How to avoid choosing the tenants from hell…

tenants-from-hell-pic

Do you think all tenants are created equally? Is a tenant a tenant a tenant? Do you give much thought to the kind of tenant you let your property out too or are you quick to let your property to the first person who says they can afford the rent?

Recently we have heard of a few horror stories involving agents that have been quick to fill a property with new tenants that turn out to be an absolute nightmare down the line. There was one shocking case in particular where a group of shameless tenants disappeared from a property without a hint of a trace, taking all of the brand new furniture along with them. The landlord had just spent a great deal of money bringing their property up to a high standard, just to have it all stolen from him. You can imagine how distraught he was after this huge loss.

Fortunately, these nightmare scenarios are few and far between, most tenants are honest and look after properties to the best of their abilities (sometimes even better than you would yourself!). That said, it still pays to be cautious when selecting tenants for your property, doing your best to avoid the few rotten apples out there.

Be sure to carry out the basic background checks on prospective tenants. Now with the new immigration laws it is mandatory for you to perform checks to make sure that tenant has the right to rent in the U.K. Knowing that your tenants have the legal right to rent your property will ensure you cannot be put at fault if any disputes arise.

Good referrals from previous Landlords are a positive indicator that you are dealing with sound tenants. Ask your prospective tenants for any previous referrals and if you want to be more proactive you can try to find out who their previous landlords were and contact them direct to ask about how the tenants behaved at their property.

Referrals are good proof of the tenants previous standing and can give you confidence in your prospective tenant but don’t rely on them wholeheartedly, people’s behaviour can change. We have taken on tenants whose previous landlords did not give them a great referral but they have turned out to be just fine.

You can also ask for reference from the prospective tenant’s employer. As well as getting an idea of their character it will also prove that they are currently employed and have a source of income coming in.

On top of this you have to take a hunch and use your built-in character judging senses. Meet with your prospective tenant, a few times if needs be. Build up a solid impression of them and decide for yourself if they will be suitable for your property. If you’re not totally comfortable with them then don’t offer them your property to rent, even if you are tempted to get it let quickly. After all this is a long term decision you are making.

Letting your property out quickly in order to save money on costs, only to find out you chose the tenants from hell that have cost you a whole lot more money, time and energy down the line is the nightmare you don’t want to find yourself in and defeats the whole purpose of getting in tenants quick to save money.

Also when you are in a buoyant property market such as Leamington where there is a high demand for rentals, you have the liberty of being more choosy with your potential tenants.

As in the unfortunate scenario mentioned earlier, the landlord who had all of his new furnishings stolen by his tenants, lost out on way more than he initially thought he saved by being enticed by the agent who dazzled him with the promise of letting out his property very quickly.

So be wise and heed the warning in that story.

If you don’t find tenants for your property yourself and go through an estate agent be sure to find out how the agent you deal with goes about finding suitable tenants. Professional agency’s will diligently carry out all of the required checks, ask for referrals, make sure the prospective tenants are in a secure position to make payments and use good judgement of character to decide if they will be safe, suitable tenants for your property. (With all of the people skills long established estate agents gain in this business, we develop sharp senses of character).

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Who are these new kids affecting property values on the Leamington block?

New kids on the block

 

I was having a chat with a chap the other week who had recently moved to lovely Leamington from the big City of London.

He had sold his previous property and was originally considering buying another in and around the Capital. However he also took a look further a-field and came across Royal Leamington Spa.

After getting acquainted with the town and finding it much to his taste, it soon struck him how much cheaper property was in Leamington than in London. This proved to be a big swaying factor in his decision to re-locate to Leamington.

He ended up buying a nice modern, 4 bedroom home in the Warwick Gates Estate. Saving a substantial amount of money, which he would have otherwise had to spend if had chosen to buy another property in London.

He told me he doesn’t mind doing the 1 and a half hours commute on the train to work and was impressed with the very high standard of schooling within the Leamington/Warwick area, which is great for his young kids.

Plus he is more than chuffed with all of the money he has saved buying a property in Leamington, that he plans on investing for his families future.

