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New Electrical Reports

From 1st Jun , New Government Legislation

The Regulations came into force on 1 June 2020 and form part of the Governments wider work to improve safety in all residential premises and particularly in the private rented sector.

These new Regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested.

Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

  • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
  • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
  • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
  • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
  • Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
  • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
  • Provide written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority when requested within 28 days of completion of the works.

The regulations came into force on 1 June 2020, they apply to new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. The relevant date for determining when the new requirements apply is the date on which the tenancy is granted. A new tenancy is one that was granted on or after 1 June 2020.

What will happen in the inspection?

The inspection will find out if:

  • any electrical installations are overloaded
  • there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • there is any defective electrical work
  • there is a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations
  • What about electrical appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions etc?
  • The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.
  • Landlords must obtain a report (usually an Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) from the person conducting the inspection and test which explains its outcomes and any investigative or remedial work required.
  • Landlords must then supply a copy of this report to the tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises, and to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
  • If a local authority requests it, landlords must supply them with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving the request.
  • If the report requires remedial work or further investigation, landlords must provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days of completing the work.
  • Landlords must retain a copy of the report to give to t

What will the report show?

The electrical installation should be safe for continued use. In practice, if the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.

Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.

  • Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
  • Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
  • Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
  • Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.

If codes C1 or C2 are identified in on the report, then remedial work will be required. The report will state the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.

If an inspector identifies that further investigative work is required (FI), the landlord must also ensure this is carried out.

The C3 classification code does not indicate remedial work is required, but only that improvement is recommended. Landlords don’t have to make the improvement, but it would improve the safety of the installation if they did

7. Remedial work

If the report shows that remedial work or further investigation is required, as set out above, landlords must complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. Landlords must then provide written confirmation that the work has been carried out to their tenant and to the local authority within 28 days.

What if a tenant won’t let me in, or I can’t find an inspector?

A landlord is not in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice, if the landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.

A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works. This could include the servicing record and previous safety reports.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector#what-do-the-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-england-regulations-2020-require

If an electrical report is not given to a tenant before they move in (or within 28 days of a renewal of a report) does it prevent a Section 21 notice from be served?

No, this won’t be the case under these regulations.

When did the regulations come into force?

The regulations officially came into force on 1st April 2020.

They apply to all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020 and will apply to all existing tenancies in England from 1st April 2021.

What does an electrical inspection and test involve?

Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs), otherwise known as ‘periodic inspections’ should be carried out by a fully qualified and registered engineer. The purpose of the inspection is to:

  • Find any potential fire hazards or electric shock risks
  • Identify any defective electrical work
  • Detect any lack or earthing or bonding
  • Pinpoint any overloading of electrical circuits or equipment

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Property Investment in the East Midlands

east midlands property investing

The mortgage works recently released a statistical snapshot of landlords in the East Midlands. It’s very positive to say the least. Read more below

Rental Yield

Landlords in the East Midlands currently achieve the highest average rental yield of any region, at 6.1%.

Landlord’s Balance Sheet

Another important statistic showed that only 4% of landlords in the East Midlands made a loss. 10% broke even and 57% were able to supplement their day job. A staggering 30% of landlords in the East Midlands were able to make property investment their full-time living.

Financials

We’ve already discussed the average rental yield being 6.1%. The average gross rental income per annum is £7,711, with an average estimated portfolio value of £1.3m.

Tenant problems

The report showed that 38% had encountered rent arrears within the last 12 months. It also showed that 31% of landlords had a void period within the last 3 months.

From our perspective as letting agentS, the right management can help minimise issues such as arrears and void periods. We aim to reduce void periods by getting tenants to move in a day or two after the previous tenant has left. We also offer rent guarantee insurance for £150 per year which not only covers your arrears but will also cover legal fees to evict the tenant. Furthermore, our tenants are all working professionals so we rarely run into issues with rent arrears, but you can never be too safe.

Public Rental Sector

Statistics from the report showed that the average portfolio consisted of 8 properties and that there had been a 16% increase in tenant demand. 10% also bought a property within the last 3 months with another 10% also selling within the last 3 months.

Using our own knowledge of the market, we found many landlords were selling low-end stock to invest in either larger developments or in better areas.

Mortgages

67% of landlords in the East Midlands have a mortgage on at least one property. The total amount owed averages to £503,000 per landlord, with a landlord having an average of 6 buy to let mortgages.

Conclusion

The investment market for the East Midlands looks very positive following the research carried out by TMW. As an estate and letting agents in Derby, we too can see this trend firsthand.

