Moving home is an exciting time, and it's easy to forget about the details in the chaos. However, there are a few steps all tenants should take to protect their deposit and help secure a good reference down the line.

So, before you leave your rental in the rear-view mirror, check these off your list:

Tenants

Clearing any outstanding bills, including settling any remaining rent, is a pivotal responsibility for tenants transitioning out of a rental property, as this financial diligence ensures a smooth and hassle-free process for both the tenant and the landlord, ultimately securing the timely return of the deposit post-move. As conscientious tenants, it is imperative to diligently address any monetary obligations tied to the tenancy, thereby fostering a transparent and cooperative relationship with the landlord, who, in turn, is more likely to promptly refund the deposit, recognizing the tenant's commitment to fulfilling their financial responsibilities.

Tenants

Inform suppliers like your energy and internet providers so they can issue a final bill and connect your new home for your moving day - and don't forget to take meter readings the day you leave. You can also inform the Post Office of your new address so they can forward your post.

Tenants

Embarking on the final stages of your tenancy journey, it becomes crucial for tenants to go beyond mere surface cleaning and instead, delve into a meticulous deep-cleaning regimen that aligns precisely with the cleanliness standards outlined in the tenancy agreement. This includes adhering to specific criteria, such as the potential requirement for professional carpet cleaning, as explicitly detailed in the agreement. By meticulously following these stipulations, tenants not only fulfil their contractual obligations but also cultivate a positive rapport with the landlord, showcasing a proactive commitment to maintaining the property in the condition outlined in the tenancy terms. This attention to detail in the cleaning process is not merely a formality but a strategic move by tenants to safeguard their deposit and leave a lasting impression of responsible tenancy.

Tenants

As a conscientious tenant reaching the culmination of your tenancy, it is incumbent upon you to take proactive measures in tending to the garden, ensuring that it retains the pristine condition witnessed at the inception of your tenancy. This entails engaging in various tasks, including but not limited to mowing the lawn with precision, meticulously addressing any weeds that may have emerged, and effectively managing waste disposal. By dedicating attention to these garden maintenance responsibilities, tenants not only uphold their end of the tenancy agreement but also contribute to fostering a positive landlord-tenant relationship, showcasing a genuine commitment to preserving the property's exterior in accordance with the agreed-upon terms of the tenancy. This thoughtful approach to garden care not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the property but also serves as a tangible demonstration of the tenant's responsibility and respect for the rented premises.

Tenants

As you approach the conclusion of your tenancy, it is imperative to execute comprehensive final checks, systematically navigating through each room and meticulously cross-referencing the current state with the detailed inventory and condition report provided at the onset of your tenancy. Elevate this procedural diligence by capturing visual documentation on the final day, taking photographs that serve as irrefutable evidence should any discrepancies arise in the future, thereby safeguarding the interests of both the tenant and the landlord. Additionally, in a gesture of responsible tenancy, make it a priority to restore the property's original state by ensuring the prompt and accurate placement of any items belonging to the landlord back to their designated positions as per the initial move-in arrangement. This meticulous attention to detail not only exemplifies the tenant's commitment to maintaining the property but also lays the foundation for a smooth transition, mitigating potential disputes and fostering a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

Have a moving date in mind but haven't found a new rental yet? Visit our website beals.co.uk to view our latest properties!

Condensation is a pervasive issue, especially during colder months, that can wreak havoc on your property, leading to problems such as mould growth, dampness, and structural damage. Identifying the signs of condensation early on is crucial for preventing these issues from escalating. Common indicators include the presence of water droplets on windows, particularly in the morning or evening, the emergence of black mould or mildew on walls, ceilings, or in corners, and musty odours in specific areas like bathrooms or basements.

Beyond the visible damage to your home, condensation can also have adverse effects on your health, especially for individuals who are already vulnerable due to age or existing health conditions. Fortunately, there are effective preventive measures that can be implemented to mitigate the impact of condensation on both your property and well-being.

condensation

A fundamental strategy in averting condensation is to enhance the overall airflow within your living space. Achieving this involves a simple yet effective practice: regularly opening windows, especially following activities that produce moisture, such as showering or cooking. Furthermore, the installation of extractor fans in areas prone to high humidity, like bathrooms and kitchens, serves as an additional measure to promote air circulation and minimize humidity levels.

condensation

Landlords/Homeowners:

Insulation plays a crucial role in maintaining consistent indoor temperatures. By installing proper insulation, you create a barrier that prevents warm, moist air from coming into contact with colder surfaces, thereby reducing the likelihood of condensation. Ensuring that your home is well-insulated is a proactive step towards creating a healthier living environment.

condensation

Dehumidifiers are valuable tools in the fight against excess moisture. These devices work by extracting moisture from the air, helping to maintain an optimal humidity level and prevent the development of dampness. Investing in a dehumidifier is particularly beneficial in areas prone to high humidity, such as basements or poorly ventilated rooms.

condensation

Stability in heating is another key factor in condensation prevention. Keeping your home consistently heated prevents warm, moist air from cooling and condensing on surfaces. This is especially important during colder seasons when temperature fluctuations are more pronounced. Adjusting your heating system to maintain a stable indoor temperature can significantly reduce the risk of condensation-related issues.

condensation

Landlords/Homeowners:

Ensuring an excellent defence against condensation involves the critical task of sealing any potential leaks around windows and doors. The presence of leaks facilitates the intrusion of chilly outdoor air, leading to the juxtaposition with warmer indoor air—a scenario that fosters condensation. Implementing a proactive approach, such as routinely inspecting and promptly repairing any gaps or cracks in your home's structure, stands as a preventive measure that yields long-term benefits.

condendsation

Regular cleaning is a simple yet effective strategy for condensation control. Areas prone to condensation, such as bathrooms and kitchens, should be cleaned regularly to reduce the build-up of mould and mildew. This not only helps in maintaining a hygienic living space but also contributes to preventing the conditions that foster condensation.

condensation

Monitoring indoor humidity levels with a hygrometer is a proactive approach to condensation prevention. Aim to keep indoor humidity between 30% and 50% to create an environment less conducive. By staying within this range, you reduce the likelihood of moisture accumulating on surfaces.

