Jo Westlake

Registered with Property118.com
Saturday 27th June 2015


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 42

Jo Westlake

17:32 PM, 8th February 2021
About 2 months ago

A letter to address UC flaws to private landlords

Reply to Alan Wong

You're right. It is a better position to be in than most.
All credit to the tenant being a conscientious, decent human being. He had huge problems with unemployment, under payment of benefit, wrong information from HB and UC, depression, part time minimum wage job, zero hours job, etc.
At one point his rent arrears amounted to £1800. Due to a combination of his depression and mistakes made by officials he was denied around £2000 in benefits that he should have received.

I spent many, many hours trying to point him in the right direction for help with his claim, encouraged him to apply for suitable jobs and generally tried to motivate him when things got really bleak.

He eventually got a full time job and
gradually got the arrears under control.
Unfortunately he lost the full time job when the company went bust and is now a furloughed hospitality worker.
By the time he moved out he had paid back every penny.

So there are decent tenants out there on UC.
It would certainly help if UC sorted out their communication issues and liased with both landlord and tenant. First time claimants often haven't got a clue what they're entitled to or how to claim it.... Read More

Jo Westlake

16:52 PM, 8th February 2021
About 2 months ago

A letter to address UC flaws to private landlords

I'm at the other end of the scale with UC. They have overpaid me and won't tell me how to return the money or if some of it should be refunded to the tenant and some to them.
The tenant moved out on 2nd December fully up to date with his rent. UC paid me £144.78 on 3rd December. I have repeatedly asked them if this should be returned to them or the tenant. My instinct is it should be the tenant because UC is paid in arrears but UC have so far failed to confirm that. Obviously I don't want to give it to the tenant and then UC say it needs to go back to them.
I then received another payment of £234.78 on 31st December. This one I'm fairly sure should go back to UC but they have failed to give me details of how to refund it.
I have spent hours phoning and emailing UC. UC said phone debt management. They said phone UC who then said phone TPP. Their recorded message said they don't answer the phone so another call to UC. They then gave me an email address for TPP. It bounced back and said they only respond to a specific form. I filled that in and got a reply that only UC can deal with the over payment. I've reminded someone else twice and been told the case worker will deal with it. They still haven't.... Read More

Jo Westlake

19:14 PM, 20th November 2020
About 5 months ago

Transferred residential to our sons?

If the rent is below £7500 a year as a lodger presumably it should be covered by the Rent a Room tax exemption.
To determine market rent a good starting point would be the LHA rate for a room in a shared house and then tweak it up or down accordingly after checking websites such as SpareRoom for similar local rooms with live-in landlords. Keep good records of how you arrive at the rental figure.... Read More

Jo Westlake

11:39 AM, 16th November 2020
About 5 months ago

Surprised by low offer from leaseholder?

I was trying to edit the above. Didn't mean to post it twice.
That was a Statutory lease extension. The version that extinguishes all future ground rent and adds 90 years to the lease.
It is also possible to do a Negotiated lease extension where the lease can still include ground rent and can be for whatever period you agree to. This is much cheaper for valuer and solicitor fees.

Which route to go depends partly on the attitude of the freeholder and partly on why someone is extending the lease.

I did a negotiated extension 3 years ago with a really good freeholder. Minimal fees, extra 90 years and no nasty new charges in the extended lease. I did a Statutory extension this year with an absolutely horrendous freeholder. Other flats in the building have negotiated extensions and apparently (according to an estate agent) were given 3 versions to choose from with varying levels of ground rent. Something like a 30 year extension with ground rent of £150 a year cost about £11000. The freeholder couldn't be bothered to tell me what the negotiated options were so I went straight in on the Statutory route.

If someone just wants to extend the lease so they can sell the flat negotiated is fine (for them). That person won't have to live with whatever is negotiated.
If someone intends to retain ownership long term and the freeholder is as rapacious as they can be Statutory is the way to go.

For the freeholder it's all about compensation. Either they get a guaranteed ground rent income for the next however many years or they get a big lump sum up front and no future ground rent. Or with a negotiated extension they get both if the leaseholder agrees to it.
Marriage value comes into it when a lease drops below 80 years.... Read More

Jo Westlake

11:04 AM, 16th November 2020
About 5 months ago

Surprised by low offer from leaseholder?

I extended a lease earlier this year. It was 67 years so similar to yours.
I had to pay for my valuer and solicitor and also for the freeholders valuer and solicitor (both of which were somewhat more expensive than mine).
My valuer valued the lease extension premium at £11600, theirs at £12500. We agreed on £12050. In total the fees for both sets of valuers and solicitors came to £4700.... Read More