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  • LANDLORD FINED!

    How can I make sure I’m compliant on my rental property?

    Coventry City Council has become the first council to fine a landlord under the ‘Electrical Safety Standards 2020′ legislation.

    In July 2021, new rules came in to force whereby all rental properties must have a 5-year electrical certificate by a qualified person. A copy of the certificate must be given to the tenants and provided to the council if requested.

    The landlord in question (who has not been named) failed to have a certificate and was fined £1,600.00. Adrian Chowns, the enforcement officer for Coventry City Council, said “We believe this is the first time these powers have been used by a local authority in England”.

    The government and local councils are keen to ensure rental properties are kept up to a decent standard of living for tenants, and that the appropriate safety measures are in place. Local councils now have the authority to fine landlords up to £30,000 for breach of regulations.

    At Move On, we make sure all our landlords can sleep at night, because this is what we do every day. We make sure we are always up to date with latest legislations, and we are often ahead of the deadline.

    Check out our FREE Compliance Guide for UK Landlords to find out if your rental property is complying with the latest legislation

    Is it time to move on with Move On? Call me or come in and have a chat, we really are a friendly and professional bunch.

    If you would like a free, up-to-date rental appraisal or fresh eyes over your paperwork to ensure you are compliant, then please contact me 01202 711169 or email sharon@moveon.biz

     

    Sharon

    Right to Rent Checks Advice for Landlords

    Right to Rent Changes 2022: What You Need to…

    Changes to how tenants can prove their Right to Rent in the UK are just one example of the many legislative changes for the lettings sector in the last few years. These frequent right to rent changes can make it difficult for landlords to know how to keep up and keep their rental properties and tenancies compliant.

    Right to Rent Checks Advice for Landlords

    Right to rent legislation for landlords and agents from the UK government has changed multiple times over the last couple of years, particularly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. But what are the newest changes and how can you make sure you’re doing the right thing? That’s where we come in. Check out our list of frequently asked questions from landlords on Right to Rent checks below…

    Got more questions? Our Landlord Compliance Guide has everything you need to know about the latest legislation changes for rental properties in England.

    Compliance Guide for Landlords 2022

    Download the full guide for FREE here.

    What are right to rent checks?

    Right to Rent checks refer to mandatory checks that landlords in England need to carry out on all prospective tenants. This includes those subletting or those taking in lodgers, and the checks are to ensure that all tenants have the right to rent in England before entering into an agreement. The idea of these checks was introduced after the Immigration Act 2014.

    Checks include verifying the identity of your tenants through physical or online government documents and checking their right to reside in the UK through these.

    Generally, to have a right to rent in England means tenants:

    • Are a British Citizen
    • Are an EEA or Swiss National
    • Otherwise have a ‘Right to Rent’ in the UK

    Who needs to be checked?

    All prospective tenants and permitted occupiers over the age of 18 should be checked before a let is agreed.

    These checks must also be followed up on any renewal of tenancies in the case that a tenant’s residence permit or visa expires during the tenancy. They must also be carried out on any children included in a tenancy upon renewal if that child has turned 18 throughout the tenancy.

    What documents can you use?

    The government guidance on which physical documents can be checked changed at the beginning of April 2022.

    Currently, for UK and Irish citizens, right to rent can be proven with either a UK or Irish passport or a combination of two other examples of photo I.D (such as a UK driving licence and birth certificate).

    For EU and international citizens who hold residency in the UK (for either a time-limited period or unlimited period), checks now need to be completed using the UK Gov’s online checking service. This uses the tenant’s date of birth and a share code that they must provide to you.

     

    The official UK government guidance (plus accessible versions) can be found by clicking here.

    What are the Right to Rent changes?

    Until 6th April 2022, Biometric Residence Permits for international citizens were still valid to be used as I.D documents for right to rent checks, however this has now changed.

    Anyone who is not a UK or Irish citizen must now use the government online checking service and provide a share code and their date of birth to their landlord or agent for the check to be completed.

    Later this year the UK government are hoping to also replace physical document checks for UK and Irish citizens so everything will be digitized. There are introducing new technology called IDSPs that citizens will be able to set up and verify their identity remotely. However, these are still in development, and we can’t be sure when they will be released for general use yet.

