Ask Lorraine – How much notice do I need to give my tenants?

🙋  Landlord’s Question: 

”Dear Lorraine,

 I have a property in Tamworth that I need to sell, the tenants have been living there 4 years. How much time to leave the property do I need to give my tenants? They have been good tenants and I don’t want to upset them”.
 
Lorraine’s Answer

First things first have your tenancy agreement to hand, assuming that the contract is a periodic (rolling) contract then 2 months notice.

My advice, if you are unsure of how to serve the notice  correctly yourself then I would personally pay a professional to serve this on your behalf.

Before serving notice, ensure that all  your ducks are in a row i.e annual gas safety inspection carried out and tenant has a copy, deposit has been dealt with correctly.  Getting it right at the outset is so much easier than half way down the line having to start all over again. I’d be gutted if I had a sale going through and was advised that my notice was void, I can’t imagine the buyer would hang around much longer.

If serving yourself, post a copy retaining  proof of postage from 2 or 3 different post offices, allowing for the correct number of days.  or hand deliver the notice yourself, taking a friend or relative with you who can video or take a photo as proof of postage through the door.

I would be honest and upfront with your tenant, upsetting them may cause problems with you. You need the  cooperation of your tenants with regards to   viewings while they are still living there. So keeping the tenants on continued friendly terms is a must.

I hope all goes well in the sale of your Tamworth property.

Until next week.

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Tamworth OAP’s sitting on £1.48bn of Property

Tamworth people aged over 65 currently hold more housing wealth in their homes than the annual GDP of the whole of the Isle of Anglesey… and this is a problem for everyone in Tamworth!

Many retiree’s want to move but cannot, as there is a shortage of such homes for mature people to downsize into.  Due to the shortage, bungalows command a 10% to 20% premium per square foot over houses of the same size with stairs. To add to the woes, in 2014, just 1% of new builds in the UK were bungalows, according to the National House Building Council – down from 7% in 1996.

My research has found that there are 7,089 households in Tamworth owned outright (i.e. no mortgage) by over 65 year olds.  Taking into account the average value of a property in Tamworth, this means £1.48 billion of equity is locked up in these Tamworth homes, compared to the GDP of the whole of the Isle of Anglesey being £797 million of GDP.

 A recent survey by YouGov, found that 36% of people aged over 65 in the UK are looking to downsize into a smaller home.  However, the Government seems to focus all its attention on first-time buyers with strategies such as Starter Homes to ensure the youngsters of the UK don’t become permanent members of ‘Generation Rent’.  Conversely, this overlooks the chronic under-supply of appropriate retirement housing essential to the needs of the Tamworth’s rapidly ageing population. Regrettably, the Tamworth’s housing stock is woefully unprepared for this demographic shift to the ‘stretched middle age’, and this has created a new ‘Generation Trapped’ dilemma where older people cannot move.

 Some OAP’s who are finding it difficult to live on their own, are unable to leave their bungalow because of a lack of sheltered housing and ‘affordable’ care home places.  So, older retirees can’t leave bungalows, younger retirees can’t buy bungalows and younger people can’t buy family houses.

Interestingly, adding insult to injury, the problem will only get worse, as in the 50 year old to 64 year old homeownership age range there are an additional 5,570 Tamworth households that are mortgage free and a further 6,042 Tamworth households who will be completing their mortgage responsibility.  With Government projections showing the proportion of over 65’s will rise by over a third from the current 17.7% to 24.3% of the population in the next 20 years … this can only add greater pressure to the Tamworth Property market.

House prices have rocketed over the last 40 years because the supply of property has not kept up with demand. With migration, people living longer and high divorce rates (meaning one family becomes two) we need, as a Country, 240,000 properties to be built a year to just stand still.  In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Country was building on average 180,000 to 190,000 households a year, but since the Credit Crunch (2009), that has only been between 130,000 and 145,000 households a year.

The solution …. release more land for starter homes, bungalows and sheltered accommodation
because land prices are killing the housing market as the large firms dominating the construction industry are more likely to focus on traditional houses and apartments.  My opinion – until the Government change the planning rules and allow more land to be built on – Bungalows could be a decent bet for future investment as they continue to attract ever growing premiums?

 Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Tamworth Property News.

Blog  www.Tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Twitter –  https://twitter.com/hallandthompson

Website    http://www.hallandthompson.co.uk







 

 

 

Tamworth property price rises set to be restrained in 2017 due to Brexit

While Brexit has not yet had a sizeable impact on the Tamworth housing market, my analysis is pointing to the fact that the economic viewpoint still remains uncertain and Tamworth property price growth is likely to be more subdued in 2017 – although that isn’t a bad thing so let me explain.

Since the summer, apart from a little wobble of uncertainty a few weeks after the Referendum vote, property values (and the economy), on the whole has outperformed what most people were anticipating. In fact, when I looked at the property prices for our Tamworth Borough Council area, these were the results…

October 2016              – drop of 1.19%

September 2016         – rise of 1.3%

August 2016                – drop of 0.74%

July 2016                     – drop of 0.1%

June 2016                    – drop of 0.77%

The UK property market continues to perform robustly (because we can’t just look at Tamworth as if in its own little bubble) with annual price growth set to end this year at 6.91% and most West Midlands region property market at 6.2%.

Talking to fellow agents in London, the significant tidal wave of growth seen from 2013 through to 2015 in the capital has subdued over the last six months. However, as that central London house price wave has started to ripple out, agents are starting to see stronger property growth values in East Anglia and the South East regions outside of London, than what is being seen within the M25. So, fellow Tamworth landlords and homeowners, is this the time to get your surfboards ready for the London wave?

Well, we in Tamworth haven’t really been affected by what is happening in the central London property mega bubble (i.e. Kensington, Chelsea, Marylebone, Mayfair etc.). The property market locally is more driven by sentiment, especially the ‘C’ word … confidence. The main forces for a weaker Tamworth Property market relate to economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, which I believe will impact unhelpfully on consumer confidence in the run up to and just after the serving of the Section 50 Notice by the end of Q1 2017.

In addition, the influence of reforms to the taxation of landlords is expected to result in a reduced demand from buy to let landlords, which will limit upward pressure on property values. However, on the other side of the coin, demand from tenants has been strong, but this has been counterbalanced by a strong supply of rental properties. In my opinion, there is a slight risk of rents not growing as much in 2017 as they have in 2016, but by 2018 they will rise again to counteract Philip Hammond’s changes to tenant fees.

The broader Tamworth rental market looks relatively positive with modest rental growth expected and rents might rise further if landlords begin to sell properties in an effort to offset to the impact of tax rises.

So what do I predict will happen to the Tamworth housing market in 2017? In Tamworth, I believe property values are expected to rise by 1.5% in 2017, compared to a rise of 7.5% this year, then picking up again with a rise of 2.4% in 2018, 3.1% in 2019, 4.6% 2020 and 6.1% in 2021.

But these predictions do not take into account any effect of a possible snap General Election or further referendum on ratifying any Brexit deal (if that comes to pass in the future).

If you are interested in learning more about managing your investments wisely then do get in touch. I even offer a range of investment options such as portfolio building for high yield and maximum capital appreciation with hands-off management if that route interests you. Get in touch  lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk  and learn more about getting the best returns in the Tamworth property market.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Tamworth Property News.

Blog  – www.Tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/hallandthompsonestateagents

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/hallandthompson

Website    http://www.hallandthompson.co.uk

 

Ask Lorraine – “My new tenant is complaining of condensation”

🙋  Landlord’s Question:
”Dear Lorraine,


Can you offer any advice as my tenants of 5 months are starting to complain about condensation and mould. Is this my problem or the tenants?”

Lorraine’s Answer

Condensation is a big bug bear of course and if not properly dealt with, it will become a major headache for both tenants and you the landlord.

If the property is not properly heated and ventilated then condensation will build up and eventually lead to mould growth which is capable of growing anywhere from carpet to clothing to ceilings.
In fact there are more disputes between landlords and tenants concerning mould and condensation than any other issue.

Along with the health issues it can bring, mould can be quite costly and difficult to fix. More often than not landlords and tenants will be pointing the finger at each other. Landlords believing that their tenants lifestyle has caused the problem and tenants seeing it as their landlords duty to prevent it appearing.

In my experience tenants will often dry clothes on radiators, shut air vents or block vents with furniture –  many easily remedied issues rather than actual faults with the building structure.

The most effective approach to take in avoiding or tackling mould problems is to implement measures that reduce moisture within a home, here are a few of my suggestions :-
1/If you have a tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly.
2/If possible, dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If you have to dry clothes inside I would always advise that you open your doors or windows in these rooms, allowing the air to circulate.

3/When cooking, boiling a kettle, taking a shower or bath, ensure that your kitchen or bathroom door are kept closed to prevent steam going into colder rooms which will cause condensation to form.

4/When cooking ensure that you cover your pans with a lid to reduce moisture. Have a window in the cooking room open or if you have an extractor fan fitted, then use it! Don’t turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking, leave the fan on or the window open for 10 minutes afterwards to clear the air.

5/When taking a bath or shower ensure that the extractor fan (if fitted) is used, alternately open a window to get rid of the steam that is created when running warm water in a cold environment.

6/If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that you wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen when you have been cooking or taking a shower to remove any moisture that has settled on the surface. This excess moisture that sits on the surface will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.

7/Make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls and don’t block air vents so that air can circulate around the property. Wardrobes if possible should be positioned against internal walls.

8/Double glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property. Installing insulation will help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside your property high.

9/Having an adequate amount of heating in your property will improve the internal temperature of surfaces in the house and reduce the likelihood of condensation.

Annually, I always send my tenants a “how to reduce condensation brochure” it helps to jog their little grey cells, you will find lots of free information on Government websites.

Until next week.

For more thoughts and opinions on the Tamworth Property Market, if you are a Tamworth Homeowner or Tamworth landlord, please visit the Tamworth Property Blog www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk you can catch up on previous blogs.

Finding it overwhelming to break into the property rental market and don’t know where to start, we offer free impartial advice and guidance. To ask about our thoughts on your own investment choices, call us now on 01827 425195, you can always email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk


 

 

Tamworth Property Market Sees An Unpredicted Autumn Boost of 11%

Well, it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that it was Christmas – and now it’s all over! One cold  morning, I was at a local Business leaders Networking event. I got chatting with a Senior Partner of a local Solicitors practice and we got talking about the Tamworth property market. I had just completed my research for my next blog article and I would like to share with you the parts of the conversation relating to the Tamworth property market.

He asked me what my thoughts were about the last half of the year in regard to the Tamworth property market and if there were any great buy to let deals around. As a Solicitor he had noticed a blip, but things appeared back to normal .. but he wanted my thoughts. In reply I said that, in my view, shrugging off the uncertainty of the initial post Brexit vote, I have seen an increase in supply and a rise in the number of properties selling at the lower to middle end of the market, meaning both first time buyers and buy to let landlords have been returning in the last few months – proof the market is beginning to bounce back.

So let’s look at the numbers ..

 In November 2016, according to the three main property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket) there were a total of 227 properties for sale in B77. In November 2015, there were only 205 properties for sale, a rise of 11%.

 When I split it down into bedrooms (note things like building plots and part commercial/part residential etc won’t be in these figures so the numbers below wont exactly match up to those in the above paragraph).

 
# Properties on the market in Nov 2015
# Properties on the market in Nov 2016
Per cent Change
5+ Bedrooms
13
10
-23%
4 Bedrooms
35
61
+74%
3 Bedrooms
78
96
+23%
2 Bedrooms
60
48
-20%
1 Bedroom
18
12
-33%

 .. and when I looked at type of properties  .. it got even more interesting

Type of Property
# Properties on the market in Nov 2015
# Properties on the market in Nov 2016
Per cent Change
Detached
70
93
+33%
Semi
58
69
+19%
Terraced
38
40
+5%
Flat
23
23
0%


As the number of B77 properties put up for sale has risen by 11%, homeowners have become more realistic about how much their homes are worth. This increase in homeowners wanting to sell suggests there is renewed confidence in the Tamworth property market and there are also signs that people are being more realistic about pricing their property.

