Landlords, are you ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth?

Although it may only feel like yesterday since you were packing away the last signs of Christmas, the months of the New Year are starting to run away.  And whilst you may have already set plans in motion for your rental properties at Trend & Thomas we want to ensure you have everything in place for what this year will bring.  When it comes to the private rental market, we have come to expect changes to legislation and regulations,  so we expect you’re already on top of where you need to be.  But just to be on the safe side, our team want to ensure that you’re ready for the changes that this year will bring in Rickmansworth.

Be one spark ahead

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What is it they say? “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” If you have works planned in any of your properties it may be worth bearing in mind that this year may see new electrical safety regulations implemented.  The government are seeking to bring electrical safety in line with the established regulations for gas safety.  If passed, the new laws will mean that from 1 July any new private residential tenancies will be required to have a qualified electrician sign off on all electrical wiring and fixed electrical installations.  This will also extend to any existing tenancies from 1 April next year.  We know that many of our landlords have already implemented this practice in order to provide an exceptional service to their tenants.  Whether the government pass this regulation or not, it may be worth thinking about being one spark ahead.

No more relief

If you’re an experienced landlord, the changes to the tax relief rules for landlords will be something you are very familiar with.  If you’re a new or accidental landlord, your understanding may not be as clear.  Since April 2017 there has been a phased reduction in the tax relief you are able to claim as a landlord, and this will continue until April.  As of the tax year 2020/21 you will no longer be able to claim any tax relief on your mortgage interest payments; instead, you will receive a tax credit of 20% on interest payments.  This has had a significant impact and we welcome your discussions on how we can work with you, our landlords, on a range of strategies to help mitigate the effects that this change has and will continue to bring.

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Another relief that will have an effect on your Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell your property is Private Residence Relief.  Currently, you can claim Private Residence Relief for when you personally lived in the property before deciding to let it out, plus an additional 18 months.  Again, as of the new tax year in April, there will be a reduction in this relief allowing you to claim for just 9 months after you moved out of the property, as well as for the time it was your main residence.  As a result, you are losing 9 months of Private Residence Relief.

We know several of our landlords have decided to reduce or sell their portfolios as a result of these changes, but before you make a decision in haste, come and chat to our lettings team to discover what options are open to you.

Achieving the minimum standard

Have you undertaken an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on your properties in the last few years?  If this has been overlooked due to long-standing tenancies then you need to jump into action as soon as possible.  As a landlord, you have been required to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E on new tenancies and renewals since April 2018, and as of April this year this will extend to all existing tenancies.  This means that, regardless of if your property is due to have new tenants or not, to legally continue to rent your property it must have an EPC rating of an E or above.  We can have an Energy Performance Certificate carried out for you, please just give us a call.

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If you are planning works on any of your properties in the next year or so it may be worth bearing in mind the widespread expectation that this minimum energy efficiency standard will increase to a D rating for 2025, and a C by 2030.  Therefore, it could be worth making changes while works are already being undertaken, rather than having to build in more void periods in the future to make the necessary changes to your properties.

Don’t be left behind

We are continuously helping our landlords to ensure that they and their properties remain compliant, no matter what the industry throws at us.  It can as times feel like you’re on your own as a landlord, but at Trend & Thomas we can assure you our team work tirelessly researching best practice and innovative strategies to see the continuing success of your portfolios.  Give our lettings team a call on 01923 713 680 and we can help you end 2020 on a high.

Beat the Burglar!

Are you heading away for the upcoming school holidays and have you thought about your Home while you are away?

Did you realise the huge increase in Social Media usage can compromise the security of your home.   Recent research by Together Mutual Insurance found 760,000 people posted they were at the airport and that was only in a 30 day period!

Firm advice from Michael Fraser – of the BBC’s “Beat The Burglar” – ‘Don’t post anything online – save it until you come back.’

Other than not posting selfies at the airport here are a few of Michael Fraser’s other top tips to beat the burglars & help you keep your home safe during your next holiday.

  • Obscure the front window
  • Have two locks on the front door
  • If you have a cage on your letterbox leave it open so the post drops to the floor instead of piling-up to indicate that you’re not there
  • Get people to come round and alter the curtains or blinds, someone who you really trust
  • If you look at a row of parked cars, a robber will choose to take a car that has its wheels facing the road for a quick getaway instead of one with its wheels turned in towards the kerb

Here’s a helpful infographic produced by Michael & the Met Police to Beat the Burglar!

Beat the Burglar infographic

Is your Property Management carried out by a Letting Agent LOCAL TO YOUR PROPERTY?

Recently we have found that we are one of the only Letting Agents locally who actually manage our Rental properties right here from our office in Rickmansworth.

Other agents either outsource their management completely or have a centralised Property Management office based in a completely different county!

We wanted to explain why local Property Management is so important to you and your property investment.

  • We know in detail the types of tenants our area & your style of property attracts & can target these tenants specifically & quickly.Lost agents
  • We know all the styles & types of properties our area houses and can advise and inform based on this detailed property expertise.  We’ve properties we’ve managed for over a decade on our books – that’s some pedigree don’t you think!
  • We know the area expertly and can advise you on relevant local information, current letting trends, & expected rental values, therefore gaining you the best return for your investment quickly.
  • Call centre asking 'where?'We go the extra distance for our Landlords & properties because we are right here on hand, available for you to come and have a chat with or accompany you to your property. We are not in a call centre on the other side of the country oblivious to the variables of your property & unable to visit it or meet with you.
  • We know the transport links, commuting details & local area amenities such as leisure facilities,  local schools & child/elderly care options, so we can inform & attract the best tenants for your property.Where's Rickmansworth?
  • We have excellent long term relationships with local contractors so we can react to your property needs quickly, with the best person for the job giving minimal disruption to your tenants & ultimately your property & investment.
  • Our responses are obviously quicker than an agent who has outsourced their property management because we are right here beside your property investment & can visit within minutes of any emergency.
  • We do regular property inspections by an experienced independent LOCAL inventory clerk.
  • We are immediately available to advise you on your  investment prospects should you decide to sell or  even purchase a  further rental property.
  • We do not outsource our Property Management, we only trust our own expert team to manage your property investment & tenants, to us this is the only approach that works.

Is your Property Manager local to your property?  Need to rethink your Letting Agent?

Call and we’ll be happy to pop around for a chat anytime , at your convenience, ….because we are local & easily available…. important isn’t it! 

Phone Trend & Thomas Lettings on 01923 713 680 or Email lettings@trendandthomas.co.uk