In conclusion, combating condensation is vital for both the longevity of your property and the well-being of its occupants. By implementing a combination of preventive measures, including increased airflow, insulation, dehumidifiers, heating stability, leak sealing, regular cleaning, and humidity monitoring, you can effectively tackle condensation and ensure a healthy and comfortable living environment. Taking these steps not only protects the value of your home but also safeguards your health from the potential hazards associated with excess moisture.

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Welcome to a world where your new home's value and charm extend beyond its walls. Have you ever wondered about the captivating potential of a beautifully landscaped garden? It's not just about aesthetics; it's a transformative investment that can increase your property's value by up to 20%. Recent research has unveiled that an inviting garden is a key factor for 70% of potential homebuyers. Your garden is your secret weapon to elevate your property's worth.

Alfresco Dining/Outdoor Kitchen
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Alfresco Dining/Outdoor Kitchen

Imagine hosting delightful gatherings in an enchanting alfresco dining area or an outdoor kitchen. A sun-kissed afternoon, a gentle breeze rustling through the leaves, and a gathering of your closest friends and family. This isn't just a space; it's a setting for creating cherished memories while indulging in culinary delights surrounded by nature's beauty.

@no33interior

Patio Perfection

Step into a world of relaxation with a meticulously designed patio that seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living. It's not just a patio; it's your personal retreat, perfect for both tranquil mornings and lively get-togethers. You step onto your patio, and suddenly, you're transported to a sanctuary that's entirely your own. The gentle transition from your interior space to this outdoor oasis is so seamless that it's like the two worlds were meant to intertwine.

@mrsnhome

Add a Lick of Paint

Revitalize your outdoor space with a simple yet impactful fresh coat of paint. This rejuvenation instantly enhances your garden's allure, beckoning you to spend more time in its vibrant ambiance.

@my_midcenturymakeover

Indoor/Outdoor Living

Experience the seamless harmony of indoor living extended outdoors. Picture yourself lounging in an outdoor space that mirrors your interior style, where comfort and nature unite. You step out from your cosy living room onto your outdoor retreat, and it feels like you're entering an enchanting extension of your home.

@spears_carpentry

Privacy Enhancements

Discover the serenity of a private oasis within your garden. Integrate elements like graceful trellises and verdant screens to create a haven where you can escape the world.

@eastlondongardendesign

Upgrade Storage

Simplify your outdoor life with smart storage solutions that enhance both convenience and aesthetics. From chic storage benches to functional sheds, organization has never looked this appealing.

@aldridgejulie

Garden Office

Imagine a workspace that invigorates your productivity by surrounding you with nature's tranquility. A garden office seamlessly combines work and relaxation, nurturing your well-being.

@marcusbarnettstudio

Add a Water Feature

Immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of a water feature that transforms your garden into a peaceful sanctuary. Whether a gentle fountain or a serene pond, water becomes a source of serenity.

@casa.curated

Add Plants

Nature's beauty knows no bounds. Elevate your garden's charm with an array of plants, from vibrant blooms to lush foliage. A carefully curated landscape is a testament to your new home's character. The radiant blooms or the verdant foliage, your garden becomes a narrative of nature's beauty unbounded. It's a celebration of life's vibrancy and your unique connection to it, an invitation to immerse yourself in a symphony of colour and texture

 

value

@melaniejadedesign

Get Creative With Outdoor Lighting

Extend your garden's enchantment into the night with artful outdoor lighting. Illuminate pathways and showcase focal points, setting the stage for unforgettable evenings under the stars.

We invite you to experience our latest blog post at www.beals.co.uk where we delve into the art of unlocking your home's potential through adding value to your garden and giving it an upgrade. This blog is your ultimate guide to turning your outdoor space into a chill zone where you can fully relax. We are talking tips & tricks you can actually use to make this space your own.

Considering a new property purchase? Our portfolio showcases an array of homes, each holding the promise of becoming your perfect outdoor haven. If you're contemplating your property's worth, seize the opportunity to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation valuation with our experienced professionals.

Free Evaluation: www.beals.co.uk

Investing in property can be a lucrative long-term investment option, but it's important to start off on the right foot. To help you navigate the world of property investment, we've put together a handy checklist of five essential pointers.

Property Investment

Location: The first step to a successful property investment journey is choosing the right location. The location of your investment property can have a significant impact on its potential for growth and rental income. Consider your target demographic and invest in areas that appeal to them. For families, look for properties near good schools, parks, and other child-friendly facilities. Additionally, areas with a mix of homeowners and tenants often offer more affordable options and can be a good place to start your search.

Property Investment

Property Type: Once you've identified the ideal location, it's crucial to select the right property type that suits your investment goals. Consider your budget and determine the rental yield needed to meet your financial objectives. Single-let properties, such as standalone houses or apartments, are suitable for generating rental income from a single tenant. On the other hand, multi-let properties, such as HMOs (houses in multiple occupation), can provide higher rental yields by accommodating multiple tenants. Assess the pros and cons of each property type and choose the one that aligns with your investment strategy.

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Property Investment

Income Goal: Establishing clear income goals is vital for a successful property investment. Determine the minimum gross rental yield you aim to achieve. For single-let properties, a minimum rental yield of 8% is often considered a good benchmark. If you're considering multi-let properties, aim for a minimum yield of 12% or higher. By setting these goals, you can evaluate potential properties and make informed decisions based on their income-generating potential.

Property Investment

Consider Growing Demand: Investing in areas with growing demand can be a smart strategy for long-term capital growth. Look for locations with a rapidly expanding population or major redevelopment plans in place. These areas often experience increased demand for housing, which can lead to appreciation in property values over time. By investing in areas with strong growth potential, you can position yourself for long-term financial success.

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Property Investment

Look to Add Value: One effective way to maximize your returns on investment is to identify properties with untapped potential and add value through strategic improvements. Look for properties that can be purchased at a lower price and consider making renovations or refurbishments to increase their market value. By negotiating a favourable price with motivated sellers or targeting properties in need of a makeover, you can enhance your returns when it comes time to sell or rent out the property.

Ready to Get Started? Contact Us Today!

