New notice period for rental properties- Nuneaton Landlords…Listen up!

I wanted to get this VERY important information out to you as soon as possible and make it as detailed as possible, so…… I copied it from HMRC website. I know, I know, that’s so un-original! But it’s important so, read on…

“The provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 have been extended meaning that from 29 August 2020, landlords must provide six months’ notice to their tenants in most circumstances. However, there are some serious cases where it is right that landlords are able to start progressing within a shorter timeframe. This is because of the pressures these cases place on landlords, other tenants and local communities.

These changes mean that from 29 August 2020:

  • For notices in relation to anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, rioting and false statement, the required notice periods have returned to their pre-Coronavirus Act 2020 lengths. In some cases, this means that proceedings for anti-social behaviour can be brought immediately after notice has been served. Notice periods on these grounds otherwise vary, depending on the type of tenancy and ground used, between two weeks and one month.
  • Where at least six months of rent is unpaid, a minimum four-week notice period will be required. If less than six months of rent is unpaid, then the notice period is six months.
  • Where a tenant has passed away or is in breach of immigration rules and does not have a right to rent a property in the United Kingdom then a minimum three-month notice period is usually required.
  • Where a social tenant has an introductory or demoted tenancy (used by local authorities), for cases concerning anti-social behaviour (including rioting) and domestic abuse, a four-week notice period will be required. Otherwise, notice periods for Introductory and Demoted Tenancies will be six months.
  • A six-month notice period is required for all other grounds, including Section 21 notices and, as highlighted earlier, where accrued rent arrears are less than the value of six months’ rent.

At the expiry of the notice period, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order. When the notice period expires, a landlord would need to take court action if the tenant was unable to move. We strongly advise landlords not to commence or continue eviction proceedings during this challenging time without a very good reason.

Where appropriate, if disputes over rent or other matters persist, landlords and tenants are encouraged to consider mediation. Mediation allows an independent third-party to assist those involved to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve their dispute, without the matter needing to go to court. While early mediation may be most beneficial in helping parties come to an agreement, this can take place at any point during the possession action process.”

It’s me again now. So, that makes for an interesting read, doesn’t it. All i will say is, if you are managing properties yourself just KEEP IN TOUCH with your tenants. Please be understanding, be supportive and make compromises. I know there will be some people out there who go on the defensive and demand the rent but, trust me, that definitely will not help! If tenants know that you are on their side, they will be so much more cooperative to help you too.

If it’s not the rent that’s the issue but it’s antisocial behaviour then you will be able to get some additional support for that.

Good luck out there! It’s a crazy world we’re living in at the minute.

Melissa

What exactly is happening to Nuneaton house prices post lockdown?

What will house prices do this year? Do we sit and wait patiently for the much-predicted house price crash in the next few months, or will the UK property market bounce back following the stamp duty holiday announcement?

If, like me, you are confused by the latest figures released by Rightmove, which show a 2.4 per cent house price surge compared to March in the month leading up to 8th July 2020. This number comes in only a few weeks after other house price data was showing a steady decline, with the first annual house prices fall (of 0.1 per cent) since 2012. Buyers and sellers alike are struggling to get their heads around these fluctuations understandably!

It would seem that the government’s stamp duty holiday plan is paying off, at least in the short term: the cancellation of all stamp duty payments on properties up to £500,000 has inevitably resulted in a spike of buyer interest – and in sellers being able to raise asking prices, bringing up the average property price in the UK to £320,265.

To find out more about the effect this is all having on Nuneaton house prices whether you are buying or selling, please feel free to drop us an email at info@qthomes.co.uk

Nuneaton Landlords- no more “NO DSS”!

Are you a “NO DSS” Nuneaton landlord? It has long been a fear for many landlords that if they rent their property to a family in receipt of, what is now, universal credits then they are at higher risk of having problems with rent arrears. Not necessarily because of the individuals themselves but rather the system itself.

Propertymark have said “The design of the system with payments made in arrears makes paying rent on time impossible for many tenants and this presents issues for landlords who are relying on the rent to make mortgage payments.”

A Negotiator article recently reported that “at York County Court a judge found that the practice of turning away applicants because they are receipt of benefits unfairly discriminated against a single mum-of-two with a disability, on the grounds of sex and disability under the Equality Act.”

People should not be discriminated against because of their circumstances, I absolutely agree. I am also inclined to agree that the system MUST change to support & reassure landlords that renting their property to someone in receipt of Universal Credit is no higher risk than renting to a person in full time employment.

“NO DSS” will be “stamped out” says Shelter and no doubt hefty fines are headed in your direction if you do not adhere to it!

Let me know your thoughts on the subject.

