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- 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.

Stockingford, Nuneaton- Watch this space!

Do you have a property in the Stockingford /Grove Farm area? Are you thinking of selling …or maybe in 2 minds as to whether to sell or rent? Well, hopefully reading this will help you decide.

Many months ago I wrote an article on plans for a new train station to be built in Stockingford, in fact there used to be one where the Aldi is now (many moons ago).

The plan is to have the station up and running by 2023 and will be on the Cross Country route to Birmingham with one train running per hour initially.

Cllr Philip Johnson, chairman of the communities overview and scrutiny committee said: “A new station in west Nuneaton will have a really positive impact on that part of the town.
“It would increase connectivity by providing access to important destinations such as Birmingham, Coventry and further afield which is essential for ongoing development of the local economy.”

It is hoped that another station in the area would significantly ease road congestion in the area, resulting in an estimated saving of 520,000 road vehicle kilometres a year by 2023, rising to 1.5m km a year by 2029 and with all the new builds popping up so fast this will hopefully be a huge relief on congestion in the town.

So, going back to your property in this area. My recommendation, to anyone who is looking to move but doesn’t necessarily need to sell their current home to do so, is to keep it!

Keep it and rent it out!

Many people have a misconception of this part of town but I can put my hand on my heart and reassure you that rents in this area are just as achievable as any other part of town, and there are ample tenants looking to rent in this area too!

Similarly if you are an investor, I would strongly suggest investing here NOW before everyone clocks onto the fact that in a few years’ time this is going to be a hot spot area for commuters to live in, from both near (Birmingham etc) and far (London).

If you would like to speak to us about investing in Nuneaton, or you have a property that you would like to rent out, we are currently running a summer offer whereby if you sign up by 7th September 2018 we will fully manage your property for 10% a month including VAT with no initial set up fee to you!

If it goes ahead, the new station, which could open as early as 2023, would be on the CrossCountry route to Birmingham, with one train running per hour initially. Exciting times ahead folks! Don’t miss out.

For any further information, please fee free to get in touch with Melissa or I on 02477 674545

The trials and tribulations of one of Nuneaton’s accidental Landlords


I wanted to share with you a story that I feel a lot of landlords could benefit from. Some time ago we had a phone call from a panicked Nuneaton landlord (and avid blog reader) . They are one of the many accidental landlords in Nuneaton and their story goes a bit like this…

(Just out of interest, see how many mistakes you can spot along the way)

They were left a property by a family member who sadly passed away and, rather than selling, they thought “why not rent it out?” so, with a WH Smith tenancy agreement in hand, they let the property to an applicant they found on Gumtree, took a deposit and kept it safe in their savings account. Does anyone else see where this story is going? I’m not mocking them. Even I made mistakes back in the day when I first started out with my first investment property (14 years ago…wow that makes me sound old!). I’m happy to report that I am wiser and (sadly) older now and there are no school girl errors!

Anyhoo, I digress….As is usually the case, their tenant was absolutely great for the first few months and then the late rent payments started (although they were still paying intermittently). When the landlords went round to do an inspection they were incredibly disappointed to see that the house was not being looked after. So, after some deliberation, they decided it was best to ask them to leave.

You must see where this is going now?…

They spoke to the tenant a few days later and told them that they were giving them one months’ notice to leave the property. After a month, the tenant had not left the property and had also completely given up on paying the rent. The landlord told them that if they didn’t move out, they would keep their deposit as compensation for lack of rent.
This went on for a further 2 months before the landlord got in touch with us as they were at the end of their tether.

Ok, now’s the time to see how many mistakes you noticed (red pens at the ready). We had to tell them in the nicest possible way that, without seeking legal advice and support, they would only continue to struggle getting the tenant out and it would probably end up costing them more than legal fees in the long run.

Mistakes:
1. WH Smith Tenancy agreement (not sure how up to date they are but they change quite often!)
2. Gumtree (say no more)
3. They didn’t secure the deposit in a recognised scheme
4. Landlords give tenants 2 months’ notice. It is Tenants that can give one months’ notice
5. The landlords would not have been able to keep the deposit because it was not protected properly (even though there were rent arrears and damage to the property)
6. There were several other mistakes the landlord made at the start of the tenancy with regards to certificates and paperwork as well (but these weren’t mentioned)

What they did right:
Seeking advice as quickly as possible

Landlords are often incredibly embarrassed and ashamed when things go wrong with a tenancy and often feel incredibly isolated but, it’s happened to thousands of landlords. The best thing you can do is seek advice as quickly as possible.

It’s great when people self-manage their buy to let investment but it’s only worthwhile if you do it properly and understand EXACTLY what is expected of you.

I’m happy to report that said landlord did seek legal advice and did manage to get the tenants out. We now manage the property for them so they can sit back, relax and enjoy the monthly rental income (which is guaranteed!).
If you have had issues similar to this, please feel free to get in touch to see how we can help. It is incredibly stressful and you don’t have to carry the burden on your own.
We’d love to hear from you 02477 674545