Is your tenancy agreement fit for purpose?

Is your tenancy agreement fit for purpose?

Or if something went wrong, would you be left counting the cost?

With so much political upheaval over the last couple of years and so many changes to legislation, it’s easy to lose track of what affects you. And the private landlord sector has perhaps been hit harder than most when it comes to those changes.

Which all means, it’s more important than ever before to protect your position as well as ensure you are legally compliant, by having in place a correctly prepared tenancy agreement.

Does the following sound familiar?

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingWorryingly, a recent survey by Direct Line found that 58% of “go it alone” landlords were using adapted tenancy agreements, sourced either from online templates or from old agency contracts. These landlords had no idea how accurate or not these may have been.

The survey also found that 13% of landlords had experienced disputes in the past 2 years specifically arising from a tenant’s rental contract. And worse still, an astonishing 10% of landlords had no formal tenancy agreement in place at all!

Let’s get one thing straight

An up to date tenancy agreement is absolutely essential. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your tenant as well as the terms of occupation (or eviction). It has to be fair and legally compliant.

It may make the difference between being able to evict your tenant or not. Or whether you can offset a deposit against damage to your property.

Which is the correct type of tenancy agreement (and what the terms should be) will, of course, depend on what type of tenancy your tenant has and when it started. If you’re in any doubt about this, please contact us here at EweMove.

At the very least your tenancy agreement should include:

  • the names of all people involved
  • the rental price and how it’s paid
  • information on how and when the rent will be reviewed
  • the deposit amount and how (and if) it will be protected
  • when the deposit can be fully or partly withheld, e.g. to repair damage caused by tenants
  • the property address
  • the start and end date of the tenancy
  • any tenant or landlord obligations
  • which bills your tenants are responsible for

It may also include information on:

  • whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
  • who’s responsible for minor repairs (other than those that the landlord is legally responsible for)
  • whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers.

(source – https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords/what-you-should-include-in-a-tenancy-agreement)

Recent changes to the legislation that may need to be incorporated in your tenancy agreement 

  1. Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Buy to letA Section 21 Notice is used when a Landlord requires the tenant to vacate a rented property by a specified date.

Since October 1st 2015, as a landlord you have been required to provide your tenant with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate, the Energy Performance Certificate and the latest update of the Government’s How to Rent Guide. If you don’t provide these, then you cannot issue a Section 21.

You will, therefore, need to be able to prove that you complied with these requirements and making them part of your tenancy agreement is a sensible way to do this.

  1. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Since October 1st 2015, private landlords in England have had to ensure that there is a smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance. The alarms must be tested and working at the start of each tenancy. Again, it is a good idea to include this in your tenancy agreement.

  1. Right to rent. 

right to rentEffective from February 1st 2016, landlords have to conduct the appropriate checks to ensure that their prospective tenants have the right to rent property in the UK. Failure to do so carries considerable penalties.

  1. Energy Performance.

From April 1st 2016, private rental sector landlords may receive energy improvement requests from their tenants if the property in question has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. In which case, you the landlord will be legally bound to improve the rating to E. Typical improvement measures being, increasing the insulation, upgrading the boiler or installing double glazing.

The contents of your tenancy agreement is a specialist area. The law surrounding tenancies is fast moving and complicated. It’s not possible to give comprehensive advice in a blog about this but it is possible to flag up changes and areas which you need to be aware of.

If you need advice with a tenancy agreement, don’t leave things to chance, get in touch today.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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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As a landlord, are you legionellosis ready?

Because if you’re not, you better read on.

I know, there’s been yet another major political upheaval and nearly every other blog I’ve read in the last few days has been filled with commentary about it. Which is why I thought I’d write about something completely different today. And let’s face it, I can’t exactly bring you news about what this new government means for landlords yet!

So, although it may be a fascinating time, whatever your viewpoint, don’t let it take your attention away from some important landlord responsibilities.

So what is Legionellosis?

landlord responsibilities Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious and the one you’ve probably heard of, legionnaires’ disease.

 

The two things that Legionella bacteria need to grow and reproduce are:

  • a water temperature of 20-45C (68-113F)
  • impurities in the water that the bacteria can use for food – such as rust, algae and limescale.

Although relatively rare, Legionnaires’ disease can form in contaminated showers, hot and cold water systems, sprinkler systems and spas.

You catch it by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols) containing the bacteria. It usually takes six to seven days between getting the infection and the start of symptoms, although it can be anytime from two to 19 days.

How serious is it?

You probably remember frightening headlines about seriously ill patients, when there’s been previous outbreaks in the UK. Although 90% of those infected do recover, it’s a very serious lung infection, particularly in people with pre-existing health conditions. And it can lead to other life-threatening conditions.

Why should landlords care?

building inspectorUnfortunately, landlords often overlook the importance and necessity of putting safeguards in place against Legionellosis.

As a landlord providing residential accommodation you are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in your premises is properly assessed and controlled.

All water systems require an assessment of the risk. You can do that yourself if you are competent to do so, or employ somebody who is.  In most residential situations, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary.

However, even if that is the case, it’s still important to review the assessment regularly (in case anything changes in the system) and manage the water systems appropriately.

Empty properties, holiday homes and second homes

It’s also important not to let water go stagnant, particularly in periods when the property is empty. This makes empty holiday homes vulnerable, especially in the summer. To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware, because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if the property is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware – because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

Help, I need to do an assessment

If you need an assessment carried out because you haven’t done one recently, give me a call. There are a number of specialists who I can put you in touch with to assist. And add it to your list of important assessments that needs to be regularly carried out.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to trying to work out what the recent election result is going to mean for landlords and property owners. Although let’s face it, that could take some time!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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

 

Should you use an online estate agent?

Online estate agents – good or bad?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: all those tempting adverts promising that if you buy or sell online with them, they could save you thousands of pounds. So, should you abandon your living, breathing local estate agent (AKA me) and only sell your property via an online agent?

The obvious answer

Eye catchingly low fees are an obvious lure. With most high street agents charging in the region of 1.5% of the sale price, compared to online package deals of between £400 (or less) to £1,000, the online arena is tempting. I’m not going to deny it. But before you sign up, you do need to look a little deeper. What are the real (and sometimes hidden costs) and what exactly do you get (or not get) for your money?

The real online costs

house sale costs Before you sign on the dotted line, check what essential extras you will have to pay for. Do you need to pay for photography and a floor plan? Who’s going to organise the Energy Performance Certificate? Who will do the viewings and if it’s you, what’s that going to cost you in lost earnings or holiday time? Will you be responsible for any negotiations and are you tied into any particular services (such as conveyancing)?

Once you’ve done these checks, don’t forget the small print. Is there a cancellation fee? What happens if your property doesn’t sell? And are you tied in for a particular period of time? These little details can catch you out and be expensive.

In short, make absolutely sure you know the full costs and time involved and the precise terms of any contract. And bear in mind that on the whole, online agents are actually just “listing agents” and not “sales agents” and that’s because they get their money to list a property for sale and not to sell it!

Your property’s valuation

Online valuation tools are great. They give you an instant guide to what your property is worth which enables you to plan your move.  They can be quite accurate (the EweMove one is very easy to use) although some are better than others. But they are often just a guide and they fall down when you don’t also have the benefit of a local agent, who has local knowledge and experience.

The housing market will always be a competitive arena, with prices often varying dramatically from one end of a street to another! Start with your online guide and then take advice from someone who knows your area and market. Or you could find that you either price yourself out of the game or sell for an undervalue.

But surely everyone searches online?

online property search Yes, most searches begin online. Even high street estate agencies have an online presence these days (unless they are complete dinosaurs in which case you might want to give them a miss).  Certainly, at EweMove we take advantage of all the online portals and we pride ourselves on our in-depth marketing details, to make sure your property gets maximum exposure. The difference is, with us you get all the perks of an online agent but with the added bonus of me, an experienced agent with good local knowledge.

The viewings

Whether or not you want or can take time off work to conduct viewings, you almost certainly want genuinely interested parties coming to view. Or in other words, what you don’t want is high numbers of viewers generated by an online platform, most of whom can’t afford or aren’t actually interested in your kind of property.

house viewings Most estate agents like me (but you do need to check) will do some sort of viewer qualification, sounding them out first and only showing around those who are genuine buyers for your type of home.

The haggle

So, you’ve got a potential buyer and then what? Some online agents won’t get involved in the negotiations leaving that up to you. But, what if they do? Where’s the incentive (if they’re not paid on percentage commission) to do all that they can to get you the best possible price? And even if your online agent offers you a commission based package, they still may not have the local knowledge and expertise to negotiate effectively.

The hybrid estate agent 

Hybrid agents offer the best of both worlds. Well, I would say that wouldn’t I, but actually, I do what I do because I genuinely believe in it.

We provide a premium and all inclusive service, taking advantage of technology but still providing the human touch. Our service includes professional quality photography, 2D and 3D floor plans, an interactive website and our phones are manned 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

We also advertise on all the main online property portals and everything we do is designed to achieve the very best price for the property.  What’s more, we have a no sale, no fee policy, there’s no minimum contract and no cancellation fee.

I know my area well and have a list of prospective buyers. I’m also an experienced negotiator and I proactively manage all my sales right up to the day of completion.

And that brings me to after the sale

One in three sales still fall through during the after sales process and that can be a costly and upsetting experience. Will an online agent proactively manage and progress your sale, chasing when needed and ensuring everything is ready when it should be? Or will that be left to you?

So, who’s the right estate agent for you?  

I’m not going to do a hard sell. You must choose the right option for you, whether that’s online, high street or the hybrid estate agency model. But what I do recommend is that you take a little time to understand exactly what you do and don’t get for your money and from your agent.

Flashy headlines and adverts promising savings are one thing, the reality can be quite another. Selling through an online agent may look like it’s going to save you lots of money but it can be a false economy. In fact, I regularly get a significantly better sale price for a property then that which had been achieved by an online agent. On one occasion I managed to negotiate a 17% higher figure. That was £32,000 and whilst I cannot of course guarantee such a figure, it certainly puts the lure of the low fee into perspective.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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

Ease the stress of first time buying!

Ease the stress of first time buying!

New research from Aldermore has revealed that the process of buying your first home is so stressful it “made 35% of first-time buyers ill” and caused relationship issues for 34%!

So why is it so stressful?

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingThe shortage and cost of suitable housing and difficulties in securing a mortgage are obvious culprits. They probably explain why 27% of first-time buyers had to delay buying for up to two years. While 9% found securing a mortgage the biggest challenge, 8% found the length of the purchase process a problem and 10% described the whole process as ‘an issue’.

Sadly, 17% of first-time buyers had experienced 2 or 3 failed attempts which illustrates just how ruthless the housing market is and 40% of first-time buyers felt they had had to make significant life compromises.

So, is it all bleak?

There is undoubtedly an urgent need for the three big issues (rising house prices, the availability of suitable mortgages and the buying and selling process) to be addressed.  Unfortunately, with Brexit likely to grab political time and attention for the foreseeable future and with the economy vulnerable, it’s hard to see how things are going to get significantly easier anytime soon. But there is some help out there.

Help to Buy ISAs  

Help to Buy The Help to Buy ISA is still a good way to get a little extra help. The government will give you 25% on top of the money you’ve saved and the interest, when the times comes to buy. You have to save at least £1,600 (on which you’ll get an extra £400) but you could save as much as £12,000 in which case you’ll get an additional £3,000! And that can make such a difference to that all important deposit.

Housing schemes

There are still a few affordable housing schemes around – such as the shared ownership scheme. This is a system where you part buy and part rent your home. You can buy between 25 to 75% of your home if your income is less than £80,000 (outside London) and you can increase your share at a later date.

There’s also the Equity Loan scheme whereby the Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.  You can find out more about both by visiting the government’s Help to Buy website.

And there’s some good news  

There are no quick fixes to the country’s housing dilemma even if there is some help available. But if you can endure the stress and delay, the good news is that according to the Aldermore research, 73% of recent first time buyers felt like they had “reached adulthood” when they finally bought their first home and 69% found “putting their own stamp on their new home to be an empowering experience”.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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

Does your property comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES)?

Does your property comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES)?

Because non-conformity could cost you up to £150,000!

The new energy efficiency requirements

The new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) come into effect in April 2018 and will affect you if you are a buy to let landlord. The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for properties in England and Wales.

These regulations make it unlawful for landlords to lease or grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

After 1 April 2023, landlords must register an exemption for any building with an EPC rating of less than E if they wish to let the building.

The exemptions

Landlords can let a building if any of the following exemptions apply:

  • Where an independent assessor determines that all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made to the property or that improvements that could be made but have not been made would not pay for themselves through energy savings within seven years. Relevant energy efficiency improvements may include such things as double-glazing and pipework insulation.
  • Where an independent surveyor determines that the relevant energy efficiency improvements that could be made to the property are likely to reduce the market value of the property by more than 5%.
  • Where the landlord is required by a contractual or legislative obligation to obtain a third party’s consent or permission to undertake relevant improvements relating to the minimum standard, and such consent was denied, or was provided with unreasonable conditions.
  • The landlord requires consent as above but the occupying tenant withholds that consent.

