Tag Archives: british gas

Landlords lose the Zero Tariff with the energy companies Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Most savvy landlords will have negotiated with their energy providers, so that in between tenants the tariff automatically reverts to a zero tariff. This was not advertised widely for obvious reasons. It avoids annoying bills for 46p (or even £2.46!) to cover standing charges for a couple of days. It also means that if you are renovating for a couple of weeks you pay just for the energy that you use whilst you are doing that. Some companies overlook small amounts anyway – but not all and in any event it can take an extra ten minutes on the phone whilst organising the changeover of tenants. Landlords lose the Zero Tariff with the energy companies

I have just discovered that two of the providers that I use SWALEC and British Gas are abandoning this tariff, even for landlords, even for short periods, because of the new legislation. If I can find one provider who will continue with this then I will transfer all of my accounts across my whole portfolio, as it is just such a pain. It is not just the money, as the smaller the amount the more irritating it becomes, wasting paper, postage and time etc

I recently put up a BTL property for sale and if this had been in place it would have cost for every week that it was on the market. The other option would have been to cut off all the supplies, leaving the new owner (or tenant if applying it to void periods) to pay a huge re-connection fee.

I think it is disgusting that over the last few years the rules have changed so that we now have to pay for Water Rates, Council Tax and the latest – energy bills – when the place is unoccupied and even, in some cases, uninhabitable. I can’t see that this battle has been fought and it cannot be right. Can it?

Has anyone found a company that will continue to overlook small amounts between tenancies or who will continue with the zero tariff?

If one of them chooses to do this then I think it will be a winner.

Regards

Gilly


My tenant is trashing my house!! Advice, Buy to Let News, Guest Articles, Guest Columns, Landlord Action, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

At Landlord Action we just don’t evict tenants for rent arrears or ending the tenancy because the landlord wants the property back.  We also get instructed by landlords that are worried about the condition of their property and how the tenants are treating (or mistreating) it.  If instances such as this are left to continue, they can end up costing landlords a fortune to put right, negating any gains they have made through rental income for a substantial length of time.

In a recent case we were instructed to gain possession of, the landlord was desperate to get his property back.  There were no arrears, but the tenant had severely neglected the property. She had rented the property on the proviso that she would be living there however, soon after getting the keys, she left to go to Africa leaving her teenage sons in the property on their own. When the landlord found this out during a routine inspection of the property, he quite rightly called social services. My tenant is trashing my house

However, this wasn’t the landlord’s only problem. Teenage boys under one roof would be bad enough, but teenage boys without supervision…a nightmare! Upon visiting the property the landlord found it to be knee deep in rubbish which had resulted in a mouse infestation. British gas had also issued a warrant and changed the locks to the front door to remove the meter and change it to a pre-paid meter as the bills had not been paid for several months. They had broken the landlord’s cooker and washing machine, along with other items, and the landlord was genuinely worried that the property was no longer safe to live in, as it posed a fire risk. At this point he took some shocking photos – see below.

When checking out the references again because he was suspicious, the landlord realised he had been conned. The tenant said she was employed by a charity but had falsified the letter of employment.  With all this evidence being put in a witness statement, we now have the task of having to convince the judge, on discretionary grounds, to grant a possession order at the hearing.

Unfortunately, the landlord gave the tenant a 2 year tenancy agreement with no break clause and it still has another 11 months to run.  The landlord is understandably worried that there will now also be rent arrears going forward as, of course, it could be another 4 months before he gets his property back.

1: Always make sure you have a break clause in your tenancy agreement so that you can end the agreement early and rely on a section 21 Notice, rather than discretionary grounds going to court.

2: Always have your tenancy checks carried out by a professional who is more likely to spot falsified information.

3: Always carry out regular property checks so that if something untoward is going in your property, you know about it sooner rather than later!

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The alternatives to Landlord Licensing Schemes require joined up thinking, changes to data sharing protocols within local authorities and revised high level directives and strategies which must begin at Government level. 

Perhaps the first question to ask is what is Landlord Licensing all about? Is it really about raising standards or is it more to do with raising funds?Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes

Funding

If society as a whole desires that people should not be subjected to sub standard housing conditions then society as a whole must pay to enforce this (howsoever that might be done) whether the money is raised at a local level or centrally.

It is both unacceptable and wholly undemocratic that landlords should be singled out by Government, Councils and Local Authorities to pay stealth taxes badged as licensing fees on the pretence that the money will be used to fund enforcement related initiatives.

Costs associated with licensing schemes imposed on landlords are funded through increased rents. Neither landlords nor tenants want this, particularly as there is clear evidence (demonstrated in this article) that landlord licensing schemes have proven not to be an effective solution to problems in the Private Rented Sector.

Recycling of Court awarded penalties

The high costs associated with prosecuting criminal landlords is borne by Local Authorities, however, fines and penalties go to the treasury. If these funds were to be redirected to the prosecuting authorities this would assist funding of additional prosecutions and create incentives to bring more criminal landlords to task. Continue reading Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes


First Timer – Let to Buy Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

First Timer - Let to BuyI bought a one bed flat in North London a few years ago to live in with my partner. Recently we purchased our first flat together and have moved into it. I was able to secure the new mortgage partly based on the projected income from the old property – I believe this is known as “Let to Buy” and is becoming quite commonplace.

To avoid becoming a dreaded “accidental landlord” I’ve done a fair bit of research in the run up to moving out to ensure I know what I’m doing. Continue reading First Timer – Let to Buy


Boiler keeps breaking down Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Boiler keeps breaking downMy seven year old boiler keeps breaking down.

I must have had about 15 visits from British Gas for the past 18 months.

I have a service/maintenance contract with them but they are unable to say why there have been so many breakdowns. For example, they had to change the fan three times during this period, among other things.

I cannot think of something they have not changed yet it keeps breaking down.

When my contract comes up for renewal they I am worried they will increase the premium, as they did last time, due to so many call-outs.

Is it normal for a boiler to breakdown so much?

Any advice on what to do ?

Cris Stoian

Continue reading Boiler keeps breaking down


Eastern Landlords Association April 2012 NEWSLETTER Eastern Landlords Newsletter, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Deposits

As has been outlined in previous communications, the deposit rules change from 6 April 2012. The most important change is that from that date where a deposit is taken, it must be protected in one of the three Government approved schemes, and the Prescribed Information provided within 30 DAYS. This is an absolute time limit, and failure will mean that no Section 21 Notice can be served. We have heard that there are some unscrupulous agents that have been advising that the legislation is retrospective, and offering, at a fee to help landlords. This is not the case. If anyone comes across such tactics, please advise the office. Landlords need not worry, but please be very much aware of the new rules. Continue reading Eastern Landlords Association April 2012 NEWSLETTER


Eastern Landlords Association MARCH 2012 NEWSLETTER Eastern Landlords Newsletter, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Deposits

Three cheers for competition. A few weeks ago TDS, The Dispute Service, announced Deposit Guard, which at launch undercut the costs charged by My Deposits, and made a push for self-managing landlords, rather than agents. My Deposits have retaliated, by reducing their fees for agents, but not landlords. This may follow, and we shall keep members informed. The third, custodial scheme, used by many, as a free scheme is not affected.
Continue reading Eastern Landlords Association MARCH 2012 NEWSLETTER


Finance firms named and shamed for poor customer service Financial Advice, Latest Articles, Property Market News

Phone on fire

"Barclays are the bank with the most complaints"

The worst banks and financial services firms picked up 1.1 million customer complaints in the first six months of the year.

The figures come from name and shame data published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Bottom of the list come the high street banks, courtesy of the payment protection insurance debacle that has led to them repaying customers around £13 billion in rip-off fees.

Also in the bottom 10 are credit card providers Capital One and MBNA, while British Gas sneaks in at number 10.

The bank with the most complaints is Barclays, with 251,563 customers moans. Next were Lloyds TSB stacking up 181,907 gripes and Santander with 168,888 complaints.

Altogether, 165 financial firms which picked up more than 500 complaints are listed.

They collected a total 1,761,144 customer complaints. Around 285,000 are still open.

“The FSA is committed to greater transparency where it will benefit consumers. Publishing this data brings complaints to the attention of firms and consumers alike, and gives firms a benchmark and an incentive to improve how they treat their customers and handle complaints,”said an FSA statement accompanying the data.

The complaints cover banking, insurance, credit cards, loans and mortgages


Landlords owed cash as repairs firm goes bust Latest Articles, Property Market News

Landlord's emergency repair company Homecall+ logoThousands of landlords have been left out of pocket with worthless contracts as emergency repair firm Homecall+ has collapsed.

Homecall+ appears to have continued taking on new business since December 2010 without the permission of regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which failed to publicise a warning about the firm despite highlighting concerns. Continue reading Landlords owed cash as repairs firm goes bust


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