Tag Archives: Property

Property Research Tool Plugin Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

If you run a website or blog and would like to consider adding a free Property Research Tool Plugin then you are in the right place to test a great one 🙂

It’s not just for WordPress users

You can use the plugin on pretty much any website.

Whether you talk about property, sell it, rent it or advise people about it this Property Research Tool Plugin will look great on your website or blog.

You can use the embed code in sidebars, posts or pages and it will create a Call To Action button just like the one below, sized just how you want it and the modal screen which runs the functionality of the Property Research Tool will even be branded with your URL. Wordpress Property Research Tool Widget

Check out what we’ve done with it and then grab the embed code for use on your own WordPress website or blog with our compliments.

UK Property Research Tool
What you need to know and where to find the information

Comments via our main page please – see Property Research Tool


Is this UK’s Best Student Buy to Let? Latest Articles, Property For Sale

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Student Buy to Let is continuing to outperform most other property classes in the UK and the private student accommodation market could be an excellent addition to your property portfolio, particularly when the prices are this competitive!

From a highly experienced developer, Rede House will be setting the standard for student accommodation in Middlesbrough. This former office block  will be extensively refurbished to include 230 studios,  a fully-equipped gymnasium and communal lounges.

Rental returns are very attractive with up to 9.5% net yield possible on individual units.

With over 20% of the development sold out in the first 2 weeks, availability for the best units is becoming competitive, so contact us today if you are thinking of reserving a unit for your portfolio.

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The Property Ombudsman launches code of practice for Buying Agents Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, Property Sales & Sourcing

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is launching the Uk’s first Code of Practice specifically for the growing number of Buying Agents acting for consumers buying property in the UK.

The Property Ombudsman provides a free and impartial dispute resolution service for consumers and will be implementing The Buying Agent Code of Practice on 1st January 2014. The new Code has been designed to create a uniform set of standards for buying agents based in the UK to protect the interests of consumers and to promote best practice in the industry.

Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, said, “the Buying Agent Code of Practice is a milestone for the industry. More than 95 percent of residential sales agents have signed up to TPO’s Sales Code of Practice and we recognised that buying agents are a growing market sector in their own right.”

“Unlike sales agents, who are instructed by home owners during a property sale, buying agents act in the interest of buyers to search for and secure the best price on a property. However, both sales agents and buying agents are subject to the same property and consumer protection laws, which is something many consumers and agents are unaware of.”

“Consumers on both sides of a property transaction deserve the same levels of protection outlined in The Estate Agents Act 1979, and should be able to use a redress service to resolve disputes if they feel they have been treated unfairly.”

As the largest property ombudsman scheme in the UK, more than 22,000 sales and letting agents have registered with TPO.
Property commentator and professional buying agent, Henry Pryor, was one of several agents TPO consulted with to create the new Code of Practice.

Henry said, “there may be no record as yet of a formal complaint being made against a buying agent but it’s important that all those involved in the buying and selling, letting and renting process have access to a credible redress service. Members of the public who sensibly ask for help when buying what is often their most expensive single purchase can now see exactly what they can expect from their buying agent.”

The Code of practice covers contracts, fees, terms of business, advising clients, duty of care, conflicts of interest and transmitting offers among others. It has been written to cover every area of the process and to provide a comprehensive set of standards for Buying Agents.TPO_generic logo


Complaint to ASA re West Brom Tracker Mortgages Website Advertising Latest Articles

COMPLAINT TO ADVERTISING STANDARDS AGENCY

I have just completed my online complaint to the ASA. It is a five step process. The basis of my complaint was targeted only at the statement of the West Brom website. My thinking is that if we over-complicate matters for the ASA they might decide to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman or the FCA and we know know what a black hole those organisations can be. Therefore, focussing purely of the website advertising, and what I beleive to be a smoking gun case, will hopefully be useful for us to use as evidence in our main legal battle. Needless to say, it will also be a great annoyance to West Brom and very embarrassing for them if/when complaints are upheld.

If you want to do something similar and make a complaint of your own this is the link you will need to get you started >>> http://www.asa.org.uk/Consumers/How-to-complain.aspx

The first 4 steps of the complaint process are very simple to complete, it’s just your details and a few questions to answer regarding the basis of your complaint.

Step 5 of the complaint process is the meaty bit, i.e. the basis of complaint. Below (in this dark blue colour) is what I wrote …..

The West Bromwich Building Society website said

“Tracker mortgages give you the certainly of knowing that the rate you pay will move in line with Bank Base Rates”

I took this at face value, as it would appear 6,700 people who purchased this product did.

Bank Base Rates have not moved for nearly 5 years but West Bromwich Building Society have decided to increase the interest rate on my buy to let tracker mortgage by 1.9% as of 1st December 2013. Therefore, my complaint is the statement on the West Bromwich Building Society website was misleading. This is the sole purpose of my complaint to ASA at this stage.

For further information …..

West Bromwich Building Society are pointing to small print in their Mortgage Conditions to justify this increase and I am taking legal advice together with a large group of other affected borrowers about this. I also believe their mortgage documentation was misleading and that their hike in interest rates is not legal but that’s another story.