Not only that but because of Leamington’s central location and strong transport links it is easier for him to get around the rest of the Country than it was before. Which comes in handy as he often has to travel for work events.

From his perspective, once he weighed it all up, there were a lot more pros than cons to moving from London to Leamington. “Apart from being miles away from the in-laws, it was almost a no-brainer” he chuckled as our chat ended.

We feel this will be a growing trend in the future and you will see more Londonites becoming Leamingtowners’.

This will be another force driving up property values in the area. As typically Londoners will find it cheaper buying property in Leamington in comparison to the Capital. They have a lot more purchasing power (especially if they have recently sold a property in London) and do not mind paying top prices for properties in Leamington.

This trend is likely to continue and as more Londoner’s snap up properties, it will in turn have a knock on effect on the local property market, driving up overall real estate values in the area.

Positive news for current Leamington Landlords and those who are considering property investment in Leamington.

So watch out for the new London kids pushing up values on the Leamington block.

 

 

 

 

 

Landlords Beware: How the Coming Changes to Buy to Let Tax Rules May Burn You Financially

buy-to-let

 

Back in the 2015 Summer Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne declared changes to the amount of Income Tax relief landlords can claim on residential property finance costs i.e. mortgage interest

Commencing 6th April 2017, as a landlord you will no longer be able to offset all of your finance costs from your property income to achieve your profit total. Instead a basic rate reduction from your income tax liability will be put in place on your finance costs.

This new legislation will be phased in, with the amount of obtainable relief gradually decreasing during the years ahead as follows:

  • From 2017 to 2018, the deduction from property income (as is currently allowed) will be restricted to 75% of finance costs, with the remaining 25% being available as a basic rate tax reduction
  • From 2018 to 2019, 50% finance costs deduction and 50% given as a basic rate ax reduction
  • From 2019 to 2020 25% finance costs deduction and 75% given as a basic rate tax reduction
  • From 2020 to 2021 all financing costs incurred by a landlord will be given as basic rate tax reduction.

If you currently have a mortgage out on your rental property, you will feel the burn of more of your financing money being gobbled up. Even more so if you have only recently taken out a buy-to-let mortgage and have to comply with this new change from the get go.

Personally I think its another classic case of government shaking the pockets of easy targets, namely us landlords. I am somewhat shocked that this policy was brought in by a Tory Government, considering the majority of them are landlords themselves, unusual behavior from the blue camp.

Personal opinions and loathing aside the rules are changing and we unfortunately have no choice but to follow them (if you hold yourself as a law-abiding citizen of course).

So I urge all landlords and would-be landlords to be diligent fully aware of how this new policy will be affecting your property finance in the coming years.

A re-assessment of your financing would be a wise idea.

If you are considering becoming a buy-to-let landlord at the moment, make sure you completely understand this new policy. You will want to be in a strong enough financial position to be able to deal with the new costs comfortably. Unless you do not mind having a riskier investment on your hands.

This new policy may even mean delaying taking out a new buy-to-let mortgage for the time being, until you have more money to invest. The last position you want to find yourself in is not being able to keep up with the mortgage payments, having your buy-to-let property re-possessed and investment wasted.

If you have any queries regarding this matter or just want it to be explained in layman’s terms (it is a bit tricky to get your head around) feel free to reach me on: 01926 423986 and I will gladly simplify it for you.

Regards, Kam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property Demand to Boost in Leamington Further Thanks to Technology Giant Tata

Leamington Spa is already a strong magnet for would be new residents. The Town has a lovely quaintness about the place, with its tall, European style white buildings, decorated with lush displays of greenery throughout.

Just take a stroll through the Town Center and you will soon sense the air of grandeur it has. The Town has attracted the rich and famous since the time queen Victoria gave its prestigious title of “Royal Leamington Spa” as far back as 1838. This regal prefix is given out very sparingly to, with only two other places in the whole of England to be handed a royal title.

Aesthetically speaking, it’s not hard to see why there is such a demand for people wanting to move into the town. However, a part from the general pleasantness there are many more contributing factors that are driving this great demand upwards and on-wards.