Embarking on a property investment journey can be overwhelming, but you don't have to go it alone. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you every step of the way. With our extensive knowledge of the market and access to a wide range of investment opportunities, we can help you find the perfect property that aligns with your goals and objectives.

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Investing in property is a powerful strategy for wealth creation and long-term financial stability. It offers several advantages over other forms of investment, such as stocks or bonds. With property, you have tangible assets that can appreciate in value over time, providing you with both rental income and the potential for capital growth. Additionally, property investment allows for greater control over your investment, as you can actively manage and make improvements to enhance its value.

Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out, our personalized services cater to your unique needs. Contact us today to discuss your investment goals and let us assist you in making informed decisions. Don't miss out on the opportunity to maximize your returns and build a strong property portfolio. Get in touch now, and together, we'll turn your property investment dreams into a successful reality!

After four years in the making, the UK Parliament has finally released the Renters Reform Bill, accompanied by comprehensive guidance on various important aspects. Propertymark, a leading voice in the industry, has emphasized the necessity of improvements in the private rented sector while stressing the importance of fairness for both landlords and tenants.

As Propertymark has said throughout, improvements to the private rented sector are much needed but the detail must deliver a fair system for both landlords and tenants.

On initial review, the Bill and guidance are limited to the areas that Propertymark has been in ongoing discussion with DLUHC on, throughout recent months.

 

The key areas:

 

The Renters Reform Bill is part of an ongoing campaign to bring more regulation to the private rental sector. 

Align the abolition of Section 21 and new possession grounds with court improvements including the end-to-end digitisation of the process and prioritisation of anti-social behaviour cases.

Beyond this, the intention is to focus on applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector and strengthen local councils’ enforcement powers to help target criminal landlords.

 

What happens next?

The measures will be introduced in stages and as the provisions are passed into law. We're here to help you understand the changes to ensure they are implemented correctly.

 

Renter's Reform Bill Q&A:

To alleviate concerns related to legislative changes, consider upgrading to our fully managed service. With our expertise and support, we will ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience for landlords. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you in upgrading to our fully managed service, navigating the changes, and ensuring your properties remain profitable and compliant.

Ask us about our Gold Rent Guarantee Service, which ensures your rent is paid on time, every month, regardless of whether your tenant pays. Let us take care of one less thing for you this year.

Ask us about our Gold Rent Guarantee Service. Get your rent paid on time, the same day every month.. regardless of whether your tenant pays! One less thing to worry about this year.

The Renter's Reform Bill

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Our Rent Guarantee Service

What Is ARLA Propertymark and Why Does It Matter?

The last year has seen some interesting times for the housing market, which has affected the lettings market in turn. Here is your latest Lettings Market Update!

Some of the issues that landlords will need to think about in 2023 include higher mortgage rates, increasing legislation, and changes to capital gains tax. The latter means landlords will have to pay more capital gains on rental profits when they sell up.

Partly because of the reasons above, 2023 will likely see a lot of buying and selling activity as landlords decide to change their strategy. However, slightly lower house prices and predicted high rental yields will still pull many into the sector and encourage investment.

Browse our selection of rental properties!

Speaking of rental yield, did you know that the average rental price for a UK property is now £1,184 PCM? That's a monthly increase of 0.8% and +9.8% annually.

"With every region of the country reporting a month-on-month rental price rise, it's fair to say that demand for rental properties remains exceptionally high."

Andy Halstead - Group CEO - HomeLet and Let Alliance

Despite house prices dipping overall, demand for rental homes is still expanding as broader economic pressures make it hard for tenants to buy. Due to this intense need for homes, landlords are set to make a healthy return in 2023 and beyond.

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Talk to our friendly team today, and we'll show you some of the hottest buy-to-let opportunities on the market right now.

Browse our investment properties!

Given the insufficient housing stock and continued rising rents, rent guarantee becomes ever more essential for landlords! 

With rents at an all-time high, many of our landlords are opting to switch from our managed services and fully secure their investment by having Beal's pay their rent.

The GOV.UK website recently published claims, possession and eviction statistics for previous years. Our expert partner HomeLet reviewed this data comparing 2021 vs 2022:

Possession claims  +107% - 78,706 in 2022 compared to 38,011 in 2021.
Possession orders +152%  - 58,804 in 2022 compared to 23,321 in 2021.
Eviction warrants +110% - 31,767 in 2022 compared to 15,122 in 2021.

Beal's Gold and Silver services are a unique solution to rent guarantee which avoids the need for third-party insurance claims and the worry of having to outlay legal fees to evict a tenant.

You'll find comfort in knowing your rent will always be paid on time, even if the tenant is unable to pay. One less thing to worry about this year!

If you would like more information or to upgrade your management services to Gold or Silver whilst maintaining your existing tenants, please get in touch by clicking the button below.

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Or use our email info@beals.co.uk 

2022 was a particularly favourable year to be a landlord, with tenant demand reaching a record high giving landlords freedom of choice over tenants and rental price. As we head into a new year with concerns over the cost of living and mortgage costs, what is the outlook for the buy-to-let market?

Buy-to-let mortgages

The mortgage market took a significant hit after the mini budget announcement in September, and many deals were withdrawn from the market. Whilst mortgage rates have seen a dramatic increase since January 2022, the good news is that number of products available is slowly rising as lenders return to the market.

Rent

Whilst rising mortgage rates make it more expensive to own and let a property, rental rates are also seeing a dramatic incline. The imbalance between demand and supply defined the rental market in 2022, and this is expected to continue into 2023.

As mortgages have become less affordable, first-time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get onto the property ladder, meaning they are stuck renting for longer. This has a knock-on effect on rental demand, as tenants stay put for longer, limiting the supply of rental properties.

Rental supply

Not only is there more demand for rental properties, supply is dwindling as landlords exit the market due to tax rises and increased regulation. Supply of rental properties is currently half the level seen in the past five years*. This combination of factors is putting upward pressure on rents.

Is now a good time to become a landlord?

Whilst it very much depends on your personal circumstances, the market conditions make it a favourable time to become a landlord or expand your property portfolio. As first-time buyers struggle to get on the property ladder, demand is slipping, meaning you may be able to negotiate a lower asking price.  With rental demand rising, you may also be able to set a higher rental price and are likely to have fewer void periods.

