Tag Archives: Advice requested by readers

My tenants (a couple) have split up – Advice required Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

HELP!

We took on a couple a year ago as tenants. A month before the end of the contract the man said he was leaving his partner and gave notice for himself, but she wanted to stay on. We have given her notice, but she has only paid £225 this month instead of the £825 and he says he wants his deposit.

She had been given a section 21 notice and should quit in December. My tenants (a couple) have split up - Advice required

What can I do about:

1. The deposit
2. If she doesn’t leave in December

Many thanks

Jo

 


Deposit Dispute – ADR – Evidence viewing Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I am currently going through ADR with DPS, and am just wondering is it at all possible that the lead tenant can request all the documentation that the landlord has submitted as evidence?

The process is now with the independent adjudicator, so a decision is imminent, however, I was just wondering if either party is allowed to request the full evidence documents to be sent to them for viewing.

ThanksDeposit Dispute - ADR - Evidence viewing

Daniel


Damage caused by leak from neighbouring flat Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My tenants reported a very serious leak from the water cylinder to my letting agents, who called in my plumber, who could find no trace of a leak from the water cylinder.

When my tenants got home from work they found the next door neighbours pulling up carpets following a bad leak from their boiler (I had my tenant’s leaking boiler replaced not long ago). The neighbours’ letting agents are sending them a contractor to suck up all the moisture. Damage caused by leak from neighbouring flat

My agents say we can then assess if there is any lasting damage and make a claim on the buildings insurance.

I don’t think this can be right, as the building insurance is with the maintenance company and covers external, not internal problems.

Am I right in thinking that any claim I need to make should be against the neighbouring landlord’s policy?

Thoughts and advice appreciated.

Thanks

Christine


Should I raise rent in line with RPI or CPI? Latest Articles

I have just read the latest survey about rent rises.

We have several properties, but one, a townhouse, is coming up for review. In light of the latest RPI, and CPI which this month are aprox 2.7% and 3.3% respectively I am considering a rent increase.

I was thinking of using these figures as a guide for a natural increase, which in effect is no increase. The rent is currently £860.00 per 4 weeks, and the tenants get most of this in Housing Benefit. I was thinking of raising it to £895.00 as the general costs have risen, and because they are in receipt of benefits the insurance is 50% higher than normal.

What does everyone think and do you have any advice?

Regards

AlanRPI


Who is responsible for my tenants £400 water bill? Landlords Stories, Latest Articles

I recently visited my tenant with a congratulations card as they had recently had a new baby.

While I was there my tenant mentioned that the water pressure was very low from the bath tap and would my husband come round to have a look some time and that there was no rush (we manage our own properties). My husband went round 5 days later and the tenant is now saying there must be a leak somewhere as he has a water bill for £400.

My husband checked in the bathroom and there was water trickling into the toilet from the overflow system in the cistern. My husband asked the tenant if he had not heard this trickling and he said he had heard it in the night, but thought it was his son going to spend a penny!

The water has obviously been trickling like this for weeks or possibly months and this has resulted in the hefty water bill.

Who is responsible for paying the bill?

Any comments please.

Ashleytoilet


Annual Inspection Certificates for HMOs – Am I on the right Track? HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles

I have a 6-bed HMO (2 storeys and unlicenced). I was inspected recently by the local authority and all was found to be pretty much in order, however I was unaware that I needed to produce annual inspection certificates for the smoke alarms, emergency lighting as well as an annual PAT cert.

1. Annual PAT Certificate – unlike the legal requirement for a 5 year certificate for the electrics (and annually for the gas), I understand that there is no legal requirement for an annual PAT cert though of course it would be good practice. I check the appliances visually on a monthly basis. I have thought about buying a PAT tester and using it myself, but the authority won’t accept my findings unless I’ve been on a course to make me ‘a competent person’ notwithstanding my degree in engineering. I’m prepared to accept this opinion and produce a cert myself annually after I’ve been on the course. Thoughts?

2. Annual Smoke Alarm Test – I test these monthly myself with the test buttons (logging it). Apparently I need a ‘competent person’ to inspect them and blow some smoke into them once a year to check that they perform. I’d prefer to have a third party do it rather than do this myself considering that the consequences of culpability in the event of failure could be quite serious (though not really wishing to imply that the PAT could give rise to anything less serious!). My electrician has agreed to do this and he’ll confirm his findings in a letter as he has no formal cert (as he has for the PAT). Thoughts?

3. Annual Emergency Lighting Test – once again I check it monthly (logging it) simply by tripping out the mains lighting circuit and checking each light fitting comes on. But apparently I need to have the mains power out for 3 hours once a year and have it certified by a competent person. Again my electrician will do it. He doesn’t have a cert as such to issue, but will confirm it in a letter. Thoughts?

I would be most grateful for feedback from readers

Regards

BruceTrack


Ground rent increased between signing our Lease and Completion Latest Articles

This is my first contribution to Property118. I hope to make many more.

We have formed a Right to Manage (RTM) Co for our block of 137 properties, and are now going fo Right to Enfranchise (RTE). However, we have recently discovered a discrepancy in our leases, which our solicitor (no longer practicing!) did not point out, or conveniently ignored.

The Ground rent was £150 when we signed our lease, but have since noticed it had been changed to £250 in the lease at Completion.

This makes a massive difference to the price our Freeholder expects us to pay for the RTE.

Has anyone experienced something similar?

Regards

Lou

 

Definitions From .GOV

The Right to Manage lets you and the other leaseholders take over certain management responsibilities from the landlord without having to prove bad management.

You’ll need to find out if you qualify and set up a company with the other leaseholders. The landlord will then transfer the management responsibilities to the company. You and the other leaseholders can manage the building yourselves or pay a managing agent to do it.

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LAS) has a guide on the Right to Manage.

 

Right to Enfranchise

Subject to certain conditions, leaseholders of flats have the right to enfranchise their building as a group if they and their building qualify. They have this right even if the freeholder or landlord does not wish to sell.

This is known as the Right to Enfranchise, and must be exercised by a ‘nominee purchaser’, who will act for you throughout the process and will own the freehold for you after you enfranchise.

The ‘nominee purchaser’ is explained in further detail later in this chapter. Once the freehold has been bought, the leaseholders can decide how they want to manage the building, for example, managing the building themselves or appointing a manager to do so on their behalf. Flats


Expat couple looking for advice investing in London Latest Articles

First off, great site! As a wannabe investor/landlord for several years, I’ve been a keen follower of this and similar landlord online resources, which have been a great source of inspiration and learning about the landlord business. Many thanks!

My wife and I are now planning to take our first steps into residential property investment in the UK and would be really grateful for any advice and tips to help us in this journey. I have detailed our rough plan and somewhat non-standard situation below and would welcome any advice, thoughts and expert insight from the community.

My wife and I are both British expat who have been living/working overseas (currently Singapore) for close to 4 years now. We are both in our early thirties and are in employment; I do contract consultancy work and my wife has a permanent role with a large multinational.

We are now set on settling back in the UK in the next 1 to 2 years. Living abroad has been a great experience but we would now like to settle down and be closer to family. We plan to continue our careers and, at the same time, build/manage an investment property portfolio.

We are both Londoners and want to invest in London as we feel we know the area and view this as a long-term investment to benefit from capital gains. We are of course aiming for positive cash flow on rental income but do not anticipate huge month-to-month profit given the areas we are considering buying in.

We currently have a sum of £500k to invest and plan to take on BTL mortgages to initially purchase a few 1 to 2 bed flats. From our initial research and calculations, we anticipate that this should allow us to purchase 4 – 5 properties, assuming 75% LTV mortgages, purchase costs etc. We plan to rent these out and have these managed by a letting agent.

We do not currently own property in the UK as we sold our residential home in London before we left. While we do plan to stay abroad in the short/medium-term, we are keen to start investing asap and to start preparing the ground for our permanent move later, including me establishing contacts and looking for work etc.

As such, I am planning on taking an extended trip to London for 2-3 months to start the above process (with the possibility shuttling between London and abroad thereafter). The aim is to better understand the market/our options, start making connections, and scouting/purchasing property if possible. During this period, the wife will remain in her job in Singapore and I will not be formally employed.

A big step for us but one we feel is necessary to make our jump home smoother and to start our property investment plans. It would be great to get your thoughts/advice on this i.e. Does the plan seem sound? How would you go about investing in this situation? What should we look out for?

In particular, we would like to:
– better understand the likelihood of us being able to secure BTL mortgages. I understand that being expats and not currently owning residential property in the UK can make this more complicated.
– get your recommendations on good mortgage brokers/advisors in London (as well as other trusted professional e.g. solicitors, letting/mgt agents) who I could possibly get in contact with.
– get an understanding of the landlord/investment networks, clubs or communities that are around and that I could possibly plug into.

