contractual and statutory obligations for the state of repair of their properties. They face serious consequences in law chiefly under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Defective Premises Act 1972, as well as under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), Housing Act 2004, and numerous other rules and regulations affecting housing, all monitored by local authorities.

The Legal Action Group have become renowned in the property industry for producing what are in effect the “Bibles” for various aspects of the law relating to property. They are all produced by respected and experienced legal professionals and all very accessible to the layman, in that the language used and the organisation of the information is so easy to follow.

This guide, now in its 5th edition, is no exception to that: it is a very practical guide clearly showing what aspects of disrepair need attention, and what could lead to a claim. It will also show very clearly...

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Knight Knox


Tор Tiрѕ fоr Rеnting Yоur Overseas Property

Mаkе lifе еаѕу.

1. Mаkе lifе еаѕу, if buуing аn overseas рrореrtу for lеtting, choose square or rectangular ѕhареd rооmѕ. Irregular or unusual shaped rooms mаkе a rооm lооk smaller аnd сluttеrеd. A kеу selling роint fоr tеnаntѕ iѕ аn en-suite аnd a dесеnt ѕizеd living rооm is imроrtаnt еvеn if thе bеdrооmѕ аrе a bit оn thе ѕmаll size.

Chооѕе the right оvеrѕеаѕ lеtting agent.

2. Chооѕing the right lеtting аgеnt iѕ vital fоr a quick rеntаl. Eѕtаbliѕh which аgеnt gеnеrаtеѕ thе mоѕt enquiries frоm potential tenants in the lосаl аrеа if уоu are tаrgеting the lосаl lоng tеrm lеtѕ mаrkеt. Cоnѕidеr аn agent with a high ѕtrееt lосаtiоn whо may be gеtting thе highеѕt footfall or the аgеnt with a ѕtrоng оnlinе marketing рrеѕеnсе. Also lооk аt thе lосаl рареrѕ in уоur overseas...

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Easy Law Training Workshop


Landlords Repairing Obligations Workshop - 23 November 2016 with Peter Marcus - Ely

All landlords are subject to the statutory repairing obligations under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 - which cannot be excluded!  But do you know what they are?

If this worries you - have no fear.  This special Easy Law Training workshop from housing barrister Peter Marcus will be looking at landlord's repairing obligations in detail along with dealing with court proceedings.

The law relating to landlords' repairing obligations is incredibly complex.  You have for example:

• Obligations under the civil law - e.g. the landlord's statutory repairing covenants, and also

• Various offences under the criminal law - for example relating to statutory nuisance and health and safety

Landlords (and their letting agents) are expected to know and understand all these obligations - and can be sued and/or prosecuted if they are breached.

In this one day workshop Peter Marcus will be looking, not just at what the law is, but also at recent legislation and case law (including the new anti retaliatory eviction rules) and what you can do if a claim is brought by...

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Landlord & Letting Show


Catch all the latest private rented sector news, views and developments

As ever, it has been a busy year for the Private Rented Sector. We've seen tax changes, the further role out of licensing, proposed new rules under the Housing & Planning Bill, new rules in relation to Right to Rent under the Immigration Act and much more, not to mention Britain's exit from the European Union.

Come along to the final Landlord & Letting Show of 2016, taking place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Wednesday 30th November, to discover what this year's developments already - or are likely to - signify for the industry and also find out what else is in store...

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Landlord Investment Show


National Landlord Investment Show: London Olympia, Tuesday 8th November 2016

Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016

Doors Open: 9am - Close - 5pm

Location: London Olympia Conference Centre, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

Register and attend the show to receive a maximum of 5 CPD points towards your landlord accreditation

BOOK YOUR FREE TICKETS

Due to the massive success The National Landlord Investment Show we are delighted to announce the show is heading to back to Olympia for 2nd time in 2016.

This will be our 6th show at Olympia since 2014.

The show will attract Landlords, Investors, Developers & Property Professionals.

If you are Interested in Investment Opportunities, Landlord TAX, Buying at Auction, Finance/Mortgages, Landlord Insurance plus much more.....then this is the show for you.

25 plus seminars delivered by industry experts...

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Tougher buy-to-let regulations not the answer to solving UK housing crisis

Fran Mulhall, Regional Operations Manager at North East property specialists GFW Letting, explains why tighter regulations on the buy-to-let market is not the way forward in helping to fix the chronic housing shortage that UK families are facing.

“In the last year or so, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has undergone sweeping change. As it’s continued to grow rapidly, the Government has introduced a range of new legislation that puts tighter controls, and more pressure, on UK landlords. New laws include the removal of the 10% wear and tear tax relief for furnished lettings (introduced April 2016), an extra 3% stamp duty payable on purchases of second homes above £40,000 from 6 April...

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Latest News

  • 27 Oct 16 - London landlord fined £165,000 -

    The landlord was fined after 18 people were found living in a Grade-II listed Hyde Park gate “slum” The landlord’s tenants, most of whom were migrant hotel workers, were found to be crowded into...

  • 26 Oct 16 - Buy-to-Let still attractive investment -

    Mortgage lender thinks Buy-to-Let is still an attractive investment compared to the returns available on other forms of savings and investment. The buy-to-let sector was shocked when the previous Chancellor...

  • 25 Oct 16 - Lord Flight condemns buy-to-let tax -

    Following George Osborne’s swinging tax reforms, which will undoubtedly have a big impact on buy-to-let landlords; a senior Conservative Peer has reacted with accusations that the former Chancellor...

  • 24 Oct 16 - One-third of landlords worried about Brexit -

    Around 35 per cent of landlords are worried that leaving the EU will have a negative effect on tenant demand in their areas, that’s according to the latest findings from a National Landlords Association...

  • 21 Oct 16 - The Credit Crunch Boosted Landlords’ Fortunes -

    The “Credit Crunch” was a disaster for many property investors, those who found themselves overexposed at a time when property values more than halved overnight in some cases. Many naïve investors...

  • 20 Oct 16 - Rent Smart Wales Registration deadline… -

    There could soon be thousands of Welsh residential landlords in breach of the law if they fail to carry out a new landlord registration procedure, introduced under the Cardiff government’s ambitious...

Forum - Latest Posts
Deacon


NEW online quote and buy comparison website for landlords and buy-to-let investors

There’s a new online quote and buy comparison website now available from the award-winning* team at Deacon.

DEACONlink Landlord allows landlords and buy-to-let investors to compare up to 5 quotes in an instant from some of the country’s most well-known insurers, including Zurich, LV=, NIG, Covea and ARO.  Cover is available immediately for buildings, contents, and legal with rent guarantee.

It’s been developed as an alternative to the big price comparison sites, featuring a selection of well-known insurers to help you find the cover you need at a competitive price.  All types of rental properties are covered, from houses and cottages to bungalows and chalets.  For small blocks of flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) you’ll need to call Deacon on 0808 159 4096.

“We believe our products and service speak for themselves, and are the reason why 9 out of 10** customers renew their insurance with Deacon every year,” says Mark Savage, Client Service Manager at Deacon.

“And should the worst happen, our award-winning in-house claims team based here in the UK, will guide you step-by-step through the claims process.  As part of Arthur J. Gallagher, one of the biggest and longest established insurance brokers in the world, you can be confident we’ll be here when you need us,” he added.

To find out more about Deacon and their insurance products for landlords, and how much you might save on your insurance cover, click here

* Broker Claims Team of the Year, Insurance Times Magazine, May 2016

** 1 September 2015 – 1 September 2016

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Being a landlord is like a 'bed of roses' - Maybe not?

Politicians generally respond to those who shout out loud and often, as long as they are backed by a horde of potential voters.

The housing charity Shelter apparently is run on a budget many times that of the two largest landlord associations (NLA / RLA) and regularly demonise private landlords whilst ignoring the harsh reality that tenants can often be the sinners as well as being the 'sinned against'. As such Shelter's voice is heard more often as they appeal to the 11 million tenants all of whom have the same vote as the approximate 2 million private landlords. Do the math.....