Looking for the perfect investment property?

Studio flats have overtaken one-beds as the most in-demand type of flat for renters. Competition between tenants for available studios is 71% higher than it was last year and there are now four times as many tenants looking for a studio flat as there are studio flats available.

Browse all of our available investment properties here. One of them could be your perfect match.

A guide to responsibilities, causes, and how to remedy the problem.

A fact sheet provided by ARLA Propertymark, the leading membership body for property agents, to help you navigate 'the condensation season'.

Taking reasonable steps to tackle dampness and mould is not only about looking after your health, it is your responsibility as a tenant. We hope that this guide is helpful in preventing dampness, condensation, and mould issues in your rented property.

 

What is condensation and what causes it?

Condensation is water droplets created by warm air hitting a cold surface. This causes surface dampness which if left unattended, leads to mould growth.

This is an issue affecting homes in the UK and is commonly caused by internal room temperatures with insufficient heating and a lack of adequate ventilation.

If houses are colder than usual for example because the heating is not switched on, this can increase condensation.

 

What causes damp and mould?

If condensation is not addressed, this can lead to problems such as mould.

Mould is a fungus that grows on wet surfaces, routinely caused by excess moisture resulting from condensation when walls and windows are cold and there is high moisture content in the air. In cases where damage or decay has occurred penetrating leaks can cause damp or if there is a defective damp-proof course, rising damp can occur in basements and ground floors.

*Please note that rising damp does not generally result in the growth of black mould.

 

Who is responsible?

While homeowners have clear responsibility for dealing with damp and mould, in property with tenants the responsibility is shared between landlords, managing agents and tenants.

 

Tenant responsibilities:

 

What can agents and landlords do?

 

Damage

If you have any issues with damage or a need for repairs to be carried out, please contact your letting agent so that they can organise an inspection and remedial works.

NB: Your letting agent is there to provide reasonable support with any issues arising from your tenancy and will listen to concerns and organise for an expert to assess for defects where appropriate. Please be aware that high energy prices are beyond the control of your letting agent and they will not tolerate any communications that become abusive.

 

How can it be treated?

Damp and mould in domestic properties can lead to health issues and exacerbate existing allergies and respiratory conditions. There are simple steps that both tenants and owner-occupiers can take to prevent damp and mould. Everyone should understand how daily routines can contribute to damp and mould around the house and how to prevent issues arising.

 

Removal and cleaning

It is very common for mould spots to appear in houses around windows and in bathrooms and kitchens where increased water is circulating and gathering during washing and cooking. Occupiers should dry any wet surfaces regularly and treat signs of mould either with mould and mildew cleaning products which are widely available from supermarkets and household retailers or with a white vinegar-based DIY treatment.

Wear a face mask to prevent the inhalation of spores, take care to ventilate the room and protect your skin and follow manufacturers’ instructions for any commercial cleaning products. Alert your letting agent if you have concerns. 

 

Simple preventative steps:

 

Additional support with cost of living challenges

If you are struggling with energy costs you can find advice and support at: ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting- help-if-you-cant-afford-your-energy-bills

There is a Priority Services Register to provide extra help to those in vulnerable situations: ofgem.gov.uk/get-help-your-supplier-priority- services-register

Information about Cost of Living Payments can be found at:gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available to eligible low-income homeowners and private tenants as part of the Warmer Homes programme: warmerhomes.org.uk/eligibility

 

After reading ARLA'S guide and following their recommended instructions, if you are still worried about dampness or condensation in your rented property, get in touch with our maintenance team today to see how we can help.

 

The story of the rental market in 2022 has been relatively consistent, with an imbalance between demand and supply significantly pushing up the rent.

Check out our December Rental Market Update 2022 below for all things lettings.

 

November was no different, with demand up by 20% compared to the same period in 2021, causing an annual increase in rent of 11%.

Whilst the supply of rental homes has increased in every region of the UK except London, it is still considerably lower than demand. As a result, competition between tenants is at a record high.

 

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“Within a few hours of a property going live, we are receiving dozens of enquiries which, when compared to the pre-Covid market, is extreme. Previously we would receive between 5-10 Enquiries in the first 48 hours and now we are receiving 30-40 in the same time frame. This has also resulted in multiple offers from tenants who are competing by paying over the asking price and offering significant funds up front.”

 

Studio flats have overtaken one-beds as the most in-demand type of flat for renters. Competition between tenants for available studios is 71% higher than it was last year and there are now four times as many tenants looking for a studio flat as there are studio flats available.

 

As first-time buyers find it more difficult to afford a mortgage. Some first-time buyers are now being forced to rent for longer, putting additional strain on the rental supply. This would place added pressure on the demand for flats and smaller properties to rent, at a time when demand for smaller properties to rent is already especially high.

Recent mortgage interest rate rises means that even with record rents, the average monthly mortgage payment for a new first-time buyer putting down a 10% deposit is now a fifth (20%) more than the rental payment for the equivalent type of property – £1,121 PCM for the mortgage payment compared with £932 PCM to rent.

 

CONTACT OUR EXPERT LETTINGS TEAM HERE

 

So, what does this mean?

If you're a landlord or thinking of becoming one, now could be the perfect time to expand your property portfolio. You're likely to secure a tenant quickly, achieve higher rent per month, and have shorter void periods.

 

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR PERFECT INVESTMENT PROPERTIES.

 

DID YOU KNOW? 78% of renters feel as though the cost of living increases will impact their ability to pay rent.

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Landlord legislation is changing. There has been a revision to the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations in England that will take effect from October 1st which all landlords will need to comply with.

These regulations include at least one smoke alarm on each floor of the home that has a room that's used for living accommodation. Landlords must also make sure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that has a fixed combustion appliance such as gas or oil boilers or log burning stoves (excluding gas cookers).

One of the big changes for the private rental sector is that landlords will have the responsibility of repairing or replacing any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as soon as they are told by their tenants.

The government has advised that for battery powered alarms, that the tenants should replace the batteries and if the alarm still doesn't work afterwards, they should report it to their landlord or agent.

Landlords and agents must ensure that alarms are in proper working condition on the day that the tenancy commences, otherwise they could be faced with a relatively big fine of £5000 . With the current legislation these changes may be small but its very important for landlords to know the changes that are coming into place for the new regulations.

 

Direct from the gov.uk website:

Frequently asked questions

 

What type of smoke alarm is required?

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard-wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed.

We recommend that landlords choose the type of smoke alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 5839-6. Where battery powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries are the better option.

 

What type of carbon monoxide alarm is required?

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed.

Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the type of carbon monoxide alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 50291. Where battery powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries are the better option.

 

Where do smoke alarms need to be located?

The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed.

At least one smoke alarm should be installed on every storey which is used as living accommodation.

Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms. However, in general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, i.e. a hall or a landing.

Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills

 

Where do carbon monoxide alarms need to be located?

The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed.

A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in every room which is used as living accommodation containing a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).

Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms. However, in general, carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide.

Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills.

 

Does replacing a battery count as a repair? Who is responsible for changing the batteries?

Landlords will be responsible for repairing or replacing any faulty alarms.

If tenants find that their alarms are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange for the replacement of the batteries.

If the alarm still does not work after replacing the batteries, or if tenants are unable to replace the batteries themselves, they should report this to the relevant landlord.

 

How should a tenant test their alarms to check they are in working order?

Testing of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms does not require specialist skills or knowledge and should be straightforward for tenants to do.

Landlords should consider providing residents with a demonstration and/or instructions to support resident understanding of how, and how often, to test their smoke alarms and make sure they are in working order. Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions for testing alarms and consider sharing these instructions with tenants to support regular testing.

 

What should tenants do if they find their alarm isn’t working?

If tenants find that their alarms are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange for the replacement of the batteries.

If the alarm still does not work after replacing the batteries, or if tenants are unable to replace the batteries themselves, they should report this to the relevant landlord.

 

Are specialist alarms required for people with disabilities?

Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants, with due regard for their residents’ circumstances.

For example, specialist smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms that alert by vibration or flashing lights (as opposed to by sound alerts) may be required for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Landlords should/must consider their duties under the Equality Act 2010.

 

What about heat detectors?

Heat detectors are not a replacement for smoke alarms.

 

What is meant by ‘equipping’ an alarm? Is it sufficient for landlords to provide an alarm, or do they need to install them?

The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are equipped, and to check that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

Landlords should make sure alarms are installed in an effective way to protect tenants from the dangers of smoke and carbon monoxide.

Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills.

 

What sort of housing do these regulations apply to?

The regulations apply to all homes rented by private landlords or registered providers of social housing, unless excluded.

Excluded tenancies are detailed in the regulations.

 

What types of tenancies do these regulations apply to?

The regulations apply to all social and private rented tenancies, other than those explicitly excluded in the Schedule to the Regulations.

 

Which tenancies are exempt from these regulations?

The following tenancies are excluded from the regulations:

 

Do the regulations apply to live-in private sector landlords?

If the occupier shares the accommodation with the private landlord or the private landlord’s family, then these regulations will not apply.

For the purposes of the regulations, a private landlord is considered to share accommodation with the tenant if they share an amenity such as a kitchen or living room. The regulations are not aimed at owner-occupied properties.

 

Do the regulations apply to HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation)?

The regulations apply to unlicensed HMOs. Licensed HMOs are exempt from Parts 1 to 5 of the regulations but only because the regulations also amend the HMO licensing obligations in the Housing Act 2004 so as to impose similar requirements.

 

Do the regulations apply to owner occupiers?

These regulations do not apply to owner occupiers.

 

Do the regulations apply to shared-ownership homes?

These regulations do not apply to owner occupiers living in shared-ownership homes.

 

How will these regulations be enforced?

The regulations will be enforced by local housing authorities. Details on enforcement of the regulations can be found in the guidance for local authorities.

 

What should landlords do if they are aware that they are not compliant?

If landlords are made aware that they are not compliant with the regulations, they should undertake remedial action to install alarms as soon as practicable. Private registered providers of social housing are expected to self-refer to the Regulator of Social Housing whilst they remain non-compliant on the basis of failing to meet their statutory duties.

The Regulator of Social Housing requires social landlords to ensure that all their homes meet the Decent Homes Standard and continue to maintain their homes to at least this standard. Social landlords are also required to meet all applicable statutory requirements that provide for the health and safety of the occupants in their homes.

If private registered providers of social housing are aware that they are non-compliant with these requirements, or any of the regulatory standards, they are expected to self-refer to the Regulator of Social Housing.

 

How will local authorities enforce these regulations for themselves, where they are stock-owning local authorities that are also social landlords? / What if my landlord is a local authority?

Although local authority landlords cannot take enforcement action against themselves in respect of their own stock, they will be expected to ensure their housing is safe and they will be subject to these legislative requirements. As public authorities, local authorities can be challenged by way of judicial review.

Local authority landlords are obliged to comply with the regulatory regime overseen by the Regulator of Social Housing.

 

Do alarms have to be tested at the start of the tenancy, or can they be tested as part of routine gas safety checks?

The regulations require checks to be made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

 

How should landlords prove that they have tested alarms at the start of a tenancy?

It is the responsibility of landlords to keep a record of when alarms are tested.

The local housing authority must decide whether the evidence provided proves that the landlord has met the requirements of the regulations.

One possible means, if the landlord goes through the inventory on the first day of the tenancy, is that the landlord makes provision for the tenant to sign the inventory to record that the required alarms have been tested by the landlord and the tenant is satisfied they are in working order.

 

Does the penalty of up to £5,000 apply per landlord, or per breach?

Where a landlord is in breach, the local housing authority may serve a remedial notice. Failure to comply with each remedial notice can lead to a fine of up to £5,000. Fines will be applied per breach, rather than per landlord or property.

 

Do landlords have a right of appeal against the penalty charge notice?

Landlords have the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the penalty charge notice. Further details on appeals can be found in the guidance for local authorities.

 

I’m a private landlord and my tenant won’t let me into the property to install or repair an alarm. What should I do?

We know that getting access to do repairs and maintenance work can sometimes be difficult for landlords.

The existing regulations are clear that landlords must take all reasonable steps to comply with a remedial notice but are not expected to go to court to gain access in order to be compliant. Landlords should be able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to comply to Local Authorities.

For example, landlords should write to their tenants to explain that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Landlords should try to arrange a time to visit that is convenient for the tenant, and keep a written record of access attempts to provide to the local housing authority if required.

Landlords should attempt to understand why tenants cannot or will not provide access and work with them to find a solution

 

I’m a social landlord and my tenant won’t let me into the property to install or repair an alarm. What should I do?

The existing regulations are clear that landlords must take all reasonable steps to comply with a remedial notice but are not expected to go to court to gain access in order to be compliant.  Landlords should be able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to comply to local authorities.

For example landlords should write to their tenants to explain that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Landlords should try to arrange a time to visit that is convenient for the tenant, and keep a written record of access attempts to provide to the local housing authority if required.

 

Is there a grace period for installation after the regulations commence?

All landlords (whether social or private) have time between when the amendment regulations became law on 27 June 2022 and when they come into force on 1 October 2022. Landlords must comply with the new requirements from 1 October 2022.

 

What if landlords have plans in place to be compliant, but the programme of works won’t be complete until after 1 October 2022?

The new requirements come into force on 1 October 2022. Landlords are expected to be compliant with the regulations from that date.

 

Definitions

 

Carbon monoxide alarm

A carbon monoxide alarm is a device designed to detect the presence of carbon monoxide gas, and alert users of any detection usually, but not always, through an audible sound alert.

 

Carbon monoxide gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal.

Mild poisoning can cause headaches and flu-like symptoms, whilst higher concentrations can lead to collapse, coma or death.

 

Fixed combustion appliance

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in any room containing any fixed combustion appliance, except gas cookers. This means a fixed apparatus where fuel of any type is burned to generate heat.

Typically, these appliances are powered by gas, oil, coal, wood, etc., for example, gas or oil boilers, or log-burning stoves.

In the department’s view, a non-functioning purely decorative fireplace would not constitute a fixed combustion appliance.

 

Gas cookers

Gas cooker refers to any apparatus heated by gas and used for cooking food.

 

Local housing authority

Local Housing Authority refers to the local council with responsibility for housing in that area.

 

New tenancy

A ‘new tenancy’ is a tenancy agreement that begins on or after 1 October 2022 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement.

 

Private rented home

A private rented home is a house, flat, bedsit, room or other residential accommodation which is privately owned and rented as housing on the open market.

 

Relevant landlord

For the purpose of these regulations a landlord is a “relevant landlord” if the landlord is the immediate landlord in respect of a specified tenancy, that is not an excluded tenancy.

 

Remedial action

Remedial action refers to action to install, repair, or check an alarm (I.e. to check it is in working order).

 

Remedial notice

A remedial notice is a notice requiring a landlord to take remedial action in accordance with the regulations.

 

Room

The regulations specifically stipulate that a hall or landing would be classed as a room.

 

Room used wholly or partly as living accommodation

The regulations require a smoke alarm to be installed on every storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a fixed combustion appliance (except gas cookers).

In general, a room is classed as ‘living accommodation’ if it is used for the primary purposes of living, or is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time.

The regulations specifically stipulate that a bathroom or lavatory would be classed as living accommodation.

 

Smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is a device that designed to detect the presence of smoke (as an indicator of fire) and alert users of any detection usually, but not always, through an audible sound alert.

 

Social rented home

A social rented home is any low-cost rental accommodation that is let below the market rent by a social landlord.

Social landlords are bodies that are registered providers of social housing. This includes local authorities who own and rent housing, housing associations, charities and any other landlord who is registered with the Regulator of Social Housing as a ‘private registered provider’ of social housing.

These regulations do not apply to other types of homes provided by social landlords, such as social sector leaseholders or shared ownership.

 

Storey

A smoke alarm must be installed on every storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

‘Storey’ is not defined in the regulations. It should be given its ordinary meaning. In the department’s view, for the purpose of these regulations, a mezzanine floor would not be considered a storey.

 

Tenancy

Tenancy refers to the period of a tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant. A tenancy agreement is a contract between landlords and tenants that sets out the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy.

A tenancy can be fixed term (running for a fixed period of time) or perioding (running on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis).

 

Landlords may find it more cost-effective to purchase and install Carbon Monoxide alarms themselves. You can obtain these from a local DIY store or online. However should you require Beal's assistance with the installation of Carbon Monoxide Alarms contact us here for a quote.

 

Useful Links:

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2022

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Housing Act 2004

Fire Safety Act 2021

Building Safety Act 2022

How to boost your kerb appeal from estate agents in Southsea

We all know how important kerb appeal is when it comes to putting your house on the market and actually getting a sale. Not only does it boost your chances of selling, but it can greatly increase the value of your home too. By not taking care of the exterior and everything that surrounds your house, you could be losing a great deal of money from the final offer. 

You want to make the best first impression on your potential buyers - give them a reason to say "wow!" and be excited to look inside. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to upgrade your exterior and there are plenty of ways to boost your kerb appeal that can be done DIY-style. But if you did want to take it that bit further, you have all the trades to choose from that could give your house a new lease of life.

Here are some tips on how to boost your kerb appeal from estate agents in Southsea.

Fix broken gutters & fencing

This sort of job often gets put to the bottom of the list when you're living somewhere you've been for a while. They can be a pain to sort out but can make a great difference to any potential buys who are viewing your home.

Firstly, it can be a safety issue. Buyers with pets or children are going to want to ensure the property is secure and safe when they have people or pets running around outside. Any broken gates could be a deal-breaker for family units especially. Also, leaky guttering or cracked pipes running outside the house will make it look unkept. Water can drip down onto the grass or pavements below, causing water damage like cracking or rotting. To stop the  knock-on effect of a broken gutter, make sure they're cleaned and repaired if needs be.

Broken fencing can also be a privacy issue. If they know it's been broken in the past, it's clear that it could happen again. Whether it was simply due to wear and tear, or other circumstances, it can decrease the value of the property as well as affecting the privacy you once had. Any missing fence panels or cracks and holes open up the garden and other outside spaces to nosey neighbours and passers-by. This can be off-putting for potential buyers. A lick of paint and repair work or new fencing altogether are both great options to avoid decreasing your house's value from broken gutters and fences.

