Fri 21 Jul 2017
Welcome to the latest edition of Dear Landlord.
We hope you find this quarters edition interesting and informative.
Your feedback is very welcome and encouraged.
Just hearing from Landlords that they have received and read the newsletter is encouragement enough to contemplate doing another one!
Here's what you can look forward to in this issue:
- Landlords Forum
- Spotlight on Rent Guarantees
- Market Conditions
- Marie Curie Fundraising
- Calling New Landlords
- Clients Moving Away
- Key Dates For Your Diary
- Letting Agent Fees
- Legionnaires Inspections
Landlords Forum Success
On Wednesday 10th May, we hosted a very enjoyable Landlords evening forum at Hatchford Brook Golf and Conference Centre, located just off the Coventry Road in Birmingham.
The event was held to update Landlords following several changes in legislation and provide information on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and general market conditions in the immediate area.
We had a fantastic response to the evening with nearly 100 Landlords attending the show. During the event, which was hosted by Ferndown Estates Sales Director Ian Crampton, the Landlords were treated to several guest speakers discussing a wide range of topics from tax planning, to insurance, estate planning and mortgage advice for Investors.
There was even time on the evening to enjoy some food and drink and an element of networking.
Feedback forms were completed on the evening and many responses suggested that a great many of the landlords felt the event was very worthwhile.
Following the evening, we contacted some of the Landlords and guest speakers who braved the unseasonably warm weather to get their reaction to the forum.
Below are some of the guest speakers and contact details should you wish to call them directly.
Legal For Landlords
Verity spent several minutes detailing the benefits of rent protection policies and ensuring the right people were going into your investment properties.
Landlords should always fully reference their tenants to find out their previous history and ensure they protect their rental income.
The protection policies from Legal For Landlords, available via Ferndown Estates includes legal cover in the event of having to remove a tenant during a tenancy.
“I’d like to thank Ferndown Estates for organising this event.
With so many taxation and legislative changes in progress, and more potential developments on the horizon, landlords simply cannot afford to be complacent.
We need to stay engaged and informed because whether we like it or not the property rental sector is evolving.
This industry is determined to succeed, and it will. Our strategy must include complete professionalism.
We must treat the property business as a business, maintain high standards and provide excellent service.
This event provided an informative, well-timed boost and Ferndown should be congratulated for its success”
You can contact Verity Berini on 0344 567 4001
James Stanley & Co Accountants South Yardley
Andrew was the last of the guest speakers who provided a very interesting insight into the new tax legislation and offered opportunities for Landlords to mitigate their tax liabilities using tax strategies and estate planning.
“It was a privilege to be asked to speak at Ferndown Estates recent landlord event.
To get around 100 landlords to the event is a testament to the hard work put in by the Ferndown team and they should be congratulated for putting on such an informative and relevant seminar.”
The evening proved to be a one stop shop where landlords and those thinking of entering this sector learned about tax, insurance, borrowing and legal matters which affect domestic property letting.
The information gained enabled the delegates to keep compliant with the ever-changing laws, regulations and taxation that impinge on landlord businesses.
Thank you and congratulations to Ferndown Estates for organising this event
You can contact Andrew James on 0121 706 8585
A-Plan Insurance Sheldon
Matt provided a detailed presentation detailing why it is important to check the detail of your Landlords buildings insurance.
Matt and his team provide a range of comprehensive general insurance products and in particular for Ferndown Estates, A-Plan act as our appointed insurance broker for our Landlords Buildings insurance block policy.
For those of you with your own buildings insurance arrangements, please contact Matt and his team for a quotation to be added to our bespoke policy.
"A great informative evening, which was a pleasure to contribute to.
Hopefully a few eyes were opened regarding the potential pitfalls of incorrect insurance cover, and I'd like to speak to any landlords unsure about their current insurance arrangements, or any landlords on the recently arranged block insurance who would like to know more about the policy.
Insurance these days has become a little impersonal. Here at A-Plan we like to get to know our clients, so we can ensure they get the cover they need at the right price. If that seems appealing, give me a call!”
You can contact Matt Lines on 0121 742 7961
Mortgage Adviser Intrinsic
David provided an update on the pending changes to the investment mortgage market and the impact on those investors who would be classed as ‘Portfolio Landlords’.
Included in his presentation was a discussion on non-standard construction types.
David is an experienced landlord himself and is interested in talking to Landlords who are considering purchasing more properties as a private investor or as a limited company purchase or looking to review their current mortgage products against the rest of the market
You can contact David Carter on 07939 508009
Evans Derry Solicitors
John and Richard gave a two part discussion into some legal aspects of property ownership.
John started with a discussion on estate planning and the importance of Wills whilst Richard followed on outlining the benefit of ensuring the correct searches are carried out with property transactions and then a pertinent update on the proposed High Speed rail network.
Evans Derry are based next door to Ferndown Estates in Marston Green and offer a range of legal services.
You can contact John or Richard on 0121 7701721
Jon and Mandy Edwards – Landlords
“A great evening, which we all enjoyed! Keep up the good work!”
Alan and Sue Pountney – Landlords
“All of the presentations were excellent and useful!”
Gail and Keith Dewar – Landlords
“We attended the event as guests as we had planned buying our first buy to let property in 2018.
The event was extremely well organised with a number of speakers giving very useful information on the market, changes in legislation and also tax liabilities. The relaxed atmosphere encouraged the audience to ask questions and network.
We left the event very excited and enthusiastic and decided to bring our plans forward.
Since then we have explored the buy to let market and taken further advice on becoming first time landlords.
I would recommend anyone thinking of investing to attend a Ferndown event if possible as they will find the information invaluable”
Ian Crampton - Ferndown Estates
“I felt the whole evening was a tremendous success and I want to thank everyone for attending.
It was great to see some familiar faces along with some new ones on the evening.
The whole event was designed to provide a positive message to local landlords.
Whilst there are a number of changes in the PRS, some of which are challenging, we should not lose sight of the fact that,
if we do things right as landlords and take care of our investments, being a landlord is still one of the very best investment strategies available
We are aiming to hold these events on an annual basis and would be delighted to see more Landlords attend future events.
We’ve got some very good ideas from the feedback sheets provided from this forum and aim to cover all of the topics, with guest speakers,
at the next event”
Rent Protection Policies – Important!
We want to highlight the benefit of renewing the rent protection policy we offer to all landlords with each of their ongoing tenancies.
We offer rent protection policies on all initial tenancies for the duration of the fixed term.
The policy is designed to provide a safety net for Landlords should a tenant not be in a position to pay their rent on any given month.
In addition to providing a replacement rent payment, the policy also offers legal cover in the event that an eviction process is required to remove the tenant from the property.
Whether you own a large portfolio of buy to let properties or have just a single-let investment, non-payment of rent is a serious and increasingly common problem for many landlords.
Even our tenant referencing system can’t predict if a tenant will be affected by unemployment, or suffer from a serious illness or accident which leaves them unable to work.
Landlords can avoid the inconvenience of rent defaults with our 100% rental income protection.
The key points of the policy are as follows:
•Protect 100% of your rental income against non-paying tenants
•Unlimited period of rent arrears covered up to £50,000
•Policy also includes the cost of evicting your defaulting tenant
•Legal expenses covered up to £50,000
•50% of the rent paid for a further 2 months after the tenant is evicted
•Rent protection are available for both 6 and 12 month terms
We contact all of our Landlords at the end of the initial fixed term to ask whether they would like to renew their policy cover for another 12 months.
Assuming there is no change in financial circumstances to the tenants at the property, the policy can be renewed without any further referencing needed
We would strongly advise every landlord to renew their policy each year they can.
Should any tenant leave a property, the cover remains in place should a new tenant take residence (assuming they pass new references)
Amanda Ryley our Lettings Negotiator explains more:
“We pride ourselves on selecting the best tenants for your properties.
Every prospective tenant is fully referenced and credit checked however, we cannot be 100% sure about their future financial circumstances.
This policy can provide peace of mind as rent payments and Court Fees are covered should tenants fall on hard times due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Spring and Summer generally means a busy time in the property market, with the sunny weather creating an opportunity for viewers to take advantage of lighter and later night viewings.
At the Landlord forum, Ian Crampton spent several minutes outlining the market conditions currently being experienced in the West Midlands region.
This area has carried on from the first quarter of the year with strong increases in local property prices and this has been driven by a number of factors. Convenience, low interest rates and stock availability.
We are already receiving calls and emails from buyers who live further afield, as details of HS2 emerge, and people consider moving to the area as a future commuting route.
This area has seen a significant increase in infrastructure and investment in new housing, road systems and commercial units and has seen an increase in sale and rental demand as a result.
The sales market continues to be driven by a lack of available property and a high number of willing buyers.
The middle of this year has seen a re-emergence of investors looking to add to their portfolio of properties, or become Landlords themselves, who have been missing since the introduction of the Stamp Duty surcharge last April.
Interest in rental properties remains high with regular demand for well-presented properties.
With the changes in personal taxation for private landlords, we have seen some landlords deciding to sell rental properties.
In addition, we have also seen more first time buyers trying to get on the property ladder who
have been generation renters who have taken advantage of the low mortgage rates on offer and the Bank of Mum and Dad
(Or Grandparents) being generous with upfront inheritance payments to provide much needed deposit monies for property purchase
This year will see the start of the new tax changes for Landlords and it will be interesting to see how many landlords remain in the Private Rented Sector moving forward.
Many landlords have also spoken to us about the opportunity of acquiring or developing shared facility and HMO accommodation and we see this as the main growth area in the PRS (Private Rented Sector).
Should any landlord be considering purchasing a rental property in the area, please feel free to contact the office to make an appointment to discuss in more detail
Marie Curie Fundraising
Ferndown Estates have chosen to support a local fundraising campaign from May 2017 – April 2018.
The campaign is being run by the local fundraising committee for Marie Curie
with the aim to provide funds for the local hospice in Marsh Lane in Solihull.
Ferndown Estates have pledged to raise in the region of £15,000 from the sale and let of properties over a 12 month period.
We’re hopeful to reach this target with the help of local Vendors and Landlords who continue to use the services of our Estate Agency in the selling or letting of their properties.
We have had a positive start to our campaign with plenty of new instructions in our busy sales and lettings office.
We have recently attended the ‘Blooming Great Tea Party’ which was held in Elmdon Lane in Marston Green and raised much needed funds for the local Hospice.
Calling New Landlords
We are keen to attract new landlords to the advantages of using our property Management services wherever in the Solihull/East Birmingham area their properties may be. We currently look after properties as far and wide as Birmingham City Centre, Solihull, Hall Green, Dickens Heath and Kings Norton and if you have one or a hundred properties, we are keen to provide our Management Services to you or your peers.
Since our property management business started 16 years ago, we have reduced the stress levels of many landlords who have tried managing their properties themselves.
Being a landlord can be a very time consuming activity and one that can provide a lot of stress and a great deal of involvement.
Some landlords don’t have enough time to be as involved as they should be in looking after their investment property.
In situations like this, it is more likely that the relationship with the tenant and expectations of how the property is to be maintained breaks down. This is where Property Management really helps.
We attend each property under our management at least twice each year to take photographs and provide reports on how the property is being maintained, and highlight any potential issues that require the landlord’s involvement.
We also become the tenant’s first port of call when reporting an issue, asking for advice or checking on appointments with contractors.
This arms-length relationship with tenants helps Landlords make more considered decisions in how their investment is working for them.
It also has the added benefit of the tenants being engaged. They appreciate there is a landlords representative dealing with, and visiting the property, to assess and report any maintenance issues.
Why take on board all of the stress of being a landlord when you can get peace of mind and more importantly some freed up time with the use of an accredited agent?
We really would like to speak to any landlord who has rented properties within the East Birmingham/Solihull area who would like to take advantage of our Management service. Our full management service comes with a rent guarantee policy where required.
Helping Our Clients Move Away!
As the leading local Estate Agent in the area we’re always keen to help local people buy, sell or let their properties in the North Solihull/East Birmingham area.
Since we have become affiliated with Cartus and Relocation Network, we have been able to extend this service to a number of clients who are thinking of moving to other parts of the country.
With access to over 600 other offices nationwide, we are keen to extend this additional service to home-movers and property investors who may be considering moving further afield.
This VIP service is available wherever you are considering relocating to and we have already helped people to buy or sell properties across the country.
If you are thinking of relocating, please contact the office and we will be delighted to help.