You may also wish to note that West Bromwich Building Society also believe they have the right to call in these mortgages within 28 days, even if their customer isn’t in default. They are actually using this as a veiled threat in response to complaints from their customers about the interest rate hike. The legal action group I am part of are also taking Counsels advice on this point as this appears to be out of sync with the rest of the mortgage market. Again there was not mention of this on their website or on their offer documentation. It was another clause buried into their mortgage conditions brochure.

I backed this up with the following link with an explanation that I took this screen shot from the West Brom website and now host the screen shot on my website as evidence for all to see. Link here >>> http://www.property118.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/West-Brom-Screen-Shot-21.png Complaint to ASA re West Brom Tracker Mortgages Website Advertising

Since making my complaint to the ASA I have gathered further evidence of the West Brom’s misleading financial promotions for their tracker rate mortgages which appeared on their website back in January 2008. This evidence was obtained via the “Wayback Machine” – see >>> http://web.archive.org/web/20070701010120/http://www.westbrom.co.uk/westbrom/mortgages.category?id=26

All comments via THE MAIN DISCUSSION THREAD PLEASE


Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Three cases have recently been tested in the Courts whereby Councils have charged more for HMO licensing then was reasonable.

There are rules to prevent Councils using HMO licensing to raise funds for other activities.

Hemming v Westminster City Council: The case outlines the type of costs that councils can recover through locally set licence fees and the processes councils have in place to ensure fee setting is transparent and open to scrutiny. The key issue addressed was whether the fees set by Westminster City Council complied with the requirements of the European Services Directive 2009 and the interpretation of Article 13(2) of the Directive. The Services Directive also makes it clear that licence fees covered by the Directive can only be used to recover costs and should not be used to make a profit or deter service providers from entering a market. Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees

Crompton v Oxford City Council: The power to charge fees in respect of HMO licensing is found in s63 of the Housing Act 2004. Importantly, this power is granted in respect of licence applications only. Oxford City Council has sought to charge a fee for the variation of an HMO licence. The Residential Property Tribunal (RPT) ruled that the fee was unlawful and that it could not be charged.

Bristol City Council v Digs (Bristol) Ltd: The defendant was the private landlord of a maisonette in multiple occupation. The council brought a prosecution for failure to obtain an HMO licence and for breaches of the HMO regulations. A District Judge at Bristol Magistrates Court tried the preliminary issue of whether the maisonette was a licensable HMO. It extended over two storeys of a building with a further entrance corridor and hallway on a lower storey. The council included the lower storey in deciding that the HMO extended to three storeys. The Judge held that having regard to Article 3 of the HMO (Prescribed Description) (England) (Order) the maisonette was not an HMO. The council had been wrong to include the lower storey. In the light of that ruling, the council offered no evidence and the defendant was acquitted.

In the wake of these rulings the NLA is asking all local authorities in England to contact any affected landlords, informing them of their right to appropriate refunds and providing details of how they may make a claim.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said:

we have asked local authorities to come clean about the level of fees they have charged private-landlords, if they were entitled to make these charges, and when they will refund any money unjustly demanded.

Mr Lambert went on to add:

“In writing to all local authorities in England we’re acknowledging the good working partnership many private landlords have with town halls, but making clear they should not be absorbing the costs of overcharging to support other council functions”.


Choosing a property location Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My buy to let property portfolio is within three miles of my main residence but I would venture further out. My main concern is that I won’t know other areas as well. Choosing a property location

In the past I’ve looked at Rightmove to understand how much properties can be rented for and how many have been let recently. Also, whether its close to a mainline station, town centre and access to motorways for commuters.

With living in the south, places are more expensive and therefore require a bigger deposit.

What are the key things other landlords/investors research when identifying new opportunities with limited knowledge on location?

Thanks

Paul


HMO Question – are basins in bedrooms mandatory? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Is it a legal requirement that every bedroom in a licensable HMO has to have a wash hand basin?

I have been jumping through hoops for a year to try and get a licence on a three storey 6-bed HMO. I had a letter from the council in 2011 saying that as I had three bathrooms and two separate WCs, all with wash hand basins, I didn’t have to put basins in the bedrooms, but would have to when I re-licensed in five years time. HMO - Bedrooms with basins mandatory?

I have now been given a draft of a licence to check which requires me to put basins in within two months.

Thanks

Edna

 


Dehumidifiers may reduce energy costs as well as solve damp issues Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

For landlords with tenants who do all the wrong things and cause condensation and damp problems this can be a nightmare because tenants often argue that de-humidifiers increase their fuel bills, even if landlords offer to provide one. Here is a counter argument which you may care to use if you have this problem this winter.

Not only is wet air more expensive than dry air to heat, but also high humidity makes a house feel colder than it actually is, so people set thermostat levels higher than they need to. A dehumidifier removes this humidity, and so can help cut energy bills. Dehumidifiers may reduce energy costs as well as solve damp issues

It is also worth noting that damp also exacerbates health problems, and this is even more of an issue in winter. As condensation builds in windows due to damp air, the growth of mould is more common.  Mould and damp can worsen asthma, irritate eyes, nose and throat, and cause sinus congestion, headaches, common colds and tonsillitis – all illnesses experienced more around the winter season.

So, as energy companies increase prices this winter, more and more households are turning to dehumidifiers to combat rising energy bills and stay healthy.


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