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Latest Beccles Independent article

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Within the next 4 years the government apparently wants us to be building 300,000 new homes per year. There is however no statistical evidence to prove that this will result in greater home ownership, as more and more people decide to rent. Private renting has double in the past 10 or so years to just under 5 million homes and the private rented sector continues to expand. One of the problems for first time buyers is that tighter lending...

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Latest Beccles Independent article

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I hope you enjoyed reading my article last month, or at least found it informative. This month I will concentrate on property letting and management rather than sales, so as to give you a different perspective. There has been enormous change within the industry since I started way back in the mid- 80`s. The introduction of the Housing Act 1988, in January 1989, was the most far reaching since with the introduction of the Assured Shorthold...

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News on our new sales service

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This may very well be the first of a regular column in which I will talk about the residential sales and lettings market in and around our lovely town that we are proud to call home. I personally have been in the industry since shortly after leaving the local high school way back in 1984 and have always worked within the Waveney Valley area. For this reason I like to think that I have a handle on the way things are done in these parts....

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Landlords - make sure your property is up to spec.

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From April 2018, private rental properties will need to have a minimum EPC rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them to tenants. This will only initially apply to new tenancies and renewal but in April 2020, the rule will be extended to incorporate all private rentals. Properties with a EPC rating of F or G will either need to be taken off the market after this date or improvements implemented.

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Landlord`s - make sure you are ready....

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From 1st April next year a minimum energy performance rating of E will be required to rent a residential property. This will apply to all tenancies that begin or are renewed on or after 1st April 2018, for existing tenancies the regulations will not apply until 1st April 2020. Landlords that breach these regulations and do not comply could face a fine of up to £5,000. The new regulations will apply to Assured Shorthold tenancies amongst...

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Letting Agents Fees - watch this space

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We are all very much aware that the government has encountered huge resistance to its intention to legislate to ban letting agent’s fees for tenants. I have been letting property for over 30 years and the costs incurred by a landlord in letting property has traditionally been relatively low since as both landlord & tenant get the benefit of an agents service the total fee, here anyway, is more or less halved between the 2. I am sure all...

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Bit of Trivia for you

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Do you know why a bungalow is called a bungalow? It goes all the way back to the 17th century, when British expats in India, working for the East India Company, really liked the local single storey thatched houses. They were built in the Bengali style and the name bungalow, comes from the Hindi word 'bangla', which means Bengali. Didn`t know that did you..

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Landlord`s obligations to Tenant`s safety

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In a recent Court of Appeal case it was found that a landlord was not liable when one of its tenants fell down a staircase which lacked any form of handrail or bannister. The tenant sued the landlord in negligence and for breach of section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972. At the date of commencement of the tenancy agreement there was no handrail or bannister fitted even though the stairs were steep. There were indications that a...

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Free Landlord Advice Clinic

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Jon Wicks will be holding another of his regular free advice clinics for landlords and tenants on Wednesday 8th June so call 01502 716300 to book a slot if you need any help or advice with any matter relative to letting or renting property. You don`t need to be an existing landlord or tenant with us as our help is available to all.

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Company landlords - don`t be caught out.

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In a recent court case an Assured Shorthold tenant successfully appealed against a possession order because the landlord, which was a limited company, had not completed the Section 21 Notice correctly. It was argued that a document is validly executed by a company if it is signed on behalf of the company by either two authorised signatories or by a director of the company in the presence of a witness. So make sure you get your signing right...

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Europe affects landlords

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New rules from Europe coming into force on 21st March will mean that both “accidental” and professional landlords will need to answer more questions regarding the affordability of their project and potentially have to jump through more hoops than at present. The reason being that consumer (accidental) landlord loans will also be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Whereas before the lender focused on the projected rental income...

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DO KEEP UP

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As a Landlord you may not be aware that new legislation came into force on the 1st October dictating that further documentation must be served upon your new tenants for all tenancies that started on or after that date. If you use an agent then I sincerely hope that they know otherwise you are in trouble! I will be holding another of my free advice clinics on 4th November so if you want information relative to this and the other changes...

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A funny story

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A couple viewed a country property but after leaving couldn`t remember seeing a WC so contacted the landlord who thought by WC they meant “Wesleyan Chapel”. This was his response: The WC is located 11 miles from the house and seats about 150 people. The distance may be a problem if you like to go regularly. A fair is to be held there next week to raise money for some soft cushions for the seats. I know the WC well as my son met his...

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Top Tip

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When you are looking round property on a dull and overcast day how do you find out which way is South to see whether you can enjoy the summer sun? if we ever get any that is. Ever so simple - just remember that all television aerials point West.

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Bit dusty here!

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Building work continues here to expand our offices. It always takes longer than you think and the poor team go home covered in dust every night. Hopefully not too much longer now though. Just need the electrics to be put in, the decorating to be done, the floor to go down, the outside to be....okay seems it might take a while yet!

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Office refurbishment Continues

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Our sales division is expanding quicker than expected and after knocking through into the building next door to provide dedicated space for this we desperately need to get the work finished as soon as possible. The new front windows and centre access door were fitted Monday so now the builders can crack on once again. More updates to follow...

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office Refurbishment Pressing Ahead

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It`s fun and games here at the moment as the builders crack on with knocking our offices through into the building next door to double our workspace. The need for this came about due to our rapidly expanding property sales division and this is a very exciting time for us. It is also very noisy and very, very dusty!

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Understanding your responsibilities regarding Legionnaires` Disease

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Changes in the Approved Code of Practice for Legionella control requires that ALL rented properties have a Risk Assessment carried out. As a landlord you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. You must understand how to: ? identify and assess sources of risk ? manage any risks ? prevent or control any risks ? keep and maintain...

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Capital; Gains Tax on Selling

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If you are now considering selling a property that you have been letting you need to consider the impact of capital gains tax (CGT). It is a popular misconception that you can be exempted for the final 3 years if you can prove that you occupied the property for 6 months prior to selling. In fact HMRC does not have a time limit on this but the onus is on you to prove that the property in question had been your permanent place of residence and...

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Landlord's need to take action

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I keep hearing stories where landlord`s, even those who use agents, do not know the implications of the ??Superstrike? court ruling and have not taken steps to protect themselves. I have written about this on my website blog in the past and if you have done nothing you should contact me or your solicitor for advice. If you use an agent to manage your tenancies then you should be asking whether they have done anything and if not why...

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Countdown has begun

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The plans are now going in to extend our offices into the building next door to make room for our expnading property sales division. There will be other exciting changes taking place over the next few weeks, of which all will be revealed in due course. Watch this space.

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BUSINESS UNAFFECTED

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Hi all, for those of you who have seen the Rightmove advert can I make it clear that it is purely my office building which is up for auction by my landlord and not my business. I am not moving premises and certainly not selling up!

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One bedders to rent

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If you have a one bedroom property to let in the Beccles or Lowestoft areas then let me know as I have a contact with a local housing association who urgently need stock and will sign up for 3 year tenancies without a break clause.

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Free Advice Clinic

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I keep getting asked about the Superstrike ruling so will hold another free advice day on Thursday 14th November. If you are not aware of the possible implications of this then you need to be so call my office on 01502 716300 to arrange an appointment. You don`t need to be an existing client.

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True story

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Years ago I had a very very well dressed middle aged couple arrive at my office one Saturday morning with a very striking blonde in tow. We are looking for a flat for our daughter they said; to which I looked up, looked at them, looked at the daughter and said "okay, seems like a fair swap". Well the guy was still on the floor laughing 10 minutes later!

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Free Advice

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Jon Wicks will be holding free ½ hour advice sessions for landlords or tenants who have concerns, questions or issues that they require help with. Ring the Beccles office on 01502 716300 to book an appointment.

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A Sense of Humour

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A couple viewed a country property but after leaving couldn`t remember seeing a WC so contacted the landlord who thought by WC they meant ??Wesleyan Chapel?. This was his response: The WC is located 11 miles from the house and seats about 150 people. The distance may be a problem if you like to go regularly. A fair is to be held there next week to raise money for some soft cushions for the seats. I know the WC well as my son met his...

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Is That A Fact

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Apparently the cost of renting a home in England and Wales fell again in February meaning that rents have fallen for each of the past 4 months. Not here they haven`t! We here at Temples Beccles are letting as fast as we get them in with the average time to find a suitable tenant running at under a week.

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Stand and Deliver

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Be aware that owners of buy to let and second homes are being targeted by the taxman in a crackdown by HM Revenue & Customs to catch those selling without declaring the profits from the sale. Any tax that is owed must be paid by September 6 to avoid penalties.

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Don`t let the cold catch you out

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Did you know that you can get carbon monoxide poisoning from wood burning stoves and even open fires? It is important to have chimneys and flues swept regularly to ensure they remain clear. Now that the weather has turned cold again you will be tempted to light fires to keep the heating costs down so make sure you are properly prepared. Ring me if you would like my sweeps number.

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Read this - it`s a Gas

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New regulations have come into force this month concerning your gas safety inspections. From now on all gas engineers must undertake a visual inspection of your gas flue and if they cannot access it then the boiler will fail the inspection. You may have been letting your property for years with no problems but now you may have one! The new guidelines require inspection hatches to be fitted but if this is not possible then you may have to...

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Back on top

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In October we went "live" with our new all singing/dancing property management software and rather annoyingly this meant that we had to re-list all our available properties back onto the various websites so we lost our "history" and thus our position in the rankings of best performing agents. Readers will remember my great pleasure in revealing that we were almost always number 1. Well I am very pleased to announce that we are back right...

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Are rents rising really?

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The latest buy to let index shows that rents have set a new record average level across the country at £725.00 per month. This apparently equates to a 2.9% increase over the year. Interestingly though the East of England was one of only 2 areas that did not show any increase and despite the short supply of rented property coming to the market in our area our average rent falls way short of this figure, but then we are somewhat dictated by...

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Free Insulation Coming To An End Soon

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Landlords should act quickly to take advantage of having lofts insulated and cavity walls filled under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) as this will cease on 31st December this year. You can ring 0800 512012 to find a list of local energy companies that have signed up to provide this scheme.

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Electrics And The Law

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I keep being told by landlord`s that they have been advised it is a legal requirement to have a full electrical safety inspection carried out before they let their property. To set the record straight the existing electrical safety legislation simply requires that all electrical equipment supplied with a property must be 'safe'. To have an initial electrical safety check combined with occasional or pre- new tenancy visual checks is...

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Green Deal Dilemma

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Over coffee I have been sitting here reading an article about the new Green Deal legislation which will come into force. You may wonder why I raise this now when it won`t be in full force until 2018 (starting 2015)but you will want to know all about it if you are a landlord and your property doesn`t have an energy rating as low as an E. The reason? - if it doesn`t reach this then you cannot let it! Currently less than half of all landlords...

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Hitting the ground running

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Talk about quickly getting back into the swing of things. Sales Manager, Adam Halls, has returned from holiday today and has agreed the sale of 3 properties already! Well done Adam.

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Where to find properties in and surrounding Beccles

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Because our new property management software here in Beccles will not go "live" till next month you still need to check Rightmove for all our available properties and don`t forget this is generally added to daily.

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It's good to guarantee

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In most circumstances, where there are genuine reasons why the tenant is not able to provide satisfactory references, it may be possible to find a friend or relative who is willing to act as a guarantor. Clearly, this should be a person who is of sound financial standing with a good credit history. The guarantor should have the means to be able to afford the monthly rental payment if the tenant defaults, whether out of his or her current income or from savings...

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Video inventories?

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A landlord recently asked me that they were thinking of just taking a video record of each of their properties at the beginning and the end of each tenancy to replace inventories and the associated check-in and check-out reports and asked me whether they thought this cause any problems...

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