My Tamworth letting agent is unwilling to release deposit to me?

Ask Lorraine
confused
confused

I have two properties, one in Tamworth and the other in Hinckley.  The local one has always been managed by a letting agent and the Hinckley property, I manage myself due to a friend renting the flat.

I decided some time ago to take over the management myself and duly gave 3 months notice to the letting company that I wished to do so. At that time I also informed them that I would like to hold the deposit and put it into my own scheme.

This seemed fine at the time and they confirmed in email, their agreement to this, getting my tenant’s agreement that the deposit could be held in my scheme.

I received the last month’s rent from the letting agent yesterday, but no deposit monies. I have telephoned them to ask where it is and they say they will not release the money to me until I have registered the deposit with my own scheme and given them proof that I have done this.

Can anybody advise me whether this is right?

Lorraine’s Answer

The letting agent is responsible to the tenant for the deposit and as you are breaking all ties with the agent, I can understand they are unwilling to release the deposit directly to you without a guarantee that it will be protected.

Register the deposit with your scheme and send the agent  the details, they will then transfer the deposit into your account.

Until next week.

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Why Tamworth High Street Estate Agents are Better Than Internet Estate Agents

There doesn’t seem to be a week going by that a new online call centre based estate agency opens offering unbelievable services at quarter of the price, implying their service is just as good as the so called ‘expensive’ high street agents.

1/ Online Agents are not No Sale No Fee. On the face it.. a similar service for a quarter of the price sounds fantastic! Who doesn’t want to spend less on agent fees when trying to sell their Tamworth home? Yes, the fee is lower, but you will have to pay it upfront (or defer it for up to 10 months but still have to pay) whether your property sells or not.

2/ Online Agents Hidden Extras. The eye-catching low fees for these call-centre online agents are, on the outside, attractive but when you dig a little deeper you find that the low fee is not all it appears to be. Add-ons can include extra for paying accompanied viewings, floor plans, listing on Rightmove or being forced to use their call centre solicitors at the other end of the Country.

3/ Experienced Estate Agents. Call centre online agents are what they say they are on the tin – online, and the majority if not all of your negotiations and communications will be with the folks in the agent’s national call centre. Do you want the sale of your largest asset handled by someone sitting in a call centre 200 miles away from the property as they attempt to sell, without that all vital local market knowledge? I have to ask, how can these online agents know about your home, school catchment areas etc., and the locality in Tamworth?

4/ Local Knowledge of Tamworth. If you’re selling your home in Tamworth it pays to choose an agent with local knowledge of the Tamworth market. Every Tamworth High Street agent is aware of the Tamworth market trends and most importantly sensible pricing structures for the area.

5/ Getting the Best Price for Your Home. The High Street agent fee is a huge incentive for them to get it right for you – first time. At Hall and Thompson Estate Agents, we meet all of our clients to discuss a realistic market price for their Tamworth property.

We never offer to market properties for more than their true market value – a ploy some online call centre based estate agents do in an attempt to win your property – but this guarantees that when your property does go onto the market for the first time (the most important time), it gets little or no interest as buyers know their prices and can’t be fooled.

Our fee ensures that you receive the very best service from us – it is totally in our best interest to find the most suitable buyer for your home and get them to pay the best price for it.

What are your plans? Are you getting your house ‘sale ready?’ 🏡 Do you need your house valuing? Give us a call here at Hall and Thompson and let us see how we can help you. 01827 425195 or 07531484956

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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth agent has given me 14 days to vacate my house

Ask Lorraine – Hello hun,

I’m after a little advice as I don’t have many options. My agent gave me a Section 21 on 19th January and has told me I’ve got 14 days to leave the property. I’ve been renting my home for nearly 2 years.

I have nowhere to go and 14 days is not long enough to find another property and pack up my stuff.  I will end up sofa surfing, yes I have paid the rent a few days late on the odd month but I’m currently up to date.

How can an agent treat me like this,  surely this can’t be right?

Name was supplied

14 days to leave

Lorraine’s Answer – I am sorry that you find yourself in this unpleasant situation and I hope that you do find somewhere to live.

I don’t know if communication has broken down between you and the agent/landlord or if there are underlying issues as to why the landlord requires the property back.

I will do my best to answer your question assuming that you are now on a periodic tenancy agreement.

Section 21

A landlord has the legal right to retain possession at the end of a tenancy but they must follow the correct legal procedure. This includes serving a valid section 21 notice which is the  easiest way for an agent/landlord to recover a property.

For a S21 to be valid there are a number of pieces of information that you should have been given during your tenancy, If not the notice will not be legal and cannot be enforced.

The notice to leave must be at least two calendar months or the same period for which rent is paid, whichever is longer. The notice should end on the last day of a rental period (the day before rent is due).

I do not have all the facts but would certainly recommend that you take your tenancy agreement, complete with any additional paperwork in your possession, to the Council. If the Council cannot help, Citizens Advice will be able too.

Please do this as soon as possible.

Please see below tenants guide to private renting, this will give you lots of helpful advice.

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting

I hope things turn out well for you.

Until next week.

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Are there any pitfalls of selling a house in tamworth that’s in need of modernisation?

When you  come to sell or purchase a house the location is probably the most important factor with the condition coming in a close second. It’s these factors that determine the value of a property and how much one is willing to pay to live there.

location location location
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We have most likely all seen the property programmes on television and with Homes under the Hammer being as popular as every, many people are either looking to add to their retirement pot after the government stuffed us  big time or they are hoping to become property tycoons.

Sellers need to consider a few simple things when selling a property in need of refurbishment i.e clearing up the gardens – that foot high grass will put prospective buyers off. How about ensuring there are no rusting cars  on the driveway, discarded or broken childrens toys  or bins overflowing with rubbish. You get the idea! inexpensive but certainly worthwhile small things, can be be carried out to ensure the front of the property alone does not deter potential buyers from crossing the threshold.

Are the renovation works likely to exceed  several thousand pounds and is the write up on the property a true and factual piece of writing.

It doesn’t matter what price the vendor is hoping to achieve, if the surveyor has no comparable prices to work on, the property may be down valued and the purchaser may struggle to acquire the mortgage required on the property.

So now you have a few very interested parties, which way do you turn, who’s going to be your choice of the day.

If you are selling your property through an agent, the agent must carry out due diligence on the buyers market position – do they have a property to sell and if so is it being marketed  yet. Do they require a mortgage, have they a mortgage in principal already. Are they experienced at refurbishing properties and the bigger picture – do they have planning consent for their 10 bed home of multiple occupation? A good agent will find out as much information as possible about the buyer and what they are hoping to achieve with the property.

The seller will have then have a uniformed approach on each prospective buyer and be able to make their decision based upon the information from the agent.

Which ever purchaser you decide to go with, there are no guarantees that things will run smoothly from start to finish or that they will not pull out of the transaction, you can only do your best and choose an agent that works for you.

Happy days.

 

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!

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27.5 miles – The average distance people go to escape living in Tamworth

 

“How far do Tamworth people go to move to a new house?” This was an intriguing question asked by one of my clients the other week. Readers of my property blog will know I love a challenge, especially when it comes to talking about the Tamworth Property Market!

 For the majority, the response is not very far. It is much more common for homeowners and tenants in Great Britain to move across town than to the next town or county. Until now, it’s been hard to say how many homeowners and tenants moved from (and to) relatively far away to buy or rent their new home. However, I carried out some research and requested some statistics from the Royal Mail. What came back was fascinating!

Using statistics for the 12 months up to the middle of Autumn 2016, 394 households moved out of Tamworth (B77), moving an average distance of 27.55 miles – the equivalent of moving from Tamworth to Long Eaton (as the crow flies).  The greatest distance travelled was 325 miles – that’s more than 12.5 marathons (when someone moved to Fort William).

Considering there were 423 property sales in B77 in the year and countless tenant moves, the numbers seems consistent – once you find a town you like, you tend to want to settle down and if you do move, you might only move to a different neighbour-hood, or for better transport links or, to be closer to the school you want to get your children into, but the likelihood is you won’t travel far.

I then turned my attention to people moving into Tamworth. Using the same statistics for the 12 months up to the middle of Autumn 2016, 311 households moved into Tamworth (B77), moving an average distance of 27.43 miles – the equivalent of moving from Ashbourne to Tamworth (again as the crow flies). The greatest distance travelled was 277 miles – that’s more than 10.5 marathons (when someone moved from Ballykelly in Northern Ireland to Tamworth).

I have looked at the data of every person moving into Tamworth and these have been plotted on a map of the UK. Looking at the map below, it shows exactly where most people come from, when moving into Tamworth. As you

can see, there are a high proportion of people moving from Birmingham and from the South East.

So, what does all this mean for the landlords and homeowners of Tamworth?

When an agent markets a property for rent or let, it is vital to know the tenant or property buyer well, that the properties they are letting/selling fit those tenants/buyers, so they almost sell themselves. These days that means not only knowing how many bedrooms, reception rooms etc., a property offers but the budget buyers and tenants want to spend on a property in that area as well as where they come from.

The estate and lettings industry loves the mantra “location, location, location”. I say it might be helpful to factor in where (and how) far people are moving from, so the property can be sold or let more easily. Many say knowledge is power and whilst I do enjoy writing my blog on the Tamworth property market, I also use the information to help my clients buy, let and sell well. So for example, the information gained for this article, will enable my team and I to be more efficient in where to direct our marketing resources to ensure we maximise our clients’ properties sale-ability or rent-ability.

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Ask Lorraine – Can I run a business from my Tamworth rental property?

🙋  Tenants Question: 

My tenancy states no pets but the agent has allowed me to keep two rabbits as long as they stay outdoors.

I’m now considering starting a business to look after rabbits when people go away on holiday. I don’t want to let my agent know what I’m thinking of doing and they will never find out as they never visit the property. If anybody complains to the agent and they do happen to find out, will I lose my tenancy?

Lorraine’s Answer:

Many landlords do have a no pets policy, however there is an unknown legal loophole which allows tenants to keep rabbits and chickens.

Natasha Brooks, a tenant with New Charter Housing Trust in Greater Manchester, came across this loophole. After an inspection by a housing officer, the trust had threatened  her with action, they were claiming she had breached her tenancy agreement.

Natasha fought her case and the housing trust backed down after she found Section 12 of The Allotments Act 1950. She stated that her tenancy agreement with a“no pets” clause did not specifically mention rabbits and chickens, the law gives  the right to the ‘occupier of any land’ which would include assured shorthold tenancy agreements.

There are legal obligations:-

Keeping rabbits and chickens as pets is allowed, but they cannot be kept so as to  used in a business or for any trade purposes i.e selling eggs to neighbours and friends would break the conditions.

The keeping of rabbits and chickens must not cause a nuisance to neighbours or a health issue.  If the chickens were constantly noisy or rats became a problem, this would most likely mean the right to keep them would be withdrawn.

Penny  and Henny continued to live in the back garden of Ms Brooks house.

So yes you can keep your rabbits as pets,  however  you should check  your tenancy agreement for a clause that prohibits running a business from your rental home. If you do, you will most likely be in breach of your tenancy and will fall foul with your agent and Landlord.

No Pets allowed!

No Pets!!

Until Next week.

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How do Transport links effect the Tamworth Property Market?

It might surprise you that it isn’t always the poshest villages around Tamworth or the swankiest Tamworth streets where properties sell and let the quickest. Quite often, it’s the ones that have the best transport links. I mean, there is a reason why one of the most popular property programmes on television is called Location, Location, Location!

How do transport links effect the Tamworth property marketAs an agent in Tamworth, I am frequently confronted with queries about the Tamworth property market, and most days I am asked, “What is the best part of Tamworth and its villages to live in these days?”, chiefly from new-comers.  Now the answer is different for each person – a lot depends on the demographics of their family, their age, schooling requirements and interests etc. Nonetheless, one of the principal necessities for most tenants and buyers is ease of access to transport links, including public transport – of which the railways are very important.

Official figures recently released state that, in total, 1,578 people jump on a train each and every day from Tamworth Train station. Of those, 454 are season ticket holders. That’s a lot of money being spent when a season ticket, standard class, to London is £6,520 a year.

So, if up to £2.96m is being spent on rail season tickets each year from Tamworth, those commuters must have some impressive jobs and incomes to allow them to afford that season ticket in the first place. That means demand for middle to upper market properties remains strong in Tamworth and the surrounding area and so, in turn, these are the type of people whom are happy to invest in the Tamworth buy to let market – providing homes for the tenants of Tamworth…

The bottom line is that property values in Tamworth would be much lower, by at least 3% to 4%, if it wasn’t for the proximity of the railway station and the people it serves in the town

And this isn’t a flash in the pan. Rail is becoming increasingly important as the costs associated with car travel continue to rise and roads are becoming more and more congested. This has resulted in a huge surge in rail travel.

Overall usage of the station at Tamworth has increased over the last 20 years. In 1997, a total of 398,197 people went through the barriers or connected with another train at the station in that 12-month period. However, in 2016, that figure had risen to 1,148,686 people using the station (that’s 3,156 people a day).

How transport links effect the Tamworth property market

How transport links effect the Tamworth property market

The juxtaposition of the property and the train station has an important effect on the value and saleability of a Tamworth property. It is also significant for tenants – so if you are a Tamworth buy to let investor looking for a property – the distance to and from the railway station can be extremely significant.

One of the first things house buyers and tenants do when surfing the web for somewhere to live is find out the proximity of a property to the train station. That is why Rightmove displays the distance to the railway station alongside each and every property on their website.

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Ask Lorraine – Do I need an EPC for my Tamworth property before I can issue a section 21 ?

🙋  Landlord’s Question: 

I want to issue a section 21 to my tenants as I’ve asked them to leave and they won’t. I’ve been told that I need an EPC before I  can issue this notice, is this correct?

Do I need an EPC??

Do I need an EPC??

Lorraine’s Answer:

I’m presuming that you manage the property yourself as any agent would have informed you that an EPC has been a legal requirement since 2007. For a tenancy or renewal granted on or after 1 October 2015, no section 21 can be served unless an EPC has been given beforehand.

I would recommend getting the EPC completed as soon as possible and checking that you have everything else in place before even considering issuing a Section 21 notice as it will only be thrown out of court.

You should consider getting professional advice before you do issue the Section 21 notice or perhaps joining one of the many Landlord groups, their advice and expertise is worth every penny.

Until next week.

 

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!  lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk  or 07531484956

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Ask Lorraine – My sole trader letting agent has died and his accounts are frozen!!

🙋 Landlord’s Question: 

“I’m a landlord of two houses. I use an agent to manage them. He is a sole trader and really the business is him. RIP
He was a terrific man and sadly he died last week.
I spoke with his widow when the rent for one of the houses didn’t come to me. She explained about his death and that the bank account to which the rents go to have been frozen by the bank.
I want to support her as much as I can, but at the same time need to ensure that I can recover any monies due to me and all future monies are not frozen.
Can you help?”

ask Lorraine

Lorraine’s Answer

This is very sad for all concerned.

If he was a sole trader, then all contracts that you had with him ceased at the point he died.
If the account was frozen, the tenant should have had the money returned to them. However, if any money is still sitting in his account owable to you, you may find it trickier to claim, although I am sure that his executor will be cooperative.
I think that the money might need to be returned to the tenant and for you to then have them pay you directly.
Obviously important to get new payment details to the tenants as well.

As he was a sole trader, anything he owed to you must now be paid to you by his estate. Write to the executor and / or his wife asking for the money, albeit with some tact.

As the management contract was ended by his death, you are free to make arrangements with any other agent you wish.

Until next week.

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!

Email me on Lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk or call on 07531484956.

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