Monday, 16 October 2017

5 Tips on How to Prevent Common Causes of Landlord-Tenant Disputes in London

One of the leading causes of problems or disputes between landlords and tenants is a misunderstanding of the landlord's rights towards a property. Soon, disputes can arise, because of a time when it feels as though the rights you both possess are conflicting with one another. There is no denying the fact, that disputes between landlords and tenants can usually be stressful for both parties.

The good news is that if you follow some simple tips and consult your estate agents in Dulwich, you can avoid some of the common causes of disputes and help to establish a better relationship with your tenants.

Here are some of the common causes of disagreements with some tips on how you can avoid them.

1.     Cleanliness

Usually, cleanliness is the top cause of disputes between landlords and tenants. There many things you can do in order to help prevent the cause of dispute over a clean home.  The best thing to do here is to write to the tenants before the end of the contract approaches, through a Fish Need Water estate agent, you can remind them about their obligations. It is also advisable that you keep a copy of the check in documentation and send it along with any photos at that time to remind your tenant’s o the condition of the property before they shifted in to help them compare the condition.
Doing so helps to provide a useful reference for both parties to make sure they leave the property in the best condition, just as they found it.  Before putting up your property for rent, if you organised or hired a company cleaning service before the tenants moved in, you could pass the details to them so your tenants could use them to clean it before they hand back the property to you.

2.     Maintaining the Garden

Most tenants are not professional gardeners, so having an easy to maintain garden is always a good idea in any property you plan to let. You can also think of hiring a regular gardener into the price of the house rent and bring them to an open negotiation if the tenant wants to be able to do the gardening. You can also check the garden periodically with the rest of the property, so it has poor maintenance, tell your tenant they must think of tidying it up or the tenants will need to arrange a gardener before they hand over the property back to you.
In addition, you have to remember that your own standards could differ from the tenants and if they make a reasonable effort, even if it is not up to your standards, they have not done anything wrong. In order to avoid this, you may also prefer to organise a gardener as a part of the tenancy agreement.

3.     Damage to the Property

Tenants have to take care of their landlord's property, but landlords must equally allow some room for reasonable wear and tear. Often, a common issue is tenants wishing to hang their mirrors and paintings on the walls or shelves up. Before they do so, they have to ask your permission as the landlord and you can advise them at the time of repair if they need to make holes in the walls and leave the area just as they found it. Of course, unless you are willing, to have shelves up permanently.
As the landlord, you also have the right to suggest alternative fixings for the wall hangings, such as the use of sticky fixtures to hold kilos of weight. Accidental damage is something unavoidable and it is best that you make it clear of what you expect from your tenants if they end up damaging something accidentally in the check-in phase.
You should also have a thorough check in and check out to help in avoiding any disputes over things like whether there was some damage before the tenant moved in or not.

4.     Overall Maintenance of the Property

Having a property well maintained is the right of every tenant and the duty of a landlord. When problems occur, such as issues with the damp (could cause health damage too), boiler breaks down, it is important to address these quickly. Tenants who get the hint that their landlord is taking a long time to resolve these issues can often withhold the rent until the issue resolves. Clearly, this is not an ideal situation and it is important to prevent it as much as possible.

5.     Costs of Repairs and Cleaning

Usually, disputes could arise over repairs and cleaning, in which case both parties may agree or not over the cost incurred over these things. You should remember that legally, the money in the deposit is the tenant's money, so as a landlord; you need to have a strong case for claiming it. You will agree with the tenant when things need attention and be able to show any costs incurred are justified.
In order to avoid disputes between your tenants, it is best that have a transparent process and a clear document stating the rights of both parties. An agent is the best person to help you with this, so make sure that you choose the best one in your area.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Experience Invest reviews the rise of Build to Rent in the UK


Build to Rent remains a relatively new concept in the UK property sector. For many years, the rental market was mostly populated by mainstream property that had been snapped up by landlords, be they houses or flats. But in recent years, a new-found demand for rental properties from the so-called 'generation rent', and a much more scrutinising demographic to go with it, has meant the market has changed. 
Now, the rental market is resting its future growth on the adoption of a more European model, wherein properties for rent are specifically designed, built and sold with the rental market in mind. This type of property - like those seen at the Infinity Waters Liverpool and The Residence Manchester developments by ExperienceInvest - considers the needs of tenants in the target demographic. 
And although it's still a relatively new concept for the UK property sector, there has been a swell in purpose-built rental development over the last couple of years, with investors backing off-plan projects and securing themselves guaranteed incomes in the process. Here, we look at how the rental market looks as we near the end of the third quarter of 2017. 
According to data from the British Property Federation (BPF), the number of homes created by the fledgling Build to Rent sector already stands at around 16,000, with developers having been quick off the mark in the last two years. 
However, it's a look towards the future that shows where the real excitement comes in Build to Rent at the moment. Although London has had double the number of properties completed in this sector than elsewhere, this is set to change in the near future, with the regions actually greatly outnumbering London in terms of Build to Rent stock under construction. 
At present, London has 10,313 rental homes completed in the sector, compared to just 5,612 in other parts of the country. But thanks to a swell in demand for high-quality, purpose-built stock in growing cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham, the regions are outpacing the capital, with 11,173 homes under construction, compared to a little over 9,000 in London. 
Overall, however, the Build to Rent sector appears to provide an exciting future for rentals in the UK. As the number of young people owning their own properties continues to fall, and a growing number of skilled graduates choose to rent instead, demand for rented accommodation will continue to rise. 
And it would seem like the Build to Rent sector will be able to answer this growing demand. At the end of Q2 2017, BPF data shows that when we include completed homes, those under construction and those at the planning stage, Build to Rent already accounts for nearly 84,000 homes, and that's while the sector is still at an early age. Evidently, the best is yet to come. 
Head to the Experience Invest website for more information about investing in offplan investment in the UK’s Build to Rent market.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Accounting Considerations When Buying Your First Home

Saving up to buy your first home can be quite a challenge. Many of the principles relating to business finances can apply equally to personal finances when you’re budgeting and figuring what needs to be spent and how to minimise expenses.  

How Much to Save

There’s more to saving for a house than putting together the deposit. The deposit will take up the bulk of savings, but additional expenses include things such as:

·         Lender’s Valuation - your mortgage lender will want to know that the property they’re lending against is actually worth the sum you’re asking to borrow. The cost of the valuation could fall on your shoulders, so try to get estimations for this from your lender.
·         Survey Fees — there are various types of survey you can have done to learn about the condition of the property. How much you’ll pay depends on the type of survey, with the most expensive being the full structural survey. In older properties this is worthwhile as there may be hidden, potentially devastating faults.
·         Local Authority Searches — will identify planning issues that might affect your purchase, such as building or highway developments.

Other costs will include stamp duty, solicitor’s fees, mortgage arrangement charges, and then there are moving costs plus insurances.

Creating an accounting spreadsheet, on which you note estimates for costs and charges along with actual sums needed for the deposit, then balancing this against income and daily/monthly expenses, with help keep track and monitor your saving progress.


Mortgages for Self Employed People

Getting a mortgage when you’re self-employed is a little trickier than for those with straightforward employment but not at all impossible.

·         You’ll likely need three years of self-employed accounts, showing the business is profitable and viable.
·         You’ll have the same borrowing rights regarding amount lent vs. income earned as anyone else.
·         You’ll need finalised accounts that have been prepared by an accountant.

Startups or very young business will find it hardest to secure finance. Before the recession, self-employed borrowers could often find self-certified mortgages where no proof of figures was required, but those days are long gone. If you’re self-employed, the advice of an accountant will prove invaluable for preparing your books in readiness for a mortgage application. In addition to business bank accounts, the lender may also require personal bank statements.

The need for accounting records that have been properly prepared by an accountant should be a major consideration for anyone planning to go self-employed before making a house purchase.

Reducing Your Spending

Mortgage lenders will want to look at how you manage your money on a monthly basis. This will include such basic items such as how much you spend on food or how high your telephone bills are, what you pay on maintenance, or what your school bills are if you have children.

Treating such spending as you would when keeping business records will help you keep track and show up areas where economies could be made. It’s a good idea to reduce your outgoings during the year before applying for a mortgage, especially if regular expenses show things like direct debits to casinos. Lenders will also look for evidence that you rely on regular financial help from parents or friends, so make sure any additional income is properly categorised to avoid ambiguity or misunderstanding.

The decision to buy your first home brings many accounting considerations with it, as you’ll be looking at a new set of outgoings with new types of regulations and responsibilities. Putting together a personal accounting system to help you stay on top of (and understand) your income and expenses will go a long way towards demonstrating your sense of responsibility to a mortgage lender.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Important Security Deposit Tips for Landlords


After the amount of work that goes into a home, done by landlords and the preparation that makes a home what it is, collecting a security deposit may seem like the easiest task. There are some rules all landlords would do well to follow when they need to take a security deposit, so the following tips will give you more information on the subject so you can avoid any mistakes along the way:

Tips on handling rent

 There are a few rules you need to follow when you collect rent, but you would do well to treat the process of rent collection with a good amount of care, as any conflicts may cause a legal dispute you really don’t need. Make sure you are clear about the amount of rent due, as well as the involved method of payment.  If there are any changes in terms, you will need to make sure your tenants know as soon as possible and in writing. You would also do well to provide a receipt for everything you need to do. Some cities or states may require you to do that by law anyway, but you should still do it to have a solid paper trail of any transactions you’ve had with your tenants. Even a simple e-mail to point out you have received the rent will be a good way of communicating, but a receipt will have far more pull, as it will show the date of the rent, the amount you received and the personal details of the tenant, such as unit number, name of the tenant and the dates that were covered by them.

Dealing with security deposits


Handling actual security deposits will be a bit of a different task, compared to the previous example. The state or city may actually require you to keep the security deposit as a separate from the money you have and to deposit them in a different, interest-bearing account instead. The reason for this is that despite the fact that the money may be in the possession of the Landlord, it still technically remains the property of the tenant. Furniture marks and a relatively reasonable amount of damage to the carpet, warped doors due to the age of the wood, dents from door handles, and replacements for smoke detector batteries and so forth are all a valid reason to use the deposit if the need really arises.

The rules for returning the security deposit vary by state. Some states require landlords to list any repairs made with the security deposit along with their cost. Many states have deadlines, by which the security deposit must be returned, so don't delay making repairs when the tenant moves out. If you want to collect the rent from last month instead of a security deposit, then you can use the money as the last rent, opposed to actually using it to pay for any possible repairs on the unit itself in the end. After the end of a tenancy, you will likely need to deal with carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, kitchen cleaning and all manner of end of tenancy cleaning. When that is done, the property will be ready for new tenants.

For more end of tenancy or carpet cleaning tips: click here.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Things To Do in Northwest London

Wembley

Wembley is an area in Northwest London well known for its strong football heritage. Both the 1934 Wembley Arena, and the 2007 Wembley Stadium reside in this district. The aged Wembley Arena has undergone a GBP 35 million upgrade, completed in 2006, to make it fit for purpose once more.

Wembley Stadium

Built on the site of the legendary 'Twin Towers' Wembley Stadium, the new stadium is the second largest in Europe with a capacity of 90,000. Football enthusiasts will have no trouble recalling Wembley Stadium, England's national stadium and home of the higher tier FA Cup games.

Cricklewood Studios

Driving through this pretty Victorian residential area of London doesn't give you the full story about this mini Hollywood. Cricklewood was made famous by the Cricklewood Studios operating in the 1930s, of which comedian Eric Morecambe stated "life's not Hollywood, it's Cricklewood!".

Hampstead Heath

This London district is famous for the 790 acre heath contained within its boundaries. Hampstead heath is a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of a splurging city, as well as an area for relaxing activities such as observing the native wildlife, and taking a swim in one of the natural or manmade outdoor pools.

Little Venice Canals

At the point where Regent's Canal joins the Grand Union sits Little Venice, a beautiful slice of waterfront paradise nestled in the suburbs of London. A floating puppet barge graces the canal, along with several waterfront caf'es, restaurants, and the headquarters of the London Waterbus company. Taking a stroll along the canal is a great way to spend an evening while you soak in the beautiful surroundings offered by Little Venice.

Maida Vale Studio

BBC Studios Maida Vale, currently a site of a large amount of classical music recording, was responsible for many of the original John Peel (a Radio One DJ) recordings. Since its foundation in 1946 a host of celebrities have flocked to Maida Vale to occupy the Edwardian apartments and redbrick mansions found in the area, making it more affluent.

NW8

St. John's Wood is well known among local residents as an affluent area, within the city's exclusive NW8 district. There are a large number of expensive celebrity homes in this part of the city, along with the Abbey Road Studios and Lord's Cricket Grounds. Several famous artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Cliff Richard have recorded albums at the Studios.

The Beatles Studio

The famous Beatles album takes its name from Abbey Road, and image on the cover of the album was even taken on the crossing here. This is mimicked by thousands of tourists every year.

Willesden Region

This up and coming area of London houses a large contingent of Irish nationals, and is beginning to see an increase in house prices and a welcome influx of investment. The area has several interesting attributes: the Willesden Cycling Club is the largest in London and the award winning novel White Teeth written by Zadie Smith is set in this area.

We pride ourselves on our extensive reputation. If you are thinking about a new property now or in the near future and would like to learn more about Paramount then call us or go to our website. Our agents are always more than happy to help in any way they can.