As you can see, there has been an uplift in terraced and semi-detached properties, which means there is greater choice for first time buyers and landlords. So with a combination of realistic pricing and more properties on the market – both first time buyers and landlords alike might be able to pick up a few bargains!  One place for great Tamworth Buy to let deals is my blog where, irrespective of which agent is selling the property, I publish what I consider is the very best buy to let deal in Tamworth http://tamworthpropertyblog-co-uk.php5.hostingweb.co.uk/


If you are thinking of getting into the property rental market and don’t know where to start, speak to us for impartial advice and guidance to get the best return on your investment. For more information about other potential investment properties that we could introduce you to, or to ask about our thoughts on your own investment choices, call us now on 01827 425195, you can always email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

Ask Lorraine – “How can I change my luck when choosing tenants in Tamworth?”

🙋 Landlord’s Question:

”Dear Lorraine,

 
Over the last two years I have had four different tenants in my rental property in Tamworth. 
Each of them seemed great tenants until they moved in and then they became the tenant from hell!!!I’ve had damage to the property, rent not being paid, being called out in the early hours due to lost keys and today to cap it all…being called out at 3am to change a light bulb.

What am I doing wrong? Why am I attracting these type of tenants and will this be my future?”

 
Lorraine’s Answer
 
It certainly looks as if you’ve had a run of bad luck choosing your tenants. But if you ask any landlord they will all say they’ve been there and got the tee shirt, as I myself have, you learn from your mistakes and move on. What I would say is, don’t let this put you off. I have a few steps that I will gladly share which will help you to look for and choose the right tenant for you and your property.

 
The demand for rental property In Tamworth far outweighs the supply, so just looking at that, you can afford to be picky with the type of tenant you would like to rent your property.

 
Step One – Viewings
 
The first thing I would do is arrange a viewing. Under no circumstances let the property to anyone without them physically seeing it and meeting you at the property, sending a friend to view in their absence is a NO NO! The person who will be signing the tenancy needs to view the property.

 
During the viewing you will get a gut feeling for the tenant. I always conduct my own viewings as I
ask certain questions over the course of what seems like normal chit chat, but really I am making mental notes and deciding if this is the right tenant for this property.


Step Two – References
 
I always make them aware at the viewing that I will need to carry out a credit check, income and previous landlord references and I ensure that these are always carried out. You need to know the kind of tenant who will be moving into your property. It’s easier to inform at viewings  to see how they react. If they say they have no CCJs and their credit is fine and then they fail, I would not go ahead with that tenancy.  However, if they are upfront with you, telling  you that they don’t think their credit is good, and then they fail, well it’s down to your gut feelings. If they are being upfront and honest about knowing they have poor credit, at least you know that they have no intention to deceive you. Second chance and all that!!!!

 
Step Three – Miss Marple to the Rescue
It’s a good idea to visit them at their current address and get a feel for how they live, are they looking after the property, is the home clean, their current living conditions tells you a lot!
 
 
 
You could check their Facebook profile to build a better idea of the type of tenant you might be moving into your property. A little bit of detective work could pay dividends.

 
Step Four – Maintaining your Tenant Landlord Relationship
Having found the right tenant, let them move in and then schedule an inspection for say 2 months into the tenancy, you only want to ensure that they have settled in, not that you are being nosey. After the initial inspection I always schedule inspection visits at six monthly intervals. Should any issues arise during the inspection, you can address them there and then.