Melissa

Nuneaton Agents providing virtual viewings…and??

If you were going to buy or rent a house would you take the house based on a virtual tour?

My answer- Hell NO!

Before I bought my house I saw so many houses online and was sooo excited thinking, “yes this one is the one” then i’d go and view it and it wasn’t as big/nice as it looked and it just had a “bad” feeling to it.

Men reading this might think “pffft women and their feelings” but it’s so true. You either get a good or bad vibe about a house and you just can’t feel that when you look at photos or watch a video.

We have a managed property vacant at the minute and a nurse was looking to move to be closer to the hospital. She saw the video i did (which was awesome…obviously!) and loved the house. The landlord went and opened the door for her and allowed her to view the empty property alone. She got back to me and said that although it was lovely, she didn’t feel it was big enough for her and her family.

It’s not that i’m trying to pause the housing market any more than it has been but I want to be real about things and say, although the video tours might be helpful, I don’t think i could trust anyone who would buy or rent a house from a video tour. They’re a great additional tool to have to sift out the time wasters before booking viewings but I can’t imagine how many issues will arise from people taking properties from virtual tours alone….cringe!

What are your thoughts on this? I’d be very interested to hear from you.

Stay safe all

Melissa

COVID 19 -What can Nuneaton Landlords do about empty properties?

Well, I don’t know about you but during lock down I’ve perfected the art of baking as well as Lego houses and sunbathing.

In all seriousness, I am working from home running my Lettings business as well as managing my own properties (and trying not to let my 5 year old become a tech monster!).

I have had several people contact me saying “my rental house is empty and i want to get a tenant in ASAP”. I shall share with you what I told them… If a house move is non-essential then it should be postponed until it is safe to do so. For example, if a person is in an abusive relationship and it would be a danger to life if they did not move, then that would be acceptable OR in a case that i dealt with, a family had a house fire and were living in a hotel. The hotel then closed due to COVID 19 and they would’ve been homeless had I not sorted everything out for them.

Even if you do have a prospective tenant in desperate need for homing, how will you go about doing a viewing, all of the paperwork, right to rent checks etc without breaking government guidelines?

The answer is- it’s possible but a longer drawn out process.

I manage a Facebook page called ‘Nuneaton Houses To Let For Sale or Wanted’ and we have had about 200 new members since lockdown and lot’s of people looking to move. I appreciate that people may “want” to move but if they don’t “HAVE” to move then they should stay put. I also appreciate, as a landlord, that we don’t want our property empty, however, given the circumstances I think it’s best that we stick to the guidelines.

In the mean time, go and check on your empty rental once a week/once every couple of weeks. Speak to the neighbours (from a distance) and pass on your number and ask them to get in touch if there are any problems.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to do a bit of maintenance/ painting. Spend a bit of time getting the house tarted up, ready for letting.

If you’re looking to find a tenant for your rental property after lockdown or want any advice on property rentals in Nuneaton, feel free to give me a call.

For now, stay at home, stay safe

Melissa

COVID 19- most Nuneaton Landlords now working from home…

….me being one of them!

So, i’m doing my best to retain some sanity whilst sat at home trying to run a business, home school my 5 year old, trying to block out the constant chit chat while i’m responding to emails and taking calls. It’s all good fun! I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat (some of you will have the even bigger challenge of multiple children… enjoy!).

I’ve not been doing so many written blog posts on the Coronavirus because I’ve mostly been doing video blogs for landlords and tenants, helping them to decipher the vague announcements from the govenrment over the last few days. If you want to see any of the videos, please click here.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you will know that the government have announced that lenders will be offering a 3 month “mortgage holiday” to help relieve the financial pressures of those “impacted” by COVID-19. They also said that there will be a complete ban on evictions for the next 3 months to ensure that tenants are safe during this time of uncertainty. Both fair. Both necessary.

However, what was not made clear was what happens in the event that tenants cannot pay the rent and STOP paying the rent. The landlord may have the mortgage holiday but they have to pay this back eventually and are losing income in the mean time. Do tenants have to pay the lost rent back?

I have a couple of contingency plans in place in case this happens. If you would like to know what they are, please feel free to get in touch.

I know i’m a bit of a joker at times but, I just wanted to say that if any of you are feeling anxious or worried at this time about what will happen to you, your tenant or your investment property, please feel free to get in touch for a chat. I may not have ALL the answers but i’m hear if you need me.

If you do call, please excuse the noise in the background. It turns out that 5 years old aren’t particularly quiet!!

wishing you all the best. Stay safe.

Melissa

*STAR BUY* for Nuneaton Landlords!

