Tag Archives: EPC

Buy to let anguish – landlord being repossessed – rent paid 6 months up front! Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My daughter moved to Manchester for work on a temporary contract in March 2013. She stayed with friends initially but found a flat to share in June 2013. As she only had a temporary contract the letting agents would only allow her to take the property if she paid the rent upfront for first six months and a deposit too. Buy to let anguish

I thought that as I am a landlord myself that I would be able to guarantee the rent but this was also not acceptable as I am self employed and do not have a guaranteed income.

My daughter agreed to pay the six months rent up-front on condition that the flat had all required remedial work done before they moved in. A move in date was agreed with the agent but when my daughter arrived to receive the keys none of the remedial work had been carried out on the property. The agent asked if they could give them another week so that the landlord could get the work done. This was impossible as they had nowhere to go so they had to live in it and help to refurbish it themselves.

At this point they were both very happy until today when they received a letter from a solicitor saying that the landlord does not have a buy to let mortgage, is in mortgage arrears and that they will have to vacate the property.

He advised them to visit citizens advice for help with this situation. My initial question is how can they be removed from the property so quickly?

The property was let through an agent surely they should check that they have correct mortgage , gas safe cert etc . I show prospective tenants a pack containing mortgage, house insurance, gas safe cert, electric cert, EPC, and tenancy agreement.

Hope someone can advise so that I can put my daughter’s mind at rest.

Thanks

Kevin Reid

 


Rightmove doubles 2013 forecast for house prices Latest Articles, Property Market News, Property News

Rightmove doubles 2013 forecast for house prices as it reports ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ fueling a predicted 4.8% annual growth.

There have been seven monthly rises on the trot and two consecutive record months as the price of newly marketed property increases by 0.3% (+£860) in July boosting year-on-year growth to 4.8% (+£11,561)

Rightmove’s 2013 forecast has been increased from 2% to 4% as latest increases fuel recovery of the housing market.

There are signs finally of a broader-based recovery with all regions up year-on-year for the first time in nearly three years contributing to the positive national picture. Confidence in the market is said to be on the up with the proportion of people expecting average prices to be higher a year from now doubling compared to this time last year, now at 62% from 31%.

Rightmove reports an increase in movers and predicts more to come as property transactions are already up 5% year-to-date and lead indicators suggest more in the pipeline. Email enquiries to agents and developers are up 18% on 2012, new sellers up 5%, mortgage approvals up 6%.

It has already been reported that Surveyors are struggling to cope with the increase in demand with waiting lists for surveys pushing up into weeks. This is however also due to the number of Surveyors who have left the market since the Credit Crunch.

Rightmove along with many financial analysts predict a positive borrowing window as markets do not expect a base rate rise for three years. Funding for Lending competition is easing rates and availability of finance, plus the ‘brick-shortage success’ of Help to Buy!


EPC rating of F – how is this possible? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

EPC rating of F - how is this possible?I’ve been informed by my letting agents that my property has been given an EPF rating of F.

What I don’t understand is why, it’s not that it’s poorly insulated.

My house has more than the industry standard loft insulation, it has cavity wall insulation and is fully double glazed throughout, plus a modern and up to date combi boiler and recent roof repairs.

Not that it makes any difference to insulation so far as I know but I also have UPVC soffits and guttering and renewed chimney.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kind regards

Stuart Logan.


Tenant Information Pack – Scotland Latest Articles

Since 1st May 2013 landlords in Scotland have had a new statutory obligation to give new tenants a Tenant Information Pack, before the start of the tenancy, setting out key information about

  • the status of the tenancy
  • the tenancy agreement
  • the property
  • the landlord
  • the landlord’s and the tenant’s responsibilities

Responsible landlords and agents will have been providing this information already, but the Scottish Government’s aim is to ensure that all landlords and agents do so, so that all tenants in Scotland receive the same degree of information.

So if you’re a landlord of a property in Scotland and there’s a new tenancy coming up, what do you have to do?

A template Tenant Information Pack can be downloaded here, and a quick look through it will show you the type of information you need to provide.

It’s mandatory to use this template, and you shouldn’t adapt it in any way other, of course, than inserting the relevant information.  Always ensure that you download the latest version of the Pack from the Scottish Government website, as the intention is that it be updated from time to time and you’ll need to make sure you’re using the latest version.  The above links will take you to the most recent version, so bookmark them rather than storing hard copies of the form for future use.

You can give the Pack to your tenants either in hard copy or electronically.  Joint tenants may be given one copy between them or you can give them one each.

As well as providing you new tenants with a Tenant Information Pack you will need to  obtain their acknowledgement that they have received the Pack.  If you send the Pack to your tenants electronically, an e-mail from them stating that they have received it will suffice.

If you use a letting agent to manage your property, you should ensure that your agent is dealing with this properly on your behalf.  If he fails to do so, then the liability will fall on you, so it’s wise to check the contents of your agreement with your agent to ensure that you have recourse to compensation should he fail to discharge your legal obligations.

What happens if you fail to issue a Tenant Information Pack?

Well, you’ll be committing a criminal offence and there’s a fine of up to £500. 

Whether the law will be enforced is another matter, and enforcement of other property legislation such as landlord registration and the recent requirements to include landlord registration numbers and EPC banding in property advertisements has been notably lacking as far as I can see.  But the requirement is well intentioned and the law is the law, so why risk a hefty fine and criminal record?

Tenant Information Pack - Scotland


Landlords Guide To Health and Safety Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Health and SafetyA Simple Landlords guide to Health and Safety written by Syd Lewis

When I first started renting properties some 20 years ago, to be legal, all you had to do was have a rent book and if you wanted to ensure you could get possession of your property at the end of the tenancy you drew up an AST. It seems these days Landlords are required to perform more and more tasks, which has not only resulted in having to spend additional time managing their properties but also increased cost. In my work as a professional inventory clerk, I often meet new property owners who apart from perhaps having some vague idea that they need a gas safe certificate and an inventory as part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme know of little else. This article is for them just to give a few pointers in plain English about some other aspects to consider about health and safety when letting a property.

First the stick, penalties and enforcement, if you for whatever reason, fail to comply with any of the statutory regulations for Landlords and rented property you could be fined up to £5000 or even receive a custodial sentence. Further, if you need to make a claim on your insurance and you are in breach of the regulations your insurance is likely to be void.

Now the Carrot, in my years as a Landlord one of my great pleasures it to hear my tenants tell others that I am a good Landlord and how they like living at their rented home. Apart from the obvious ego massage, there are other benefits, they stay longer at the property reducing void periods and the hassle of finding, vetting and establishing a new landlord and tenant relationship, they tend to take greater care of the property and are willing to pay a higher market rent the live there.

First and foremost, it is the landlords responsibility the make sure the property they let is habitable, in health and safety terms, adequate heating and ventilation, lighting, proper sanitation and more recently good insulation. It is also important for Landlords to make sure tenants understand their responsibility too. I have found a great aid to this, is not just to tell tenants what to do but also to provide a “tenant’s pack”. This includes a welcome note, important information, e.g. how to turn off the water in an emergency, what they should do if there is a problem with the boiler, how to properly ventilate and look after the property to avoid excessive condensation and the resultant mould, operation manuals for any appliances at the property. As a matter of thoroughness, I also recommend that you have copies of any certificates for the property in the tenants pack even if you are not required by law to do so.

INSULATION

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
EPC, is a document that states the energy efficiency of a property in bands such as A.B,C, D, etc. stating its typical energy use for the year and estimated cost. The certificate is valid for 10 years. You are required to provide a copy of an EPC to any new tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

FIRE

Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations (FFL):
Since 1997 all upholstered furnishings must be fire resistance and have the appropriate fixed permanent labels attached: Beds (including headboards, bases and mattresses), sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, children’s furniture, garden furniture that can be used in the dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows. This is not normally an issue these days as most modern furniture is already labelled. However, should the label come loose or be taken off then you will be in breach of the regulations. A good inventory will list each item that has a FFL and help identify any such items that may have had their label removed or damaged during a tenancy.

Fire Extinguishers and Blankets:
There is no compulsory requirement to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets in single occupation tenanted properties (please note there are special regulations for HMOs and converted building over two stories), but again, this may be a wise precaution, at least in the kitchen area. Having made the decision to provide fire extinguishers, the landlord or agent must then arrange for regular servicing – usually on a 12 monthly basis. You will need to keep up to date records and keep a copy in tenants pack.

