We all know the old Adage “A dog is man’s best friend” well now, thanks to Endsleigh Insurance and the Dogs Trust; the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, letting your home to tenants and their furry friends just got a whole lot easier!
According to an article posted on Landlord Today a new specialist insurance policy is being launched this month that will give piece of mind to landlords and hope to pet owners struggling to find private rented accommodation that will accept their four legged accomplices.
The insurance policy will be available to individual landlords and will cover accidental pet damage as standard, as well as 120 days occupancy, £2m property owners’ liability, theft by tenants, malicious damage by tenants, and landlord’s contents.
A recent survey revealed 88% of landlords would rent to pet owners if there was an insurance product available covering pet damage.
The ‘Specialist Landlords Insurance – In Partnership with Lets with Pets’ was created as a response this demand, and caters to landlords who need specialist buildings and contents insurance to cover rental properties where tenants have pets.
Dogs Trust Lets with Pets manager, Clare Kivlehan, said: “Over three-quarters of pet owners experience difficulties finding privately rented accommodation that allow pets, so we are delighted to be teaming up with Endsleigh to offer landlords this specialist cover.”
To find out more about lets-with-pets insurance visit Endsleigh website here
Our advice at TIC is to ask for a specific pet reference before taking a measured risk. If you are letting a property to professional tenants you are also entitled to enquire if they will be hiring a dog walker. A positive to consideration is also that tenants with pets on average stay longer, which also helps to account for any additional wear and tear.
Property owners often look at various means to improve the interior of their property. In some cases it is done in an effort to make the property more desirable prior to placing it on the market in others, simply in order to make their home nicer to reside in. While there are plenty of home improvement projects that can make a real difference, few can have such an overwhelming effect as new flooring does.
Flooring and Noise
Back in 2003, the government introduced a number of laws to help minimise noise in properties. Called ‘The Building Regulations Approved Document E of 2003’ it included various forms of noise which are the target of noise reduction enforcement, including footsteps noise pollution. Property owners can comply with these laws by fitting an acoustic underlay with sound isolation (measured in dB) which makes the floor not only quitter, but nicer to walk on. Naturally, these laws are more relevant in the case of properties located in apartment buildings than detached or semi-detached properties. Only structures built after the law came into affect in 2003 must comply by law, however for the sake of your downstairs neighbours, an underlay is a sensible choice to fit.
Nowadays, you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to potential flooring material. Of these choices, the most complicated to choose is hardwood flooring, which is also the one most likely to make your property more desirable. If you are looking to fit wood, you need to come to terms with the two variations of wood flooring. In some cases only one variation should be fitted, as you will quickly find out why.
Solid Hardwood – The most common choice and often regarded by homeowners as the only choice is the solid type. Its core is made from 100% natural hardwood making it extremely durable with a feasible service life of 100 years.
Engineered Hardwood – It looks the same as solid, it only differs by including artificial materials on top of natural hardwood. Engineered floorboards are made from various layers that are glued together to make one rigid board. The top layer called the ‘wear layer’ is made from hardwood in thickness levels of 3mm to 6mm thick, while three to four layers of synthetic materials are placed below the wear later to make up its core.
Which One For Your Home
Because the two choices look the same when fitted, you can safely assume that they will react differently in different environments. Solid hardwood reacts to changes in climate by expanding when humid and warm conditions are present, while it will contract in the face of contrasting conditions. This reaction makes solid hardwood unfitting over under floor heating and in rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom areas. If you are looking to fit hardwood in such circumstances only engineered hardwood will prove fitting.
In properties where humid climate and under floor hearing are of little or no significance, solid hardwood is a better choice due to its longer service life. In some cases, you might find that engineered hardwood is more affordable and then you will likely be led by pricing in mind.
Enjoy your new flooring.
Article by Jonathan Sapir
Jonathan is the MD at Wood and Beyond London based timber supplier working with residential and commercial property owners.
OK, we are prepared to admit that letting agents are on occasions a dubious lot. Many landlords feel that they don’t get value for their money. With online agencies sparling all over the web, is there a need for the traditional high street agencies?
An online agency will enable you as a landlord to place your listing in direct competition with properties being advertised by other agents. What impression is it making? How does your iPhone camera compare to that of a professional photographer? At an additional cost this of course can be arranged too. Once you get going you probably would have spent on average £200 for your chance to compete.