Step Five –  Those Needy Tenants
 
It’s quite common that private landlords feel obliged to change light bulbs etc. Consumables should not be the landlords responsibility, so check your tenancy agreement and make a list of the things that you as the landlord are responsible for and the type of things that the tenant is responsible for. Send this information to the tenant, politely pointing out that should the tenant call you out for a minor job which falls under their remit, then your call out rate is say £50.00 in normal working hours. Point out that this includes locking themselves out and if called out of hours, your rate is in excess of £50.00.
 
As with all letter to tenants, send this letter and get proof of posting via the post office, or for peace of mind post it through the door and have a friend come with you to take a picture of you posting it.

 
We don’t want to scare tenants off from reporting issues with the property but, at the end of the day, you are running a business and need to treat your buy to lets as such. Putting a little time aside each month to sort those maintenance issues and small repairs will benefit you in the long run, rather than having a massive pay out at the end of a long let.  I always urge our tenants to report any maintenance issues as soon as they arise so the property is kept up to scratch.

I hope this information helps you in finding your next tenants and your run of back luck improves.

 
If you are looking for an agent with experience that can help you find the right tenant for your property, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.
Email me on lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk or give me a call on 07531484956.

Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Tamworth Property www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk






Tamworth Semi-Detached House prices rise by 292% in 20 years

The semi-detached house with its bay windows and net curtains has long been ridiculed as an emblem of safe, lacklustre and desperately uncool suburban life; the homes of the likes of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping up Appearances and more latterly Alan Partridge – but they could have the last laugh – having enjoyed the highest price growth of any property type in Tamworth, up by an average 292% increase in the last twenty years.
The semi can now laugh in the face of its posher detached counterpart, which saw a rise of only 185% in the same 20-year period. Looking at smaller properties, flats/apartments only rose 187%, whilst terraced houses did better at 220% (although they were starting from a lower base and demand from buy to let landlords has had a big part in driving the values on that type of house (i.e. the price a buy to let landlord is prepared to pay is driven by the rent the landlord can achieve).

In 1996 the average value of a Tamworth semi stood at £47,000,

 

today it stands at £184,200
 
Such is the attractiveness of semis, which are cheaper than detached houses but have most of the same benefits for families. Semi-detached houses were built in their hundreds of thousands by the Victorians and Edwardians between the wars and through to the present day. Interestingly in the late 19th Century and early 20th century – they often weren’t referred to as semi-detached – but as villas!

 

 So whilst Europeans live on top of each other in apartments us British chose, in the late Victorian and early Edwardian times, suburban comfort, being near … but not too near, the neighbours! I once heard someone say the semi-detached house was a peculiar crossbreed that doesn’t stand on its own — it is inseparable from its neighbour — yet somehow still embodies a dream of suburban independence.

 

 Over one in three houses in Tamworth is a semi-detached house

 

 There are 11,692 semi-detached properties in Tamworth and they represent 38.49% of all the households in Tamworth. Tamworth has such a mix of semi-detached properties with the older classic bay fronted semis to more modern ones built in the last couple of decades. Especially with the older ones, the semi offered a hall to provided separation between the reception rooms and privacy for their occupants. Also the downstairs offered larger rooms to accommodate dining tables, whilst upstairs, bedrooms were smaller, yet cosy.

 

 However, probably the most overlooked aspect of popularity for semis is the garden. The front garden, designed to separate the house from the world, and the back garden designed for private relaxation. The semi in the suburbs was relaxing, well presented, plumbed and enhanced by a garden so that when a window was opened the air had a chance of being genuinely fresh… and it’s for all those reasons why 323 semi-detached houses have been sold in Tamworth in the last 12 months alone.  Still as popular today as they were with the Victorians all those years ago – some things just stand the test of time!

 

 For more thoughts on the Tamworth Property Market – please visit the Tamworth Property Market Blog at http://tamworthpropertyblog-co-uk.php5.hostingweb.co.uk/
 
If you are thinking of getting into the property rental market and don’t know where to start, speak to us for impartial advice and guidance to get the best return on your investment. For more information about other potential investment properties that we could introduce you to, or to ask about our thoughts on your own investment choices, call us now on 01827 425195, you can always email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk