Posts with tag: guide

Upad Launches New Find a Tenant Guide for Landlords

Published On: July 28, 2017 at 9:15 am

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Upad Launches New Find a Tenant Guide for Landlords

Upad Launches New Find a Tenant Guide for Landlords

Online letting agent Upad has launched a new Find a Tenant Guide for new and experienced landlords.

The guide, published and accessible publicly via the Upad website, is designed to help landlords with 12 steps of the rental process.

The new Find a Tenant Guide was inspired by Upad’s experience in speaking with both new and long-term landlords, and realising that many of them would appreciate a resource that allows them to dip in and out of to focus on what they need to know.

REMEMBER: We offer free and comprehensive guides for landlords on all aspects of lettings law. Access them by signing up for free here: /guides/

Upad’s Find a Tenant Guide covers everything from advertising on property portals to understanding the legalities of tenancy agreements. The guide contains 12 steps, each designed as an introduction to the specific topic it covers.

In addition, it contains interactive calculators and sliding images, with further interactive elements planned to be built in over the coming months.

The Founder and CEO of Upad, James Davis, comments on the launch: “As someone who launched Upad to provide an alternative way for private landlords to find great tenants, I’m proud of our record for providing informative content and webinars to tell landlords everything they need to know about lettings.

“For us, this is a new means of providing key information to landlords in an accessible manner and has been produced based on the feedback of landlords. It again highlights our commitment to providing the best insight and customer service in our industry.”

Landlords, you can access Upad’s new Find a Tenant Guide and explore all of the information that it offers through the Upad website: https://www.upad.co.uk/find-a-tenant-guide

We hope that it helps you understand the lettings process more clearly and answers any questions you may have.

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A Landlord’s Guide to Condensation Control

Published On: July 10, 2016 at 8:00 am

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Condensation damp is one of the biggest problems for landlords and is an increasing issue. If condensation isn’t addressed, it can lead to black mould growth on decorated finish, clothes, shoes and linen, which can be difficult to remove and is proven to exacerbate health issues for tenants, especially in those that are already prone to repertory problems.

If you have a rental property, ensure that both you and your tenants know how to prevent condensation build up with this helpful guide from Alliance Remedial Supplies.

What is condensation?

Condensation occurs when water vapour generated throughout the day is no longer held in the air by the heating and forms as water on windows, walls and cold surfaces.

The internal temperature at which water vapour turns to condensation is called dew point temperature; this is not a specific temperature, but one that varies from property-to-property and even room-to-room.

A Landlord's Guide to Condensation Control

A Landlord’s Guide to Condensation Control

Water vapour can build up throughout the day in various ways. In a household of just two tenants, up to 15 pints of water are held in the air from the following activities:

A useful example that helps explain the process is when we remove a cold can of drink out of the fridge, pour it into a glass and add some ice. In a short time, the glass will form condensation on the outside. Although this mostly occurs in the summer months, it is exactly what happens inside your property during the cold months.

In a house of five or six people, carrying out normal daily activities can easily generate 25-30 pints of water.

Preventing mould

Mould spores, which are in our environment all the time, develop and proliferate when their food source – condensation – forms on a regular basis in significant volumes. So how do you stop this much water vapour being generated or ending up as condensation?

Often, the advice given is to turn up the heating and keep it on for longer. While it is true that warm air holds water as vapour, provided the temperature doesn’t drop below dew point temperature, not everyone has the funds to keep their heating on for long periods of time.

The best solution is to control the internal levels of humidity. Humidity is the measurement of water vapour held in the air. If humidity exceeds 70% on a consistent basis, condensation will form, leading to black mould growth.

Properties should be maintained at a humidity level of between 40-60%.

Controlling humidity

Controlling internal humidity is a balance of measures. First and foremost, where possible, ventilate the property by opening windows from front to back, side to side, on all floors. What you are trying to achieve is a change of internal air quality on a regular basis.

Ideally, a residential property should achieve a complete air change at an absolute minimum of once every hour. This is when the existing internal air conditions are refreshed by fresh air. In basic terms, when windows are open, fresh air will come in through one elevation or direction of the property and push stale air out through windows on another side of the property. At the very least, fresh air will mix with stale air, reducing the level of humidity – of course, this is subject to external humidity conditions, which, on occasion, can be quite high.

However, be aware that this isn’t always the best thing to do in the winter, as letting in cold air will lose a lot of heat.

These tips will help you keep humidity levels steady in your rental property:

  • If you don’t already, it is advised that you install extractor fans in the bathroom, kitchen and utility room. Tenants should be educated on the benefits that extractor fans provide and how they are to be operated. At the very minimum, extractor fans should run for at least 15 minutes after tenants have finished cooking, showering or bathing.
  • Additionally, remind tenants to keep doors to kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms closed.
  • Ensure that tumble dryers do not ventilate inside the property.
  • Keep lids on fish tanks and saucepans.
  • Do not dry towels and cloths directly on radiators if possible.
  • Do not run paraffin fuel burners.

If you are looking for a useful investment, purchase a LCD display hygrometer. Place this in a central part of the property or badly affected rooms to provide you with a current reading of the level of humidity inside. This can encourage a tenant to open windows, which will keep the internal humidity at acceptable levels.

Another measure to make cold, external walls less prone to condensation is by way of insulation. Insulating condensation paint technology is providing excellent results among other insulating systems. Although this will help with overall energy efficiency, the cure for condensation is ultimately to ventilate as much as possible.

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A Landlord’s Guide to the Mortgage Interest Tax Relief Changes

Published On: May 30, 2016 at 8:03 am

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Categories: Finance News

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Many buy-to-let landlords are set to see their profits decline after Chancellor George Osborne revealed plans to reduce mortgage interest tax relief in the summer Budget.

At present, landlords can reduce their taxable income by deducting the cost of certain expenses from their rental income. Until now, these allowable expenses have included costs such as repairs, letting agent fees and mortgage interest.

Under the new rules, landlords will still be able to deduct repairs and other legitimate expenses from their taxable income, but will only be able to offset a portion of their mortgage interests costs against tax, if they are a higher rate taxpayer.

Example

To demonstrate exactly how this will work, London estate agent Portico has calculated the impact of the change for a higher rate taxpayer. The firm assumes that they purchased the property for £500,000, are renting it out for £400 per week, and have a 75% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage with a 3.5% interest rate.

A Landlord's Guide to Mortgage Interest Tax Relief Changes

A Landlord’s Guide to the Mortgage Interest Tax Relief Changes

Under the new rules, this landlord would end up being £2,625 worse off, with their profits falling from £4,000 to little over £1,000.

Although there is no doubt that this change will make things more difficult for landlords, the majority of buy-to-let investors will not be affected quite as severely as this example, explains Portico.

To begin with, landlords that are still classed as basic rate taxpayers after the changes are introduced will not be affected at all.

Secondly, most landlords have a lower LTV than 75%. Additionally, landlords in London have enjoyed substantial capital and rent price growth in the past decade. This means that interest payments represent a much smaller proportion of rental income than shown in the example above. Therefore, landlords with lower mortgage costs will lose less under the change.

Another bit of good news is that the change will be phased in gradually. In the current tax year (15/16), there will be no change at all. The tax change will begin with four equal increases over the next four years. For the example above, this means that the landlord will be unaffected this financial year, around £650 worse off next year, £1,300 the year after, £2,000 the year after that, and finally £2,625 by the time they pay their tax bill at the end of 2021.

Putting it simply, the current rules give most landlords a 40% discount on their interest costs. Under the new system, this drops to 20%.

Portico advises landlords to cut their interest costs by remortgaging.

With buy-to-let mortgage interest rates falling significantly since the financial crisis, current deals are substantially better than those arranged a few years ago.

Portico also suggests having your rental property re-valued to take house price growth into account. This would make your mortgage lender recalculate your LTV, and a lower LTV means a better interest rate.

Ahead of the tax change, ensure that you protect your rental income with Rent Guarantee Insurance, which covers rent payments if your tenants fall into arrears.

A Landlord’s Guide to the 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge

Published On: May 29, 2016 at 8:06 am

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As of 1st April 2016, buy-to-let landlords and second homebuyers are charged a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on additional residential dwellings.

The measure forms part of a series of policies introduced by the Government to crack down on landlords.

The additional 3% Stamp Duty charge could represent a significant extra cost to buy-to-let landlords, which may affect the economic viability of future property investment.

What types of property are affected? 

Although we might think we know what a residential dwelling is, it is worth noting that this also includes buildings that are in the process of being adapted for use as a dwelling, off-plan purchases and holiday homes. Commercial properties are, however, unaffected by the surcharge.

What are the other conditions? 

The additional Stamp Duty charge will generally apply to residential property purchases if:

  • The purchase price is £40,000 or more.
  • The purchaser already owns another residential property with a market value of £40,000 or more.
  • The dwelling being purchased is not replacing the purchaser’s only or main residence.

As a result, the surcharge will apply to most residential property acquisitions by landlords. There are some limited exemptions for properties purchased whilst subject to a lease with more than 21 years to run, but these cases are rare.

A Landlord's Guide to the 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge

A Landlord’s Guide to the 3% Stamp Duty Surcharge

What else do I need to know? 

The rules surrounding the additional charge are complex, but here are some points you should know:

  • If a property is purchased jointly (by a married couple, for example), the additional Stamp Duty charge will apply to the whole transaction if one of the purchasers, when considered individually, would be caught by the change.
  • Some instances, when someone might not expect to be caught, can still fall within the rules. For example, if an individual owns one or more rental properties but is now acquiring a residential property as their home, unless they dispose of all properties before the purchase, the 3% surcharge will apply.
  • Contrary to previous claims, limited companies owning more than 10 properties will be hit by the charge.

Can I reduce the impact of the surcharge?

Certain purchases will fall outside of the rules, but this will mostly be limited to replacements of main residences. This requires disposing of the replaced property, within a period of three years of the acquisition, preventing landlords from hopping between homes to avoid the surcharge.

However, some reliefs are also available:

  • If more than one property is purchased in a single transaction, multiple dwellings relief may be available, which ensures that the average cost is used when calculating the Stamp Duty charge. Although the 3% surcharge will still apply, this method can significantly reduce the cost.
  • Sometimes, the potentially lower commercial rates of Stamp Duty can apply. This includes acquisitions of mixed-use properties (such as flats above shops), purchases or more than six individual dwellings in one transaction, and certain linked purchases where a commercial property is purchased alongside a residential dwelling.

There are other options available, however, it is always a good idea to seek advice on the best way to structure your property transaction.

For an example of how much the 3% surcharge will hit landlords, look at the calculations below:

If a homeowner with a single dwelling were to purchase a £300,000 property, they would be charged Stamp Duty in the following way:

0% on the first £125,000 – £0.00

2% on the next £125,000 – £2,500.00

5% on the final £50,000 – £2,500.00

= £5,000.00

If a buy-to-let landlord bought the same property for £300,000, they would be charged as such:

3% on the first £125,000 – £3,750.00

5% on the next £125,000 – £6,250.00

8% on the final £50,000 – £4,000.00

= £14,000.00

This represents an additional £9,000 in Stamp Duty for the landlord, or an increase in the tax of around 200%.

Remember to seek financial advice if you are unsure of how the tax change will affect you.