Key Dates for your Diary
31st JulySecond due date for advance payments to tax bills (Payment on Account
1st OctoberPlanned introduction of banning orders against rogue landlords who commit serious offences
31st OctoberDeadline for filing a paper tax return
1st April 2018All new or renewing tenancies must have EPC rating of E or above
1st April 2020All tenancies will need the property to have an EPC rating of E or above
Newsletter and Social Media
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Lettings Agent Fees (Update July 2017)
The Government have re-iterated their desire to place a complete ban on Lettings Agents and Landlords charging fees to tenants in the Queens speech when she re-opened Parliament following the General Election.
This announcement came after an extensive period of consultation with lobby groups, letting agents and Landlord trade bodies.
It appears that despite pressure from those consulted parties, the Government have not only ignored the concerns raised but have introduced further measures in the proposed ban by restricting the amount of deposit that can be charged to tenants taking private rented sector tenancies.
A further announcement is expected to propose when these new measures are to be introduced.
These measures will certainly impact tenants who have pets in a property or are looking to secure a new tenancy with a pet included.
Most landlords only accept pets in a property where an additional deposit is taken for cleaning purposes, or to cover the risk of additional damage.
To limit the amount of money a landlord can charge upfront as a deposit is bound to create a problem and it will be interesting to see how the Government react to the lobby groups such as RSPCA and the Dogs Trust
As an agent, we have traditionally charged tenants fees to allow us to provide a balanced service to all parties involved in the letting and renting of a property.
We reported in our previous newsletter that the banning of fees is unjust as we know of no other industry which provides a service without charging for doing so.
When the ban comes into effect, it will be interesting to note how Landlords and Agents deal with enquiries from prospective and current tenants.
There are already plenty of social media threads commenting that many Landlords and Agents will refer tenants with day to day enquiries asking for help to Citizens Advice services.
By being able to charge tenants certain fees, landlords are able to offer their property at a more affordable monthly rental figure.
With the restriction on Mortgage Interest Relief coming into effect this year, we are already seeing a squeeze on the amount of rental properties being retained in the private rented sector.
As the availability of rental property becomes restricted, there will be inevitable consequences for tenants looking for affordable rents.
Once tenants fees are banned, Landlords will look to recover the cost of the rental process and referencing of tenants by increasing the advertised rental figure.
This is as certain as night follows day.
Again, we will provide further updates on this important change in legislation in future editions of ‘Dear Landlord’
We are continuing to review all of our properties under management,
to highlight those which may carry a higher risk of Legionella infection for the tenants or their visitors.
We have advised Landlords who have high risk properties to allow legionella surveys to be carried out by an accredited surveyor.
A high risk property would be categorised as one where a gravity fed system was in place,
with an open top water tank, or a property with redundant systems or ‘dead legs’ within the central heating or water supply.
Equally, where there is a tenant living at a property who may be more susceptible to contracting Legionella, we will ask the Landlord to have a survey undertaken to protect the tenants’ interests.
It is a legal requirement to ensure your investment property is assessed by a ‘competent person’ to protect any tenant, or guest, from becoming ill from this bacterial infection. Whilst the risk to any tenant or visitor may be low in the scheme of things, it is advisable to have these inspections done to clarify the actual risk (if any).
During on-going property inspections, we will highlight any property where we feel a Legionnaires inspection is warranted.
Should a landlord not wish to have an inspection carried out following our request, we will notify the tenant and ask the landlord to sign a disclaimer confirming this.
On property inspections where legionnaire assessments have been carried out, we will look to obtain water temperature readings at two outlets, to identify those properties which may be of risk each year and include the results in our reports to the landlord.
At any Legionella inspections and subsequent property visits we will also be providing the tenant at the property with a leaflet on
Legionella and the risks to tenants.
We hope you find this edition of Dear Landlord interesting and informative, and welcome any feedback to this publication.
We also invite you to follow Ferndown Estates on Facebook or Twitter, to ensure you receive all future publications, posts, staff interviews and much, much more!
Should you have any concerns, or require further information on any of the topics covered in this newsletter, please contact us on:
"I would like to thank all involved in both the sale of our old house and the purchase of 'Brooklands'. In particular Adam, Louise, Michelle and Samantha played their part in trying to keep the stress levels down. I would not hesitate in recommending Ferndown Estates to anyone who is contemplating a move, both in the selling or purchase of property. A really professional company who manage to combine a keen business sense with that required touch of understanding the worry of the various situations we may find ourselves in. "