Has my Tamworth lodger become my accidential tenant?

My best friend came to visit me nearly three years ago, she stayed on and rented one of my rooms.  With low rent and fully inclusive of all bills, she had a great deal.

After 6 months I went to live with my partner so rented out another room in my house. Shortly after I moved out  my best friends son came to stay and has been there ever since.

When I was  advised recently I had created a HMO, I told my friend that her son had to leave the property, she advised that she would be vacating when he did. I then gave them a polite written notice that I wanted them both the leave.

When the second tenant left  6 weeks ago I locked her room to prevent it being used.

My question is – As nothing was ever put down on paper, Is my friend to be treated as a tenant?

What happens if she decides not to move out voluntarily? And how do I handle her son?

Many thanks

 

game over
game over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As they can only be a lodger while you live in the property it looks like you have created a tenancy.

Keep things as pleasant as possible and hope that things do not break down between all parties.  If your friend and her son do decide not to move out, I would recommend that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.

I hope all goes well.

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£174,101 – The Typical Profit Each Tamworth Landlord Could Make in The Next 25 Years

I am of the opinion that buy to let investment in Tamworth, in the long-term, will bring substantial returns for landlords, irrespective of latest regulation and tax changes.

Taking a very conservative (with a small ‘c’) view, I believe landlords will see a projected net profit of £295,588 per property over the next 25 years through capital gains and rental. When inflation is taken into account that works out at £174,101 (in today’s money) or around £6,964 per year. The breakdown applies to a basic tax-paying landlord placing a characteristic 25% deposit on a £151,000 terraced/town house property.

Capital gains make up a substantial part of a landlord’s returns. Again, being conservative, I have assumed that Tamworth house prices over the next quarter century (between 2018 and 2043) will rise at half the rate they did between 1993 and 2018 (the preceding 25 years), therefore the example Tamworth property in the previous paragraph would grow in value to £342,921, providing gross capital gains of £191,921.

A typical Tamworth landlord receives, on average, rent of £7,980 per annum per terraced/town house property and so, over a 25-year period, that example property would generate a total rental income of £305,036 (again – very conservatively assuming a compound annual growth rate in the rent of 1.71% per annum).

Nevertheless, there are costs to running a buy to let property (mortgages, void periods, repairs, agents fees etc) .. and over those same 25 years, I have estimated that to be £201,369  .. giving the net profit levels mentioned in the second paragraph.

Now of course I have had to make assumptions to reach these figures, yet I hope you would agree, I have been very unadventurous with my assumptions.

The Tamworth (and UK as a whole) buy to let property market is experiencing a massive sea of change. Regulation and tax changes have altered the dynamic in the property market, diminishing its appeal to inexperienced and amateur landlords, and these new tax changes mean higher tax bills for higher rate tax landlords. Yet, despite these rising costs, there are still healthy returns to be found in Tamworth buy to let investment for knowledgeable and steadfast landlords. Nonetheless, the days of anything making money and idle speculation are long gone.

Buy to let is a long-term business undertaking, necessitating commitment and expertise. Don’t put your head in the sand and think it doesn’t affect you. Tamworth buy to let landlords must be equipped to start business and tax planning, take portfolio management advice to ensure their investments will meet their investment goals, appreciate the risks as well as the rewards, and, most crucially, the obligations they have towards their tenants.

If you are a Tamworth landlord, irrespective of whether you are a client of mine or another agent in Tamworth (or even you do it yourself), feel free to drop me a line or pop into the office for an informal chat on the future direction of the Tamworth rental market and where opportunities may lie.

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

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

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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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How to be a good Tamworth Landlord

How to be a good Landlord!

Putting processes in place can help to make property management a lot easier, here are some tricks of the trade:

 Communicating with tenants:

  • Writing is always better than phone
  • Do whatever is easiest for them –  text, Facebook or even   WhatsApp
  • You don’t have to give out your phone number, as long as you are contactable  – You can Skype
  • Set out ground rules at the start of the tenancy about when you’re contactable, and stick to them! Once you deviate from this your tenants will always expect you to answer them, whatever the time of day.

