With this in mind, I wanted to share with you a new idea we are implementing in our tenant vetting procedure which came through a tenant lying on their application this week. This change in our vetting procedure will defiantly allow us to weed out more bad tenants and have an even higher conversion of obtaining the best tenants in the market place.
There are good people who are workers and there are good people on LHA. There are bad people who are workers and there are bad people on LHA. The difference between you getting a good or bad tenant is not if they are working or not but making sure you have the right vetting criteria.
You pay for what you get -
Top 15 tips when doing maintenance on your rental property
Make sure you look after your rental property- hidden costs you need to plan for or they will end up costing you more!
Make sure you look after your rental property - hidden costs you need to plan for or they will end up costing you more!
You have done what you set out to do, you have become a landlord and you are now hoping to be on the path towards a passive income and that all illusive dream of house prices doubling which please please please I hope we eventually see in the North East.
Free Landlord Seminar-Want to grow your property portfolio without the need for large deposits? NGU & Kevin Wright will show you how 26/06/14
Want to grow your property portfolio without the need for large deposits? NGU & Kevin Wright will show you how 26/06/14
Investing in property is an excellent way to create an income, but you need cash up front to invest - and then it's tied up for a while. This makes buying your next property a slow process (unless you happen to have a lot of available cash).
Everyone knows you should draw up a tenancy agreement before a tenant moves into your property - right!
YES - we all know the basics, but here’s my golden nugget of the week!
Do we provide our tenant(s) with something that provides all the information that they will need to be able to enjoy living in your property and makes sure that it is handed back in the correct condition or improved?
People often ask me - how do you win your deposit disputes? How do you manage to get your tenant(s) to rectify any damage they may have caused before they move out?
The answer - get the starting point right!
Properties in the North-East
Please remember that you must tell the council of all changes in circumstances that affect the amount of council tax you pay within 21 days of the change, whether this means that you pay more or less. If you fail to do this the council will impose a penalty of £70.00. If you fail to tell them on more than one occasion the penalty maybe increased to £280.00.
Get FREE money from the council if you have a property in Newcastle!
Newcastle council are currently offering a FREE grant to develop your rental property if it has been empty for over 6 months. This is not a % grant (you pay 20% they pay the rest). This is free money up to £3,000!
Be aware of further changes to council tax payments
As landlords, you will all be aware that last year in April there were changes to council tax on empty properties. Traditionally you were given a 6 month exemption when a property was unfurnished & empty before you were liable for council tax. This has now changed!!
You are now liable to pay for council tax on your property while it’s empty, sometimes from day 1. Below is a reminder of when council tax is liable from the date your property becomes empty.
Top 5 Tips when Tenants give Notice on your Property
I wanted to share with you some top tips that I have found very useful this week when dealing with tenants that have given notice. Remember I am not just a letting agent but also a landlord as well and like you - live and breathe the problems that you encounter! My top tips are only small bits of advice but they make such a difference!
Benefits Street- on Channel 4 - Would I take benefit tenants as a landlord?
The new program which aired last week on Channel 4 has hit the internet and the media with a storm. If you have not heard about this program where have you been? It is about a street in Birmingham where the vast majority of households are on housing benefits
In 2013, spread over 157 properties, we have only wrote off £53 of rent debt! - THAT'S 3p per property per month!!
A boiler is probably one of the most essential and expensive single investments in any rented property; not only to install but also to fix when they go wrong. Yet many Landlords do not spend the time needed to maintain their boilers, until a hefty bill comes in…
Overview: Help to Buy Scheme - Mortgage Guarantee
What does the Scheme do?
To allow buyers to purchase any property under £600,000 - a new build or pre-owned home with as little as a 5% deposit.
A New Approach to getting Tenants from Down South & Receive £2k on-top!
We have just signed up to a Landlord Accreditation Association in a London borough which allows us to take tenants who can no longer afford housing in the south-east of England due to the benefit caps. We have just accepted our first tenant, who used to live in Middlesbrough, and would like to relocate back to the area. The landlord has won on two fronts since:
Re-decorating and worn carpets - should landlords pay for these?
It is essential that as a landlord you protect yourself from redecoration and carpet disputes by accurately recording the condition of the décor and carpets at the start of a new tenancy. You need to be clear with tenant(s) what constitutes a “neutral colour” and what they need to do if they want to change the décor. Also when doing the check-in you need to highlight any stains on the carpet.
Exterior Wooden/ UPVC/Composite Door
Wooden - Wooden doors may be the cheapest option but think again when it comes to the long term maintenance involved. Wooden doors will need painting over the years and swell due to weather conditions. You may end up paying for a joiner to come back out when the door has swelled and it becomes jammed shut. Wooden doors will also let in the cold and with the cost of gas going up each year, tenants will start thinking about how economical their property is.
