What landlords need to know and do in advance of next year

What landlords need to know and do in advance of next year

If you’ve been following my blogs for a while you’ll know there have been lots of new developments for landlords recently and next year is set to be no exception. One of the big changes is the introduction of the Housing and Planning Act which was passed on 12 May 2016.  It doesn’t come in to force until next year but it contains lots of regulations that could affect you.

Be a rogue landlord at your own peril

calculator-385506I’ve touched on rogue landlords already this year and the Act gives local authorities the power to ban ‘rogue’ landlords from letting housing in England and also provides for the setting up of a database of rogue landlords. It’s not yet clear what exactly constitutes a rogue landlord or what could lead to a ban but watch this space and I’ll let you know as soon as there’s news. One thing is clear however: if as a landlord you knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation to tenants, you will be at risk.

Check your property and services  

So if nothing else, this autumn if you haven’t done so recently, it’s worth checking over your property, your services and all your paperwork. Under the new Act landlords are likely to be required to ensure properties meet a certain electrical safety standard. Again full details aren’t yet known but may include PAT testing and wiring certificates so it’s worth making the necessary checks now so that you know what may need to be done in your property in good time.

And beware of cheap properties that could cost you dear 

A recent report by Property Reporter based on research by Towergate (specialist insurance brokers), found “a fifth of first time buyers … are turning to lower priced properties that need ‘doing up’ and cutting costs by carrying out the work themselves, spending £4,600 in the process. However … more than a quarter (27%) of new homeowners have had to fork out extra cash for a professional contractor to fix their mistakes – costing an average £2,358”.

So whilst it might be tempting to start your buy to let career by buying cheap, make sure you either have the funds or the skills to do any work needed to a professional and decent standard.

Award winning Ewe Move in Dorking  are a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

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Has your tenant got a great excuse for non payment of rent? 20 bizarre excuses!

Has your tenant got a great excuse for non payment of rent? 20 bizarre excuses!

Top 20 best excuses you’ve ever had from a tenant for being late in paying the rent

For any tenant reading this who pays their rent in full and on time religiously and without fail, I salute you.  It never ceases to amaze me how the payment of rent is viewed by some tenants as further down the priority list than SkyTV!

moneybox-158346If it was a mortgage payment surely it would be the top priority monthly payment?  Thankfully there are plans afoot to address this issue but in the meantime, even though you may be pulling your hair out, take a moment to enjoy some of the more imaginative, extraordinary and downright bizarre reasons I’ve heard for not paying rent on time:

  1. My dog ate your standing order form.
  2. I was on the way to the bank but crashed my lorry and I’m now having to wait for the police to arrive to breathalyse me.
  3. It was my daughter’s birthday and she had to go to see Robbie Williams.
  4. I put £650 cash through your letter box, didn’t you get it?
  5. I couldn’t pay this month because the bank burned down! (After scoffing at her bizarre excuse for some time, I googled it and discovered it was true!)
  6. My gran has cancer – I found out she didn’t.
  7. I had one lady who couldn’t pay her top up because “she had just found out that she had Chlamydia”. There then followed a detailed report on where it could have originated from but the one big omission was her current boyfriend as she wanted to have another baby with him to hang onto him. What can you say?
  8. The dog ate my bank card. This dog’s becoming a pain.
  9. I had one tenant who claimed her son was in a critical condition in hospital after a motorbike accident, and she was at his bedside 24/7. She even dragged it on till he died and then the funeral, etc. Needless to say, son was alive and well and disowned her when he found out!
  10. Why would my rent bounce – my Sky went through ok?
  11. Road works have stopped people coming into my shop so I can’t pay this week.
  12. One tenant told me her aunt had gone and put the rent into the paying-in machine of the wrong bank the day before, so she was going that day to get it back from there! Of course it never turned up through the clearing system, nor did she “retrieve the funds” and pay them in again.
  13. I cannot pay my rent today because when I was on my way to work, a man was running for the bus, collapsed and died. So I haven’t been able to make it to get the money.  But I will pay tomorrow.
  14. I was very stupid and took a loan out and forgot I had to pay it back so it takes all the money out of my account. Sorry about this, it’s not my fault but I’ll start paying when it’s paid off.
  15. I have a guarantor! Why do I need to pay rent?!
  16. I had one tenant whose mother died which is all well and good but twice!
  17. I’m going on holiday so can’t pay the rent.
  18. I need the money for Christmas presents – well she couldn’t let the kids go without the XBOX, DVDs, and a new bike!
  19. I needed to use the rent money for transport costs to get my husband to hospital.
  20. Oops I totally forgot and now I’ve bought my bus pass!

No landlord really wants an excuse for the late payment of rent.  It does sometimes happen and often there are genuine and of course believable reasons. Whilst it’s easy to laugh (and sometimes you have to) at some of the worst excuses, at Ewe Move we know only too well how late payment of rent can be a real issue for many landlords – particularly when it’s consistently late and not just a one-off issue.

Automated collection service 

That’s why we have systemised and automated methods and collect rents by direct debit which is the first payment out of a bank account on any given day. And the result is that we boast a 99.5% record of collecting rents on the day they are due. And if that sounds refreshing, then please get in touch to see how I can help you. Oh and don’t forget to share any excuses you’ve been given for late or non payment of rent here on the blog or on the Ewe Move Facebook page, we’d love to hear from.

Award winning Ewe Move in Dorking  are a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

Has your property got an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and does it need one?

Has your property got an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and does it need one?

Energy Performance Certificates are required on the construction, sale or rent of nearly all properties so the chances are that your property does need one.  An EPC is valid for 10 years and there are some very limited exemptions.

Rented properties that need an EPC

If you are letting your property an EPC is required for:house-insurance-419058

  • An individual house/dwelling (i.e. a self contained property with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities).
  • Self contained flats (i.e. each behind its own front door with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) – separate EPCs will be required for each flat.
  • Shared flats/houses (e.g. a letting of a whole flat or house to students/young professionals etc. on a single tenancy agreement) – you only require one EPC for the whole house.
  • Mixed self contained and non self contained accommodation – one EPC is required for each self contained flat/unit but no EPC is required for the remainder of the property.
Bedsits or room lets where there is a shared kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom but where each room has its own tenancy agreement do not require individual EPCs.

What are your obligations?

  1. Before you market you property and that includes marketing it for rent, you need to  book an appointment with an Energy Assessor so that you have an EPC. Your EPC has to be available within 7 days of marketing unless there is a valid reason and every attempt has been made to get one in which case a further 21 days are allowed.  If following this extension there is still no EPC, the property must be withdrawn from the market.
  2. The EPC rating must be included in all advertising/commercial media. Where there is room in the particulars, the graph should also be included. Where there is not room, it is sufficient just to show the rating.
  3. It is primarily the property owner’s responsibility to ensure there is an EPC but the agent also has a responsibility to ensure an EPC has been ordered prior to marketing and that one is returned within the relevant timescales.
  4. There is a penalty of up to £200 for non compliance and an EPC will still be required.

Exemptions

There are various exemptions such as stand-alone buildings of less than 50m2, buildings due to be demolished, temporary buildings and listed buildings but most rented properties do not fall within these categories.

However, properties that are rented out for less than 4 months in any twelve month period are exempt.

What about New Builds?

New Build EPCs are created from plans and the building specification but can only be produced once the property is complete.  During construction and before completion, a predicted energy assessment (PEA) can be produced and needs to be used in place of the EPC.

Holiday homes or an annexe

Do you rent a holiday home? If so, the rules apply if it is rented out for more than 4 months in any 12 month period.

If you have an annexe designed to be used separately to the main property (in that it has its own living facilities including bathroom, cooking facilities, a bedroom and own access) then it will need a separate EPC.

Residential properties within a commercial property

If a residential dwelling is accessed from a commercial building then one commercial EPC will be required for the whole building. However, if the dwelling has separate access then a commercial EPC will be required for the commercial unit and a domestic EPC for the dwelling.

Get advice 

Award winning EweMove in Dorking  are a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com