Jo Westlake

Registered with
Saturday 27th June 2015

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 8

Jo Westlake

13:07 PM, 21st March 2019
About 3 months ago

Laws on overcrowding in rental properties

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 21/03/2019 - 11:35
That's a good question and one I have previously failed to get a definitive answer to. Does it apply to just licensed HMOs, small unlicensed HMOs or all let properties?... Read More

Jo Westlake

10:23 AM, 21st March 2019
About 3 months ago

Laws on overcrowding in rental properties

The article forgot to mention ceiling height. Any area of floor with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m can't be included in the room measurements. For a single adult a room needs to be a minimum of 6.51 square meters with a ceiling height of at least 1.5m. It is perfectly possible for a room with a floor area of over 8 square meters to be well under 6.51 square meters of countable space.
These rooms are often the nicest to live in rooms - at the back of the house, on the top floor, overlooking gardens, no traffic noise, characterful, etc.
Enlarging the dormer window may be possible in some cases to make the room legal but it doesn't allow any extra furniture, so no real improvement for the tenant. It's expensive, spoils character and probably wouldn't be allowed in conservation areas.
How many thousands of rooms will be removed from the lettings market due to this piece of legislation?... Read More

Jo Westlake

17:12 PM, 12th March 2019
About 4 months ago

All bills included with an asterisk on the electricity?

I've used a tankless undersink instant hot water heater for a wash basin and it's quite impressive (better than the ugly traditional over sink water heaters). Reasonable flow of hot water more than sufficient for hand washing. It cost about £25. My plumber was a bit skeptical as he hadn't fitted one before but it's been in about 9 months now totally trouble free. Very compact, very neat, hidden in vanity unit and uses standard mixer tap. More powerful kitchen ones are readily available.
If the property doesn't have a bath and the only bathing provision is electric showers there really isn't a need for a tank of stored hot water. Especially for a property occupied by just 2 professionals.

The cost and viability of electric heating depends largely on how well the property is insulated and ventilated. I haven't got any of the latest generation of electric heaters but the previous generation of heaters with timers and thermostats have worked well in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. One of my mainly electric properties has a storage heater in the hall which stops the fabric of the building getting too cold, the other has a wood burner. The biggest problem I can see would be condensation and mold if the property is heated insufficiently or erratically.
As long as you have a realistic expectation of running costs an all electric system can be fine. Add up how much you think a normal property would cost for gas, electric, gas safety inspections, boiler maintenance and boiler replacement every 12 years. A well insulated electrically heated property is probably going to cost about the same or slightly less if your tenants engage with the system. That's assuming you install good quality heaters with timers, thermostats, etc.

I prefer tenancies that are inclusive of bills and have experienced very little abuse or over usage in the last 20 years. I state there is a fair usage policy of £xxxx or xxxxx kilowatts. No one has ever gone over by enough for me to worry about. I've never tried it with only 2 tenants though. It could make the rent look very expensive.... Read More

Jo Westlake

9:14 AM, 24th December 2018
About 6 months ago

Government announce new room size guidence

Do the minimum room size regulations apply to small unlicensed HMOs (3 or 4 unrelated tenants)?
I currently have 2 rooms that have floor areas greater than 6.51m2 but have sloping ceilings so are now considered to be smaller.
One is in a licensed 5 person student HMO and the other in a 4 person student house that doesn't require a licence.

The way I have read the guidelines it appears I will need to somehow enlarge the room in the 5 person house or stop letting it when the current licence expires. I'm not so clear on the 4 bedroom house. Do the new room sizes apply to it or not? If so what are the timeframes?... Read More

Jo Westlake

15:25 PM, 17th October 2018
About 8 months ago

Proposal to make BTL a time limited offer - Feedback request

1. Yes
2. One
3. £840
4. No. He would want to buy a nice country cottage not an ex Council flat. However, his age and income make it highly unlikely he could fund buying anything unless he wins the lottery.
5. Assuming said tenant doesn't win the lottery I won't be selling as I have no intention to ever make him homeless.
6. The proposal is ridiculous as CGT is a very regional and time related concept. Gains are minimal in large parts of the country especially on recently bought properties. Negative equity still exists. Anything I've bought in the last 10 years doesn't have a big enough CGT liability to either worry me or give an attractive bonus to a purchasing tenant under the above scheme.
Properties I've owned longer (pre 2003) are a different matter. Eye watering CGT liability (so I'm not selling) but tenants are mainly students or young professionals so they're not looking to buy those properties.
Restoring taper relief would allow longer held properties to gently return to the market.
The last thing anyone needs is a one year window.... Read More