Mike W

Registered with Property118.com
Tuesday 10th September 2013

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 203

Mike W

11:57 AM, 18th March 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Covid-19 will crash my student BTL business?

Yes, I'm afraid the numpties, who drafted the Scottish law, did not take this sort of event into account. Those in England with fixed-term contacts will have some leverage. In Scotland, there will be a 5-month void unless there is a need to maintain accommodation for work reasons. Interestingly, some Scottish student unions argued that students ought to have fixed-term contracts.
The universities will have to take care. If students can study and take exams online, what is the point of spending a lot of money on accommodation in order to go to university?

What bothers me more is not the seriousness of the outbreak but the manner in which it is reported, which creates panic. There is no comparison of the numbers with, for example, annual road deaths or annual seasonal flu deaths. And some self-appointed experts, without access to all the information, are given air time to question whether the Government action is correct. True some people need to be pushed to follow instructions for the benefit of all but clearing out supermarket shelves? Do people not know and understand there is a war on?... Read More

Mike W

15:38 PM, 21st February 2020
About 2 months ago

Tenant handed in notice but wants rent refund?

Landlord and tenant signed a contract for the tenant to live in the property until 21/3. The tenant paid until 21/3 and is entitled to stay in the property until then. In my view, the tenant would also be responsible for any costs in the period up to 21/3.
If he decides to move out on 16/3 and the landlord did not get a new tenant before 21/3 nothing changes. But if the landlord gets a new tenant from 16/3 then he ought to seek permission from the previous tenant for the early move in and of course reimburse him at his request.
The same ought to apply to hotels but who checks?... Read More

Mike W

17:58 PM, 8th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Failed EPC Due to assumed no insulation?

Rachel, you have my sympathy.
As another commentator has said it is worse in Scotland.
In 2015 I had internal wall insulation work done on two properties as part of a kitchen and bathroom refurbishment. Then I had EPCs done on both properties by a well known UK firm of surveyors/valuers. The result was C and D, the D because less wall work had been done in that property. Late last year I agreed to subsidised work to insulate the underfloor area and add loft insulation. As part of the deal an EPC would be taken before and after the work.
The EPCs before the work were D and E - the properties had dropped from C and D!! The surveyor was clearly inexperienced but basically said if I can't see it, it is not there! He did not notice the triple glazing either. The new work has been done but I have not yet had the new EPCs and will not deal with that assessor.
So how did this happen? Well the regulator (BRE) changed the goalposts (RdSAP 2012 v9.94) in September 2019 : https://www.bregroup.com/sap/standard-assessment-procedure-sap-2012/
But the assessor was very inexperienced and he did not recognise that modern extensions (2010) had been made in the roof in both houses, something which of course the local 2015 surveyor/valuer knew about - its a row of similar houses and only these two had the extension. As he is local he would have looked up the building warrant online to establish the work age. The 2015 'inspection' took on board the wall insulation.
Thus the drop in EPC figures was due to the inexperienced assessor not identifying the extension as modern and refusing to recognise the wall insulation. Now the wall insulation does not require building warrant approval so it can be done by the homeowner, but if so, where is the proof? Do we have to disassemble the house to prove it is there? Other commentators have talked about drilling holes etc but that only 'proves' that the insulation is in that locality in that room. And anyway what about the cost? Interestingly would an inexperienced assessor even look under the floor for underfloor insulation if the access hatch is covered by carpet?
Now there are serious implications arising from this experience. Later this year minimum levels of EPC become a legal requirement.
I have over recent months have had a number of conversations with the Scottish Landlords Assoc., local authority building inspectors and assessors so it is clear to me that this mess has not been thought through. Who is going to provide an exemption because the assessor cannot see what is there?
And the inexperienced assessor also loaded up his incorrect assessment onto the national database despite my objection.

Rachel, I suggest you get a trustworthy experienced assessor to properly evaluate your property.... Read More

Mike W

8:53 AM, 27th June 2019
About 9 months ago

Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

Hi Samantha, You asked some reasonable questions and have received a range of views. It all comes down to what is reasonable. Unfortunately it is a 3 party situation whereby an agent is acting for the landlord and appears to be acting in their (the agent's) own interest. So some thoughts.
You are paying rent and I'm sure your contract will say that you, in return for the rent payment, are entitled to the peaceful occupation. Then at the end of your tenancy there will be a clause covering viewings. It is important that you read that clause. I suspect that there is no clause in your contract which requires you to allow photos. I use the word requires. You may allow it but I suspect you have the right to refuse. One res ponder has made the comparison with selling the property. I do not see the comparison other than there is some logistical similarity. A seller has a financial interest to present. You do not. But you may wish to be reasonable and understand his position. As a reasonable landlord, he may understand your position: win - win. As a landlord I have always recognised this and carefully liaise with the tenant to agree what can and cannot be done. I restrict viewings to fit in with the tenant whether I am selling or re renting. For example I try to batch viewings on one day over 1-2 hours depending on how many interested parties I have. Since my properties tend to go quickly both I and the tenant can fully co-operate. Both, in my opinion, are reasonable.
To answer your specific questions:
1. It depends. If your contract says they have the right, then it would be whether it was reasonable if there are a multitude of requests or their were sound reasons for you to say no.
2. I think that is reasonable if you have had multiple requests and it is being disruptive for you. (Keep records)
3. Yes and put it in writing. I am always surprised that security is an aspect which is not seriously considered in the process of advertising ....
4. No, particularly if you have told them no AND there is nothing in your contract which specifically says they have that right. If they do take photos then I suggest you report them to the agents regulator and write to them saying that you hold them responsible for any loss you may incur as a result of your loss of security. There are legal aspects here.
5. Yes if you have reason to believe that they have no legitimate reason for the inspection. To put this into perspective: As a bachelor (many years ago) an agent requested an inspection. I took time off work to be at the property. The inspection took an hour and was 'kind of formal' with clip board etc. Two weeks later I had another request. I contacted them to ask why they now wanted another. They said they had not done an inspection two weeks prior. I took another day off work. The same person came round with the clip board. Nothing was noted. Only this time when the agent moved to leave I said they could not leave unless they signed a piece of paper saying they had undertaken an inspection at time and date. (It was many years ago when technology was not as it is today.) There was an impasse for a few minutes. She eventually signed. I never had another inspection for the next three years (when I left). When I told the landlord he was very apologetic. Incompetent agent.... Read More

Mike W

21:21 PM, 26th March 2019
About A year ago

MP Iain Duncan Smith criticises George Osborne’s Housing Policies

At last some realisation that taxing people who want to move, up sizing or downsizing or relocating, is not a sensible idea. It removes fluidity from market and the market will cease to function. And similarly taxing those individuals who wish to help to provide homes (in the same way as other housing bodies) is not sensible. It has the same effect.... Read More