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Don't fall victim to a Christmas burglary - protect your home this season!

Posted by: Adam Male on 27 November 2015
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Once your Christmas shopping is all done, and there are carefully chosen presents for all of your loved ones around your tree, surely it’s time to relax and enjoy a mince pie? Not according to a survey by Halifax Home Insurance…

The survey has revealed that home insurance claims for burglary raise by 25% in December, with criminals cashing in on the season of goodwill.

With plenty of small, high-value gifts to make off with, it's the perfect time of year for opportunist thieves. However, there are a few ways you can help make sure that your home, and presents, are kept safe this Christmas:

  • Don’t leave your gifts on show – either in your home or car.
  • If you are leaving your property for long periods in the evening, consider leaving a light on. An unattended house represents an easy target.
  • Don’t leave gifts in sheds or garages. Whilst hiding gifts may help keep Christmas Day surprises away from prying eyes, outbuildings are easy targets for thieves.
  • Twinkling lights make your house look very festive, but make sure that you don’t have to leave any unattended, accessible open windows for cables or power leads – an open window is like an open door for a potential burglar!
  • Once Christmas is over, and all your presents have been happily received, make sure you dispose of the packaging properly! If there is a box for a flat screen TV, an iPad and an Xbox sat in your recycling bin, you are advertising your property as a very attractive opportunity for a post-Christmas visit some unwelcome guests. 






Looking for a property perfectly located for Black Friday bargain hunting? Look no further!

Posted by: Adam Male on 27 November 2015
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Retails outlets up and down the country are braced for Black Friday, and shoppers are raring to go to grab the very best bargains tor Christmas!

Being located close to one of the country’s shopping hotspots is a major selling point for some properties, and here at, we’ve got some properties perfectly located to make the most of the Black Friday deals!


Dalry, North Ayrshire

West Lynn Villa, in Dalry is perfectly located to make the most of the Burns Mall in nearby Kilmarnock, or the variety of shopping options in Glasgow, only a 20-minute drive away. Priced at £345,000, this three-bedroom semi-rural cottage is set on the edge of a village, and was formally the family home of famous local artist George Houston. Newly renovated to a very high standard, this spacious family home is the perfect place to relax after a hard day’s shopping and even features a converted stable block at the end of the garden – perfect overflow space for all your sale bargains! 


Three bedrooms, within a mile of an underground line (and 2 miles of a further two underground stations, and two mainline stations), and close to the Harlequin shopping centre - for anyone needing to travel into London, for bargain hunting or otherwise, this city pad in Stanmore is an absolute steal at £425,000!




If you have some serious shopping in mind, you may need more than a sit down when you get home – maybe a dip in your very own heated indoor pool? If so, Oak Villa, an eight-bedroom house in Triangle could be for you. Located just a few miles from nearby Halifax, the property not only boasts a pool, but also three acres of grounds, and despite a tucked away location, is ideally located for commuting, all for £895,000. 



With plenty of period features, this property in Huyton near Liverpool is perfect for anyone who is looking for something with a little character, all for £275,000. Despite bursting with original features, the property is fully fitted with UPVC double glazing and a solar hot water system, and it is perfectly located for modern commuters – whether they are commuting to Liverpool’s bustling business or shopping districts! Q&A - My property is in Wales, but I'm in England, do I need a Rent Smart Wales licence?

Posted by: Adam Male on 26 November 2015
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I own a couple of rental properties in Wales, but I live in England. Do I need a  Rent Smart Wales licence?  



Yes. The new Rent Smart Wales regulations came into force on Monday, 23rd October, so it is important that you make sure you are registered.

All landlords who own a property in Wales, and undertake ‘management activities’ or maintenance on a rented property, must hold a licence. If you don’t want to obtain a licence, a licensed agent must manage your property on your behalf

Under the regulations, the following actions require you to register for a licence:


  • Arrange or conduct viewings with prospective tenants
  • Gather evidence for the purpose of establishing the suitability of prospective tenants (this includes referencing, performing credit checks and/or interviewing a prospective tenant
  • Prepare, or arrange the preparation, of a tenancy agreement
  • Prepare, or arrange the preparation, of an inventory for the dwelling or schedule of condition for the dwelling
  • Collecting rent
  • Being the principal point of contact for the tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy
  • Making arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance
  • Making arrangements with a tenant or occupier of the dwelling to secure access to the dwelling for any purpose
  • Checking the contents or condition of the dwelling, or arranging for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one which has ended;
  • Serving notice to terminate a tenancy.

Even if you don’t currently undertake these activities, it is worth considering getting your licence arranged, so that should you need to in the future you are prepared. At the point of registration, you will have to list each of your properties, so if you own more than one property there is no need to go through multiple procedures. once you've got your licence, it will last for five years. 

