UK Covid19 Lockdown: Only emergency repairs allowed, Landlords and Estate Agents told

The latest advice issued today is that although tradespeople can complete repairs at properties if they take precautions, landlords should avoid face-to-face contact with existing or prospective tenants.

The government has told landlords and letting agents that they should not conduct house viewings or complete routine inspections of properties, but has said that their tradespeople can complete emergency repairs.

See the source imageBut confirmation has yet to come through from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government about essential tasks such as gas safety and electrical equipment testing and whether these will be exempt from the lockdown as ‘essential services’.

It is also understood that ministers are considering whether to allow many of the companies serving the private rented sector to continue doing their work if a property is owned by someone working in frontline health and emergency services.

Until yesterday industry organisation Gas Safe Register was recommending to landlords that they book inspections by an approved engineer as soon as possible if their renewal date was within the next two months.

The organisation says that following the lock-down announcement last night, it is urgently seeking guidance from the Cabinet Office and the Health and Safety Executive about whether residential property safety inspections will be deemed ‘essential services’.

Also, landlords who are refurbishing properties can continue their work as construction sites have also been given the green light as essential service, it was confirmed this morning.

But all this advice from government remains just that – guidance; the necessary legislation to make it an offence to ignore the rules has yet to make its way through parliament, although this is expected to be achieved at any moment.

One grey area is whether landlords can help tenants move into or out of a property; there are a large number of outstanding rental tenancy contracts that were signed and paid for up-front before the Coronavirus shutdown, and now lockdown, gripped the nation.

Source: LandlordZone

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Building Regulation standards: The 14 Parts you need to know

Building regulations in the United Kingdom are statutory instruments or statutory regulations that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building Act 2003.

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Anyone wishing to undertake building work which is subject to the building regulations is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations and to use one of the two types of building control services available, which are not free. The two types of services are:

  • The Building Control Service provided by your local authority.
  • The Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.

It is important to understand the areas that require compliance.

The 14 ‘parts’ of schedule 1 to the building regulations are:

  1. A – Structure
  2. B – Fire safety
  3. C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  4. D – Toxic substances
  5. E – Resistance to the passage of sound
  6. F – Ventilation
  7. G – Hygiene
  8. H – Drainage and waste disposal
  9. J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  10. K – Protection from falling,collision and impact
  11. L – Conservation of fuel and power
  12. M – Access to and use of buildings
  13. N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
  14. P – Electrical safety

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

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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

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

Get garden savvy

Fancy a top class garden? Whether you’re employing a landscaper or doing it yourself it’s pertinent you know what you want from your garden.

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Below is a checklist for discussing your garden requirements with a landscape gardener or from your local garden store;

  • Who is going to use this garden (adults, children, animals)?
  • At what times of the year and day will it be used most?
  • Which activities will take place here(eating,playing,sunbathing,swimming)?
  • What do you like most in a garden?
  • What do you dislike most in a garden?
  • Are privacy and security an issue?See the source image
  • What is on your own wish list and that of your family?
  • How to incorporate and integrate your wish and that of your family?
  • Which styles of garden do you like? (internet, garden magazines and books are useful to give an idea.)
  • What is the timescale? This can be years.
  • What is the budget? (Be honest – there’s no point in stating a figure that is in fact unachievable.)
  • How will it be maintained? By yourself or staff?
  • How much time will be available for its maintenance?

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Need help with commercial biogas Energy generation project financing, Operation and Management please contact me for more details

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Property Refurbishment: Should I improve or extend?

When undertaking property refurbishment, to make the decision of whether to improve or extend your existing property there are things you have to consider with cost being top of the list.  You will need to consider what your requirements really are.

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For example, here are some of the reasons why you may consider carrying out improvement and alteration, as opposed to building an extension – to:

  • Create a larger or open plan kitchen
  • Enlarge the dining room
  • Enlarge the living room or create an open plan living space
  • Create space for en-suite bathroom to the master bedroom
  • Create a utility room
  • Create a play room
  • Create more storage space
  • Create a grand entrance hall
  • Create additional bedroom

See the source imageMany properties may offer the space to achieve some of the above without the need to extend. Improvements and alterations may cost considerably less and could be carried out without the necessity of obtaining planning permission, although it is advisable to contact a professional builder or structural engineer to ascertain the structural implications when planning to remove dividing walls or chimney breasts, etc. Depending on the age of the property, and other factors associated with, for example, historic buildings, you may need to contact the planning office to ensure that you do not need planning permission to carry out the work.

If you are in two minds about extending or improving your property, it could be beneficial from a financial point of view to start off by making small non-structural improvements. This should in any case add value to your property and make it more desirable. It will also give you the opportunity to see if it meets with your requirements, and if it doesn’t you can then plan for the next option.

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Property Purchase: What does tenants in common & joint tenants ownership means?

In UK property purchase in spite of the word ‘tenants’, this has nothing to do with renting the property. It’s all to do with what happens if one of the property owner dies.

Joint tenants – If your names are written on the deeds as ‘joint tenants’ then if one of you dies the other one (the survivor) gets the whole of the property straight away.

Tenants in common – If your names are written on the deeds as ‘tenants in common’ then if one of you dies, the will is examined to see what should happen to their share. If there is no will, there are rules about this and they should be followed. Tenants in common is usually used where either party has children by a previous relationship and wants to make sure that on their death, their share of the house goes to their children.

If one person is putting more than the other then as tenants in common you can hold it in unequal shares for example 70 per cent to one, 30 per cent to the other. However in this case you should consider drawing up a Trust Deed as well to protect your interest. It is best to seek professional and legal advice.

 

 

For property investment in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk