Legal considerations for prospective landlords

Becoming a landlord is rewarding; you build relationships with your tenants and you take joy in providing people with a safe place that they can call home. But there are some legal requirements you have to abide by too – and if you don’t adhere to them then you could find yourself paying fines or being taken to court – which can be a long and stressful process. If you’re thinking of renting out your property and becoming a landlord, read the advice below to ensure that you’re doing it the right way. Image Credits: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com Not everyone can be a landlord You can’t just rent out your property; you’ll need to check with your mortgage lender and insurance company first, you may also be required to obtain a landlord licence. If you don’t get permission first and you go ahead with renting out your property, you could face...
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Tips on Selling Your Property Quickly

When it comes to selling your home, you may not always have the luxury of time. Life has a habit of disregarding our plans, throwing events and happenings into the mix that we could never have foreseen. Bereavements, unexpected redundancies, failing businesses, and more can all necessitate the need for a quick sale, and they’re not always something that you can handle exactly as you would like. This means that having an action plan in place can prove invaluable when it all feels like it’s starting to fall apart. There are always ways to force the outcome that we require, and in the case of a rapid turnaround, there are lots of tactics that will help you to secure the sale you’re relying on. Here are just a few of them to help you… #1: Price Your Property Realistically One of the most effective ways to secure a quick sale is...
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Court call centres fuelling possession delays says Landlord Action

Since reporting a year ago that under-resourced county courts were overwhelmed by the number of possession claims being put forward, Landlord Action says the problem has not improved and is now being compounded by the use of call centres run by inexperienced temporary staff.  They warn other practitioners “If you want an answer quickly, be prepared to chase.” Twelve months ago, Landlord Action employed a full-time member of staff solely to follow up claims made to the courts. They wanted to ensure they continued providing clients with an efficient service, despite the challenges via third party delays.  However, with further court closures, it now transpires that some county courts are operating call centres, where temporary staff, with little or no experience, have been appointed to process claims and correspondence. In a recent routine phone call to follow up a case, an operator informed Julie Herbert, Head of Legal at Landlord...
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Legionella Testing - Question and Answer

  As you may know, it is now law for all residential properties to have a risk assessment in place for Legionella. Similar to the legal requirement of a CP12 and EPC certifications, landlords are now required to have a risk assessment carried out of every properties water system. The aim of a risk assessment is to assess the water system in place to ensure no high risks are present that could possibly be fatal. There is useful information on the Health and Safety Executive website.  Please follow the link to their website that outlines your duty and the enforcement around this; http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-you-must-do.htm Also, heres a short video from RICS - Property Standards Director, Peter Bolton King FRICS puts members legionnella testing questions their UK Residential Director, Andrew Bulmer FRICS.    
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Evictions- Its a messy business

Last week I attended an eviction in East London with the Channel 5 film crew in tow.  This was not an ordinary case; the arrears were in excess of £20k as a result of rent not being paid for over 2 ½ years. The landlord was based overseas and had passed his portfolio of properties to be looked after by a property manager, who was clearly not up to the task.  They had allowed rent arrears to build up on several of his properties.  As a further blow to this landlord, he unfortunately instructed a fraudulent legal representative to carry out the evictions.  They did nothing for months and then absconded with the legal fees, leaving the landlord losing thousands of pounds worth of rent on his portfolio. One of the tenants in question tried to defend the case at the hearing on grounds of disrepair, but had not paid a...
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Landlord Action against MORE court fee rises

The Ministry of Justice has proposed to charge 5% of the value of the claim to all court cases worth more than £10,000, which it estimates will bring in an extra £120m a year. A further consultation has also opened on extra charges for possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings. Possession claim fees will rise by £75, which the fee for general applications will go up from £50 to £100 for applications made by consent and from £155 to £255 for contested claims. These increases will apply equally to all applicants. We at Landlord Action are absolutely opposed to each and every one of the justifications given by the Ministry of Justice for enhanced court fees. Our responses to each of these are details as follows:- Consultation justification: -          The fee remains low, compared to the overall costs of litigation; Landlord Action response: The market place for practitioners...
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The strong future growth of conveyancing

After a recent Conveyancer Sentiment Survey conducted by SearchFlow the conveyancing industry is predicting strong future growth. The findings from this survey are extremely promising for all involved in the industry.
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1st October is D-Day for Letting Agents

So at last the Government has agreed that every letting agent in England and Wales must join an authorised consumer redress scheme to ensure tenants and leaseholders have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account.  The law comes into effect from 1st October 2014. Any agent that fails to join one of the three approved redress schemes, The Property Ombudsmen, Ombudsmen Services or The Property Redress Scheme, will face a fine of up to £5,000 from their local authority and could ultimately be closed down if they continue to breach their legal requirement to join such a scheme. After joining, the agent must comply with the schemes Ombudsman decision as failure to do so may result in the agent being removed from that scheme. This may then result in the agent being unable to join another Government authorised consumer redress scheme. By joining one of the schemes, the property professional confirms they will...
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Free tickets to The London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show at Olympia, London

The London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements makes its national debut at Olympia with new feature highlights and experts
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Tips for Ensuring Your Property Investment Is Profitable

Investing in property can be one of the trickiest of investments to get right. It can also be one of the most rewarding and profitable if you know what you are doing. Buying houses, renovating them and then renting them out to tenants can be a lengthy and stressful project, but it is important that care and effort is put into each stage of this process.
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The Importance of Maintaining an Empty Property

