What happens at the end of a tenancy

When we think of what happens at the end of a tenancy, our common hope is for it all to go  smoothly.

Tenants want to move without much hassle or worry and get their deposit back quickly. Landlords want to get a new tenant in place quickly with ease.

Tenants end around 90% of tenancies, with the majority of the remaining 10% due to rent arrears.  Whatever the reason, there are a few options that, as a landlord, you must consider when a tenancy comes to an end. How to navigate the tax relief changes as a landlord

Notice periods

Your tenancy agreement should stipulate the notice period your tenant must give you if they intend to move. If it’s outside a fixed-term contract, the tenant must provide one month’s notice. Inside a fixed-term, the tenant doesn’t have to serve notice by law but remains responsible for the rent until the last day of the fixed term. However, if your tenancy agreement says that the tenant should give notice, you may be able to make a claim for breach of contract. Regardless, it’s always advisable to send them a reminder before the fixed term ends, giving them time to decide if they do wish to remain or give notice. Winter insurance tips for your rental property

Property conditions

When your tenant has informed you of their intent to leave the property, send them a list of everything that needs to be done in order for them to get their deposit back. Some of this may seem like common sense to you. However, it’s a good idea to make sure your tenant is on the same page and knows everything you expect of them. This list could include the replacement of any blown lightbulbs, cleaning windows and floors, the removal of any rubbish, and anything else that may relate to your specific property. What you need to be aware of when your tenants are away

Viewings

Viewings can vary depending on if you use an estate agent and the extent to which you use them. If you use them to let your property, then they should arrange timings with potential tenants. Remember, the current tenant still has the right to quiet enjoyment in the property and can refuse entry. If you’ve maintained a good relationship with the tenant, that’s unlikely to happen. In any case, as with any visit, you must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before conducting a viewing. You may need to talk to the current tenant in advance to ensure they’re happy with potential dates and times. They may wish to be present at the viewing, which can prevent any disputes about damage and missing property.

What you need to consider before refurbishing your rental property

Check-out

At the end of the tenancy, carry out a checkout report to ensure the property is still in good condition. Allow for fair wear and tear, and refer to the inventory agreed when the tenancy began. It’s best to do this once they have fully vacated the property. Also, the tenant should be present if possible. This way, any damages can be noted and agreed – with the tenant’s signature. Taking photos can help to provide additional evidence but shouldn’t be relied on alone. You’ll also need to take meter readings and get a statement from the utility suppliers (if the tenant was responsible for paying utilities) showing a zero balance. Buy to let lending rules

Deposits

If everything is in order, then make sure you get the deposit returned to your tenant as soon as possible. In case they send you a written request for the return of their deposit, you must respond within 10 days. If you intend to keep part or all of the deposit, you must provide a reason for this. It’s also beneficial to provide evidence as this may prevent the tenant from disputing this.

What is West London Property Networking?

If you have any questions on property management, please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

How to navigate the changes in tax relief for landlords

Changes in tax relief for landlords are being introduced in stages until April 2020.

There are ways you can manage your tax bill as tax returns are due on 31st January and with this year’s return, the Section 24 changes will affect landlords.

Winter insurance tips for your rental property

How tax bills are calculated on rental income has changed.

By April 2020, landlords won’t be able to deduct mortgage interest from rental income before calculating taxable profit. The government introduced a transition period of four years to phase in the new system of calculating mortgage interest tax relief. The amount of mortgage interest tax relief each year will be as follows. In the:

  • 2017/18 tax year, landlords can claim 75% of mortgage tax relief
  • 2018/19 tax year, landlords can claim 50% of mortgage tax relief
  • 2019/20 tax year, landlords can claim 25% of mortgage tax relief

What you need to be aware of when your tenants are away

You need to look for efficiencies in the way you operate.

Highly likely, this will have a heavy impact. You may need to adapt your business model to incorporate these losses.

These factors need to be considered when planning the year ahead and allow for changes to your profit margin. What you need to consider before refurbishing your rental property

From April 2020, landlords will no longer be able to deduct the costs of servicing their mortgages from their rental income. Instead, you may receive a deduction for your mortgage interest.

The reduction in the basic rate value (currently 20%) of the lower finance costs

  • you cannot deduce costs from rental income in the tax year (this will be a proportion of finance costs for the transitional years)
  • + any finance costs that you bring forward as business profits
  • The profits of the property business in the tax year (after using any brought forward losses) adjusted total income
  • The income (after losses and reliefs, and excluding savings and dividends income) that exceeds your personal allowance.

You can’t use the tax reduction to create a tax refund.