The cost of the licence is £144 if you register online and £186 for if you prefer to submit a paper application.You have a year to make sure that all your registration is in place, but if you do not have a licence by the 23rd November 2016 you will face penalties. 

Will the stamp duty changes create a new property bubble?

Posted by: Adam Male on 26 November 2015
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'Frankly, people buying a home to let should not be squeezing out families who can’t afford a home to buy. So I am introducing new rates of stamp duty that will be 3% higher on the purchase of buy-to-let and second homes.' - George Osborne


This decision is all well and good if you are a first time buyer, trying to get on the property ladder and finding it difficult to secure a property when they keep being snapped up by investors – however, what if you are one of the 22% of UK tenants who don’t ever expect to make it onto the property ladder?


What if you are reliant on landlords providing a stream of rental properties across the country, often in some of the priciest towns and cities? This ongoing tax on landlords is forcing many property investors to reconsider their future in the buy-to-let market, and the subsequent impact on the rental market could have huge consequences. 


It is fair to assume that a significant part of the problem with today’s extreme house prices is a simple case of supply and demand. There is more people wanting to buy than there are available properties, so in turn the prices are forced up. Should landlords decide that owning a buy-to-let investment is no longer financially viable, and fewer are available on the market, the same phenomenon will surely occur? George Osborne may dream of a time when every home in the UK is owned by the occupier, but sadly it is not a likely outcome, and penalising landlords is only going to ultimately ‘tax the tenants.’


The move towards giving first time buyers a helping hand is great, it should be applauded and it will surely ease the pressure of the current property bubble, however, it is important to remember that we are not only a nation of first time buyers! 

Has the Statement left you stressed? Let's look at exactly what it means for buy-to-let...

Posted by: Adam Male on 26 November 2015
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The burns left by the Summer Budget are still fresh in the minds of many, and the Autumn Statement has sent fresh shock waves through the buy-to-let community. With research showing that one-in-ten is planning to leave the rental business, it is time to answer some questions around the thorny subject of troublesome tax, and hopefully allay some fears... 


What exactly are the changes?

If you already own your property, it was the Summer Budget that would have caused you the biggest headache. Currently, landlords receive a tax break of up to 45% on mortgage interest from rental properties. However, this is set to change in April 2016, when full tax relief will be removed, and changes will start to be introduced. By 2020, you will only be able to offset your mortgage interest at the basic rate of tax, 20%.  


If you were looking to buy a buy-to-let property, or expand your existing portfolio, the Autumn Statement has thrown another spanner into the works. The Chancellor announced that stamp duty will increase 3% for buy-to-let and second home buyers, making a previously affordable property seem less of a steal...


OK. I already own my property and I’m only a basic rate tax payer. Should I be worried?

If you're not planning to buy any further properties, the stamp duty changes shouldn't worry you too much.

With regards to the tax changes though, you should be aware, and check your situation. Whilst it seems that the changes only apply to higher-rate taxpayers, some basic rate taxpayers will also be affected. The way the new system operates means that rental income is added to any other incomes, which could possibly push you into a higher tax bracket. If you have bought with a large mortgage you are at the highest risk. 


Is anything else changing?

Yes. The amount you can deduct from your rental income is changing. Currently there is a large number of tax-deductible costs, but these are being scrapped as of April 2016, so make sure you are making the most of them now:  

  • If you rent a fully furnished property, there is currently a tax break which allows you to claim 10% of your rent for wear and tear. From April 2016, you will only be able to deduct cost that you actually incur.  
  • Fees incurred finding tenants are currently tax deductible. You are able to claim back advertising, tenancy agreement, credit checking, referencing, deposit protection and professional inventory costs. 
  • Ensuring your property is in a fit state for tenants is vital, so maintenance is currently a claimable cost. 
  • Leasehold fees and on-site service costs.
  • Council tax and utility bills during periods when the property is without a tenant.


Is there more to come?

Despite the changes that are coming, experts do not expect any further announcements in the Autumn statement. 


Ultimately, should I sell up or sit tight? 

It may seem confusing, but don’t make any hasty decisions to sell up and get out of the market too soon, it could be a costly mistake… 

If your property portfolio has increased in value you may face a capital gains tax bill, which is calculated as a percentage of the capital gain. This is the difference between the purchase and selling price, minus any costs. The rate is 28% for higher income tax payers, and 18% for basic rate (as long as the gain doesn’t push them into the higher bracket)From 2019 Capital Gains Tax to be paid within 30 days of a property disposal, which is something to consider.

With George Osborne pledging £2.3 billion for the building of new homes, there is likely to be plenty of people looking to make the move from rental to home ownership. Many landlords are considering making the decision to sell in their investments now, but consider that with the changes that will make it harder to become a landlord in the UK, there may be less rental properties on the market available for the thousands of people that still require them - so don't cash in your chips just yet!