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.

Give buyers the present they want this Christmas

The days are ticking by and as each one passes we are a step closer to jingle bells and the festive season.  With tinsel on the shop shelves and Christmas adverts filling our screens, it’s a reminder to to get ready before it’s upon us.  It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to place your home on the market now or at the beginning of the year, we have some great advice that will help you give buyers the present they want this Christmas.

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Photo ready

You’ve decided to wait until after Christmas to place your home on the market in Rickmansworth & the surrounding areas but want to make sure you don’t miss the New Year rush.  You may or may not know that one of the busiest times on property portals is between Christmas and New Year.  As everyone is opening their presents and enjoying time with family and friends, millions of us are thinking about the future with a new home in our sights and scrolling through online property porn.

Having your home’s marketing material ready to launch for this period is essential – you don’t want to miss the opportunity to impress those eager buyers wishing to make a new start with a new home in 2020.  The sooner we can take your photos before you put up your decorations the better, this will allow your buyers to see those all-important key features of your home rather than being distracted by your stunning Christmas tree and singing reindeer.

Make room

We always advise that before you place your property on the market you consider decluttering your home, and there isn’t a better opportunity than at this time of year.  Your children’s rooms may be bursting with more toys than a store could hold, your cupboards spilling over with stuff you really don’t need, and a shed and attic that, honestly, you couldn’t say what’s in there.  And in a few weeks’ time, Father Christmas will be bringing a whole pile of new things for your family to enjoy – that’s if you’re on the nice list of course!

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Who needs more stress at Christmas with trying to declutter just to make room for your new presents?  Why not put the hard work in now, so you can simply enjoy the season – it will also help you to stage your home for sale.

Less sparkle

It’s the most magical time of the year, but buyers are looking to buy your home, not Santa’s grotto.  This is why when it comes to staging your home at Christmas you need to think about your buyers without losing the sparkle of the season.  You know the main features of your home, keep any decorations in these areas minimal so they speak for themselves.  Paring back your décor will also make it easier to clean and tidy should a last minute viewing be requested.

Make a scene

When it comes to finding the house you want to buy, it’s a feeling.  Buying a property is an emotional experience and if your home can’t pull buyers’ heart strings at Christmas, then when will it?  Where possible, make sure your fire is lit for each viewing – whether electric or multi-fuel, the sight of a flame makes any room feel cosy.  No one wants to walk into a dark room, so make your decorated rooms feel magical with Christmas lights and lamps.  Make your bedrooms feel snug and warm with lamps and textured accessories, and if you want to pull out all the stops, bring your kitchen to life with seasonal scents.

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Season to be jolly

With presents to buy, parties to attend and family to see, the next few weeks are certainly going to be hectic.  At Trend & Thomas we don’t want to add to your stress, but we also want to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to sell your home.  We undertake all viewings on your behalf, but there may be a viewing request that is on an evening or Sunday.  The more open you are to letting potential buyers view when they are free, the easier it will be to sell your home.  By working together we can hopefully give buyers the present they want this season.

Wishes and dreams

Even though you’re looking to sell, you’re also dreaming of a new home.  If you’re planning to stay in the area, we may be able to grant your wish.  Imagine being made aware of properties coming onto the market before they are advertised, and having a local estate agent proactively trying to find that house for you to make your next home? Well it’s the time of year where anything is possible.

Jingle all the way

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There is no time to wait if you’re looking to move in 2020, give our sales team  a call on 01923 773 616 and let us help you jingle all the way to a sale.