I have purposely put down a lot of detail but do let me know if you have any further questions.

Thanks a bunch!

PaulSingapore Expat


Why Aren’t We More Worried About Withdrawal of Benefits? Latest Articles, NLA - National Landlords Association

I am interested that I can’t see any response to, or comment about, George Osborne’s announcement last week to withdraw benefits to claimants – first for 1 month, then for 3 months. Am I the only landlord with social tenants?!

There are serious implications.

Here is an extract of a letter I am sending to Right Hon GO, and to Kris Hopkins, the NLA and any one else who will listen. If you have social tenants I’d urge you to do the same.

As a landlord in the private rented sector I house many tenants who are on benefits.
I know from experience that when a tenant’s benefits are withdrawn, all benefits are withdrawn, including housing benefit/local housing allowance.

In my experience this is always without notice to the landlord. The first that they will know is when the tenant does not pay their rent, or if they are on direct payment, when direct payment does not arrive.

However, I am sure that you will appreciate that in the meantime the mortgage and other bills still have to be paid by the landlord.

My concern is this.

Unless an element of the benefits is ring-fenced to pay the equivalent of housing benefit or local housing allowance, landlords such as myself, who house social tenants on benefits, could see rent payments not being made when benefits are withdrawn.

Under the current legal system there is a defined process by which landlords have to operate in order to gain possession of the property. In practice this can take anywhere months and, in exceptional circumstances, up to a year when a tenant does not comply with court orders and a bailiff needs to be appointed.

It is therefore entirely conceivable that if benefits are withdrawn from a claimant that the landlord will be left with a property with a non-paying tenant.

I would also like to point out that even if an element of the benefit were ring fenced to provide for rent, this would have to be paid directly to the landlord, otherwise I have no doubt that many tenants would use the money in lieu of job seekers allowance or whichever benefit has been withdrawn.

I would therefore urge yourself and Mr Hopkins to consider one or more of the following:

• In the event that benefits are withdrawn, either for one month, three months, or even longer, that an element of that benefit is ring fenced and paid direct to the landlord so that the tenant’s rent is covered.
• That legislation be passed to allow landlords to obtain fast track possession of the property where a tenant is has benefits withdrawn.
• That legislation be passed whereby mortgage lenders be required to waive mortgage payments where a tenant has benefits withdrawn and cannot, or will not, pay their rent.

Again I would urge you to consider these, as sadly, from experience, I know, and I am sure that many other landlords who house social tenants will agree, that the ‘punishment’ for not complying with the terms of claiming benefits will not fall upon the claimant, but will fall upon the landlord.

I would also urge the government, and particularly Mr Hopkins, to decide once and for all how you perceive the private rented sector, specifically in terms of housing social tenants through private landlords.

It seems to me that there is a lack of understanding within government as to the pressures and problems that private landlords face in housing tenants on benefits.

In this age of austerity where few council houses are being built, and the responsibility for housing social tenants’ falls mainly upon private landlords, it would be nice to think that the government support our efforts. Sadly, however, that does not seem to be the case as ideas are put forward, and legislation passed, which does little to help and much to hinder.

If it is still the intention of the government that social tenants are housed primarily by the private rented sector then can I humbly suggest that greater consultation is made with those at the sharp end who house social tenants, and that the ideas and legislation put forward encourage private landlords and not discourage.

Regards

Petergeorge osbourne


Return of Tenant’s rent? Latest Articles

I would like help please with legal clarification over whether I have to legally return rent paid in advance by a tenant. An independent professional inventory clerk has confirmed the tenant is liable for damage and the deposit and rent held is not sufficient to cover the damage.

My tenant has paid me rent 6 months in advance through a managing agent  over the last three years. The tenancy agreement was from 24 May 2013 to 23 May 2014.

Four months into this period the tenant decided to move on, and I am holding 2 months of rent and deposit. At the start of the tenancy agreement we agreed that an independent professional inventory would be done by an independent professional company.

The checkout report provided highlighted a number of issues, resulting in costs in excess of the rent and deposit I am holding. The tenant wants me to refund this amount but I am in the process of taking legal action through the small claims court.

I would be grateful if anyone could confirm whether I could hold onto the rent and deposit until the court case?

Many thanks Rajrent money

 


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