If the basic rate tax reduction is calculated using property business profits or adjusted total income then the difference between that figure and ‘finance costs’ is carried forward to calculate the basic rate tax reduction in the following years. Current buy to let lending rules

Those landlords who pay higher or additional-rate tax will not receive all tax back on mortgage repayments because the credit only reduces tax in line with the basic 20% rate. The changes mean that some landlords will be into the higher tax bracket. Also, the rental income you’ll have to declare will be higher. This will also depend on income from other sources, such as salary or pension.

Private landlords may be able to avoid the hit that these changes will cause by setting up a company that owns their rental properties.

But if you do opt for this path, please take professional advice first. Although you might make a tax saving, there are many other taxes to pay as a business that could increase these initial financial gains and may lead to a lot more paperwork and responsibilities.

What is West London Property Networking

If you have any questions on property management, please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

Winter insurance tips for your rental property

Many rental homes will experience frozen pipes, heating not working and several other seasonal issues within the winter period. It is important to understand which insurance covers you need, and what each policy covers you as a landlord.

So, here are our top 5 winter insurance tips for your rental property:

What do you need to be aware of when your tenants are away?

1. Frozen Pipes

You should insulate your pipes as well as the loft water storage tank. Place the insulation foam on top of pipes, as opposed to underneath them. You should also double-check whether your homeowners’ insurance covers you should anything happen. You can leave your heating on at the temperature of around 16 degrees or ask your plumber to drain the water system. What you need to consider before refurbing your rental property?

2. Have your boiler serviced

A common problem during the winter is that boiler parts fail. Make sure your boiler is serviced by a professional engineer registered with Gas Safe Register. Servicing your boiler will resolve your heating problems, but it can also improve landlord/tenant relationships. Perhaps you may want to take out a boiler cover. Current Buy to Let lending rules

3. Set the temperature 

The average room temperature is between 18-21 Celsius. You can set the thermostat to a higher temperature during periods of severe cold though this should be done for a short time to keep your bill from increasing. Using a smart thermostat might be a good idea to help with energy efficiency, which will have a positive impact on your homeowners’ insurance. Use energy-efficient systems. Red Flags of tenant screening

Protect yourself during the winter

Once your driveway becomes icy, the risk of slipping and injuring yourself increases. Gritting your driveway can help reduce these risks. If you are responsible for maintaining the garden, ensure your tenants have the tools to do this themselves and encourage them to keep walkways well-lit and free of leaves and moss. You should have landlords liability insurance, which is a form of public liability insurance. Having this insurance means that you’ll be able to assist your tenants should an accident or injury occur. Changes to buy to let mortgage interest relief system

Protect your home during the festive season

Properties become a lot more vulnerable to theft during the holiday season, especially if your tenants are out of the house visiting family or friends. Aside from the basics of keeping windows closed and the alarm on, check you have valid landlord insurance to cover damage to the property or theft if your properties are let furnished.

What is West London Property Networking

If you have any questions on property management, please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk

Are your tenants away? Here’s what to be aware of

Are your tenants away on their big summer vacation or their family Christmas holiday?

Here is a checklist you may wish to be aware of before they leave:

1 – Check with your insurance company

Make sure your landlord insurance is up-to-date and covers the property while your tenants are away. If anything happens, it is best to be covered and prepared. It would be a good idea to encourage your tenants to get contents insurance if they haven’t already. What you need to consider before refurbishing your rental property?

2 – Remind your tenants to turn everything off at the sockets

The fridge should remain on and ideally empty of anything that may go off while the tenants are away. You should switch off at the socket everything else. Also, you should remove plugs in order to ensure that no residual charges flow through the appliances. Current Buy to Let Lending Rules

3 – Ask your tenant if you can carry out maintenance work

Completing maintenance work is necessary and can cause less hassle if you can do it when your tenants are away – especially if there are any larger, more time-consuming projects that need to be carried out. Summer is the perfect time to ensure the property is winter-proof and in good condition. An added bonus of doing this is that the property will appear to be occupied and it will keep it safer. Red flags of Tenant screening

4 – Make sure they lock everything up

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but with heatwaves in the summers, having windows open all day and night may have become second nature to your tenants. This means that they may forget some smaller windows, like in the bathroom, in a rush to get to the airport or train station. Remind your tenants that, while airing out the property is a good thing, they need to close all windows and doors when no one is home.

What is West London Property Networking

If you have any questions on property management, please contact Pelin Martin to book a 30-minute free consultation on +0208 994 7327 – pm@bluecrystallondon.co.uk