Smoke Detectors:
Since 1992 it is required that, all smoke alarms are electrical mains supplied and have a battery backup. There are specific requirements as to which type and where they should be place according the buildings structure and layout. It is the landlord’s duty to make sure the correct devices are fitted at the correct location and to ensure that all devices are working properly when a new tenant takes up occupancy. Thereafter, it is the tenant’s responsibility to regularly check the device by looking for the green light, pressing the self-test button to ensure it is working and when necessary change batteries. Cleaning should be carried out by a competent person and manufactures instructions should be followed. The Landlord needs to make sure that the tenant is aware of their duty and it is a good idea to have this in writing and ensure that there is operation and cleaning advice in the tenants pack.

GAS

Gas Safe:
Landlords are required by law to have an annual gas inspection on all internal gas installations, this must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe Engineer who will upon passing the gas appliances as safe, issue a Gas Safe Certificate. You must ensure that you provide a copy of the certificate to your tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

Carbone Monoxide Detectors:
There is no legal requirement for Landlords to fit Co2 alarms. However, it is a good idea to have them, the principles to follow are those used for a smoke detector. They should be fitted 1m from the boiler and manufactures operating instructions put in the tenants pack.

ELECTRICAL

Periodic Electrical Testing:
If a property is a new build then it should have a “Domestic Electrical Installation Periodic Report” which states the electrical system is safe to use, if not then the property is not habitable. All electrical systems deteriorate over time, the Electrical Safety Council recommend that a periodic electrical test be carried out on rented property every 5 years, a suitability qualified electrician must carry this out. You should keep a copy in your tenant’s pack.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT):
There is no direct statutory obligation on Landlords or agents to have PAT checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. Also by having regular tests carried out it is a landlords best defence against negligence and acts as corroborative proof that an electrical item was working/ undamaged at the beginning of a tenancy or during a deposit dispute. A copy of the PAT report should be kept in the tenancy pack.

BIOLOGICAL

Legionnaires Disease:
Legionella are bacteria common in artificial water systems such as storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers. People can catch the disease if they inhale into their lungs tiny water or vapour droplets carrying the bacteria. Different properties will require differing approaches – a new build property with a combi-boiler presents less risk than a Victorian terrace with an old water system. If you think, you may have an issue you can go to HSE website and read their free booklet on risk assessment. Upon having completed your risk assessment, if there is no need for further action simply keep a record that no action is required.

Damp and Mould:
Is usually caused by excessive condensation and in most cases can be attributed to the tenant, but not always. Landlords need to be aware that under Healthy Housing and Safety Risk Scheme 2006, Local Authorities can serve you with an improvement notice and fine you. The best protection against this is to have conducted an assessment for condensation and ensure that the property has adequate heating and ventilation. You should also provide your tenant with appropriate instructions on how to avoid and control condensation.

Pets:
The issue here are fleas and potential new tenant’s allergic reaction to an active protein in the salver of a cat. The simplest, measure I have found is to have agreed with the pet owning tenant that they will pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy. It is also important to establish the level and quality of the clean required.

Vermin and insects:
Regardless of who is at fault, if a property becomes infested with insects and or vermin, it is always in the Landlords best interest to get it sorted out quickly and by a professional. You can sort out who pays afterwards; fact is if the tenant refuses to pay, you would need to get it sorted anyway.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Oven Cleaning is one of the biggest issues in a rented property Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

ovenOven cleaning is one of the biggest issues and this article is to help Landlords present this particular item in their property in its best condition for an inventory inspection and help tenants bring an oven back to its initial clean state when leaving the accommodation.

Let’s put it into perspective, the cleanliness of a property makes up 51% of tenancy deposit disputes and some of which can be attributed to people forgetting or missing an item to be cleaned, another is that differing people have differing ideas of what is clean. Let me give you an idea how we all think the same but differently.

Picture a cat in your head,
How big is it?
What is it doing?
What colour is it?

While we have all just seen a cat in our minds eye, some cats will be small, medium, large. It might be sleeping, sitting, jumping around and any colour you want. Nevertheless, it is still a cat. The same is true for cleaning, someone might have actually worked very hard to clean a property but yet it is not you to your high standard. Maybe they just don’t know how to do the task correctly and yes some are just simply too lazy to do it. It is a rare situation that we know which of these statements is true for a given household and it might be a combination of all of these factors.

There is a continuum for the level of cleanliness form: never been cleaned, attempted but still dirty, cleaned to an average household standard up to what we call in the inventory profession “cleaned to a high domestic standard” and “cleaned to a professional standard” the best of course being a professional clean.

Here is a list of key phrases I use when describing the cleanliness of an oven from best to worst:
1. As New
2. Cleaned to a professional standard
3. Cleaned to a high domestic standard
4. Clean to a domestic standard
5. Partly cleaned
6. Needs finished clean
7. Not clean.

I must add that fortunately, most inspection I do I only have to decide if the cooker/oven has been cleaned to a domestic or professional standard.

If you look at the picture below, this is an oven an oven cleaned to a high standard but its condition is excluded from our discussion on cleaning. This is a worn oven and unless you have prior information, to this picture, it is not possible to say if this is through damage or due to age and fair wear and tear.

 

This oven is clean but through age and use, it is marked and even rusted at the sides.

Then we have the oven that is clean to a high domestic standard that is to say it is grease free but there are still baked on marks.

 

You should also watch out for chemical residue, many of the excellent oven cleaning products on the market leave residue marks on surfaces if you don’t wash off the product fully, which technically means the oven is still partially dirty, need a finish clean.

There are several very good cleaning products on the market. But there is one that I prefer to use it gets the job done and is fairly easy to use and normally takes a clean to domestic standard to a professional clean level. It is a strong chemical so you have to be careful and follow the manufactures instructions it is “Oven Pride”. Please note that I don’t have shares in the company and I am not getting any benefit for mentioning this product my motivation for mentioning it is to   help anyone who reads this article in particular Landlords and Tenants.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


EPC Regulations – should landlords sell band F and G rated flats? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Maintenance, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

EPC Regulations - should landlords sell band F and G rated flatsEPC regulations are beginning to worry many landlords so I would like to raise this question; “should landlords be selling leasehold flats with a Band F & G EPC rating now?”

Just in case you are not aware, it will be illegal for landlords to rent out Band F and G rated properties from 2018. Further, we can not refuse tenant request to improve the EPC rating of these flats from 2016. Continue reading EPC Regulations – should landlords sell band F and G rated flats?


Alastair Lygate of Irvine GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The GOOD Landlords CampaignAlastair Lygate of Irvine

I am a Surveyor with a small portfolio of around 20 properties.

My philosophy is that my tenants are my customers and that as they pay my income in return I provide a service to them. I try to keep issues arising within a 9 till 5 time frame and to pre-empt this I contact them on a regular basis,but recognise and accept that issues may arise outside those times.

I find that this approach develops a relationship with my tenants and they begin to see me as more than just a ‘money grabber’, which can often be their pre-conception and experience they have of previous Landlords and I welcome tenants from all backgrounds and financial situations.

I am proactive in developing professional characteristics of Landlords in North Ayrshire by being involved in a working group forum with the Local Authority and advise on their private sector development and strategy team.
I also am a qualified to carry out Domestic EPCs which I carry out on a regular basis within Ayrshire which brings me into direct contact with Agents, Landlords and tenants, and enjoy meeting with them and listening to and discussing pertinent issues concerning property related matters.

In a previous life (1980 to 2000) I carried out mortgage valuation reports, constructed, repaired and extended residential, retail and commercial property so I have reasonable knowledge of the property market, including having run a local estate agency all within a partnership of surveyors.

In my spare time!! I enjoy eating out,cinema,skiing, golf ,church and holidays with my wife and family.

Continue reading Alastair Lygate of Irvine


Draughty Windows – Landlord SOS Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Draughty Windows - Landlord SOSMy tenant has complained about draughty windows and vents. I put draught seal on the windows but there wasn’t anything I could do about the vents as they are there to prevent damp etc.

My tenant has now got back to the letting agent informing them that the windows are still draughty and that she is holding back the rent. Continue reading Draughty Windows – Landlord SOS


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