    Conclusion

    Landlords are facing fines of £3,000 per tenant for not completing these checks (or having a managing agent complete them), so it’s incredibly important to ensure these checks are carried out properly.

    Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone!

    Our property management packages could be the solution you’re looking for. We take care of everything, including checking your new tenant’s right to rent. Or, if you’re still not sure, you can download our free guide for landlords on the most important pieces of compliance you need to keep in mind in 2022.

    Download your free guide here!

    For more information on tenant’s Right to Rent, visit the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents

    Rents Have Risen!

     

    The past 18-24 months have seen a massive increase in rental prices throughout the Poole and Bournemouth area.

    We are valuing rental stock, new and existing, with huge increases and properties are being successfully let at the new prices.

    Prior to the last couple of years, rents had remained static, but when Covid came and we saw an increase of out-of-towners looking for properties with gardens, this caused a huge demand and saw the rental prices going up.

    We are also seeing a lack of stock coming to the market, which again is increasing the rental prices.

    As a tenant, this is not good news, as we now have an increase in energy prices, fuel prices and cost of living being added on.

    Contrary to popular belief, many landlords are not making vast amounts of money on their rental properties and expect their investment to help them in their retirement years. Those landlords who are already retired, will also be impacted on the cost of living going up.

    It is always a hard decision for landlords to increase rentals when they have had long-standing tenants, this is where Move On can help, by being the negotiator between all parties, in an amicable way.

    At Move On, we make sure all our landlords can sleep at night, because this is what we do every day. We make sure we are always up to date with latest legislations, and we are often ahead of the deadline.

    If you would like a free up to date rental appraisal or fresh eyes over your paperwork to ensure you are compliant, then please contact me 01202 711169 or email sharon@moveon.biz

     

    Sharon

    Ground Rent Reform on Leasehold Flats

     

    The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 8th February 2022 and formally entered the statute books.

    The terms of the draft legislation are to tighten up the risk of unscrupulous landlords exploiting loopholes and finding new ways of getting more money out of tenants (leaseholders).

    The government are looking to reduce grounds rents to be charged ‘peppercorn rents’ as they were historically. Anyone breaching the Act can see financial fines of up to £30,000.

    Although this is great news for anyone buying a leasehold property, sadly, this will not include existing leases for the moment, but a second bill has been promised in the future to address the problems with current leases.

    Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaign at Propertymark, said: “This legislation is progress and whilst the unsuccessful amendment to remove ground rents from all existing leasehold properties would have strengthened the legislation, it is positive that ground rent charges will now be restricted on newly-created long leases of houses and flats to an annual rent of one peppercorn, a token of no financial value.’’

    At Move On, we make sure all our landlords can sleep at night, because this is what we do every day. We make sure we are always up to date with latest legislations, and we are often ahead of the deadline.

    If you would like a free rental appraisal and fresh eyes over your paperwork, then please contact me 01202 711169 or email sharon@moveon.biz

    Sharon

    What can happen if your paperwork is not up…

     

    The law is unbending! Naivety is not an excuse! Over 300 legislations in the last 3 years – do you know them?

    The courts have been filled in recent years with landlords being heavily fined and, in some cases, having to pay back the last 12 months’ worth of rent received.

    None of us would like to find ourselves in this position, but more and more landlords are finding this simply because they haven’t kept up to date with the law.

    A landlord recently failed to evict a tenant through non-payment of rent, due to not having a valid Gas Safety Certificate and Electrical Certificate.

    Another landlord had to pay back 3 times the deposit plus the deposit of £1000.00, totalling £4,000 to the tenant as they had failed to register the deposit. Local councils have the ability to fine landlords up to £30,000 for non-compliant properties including properties in disrepair. Two or more households is a HMO! Three unrelated friends or 2 couples is a HMO! Do you have the correct license?

    Another landlord had not noted the visa on his tenant had expired and they did not have the right to rent in the UK. The landlord narrowly missed going to jail.

    At Move On, we make sure all our landlords can sleep at night, because this is what we do every day. We make sure we are always up to date with latest legislations, and we are often ahead of the deadline.