Whilst doing my usual trawl through On The Market, I noticed this gem pop up. Admittedly, I am not usually a massive fan of flats. I have several of my own flats and can’t say that they’re my favourite but I do have some at Simon Close (where this flat is for sale) and these flats are, BY FAR, my favourite! The management company are fantastic and the flats rent very quickly here.

This flat is on for offers over £80,000 but it has been on since December so I’m thinking there may be some flexibility here.

Lets look at the fun stuff…
If you purchase the flat for £80,000 and the current tenant pays £500. The ground rent and service charges are £1210/year, which would leave you with a gross yield of 7.50% and a net yield of 5.99%.

However, I will share a little secret with you….I charge £525 for both of my flats at Simon close so, if the rent were to be increased, you could be looking at a gross yield of 7.88% and a net yield of 6.36%.

Not bad, ey!!!

If none of you snap this one up, I might add to my Simon Close collection!

If anyone is looking to have their Nuneaton Property managed or if you just simply want us to find you a tenant, please feel free to get in touch on 02477674545 and we’ll gladly help.

Nuneaton Landlords- If you get hit with COVID 19 you might be supported by your mortgage lender!

You may have read my blog last week about the clever clogs who suggested that landlords provide a 3 month rent free period to their tenants if they are unlucky enough to get the COVID-19 virus and just take the financial hit (more like Thor’s hammer to the face!).

Well, I read today that lenders are looking to support their clients by offering a 3 month holiday from mortgage payments if they are affected by the virus. At the moment it is only RBS but other lenders are likely to follow suit.

The article by “The Negotiator” states that  “With the fallout from COVID-19 likely to last many months, and some experts predicting another financial crash, the speedy move will go some way to maintain confidence in the market.” I am inclined to agree with this and say “hoorah” to the sensible lenders who are good enough to support their clients…and the economy as a whole!

I hope this doesn’t affect any of our readers and I hope you all stay safe and healthy over the coming weeks/months. Elbow bumps to all of you.

Nuneaton Landlords- Under pressure by Boiler Pressure?

As a property manager, I have a lot of phone calls from tenants saying “my heating and hot water has gone off” and I reply with “what is the pressure gauge saying on the boiler?” and they respond is usually “the what?”. Obviously, I do my best to avoid sending out a plumber unnecessarily so i get the plumber to call them and talk it through if possible.

Today i came across a very helpful video from Jamie at Hydro Heat Plumbing and he explains why the pressures drops and how to re-pressurise the boiler yourself.

I’ll be sending this round to all of our tenants and landlords so i wanted to share it with all of you too. Watch the full video HERE.

Do Nuneaton Landlords need letting agents?


The short answer is that landlords don’t need to use the services of a letting agent. Many landlords decide to be hands-on and undertake the whole lettings process themselves.

I started investing in buy-to-let property ten years ago and I was keen to learn and control the whole process myself. I was wary of entrusting others with what was ultimately my financial future, something no agent could possibly care about as much as me.

I appreciate that other landlords may share a similar viewpoint, wanting to do all the work themselves. I am happy to point this type of person in the right direction, ensuring they approach the magnitude of letting a property in the right way. For example, I would strongly advise joining a landlord association, which goes a long way to providing you with the tools and documentation required to do the job, alongside keeping you updated on the latest legislation.

One major difficulty for today’s private landlord is finding the best tenants in the quickest time possible. Traditional classified adverts have largely made way for an increasingly online society, whereby tenants (particularly the better quality ones) are now using the property portals (e.g. Rightmove) and social media (e.g Facebook) to find their next home.

To help connect Nuneaton’s DIY landlords with tenants, we set-up a Facebook group called ‘Nuneaton Houses To Let, For Sale or Wanted’, which is free for everyone to join and participate in (search for it on Facebook and click ‘join’). It allows landlords to post details and photos of their available properties and for tenants to post their requirements for property, in and around Nuneaton.

For many though, buy-to-let is seen as an investment rather than a second job. These landlords appreciate that a (good) letting agent is better equipped to take on the process as they often don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do the work themselves.

For these people, who often lack the hours required to conduct viewings, undertake thorough tenant referencing and keep on top of the admin involved in managing a rental property, whilst staying up-to-date with the ever-changing legislation, they may want to use a letting agent.

A competent letting agent who is diligent, pays attention to detail, treats each property as if it were their own, carries out a rigorous referencing process, makes their charges crystal clear from the outset and deals with maintenance issues quickly should be well worth the fee they charge to a landlord who simply doesn’t have the time or desire to take this on.

If you’d like to talk to me about how to do the job yourself or whether I, an experienced landlord and property manager (and all round superwoman), can help you with the management of your property, please feel free to give me a call on 02477 674545