Jo Westlake

Registered with
Saturday 27th June 2015

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 26

Jo Westlake

11:26 AM, 27th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Adding another tenant onto contract

I'd agree to it subject to referencing and treat it as a new tenancy. Email both of them the standard How to Rent guide, gas safety cert, EPC, GDPR policy, etc. Do your Right to Rent check. Unprotect and then reprotect the deposit.
There will be a small cost to all of this but well worth paying if it means a good tenant can continue living in your property.... Read More

Jo Westlake

1:00 AM, 19th March 2020
About 3 weeks ago

He's absolutely crackers!

The media and politicians seem to be implying everyone will be ill and everyone will lose their job and income.
That's completely irrational.

Some tenants will have massive pay cuts due to reduced working hours or business closure. Others will be working flat out and earning more than usual.
There will be thousands of temporary jobs covering for regular staff sickness and covering industries with higher than normal demand.

Universal Credit and the Local Housing Allowance exist for a reason. In most cases it is significantly below real rent but it would minimise the arrears tenants could accrue. Presumably claiming benefits and receiving the first payment is going to be even slower than usual but knowing there is money on the way would reassure some landlords and tenants. A great many of the tenants who will be affected have absolutely no knowledge of the benefits system. Reminding them it exists is probably a sensible thing to do.
I was under the impression the suggested rent holiday doesn't cancel the rent, it defers it. How many tenants are going to want or need to rack up a rent debt? Having compassion for and giving a breathing space to those in genuine difficulty due to the impact of Coronavirus is one thing. Irresponsible journalism encouraging tenants to not pay (even if they have the money) is a major concern.

If pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theme parks, etc are all closed what are people going to spend money on? A great many people have already bought several weeks supply of food, so again what are they going to spend money on? If they're self isolating or working from home or laid off they aren't having to pay to travel to work.

So while some tenants are going to experience financial difficulty others are going to be earning significantly more than normal.... Read More

Jo Westlake

9:56 AM, 17th March 2020
About 3 weeks ago

To install gas central heating or not?

I've just had the same dilemma with a one bedroom flat and opted for all electric. I'm having one Dimplex Quantum with WiFi control in the lounge, a panel heater in the bedroom and electric towel radiators in the bathroom and kitchen. An electric shower and a small hot water undersink thing for washing up and hand washing. My theory was the standing charge for gas pays for several weeks supply of electric. The new Lot 20 electric heaters are extremely controllable. If one heater breaks it's only one heater, not the whole system, making it an inconvenience not an emergency. There is no annual gas safety check to deal with.

No idea how the numbers will work out as that largely depends on how the tenant actually uses the system.... Read More

Jo Westlake

13:18 PM, 4th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Failed EPC Due to assumed no insulation?

The whole EPC assessment is flawed and results are largely down to the opinion of individual assessors.
I have just bought a renovation project that had an EPC done in November 2018 for sales purposes. It scored F25. I asked my regular EPC assessor to have a look at it and advise me how to target the renovation to best improve it's EPC. His starting point was to assess it in its current state (exactly the same as it was in 2018) and has rated it as G14. That's an 11 point difference of opinion.
The flat in question is ground floor with part uninsulated concrete floor, part uninsulated suspended timber floor, uninsulated cavity walls, single glazed sash windows, no heating or hot water but it does have low energy light bulbs.

On other houses I have had EPC scores lowered after doing roof insulation work because the roofing invoice only stated Celotex, not the thickness used. The Building Control certificate just said it complied, not what materials were used. The EPC assessor decided that as I couldn't absolutely prove what was there he would assume nothing.

If we can't have consistency in the system what is the point of having the system at all?... Read More

Jo Westlake

11:40 AM, 24th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Serving Section 21 during fixed term - right or wrong?

Regardless of the exact legal position all parties are allowed to behave in a more cooperative fashion towards eachother. A tenancy agreement is really a framework for worse case scenario.
The landlord will be able to get vacant possession at some point, your friend will have to move at some point, the buyer will buy a property (maybe not that one).

As the landlord wants this transaction to proceed he should be offering to pay compensation and moving costs if the tenant agrees to move. The tenant is going to have to move at some point anyway, may as well be when someone is offering to compensate. If the landlord has to go the eviction route his costs aren't going to be insignificant. If he loses this buyer who knows when the next one will come along.

Does the buyer actually want vacant possession? The last property I bought had tenants I would have liked to keep. I told the tenants to tell the landlord I was keen. Unfortunately the estate agent told the seller it would fetch more money empty. It didn't. I paid exactly what I had planned to offer and the landlord had the property sat empty for 5 months while the sale trundled along.... Read More