 

 

 

 

Chasing up rent :-

  • Ideally use standing order or direct debit – you’ll know it’s set up properly
  • Diarise rent date and contact the tenant on the same day if the rent doesn’t materialise
  • Have a process –  e.g. text day 1, text day 2, call day 3, final warning day 4
  • Don’t fall for those sob stories, you are running a business!

Dealing with emergencies :-

  • What is an “Emergency” you need to set ground rules
  • Instruct tenants about what to do in an emergency.  You may not always be the best person to call first.
  • Perhaps consider landlord emergency cover

Dealing with routine maintenance :-

  • Build up trades contacts and ensure you treat them well
  • Save a visit by seeing if it’s something the tenant can easily fix  e.g. washing machine filter or  unblock the  sink
  • Communicate clearly about damp and condensation – explain the difference, send yearly leaflets “how to guide”
  • Use routine inspections to look for early signs of repairs that will need doing.
  • Ensure you also check for early signs of repair works on the external of the property

Inspections :-

  • Quick check of each room
  • Check smoke alarms
  • Visually inspect electrics
  • Look for condensation
  • Look for early signs of repairs that will be needed

Be proactive and stop issues from happening in the first place, remember the saying “work smart, not hard”.

Until next time

http://www.hallandthompson.co.uk

 

 

Why Tenancy Agreements are Important to Tamworth Landlords

Yes, It is possible to create a tenancy without actually signing a tenancy agreement but who is crazy enough to do that?

Well you would be surprised –  Recently I  have been contacted twice by landlords who allowed tenants to move into their properties without having a tenancy agreement in place.

One of the landlords I am afraid to say does not want me to mention his case in my blog, apparently he is the butt of his friends jokes over his little issue. I have given him my advice and the rest is now up to him!Spit Handshake

The other landlord contacted me when his tenants failed to pay the deposit and rent. He allowed this “lovely” couple to take the keys and move in with the promise of paying the monies owed when they got paid, two days later.

When monies were not forthcoming and the landlord chased, he was told, this “lovely” couple were going to pay their rent in arrears and they knew nothing about any agreement to pay a deposit.

So we now have a frustrated landlord asking  “Can they pay their rent in arrears and what about the deposit?

Yes, they can, unfortunatley.

Under common law, rent is payable in arrears unless there is a tenancy agreement in place and the agreement states rent is payable in advance.

With regards to the deposit, the landlord has no recourse, where is the proof.

By using a properly drafted tenancy agreement Landlords go a long way to protecting their position. It is unwise to add and remove clauses without legal advice  as they can be classed as unfair terms .

For example a clause will normally be unfair if it takes away a right which a tenant would normally have in law.

If you want to prohibit something a tenant would normally be able to do, such as re-decorate the property, your clause must contain wording providing for the tenant to request permission to do whatever they are wanting to do and must state that “the permission will not be unreasonably refused”.

Countless landlords have invalidated their pets clauses by removing this wording on the basis that “no pets allowed in this property under any circumstances”.

A tenant can request permission for something but it does not mean that you have got to agree to it. It may be reasonable to refuse your permissionm, that is your right as a Landlord. But if you deny tenants the chance to request permission – this will invalidate the clause, meaning that there is nothing to stop them keeping whatever pets they like.

Tenancy agreements need to be fair and written in plain English, they can include clauses to protect the landlord’s position. i.e. –

Notifying tenants that you will provide their details to utilities if they default on payment. You should also note down that you may also use tracing agents if they leave owing you money.

Everyone living in the property, including all children are named in the tenancy agreement and there should be a clause saying that no one else is allowed to live in the property.

Remember doing business on spit and a hand shake is no longer good practice 🙁

until next week.

Landlords, would you like a second opinion on a potential Buy-to-Let property or do you have nagging concerns – please feel free to contact us on 01827 425195 or 07531484956.We are here to help you on your property journey.

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Tamworth Landlords Legislation for 2018 – Day 3

The news is currently full of government legislation for renting out residential properties and raising standards.

Day 3  – Energy Performance Certificates 

From 1st April 2018 there are minimum energy level regulations (MEES), any building which is to be rented on a new tenancy or a renewal, must have a minimum energy rating of “E”.

Energy performance certificate
EPC

Furthermore from 1 April 2020, the minimum level “E” applies to all tenancies, including existing.

