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CH_

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Everything posted by CH_

  1. We have had a nightmare in the past with tenants reporting 'damp'. In our experience its almost always black mould caused by condensation. Cold walls and ceilings in solid walled terraced houses mean it's very common in our experience. The problem is convincing tenants, I've paid for builders to attend and surveys to be carried out by damp experts in the past but the tenants still cant/won't believe its caused by internal moisture from breathing, drying clothes, cooking, bathing etc. Tenants always seem to assume it's 'damp' from a leak and always the landlords fault! Can be very frustrating as you're helpless but the tenant hates you, its costing you a fortune to investigate it and the house decor is getting trashed all at the same time! Basically in houses like that you need to be very careful in controlling moisture by closing bathroom doors, kitchen doors etc, drying up condensation round windows etc but its very difficult especially if you cant afford to heat rooms (who can atm!). If the house is lived in during the day it's even worse, more breathing, more cooking, more kettle boiling etc. We took to buying dehumidifiers for tenants, we've now started to fit PIVs. The properties where we have done this, as far as I'm aware, haven't had a re-occurrence. They're approx £400 to buy and easy to fit by an electrician as they can be wired to the lighting circuit. We fit Nuaire ones, there are different types depending on whether the house has a loft, we've used both types. If there's no loft you will need a hole in an outside wall so a bit more expense otherwise they take fresh dry air from the loft. If you go on their website it explains the principals around PIV and how it works and also the different models. I've found their aftersales to be very good too for advice and also quickly replacing a unit that was DOA that we'd already had fitted. I think they cost approx 1p per day to run, could be more now but not really significant and you could agree to discount the rent to pay the extra if anyone objected. Seems to have been the silver bullet for us so far touch wood. I used to dread the calls coming in at this time every year, now we'll just arrange for a PIV to be fitted and that will hopefully do the trick. It's probably £600 or so all in but worth every penny IMO if it stops it and stops it for good. Good luck, hope you manage to get their issues sorted.
  2. I usually try to avoid anything being sold by the modern method of auction, I've no idea why sellers get persuaded to go down that route. I appreciate there can be some benefits but it just makes buying a PITA IMO and no doubt massively limits they type of buyer who'd be interested. Seems to be the new fad along with everything (optimistically) being advertised as 'offers over'. Maybe worth just making a 'normal' offer on a property via the agent which I think they can accept if they choose to as long as the auction hasn't started.
  3. The change in rates turns what I would normally class as a fairly decent deal to one that barely cashflows anything at all. We have built our portfolio with yield in mind but currently having a pause and will likely have to have a change in strategy. I think we'll be targeting houses with greater potential for long term growth and perhaps ones that need more work. Also considering HMOs. I know there is still money to be made but its annoying for those of us who were trying to build an income. Long term growth delivers bigger gains for sure but in the short term there's no income and probably just the hassle of ownership with little or no reward or buffer when the boiler packs up etc. Most of ours are on long term deals so I expect the nice income we have built up to slowly dwindle down as we remortgage each property onto higher rates. No guarantees we'll pass the new stress tests either although I think we'll be OK. If not then I guess you either stay on the SVR and pay an even higher rate, pay some money off (if you can) or sell. Not great, hopefully they will get inflation under control. I'm no economist but it does seem like inflation is being driven by crazy fuel prices on the whole so I don't quite get how higher rates are going to help, should certainly speed up the recession though as people already struggling to pay for goods and services are hit with way higher mortgage and rent payments.
  4. It was just a further advance on our existing mortgage, they didn't even do a valuation (probably just a desktop one) and there were options for fixed,, tracker etc. We went for a tracker product with no erc so complete flexibility and can be paid back whenever. Much cheaper than bridging and way easier to apply for.
  5. Thanks that's really useful, I think as soon as the economy starts to stabilise and my pot starts to move up a little I'll be looking to switch. I'd do it now and only transfer a small part but I suspect the fees would make that non viable. Would you mind letting me know who your provider is? Ive looked at a few but again its quite tricky to do comparison of fee structures etc as the info isn't that easy to come by. Also can it be managed electronically or is it a case of making phone calls to purchase stocks/funds etc? Interested to know how it can be administered. Thanks again...
  6. We borrowed on our own property to raise money for more deposits, also looked to withdraw as much equity as we could on the properties we have renovated. Not a great approach right now due to rate rises but for us we found borrowing against our own house to be way more cost effective than any other strategy. We have just applied for another further advance which was a tracker, the way the market has gone has put me off taking it but its still by far the cheapest way for us to get finance even with the increased rates. We will probably still use it if a suitable property comes up. Its base rate +1.19%, low fees, no ERC and effectively makes you a cash buyer. Its repayment and the term is short so the monthly payment is fairly high but you're paying off both capital and interest so if you can stand the monthly payments its way cheaper than bridging and other development finance and it gets you moving again. To be honest though our whole model is broken by higher rates so currently sitting tight to see what happens next, mainly have long term fixes but need to consider a different strategy in this market as it looks like yields will reduce.
  7. I'm very interested in starting a SSAS for the reasons you mention above, particularly loan back. The only problem is my current pot has lost about 50k in the last 18 months or so and its putting me off taking the plunge! Basically Im reluctant to cash it in at its current reduced value! Another thing that concerned me was the thought of continually having to make the pot work, what I mean is how do you make the rest of the fund work when for example you have taken half of it out as 'bridging' but you dont want the rest to just stagnate and capital to erode due to inflation, fees etc. I understand you can provide finance to others and gain good returns that way but the info on these types of investments seems very light in the places I have looked and the only company I tried wasnt interested in talking about detail and just wanted to close the sale which to be honest made me run a mile! What Id like to think is that I could buy into 'normal' funds using it so it would mimic a standard pension fund but still offer the benefits of SSAS as and when I need it to. Seems a bit ironic I'm worrying about it matching the performance of a normal pension when mine has just lost £50k but in the long term (and without global pandemics and wars) you would hopefully expect to easily see returns of 5% or more with a standard pension. I guess you can easily match that with a SSAS even if you aren't using its fancy features but how!?
  8. Just managed to open one with Revolut, not started using it as yet but ticks all the boxes for us, small 20p transaction fee on purchases I think is the only charge with the free account. You do need to upload a document to prove what your business does which can be tricky for a brand new SPV. Luckily I had an invoice from a builders merchants in the company name which they accepted. All setup online very quickly.
  9. I don't like to raise rents at all providing tenants are looking after the place and paying rent on time, I dont agree with it unless my costs rise. A freeze and eviction ban however changes that slightly and I might re-consider for any under-priced properties. I'm also considering rent guarantee insurance for some properties. Ended up stuck with a tenant not paying a penny in rent throughout COVID, fully taking advantage of the situation, people being people there will be ones who decide to take full advantage and see it as free accommodation for the duration of the ban. Unbelievable that landlords and rent are being targeted and literally not a single other sector despite many profiteering and taking full advantage! Easy pickings I guess. The eviction ban in particular is completely inappropriate.
  10. Thanks Stuart; much appreciated. I did wonder about indemnity insurance but some reading I did suggested that if you knew about the unauthorised works prior to taking out cover then it wouldn't help. In this case I'm obviously well aware of the issue in advance so not sure any indemnity insurance would help? Enforcement action doesn't worry me as the council have already told me they wouldn't pursue it but I'd just be worried about it putting off lenders and prospective purchasers down the line if we ever decide to sell.
  11. Can anyone help....we're about to exchange on a listed building, I noted a while back that UPVC windows had been fitted a long time back and the doors are composite UPVC and I'd estimate approx 5 years old. Both windows and doors look fine and suit the house however the council has confirmed no permission has been obtained. They also said on this occasion they wouldn't seek to take enforcement action. So thats great and puts my mind at rest but we are purchasing using funds from a further advance on our residence with a view to remortgaging in 6 months. My worry is that a lender might not lend if the valuer picks up on the listed building status and the fact there is no permission for recent(ish) works. Am I right to be concerned? Last thing i need is to be stuck with an unmortgagable property and be unable to get any money back out or sell! I'm thinking worst case scenario we would have to get consent which would involve replacing windows and perhaps the doors and probably cost in the region on £10k. That would pretty much wipe out any uplift in value and make the deal nonviable not to mention the time and disruption. Im hoping Im worrying over nothing but if not I fear we would need to (very reluctantly) ask for a reduction in price or walk away. I'd hate to do that due to time and money already spent and I'd hate to do that to the vendor but we need to cover ourselves. TIA
  12. Can anyone recommend a good accountant for our situation? My wife runs a small company and has an accountant currently who does annual accounts, wages etc. We also have a number of BTL properties in our personal names and also now have a Ltd company for BTL property. Would ideally like an accountant with good knowledge of taxation on property who could also look after small company accounts. Its getting a little bit complicated now so I think knowledge of property and tax is key for us. We're based in Yorkshire but I guess these days it doesn't really matter. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. TIA.
  13. I think if you are going to add internal wall insulation with a view to getting a better EPC score you need to get building regs approval, the building control cert is then what you show to the EPC assessor to prove the work has been done properly. I looked into this recently, in our area I think if you are planning on insulating more than 75% of the external walls then building regs is needed. Its not just the walls either all the window reveals need to be insulated which can obviously be tricky when you factor in it has to be 75mm thick. I was looking at gluing the insulated board to the existing wall using some sort of adhesive. If you add a cavity also I think you would lose a fair bit of internal space. Didn't end up buying the property in the end but Im pretty sure if you want to improve the EPC you will need to show proof via building control cert. Personally Im hoping they allow exceptions to solid wall homes but I guess if you are renovating anyway and its viable it might be worth it.
  14. I'm in exactly the same situation, most of our properties have no cavity therefore as things stand would need internal wall insulation to bring up to a C. We're also in the process of buying another with the same issue which needs a refurb. The problem is all of the EPCs I have looked at lead me to believe there's no consistency in the way the scores are calculated and I also find it hard to believe there wont be an exception for houses with no wall cavity. We have some houses where it just wont be possible to add internal wall insulation due to stone staircase, smaller rooms etc, not to mention the cost and having to move tenants out. So bottom line is I'm not prepared to risk spending £10k+ on each property until I know exactly what the requirements are going to be and I am hoping common sense will prevail and an exception will be made for older houses with no cavity. A fair exception in my opinion would be to take into account the fact that solid walls cant practically be improved and allow for a lower score, the lower score should be set to ensure all other achievable energy saving measures have been taken. As they do now tenants can decide whether they want to live in a house that might be slightly harder to heat than a newer property. The vast majority of rental properties in our area do not have a wall cavity.
  15. CH_

