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Blog | butters john bee Estate & Letting Agents

May 15, 2024 A Complete Guide to Renting Out Your Property

Renting out your property can be a rewarding venture, whether you're an accidental landlord or diving into property investment as a new venture. However, it also comes with responsibilities, challenges, and decisions. Here's a comprehensive guide for first-time landlords. Why Rent Out Your Property? Renting out a property can provide a steady income stream, cover mortgage payments, and potentially build a portfolio of rental properties. It's a financial decision that can also be beneficial if you're temporarily living elsewhere and not ready to sell your property. How to Rent Out Your Property Decide whether you want to manage the rental yourself or enlist a letting agent to handle administrative tasks. Also, consider offering your property as a single unit or as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for higher rental income, albeit with more responsibilities and expenses. Talking to Your Mortgage Lender If you're renting out your property for the first time, speak with your mortgage lender. They may require you to switch to a 'buy to let' mortgage for long-term rentals or grant permission for short-term rentals under existing mortgage terms. Understanding Landlord Licensing Some areas in the UK have landlord licensing schemes to improve property management standards. There are three types: Mandatory licensing for HMOs Additional licensing for specific HMOs Selective licensing for all landlords in certain areas Check with your local council for details and annual licensing fees. Setting the Rent Determine the appropriate rent based on property size, facilities, local market rates, and tenant incomes. Online rent calculators can provide estimates to help you set competitive rental prices. Tax and National Insurance Rental income is taxable, and landlords must declare profits after deducting expenses like mortgage interest payments. The first £1,000 of property income is tax-free. Landlords may also be subject to National Insurance contributions depending on their rental income and other factors. Legal Responsibilities for Landlords Ensure compliance with safety regulations: Conduct annual gas safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer Check electrical installations every five years by a qualified person Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as required Implement fire safety measures like fire-resistant furnishings and escape routes Right to Rent Checks Verify prospective tenants' immigration status before agreeing to a tenancy. Landlords are legally responsible for conducting right to rent checks to avoid fines. Creating a Tenancy Agreement Draft a tenancy agreement outlining both parties' obligations. Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are standard for private rentals in England and Wales. Online templates can provide a starting point. Protecting Tenants' Deposits Legally protect tenants' deposits using a government-backed deposit scheme. Landlords must return deposits at the end of the tenancy, minus deductions for damages or unpaid rent. Landlord Insurance Consider specialist landlord insurance to cover risks like unpaid rent or property damage. This type of insurance may include public liability, loss of rent, emergency cover, and legal expenses. Possession Rights Understand the legal procedures for regaining possession of your property, such as serving Section 8 or Section 21 notices, obtaining court orders, or negotiating with tenants. How Can butters john bee Help? If managing a rental property seems overwhelming, butters john bee offers full management services. A dedicated property manager handles tenant communication, repairs, and property maintenance, making the process easier for first-time landlords. Renting out a property involves careful planning and adherence to legal requirements. If you're considering this venture, butters john bee can provide guidance and support throughout the process. Contact us using the form below.

Apr 17, 2024 Rent Increase Notices: Understanding Fair Rent Increases as a Landlord

