Graham Bowcock

Registered with
Wednesday 14th January 2015

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 68

Graham Bowcock

21:42 PM, 8th March 2017, About 5 years ago

Private Landlord says I must wait for grant to get hot water!

Dear Janet

This matter does seem to be dragging on for you which is clearly very unfortunate.

It is clearly in your own interests to be reasonable, in terms of providing access and information, but I do wonder if your landlord is absolving himself of responsibility and passing the buck to you. The fact that your safety certificate is out of date is very worrying and makes it seem like your landlord is unprofessional.

I think it is time to lay down the law to your landlord and explain your entitlement. He cannot let the matter drag on indefinitely. You deserve, at very least, a timescale for resolution.

Your landlord should pay the £70 fee for the heating engineer (on the basis that he asked you to arrange this).

You have just mentioned that you have an immersion heater; is it right that you have a conventional system (i.e. you have a hot water tank) and therefore do have an electric immersion heater. If this is the case, and you are not actually without hot water (and you said before that you have working heating) then your position is perhaps not as bad as I feared. In which case bear with your landlord to get the boiler replaced.

If you want a contribution to additional costs (electric v gas) then you can ask but you are not guaranteed anything. I think it is more important to spend your time persuading the landlord to get the boiler sorted and make sure it is safe.

Good luck

Graham... Read More

Graham Bowcock

10:11 AM, 3rd March 2017, About 5 years ago

Private Landlord says I must wait for grant to get hot water!

Dear Janet

There are no hard and fast rules and each case will be different, but several weeks without hot water is not reasonable.

You should permit your landlord and/or his chosen engineer to inspect the current system. You could hope that they could actually get it going again, alt least temporarily.

In practice it can be difficult to get a boiler replaced overnight and in my experience we generally allow a week. From the landlord's point of view it is reasonable that we get competitive quotes and look at alternative systems (perhaps replacing traditional systems with combis); this can take a couple of days. Once a contractor is appointed they have to order the boiler and book the work in. A week soon goes by and this is in a case where everybody is on board. In fairness this is no different from the position of an owner occupier - there is no magic formula.

The landlord's obligations come under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (s11) and this is says there must be a cold water supply and a means of heating the water. I think you should ask your landlord to set out his proposals for dealing with the matter, including a realistic timetable. Explain your legal right to a hot water supply.

What is reasonable will depend on the precise situation. I assume you do not have an electric immersion heater that would heat the water (this if often forgotten about). If you, for example, have an electric shower then, again, the effect of the boiler fault will be minimised. If you are totally without water then you do need to persuade your landlord to get his repairs done quicker.

Incidentally, your landlord should pay for the call out that you said you paid for.

Good luck.

Graham... Read More

Graham Bowcock

17:50 PM, 25th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Why Did I Ever Invest in Buy to let?

Dear James

I'm with the respondent who said "don't panic". I suspect that most of us property investors have had a wobble at times but, for most of us, we come out the other side. On average post war, UK property values have doubled every ten years. That's not a guarantee and I've seen properties in some areas fall very significantly (as well as being an investor I am a Registered Valuer and specialise in portfolio valuations). Often those who paid the most were somewhat sucked in, usually with new build flats.

It does the industry no favours to describe yourself as an amateur investor; I know what you mean, but the fact is you are investor and have laid our, presumably, a reasonable sum of money for your investment. As such there is a need to take the rough with the smooth. I've dabbled with shares in the past - with no success, but have found a niche in owning and managing property.

I agree with those who say you need to be commercial about your "business". It is odd that you dropped the rent when most of us are increasing rents. It is one thing to try and keep good tenants but if your concerned about money then it sounds like you need to try and maintain the rent as high as you can get it.

From what you say it doesn't sound like things are too bad. You have pension provision and you are not required to sell the property or re-mortgage. It also sounds like it makes a cash surplus (which could be higher). I would recommend that you put some of the cash surplus aside for the rainy day funds - if things are tight how would you cope with replacing the boiler or any refurbishment, or void periods?

As regards the difference between the north and south this is where any investor needs to be very sure of what they are doing. I cannot speaks for the south of England, but here in south Manchester demand is good. I have just bought a regular two bed semi and it went to best and final offers - I don't recall doing that before in nearly thirty years. However, we do a lot of work in Liverpool (BTL valuations) and I agree with the person who commented about the market there; the key issue really, in my experience, is the quality of housing stock. Gross Initial Yields may be higher but capital growth will be slower. Any investor needs to decide which market they want to be in.

Hope this helps

Graham... Read More

Graham Bowcock

13:25 PM, 24th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Incorporation of properties with no capital growth?

Reply to the comment left by "Sam Addison" at "24/02/2017 - 11:54":


There is no restriction on running a limited company (or several) whilst also being a sole trader or member of a partnership. It is quite common. What you must never do, however, is muddle them up or get confused. As a company director you have a salary (PAYE), as a shareholder you take a dividend and as a sole trader or partner you take a profit. All income and expenditure must be allocated correctly. If a house belongs to a limited company then only that company can receive the rent and bear the costs, not the directors or shareholders personally.

Believe me people do get confused by this and often fail to appreciate that sometimes money is not "theirs".

Graham... Read More

Graham Bowcock

10:44 AM, 24th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Incorporation of properties with no capital growth?

Dear Clinton

As to whether incorporation is suitable for you I suggest you get some sound advice from an accountant; it won't be for everyone and may not be straightforward. I incorporated a number of properties some years ago so have some flexibility and have looked at moving some personally held properties into my companies. In my case it is not worth it for a number of reasons - CGT, SDLT and some very good interest rate deals that I currently have and cannot replicate. I am resigned to a higher tax payment but am prepared to treat this as simply an increase in interest, for the moment.

I may move properties over time but will be cautious. The big issue for me (and most others) will be when interest rates rise so there will be a double whammy of more interest and less tax relief.

As I am committed to the private rented sector I have just bought another house through one of our companies - it is not for the faint hearted. My companies are bang up to date with documentations, accounts, etc. and I have everything to hand in my office, but dealing with this purchase has been very time consuming. The costs can be eye-watering as there is a requirement for debentures and fixed/floating charges. The directors have had to give personal guarantees (and be individually represented) over and above the charges on the properties. Our situation is complicated by loans from other lenders who also have fixed and floating charges (and want paying for sharing them).

I have run property companies for nearly twenty years so have some experience but going down the incorporated route will not suit everyone. It is important to establish the legal requirements as well as those of the lenders, and also the costs, before diving headlong into incorporation.


Graham... Read More