    If you would like a free rental appraisal and fresh eyes over your paperwork, then please contact me 01202 711169 or email sharon@moveon.biz

    Sharon

    MINIMUM EPC RATING TO CHANGE IN 2025?

    The Government is in current consultation to bring forward the change in EPC ratings from E to min ‘C’ from 2028 to 2025.

    With climate change being a prominent factor in the news at the moment, the government is keen to do their bit.

    From 2025 all new builds will be banned from putting in gas boilers to drive us away from gas as a carbon-based fuel. They are looking to replace these boilers with a heat source air pump.

    The government introduced a ‘Green Homes Grant’ in September 2020, where they would pay two thirds of an invoice and the public paid one third with a cap of £5000. However, this was closed on 31st March 2021 due to various hitches and lack of skilled workforce. There is talk of them looking at another type of grant– let’s hope so!

    Landlords will not be able to issue new tenancies unless their property is rated ‘C’, just like we did with the current system when they banned F and G ratings from the rental sector in April 2018.

    The older the property, the more likely you are to be a D or E. I would highly recommend you looking at your current EPC and seeing if you have a potential rating of ‘C’ and what the recommendations are on how to achieve this.

    If they insist on landlords upgrading properties to the pump system, this could have a negative impact on the rental sector as it just wouldn’t be affordable for many landlords and the return on investment could take several years to recoup! As they say, ‘watch this space’.

     

    Have a good week!

    Sharon Canning

     

    If you would like a friendly, no obligation chat regarding buying, selling, renting or investing in property, then please email sharon@moveon.biz   or telephone 01202 711169.

    Possession Notices Back to Pre-COVID Length

    When COVID hit us back in March 2020, none of us had any idea of the impact this would have on our lives and how every sector would be affected – good or bad (there are always winners and losers after all).

    As it became apparent that COVID was going to be around for a while and many people furloughed, the Government deemed it necessary to bring in additional measures to stop any tenants being evicted from their homes, especially as there was nowhere to go: hotels, etc. were all closed.

    The extension of the possession notices from 2 months to 6 months caused huge ramifications to landlords who already had tenants in rent arrears.

    Some landlords have been incredibly generous to their tenants where COVID had an impact, and either came up with a payment plan or, in some cases, gifted a month’s rent.

    There will always be people who like to use the system, thankfully this is not the majority of tenants.

    The government then confirmed that, from the 1st of October, possession notices would revert to as they were in to pre-COVID times, meaning landlords can now give their tenants 2 months’ notice to vacate the property through a Section 21 notice for the time being. Section 8 notices have also reverted to pre-COVID rules.

    If you need help or advice on your tenancy management then please do not hesitate to contact us. We are not just good; we are amazingly good!

     

    Have a good month!

    Sharon Canning

     

    If you would like a friendly, no obligation chat regarding buying, selling, renting or investing in property, then please email sharon@moveon.biz   or telephone 01202 711169.

    Rental Market Update: Bournemouth and Poole

    You couldn’t miss headlines throughout 2021 of the increase in sales property prices. However, news on lettings and rental prices has not been as common.

    The last three or four years have seen the rental market pretty static, but this has dramatically changed over the last 12-18 months. Tenants are staying longer in their properties, which in turn means there are less properties coming to market. This has created a shortage and pushed prices up.

    Gardens have been very much sought after and this has seen an uplift of hundreds of pounds in monthly rentals, which is adding thousands to yearly totals for landlords.

    So how does a landlord approach this with their existing tenant, especially if they have been long-term and good tenants? This is where a letting agent should shine and act as negotiator between the two parties. Most tenants expect a yearly increase in their rent, but when a significant increase, this can cause distress to the tenant.

    We have successfully negotiated larger-than-normal rent increases with our tenants, giving our landlords that extra revenue.

    It is important for landlords to keep up repairs and maintenance of their properties as this also has an impact on not just the amount of rent that can be achieved, but also the quality of the tenant.

    Rental properties are a business for landlords and not a charity. You can still be a great landlord and go the extra mile but, at the end of the day, the money left in your hand impacts your living standards. Tenants will always look at the market to see if there are properties better and cheaper for them, this is where we need to make sure it is a win-win for both sides.

