Ask Lorraine – I am a Tamworth landlord with an EPC dilema!

You may find this article helpful   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-performance-certificates-for-the-construction-sale-and-let-of-dwellings

Ask Lorraine ; What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?

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Extra Funding Is Required for Affordable Homes in Tamworth

In my blog about the Tamworth Property Market I mostly only talk about two of the three main sectors of the local property market, the ‘private rented sector’ and the ‘owner occupier sector’. However, as I often stress when talking to my clients, one cannot forget the third sector, that being the ‘social housing sector’ (or council housing as some people call it).

In previous articles, I have spoken at length about the crisis in supply of property in Tamworth (i.e. not enough property is being built), but in this article I want to talk about the other crisis – that of affordability. It is not just about the pure number of houses being built but also the equilibrium of tenure (ownership vs rented) and therein, the affordability of housing, which needs to be considered carefully for an efficient and effectual housing market.

An efficient and effectual housing market is in everyone’s interests, including Tamworth homeowners and Tamworth landlords, so let me explain ..

An average of only 36 Affordable Homes per year have been built by Tamworth Borough Council in the last 9 years

The requirement for the provision of subsidised housing has been recognised since Victorian times. Even though private rents have not kept up with inflation since 2005 (meaning tenants are better off) it’s still a fact there are substantial numbers of low-income households in Tamworth devoid of the money to allow them a decent standard of housing.

Usually, property in the social housing sector has had rents set at around half the going market rate and affordable shared home ownership has been the main source of new affordable housing yet, irrespective of the tenure, the local authority is simply not coming up with the numbers required. If the local authority isn’t building or finding these affordable homes, these Tamworth tenants still need housing, and some tenants at the lower end of the market are falling foul of rogue landlords. Not good news for tenants and the vast majority of law abiding and decent Tamworth landlords who are tarnished by the actions of those few rogue landlords, especially as I believe everyone has the right to a safe and decent home.

Be it Tory’s, Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Greens etc, everyone needs to put party politics aside and start building enough homes and ensure that housing is affordable. Even though 2017 was one of the best years for new home building in the last decade (217,000 home built in 2017) overall new home building has been in decline for many years from the heady days of the early 1970s, when an average of 350,000 new homes were being built a year.  As you can see from the graph, we simply aren’t building enough ‘affordable’ homes in the area. 

The blame cannot all be placed at the feet of the local authority as Council budgets nationally, according to Full-Fact, are 26% lower than they have been since 2010.

So, what does this mean for Tamworth homeowners? Well, an undersupply of affordable homes will artificially keep rents and property prices high. That might sound good in the short term, but a large proportion of my Tamworth landlords find their children are also priced out of the housing market. Also, whilst your Tamworth home might be slightly higher in value, due to this lack of supply of homes at the bottom end of the market, as most people move up the market when they do move, the one you want to buy will be priced even higher.

Problems at the lower end of the property market will affect the middle and upper parts. There is no getting away from the fact that the Tamworth housing market is all interlinked .. it’s not called the Property ‘Ladder’ for nothing!

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

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Leaks and Flooding – Is my Tamworth Landlord responsible?

If you live in a flat you may occasionally have an issue with leaks and flooding from neighbouring flats. When this happens tenants tend to look to their landlord to rectify the situation, but it is not that straight forward.

It is a landlords duty to repair structural items such as walls, ceilings and plasterwork in a rental property should a leak occur. A landlord should accept responsibility once they are made aware of the damage. Once informed, the landlord must carry out all repairs in a timely period and to a reasonable standard.

Who is responsible for tenants belongings

Who is responsible for tenants belongings?

Tenant’s possessions may have been damaged due to a leak  and they may assume that the landlord is responsible for replacing these items, this is not necessarily so!

Where the damage has been caused by a leak or flooding from a third party’s flat then the tenant should pursue a claim against the third party.  If the tenant has contents insurance, the tenant is advised to make a claim on that policy and leave it to the insurance company to pursue the third party. Where no contents insurance exists, the tenant is advised to take court action against the third party to recover any money for the damage to their possessions.

A landlord may be liable for his tenants possessions if the leak or flooding has originated because the rented property is in a state of disrepair.

I would recommend that all tenants take out contents insurance if their budget allows them too.

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

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Tamworth Property Market – Asking Prices Up 10.5% in the Last 12 Months

 

The average asking price of property in Tamworth increased by 10.5% or £24,289 compared to a year ago, with particularly good demand from landlords and home-movers in the first few months of the year. This takes the current average asking price to £254,954, compared with £230,665 this time last year.

The rise in asking prices is being aggravated by buyers jumping into action looking to benefit from potential stamp duty savings (especially first-time buyers) or beat impending mortgage interest rate rises later in 2018. Of the numerous Tamworth buyers starting their property hunting in the usually active spring market this year, many face paying even more than ever for the property of their dreams, although as I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are more properties for sale in Tamworth compared to 12 months ago.

Looking at the different sectors of the Tamworth property market, splitting it down into property types, one can see what is happening to each sector of the market with regard to their average asking prices now compared to a year ago. Firstly, looking at the Pound note amounts …

Interestingly, when one looks at the percentages, the most upward average asking price pressure is in the terraced and semi-detached property type sectors, with both first-time-buyer and second-time-buyer properties at new Tamworth asking price highs.

Now, I must stress this growth in the asking prices of Tamworth property doesn’t mean the value of Tamworth property is going up by the same amount … nothing could be further from the truth.  Only time will tell if the current levels of Tamworth asking prices is a catch-up abnormality after a couple of months of restrained asking price rises in the first few months of 2018, or is it an initial sign that we are in for a better 2018 Tamworth Property market than all of us were expecting at the start of the year?

I believe these asking prices must be viewed with a pinch of salt, as it will be fascinating to see whether Tamworth properties actually sell at these higher asking prices. Just because house sellers (be they owner-occupiers or landlords liquidating their assets) are asking for more money it doesn’t mean buyers will be enthusiastic to part with their hard earned cash. Like my Mum and Dad used to say to me all those years ago, “You can ask … but you might not get”.

Also, Tamworth homeowners and landlords wanting to sell their property need to be aware of progressively strained buyer mortgage affordability and the more those sellers increase asking prices, the more buyers will hit their maximum on the amount they are able borrow on a mortgage.

However, those Tamworth buyers who need a mortgage (be they owner-occupier or landlord), will paradoxically benefit from lower mortgage payments before interest rates rise … maybe another reason for the uplift in the number first time buyers and landlords buying? Only time will tell!

Want to know where those Tamworth buy to let bargains are?  Follow my Tamworth Property Blog or drop me an email because irrespective of which agent you use, myself or any of the other excellent agents in Tamworth, many local landlords ask me my thoughts, opinion and advice on what (and not) to buy locally … and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those thoughts … would you?

If you want to learn about the Tamworth Property Market , one source for information is the Tamworth Property Blog authored by yours truly at https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Bad Tamworth tenants and the law

What would happen if you wandered in Marks and Spencers  helped yourself to some lunch and walked out without paying?

Do you think you would get away scot free without paying or would one of those beefy security guards feel your collar?

You may even end up in court with a criminal record, at the very least you would be made to pay for the goods!

Even rogue landlords face hefty fines and penalties and are put on the “rogues board”.

Well did you know that tenants who decide not to pay their rent often walk away without even so much as a slap on the wrist.

Take my friend Alice, a pleasant lady who always sees the good in people. Alice has a tenant – Miss X who decided she no longer wanted to pay her rent even though she’s on a very generous salary. Miss X even thought it was all perfectly civilised to carry on living in Alice’s apartment.

So Alice couldn’t report Miss X to the police unlike M & S, instead she had a long drawn out and expensive eviction process she had to go through. To make matters worse the beloved sofa and dining suite that were part of Alice’s mothers estate disappeared with Miss X.  Alice reported her complaint to the police, missing furniture and nearly nine months rent unpaid. The response from the police “sorry, nothing we can do, this is a civil matter and not a criminal offence”,

So if you steal even as much as a bag of crisps from M & S it’s a criminal offence whereas stealing thousands from a landlord it is only a civil matter.

Landlords have no option if they want to try and get the money owed to them, they have to take their ex-tenants to Small Claims Court. Even if they succeed in getting a County Court Judgment  against the tenant, there’s no guarantee the landlord will receive any money.

According to the National Landlords Association, the past year saw 35 per cent of landlords experience rent arrears – 29 per cent had their property damaged by tenants and 13 per cent experienced anti-social behaviour.

While all this is going on, landlords still have to carry on paying the mortgage and maintaining the property while the tenant lives rent free.

Organisations, renters and their sympathisers have little or no sympathy for the supposedly   “fat cat” landlord in this position,  but let’s look at the bigger picture.

For every non-paying tenant waiting for the bailiff to arrive before they vacate, there’s a good tenant complaining about the lack of rental properties or the cost of renting has risen. Many a wronged landlord finding themselves thousands out of pocket will look to recoup any losses once they have possession of the property. So the rent is increased for the next tenant.

If the Government is keen on protecting tenants from rogue landlords, why not protect landlords from bad tenants too?

To my mind, it’s only the same as shoplifting and should be the same crime – NOT A CIVIL MATTER.

Until next week

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