For those of you who have been receiving my e-shots for a while now, you will know that I like to share best practice when I come across it. In this week’s e-shot I want to share with you some new property development tips that I have come across this week. While they may seem simple, they are invaluable pieces of advice that will save you money in the long term when dealing with tenants and how they'll treat your rental property over a 10 year period.
What You Should Always Ask When Screening Tenants?
When interviewing prospective tenants, there are some questions you should ask to help determine if the tenant will be a good fit for your property. These qualifying questions can be asked over the phone. By doing this you can save the time of physically having to show them your property by qualifying a prospective tenant first.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) - In what situations can it be paid DIRECT to the landlord?
There are many ways that LHA can be paid direct to a landlord, most of which are considered to be 'Safeguarding'.
Another way is where the landlord reduces the rent to the same level of local housing allowance, applicable to the size of the property. But not all councils will accept this and I predict that within a year a further reduction may be sought if a new application for LHA is submitted.
LANDLORD SEMINAR IN GATESHEAD
EXPAND YOUR PROPERTY PORTFOLIO WITHOUT THE OUTLAY OF LARGE DEPOSITS!
Come to our FREE Landlord Seminar (only 26 places left)...........
.......on Thursday 5th September - Universal Credit- you need to know how this will impact you as a Landlord!!!
We are delighted to announce the return of our free landlord networking seminars at the Angle View Inn, Gateshead on
Thursday 5th of September at 6.30pm.
NGU HOMELETTINGS FREE LANDLORD SEMINARS: NEXT EVENT 05/09/13
We are delighted to announce the return of our free landlord networking seminars at the Angle View Inn, Gateshead on Thursday 5th of September at 6.30pm.
Fix repairs in your rented property or the Housing Health and Safety Rating System Officer will come to visit - you do not want that!
If you are a landlord who is not doing repairs at the moment and they are essential I urge you to think again!
If you do not do an annual assessment of your property in a detailed way to confirm there are no health and safety risks, I urge you to stop and think!
House prices have recorded their strongest year-on-year growth in nearly three years, as market activity increases, according to the Halifax.
When a new tenant moves into your property there is a lot to think about-inventory, tenancy agreement, photos, housing benefit forms, etc. If you find that there is a lot of information to take in what do you think your tenants will think? You guessed it - information over-load. That is why at NGU Homelettings we have produced a Tenant Handbook which we give to tenants when they move in. This handbook provides all the information that a tenant will ever need to be able to enjoy living in their property and to make sure that it is handed back in the correct condition or improved.
A landlord's experience............with NGU Homelettings
What one of our landlords thinks of NGU Homelettings!-Antony & Elvina Gilbert, Bury St Edmunds
Having started buying property in East Anglia in the late 1990s we began to look for opportunities further afield and decided on expanding our portfolio in the North East.
Lettings News in Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Shields, South Shields, Durham, Stockton-on-Tees, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough and Darlington
This week I wanted to share with you little tips I have learnt over the years which will help you when developing a property for the rental market:
When your tenant hands in their notice, as a landlord we all get that dreaded feeling. We know we have to prepare for a void period, the property may need some work and the local council even want to take council tax off you when it becomes empty.
Is your Letting Agent any good, are they a member of the
Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)?
If you are renovating your property for the rental market, key tips you need to know for a long term approach!
NGU Homelettings and NGU Homesales - Customer Review!
My name is Mark Cosgrove and I just wanted to share my experience of Chris and Nigel Fitzakerley and the NGU group:
Universal Credit is the biggest shake up to the benefits system in the last 25 years. In a nut shell, when Universal Credit goes live later this year it will mean that any of your tenants on benefits will receive one lump payment per month.
Basic knowledge of what is happening to YOUR tenants in 2013 that are on benefits.
Do you know what’s changing? Don’t get caught short…
Changes to Housing Benefit & Council Tax - The biggest changes in 25 years!!As a landlord it is essential that you are aware of the changes that take effect from the 1st April 2013 for Housing Benefit and Council Tax. These changes will definitely affect you at some point.
DPS launches new insurance
backed deposit scheme at cheapest rates on market.......
Basic tenant referencing checks are not sufficient to protect a landlord against the possibility of future arrears, research from NGU can confirm, we found 5% of tenants we've vetted have one or more CCJ recorded at an undisclosed address.
As all Landlords should be aware, in April 2007 it became Law that all Assured Shorthold Tenancy deposits must be protected in a Government authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
The vast majority of tenancies end with the landlord and tenant agreeing over the return of the deposit. Deposit disputes are rare but it makes sense to be prepared, so here are some tips to help you get started:
From the 1st April 2013 new legislation being proposed by the government means that landlords will NOW be responsible for the Council Tax on unrented properties. At NGU Homelettings we have tried to stay ahead of the game by attending all the relevant Local Council Tax meetings to be fully informed of the changes. We have recruited one new member of staff and are in the process of recruiting another to enable us to hit this change head on.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT: A CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY? WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
Over the last couple of years we have tried to keep our landlords upto date with the on-going changes to housing benefits.