Freshen up your front door

Being estate agents in Southsea, we know how appealing it can be to live in a coastal town. For a lot of people, you've got beaches and sea views right on your doorstep. This can be a great selling point. But whether you live on the coast or in the city centre, have you taken into consideration what your actual doorstep looks like? 

First impressions can make or break your property sale. As they walk up to the front door, you want guests and viewers alike to feel welcomed. An easy way to do this is to give your front door a lick of paint. Weathering and general use can leave it looking sad and dull, so without breaking the bank you can invest in a welcoming colour of paint and brighten up the front of the house. Don't forget to clean the windows if there are any on there, and get rid of those pesky cobwebs and watermarks around the frame too!

If you're looking for a more dramatic result, you could invest in a brand new door. It's a way of modernising an older property and is going to make a striking impression when people turn up. Also, if you're tight on space out the front this could be a new time to involve some potted plants or new decor right at the front door. It creates a seamless transition from outside to inside and leads you into the pristine interior!

Keep your windows spick and span

This is a low-cost way of boosting the kerb appeal of any property. These days, most window frames we see are white which get dirty very easily. They can quickly become dull and make the whole house look dingier than it should. If you don't want to spend money on this, a simple cloth and warm, soapy water would suffice. Wiping the frames and window sills down will immediately seem brighter and more inviting. However, if the dirt or rust is more stubborn - you can always repaint and freshen them up even more.

The windows are leading people to look inside, so if they're not inviting your potential buyers might not even want to look inside at where you've spent so long making a home. Don't forget the glass itself though. Especially if you're used to sticky fingers and/or wet noses around the house - you don't want the windows looking smeared and dirty. Make them sparkle and you'll notice the difference right away looking from the inside out as well as your viewers will from the outside in!

Pristine pathways

Kerb appeal is all about making your house's exterior attractive for potential buyers. This doesn't just mean everything that's attached to the house. As estate agents in Southsea, we often see people who have revamped the brickwork and cleaned the gutters but have neglected the front garden or pathways leading up to the house. Having an unappealing entrance can take away all the hard work done on the property's exterior and interior.

To start with, a good weeding session and power wash will make all the difference. We're all guilty of neglecting the weeds and from time to time but you'll probably find your driveway is a whole different colour underneath! Also, have a think about replacing any cracked or missing paving as it will make the entrance far more accessible for people with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility issues. Not only will the repairs be beneficial for kerb appeal, but for safety too.

Give your garden a makeover

We understand that not everyone has garden spaces. But if you do - it's important to maintain it in order to aid the value of the property. 

A neglected garden can transform a tidy, modern home into an unkempt, uninviting building. If the outside of your house is well looked after, it will reassure people that the inside is just as lovely! Now if you want to hire a landscape gardener it will usually make the biggest impression. However, it's not necessary to boost kerb appeal if you're working with a budget. There are ways you can improve your garden little by little to make a big impact.

We're going to mention those pesky weeds again. By tackling them at the start of the season, you can get there before the roots grow too much and they become stubborn tenants. Also, trimming overgrown plants and shrubs will open up the space, make it look bigger and much tidier. If you do this regularly it will also keep the plants looking healthier and won't be such a big job each time! 

It's surprising how much difference a freshly cut lawn can make too. Keeping the length down makes it look flatter and healthier. Invest in some grass seed if you're noticing dead patches - it will finish off the garden nicely. You don't have to have a green thumb to maintain your garden well. Just make sure any plants you do have are trimmed and watered so they stay healthy and keep it as tidy as possible! 

Exterior transformations

Depending on how old your property is, it is going to determine how much work may need to be done to make the most impact here. There are lots of tricks to transform the exterior for all different house types, budgets and capabilities. Firstly, touching up any brickwork with some masonry paint will freshen it up and get rid of the weathering effects that are unavoidable. You don't have to stick to the house's original colour either. We'd suggest steering clear of any outlandish colours, but something new could help modernise the building. 

Although they aren't common, if you have external shutters on your windows, they make for great character and even if you don't use them they are nice decorative elements. So these can always have a fresh coat of paint too to match the new and improved exterior. 

If you're looking to spend more to really change up the property, you could consider a complete recladding of the outside. This will set you back a few thousand pounds so it's definitely an investment but will almost certainly see a big impact on the value of the house afterwards! This decision also means you can work the design around the interior if you wish and make the whole property flow. 

Sell your house with kerb appeal

It goes without saying that the interior of a property is where most people prioritise when buying or selling. This is where you'll spend most of your time and it's the parts you'll be looking at most often. However, if the house isn't comprehensive as a whole, you could lose your potential buyers as well as value. 

Whether you're on a DIY budget or looking to completely revamp, there are plenty of ways you can maintain and upgrade your home to appeal more to buyers. Having the exterior looking smart will encourage people to carry on inside and reassure buyers that you've looked after it. They'll know they have something well-loved and cared for.

Beals: Your independent estate agents in Southsea

For almost three decades we have been at the heart of the local community, delivering our special brand of property sales, rentals and financial services. From humble beginnings and just 26 people, we have grown into Hampshire's leading independent estate agent, with offices in 10 prime locations. We have a dedicated team of 150 property experts waiting to help you achieve your dreams. Our independence makes us unique because we can provide a personal service from our many high street branches without being controlled remotely from a head office located on the other side of the country.

We offer an unparalleled experience which is why we have so many repeat customers, we know how to get it right every time. Whether you be a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant, we've got you covered. Contact us here by submitting an enquiry form or call one of our dedicated branches, the individual contact numbers for each can be found here.

We were all first-time buyers once upon a time. We all stood nervously in an estate agents office, asking to see a selection of their affordable properties. Buying your first home is a huge deal. If you had a time machine, what advice would you give your fresh-faced self before entering into a purchase?

These are the questions that every first-time buyer should be asking but rarely do. So, let’s kick off with the most obvious.

1. Why Are You Selling?

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it. Finding out why the seller is moving reveals a lot about your potential purchase. Their reasons could be completely innocent. Maybe they are relocating with their job or moving to the country for retirement? 