The sales market has continued to grow, with prices hitting their peaks. Although it seems as though house prices are stabilising and becoming slightly more static, properties are achieving their asking prices (when priced correctly).

Rental values have also been increased since the tenant fee ban earlier this year. We’re still increasing rents for landlords as tenancies are being renewed, with the average increase at £25pcm. Some have even been increased by £50 in highly sought after areas.

If you’re a landlord and are thinking about investing in Derby, or even if you’re already a landlord in Derby and need some advice, feel free to call us on 01332 202029.

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5 reasons why rent guarantee insurance is a must for landlords

Rent guarantee insurance is a small but powerful product that has a range of benefits. At just £150 per annum, landlords can guarantee their rent will be paid.

Read our five reasons on why rent guarantee is a must for any landlord.

1. Zero rent arrears

Regardless of how great your tenants may appear on paper, a reference is a snapshot of that person’s situation at that given time. Life can hit a person at any time. Losing a job or ill health are among the common factors that cause financial difficulty for tenants. This then has a chain reaction which affects rent payments and before you know it, you’re owed thousands in rent arrears.

Managing agents such as ourselves are quick to spot the signs of a troubled tenant, so we would act accordingly fast. However, having rent guarantee insurance makes that tenancy watertight. If tenants do run into troubled waters, the insurance will cover 100% of any rent arrears accumulated. This can give great peace of mind to landlords, knowing that their investment property is in positive cash flow.

2. Tenant Eviction

If your tenant is not paying their rent, the chances are you’ll want the tenant to leave. Evicting a tenant can be a lengthy and costly process. In addition to rent arrears, the amount of money lost can soon make a big impact on your overall finances. Coupled with how much time it will take to evict a tenant, it can be extremely frustrating.

Rent guarantee insurance covers eviction fees. As long as the tenant is occupying the property, the insurers have to pay any rent arrears. As a result, it’s in the insurer’s interest to evict the tenant as soon as possible, so that they minimise the amount of money they’ll have to pay out.

If you don’t have rent guarantee insurance, then you would have to pay for court fees, bailiff fees and legal fees, all whilst you’re receiving no rent from your property.

3. Legal fees

The rent guarantee cover that we offer also covers legal fees in addition to the above. Solicitors will attend court hearings if needed and will also send the relevant paperwork to the courts regarding the eviction. Having legal help is a must, especially if you want a smooth sailing eviction process.

We’ve come across a number of landlords who aim to do this themselves and soon find that they’ll need professional help. Trying to evict a tenant without any prior knowledge or the right credentials can often result in losing the case, which means you’ll also have to pay the tenants legal costs!

4. Peace of mind

Knowing that your rent is guaranteed to be paid has more than just a financial benefit. Rent guarantee insurance can also give landlords time to manage other aspects of their life, including further investments to add to their portfolio. Chasing tenants for rent and then trying to evict them can take a lot of time and cause unnecessary stress. This can all be avoided with rent guarantee insurance.

If you are a landlord and have had a tenant that’s fallen behind with their rent or a stubborn tenant that’s not willing to leave, then you’ll understand how frustrating and stressful this situation can be.

5. Positive cash flow and more investments

Not having rent arrears, will result in having more funds and should keep your investment at a positive cash flow. The funds can then be used to expand your portfolio or spent on the upkeep of your investments. If your investments aren’t making money, they then become liabilities.

A lot of landlords aim to snowball their investments. For example, using the income and profit from investments to expand their portfolios so it becomes a self-funding venture.

You can read more about rent guarantee insurance here.

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Why Derby Property Investment is booming

derby property investment

Property investment has undergone a whirlwind of changes over the recent years. With changes in tax laws for buy to let landlords and stamp duty increases, investors are being squeezed more now, than ever before. So what does this mean for Derby property investment?

Although the property market is changing, the principles of property investment are still pretty much the same. Irrespective of a ‘crackdown’ on landlords, property location and purchase price are still the major factors which come to the forefront of property investment, whether you’re a landlord or looking to ‘flip’ property.

In an ever-changing market, the challenge then becomes finding the lucrative property hot-spots. Over the years, London’s property market has been booming, even on an international level. A recent RICS report suggests that changes in tax, along with Brexit have ‘killed the London property market’. Although we’re not experts ourselves in the London property market, it’s clear to see the paradigm shift in where investors are flocking to buy, especially when we are experts in the Derby property market.

Is Derby a good place to invest?

