News & views from Urban Sales and Lettings

BBC Radio 2 Talks About Online Estate Agents..

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 23 August 2014
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BBC Radio 2 Talks About Online Estate Agents..



Winner of the Property Story Competition !

Posted by: Administrator on 2 March 2014
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The lucky winner of the property story competition is Chris Cartin. 

Please get in touch to claim your prize as per our terms and conditions. Congratulations!





What could you do with your basement?

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 18 January 2014
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Basement conversions are a great way to gain extra space without moving house. This a cost effective way to generate more space and is especially popular in London where owners are keen to make the most of every square foot available. They can be handy for all sorts of things such as a children’s playroom, an office or even a home cinema.

For families that are tight on space this can be a useful way to give the kids an extra room and keep the clutter from the rest of the house. For people with older children this could also be a useful place for teenagers to hideaway with their friends when they’re home!

For those who work from home regularly this could be an ideal place to turn into an office without losing any living space.

Basement conversions have been a big hit in London and of course if you have the money available why not invest in a super sized, underground pool room or home cinema?

Medium Term House Price Predictions

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 17 December 2013
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In the past year house prices in the UK have seen a great turnaround: the market has picked up, banks are more willing to lend and prices are rising at rates not seen since before the economic crisis.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has recently released its latest forecast for the UK and has increased its projections of how high house prices will rise over the next several years. The latest statistics reveal that prices are expected to rise 3.2 percent this year, 5.2 percent in 2014 and 7.2 percent in 2015. Whilst a proportion of the rise is driven by the huge increase in demand for London property from foreign investors there have also been recent concerns over a new housing bubble and fears that the government are inflating the housing market through recent policies such as the Help to Buy Scheme.

The Bank of England, concerned the market may be over stimulated, have withdrawn some state support from the mortgage market recently. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, commented, “There’s clearly still a danger of house prices getting out of control. The danger is if you fuel demand, then prices are driven up even more.”

As UK house prices begin hitting pre crisis levels a greater proportion of people face paying higher rates of stamp duty, with the revenue the government receives from it is expected to rise from £8.9 billion in 2013/14 to £16.8 billion in 2018/19.

The Autumn Statement provided no stamp duty relief for buyers but did promise £1 billion of loans to aid house building across the country in a bid to ease the strain on the market and the lack of supply which is having an adverse affect. As the housing market picks up property construction is desperately needed throughout the UK.

A piece of Landlord legislation you probably don't know about : Legionnaires Disease

Category: Blog
Posted by: Administrator on 25 October 2013
Comments: 3

Many Landlords are not aware that the HSE legislation regarding the control of legionnaires disease applies to residential lettings and the legal responsibility sits with the Landlord. This means that all residential lettings must have a legionella risk assessment carried out.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by water borne bacteria and is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. It is typically found in water systems or stagnant water and as a landlord you have a responsibility to carry out a risk assessment on your property and ensure you efficiently manage any risks that are identified there. Legionella bacteria can multiply in water systems and can then be spread by spray, eg, from a shower. It is therefore important that you are aware of the risks and what you should consider when carrying out a risk assessment of the property.

Risk Assessment

When carrying out a risk assessment you should consider the following points:

-           Is the temperature right for the bacteria to survive in all or part of the system? This is around 20 – 45 degrees Celsius

-           Is the water stagnant or is the outlet infrequently used in the property?

-           Is there any waste in the pipe that could provide a source of food for the bacteria?

-           Is anyone who visits the property particularly vulnerable to the bacteria, eg, elderly people or those already ill

If your answers to these questions are no then you do not need to take further action, however it is advisable to review your risk assessment at regular intervals.

Should the answer be yes to any of the questions it is your legal responsibility as landlord to take the necessary steps to manage this risk. Any tenants of the property should be advised of the risk, the water system kept free of debris and you should ensure water cannot stagnate in the system by running outlets regularly in unoccupied rooms and removing any redundant pipework. Water in the hot water cylinder should also be kept at an appropriate temperature at which the legionella are unable to survive. Any staff who handle the maintenance of the property should also be briefed on managing risks.

It is also necessary to ensure records are kept on the risk assessment and any steps you have had to take for a minimum of five years.

Full details from ARLA’s website can be found here.