HMRC: UK residential property transactions rise by over 6%

The number of residential property transactions rose by 6.2% from November to December, HMRC’s Property Transactions Statistics have shown.

There were 104,670 residential property transactions last month which is up 6.8% year-on-year.

See the source image

Similarly, the number of non-residential transactions increased by 13.4% from November and 0.8% from December 2018.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director or property lender MT Finance, said: “The back-end of the year saw an increase in activity and purchases after the general election as a lot of transactional flow held off until after the result was known.

“Estate agents and lenders were extremely busy as people were keen to get on with things.

“There is a positivity around transactions and market sentiment that we haven’t seen for a while – maybe we are seeing the green shoots of spring appear a little earlier than usual.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Landlords & Property Owners: Do I need a new EPC to meet government legislation?

As from the 1st April 2018 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This guidance summarizes the regulations. There are separate regulations effective from 1st April 2016 under which a tenant can apply for consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties.

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For most landlords and home owners this will mean that they will no longer be able to rent out a property with a rating of F or G after April 1st 2018. As such landlords with properties in this EPC bracket should begin preparing now for April 1st. However, there are several nuances and exceptions, which this guide covers in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The ending of state aid for the Green Deal means that changes need to be made to the Regulations imposing minimum energy efficiency standards in the PRS. From April 1st 2019 landlords will now have to pay towards the required energy efficiency improvements to bring it up to standard if there is no third party funding available.

Research has also identified that energy performance certificates (EPCs) understate the thermal efficiency of solid walls. Many PRS properties have solid walls. Usually they were built pre-1918 but can be later. The Government have now recalibrated EPCs to give a truer reading. This could mean that some solid wall properties currently rated F under an EPC will no longer require any work and less work may be required in the case of a G rated property. Landlords of F and G rated solid wall properties are therefore advised to consider having a new EPC check performed. In these cases, obtaining a new EPC may mean that you no longer need to comply with the Regulations or less work may be required.

To find out if you need a new EPC contact me or follow the government website link below for a comprehensive guidance;

Source: Gov.UK

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

UK Property fraudster set to payback £5.3m

Edwin McLaren, of Bridge of Weir, was jailed alongside his wife Lorraine in 2017 for £1.6m fraud scheme.

Prosecutors are seeking more than £5 million from a fraudster who was convicted after Scotland’s longest ever criminal trial.

Edwin McLaren , 54, now faces the prospect of having to hand over more than £5.3 million to the Crown under proceeds of crime legislation.

Prosecutors previously sought £1 million and then £3 million from McLaren, of Bridge of Weir.

But now the Crown has revised the figure being sought from McLaren.

The dad of two, who was jailed alongside his wife Lorraine, accused prosecutors of incompetence during a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.

He said: “The figure has now reached £5 million.

“When I was convicted, it was £1 million.

“Then it was £3 million and it was £3 million a few weeks back.

“It’s now £5 million – the Crown seem to be in disarray.

“The people who are doing this don’t know what they’re doing.”

McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6 million property fraud scheme.

He was found guilty of 29 charges after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow that began in September 2015 and heard evidence over 320 days.

His 54-year-old wife Lorraine was found guilty of two charges involving a fraudulent mortgage application on their own home and money laundering involving a sum of £128,000.

During his trial, a court heard how McLaren preyed on vulnerable people by arranging for their title deeds of their homes to be transferred to his associates without the victims’ knowledge.

The estimated cost of the 20-month trial was £7.5 million.

Jurors heard of the couple’s lavish lifestyle which included luxury holidays in Dubai and spending £100,000 on a ring and private schools for their children.

McLaren, who drove a Bentley, was described by trial judge Lord Stewart as showing “breathtaking dishonesty”.

The fraudster left victims out of pocket and in some cases homeless.

At a hearing last month, McLaren told Lord Arthurson that prosecutors were seeking to seize his £800,000 home in Bridge of Weir.

Source: BBC News

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

TPO looking for a new Property Ombudsman

The current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, is giving up the role in November after five years in the post.