Recently and not for the first time, Shelter drew the attention of many in the unquestioning national media to the large cost burden that the annual Housing Benefit bill now causes UK taxpayers, pointing out that private landlords are the widespread recipients of state largesse etc. The reality of course is that all too often it is only most committed landlords who these days will take...

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Moving in makeover

The experts at Belvoir reveal six simple steps to getting your property viewing ready...

1. First impression lessons

“Before you arrange any viewings it’s important to take an objective look at your property and what it has to offer,” says owner of Belvoir Portsmouth and Belvoir Waterlooville Samantha Bateman. “Most properties will benefit from a pre-moving in makeover or MOT before viewings begin.

“Start with the exterior. This will be the first thing any prospective tenant will see – in fact, many tenants will drive past a property before even committing to a viewing so these first impressions are vital.

“Has your property got kerb appeal? Ensure the outside of the property is tidy and neat, with a weed-free driveway, garden, borders and beds. Look at the front door and door furniture too. Are they in a good condition or do they need refreshing? Is any exterior paintwork dirty or in need of re-painting? And what about the dustbins? Are they on display? If so, put them away.

Co-owner of Belvoir Melton Mowbray Katie Archer...

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Long-dated reversions

A reversion is when the full (market) value of the property reverts to the interest of the superior landlord. An example of a long-dated reversion is a freehold ground rent. A ground rent is usually associated with a long-lease, the rent of the ‘ground’ - the land upon which the property is built, as distinct from the built-structure itself.

Whether how the amount of ground rent has been arrived at is necessarily of the land alone, the amount would be low compared to the rental value of the property as a whole. On reversion, expiry of the lease, the rental would revert to the full value of the property (including the built-structure), depending upon legislation and case-law.

In the commercial property market, ground rents, including long-dated reversions, used to be sought after by higher-rate taxpayers desirous not of income, but capital growth. The tax advantage has been largely eroded but the investment case remains, particularly for pension funds where subject to availability it is possible to time the reversion date with the pension withdrawal.

In buying a low rent, the purchase price is akin to a percentage of the full capital value of the property, virtually guaranteeing that the closer the reversion the more the property will go up in value.  Theoretical valuation is to calculate the net present rental income for the duration and add the estimated rental on reversion deferred by the duration.

The rate of interest for each calculation is a variable. Together with the theoretical, the practical approach would include but not limited to what else can be bought for the same money to produce the same sort of yield but with more scope for investment angles and capital appreciation.

With low interest rates, long-dated reversions are attractive investment propositions. Given the choice for the same price between (1) a rack-rented or foreseeable rent review property whose capital appreciation depends upon an increase in that rent, and (2) a low rented property whose capital appreciation depends upon the number of years remaining until reversion, the latter would be less risky, particularly since any prospect of the tenant going broke would be welcomed.

The rent of long-dated reversions can be fixed throughout the term, or with preset fixed increases at specified intervals, or subject to rent review, either formulaic or geared to market rent. With a geared rent review, at each review the rent payable after the market rent is agreed or ascertained would be some percentage of the market rent (as defined by the lease).

Long-term leases are rapidly becoming an instrument of the past and even where they continue to be granted the wording of the lease is more sophisticated than before.  It is very easy to overpay, a consequence of investment market (auction) sentiment, and, as one might expect, long-dated reversions are not all plain-sailing. The obvious downside is that anything can happen over a long...

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Is Incorporation Really the Answer?

Recent changes in regulations, and in particular the March 2016 Budget announcements have changed the tax position of landlords significantly.

Shelter from the income tax implications of these rulings has increased the appeal of a company as a structure for ownership of residential property.  Moreover, changes in corporation and capital gains tax have lessened some of the former drawbacks to company ownership.

Tax on gains made through property held in a company.

The, so called, double tax charge is a reason that companies have not historically been a popular with UK landlords.  However, the reduction in both the main rate of both corporation tax and capital gains tax have reduced this classic drawback of the double tax charge.

When a property is disposed of, usually either sold or transferred as a gift, the company realises a gain or loss.  If there has been any overall increase in value this gain will be subject to corporation tax.  The rate of corporation...

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