When it comes to rental agreements, it's important for landlords to consider how and when rent increases will be addressed. The specifics can vary depending on the type of tenancy in place. Periodic Tenancies For tenancies that roll on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis, landlords can typically only increase rent once a year without the tenant's agreement. Fixed-Term Tenancies During a fixed-term tenancy (e.g., six months), rent can generally only be increased if the tenant agrees to it. If not, any increase can only take effect after the fixed term concludes. Rent Review Clauses Some tenancy contracts include rent review clauses, outlining when and how rent increases will occur. This clause specifies the timing of the increase, the notice period provided to tenants, and the calculation method for the increase amount. If you need assistance managing payments or drafting tenancy contracts, butters john bee's property management services offer dedicated support to landlords. Learn more about Landlord Advice. Section 13 Notice When a tenancy agreement lacks a rent review clause or has expired, and the landlord wishes to raise rent, a Section 13 notice can be used. This notice requires at least one month's notice for weekly or monthly agreements, and up to six months for longer-term agreements. Determining Rent Increase Amounts Landlords must obtain tenant permission for rent increases exceeding previously agreed amounts. The increase should also align with local average rents for similar properties. For instance, if one-bedroom flats in an area rent for around £600 per month, it wouldn't be fair to ask £900 for a comparable property in the same location. Notice Period for Rent Increases Landlords must provide adequate notice before increasing rent. For weekly or monthly payments, one month's notice is required. For yearly tenancies, landlords must provide 6 months' notice. Remember, rent increases during fixed-term tenancies can only occur if explicitly allowed by a rent review clause in the tenancy agreement. Proposing a Rent Increase Landlords can propose rent increases by: Renewing a tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term with an increased rent Agreeing to a rent increase with the tenant and documenting the agreement Using a 'Landlord’s Notice Proposing a New Rent' form to increase rent after the fixed term ends Tenant Response to Rent Increases Tenants can refuse a rent increase and challenge it through a tribunal process (e.g., Section 13). During this time, they must continue paying rent at the existing rate. If landlords and tenants cannot reach a rent agreement, the tenant may decide to vacate the property. For expert advice tailored to your local area, butters john bee offers comprehensive support to landlords and tenants alike. Contact us!

Apr 11, 2024 Our New Website is Here!

We're thrilled to share some exciting news with you – our brand new website has launched! As your trusted local property experts, we're always looking for ways to enhance your experience, and we believe our new website will do just that. What Does This Mean for You? As our valued client, you can expect the following benefits from our new website: Simplified Property Search: Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or rent, our new website will offer a streamlined property search experience. Faster Response Times: With improved data synchronisation and seamless data integration, you can expect faster response times to your enquiries and requests. We understand that timing is crucial in the property market, and our new website will ensure that you receive the assistance you need promptly. Access to Expert Advice: Our new website will not only feature our latest property listings but also provide valuable resources and insights to help you navigate the market with confidence. From buying and selling tips to area guides, we're here to support you every step of the way. Thank you for choosing us as your trusted experts. We're committed to helping you, whatever stage you are at in your property journey, and our new website is just one more way we're delivering on that promise.

Mar 12, 2024 Selling Your House at Auction

When you see residential properties going under the hammer on TV, you might wonder if that's really how house auctions work. Why do people opt for this method of selling? Auctioning a house involves a more intricate process than meets the eye, yet it offers homeowners the potential for a quicker sale. Let's delve into what it entails to buy and sell at property auctions, the associated costs, benefits, drawbacks, online property auctions, and whether it's the right choice for you if you're considering selling your house this way. Understanding House Auctions A house auction is a meticulous process that unfolds over several months. An auction house compiles a marketing catalogue, typically published two to three weeks ahead of the auction date. Prospective buyers can arrange viewings of the auction properties and even conduct early-stage surveys to assess any structural issues. Open houses may be scheduled, and buyers can request a comprehensive legal pack for deeper insights into the legal particulars of the property. Each property is assigned a guide price in the catalogue, representing its estimated market value. Sellers can set a reserve price during the bidding process, which is the minimum price they are willing to accept and is often kept confidential from potential buyers. Is Auctioning Your House Feasible? Not every property is suitable for auction. However, if your property might be challenging to sell on the open market, an auction could be a viable solution. For instance, a rundown property might deter private buyers but attract investors or developers looking for opportunities. The Auction Process If you choose to auction your house, you'll need to select a reputable auction house to handle the sale. Opt for an auctioneer who is a member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA) for adherence to industry best practices. Auctions can be conducted in-person or online, with online auctions gaining popularity due to convenience. On auction day, potential buyers receive bidding numbers for identification during the process. Those unable to attend can submit proxy or online bids. The winning bidder typically pays a 10% deposit on the sale price on the day of the auction, with the remaining 90% due within 28 days. Costs Involved in Selling at Auction It's important to note that auction fees can be substantial. While costs are transparent, sellers should carefully consider whether auctioning their house is cost-effective. Here's what you may expect: Entry Fee: A flat fee paid to the auction house for listing your property. Auction Commission: Typically around 2.5% of the sale price plus VAT. Auction Legal Pack: Includes essential legal details prepared by your solicitor. Conveyancing Fees: Charges for conveyancing services upon sale completion. Legal Fees: Standard solicitor administration costs. Stamp Duty and Other Taxes: Consideration for buyers regarding purchase costs. Online House Auctions Online property auctions have surged in popularity, especially amidst social distancing measures. They can run continuously or as scheduled events. Post-Auction Scenarios If your property doesn’t sell at auction, it can still be sold post-auction through negotiation with interested buyers. Is Auctioning Right for You? Consider auctioning your house if: You need a quick sale. Your property requires significant renovation. There's commercial demand for your property. Your property has niche appeal. Benefits of Property Auctions Chain-free sale. Completion within 28 days. Ideal for properties needing renovation. Potential for competitive bidding. Drawbacks of Property Auctions Liability for fees even if the property doesn’t sell. Higher auctioneer commissions. Immediate move-out required upon sale. Advice for Selling at Auction Set a realistic reserve price. Ensure accurate property listings. Choose a reputable auction house experienced in selling your property type. Present your property in its best condition for viewings. Get an Initial Market Appraisal Today If you're considering selling your property and auctioning isn't the right fit, consider butters john bee for a seamless sale process. Our property professionals can assist you in achieving the right price at the right time. Contact us for a free initial market appraisal and discover our streamlined selling process today!

Mar 4, 2024 Understanding Property Valuations

Property valuations play a crucial role beyond just preparing to sell a property, and they are not exclusive to estate agents. Here, we delve into the significance of property valuations, their cost, and the different types available. What is a Property Valuation? A property valuation is an assessment or estimation of a property's worth. Typically conducted by estate agents, it provides homeowners with an idea of their property's market value, essential for determining a suitable sale price. However, property valuations are also required for various purposes, such as probate or insurance assessments. Who Conducts Property Valuations? Property valuations are usually carried out by estate agents and surveyors. Estate agents provide valuations for properties being listed for sale, while surveyors handle mortgage valuations, probate valuations, and 'Red Book' valuations. Difference Between Property Valuations and Mortgage Lender's Valuations Property valuations focus on the homeowner's interests, anticipating a potential sale, whereas mortgage lender's valuations serve the lender's interests, ensuring the property's value supports the loan amount. Cost of Property Valuations While some estate agents may charge for valuations or require subsequent use of their services, others like butters john bee offer free, no-obligation valuations conducted by experienced professionals. The cost of other valuations, such as chartered surveyors' valuations or HomeBuyer Reports, may vary. Types of Property Valuations Probate Valuations Conducted to assess a deceased person's property for estate valuation and tax purposes. Red Book Valuations The most rigorous appraisal following RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) standards. Why and When Would You Need a Property Valuation? Selling a Property Essential to determine a reasonable listing price before putting your property on the market. Buying a Property Although not mandatory, mortgage valuations during property purchases highlight concerns for mortgage lenders. Resolving Disputes Required in disputes like divorce settlements or landlord-tenant disagreements over rental rates. Importance of Property Valuations An accurate valuation ensures optimal pricing for a property sale, considering factors like local property trends, property condition, and national housing market performance. Moreover, valuations aid in resolving disputes, protecting investments, and determining appropriate insurance coverage. Getting a Property Valuation Arrange a valuation appointment with an estate agent to initiate the valuation process. Online vs. In-Person Valuations While online estimations are available, a physical inspection by an experienced agent yields a more accurate valuation considering specific property features. Steps During a Property Valuation During a valuation, agents assess property condition, unique features, and surrounding amenities to determine value. Preparation for a Valuation Preparing for a valuation differs from preparing for a viewing, focusing on highlighting property potential rather than perfection. Duration of a Valuation Valuation times vary based on property type and unique features, typically lasting 15-20 minutes. Post-Valuation Process After a valuation, agents provide a valuation figure and guide homeowners through subsequent steps if they decide to sell. Conclusion Property valuations are instrumental in pricing properties accurately, resolving disputes, and ensuring financial security. Contact butters john bee for a free, up-to-date property valuation by experienced professionals to understand your property's market value and make informed decisions. butters john bee can assist you in buying or selling property effectively. Schedule your free valuation today to kickstart your property journey.