However, maybe they have had issues with neighbours, or they have high crime levels in their area, forcing them to make a move? Now, we get that when you ask this question, no seller is going to come clean about adverse reasons for selling, but under current laws, if you ask the estate agent, they have to tell you the truth.

Beal’s prides itself on being open, honest and frank. If you want to know something, we will endeavour to get you accurate information. 

Use technology to get some answers. Rightmove and Zoopla provide you with lots of clues. If you notice the property has been sold many times over a short period, that should start the alarm bells ringing. Again, it could be innocent or coincidence, but then again, maybe not.

Ask the agent about unusual sales patterns. Also, has the house been on and off the market before. This might indicate the seller has changed their mind or a previous buyer has withdrawn from the purchase. The obvious question here is why?

So, the next time you view a property, slip that question into the conversation and gauge the seller’s reaction when they answer. It might reveal a lot.

2. How Long Has It Been On The Market? 

Now, before you ask this question, do some research of your own. The property websites are a great place to start. Rightmove and Zoopla give you a complete history of the activity associated with the property you are viewing. 

You can see when it first came to the market, whether it has had a price reduction, and whether it has previously sold and fallen through. You can even see when the seller changed estate agents. Why is this information important? 

Knowing how long the property has been on the market aids you when it comes to making offers. Knowing that it has a long sales history might mean it is more likely to take a price drop. Similarly, if you see it has previously reduced in price, that might indicate that the seller is keen to negotiate. 

If the seller has recently changed estate agents, it could signify desperation that they are losing patience with the sales process and just want to get on with it. These are all signs that should be music to the ears of any first-time buyers.

Generally, you are more likely to get a better deal on a property that has been on the market for longer than a house listed yesterday. 

3. What Is Included In The Sale? 

As a first-time buyer, any help you can get is greatly appreciated. Buying a new home is costly enough without all the added expense of kitting it out. So, anything the seller leaves might save you a lot of money. 

Ovens, fireplaces, log burners and other fixtures are expensive, but once fitted, generally remain in the house after the seller moves. But be careful because it is not always the case. You may have fallen in love with their fireplace, and it’s one of the reasons why you want the house, but when you move in, the fireplace is gone. 

The fixtures and fittings list details everything inside the house and tells you what’s there, if it’s staying or if the seller wants to sell it to you. But you only get to see this later in the sales process, so asking about what is included in the sale helps you formulate your offer based on the information you have. 

It also saves you money. You could offer to buy the seller’s range cooker for a fraction of the price of a new one. Likewise, there might be no way you could afford that log burner when brand new, but second hand, it is within your budget. 

Plus, sellers are much more likely to be generous at the point where they think they have a buyer. You are the one they want, so use your appeal to drive a hard bargain. 

4. What’s The Seller’s Situation?

This is a good question to ask because it tells you whether the seller has found a property or not and whether you will find yourself embroiled in a long, drawn-out chain. If the seller has yet to find a purchase, ask yourself if you are prepared to wait.

Because you are a first-time buyer, and it happens to be the house of your dreams, you have the luxury of time, but how long you wait depends on a ready supply of properties for the seller to look at. 

The truth is, mostly it comes down to old fashioned good luck. The seller is in a quandary because they can’t move until they have a buyer, but until they get a buyer, they can’t make an offer on another property, so if they haven’t found an onward purchase, cut them some slack if you can and give them some time to go and look.

However, as a word of caution, once the seller finds a property, what is the situation up the chain. Do the people selling the property above need to find or are they going to vacate?

And speaking of vacating, it brings us nicely to our next question.

5. Will The Seller Vacate?

Not every seller will, so before you throw your hat into the ring and commit financially to the purchase, ask yourself if you can be patient. If you find a seller that will vacate, celebrate your good fortune and proceed with the purchase. 

It might be that you only look at properties where the seller has a complete chain, or they are vacating. Remember that as a first-time buyer, you are like gold dust to most sellers because you have no lower chain that could collapse mid-sale. 

6. What Are The Neighbours Like?

You could also extend this question to include the local area. Take as much interest in the next-door properties as you do the house you want to buy. You’d be amazed how much a poorly maintained neighbouring home affects the value of your property.

We don’t expect any earth-shattering revelations about Marjorie next door and her habit of gardening naked or the all-night parties in the house across the road. Still, if you ask the question under current laws, you will receive a truthful answer. 

Another tip is to visit the house at different times of the day and night and on different days of the week. Sit outside in your car and watch, look and listen. It may sound a bit stalker-ish, but all you are doing is protecting your investment. 

If you get it wrong, it’s you left suffering having to look at Marjorie’s prize melons every time the sun comes out. 

7. Does It Have Planning Permission and Conform To Fire Safety Regulations

Extensions and loft conversions are significant home improvement projects and require conformity to national and local controls. While you may not need planning permission for a loft conversion unless you are altering the roofline, you do need fire regulations approval. 

Similarly, extensions are subject to planning laws, as are some garden buildings that include garages and cabins/sheds. If your neighbour wants to put up a garage, it has to be so many metres high and a certain distance from your fence line. Anyone attempting to build Garagemahal will be in breach of the planning regulations. 

Before you attempt to buy your new home, ask the question. You’d be amazed how many homes don’t have the necessary approvals for their major improvement projects. While no conveyancer worth their salt will let the sale proceed, it will still cost you money if you have to pull out further down the line. 

It’s Good To Ask Questions

Asking questions gets you the answers that you may not want but you certainly need. Knowing in advance will save you money, heartache and potentially losing out on replacement properties while attempting to complete your current purchase.

Seek the services of a reputable estate agent like Beal’s. While they may work for the seller, they are duty-bound to deliver honest, accurate and timely information. They want you as a buyer. The seller wants you as a buyer. 

Buying and selling houses in England and Wales is based on trust. Trust that the seller will do what they say, tell you the truth and deliver your new home in the condition that you expect. Likewise, you have a responsibility to follow the same code. 

Nine times out of ten, house sales fall apart for entirely avoidable reasons. And as first-time buyers, asking the right questions is crucial to making that purchase a success. 

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