  Home maintenance is one of those things which most people carry out as-and-when needed. It might happen gradually on a day-to-day basis, or you might suddenly find that you have a couple of weeks to dedicate to a single project. However you choose to maintain your home, it’s certainly much easier to do so when you’re occupying the property and can do so at your leisure. But when you’re not actually in situ at the property in question, maintenance becomes that much harder. Adhering to Regulations        Even though an occupied home won’t suffer the same wear and tear as one with inhabitants, it will still need maintaining on a regular basis. In fact, there are certain rules and regulations pertaining to the maintenance of unoccupied homes that homeowners will need to follow, or risk prosecution. Carrying out such maintenance can be difficult – especially if you live...
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The Legal Responsibilities of a Landlord

There are legal responsibilities that must be adhered to if you would like to become a landlord. This brief article will outline these responsibilities, for those of you who are in this position as a check list and for those of you who are currently renting a property and believe that your landlord has breached or is breaching any of these responsibilities. In a world where house prices are rising rapidly, more and more people are turning to renting and letting as it is a more cost effective solution. It is partly because of the rising numbers of tenants now privately renting that the regulations have increased over the past few years.  You, as the landlord need to be confident that you are acting within the law. Most of this is fairly apparent and landlords do it automatically, but it’s good to know what the legal requirements are. Repairs The...
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Taxman wins fight to close property tax loophole

There was an interesting article in the Telegraph today regarding the taxman closing a property tax stamp duty loophole. This ruling is thought to boost future HMRC revenues by £160m. Heres the full article from The Telegraph. A High Court ruling has sided with the taxman over legislation introduced last year which aims to stop wealthy property buyers avoid paying tens of thousands of pounds in stamp duty. Last June the taxman moved to close a loophole on stamp duty land tax (SDLT) avoidance schemes. These schemes enable property buyers to avoid paying stamp duty, typically on homes worth seven figures. Offshore Companies There are various schemes but the most common involves transferring ownership of a property to an offshore company so that when it comes to be sold the buyer purchases the company as a whole. In doing so stamp duty can be cut from 5pc to 0.5pc on...
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Free tickets to The Southern Homebuilding, Renovating and Home Improvement Show

We have negotiated with The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show and obtained 25 pairs of free tickets for our subscribers. Each pair of tickets is worth £24. The biggest combined homebuilding and home improvement event comes to Sandown Park. Surrey, 28-29 June 2014
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House Horror Stories

Anyone buying a house will know the stresses involved in getting a survey, finding a mortgage, and waiting for completion. The process can and often does take months to complete, and in this period you’re committing to a lot of money and spadework – you certainly don’t want the deal to fall through.
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Joint Ventures...Its All Change!

 It’s a real favourite, isn’t it?  The ability to JV (Joint Venture) with someone on a property deal (as long as it goes well!) can create a real win/win situation for all concerned.  Making use of JV finance historically has enabled people to be involved in the world of property investment when they may not otherwise have been able, on both sides.  Many property education companies tell us how to nurture associations with people and work together in order for us to use OPM (Other Peoples’ Money) to help us finance deals.      FCA Policy Statement   This is great in principle, however... times have changed.  Since the 1st January 2014, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has brought in a new Policy Statement governing the way JV relationships may operate.  Policy Statement 13/3 defines some very clear rules to determine how we may or may not form a JV partnership.  In...
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Free tickets to The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show

Just Do Property have negotiated some free tickets to The Home Building Show for our subscribers. Click here to apply for free tickets.
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The Seven Massive Mistakes Costing Most People Thousands of Pounds in Lost Property Profits

This series of articles has been written by Nikki Pope, Property Investor, Lawyer, Educator. Nikki is running one of her fantastic seminars this Saturday in London.   How to Buy £1.5 Million Property for NO MONEY DOWN! Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM So you can hear right from the horses mouth!  Click here to register.  In the meantime enjoy the first of the seven massive mistakes.  Weve all heard about location, location, location when it comes to buying property but what about strategy, strategy, strategy? Property is an excellent way of generating real wealth - but it is a big slow boat and expensive to turn around. Get it right & the numbers are big. The prospects for property profits are excellent. Get it wrong and the numbers are big and in a stagnating or falling housing market it can be very difficult to move on from...
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How to buy £1.5Million Property Portfolio for NO MONEY DOWN

Event with Nikki Pope Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM (GMT) London, United Kingdom
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Paul Shamplina takes to BBC Radio 4 to voice concerns with "Rent to Rent"

On Wednesday 16th October Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action appeared on BBC4’s You and Yours show, to highlight the shocking risk to landlords of the latest money making strategy to sweep the property industry, “Rent to Rent”.  It’s a simple concept: Rent a house, then sub-let the rooms to sub- tenants and make as much profit as possible.  This will be available to listen to on BBC iPlayer This is a mushrooming phenomenon which has seen hoards of “experts” writing blogs, books and seminars on how to get started and even running courses costing up to £500 on how to bring in tens of thousands of pounds with virtually no out-lay. One such “guru” includes Daniel Burton who claimed he earned £35,000 a month from the get-rich-quick scheme.  Last week, The Guardian revealed he has gone missing, leaving tenants and landlords across London hundreds of pounds out of pocket. The idea behind...
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