The closing date for applicants is February 18

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Established in 1990, the Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a government approved scheme providing fair, free and independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. Responding last year to nearly 30,000 enquiries, and instructing agents to pay over £2 million of awards, TPO is the primary source of industry standards and consumer redress in an industry with widespread consumer impact. 

TPO is proud of its reputation, its strong connections with policy makers and its focus on quality, rigour and reach. However, operating in a competitive landscape, and in a sector which touches the lives of millions of people, means that TPO is not an organisation that can ever afford to stand still.  The head of the current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, stepping down in 2020 after 5 years outstanding service, TPO are looking for an outstanding leader to fulfil this key leadership role, and continue to take the organisation forward.   

TPO’s new Ombudsman will play a critical role in raising the profile of the organisation and its work, improving its performance, impact and influence, and ensuring that it has the culture, partnerships and resources in place to be sustainable over the long term. They will nurture, develop and inspire TPO’s staff team, based predominantly at the Head Office in Salisbury, and represent TPO externally, including to sector leaders, policy makers, the media and a range of other cross-sector audiences.  

TPO would welcome applications for this role from people with strategic and operational leadership credentials, and a strong track record in external engagement roles and influencing policy. We need an Ombudsman with a confident and sensitive leadership style, who can motivate and energise our people and stakeholders. An understanding of redress and ombudsman services and/or of the property sector is highly desirable.  

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to the Property Ombudsman on this appointment.  For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit www.saxbam.com/appointments using reference QAQDB.  Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880(during office hours).  Applications should be received by noon on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Home is where your heart is

A proverb said so long ago is immensely significant today as well. The origin to the proverb “Home is where the heart is” is given by Roman naval commander and naturalist, Pliny the Elder. He was formerly known as Gaius Plinius Secundus.

 

Undoubtedly the concept lies in returning to the place where you belonged, have spent the most cherished time of your life and willing to invest good part of your resources to develop and maintain.

See the source image

Ralph Waldo Emerson once quoted, “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” And to build a house with love and dreams it will take skill and money.

To make your house a home you should consider home improvement that is design and decorated to your taste, personality and comfort.

Elements to consider and made available at least to a standard approved level are;

  • Flooring and tiling 
  • Furniture and fittings
  • Heating and plumbing
  • Electronic and electric gadgets
  • Security

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Home Improvement: Make the most of mirrors like a magician

Magicians aren’t alone in using mirrors to their advantage.  Adding mirrors to your home is one of the easiest ways to create the illusion of space.

The 3 major ways you can use mirror for home improvement

  1. Space – make a small room or a hallway feel larger by placing a mirror on the longest wall. This will help balance the space as the reflection of the light will make the room feel wider. See the source image
  2. Focal reflector – when choosing  where to hang your mirror, think about what will be reflected in it. Use it to reflect an interesting piece of art or featured wall covered in luxe wallpaper. See the source image
  3. Piece of art – mirrors can be a piece of art in their own right. With many different designs to suit all styles, a mirror can make a statement and provide a focal point to any room. See the source image

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

SMART Building project planning

Whether you are undertaking a property self build, refurbishment or renovation, it would be reasonable to expect that most on your priority will be the financial implications: how the project will be financed, how much finance is available and what the expected value of the project will be.

See the source image

 

In order to assist in the smooth running of the project and in particular the financial elements, your plans need to be SMART.

Specific

  • The more specific your details, the more likely it is that you will obtain the true cost for financial planning and therefore present your case for accurate borrowing requirements.

Measurable

  • Having specific details of how the cost of a particular item (labour or material) has been obtained will enable you to measure this (in monetary terms) against alternative suppliers.

Achievable

  • By carrying out this costing process (even with approximate figure), you will soon start to understand the true costs and whether they are achievable with your initial thoughts on budget costs.

Realistic

  • Above all your earning and cash flow needs to meet your planned financial spend to ensure that you can comfortably afford to complete the project.

Time-frame 

  • All elements of the project should have some sort of timescale, even if specific dates are not known.
  • You may find that due to the details involved in your specification obtaining, comparing and negotiating for the best products and deals to save and raise money before and during the project becomes easier.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk