The £2,752,893 Ticking Time Bomb for Tamworth Landlords

I just love looking over and keeping up to date the 108 pieces of legislation that govern the rental of residential property in the UK”  

…No Tamworth Landlord, ever

If you are one of the 1,287 Tamworth landlord’s that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants. Oh, and on top of the 108 pieces of law, there are further 300+ regulations in the mix. Whilst Tamworth landlords may once have preferred to manage their Tamworth buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Tamworth landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.

In the last four years, an additional 495 landlords in Tamworth have converted from self-managed to having their property managed by a letting agent in Tamworth, taking the total number of properties under management in Tamworth to 2,013 (out of a total of 3,300 private rental properties in Tamworth).

Now, don’t get me wrong, self-managing your Tamworth rental property can be a very fulfilling experience, allowing you, as a Tamworth landlord, to build a deep relationship with your tenant and your emergency 24 hour plumber, builder (happy to do small jobs at a drop of a hat), decorators, first name terms with their deposit provider, lawyer and EPC provider to name but a few. (Wow!)

Also, did you know if your tenants deposit isn’t registered, or doesn’t continue to be registered after the end the periodic tenancy upon renewal … you could be fined up to three times your deposit? With the average rental deposit in Tamworth being £713, each self-managed landlord in Tamworth could be fined £2,139 per tenancy if the deposit isn’t currently registered. Therefore…

…if every deposit of every Tamworth self-managed landlord’s property wasn’t registered, the total fines would amount to £2,752,893

Now of course, I am not suggesting for one minute all the self-managed landlords of Tamworth haven’t registered their deposits, yet almost on a daily basis, I come across horror stories to that effect. Another two (but by no means all) hot issues that the Courts are cracking down on, are doing immigration ‘Right To Rent’ checks on all tenants (yes all tenants) and confirmation proving the tenant received the ‘How to Rent’ guide. If that second issue cannot be proved (a ‘sent’ email won’t suffice), the landlord cannot serve the Section 21 Notice, meaning the tenant cannot be served notice to vacate the property.

To many, it’s really a case of DIY or getting a qualified professional in … as those additional Tamworth landlords mentioned above have done since 2014. You might say, “Of course you are going to say all this – you are a Letting Agent”. Well the choice really comes down to your time and your knowledge. If a Tamworth landlord is not equipped, or able, to devote time keeping up-to-date of legislation and law nor doesn’t want to be bothered 24/7/365 about a blown light bulb, dripping taps, have that confrontational conversation with their tenants about missing rental payments, or arbitrate arguments and disagreements between your tenant and the neighbours, it is perhaps better to pass this accountability/responsibility onto a letting agent.

One thing I would say is all letting agents aren’t the same. Would it surprise you to know that letting agents aren’t regulated?

Tamworth landlords that do use a letting agent should not forget that passing over management to a letting agent doesn’t mean they can disregard legislation and they are still responsible for deposit/rent repayment legal directives, civil fines or action if the letting agent makes a mistake. Therefore, it’s important to pick a respectable letting agent from the start.

Nevertheless, for those Tamworth landlords that see their job as a professional landlord and want to be intricately involved in the day to day administration of their rental properties, it can be worthy pursuit.

If you are a self-managed landlord in Tamworth, and want to know if your paperwork is in order please feel free to drop me a line and I am more than happy to do an ‘MOT’ on it to ensure you are the right side of the law.

Contact me on 01827 425195 or lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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Now is the time to prepare your home for a cold winter

If the winter this year is anything like, last then you need to ensure that cold-weather checks and repairs are carried out before winter takes its toll on your home.

Our homes which are probably our greatest asset become vulnerable to snow, rain and freezing temperatures. Boilers seem to know when the freezing weather is imminent, breaking down just at the point when we are bracing ourselves for the onslaught of winter.

Hopefully, you have household insurance to claim on, if need be, however premiums have a habit of rising after a claim has been made so I thought I would take you through a few simple things that could help you to avoid costly repairs later on.

Service the boiler

It is every homeowner’s worst nightmare, waking up on a freezing morning only to find the radiators are cold and you have to wash in icy cold water. A broken boiler is not only inconvenient but also costly – replacing the boiler can cost upwards of £1500.

Therefore, I would always recommend booking a full check and service of your boiler with a certified engineer. This should highlight any issues before they become a real headache.

Plumbing

Frozen pipes are a major safety issue, so it is a good idea to add insulation to any external pipes, which will help to stop them from freezing during cold weather. If you are intending to leave your house unoccupied at all this winter, do not forget to set your heating on a timer for a few hours each day to stop the pipes from freezing over.

Gutters and drains

Gutters and drains may become blocked during autumn with leaves and moss. While you may not notice they are blocked in autumn, come winter time gutters and drains play an essential part in keeping your house dry. When they become blocked, rainwater will escape to other parts of your roof and walls. If left untreated, the resulting damp and leaks could cause serious structural damage, which can be costly to repair.

Clean the chimney

Do you love snuggling in front of that open fire on a cold winters evening? Well a dirty chimney is a major fire and safety hazard so remember to sweep and inspect the chimney before you light it for the first time. It is important to find a qualified professional, so check your sweep is registered with either the National Association of Chimney Sweeps or the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

These few essential bits of maintenance should make your home ready for any British weather.

As OAP’s set to rise to 1 in 4 of Tamworth’s population by 2037 – Where are they all going to live?

With constant advances in technology, medicine and lifestyles, people in the Tamworth area are, on average, living longer than they might have a few decades ago. As Tamworth’s population ages, the problem of how the older generation are accommodated is starting to emerge. We, as a town, have to consider how we supply decent and appropriate accommodation for Tamworth’s growing older generation’s accommodation needs while still offering a lifestyle that is both modern and desirable.

In 1997 in Tamworth, around one in every nine people (11%) were aged 65 years and over (and the local authority area as a whole), increasing to more than one in every five people (18%) in 2017 and it is projected to reach one in every four people (26%) by 2037, meaning..

Over the next 19 years, the growth of the over 65 population in Tamworth will grow by 44.4% – whilst the overall growth population of Tamworth is expected to decrease by 1.0% over the same time frame.

In fact, the number of those over 90 is expected to more than double in our local authority from 495 (0.6%) in 2017 to 1,394 (1.8%) by 2037.

And looking at the proportional percentage changes over those years..

Looking at Tamworth and the local authority as a whole, there is a distinct under supply of bungalows and retirement living (i.e. sheltered) accommodation. The majority of sheltered accommodation fit for retirement is in the ex-local authority sector whilst the majority of private sector bungalows were built in the 1960s/70s/80s and are beginning to show their age (although that means there is often an opportunity for Tamworth investors and Tamworth buy to let landlords to buy a tired bungalow, do it up and flip it/rent it out).

In the medium to longer term, we need to build more bungalows and sheltered accommodation and, if we do that, that won’t only be of benefit to the elderly population of Tamworth – it will have a direct knock-on effect to the younger and middle-aged population by unlocking those family homes the older generation homeowners live in.  

There have been 17 Housing Ministers since 1997. No one ever seems to stay in the job long enough to create a consensus and direction in Government Policy on the vital issue of the country’s housing shortage, yet the sound bites and White Papers seem only to focus exclusively on first-time buyers when there is an even more severe and disregarded shortage in suitable housing for the older generation.

This scantiness affects both mature homeowners trapped in unsuitably big family properties, unable to find smaller bungalows or suitable retirement apartments, whilst the waiting list for Council sheltered accommodation is putting a strain on other aspects of social care. In both circumstances, policy coming (or not coming) out of Government is repressing the supply and type of accommodation mature people desire, need and want, whilst at the same time, increasing the cost (and taxes) for social and NHS care.

Maybe we need tax breaks for people to downsize or planning permissions that stipulate bungalows only. Whichever way you look .. There are challenging times ahead for us all.

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2 bed or 3 bed homes – Which Sell the Best in Tamworth?

A few months ago, I wrote an article on the Tamworth Property Blog about the length of time it took to sell a property in Tamworth and the saleability of the different price bands (i.e. whether the lower/middle or upper local property markets were moving slower or quicker than the others). For reference, a few months ago it was taking on average 34 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract (and that was based on every Estate Agent in Tamworth) … and today … 77 days  .. does that surprise you with what is happening in the UK economy?

Well, a number of Tamworth landlords and homeowners, who are looking to sell in the coming months, contacted me following that article to enquire what difference the type of property (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartment) made to saleability and also the saleability of property by the number of bedrooms) As I have said before, whether you are a Tamworth landlord looking to liquidate your buy to let investment or a homeowner looking to sell your home; finding a buyer and selling your property can take an annoyingly long time… but anything you can do to mitigate that is helpful to everyone.

So, I did some research on the whole of the Tamworth property market .. and these were my findings …  to start with by type (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartment)….

As you can see, the star players are the terraced/town house and semi-detached variants of Tamworth property, whilst detached seem to be sticking in Tamworth.

Next I looked at what the number of bedrooms does to the saleability of Tamworth property..

… and as you can see the four bed properties seem to be taking the longest time to sell ..and to answer the question in the title .. it’s three bed properties!

So, what does this mean for Tamworth buy-to-let landlords and homeowners?  

There is no doubt that there is a profusion of properties on the market in Tamworth compared to 18 months ago … it’s not because more houses are coming on to the market, it’s because they are also taking a little longer to sell. This makes it slightly more a buyer’s market than the seller’s market we had back in 2014/5/6. Therefore, in some sectors of the Tamworth property market, it is much tougher to sell, especially if you want to sell your Tamworth home fast.

Therefore, to conclude, on the run up to the New Year, if you are looking to buy and plan to stay in the buy to let market a long time, perhaps take a look at the Tamworth properties that are sticking as there could be some bargains to be had there? Want to know where they are .. drop me a line and I will tell you a nifty little trick to find all the properties that are sticking.

Contact me 01827 425195 lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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Tamworth ‘Home Owning’ Movers and Shakers in 2018

It’s now commonly agreed amongst economists and the general public that the dramatic rise in Tamworth property prices of the last six years has come to an end.

Read the National newspapers, and they talk of doom and gloom in the British housing market with such things as strained buyer affordability (as property prices have increased over the past six years at a far faster pace than average salaries), a lack of new properties being built and the Brexit uncertainties over the last two and half years being blamed for the slow down – yet in the last 12 months, people have still been moving, buying and selling in Tamworth at levels similar to the last six years – something tells me we have a case of ‘bad news selling newspapers’.

So instead, let me share with you what, exactly, is happening in the Tamworth property market, and more specifically, who is moving and why in Tamworth. The majority of sales in Tamworth during the last twelve months were semi-detached properties, selling for an average price of £187,200. Detached properties sold for an average of £294,800, with terraced properties fetching on average £157,100.

In Tamworth, in the homeowner sector in 2018 (i.e. owner occupation), 528 households moved within the tenure (i.e. sold the home they owned and bought another one) and 103 new households were created (i.e. they moved from living with family/friends and bought their first home without privately renting).

What does this mean for Tamworth buy to let landlords? Well looking at the graph, it appears bad news for landlords. There were 246 households that moved into the home owning (owner occupation) tenure from the private rented sector, whilst on the other side of the coin, 193 Tamworth households moved to the private rented sector from owner occupation … which appears on the face of it, a reduction in the private sector.

My research has calculated that in 2018, an additional 256 new households in the Tamworth private rental sector were created

…and it will continue to grow at those levels for the foreseeable future.

I have one final thought and opportunity for you Tamworth property investors. 127 owner occupied households in Tamworth sold in last year where the homeowners had passed away. These properties can be a potential goldmine and offer great returns. The reason being is some members of the older generation who have owned these homes for decades have spent money on high capital items (double glazing / central heating etc.) but not spent money on more superficial low-ticket items such as up to date carpets, kitchen, bathroom and decorating (vital if you want to sell your property for top dollar). These properties can often be bought cheaply because most buyers can’t see past the avocado or brown bathroom suite from the 1970’s and the dated decor, so if you were to buy wisely and do the works, you could sell it on for a healthy profit.

So, whatever is happening in the world with Brexit, Trump, China, and the Stock Market … the Tamworth housing market is in decent shape for the medium to long term. If we do have small corrections in values in the next 12 to 18 months, in the long term, house prices have always returned … and returned with vengeance. Like I say to anyone buying a property, be they a first time buyer, landlord or homeowner … property is a long game … and if you play the long game, you will always win (although isn’t that true in most aspects of life?).

Many of you reading my blog ask why I say these things. I want to share my thoughts and opinions on the real issues affecting the Tamworth property market, warts and all. If you want rose tinted glasses articles – then my articles are not for you. However, if you want someone to tell you the real story about the Tamworth property market, be it good, bad or indifferent, then maybe you should start reading my blog regularly.https://www.Tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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