I’m personally asked this question at least fifteen times a week by investors who don’t live in Derby (at least 10 from London on average). After being in property for seven years myself, I’ve never experienced so much ‘outside’ interest in Derby than I have now. It’s clear to see that London has lost some popularity with investors. This is perhaps as a result of high entry levels and low rental yields. In addition to Brexit and international investors withdrawing selling UK stock. That said, if prices have dropped in London, it could be a great time to buy there. To be a great investor, you have to spot the opportunity, even when all you hear is doom and gloom.

Derby property investment can still allow for 9% yields and sometimes even 10% plus (if you play your cards right). For instance we recently sold a house converted into 2 self contained residential flats for £90,000. We currently manage the property and fetch £9,240 per year in rental income. That’s a 10.27% yield! In my experience, getting these sorts of rental returns in other areas is few and far between. The investors aren’t Derby residents and follows an emerging pattern of what we’ve seen in the Derby property market.

Derby property investment made easy

As we’re landlords ourselves, we’ve been actively investing for a number of years. Furthermore, as local Derby estate agents and Derby letting agents, we’re aware of the areas which are great for renting property and reselling. We’ve helped many investors who have been local, outside Derby and even overseas to secure great deals providing solid rental returns. Each area in Derby has it’s advantages. Depending on what your strategy is, an area could be better suited to your goals.

If you’re interested in the Derby market and would like the expertise of a Derby letting agent, then do get in touch. We’re happy to offer you a consultation either in person or via phone. We can then discuss your strategy and guide you on where the hot spots of Derby are. After all, we’re in a unique position, as we see what works and what doesn’t on a daily basis.

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Rightmove House Price Index – Aug 2017

property valuation

House Price Index for Aug for East Midlands has increased 6.8% on the year and the average time taken to sell a property is 61 days.
Plethora of Sold boards restricts choice as buyer demand remains strong.
Newly marketed property prices at virtual standstill, up by 0.1% (+£312) as we enter quieter holiday season
Fundamentals remain good mid year with robust demand, low interest rates and low unemployment:
Sales agreed numbers remain strong year to date in 2017, almost identical to 2016
Prospective buyers in many parts of the country are seeing the highest proportion of properties marked as sold than at any time in the last seven years. Even with 7.6% more sellers coming to market this month compared to this time last year, stretched buyer affordability acting as a price brake with national average at a modest +2.8%, with buyers very price sensitive and some properties hitting their price ceiling.

 

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Rightmove East Midlands Houseprice Index – June 2017

Derby House Price

Sales still strong, but prices fall in June for first time since 2009

  • The number of sales agreed at this time of year is the second highest for ten years, only slightly lower than the high of May 2014
  • However, spring price momentum stalls as price of property coming to market drops by 0.4% (-£1,172), the first fall in June since 2009 at the height of the credit crunch, and the first fall this year
  • Some markets struggling against headwinds, whilst others still have following wind despite uncertainty:
  • Markets performing at different speeds and levels depending upon geography and sector 
    • Northern markets motoring ahead with an 11% increase in sales agreed year-on-year, compared to only a 3% increase in the South
    • First-time buyer sector sees newly-listed prices surge 3.5% month-on-month and 5.5% year-on-year
    • East Midlands has shown a year on year increase of 5.1% and Average House Price is £208,000
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EPC – New Measures from Apr 2018

EPC Certifications will need to be reassessed.

As the introduction of new energy efficiency regulations moves closer, landlords are being urged to check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of their rental properties.

From April 1 2018, landlords will no longer be able to agree new lets or renew tenancies for properties with an EPC rating below an E

 

 

The legislation will be extended to all non-exempt domestic rental properties from April 1, 2020, including pre-existing tenancies.

Estimates for the number of rental properties that are currently rated below an E- range from one in six to 1 in 12

A legal expert is now urging landlords to improve EPC ratings in 2017 in order to avoid ‘huge problems’ next year.

Hughes confirms that the legislation covers self-contained flats and bedsits within properties which already have an EPC.

There are a number of exemptions, which include buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural historical merit, temporary buildings with a planned timed use of two years or less, residential buildings which are intended to be used less than four months of the year, and standalone buildings with a total usable floor area of less than 50 square metres.

A Survey – which canvassed the views of almost 4,000 buy-to-let investors – recently revealed that as many as 20% of participants are unware of existing EPC regulations and 17% are unaware of the changes taking place in 2018.

“Some properties may only need a couple of tweaks to bring them in line, while others may require substantial works, which come at a cost,” says Hughes.

