Blogs and advice on Residential Property Management London

Points to consider before extending your property

Points to consider before extending your property

Extensions are a great way to raise a property value or increase rental income though landlords should be careful not to overdevelop or comply with local planning rules. There are points to consider when carrying out an extension at your property;

1. Understand market needs

The best time to extend is when you’re changing the property materially for a different demographic or market. For instance, if you have a two-bed house and you know the local market is short of three-bed properties. But be careful not to overdevelop the property so it is bigger than everything else in the street; some areas have a value limit. Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and flat-shares generally make more sense to extend than family homes, because if you add another bedroom the rent increase will be incremental rather than marginal. An extra tenant in an HMO will earn you an extra room’s rent, whereas an extra bedroom in a family home is unlikely to increase your rental income by more than 10-20 per cent.

Electrical safety standards for England

Electrical safety standards for England

Sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, electrical safety standards, come into force on 25 October 2019. This means we are finally one step closer to the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector in England and will see actual regulations very soon.

An enabling power was contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 under Section 122 to allow the Secretary of State through regulations to impose responsibilities on private landlords to ensure that electrical safety standards are met in a property under their ownership, while a tenancy is in place. The Section also allows the Secretary of State to specify obligations that may be required of the landlord with regards to the frequency of checks and the expertise expected of any persons who undertake such checks.

Section 123 provides for the enforcement of any responsibilities introduced under Section 122 including the use of financial penalties and rights of appeal.

Following Royal Assent of the Housing and Planning Act on 12 May 2016, electrical and tenant bodies was established to provide recommendations on what the requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector should look like.

How to deal with moulding at a rental property

How to deal with moulding at a rental property

Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings may be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. In a newly built home damp can occur if the water used when the house was built is still drying out. The usual suspect for the cause of mould within your home is prolonged condensation. Continuous condensation problems are usually accompanied by black mould.

A home suffering from poor ventilation will be vulnerable to both condensation and mould problems. Mould moves through the air as miniature spores heading for damp, wet areas of the home such as bathrooms, basements and attics.

Electrical Safety Checks to be mandatory in 2020

Electrical Safety Checks to be mandatory in 2020

Recommended new safety measures to better protect private tenants by reducing the risk of electric shocks or fires caused by electrical faults were published for consultation 17 February 2018.

Five yearly mandatory electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties and safety certificates for tenants, to prove checks and repair work have been completed, are part of a package of independent recommendations to improve safety.

The government is also consulting on how best to enforce the strengthened safety regime along with whether landlords who do not comply should face tough penalties of up to £30,000.

As well as making homes safer for tenants, electrical installation improvements benefit the landlord as a material improvement to their properties, helping prevent fires which could cause costly and significant damage. Tenants in the private rented sector face a higher risk of electrical shock and fires caused by electrical faults in their homes compared to social housing tenants.

To address this the government introduced new powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to set and enforce tougher electrical safety standards in the private rented sector and established a working group of independent experts from industry and a range of other sectors to develop recommendations.

Increasing rents under tenancy agreements

Increasing rents under tenancy agreements

Increasing rents under Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Most of the time the landlord is more in control when it comes to the rent payable by their tenants. If the tenant is unable or unwilling to agree a rent increase, either within the existing assured shorthold tenancy (‘AST’) or on a renewal, the landlord can serve notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“the 1998 Act”) to end the AST (once outside any fixed term or pursuant to any break provision in the agreement) and re-let the property at an acceptable rent.

However, where landlords let to longer term tenants either under assured tenancies or ASTs, or they otherwise have no desire to end the current tenancy, the landlord needs to consider the correct process where they intend to lawfully impose a rent increase. This will be particularly relevant should the Government’s proposals to end the “non-fault” process for possession under Section 21 of the 1998 Act become a reality, creating longer term security of tenure for residential tenants. This Legal Update sets out the process for increasing rents payable under assured tenancies and ASTs.

Who benefits from Section 20C orders

Who benefits from Section 20C orders

Most modern residential leases include a provision to enable a landlord or management company to recover their legal costs from their leaseholders through service charges. This will usually enable legal costs incurred in litigation with any leaseholder(s), for example to pursue recovery of unpaid service charges from leaseholders, to be funded via the service charge. However, Section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 allows a residential leaseholder to apply for an order that any costs incurred by their landlord or management company in connection with any proceedings before a Court or Tribunal are not to be regarded as “relevant costs” when determining the amount of service charges payable by that leaseholder “or any other person specified in the
application”.

Check your lease when letting your property

Check your lease when letting your property

All flats and some freehold properties, especially the ones located on managed estates are subject to covenants affecting how the property is to be used and setting other rules in relation to when and to whom the property might be let. It is  important for Property Owners and their Agents to consider those requirements prior to letting to ensure that all obligations are complied with and thus avoid disputes. It is highly important for Block Managers, Developers, Managers and their Managing Agents to be familiar with any restrictions on, and obligations affecting, the letting of units within a development.This is a brief guide as to the matters to be considered when permitting the letting of a residential unit.

How to check

Check your lease or in the case of freehold property, the Transfer.

What to look for

In our experience the covenants placing restrictions on or imposing obligations for Property Owners intent on letting might include all or some of the following:-
A prohibition on letting of part only or taking in lodgers or paying guests
– This will prevent the letting of rooms within, as distinct from the whole, property.
– It will also prevent the letting of the property separately to its garage or parking space where the same is demised under a single Lease or Transfer.

A prohibition on letting of the whole

The abolition of Section 21 notice

The abolition of Section 21 notice

The UK Government has announced plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions, which are also called no fault evictions in England. This will effectively create open ended tenancies, and lead to what the Government believe will be more effective means of getting their property back when they genuinely need to do so.

Under the UK Government’s proposals, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end.

To ensure landlords have confidence the Government will allow them to be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so. To this end, Ministers at Westminster will amend the Section 8 eviction process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.

Blue Crystal Property Management London

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We inform our landlords on property industry updates with blogs on Residential Property Management London. There are many updates that a landlords must keep up with whether it is tax, fire regulations, health and safety regulations, changes in the rental market or how best to keep the property maintained on time within budget.