A relatively recent one being the announcement by global engineering giant Tata, that they are going to build a new European headquarters at Tachbrook Technology Park.

Last February 2015 the announcement was made that new headquarters, which will span a space of 60,000 square feet and cost £16,000,000 to build, will be completed by this summer 2016. A massive development to say the least.

Tata HQ

How the new completed Tata European Headquarters will look.

Once completed it will employ 600 people, 200 of which will be new employers.

So you can expect a surge of new professionals and their families wanting to move into Leamington from the Summer. This is positive news for you landlords as it will increase the already high chances of finding tenants for your properties. Whilst at the same time pushing rental and property values up.

On the flip side, more competitors in the marketplace is going to make it trickier than it already is for tenants who are wanting to find their ideal home in Leamington. A property shortage is becoming a growing concern in the area.

As property demand continues to rise and supply simultaneously becomes scarcer, the next question that comes to mind is, where are all the property developers who could cash in on this big opportunity to feed the ever-growing need of the market?

We will wait and see.

New ‘Right-to-Rent’ Legislation, make sure you are on the right side of it to avoid hefty fines…

Right-To-Rent

New legislation is to begin taking effect nationwide from the 1st of February 2016.

Dubbed ‘Right-to-Rent’, this new policy requires that all private landlords make immigration checks on every tenant that they rent their property out to. As to make sure they have legal right to rent property within the Country.

These checks are also to be made by tenants who sub-let within a property and homeowners who rent out rooms to lodgers.

This new rule stems from the “2014 Immigration Act” which set out to reform immigration and crack down on migrants who have entered the country illegally.

After a 6 month pilot test across the West Midlands (where 109 people were identified as illegal immigrants and 5 landlords fined for not carrying out the required checks), the legislation is now to be rolled out nationwide for all tenancy’s commencing from the 1st of February 2016.

The checks to be carried out by private landlords are as follows:

1. Make sure that the property which the prospective tenant(s) are moving into will be there only or main home.

2. Ask the tenant(s) for the original document(s) to prove they have the right to be in the UK. This includes a UK passport and/or birth certificate. (A full list of acceptable documents can be found in the right-to-rent user guide here)

3. Check that these documents are valid, genuine and belong to the tenant(s) with them present.

4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record them with the time you carried out the checks.

So that is the extra work you will have to shovel out as a private landlord going forward in 2016. If you fail to make these checks and are found renting out your property to illegal immigrants, you can be fined up towards a whopping £3,000 per tenant.

So like it or lump it, it really is in your best interest to abide to this new legislation.

Of course if you have the protection of a professional estate agents managing your property this is all one less headache to worry about, as they will be handling all of this for you. As well as taking on the risk of potential fines. Phew.

Just make sure that you have made a written formal agreement to your agent that passes the responsibility of the checks to them. Without this in place, you as a landlord will still be liable by default.

Rest assured the team at Sandhu Estates are fully prepared for this on-coming change. To make certain all of our valued landlords remain on the right side of the law and will not incur any money-sucking fines down the line.

For more in-depth information on right-to-rent you can download the Government user-guide here.

Alternatively feel free to give us a ring on: 01926 423986 and we will be happy to answer any queries.

Kam at Sandhu Estates

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Leamington Spa Property Blog brought to you by Sandhu Estates

With 2016 right around the corner, the Sandhu Estates team have decided to start our New Years resolutions early by launching a shiny new blog.

This new little corner of cyberspace will be the go to source for everything related to Leamington Spa/Warwick property.

From the current overview of the property market in the area, latest developments, property values, predicted trends, tips on how to become a shrewder Landlord, pointers on being a wiser Tenant and everything else in-between…

…Consider this blog your new local “un-polished” property expert, (Without the perfectly tailored suit and gleaming white smile). We aim to share knowledge with you in a casual, informal way. A lot like were both sat at the pub, having a chat over a drink.

Speaking of drinks, we wish you a very Merry Christmas over the festive season and a prosperous New Year.

In the mean time, watch this virtual space!

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