“Landlords have to balance this work against the risk of them being in breach of the legislation and facing a criminal conviction and penalty fine.”

landlords can ensure they are compliant by undertaking a careful assessment and setting an appropriate plan of action over the next 12 months.

“Planning now will also have the obvious benefits of spreading the cost and making sure that the relevant third party contractors are available to undertake any necessary work,” she adds.

“Before scheduling a visit from a Domestic Energy Assessor, landlords should spend some time looking at the different methods of improving their property’s energy efficiency rating and chose which is right for them.”

Measures of improving heating, insulation and lighting and installing double glazing and draft-proof doors and windows are five of the most effective ways to increase a property’s EPC rating.

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Streets Ahead Estates celebrate new Client Money protection for Landlords and Tenants

 Streets Ahead Estates supports new Government measures on Client Money Protection

This week, Government announced that it intends to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all letting agents. SAFEAgent has campaigned for the last six years for this decision, which will protect consumers by ensuring all agents holding rent money and deposits must protect it in a CMP Scheme.

Streets Ahead Estates, a professional letting agent with Client Money Protection already in place, is delighted at the decision, but is reminding consumers that mandatory CMP is not yet law, and their finances are at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection.

The market is huge, with an estimated £2.7 billion* held by letting agents in client accounts, but unfortunately there are still too many cases of criminal letting agents stealing landlord and tenant cash. This is why it is crucial that consumers check their agent is part of an agent regulatory organisation which already provides CMP.

Glynis Frew, Acting Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, says:

We did it! For all of those SAFEagents who have carried the banner for consumer protection – the Government has finally taken on board our call for all agents to be part of a Client Money Protection Scheme.

“It’s wonderful news that Government will make CMP mandatory, but it isn’t in place yet. That means both landlords and tenants are still at risk of losing money. It is so important that consumers understand that they need to choose their agent wisely by asking if they are part of a CMP scheme before entering into a contract with them.”

 This May, 3,000 professional lettings firms will unite for SAFEagent Awareness Week 15-19 May 2017 – continuing to highlight to consumers the importance of choosing an agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme run by an agent regulatory body or trade association.

Taj Gill,MD

Tenants and landlords / consumers should always look for the SAFEagent logo, an easily identifiable consumer mark denoting agents subscribed to a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

Go to www.safeagents.co.uk to find a SAFEagent in your area

 

About SAFEagent

SAFEagent – Safe Agent Fully Endorsed – is a reliable mark denoting firms that protect landlords and tenants money through Client Money Protection schemes.  Set up ‘by the industry, for the industry’ and recognised by the Government, it is supported by The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services:Property,  My Deposits, TDS and DPS as well as industry suppliers Endsleigh.

All agents registered with SAFEagent are part of a Client Money Protection Scheme that reimburses consumers in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds. There are several schemes in the sector operated by NALS, ARLA, NAEA and RICS to which agents voluntarily belong. The scope of these schemes varies and consumers should contact their agent for full details of the scheme of which they are a part.

 

 

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The 1st Agent in Derby to Sell In New Highfields Littleover Estate!

Streets Ahead Estates have just been instructed to sell a new build property in the sought after Highfeilds Estate in Littleover.

The new development is still undergoing works, however we’re proud to say we’re the first Estate Agent in Derby to be instructed to sell a property in the popular estate.

The 2 bed semi detached property has of-course never been lived in and has just been built. The property boasts dual thermostat control, allowing 2 different temperatures on different floors of the property! The property has also been customised to a high finish, such as the Kitchen with the vendor requesting additional extras through development.

This can all be yours for £169,950. Miller Homes are currently building the next phase, with the 2 bed properties set to fetch in excess of £170,000. The floor has been left to suit the buyers taste. So, the only question is, laminate or carpet?

Full details of the property can be found here  

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24 Tips When Selling Your Property

24 Things To Change To Help Sell Your Property

You’ve decided to sell your house and are excited to put it on the market, only to then be faced with a the biggest issue a vendor can face; the property is not selling. Here’s 25 tips on what we think you can chance to help you achieve that all important asking price.

  1. Asking Price

Price is the number 1 factor in houses not selling. Is your home overpriced? Has it been over valued? Get a second opinion from another agent to see what they think

  1. Lighting

First impressions count! Does your home let in natural light? If not, make sure your lights are on during viewings! A dark property can seem dull and a little uninviting.

  1. Estate Agent

With so many agents to choose from, trying to find the right estate agent can be difficult. An agent that isn’t proactive will really stall your sale. Do they advertise on all major portals? Do they provide you with regular feedback? Have they offered you advice on making the property more presentable for viewings?

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