Graham Bowcock

Registered with
Saturday 22nd October 2016

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 120

Graham Bowcock

12:05 PM, 4th November 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Check Out questions in the current climate?

If you want to make a claim against the tenant for the quality of cleaning you need to have a decent inventory fron the start of the tenancy (ideally agreed with the tenant), along with full details of the end of tenancy issues. It's a shame you felt rushed doing the checkout, as that is ideally when you should have noted the defects and agreed them with the tenant. Cleaning in particular can be subjective.

If you try to make a claim on the deposit you will need the evidence (e.g. dated photographs, contempraneous notes).

Personally, I always assume I will need to arrange a clean after a tenancy and don't worry too much unless it is really bad. Even when I've had great tenants there's always something to sort out.

Tenants do not like landlords withholding money from deposits (hence the legislation in their favour) so you always have to tread carefully unless it's very clear.

As for the bath, this is harder to comment on.

Keys - if you give out two keys, give out two keys. If the tenants want more, let them sort it out. Unlilely to be a deal breaker.... Read More

Graham Bowcock

11:40 AM, 23rd October 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Asbestos and rental property

Hi Sally-Anne

Asbestos in houses rarely comes up as an issue so you are right to raise it. In general house owners have no obligation to look for it or record it (as with commercial property), but as a landlord you would have a duty of care for any contractors that you instruct. As Puzzler said, undisturbed asbestos (in sheet form, roof cladding, etc.) is generally fine; problems occur when you come to drill through it or remove it.

Asbestos does crop up all over the place and the worst is in lagging (small fibres) which creates dust. I used to manage some flats with internal asbestos drain pipes. In order to repair them there had to be a proper asbestos contractor who sealed the property off and instigated a full management plan. not a cheap thing to do (but paid for by the management company as the drains were communal).

I suspect that builders' merchants and the like have no real interest and little knowledge.... Read More

Graham Bowcock

16:10 PM, 1st October 2019
About a month ago

AST for tenant's lodger?

I think your attempts to keep a good tenant are well intentioned but fraught with danger. It sounds like she has something that she cannot afford (not necessarily through any fault of her own) at your expense. Unless you are happy to carry on subsidising her (perhaps you are a charity!) then the sensible thing is a discussion about her position.

I have been here myself and the usual conclusion is that the tenant leaves. If it's well managed then they generally accept the conclusion and move on. Unfortunately there is little rental available in my area, but if there is no real pressure on time then tenants usually find somewhere to move to.

If you are £7k a year down on rent that's a lot of money. Remember that you will need to pay for any repairs, re-roofing, new boilers, etc.. Not to mention the compliance stuff, safety checks, etc. That's what the rent is for.

The real point is that however nice you are, the tenant is not your problem. Stay away from contrivances and shams to try and help her.... Read More

Graham Bowcock

9:44 AM, 25th September 2019
About 2 months ago

Appropriate timing for renewal of 6 month leases?


I think that you're complicating your desire for simplicity.

Rents do not necessarily rise each year, they are determined by the market which may have risen, fallen or stayed static.

If you enter a new tenancy every six months you will have to make sure that all the compliance is right each time, on the basis of a new tenancy. It would be easier just to do a rent review and document that.

I always reckon that when a tenant leaves it costs about three months' rent in covering void, letting costs and any works (there's always something to do). It therefore seems sensible to me to try and keep good tenants as long as I can. I do occasional reviews (rents in my area have gone up markedly), but one of my selling points is that I stay just below the market so as to encourage the tenants to quickly complete the rent review. It saves me time and money, the tenants can see they are getting some discount and everybody is happy.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, as my mother would say!... Read More

Graham Bowcock

14:12 PM, 19th September 2019
About 2 months ago

Commercial shop contract advice?


This is perhaps more complicated than you imagine. I have seen many homemade agreements, but they end up not being worth the paper they are written on.

A commercial lease is a very different animal to a residential lease, the good news being that you have freedom to agree terms with the tenant. These can include a Full Repairing and Insuring (FRI) basis which is great for the landlord.

You will need to have some regard to the tenant's current situation though. Commercial leases are subject to "contracting out" which relates to security of tenure. You need to understand if the current lease is contracted out or not. If it is then you have the right to end it when the fixed term expires. If it isn't then the tenant can apply for a new lease on the same terms (save as for rent) and the landlord has limited grounds to object.

If the current lease is not contracted out then your new lease cannot be contracted out (but I have seen differing opinions on this point). This may not matter if the aim is to keep the property let, but more of a problem should you ever want to get it back.

Deposits are not covered by legislation, so you can hold yourself (ideally in a separate bank account).

Don't forget that you need a valid EPC (E band or above).

I strongly suggest that you get a solicitor to draft the lease as they will cover all the points you raise, and many more. This is particularly important should you ever wish to borrow money against the property; the lender will want all of the paperwork in order. To make things easier, set out all heads of terms that you agree with the tenant, so that your solicitor has an easier job, for example full (and accurate) tenants' names and addresses, agreed rent, rent reviews, repairs, services, service charges, shared facilities, etc. etc.... Read More