There are a number of exemptions available and if one of those exemptions apply, the property must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.

All residential properties require an EPC certificate if they are being sold or let, if you need one completed, please get in touch.

Hall and Thompson are still conducting viewings and letting properties. Please phone 01827 425195 if you are looking for a property. Almost fully booked for today but still have availability for tomorrow.

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My thoughts on the future of the Tamworth Buy-To-Let Market

 I was recently reading a report by the Home website which suggested that hordes of landlords are selling their buy-to-let investments due to increasing burdens on them in the buy-to-let market. Their findings suggest the number of new properties that came onto the market nationally (for sale) jumped by 11% across the UK as a result.

Those increasing burdens include new tax rules coming in over the next 3 to 4 years and the announcement that all self-managing landlords (i.e. landlords that don’t use a letting agent to look after their buy-to-let property) will soon need to register with a compulsory redress scheme to resolve tenant arguments and disputes; as Westminster wants to heighten standards in the Private Rented Sector.

Interestingly I was chatting with a self-managed landlord from Bonehill, when I was out socially over the festive period, who didn’t realise the other recent legislations that have hit the Private Rented sector, including the ‘Right to Rent’ regulations which came in to operation last year. Landlords have to certify their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. This includes checking and taking copies of their tenant’s passport or visa before the tenancy is signed. Of course, if you use a letting agent to manage your property, they will usually sort this for you (as they will with the redress scheme when that is implemented).

If you are a self-managed landlord though, the consequences are severe because if you let a property to a tenant who is living in the UK illegally, you will be fined up to £3,000. That same Bonehill landlord met me for coffee at Druckers  in the New Year, and I checked all his paperwork and ensured he was on the right side of the law going forward – and I offer the same to any landlord in the Tamworth area if you want me to cast my eye over your buy to let matters (and at no cost)

But what of all these extra properties being dumped onto the market in Tamworth? When I looked at the records the number of properties on the market in Tamworth now, as opposed to a year ago, the numbers tell an interesting story …

 

1st Jan 2017 1st Jan 2018
Detached 110 162 47%
Semi 90 105 17%
Terraced 43 35 -19%
Flat 33 45 36%
Plots +
Other
7 10 43%
Total 283 357 26%

Overall, Tamworth doesn’t match the national trend, with the number of properties on the market actually rising by 26% in the last year.  It was particularly interesting to see the number of detached increase by 47%, yet the number of terraced on the market drop by 19%.

However, speaking with my team and other property professionals in the town, the majority of that movement in the number of properties and the types of properties on the market isn’t down to landlords dumping their properties on the market. The whole property market has changed in the last 12 months, with the majority of the change in the number and type of properties for sale due to the owner-occupier market, not landlords (a subject I will write about soon in my Tamworth Property Market blog later this Spring?). You see, for the last ten years, each month there has always been a small number of Tamworth landlords who have been releasing their monies from their Tamworth buy to let properties – as is the nature of all investments!

Nationally, the number of rental properties coming on to the market to rent fell by 16% in Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016 .. but that isn’t because there are 16% less rental properties to rent – it’s because tenants are staying in their rental properties longer meaning less are coming on the market to be RE-LET.

Nevertheless, some Tamworth landlords will want to release the equity held in their Tamworth buy to let properties in 2018. All I suggest is that you speak with your letting agent first, as putting a rental property on the open market often spooks the tenants to hand in their notice days after you put it on the market (because they don’t like the uncertainty and also believe they will become homeless!). This means you have an empty property, costing you money with no rent coming in.  However, some letting agents who specialise in portfolio management have select lists of landlords that will buy with sitting tenants in. If you have a portfolio in the Tamworth area and are considering selling some or all of them – drop me a line as I might have a portfolio landlord for you (with the peace of mind that you won’t have any rental voids).

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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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth tenant is in substantial rent arrears

Do I still go to court
Do I still go to court

Ask Lorraine – I am in court in 3 weeks time over substantial rent arrears, if the tenants pay me before the court date do I still take them to court under Ground 11,  irregularity of payments or should I cancel the proceedings?

Thankyou V. T.

 

 

Lorraine’s Answer –  There are no refunds once you have paid the court fee, therefore, if your tenants did pay your outstanding rent, I would suggest you still continue with your court action.

scales of justice
scales of justice

We always put grounds 8, 10 and 11 –  you have all bases covered then,  just in case they do pay before the hearing.

If the tenants have paid, you probably won’t be awarded a possession order outright, most likely you will receive  a suspended order to see how they behave in the short term.

Usually when substantial arrears are owed, tenants do not pay up and it’s rare for them to turn up at court. Why not have your day in court, it’s a learning experience.

Until next week.

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Ask Lorraine – I have a new lodger but I’m not a landlord, do I need to carry out any checks?

Ask Lorraine – Dear Lorraine

I own my house in Tamworth and have no mortgage so I am quite fortunate. I’ve recently taken in a lodger, a lovely foreign lady who came complete with a little dog. My lodger moved in 2 months ago and pays her rent weekly and on time, neither the dog or my lodger are any trouble.

Last week I went to my monthly ladies club  and several of us were discussing the pros and cons of me taking in a lodger.  Anyway the latest news in the press concerning government changes and policies to renting was mentioned, I later left the ladies club a little perplexed. I do have a lodger but I’m not a landlord, surely I don’t need to carry out checks do I? I’m not out to make this a business, it was more the company I was aiming for.

Chris

Landlady
Landlady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorraine’s answer 

Hello Chris,

From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England have to make right to rent checks. This means checking that tenants have the right to be in the UK.

What this means for landlords

You need to make right to rent checks if you:

  • Are a private landlord.
  • Have taken a lodger.
  • Are sub-letting a property.
  • Are an agent appointed by a landlord to make right to rent checks.

Some landlords won’t need to make the checks.

Full details can be found on the government website  ….https://www.gov.uk/government/news/right-to-rent-checks-what-they-mean-for-you

I would recommend you reading the guidelines and taking appropriate action as the penalties are very costly.

Until next week

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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth tenants want a new AST!

Ask Lorraine –

Good morning,

ask lorraine new ast
ask Lorraine – new AST

Some advice please, on a rather delicate matter.

My wife and I own a 3  bed terraced property  in Tamworth, we have had the same tenants in the property since purchasing it some 5 years ago. They have been good tenants and we are more like friends than landlord and tenant. We have the odd month when rent is up to a week late, however it’s always been received in the end and with little prodding on my part.

Both the husband and wife work for the same company, they have just informed my wife that the company is closing down with the loss of all jobs.

Our tenants have asked if we would  give them a new tenancy agreement so that they are able to claim housing benefit.

I have agreed to give them a new 1 year tenancy agreement.

dilemma
dilemma

My dilemma is this, at the moment the tenants are a few days late with this months rent, what happens if they are not able to pay and the council are not forthcoming. Will we be able to evict or will we have to wait until the new tenancy agreement expires in a years time?

George

Lorraine’s Answer

Hi George,

The tenants do not require a new AST (tenancy agreement)  in order to claim Housing Benefit, the council will accept the original AST or a copy of the original AST.

In the first instance I would suggest checking what the tenants Housing Benefit entitlements are, you can check the LHA rate on the LHA Direct website.

If you have not already given a new tenancy agreement (AST) I would not do so, you could be making it more difficult to evict the tenants and their rights will become much stronger.  There is so much prescribed information to give with a new tenancy agreement and so many regulations that you must comply with i.e a copy of the EPC, protecting the deposit correctly  and giving them the prescribed information. What about the government’s “How to Rent” booklet, the list goes on!

Should the need arise and you find yourselves in a situation where you need to evict, without the correct paperwork having been given at the start of the tenancy, you will find yourself in serious trouble and will have great difficulty evicting.

As always,  I would recommend meeting with the tenants and explain that a new AST is not required. Support them however you can, without it being at your detriment.

You have already mentioned that the rent is payable monthly, once there are over two months arrears you can take action to evict under the  s8 Housing Act, should you wish!

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/schedule/2

You may wish to seek legal advice if you do ever decide to go down the route of evicting under the  s8 Housing Act. The professionals can do this on your behalf.

I hope things do work out for you and your tenants.

until next week