    If you would like us to help negotiate a rent increase with your tenants then please phone for an informal chat.

     

    Have a good month!

    Sharon Canning

    For more information or help with your rental property, email sharon@moveon.biz   or telephone 01202 711169 today.

    Is Your Property Protected Against Fraud?

    Is Your Property Protected Against Fraud?

    Your property is probably the most valuable asset you own. That’s why it’s important you do whatever you can to protect it from the risk of fraud.

    Property fraud happens in many ways, but typically a fraudster will impersonate a homeowner and forge documents to try to persuade Land Registry to transfer the title into their name. They then either sell the property or use the property to raise a mortgage from a bank – and disappear with the money.

    There is an increased risk of fraud when:

    • Your property’s mortgage has been paid off
    • Your property is empty or you’re letting it
    • An owner is spending time abroad or is absent
    • The owner is infirm or in a nursing or care home
    • A relationship breaks down

    So what can you do about it?

    Land Registry have stopped hundreds of fraudulent applications on properties worth millions of pounds, and have a dedicated fraud team and work closely with the police and other agencies to reduce the risk of property fraud.

    You can sign up to get property alerts if someone applies to change the register of your property, for example if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage. This won’t automatically block any changes to the register but will alert you when something changes so that you can take action. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties – there’s no fee. You can do this by visiting https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/

    If you’re worried you may be the victim of property fraud, contact Land Registry immediately. You should also get legal advice and contact the police. For more information please go to http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-fraud.

    Have a good week!

    Sharon

     

    If you would like a friendly, no obligation chat regarding buying, selling, renting or investing in property, then  please email sharon@moveon.biz  or telephone 01202 711169.

    Selling Tenanted Properties

    Selling Tenanted Properties

    Why being a specialist in selling tenanted properties is important versus the general high street agent!

    Over the years, we have sold many tenanted properties and we are very successful in doing this. We understand the lettings industry compliance side and because of this we know and understand why it is important to get it right from day one.

    Selling tenanted properties is a win-win for all parties involved. The seller, the buyer and the tenant!

    THE SELLER

    The Seller wants to sell the property with the tenant in situ normally for a couple of reasons. They have long standing tenants and do not want to disrupt their lives or the seller may have a mortgage on the property that would be financially difficult to cover if they were to sell the property empty.

    Solution – selling the property with the tenant in situ will mean receiving rental income up to the day of completion.

    THE BUYER

    Dependent on the experience of the buyer, there can be some anxious moments. Typically, a new landlord will have the following questions:

    1.      Will I really achieve the rental amount being quoted by the agent?

    2.      How long will it take until a tenant can move in, how long will my void period be?

    3.      What kind of tenant will the property attract?

    Solution – buy a property with a tenant in situ and receive rent from day one. You will meet the tenant, you will know exactly how much rent you will achieve and you should receive a rental statement showing them paying their rent on time each month.

    THE TENANT

    The tenant will automatically be worried as soon as the property is advertised. They will worry they will have to leave their home, they will worry about being made homeless. The lack of security may persuade them to move out as soon as they find somewhere, leaving the seller with no rental income.

    Solution – Liaise with the tenant, work with the tenant, be transparent and let them know an investor is being sought.

    When all sides work together, the outcome is a win for sellers, a win for buyers and a win for the tenants.

    COMPLIANCE

    Because we have sold so many, we also know that it is absolutely vital to make sure all paperwork is in order at the beginning and our expertise can help ensure the smooth process of a completion, with hopefully no nasty surprises down the road. We will look at the tenancy paperwork and the compliance certificates along with proof certain paperwork were issued to the tenant at the correct times including the prescribed information and Deposit certificates. If the paperwork is not in order, this can cause fines later down the road or unable to gain possession of your property if the need arose (for example the tenant not paying their rent).

     

    ABOUT US

    Move On Sales and Lettings area multi-award winning agency and have been established for 15 years under the ownership of Sharon Canning. Sharon became a landlord at the age of 19 and has worked in the real estate industry for 36 years and personally owns a portfolio of properties that also include HMO’s and Service Accommodation/Holiday lets. Selling or buying to live in or rent out is Move On’s speciality.