You need to register an exemption on the central government PRS Exemptions Register. The exemptions are valid for five years only and cannot be transferred to a new landlord.

The penalties for non-compliance

The penalty for renting out a property for a period of fewer than three months in breach of the MEES Regulations will be equivalent to 10% of the property’s rateable value, subject to a minimum penalty of £5,000 and a maximum of £50,000. After three months, the penalty rises to 20% of the rateable value, with a minimum penalty of £10,000 and a maximum of £150,000.

Where a property is let in breach of the MEES Regulations or where a penalty is imposed, the lease will still remain valid.

The rationale behind the new requirements

The built environment has been identified by the government as a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.  Building Regulations ensure that new properties meet current energy efficiency standards and MEES will ensure that older buildings play their part.

The rental market has historically had the highest proportion of properties falling in the F and G bands. The minimum standard could rise in future.

You need to take action now  

If you don’t already know, your first step as a landlord should be to check your current rating. If the provisions do apply to you, you may then need professional advice about whether any of the exemptions are applicable to you and if they are, you need to register them.

You will also, of course, need to balance the financial cost of upgrading non-compliant buildings against the potential loss of income if a property cannot be rented out and the cost of a potential fine.

It’s not all gloom and doom

For forward thinking landlords, there is the potential to increase rental and asset value by making energy efficiency improvements and combining these with other upgrades.

And both finally and worryingly…

According to a report published by Landlord Today earlier this month research has found that 25% of landlords do not know about the new requirements, 42% admitted to being ‘only vaguely aware’ of the new rules and 27% said that they do not even know the EPC rating of their property to begin with.

https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/4/two-third-of-landlords-unaware-of-new-energy-efficiency-rules

If that sounds like you, now really is the time to find out.

www.ewemove.com/dorkingGraham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking and he’s also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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

5 common mistakes to avoid when selling your home

5 common mistakes to avoid when selling your home

So you’re ready to move house 

The clocks have changed at last and there’s a palpable sense of relief that we’ve survived another winter. In the property world, that invariably means homeowners start thinking of moving. New beginnings and all that.

But before you fall in love with your next home and start packing your bags, watch out for these 5 common mistakes made by vendors:

1. Not preparing your house for sale. Moving house has a reputation for being stressful but it doesn’t have to be if you take time to prepare. Be realistic about the state of repair of your home. If needs be, get a survey done or ask a local builder.

It may be that some remedial work in advance will make your home more attractive to sellers. At the very least, it will save you being caught unawares when a potential buyer spots a problem and starts trying to negotiate you down on price.

If you know what needs to be done and the likely cost of such work, it immediately puts you in a better position when it comes to deciding on your asking price and / or during any subsequent negotiations.

home buyer adviceThe other element of preparation is cosmetic. A thorough declutter, clean and freshen up is essential. You don’t necessarily want to replace bathroom and kitchen units (because you rarely make your money back) but you do want to give your property some TLC. Light, bright, neutral colours are best. Declutter halls and be prepared to keep it clean and tidy for as long as it takes.

The last thing you want is for potential buyers to trip over smelly running shoes in the porch and find a stack of filthy dishes in the kitchen. First impressions count.

2. Not getting advice on valuation. It can be very tempting to over price your home. There’s a tendency to think that if you over price, it will test the market and you’ll end up getting more for it. Actually, more often than not, the opposite is true. Buyers have a lot of information available to them, including price comparisons, so over valuing really doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did.

Equally, don’t make the mistake of loving your home so much that you are completely unrealistic about what it’s really worth. You’d be surprised how often this happens. Use our online valuation tool as a starting point. It’s one of the most comprehensive online valuation tools available.

3. Not double checking your agent’s terms. Not many people like the small print but it is so important to check it. You want to avoid being tied to one estate agent for a period of time and you need to be clear about their fees and what happens in the event of a non-sale.

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingYour estate agent is obliged to let you know what their terms are, but double check whether there are any hidden extras – for advertising costs, boards etc. At EweMove we operate on a no minimum contract, no cancellation fee and no sale no fee basis.

4. Failing to check advertising material. I’m still often shocked at the poor quality of some advertising material, particularly photos and descriptions. Check the quality of your photos. Is there a big pile of rubbish in the corner of the photo? Was it pouring with rain, meaning your photos make your home look grey and dull? Is the washing visible on the line? These things make a difference to how eye-catching your property is in a list of many. Don’t settle for second best. Check the written description and any floor plan too, to make sure they are both accurate and also make your home sound attractive.

5. Not preparing for the legals. Just because you’ve accepted an offer, doesn’t mean it’s all going to be plain sailing. You really need to do everything you can to make the process quick and efficient. That means:

  • deciding on who’s going to do your conveyancing early, so that you are ready to proceed as soon as you accept an offer,
  • keeping in touch with your agent so that you can provide all the information they need promptly,
  • making sure you are in a position to move. That means both finding somewhere else to live and making sure you have a mortgage offer in place as soon as possible. I can’t tell you how many sales fall through as a result of failure to do so,
  • taking time to read and understand the terms of the sale. Even the small print, otherwise you could be legally bound by something you were unaware of.

The above isn’t rocket science but they are very common mistakes which can scupper a deal and could cost you dear. The expression “make sure your house is in order” has really never been more apt than when it comes to moving house. Don’t be one of the ones who isn’t prepared.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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

To convert or not to convert – that’s the lofty question

To convert or not to convert – that’s the lofty question

Live with a loft conversion or move on?

Loft conversion is a booming business. And it’s not hard to see why. Stamp duty hikes and lots of media hype about housing prices and shortages. Suddenly, converting an empty attic into a useable room seems the obvious answer if you need more space.

But, before you call in the builders, what are the pros, cons and considerations of a loft conversion?

Lofts conversions increase value as well as space

loft conversions It’s estimated a loft conversion can add 10% or more to the value of your property. That means it can be a sensible option even if you’re going to eventually move. And the additional space, which might be used as an office, bedroom or snug, can add interest for potential buyers, giving your property a bit of an edge.

But not all lofts are right for conversion

A sloping ceiling, low beams and roof windows might seem appealing but are they practical? Will you have enough head room? There is nothing more annoying than constantly hitting your head, and low ceilings can work against you when you come to sell. You’ll need at least 2.5m in height before you start the conversion in order to be comfortable.

Will you also have enough room for stairs, a cupboard and a bed? How will the addition of stairs impact the rest of the house?  And what about heating, plumbing and anything else that is currently in the attic, like a water tank that will need to be moved?

Not all houses are right for conversions

A loft conversion has a significant effect on the structural integrity of your property. You will need to inspect the foundations and any load-bearing beams. Your house may need underpinning to support the added weight and that can really add to the cost of the build.

You also need to consider the pitch of your roof (no less than 30° is best) and any necessary internal supports. These may need replacing as will the joists for the floor and the room below the conversion.

Building regulations, control and notification

building inspector While you may not need planning permission (but check first), you will need Building Regulation approval. You will also have a Building Control officer, who will make fairly regular inspections during your build before hopefully issuing you with a certificate on completion.

If you have a shared wall with your neighbour, you also have to give them appropriate notification (if you’re in a terrace or semi-detached property).

Insulation 

There are different forms of insulation to consider, from between the ceiling and the roof, to internally by adding another layer to the ceiling. The latter is probably cheaper and easier to do but will eat into your headroom. The former will need to be done from the outside so will eat into your budget, as your builders have to remove the tiles.

Disruption

Don’t forget that a loft conversion is a fairly major building project and will involve a degree of disruption which could go on for weeks. Most conversions take 6 to 8 weeks, but some take longer, particularly if bad weather hits. That means dirt, dust, noise at times and builders working daily in your home. For some, that’s a breeze but for others, it can be a major challenge.   And you’ll have to re-home all that junk that you used to store in the attic.

Standard extension

Take some time to compare the costs and benefits of a loft conversion to a standard extension. Although an extension may cost more and require planning permission, they often add more in terms of both property value and space than a loft can.

And don’t rule out a move 

I know, I’m an estate agent so I’m bound to suggest a move, I hear you say. But the thing is, when you weigh in all the costs, risks and upheaval that can be involved in a loft conversion (often in order to achieve quite a small space), moving property may just be a better option. At the very least, you should talk to your local estate agent (that’s me) to get an idea of price, demand and what’s available on the market.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is 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