Feb 9, 2024 A Guide to Right to Rent Checks for Landlords

Right to rent checks have been mandatory for landlords and letting agents since February 2016. It's crucial for landlords to ensure that prospective tenants are legally permitted to reside in the UK and rent residential properties. Failure to conduct these checks or allowing tenancies to commence with ineligible tenants can result in significant fines. Understanding the Right to Rent Scheme The right to rent scheme requires landlords to verify that prospective tenants have the legal right to reside in the UK. This check is a legal requirement for all landlords in the private rented sector. Commencement of the Right to Rent Scheme The right to rent check was implemented in England in February 2016 under the Immigration Act 2014. Currently, it is not applicable in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This requirement only applies to tenancies that began in or after February 2016. Responsibility for Right to Rent Checks Landlords are responsible for conducting right to rent checks on prospective tenants in the private rented sector. Additionally, this responsibility extends to: Occupiers allowing lodgers to reside in a property Tenants sub-letting part or all of a property (with written agreement from both parties) Letting agents appointed by landlords in writing to oversee compliance with the right to rent scheme Components of Right to Rent Checks Landlords should conduct right to rent checks on all prospective tenants, regardless of nationality, to avoid any allegations of discrimination. Here are the criteria for conducting these checks: UK and Irish Citizens Manual inspection of original passport, driving license, or UK birth certificate EU, EEA, Swiss Citizens Use the Home Office online service to verify tenant's documents by requesting their date of birth and 'share code'. Citizens from Outside the EU and EEA Use the Home Office online service to check immigration status Types of Tenants Subject to Checks All tenants applying for tenancies in the private rented sector, including adults not named on the tenancy agreement, must undergo right to rent checks. However, children under 18 or non-rent-contributing guests are exempt. Certain tenants may also be exempt from these checks if residing in specific types of accommodations. Understanding Tenant Occupancy After completing a right to rent check, it's essential to understand the tenant's status: Unlimited Right to Rent British citizens, Irish citizens, or EU, EEA, Swiss nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK under the EU settlement scheme Time-Limited Right to Rent Individuals with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK, requiring status verification within 28 days of expiration No Right to Rent Individuals lacking valid leave to enter or remain in the UK, with no permission from the Home Office to rent Methods to Verify Right to Rent Landlords and letting agents should be familiar with methods to verify tenant evidence: Manual Verification For UK and Irish citizens, use original passport or birth certificate, verified with the tenant present Home Office Right to Rent Service For EU, EEA, Swiss nationals, and non-EU, EEA citizens, request a 'share code' from the tenant and conduct a digital check using the Home Office online service Penalties for Illegal Tenants Landlords can face fines up to £3000 for renting to individuals without a right to rent or who fail right to rent checks. The Home Office may issue a referral notice requesting evidence of correct checks. Landlords who demonstrate compliance with right to rent checks can mount a defence against penalties. Get Expert Guidance on Rental Property At butters john bee, we offer advice on all aspects of the rental process, especially for first-time landlords. If you're considering letting your property, we provide a free valuation to guide you through the process. Contact us!

Jan 17, 2024 Students bury time capsule at new development, offering a look into childhood life in the 2020s for future generations.

