house-rental

Are landlords to finally get a real rental index?

One tricky task that self-service landlords face is to gauge what their property should be put on the market for. Happily, this conundrum is to be solved soon by a government rental index set to be soft-launched later this year. This follows a two-year review of all housing indexes by UK National Statistician Jil Matheson who, as well as making a national ‘private rental index’ one of the... Read more

over-50s

Will Britain soon be a nation of renters?

Much has been made of ‘generation rent’ in recent years created by the struggling economy and continuing high house prices but figures just out put some shocking numbers on the issue. The existing ones were already dramatic enough; the number of households in England that are privately rented rose from 2.4 million in 2005 to 3.8 million in 2011/2012, a 58% increase. But now, in a poll... Read more

housing-icon

Yes minister? Prisk embraces a rental revolution

Housing minister Mark Prisk has given an enthusiastic welcome and £3 million to support reform of the rental sector which, if the suggested changes go ahead, would see landlords face substantial change in the way they do business. Following a detailed review of the lettings market which included a visit to Germany, MP and chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee Clive Betts... Read more

women-gender

Revealed: when tenants search for a home

So you’ve just put your property on the market, but when will people be enquiring and asking to come for viewings? Research published recently by Upad reveal that Saturday is the most popular day for viewings, some 82% of those who took part said, followed by Sundays (72%) and weekday evenings (50%). Times when viewings are least popular include weekday morning and afternoons which only... Read more

SONY DSC

THE ‘Bulk buying’ BUY-TO-LET STAMP DUTY DISCOUNT

Last week former Chancellor Norman Lamont flagged up his worries about an over active buy to let market but not so long ago his fellow politicians were encouraging the lettings industry. One output of this was a Stamp Duty ‘multiple purchases’ discount brought in during late 2011 following a campaign by the British Property Federation. This relief, which many landlords are unaware of,... Read more

Tax calculator and pen

Buy to let tax: Why the way you file receipts is vital

A gentle warning to all landlords – beware the power of the receipt; these easily-lost slips of paper have a vital role in reducing the amount of tax you pay each year, but not in the way you think. The trick is to allocate each expense to the correct type of tax claim. The folk at HMRC have made this clear; each expense must be claimed either against ‘income’ or ‘capital’– an... Read more

Money

Landlords claim £12.3 billion a year in tax relief

Figures released recently by the government show that UK landlords last year claimed tax relief on mortgage interest payments and other financial costs totalling £5.3 billion plus a further £7 billion for other costs such as repairs and professional fees. The figures, which were released by the HMRC following a freedom of information request by website Exaronews.com, suggest that there are... Read more

hmrc-large

Buy to let tax breaks: the big three

Mortgage interest relief Happily for landlords, the cost of borrowing money to buy a property is allowed as a legitimate running cost that can be offset against their income tax. Last year this saved landlords some £2 billion overall, according to government figures. But beware – this only relates to the interest payments, not the capital repayments; a trap some landlords have been known to... Read more

over-50s

90% Increase in Tenants over 50 Years Old

Legal 4 Landlords has produced a report to show a sizeable shift in the tenant ages recorded in their tenant referencing database between 2011 and 2013 to date. The data shows significant shifts across all of the age ranges, with the largest increase recorded in the over 51 years age range, which in 2011 accounted for just 5% of the overall number of tenant references, increasing to 9.5% so... Read more

HMRC - Tax Return

Buy to let tax guide: the basics

Sadly the tax burden of being a landlord is a relatively heavy one; the Inland Revenue takes a sizeable bite from the two main sources of wealth derived from buy-to-let property – rental income and capital gains. Happily, the Inland Revenue allows landlords to legitimately reduce their tax under many circumstances. Here we explore in brief the most popular. Managing your debt Any landlord... Read more

mouse

Most common reasons tenants call for help

When self-managing a property, tenants will be coming directly to their landlord when something goes wrong, so it’s good to be prepared for the eventual calls that will roll in. Here we catalogue the most likely ones you’ll receive and what you should do. "Help, I’ve been locked out" We say Pass. Tenants being locked out is not something a landlord has any responsibility for unless a... Read more

Firefighter

Guest Post: New home safety scheme launched, supported by local fire services

Blue Watch, a new home safety scheme set up by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and supported by UK fire and rescue services has launched, following new research revealing that landlords aren’t doing as much as they could to keep their tenants and properties safe from fire and carbon monoxide (CO). The research, conducted among 1,500 landlords and 1,600 renters across the UK,... Read more

Checklist

Top ten things to do before your tenants move in

Have you… 1. Made sure your gas safety certificate is to hand? Why? It is a legal requirement for landlords to have an up-to-date Gas Safety record for tenants to inspect. It must show that all gas appliances in the building have been serviced regularly, usually once a year and by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Find out more about Upad’s gas safety certificate service. 2. Lodged your... Read more

Emotions-annoyance-021012-33987

How not to annoy your tenants

It’s a fact of life – landlords sometimes annoy tenants and, of course, vice versa too despite both sides’ best efforts to get on. So here are some of the areas of contention that can sour relationships. Sudden arrivals Don’t turn up at the door unannounced as tenants have a right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their home; you must give 24 hours written notice before going in. Not... Read more

worried-woman-on-the-phone

Questions to ask tenants on the phone

Quizzing prospective tenants about their past tenancies or life can, at best, be awkward; you’re keen to sign them up but on the other hand you don’t want a tenant from hell moving in. Here’s some questions to ask yourself as you talk. How many times have they rented? If they’ve had multiple landlords over a relatively short period then this could flag up a problem tenant – as they... Read more