In late 2010 we started to publish articles about the pending reductions in LHA that were to take effect from April 2011 and in late 2011 we published further articles about additional changes that affected under 35’s from January 2012 onwards. As a company we try to attend as many local council/private landlord association meetings as possible in order to stay ahead of pending changes and pass our knowledge onto our clients.
Last week I attended a meeting for private landlords at the Gateshead Civic Centre and in this article I will pass on information we discussed including further pending changes to the benefits system and the forthcoming introduction of Universal Credit. All of these changes are still being finalised and so we will continue to keep you informed as more information is provided by governmental sources.
Friday 31st August 2012
Squatting in a residential property becomes a criminal offence from tomorrow in England and Wales.
The maximum penalty will be six months’ prison and/or a £5,000 fine.
The Green Deal is a brand new initiative implemented by the Government to facilitate the fitting of energy saving measures to millions of homes across the UK. It has been designed to revolutionise the energy efficiency of properties throughout the UK.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT, CHALLENGING TIMES FOR LANDLORDS (Part 2) -
Last week we discussed the changes to Housing Benefit / LHA and the new payment of Universal Credit. We explained in detail the new criteria for direct payment and how landlords may struggle to obtain it. In this second article we are going to discuss the problems landlords may face, such as increased arrears, what they can do and our key concerns.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT, CHALLENGING TIMES FOR LANDLORDS - I'm not sure if people are aware but one of the largest changes to the welfare state is occurring next year, a whole host of different benefits are being merged into one single payment called the universal credit. This will mean Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance will be rolled into this credit which will have a massive affect on landlords, due to the limited provision of direct payment.
Wednesday 29th August 6:30pm - Free Food & Free Information!!
NGU Homelettings offers a property health check on all new properties that we take on for property management. This consists of a rental analysis to make sure that you are maximising your rent and a 792 point property condition report to confirm the current condition of your property.
This event is renowned for its quality and scope of information and is one of the industry’s leading events for landlords. It is therefore great news that they have decided to host an event in North East and with an expected 1,500 people; it should be a big event!
If your tenant suddenly moves out - does your Letting Agent know how to get housing benefits paid even though the tenant is in their new property?
If your tenant is on housing benefits and he/she suddenly moves out without telling you, housing benefits will stop on your property and the tenant will receive it for their new one unless you understand what a Dual Property Application Form is and know what to do with it.
Guidance for Landlords- Housing Health and Safety Rating System
Since the Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Guide for Landlords and Property Related Professionals was produced by the government in 2006 (HHSRS), a tenant can now ask the council to inspect their property for any hazards and depending on the how the hazard is classified, you have a legal obligation to put right these hazards.
NEW LEGISLATION HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING
Private Drains and Sewers Transfer
On the 1st October 2011, a major change in the way drainage in England is managed took place. Most private sewers and also lateral drains (the part of a drain which goes from the property boundary to the public sewer) which have previously been the property of private individuals, landlords or commercial property owners were adopted by the water and sewage companies, who then became responsible for all maintenance, including clearing blockages. Private drains within property boundaries were not adopted.
BUCKING THE TREND: NGU RENTS UP 7.3% ON REGIONAL AVERAGES IN 2011!
According to a recent BBC news article, average rents in the North East declined by 1.3% between December 2010 and December 2011. In stark contrast to this figure we have seen a rise in the same period as our rents at NGU have increased by an average of 6% across the portfolio. On paper this seems surprising given the harsh socio-economic conditions we are currently living in and the fact that other landlords seemingly appear to be experiencing loss rather than gain where their yields are concerned. So how have we achieved this?
In one of my previous articles I have mentioned that we are building a relationship with a government funded company which provides FREE boiler replacements, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation for tenants on housing benefits. I wanted to use this week`s article to give you an update on how we are getting on with this scheme.
Areas to be covered:
1. Preparing your property for let
2. Finding a suitable tenant
3. Keeping your property safe
4. Ending the tenancy- your property is returned in its original condition & ready to re-let
For prospective buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines, there is a real window of opportunity to invest in bricks and mortar while rates are cheap.
Homeowners are enjoying the cheapest mortgages on record thanks to historically low interest rates, new figures show. There was good news yesterday for first time buyers. The number getting their initial step on the property ladder increased markedly last year as banks become more willing to lend to those with only a small deposit. There was 57,301 loans of 85 per cent or more of the property price, up from 43,379 in 2010.
When tenants are in rent arrears, it is essential that as a landlord you are aware of yours and the tenant`s rights and the situation is managed lawfully and effectively. Read on to see the most frequently asked questions about rent arrear problems:
As a landlord who lets properties to tenants who claim Housing Benefits I want to make you aware of an important change to the level of Housing Benefit that can be paid to some people.
We regularly get approached by many new landlords asking us to help them with properties which have bad tenants in them and they don`t know how to get them out. As part of NGU Homelettings management we organise the evictions of any tenant for FREE.
Now you may be asking yourself, how can rental yields be increasing in this climate, people have less money now than they ever have? As a landlord you may be just happy having your property rented and are not bothered about yields as long as the mortgage is getting paid? At NGU Homelettings we carry out comprehensive annual reviews to not only look at the condition and safety aspects of your property but also to see how we can maximise your rent if it currently isn’t.
Keep your home free from damp, condensation and mould
This eshot gives some basic information about the different types of dampness that my affect your rental property. Condensation is probably the biggest cause of damp in rented properties. A lot of information and advice is included in this eshot to help you to identify and reduce condensation as well as treating the mould growth often associated with it.
At NGU Homelettings we offer high quality property developments and maintenance services. We can offer professional tradesman who deliver on quality as well as on cost. We offer:
Central heating service and repairs, electricians, painting and decorating, roofing, plasterers, tiling, glazers, locksmiths, carpentry, plumbing, cleaning, rubbish clearance, gardening, and general building work.
This is not an exhaustive list, if your requirements are not listed, we are confident we have the tradesman and contacts to meet your needs.
An unrivalled 24-hour, 365 days property maintenance and care service throughout the North East.
If you are a new landlord, what are your responsibilities?
If you have just started off as a landlord or you are thinking about becoming one, it is key that you know what your responsibilities are. There are numerous books and articles on the internet that you can read up on but I wanted to produce a 9 point check list which will help any new landlord or if you are an experienced landlord may just prick your ears up and make you double check things. E.g. is that gas certificate in date!
LETTING AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Tuesday 29th November 7pm-9pm
Areas to be covered:
Assured Shorthold Tenancies- what is an AST and what should be in them?
Section 21 A and Section 21 B.
Tenants Fundamental Rights.
Fundamental Repairing Obligations.
Local Housing Allowance- useful bits of information that will make all the difference.
NGU Homelettings and NGU Homesales- what we can offer you!
Guaranteed rents, tenants waiting to rent your property, no tenant find fees!
As landlords’ pockets are getting squeezed and competition amongst letting agents is getting more aggressive - is there such a thing as a free lunch? When I’m visiting our rented properties I see leaflets pushed through the door from letting agents offering guaranteed rents, tenants waiting and no tenant find fees. I also see the same strap lines in local newspapers and on the internet. While these slogans appear good on the surface, is it happy ever after from there?
If you have a tenant in a property in Middlesbrough or Hartlepool who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Stockton-on-Tees who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in the Redcar and Cleveland Locality who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Newcastle upon Tyne who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Darlington who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in North Tyneside who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Northumberland who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Durham who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in South Tyneside who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
If you have a tenant in a property in Sunderland who claims local housing allowance, it is key that you know about the change in the age limit for shared room rates. At NGU Homelettings we are experts in local housing allowance tenants and can offer the advice and help you need.
In my last article I went into detail about the changes that came into effect from the 1st of April 2011 regarding Local Housing Allowance (LHA). I want to talk more about LHA and some of the misunderstandings that are out there and how a one size fits all approach does not work with every council. I also want to share with you again the changes in LHA that have come into effect from the 1st April; specifically how these changes affect you as a landlord in the North East. Finally I would like to share with you what we are doing at NGU Homelettings as a result of these changes and how these make dealing with tenants on LHA a more smoother process.
Over the past few weeks we have been reading up on the pending changes, speaking to professionals within the industry and attending council meetings to make sure we are prepared for the following changes:
£15 excess benefit is removed meaning tenants can no longer keep some of their housing benefits if their rent is lower than their entitlement.
5 Bedroom rate is removed meaning the maximum the council will pay out is a 4 bed rate regardless of the size of a family.
New rates worked out at 30th percentile means that 3 in 10 houses in an area will now be affordable to LHA tenants as opposed to the previous 5 in 10 rate. This ultimately means a reduction in LHA rates across the board. However, some bedroom rates appear to be affected more than others.
Online marketing: the continued dominance of property search engines and the importance of good presentation
Property Management: the importance of regular inspections and an accurate, concise and detailed inventory
What is an inventory?
There are many definitions of an inventory for rental purposes but according to the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks) "an inventory is a binding legal document that provides an accurate written record of the condition and contents of a property at the beginning of a tenancy".