Students from Sound and District Primary School buried a time capsule at a new housing development in Aston, near Nantwich. They aim to show future generations what life was like for children in the 2020s. The 31-family home Alderwood Gardens development is being built by Edgefold Homes and marketed by local estate agents butters john bee. Carlos Hernandez, butters john bee's New Homes Regional Sales Director, said, "It’s not every day that you get to be involved with creating a little bit of history for future generations and I was really pleased that we were able to arrange this between the developers and the school.” The students included items like a list of endangered animals, money, details about the royal family, and information about the Covid-19 pandemic in the capsule. They also added a map of the local area and details about their school, including a newsletter, lunch menu, and an erasable pen. Laura Minshall-Thomas, Headteacher at Sound and District Primary School, said, "“It was great to see how excited the children were when we asked them to put together the time capsule and they took care in making the choices to give a really good reflection of their school and the world around them.” Jack Seddon, Construction Director at Edgefold Homes, praised the students' thoughtful choices for the capsule. He said “It’s lovely to have the support of the community and local school here at Alderwood Gardens, I know the children have really thought about what to put in the time capsule and I do wonder what people in 100 years will make of it.” The development features three- and four-bedroom homes carefully designed for families. For more information, visit www.edgefoldhomes.co.uk/development/aston/.

Jan 2, 2024 Selling a Probate Property

The death of a parent or close family member is likely to be one of the hardest times of anyone’s life. Unfortunately, this may often be accompanied with having to clear and sell the property they lived in. The combination of grief, the emotional experience of sorting through family possessions and the large amounts of paperwork involved in settling their affairs can make this an even more difficult time. Selling a house in these circumstances is called selling a probate property. This article gives some guidance on what applying for probate involves, and the process of selling a house in probate. What is probate? Probate is the granting of legal authority to an Executor or family member to administer and disperse the Estate of the deceased, which can include property, money, possessions and other financial assets. If the person died with a valid Will, a Grant of Probate is needed. If they died without a Will, you will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. Collectively these are known as the Grant of Representation. The Grant of Probate gives the recipient the right to sign contracts on the deceased’s behalf, such as those that are needed to sell property. How long does it take to get a grant of probate? It will vary, depending on the Estate of the deceased. If there is no inheritance tax due, probate is usually granted within 6 weeks. If the estate is taxable, then grant of probate could take up to 12 weeks. The documents you’ll need for probate The original Will and any codicils. Death certificate National Insurance number of deceased ID (passport / driving licence) Utility bills and details of outstanding debts Bank statements / account Credit card statements Property title deeds Mortgage information Details of any shares and savings Details of any pensions received / due Funeral expenses Valuing property for probate Before applying for probate you will need to have the property valued, even if you are not selling the house. As a house will usually represent the majority of an Estate’s assets, the value of the property will be an important part in the probate application. The valuation will also be essential in determining the level of inheritance tax you will need to pay. butters john bee can help with this, with a free, no obligation valuation from one of our trained professionals. They will conduct the valuation sensitively, appreciating that this is a difficult time for family members. Selling a house in probate There are strict rules as to what you are allowed to do when preparing a house for sale while applying for probate. Can you market a property before probate? An estate agent can make the property available for sale before probate has been granted, and conduct viewings with potential buyers. The Executor can also accept an offer while waiting for probate, and agree a sale, but not proceed further. If a house is in probate can it be sold? Property sales can be agreed ‘under’ or ‘in’ probate, which means that a Grant of probate is being applied for. However, until probate is granted contracts are not able to be exchanged or any funds from the Estate used to pay for expenses. Potential buyers should be made aware that the property transaction may be subject to delays because of probate issues. Can you sell property after probate? Yes. As soon as the Grant of Representation is received, the executors or next of kin can exchange contracts and complete the sale. How long does it take to sell a house through probate? It will depend on a number of factors, but property sales are likely to take longer than normal transactions. As mentioned above, applying for probate can take up to 12 weeks. This can however give more time for family members to sort through the possessions of the deceased, sell or disperse furniture and fittings. Let us help you value your property for probate If you find that you need to sell a house in these circumstances, please get in touch with us and we will provide a free property valuation for you. Our team will also, if required, be able to market the property and organise viewings.