    BTL in Halifax

    Maybe a freehold property with a sitting tenant could be a good option? See quite a few come on the market, ideal if you want to be hands free but offer future potential to add value if you're ever inclined. Cash flowing from the off too. Im sure you know all this but you'd likely be better off leveraging your cash and using mortgages if that's viable.
  16. CH_

    BTL in Halifax

    I would say the price will be low for a reason and there will be little to no capital appreciation, you also wont be able to add any real value with a view to re-financing and taking out money. It's an EPC E also which might suggest it has old storage heaters, that would also be a concern as could be expensive to improve the EPC rating. I would say in that area you will be able to find much better investments if you are looking at properties up to £100k. I see similar flats near us which seem very cheap and seem to take an eternity to sell. I always think that in itself is a risk. Depends on your strategy though I guess, I just think being able to add value and the prospect of some capital appreciation is key. As is being able to easily finance a property. If its too small to mortgage or non standard construction you may find any finance costs are very high. Personally I would look for a doer-upper for about 80k if you have a budget of 100k, the yield should still be good if you choose the right property and particularly if you are able to add some value. Doesn't always have to be a major refurb either, sometimes spending a few thousand on a neglected property can add value. Zoopla will give a good indication on whether there is potential to add value.
  17. CH_

    BTL in Halifax

    I'd agree with last comment, some really nice flats near us in Yorkshire which look decent value compared to houses but when you take into account the service charge they just don't stand up as an investment. We have one such flat that makes next to nothing per month but its one of the rare ones in our portfolio we bought solely for capital growth as it was way BMV.
  18. Thankyou, I shall try this route once I get them out of the house. Gone for a section 21 eviction since it's apparently easier so will need to chase the debt separately. Also trying to get universal credit to pay direct as I suspect she is claiming rent but using it as spending money.
  19. I agree sometimes its just easier and more efficient just to draw a line under it but I do feel some responsibility to stop them walking away scot free and doing it to someone else. I was amazed its not easier to get a large debt collected and very surprised they are mostly wanting approx £700 up front. They boast high success rates but their reviews suggest otherwise. Plus the high upfront fee makes me suspect a big part of the model is taking that fee and not necessarily the fee they take from recovery. I suspect there will be additional fees too for any other legal requirements such as CCJ, attachment of earnings etc. Happened to us twice now, agents fault for poor vetting on each occasion. I'll be reading all future applications and referencing reports myself in future.
  20. This is the stuff of nightmares to me, Ive had similar with tiny gas bills that have eventually found their way back to me. As far as I know, as yet, my credit rating hasn't been impacted but there are lots of horror stories on the internet from people receiving defaults and CCJs from utility companies for old debts they weren't even aware of or liable for. I wrote to British Gas regarding one months ago and haven't received anything back. I'm assured by their customer services line somewhere in the world that it wont impact my credit rating but I'd like to be 100% certain! It seems crazy to me that you can receive a default/CCJ for a debt when you didn't even have a contract with the company demanding the money. All our properties are managed by an agent but the way they handle utilities seems to be hit and miss at best. First I heard of the latest one was when a collection agency emailed me.
  21. I'm having trouble at the moment recovering a debt for several thousand pounds. Its not as easy as you might think! I'm struggling to find collection agencies prepared to take on the case without wanting several hundred pounds up front and their reviews aren't great to say the least. Also worries me how motivated they will be to get my money back when they've already taken a large fee. I did use a very good tracing service who found me the guarantors new address for approx £40, if he isn't prepared to do anything about the debt then I'll need to enlist a collection agency to go after tenant and guarantor, the guarantor will ultimately end up with a CCJ if they don't pay, then it depends how far you want to go to recoup the money (bailiffs, attachment of earnings). The problem is every step is more money (and hassle) and it feels like chucking good money after bad, also at the end of the day if the person who owes you the money doesn't have the means to pay it back then you're probably wasting your time and collection agencies will be reluctant to help. From a principal point of view though it doesn't feel right to just allow people to walk away from debt, a CCJ will also warn others otherwise they'll likely just walk into another property and do the same to the next landlord. I've also heard money claim online can be useful for smaller amounts. All this is based on my experience and I haven't had much luck at all so far! If anyone out there can advise further it would be much appreciated.
  22. Possibly not compliant, its my understanding that if the conversion didnt get approval at the time its very difficult and expensive to get retrospective approval therefore you're stuck with a decent room, but one that can never be officially classed as a bedroom. You could try searching council website for building regs and/or planning approvals for that address? I've viewed properties like this in the past and sometimes it seems like the agent cant really be bothered to find out whether its compliant therefore err on the side of caution. If you do some research and find it did get approval then happy days but if its a recent flip you would think they would have already done that? Its a nice cheap way to get a 3 bed house for the price of a 2 bed if you're buying it to live in! I guess you could rent as a 3 bed or 2+attic but not sure if a valuer would be able to value as a 3 bed, probably not unless it has regs. As far as I know the head height in the room itself doesn't matter much (which is daft imo!) but the head height above the staircase is all important and of course insulation which these days has to be very thick, floor strength also important.
  23. Personally I'd say its perfectly reasonable to retain enough deposit to replace both carpets.
  24. I guess we have to consider whether the 18 year property cycle is war and global pandemic proof? Very much hoping the cost of living crisis and inflation will cool next year but if not it seems highly unlikely prices will continue to rise and more likely we'll see a slight correction. Affordability is key, rates up and affordability down is surely only going to lead to one thing. Or maybe growth stalls for a year or so then continues on as per the cycle.
  25. I'm far form an expert but every tenanted property I've ever looked at has info on whether rent is up to date in the legal pack I'm sure, if its been mis-represented then surely you're allowed to walk away and keep the deposit? Could cost you thousands either putting up with a bad tenant or getting rid so that comes straight off the valuation. Hopefully the vendor wont get away with simply lieing on the forms!
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