So you have received your first enquiries. Are you able to call applicants back quickly? Are you available for viewings during the day or in the evenings? If you are then there is not valid reason to pay someone else to stand in cold & damp in the dark, for most part of the year in the UK, waiting for your prospective tenants to turn up.
Finally they have arrived, looked around, thanked you kindly and walked off. What happens next? Potentially not much as people will not want to offend you by criticising your property in your face so you will often be left disappointed with no feedback to work with. Believe it or not, tenants don’t like agents either so they tend to be a lot more upfront. Furthermore, a good agent will be trained to extract this highly valuable feedback.
Unless you are prepared to give away your property at pittance to the first person that arrives, letting a property can take 3-4 weeks. Finally, you scored lucky. What happens next? Most likely the your prospective tenants will negotiate even harder than they would with a letting agent. Without an agent in the middle it will be more difficult to say ‘no’. Plus you might feel that if you negotiate too tough you might ruin a prospective relationship with your future tenant.
Drafting a tenancy agreement and referencing the tenant is not too complicated, but mistakes can be costly. Are you up to date on current legislation, for example, regarding deposit protection? You should be.
If you are still prepared to brave it on your own then you deserve a firm handshake and honest ‘good luck’ for your ‘can-do’ attitude. If any point though you do find yourself in need of assistance The Islington Company will be here ready to help. Let's get letting!
Poor old buy-to-let, once upon a time it was David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Kate Moss all rolled into one - making headlines on a daily basis with every move endlessly analysed.
But while buy-to-let may no longer be the hot property it once was, as an income investment for those with enough money to raise a big deposit it looks attractive, especially compared to low savings rates and stock market volatility
Here is a list of 10 things to consider before you delve any deeper:
1. If you are new to buy-to-let, what do you know about the
market? Do you know the risks, as well as the benefits?
2. Promising does not mean the most expensive or cheapest. Promising means a place where people would like to live and this can be for a variety of reasons.
3. Before you think about looking around properties sit down with a pen and paper and write down the cost of houses you are looking at and the rent you are likely to get.
4. Do not just walk into your bank and building society and ask for a mortgage. It sounds obvious, but people who do this when they need a financial product are one of the reasons why banks make billions in profit.
5. Instead of imagining whether you would like to live in your investment property, put yourself in the shoes of your target tenant.
6. We have all read the stories about buy-to-let millionaires and their huge portfolios. But the days of double-digit house price rises are gone, so experts say invest for income not short-term capital growth.
7. Most buy-to-let investors look for properties near where they live. But your town may not be the best area for investment.
8. As a buy-to-let investor you have the same advantage as a first-time buyer when it comes to negotiating a discount. Make low offers and do not get talked into overpaying.
9. Before you make any investment you should always investigate the negative aspects as well as the positive. House prices are still falling in some areas and if this continues, will you be able to continue holding your investment? What will happen if you can't remortgage?
10. Buying a property is only the first step. Will you rent out and manage your property. You might decide to employ a good letting agent such as The Islington Company. In any case not all agents are the same and be sure to choose well as it is potentially a long term relationship.
If there’s one thing we at The Islington Company have seen change dramatically in the past 12 months; it is the rise in the amount of people turning to private rented properties.
The extent to which Britain is turning to the private rented
sector has been highlighted by the latest Census figures. They show that home
ownership has declined to 64% among households in England and Wales, with
numbers of private tenants sharply up.
According to the Census, 14.9m households owned – either outright or with a mortgage – their own homes last year, a decrease of 4% since 2001. By contrast, in 2011, 3,566,000 households were up in the private rented sector, up 9%% from the 1,889,000 ten years earlier. Private rented households now represent 15% of all households.
The fall in home ownership is entirely due to the decline in the number of households buying through a mortgage, as figures show the number of people owning their own homes outright has gone up.
Ben Thompson, managing director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said:
“In 2007 we saw the onset of the credit crunch and in the years that have followed mortgage availability has fallen, and in particular underwriting criteria have tightened markedly. In short, for many, it is near impossible to secure a mortgage”.
He added: “It is the private rental sector that is absorbing this shift and providing alternative rental options. Private landlords are playing a very important role at the moment and this is likely to last for some time.”