Nick Pope

Registered with Property118.com
Sunday 18th August 2013


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 154

Nick Pope

12:59 PM, 25th May 2019
About 2 months ago

Loft conversion without planning permission or building regs

As a mortgage surveyor I would concur with the comments above. I am fairly relaxed about roof conversions without planning permission and indeed it is not now required for most conversions as it's permitted development. However I always flag up the need for building regulation approval. Many builders will claim that approval is not required as they want to get on with the work and not have the hassle of an application which will take time.
Some conversions are carried out by enthusiastic amateurs and often they think that planning permission and building regulation are the same and within the council neither department speaks to the other!
As a landlord however I become very concerned as non-compliance with fire precautions and method of escape in particular. If a tenant was injured or died in a fire I have no doubt that the landlord would be sued and the judge would almost inevitable find in the tenant's favour.
My advice - have the conversion checked for safety and it it's not safe put it out of use (just lock it up) or put a term in the lease that the space is for storage only and must not be used as a bedroom.
However as a landlord myself... Read More

Nick Pope

11:12 AM, 6th April 2019
About 4 months ago

First time landlord renewal shock?

As I have said several times before I simply tell letting agents at the outset that they can have full management for 1 year and, assuming the tenant remains after that date I will take over rent collection and management with no further fees payable to them. It's take it or leave it and they sometimes load the fee rate by a per cent or 2 but I am happy with this as they get the hassle.
Of course if the tenant is difficult I do not choose to take up the option to take over.
I have yet to have a refusal by an agent.... Read More

Nick Pope

10:15 AM, 12th January 2019
About 6 months ago

When does completed mean completed?

As a surveyor and an old estate agent I always advised my clients that they should always choose and instruct their own solicitor for new property purchase rather than one recommended by the developer - the "special" fee involved usually means that you will get a cut-price job and the solicitor will not be fully independent.
If you had a mortgage it is likely that the tame solicitor also acted for your mortgage lender and I would suggest that you also take up the matter with them as it seems that they have also been misled by their own legal representative into believing that the property was complete. They will have considerably more leverage than you as they can always withdraw the solicitor's accreditation to act on their behalf in the future.
It also appears that either the Warranty Certificate and Building Regulations Completion Certificate have been incorrectly issued as the property cannot be safely accessed or that the solicitors acting for Fortis have been economical with the truth. Your solicitor should have required to see a copy of these documents before advising you to complete.
I would also discuss this with the Law Society - starting their complaints procedure tends to focus lawyers minds almost immediately - let your lawyers know you intend to go down this route immediately.
Next stop is the local Building Control Dept. I would call them and ask if it is their policy to issue completion certificates on properties which are incomplete. In this case it is possible that the Building Control has been delegated to the warranty provider (NHBC will often fulfil this function) and thay should be able to confirm if this has been done.
Then call the warranty provider and ask them how the hell thay can issue a warranty on a property which is incomplete. If they have indeed done that the start their complaints/claims procedure immediately.
I suspect that the rent guarantee sum was built into the original purchase price but this is not a matter which should be allowed to muddy the waters. You bought a property which could not be safely occupied on the advice of supposed professionals who were paid by you to act on your behalf and they simply failed in their duties.
I have looked at the PLS website and whilst there are many complimentary reviews there are also some stinkers. It seems that this is one of the industrial style firms (there are mentions of Team 10 and Team 21) where one qualified solicitor looks after many conveyancing clerks who do the work but don't always understand the complexities of residential conveyancing and consequently don't flag up problems to the solicitor signing off the work.
My advice - shoot off complaints in all directions and demand explanations as to why the work you paid for was not of a standard expected of professionals.... Read More

Nick Pope

18:46 PM, 22nd September 2018
About 10 months ago

Leaving agent that is a late payer

I can only advise landlords to do what I do. Instruct an agent on whatever terms you can agree and allow them to manage for 1 year. Your choice as to rent collection only or full management, whatever suits you best. Make it clear that at the end of 1 year and for the rest of the tenancy you can terminate at one months notice and take over management yourself with no penalty. If the tenant is easy then just take it back and do it yourself and if difficult then leave it with the agent and they can take the hassle. I make it clear that its a take it or leave it situation because I am not prepared to keep on paying year after year when I am keeping the same tenant in the property. In addition, I hold the deposit - no if's, but's or maybe's.
I have never had an argument yet and if the agent is flexible I keep going back to them.
Remember, you are doing them a favour, not vice versa.
One slight caveat - you may not find this easy as I am in a privileged position because my main profession is of benefit to agents and they want to keep on my good side.... Read More

Nick Pope

9:44 AM, 16th September 2018
About 10 months ago

New mandatory HMO licensing rules fast approaching - 1st Oct

Reply to the comment left by Chris Daniel at 16/09/2018 - 09:13
Yes. I use Metropix which is online. I only do a couple a year and you can pay for each plan. I think it's about £3. It's very simple - just draw a box, divide it into smaller boxes, put in windows and doors, kitchen fittings, sanitaryware, stairs etc and you're done. I can do a standard terraced house in a few minutes. For an additional fee it will convert to a 3d image.
If you need to do more then there is a wide range of free and paid for software.... Read More