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Buy to Let Stamp Duty Change – A Catastrophe or an Opportunity?

Published: 04/12/2015   Last Updated: 04/12/2015 14:37:25   Author:  Stephen Clements - Sales Manager    Tags: Legal Update, Landlords, Property, News

In the chancellors autumn budget statement buy-to-let investors and those purchasing second homes are to be hit with an additional 3% increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax from April 2016.  Additionally anyone selling a buy-to-let or second property will have to settle their Capital Gains Tax liability within 30 days. This coupled with a change in Mortgage offset relief “is a catastrophe for the private rented sector” according to reports from ARLA.

 

How can Hamilton Chess help?


Hamilton Chess believe Landlords will remain in the industry and that the housing market will be ‘turbo-charged’ in the short term with Landlords embarking on a pre April 16 buying spree which could be advantageous to you if you are considering selling, or if you are already on the market.

 

12 years of successfully selling property in Windsor and surrounding areas makes us best placed for marketing your property and achieving a sale in the shortest period of time.

 

Hamilton Chess already have a number of active Landlords looking to invest in further properties and we expect more Landlords to register their interest in the next few months.

 

You have a small window of opportunity to beat this April 2016 deadline, so we recommend to act now by calling on 01753 624 000 to arrange an appointment for Hamilton Chess to visit you in your home. By doing so, you could also take advantage of our competitive selling fee.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Legal Update – Right to Rent and Immigration Checks

Published: 02/11/2015   Last Updated: 07/11/2015 11:31:50   Tags: Legal Update, Landlords, Property, Tenants

As of 1st February 2016 Landlords and Letting Agents will be subject to further new legislation. This time the new legislation will surround Immigration and a Tenants right to rent in the UK. This legislation will also cover those who have a lodger or are sub-letting.

 

From 1st February 2016 the new law will introduce the requirement for all Landlords and Letting Agents to check that all Tenants over the age of eighteen have the right to live in the UK legally. This includes all occupants of the property over the age of eighteen, whether they are a tenant listed on the tenancy or not.

 

Existing tenancies are unaffected, although it has been best practice to ensure a Tenant is legally allowed to reside in the UK for some time.

 

Landlords will therefore need to establish exactly who will be living in the property during the tenancy and from here they will need to obtain, check and copy one or more original appropriate documents to confirm the Tenants right to live in the UK. This must be done with the original copy of the document and in the presence of the document holder and the Landlord must retain a clear electronic version of the document, recording the date the copy was taken.
 

Acceptable documents will include a UK Passport, Permanent Residence Card or a Travel Document which confirms indefinite leave to remain. A full list of acceptable documentation can be found HERE. Landlords will need to keep copies of these items for up to year after the tenancy has ended.

 

If the Tenants and or occupiers do not have any restrictions to remain in the UK then nothing further needs to be done for the remainder of the tenancy. If however the right to remain in the UK is time restricted then the Landlord will need to make a follow up check on the Tenant. The follow up check must be made before the expiry of the Tenants right to remain, or 12 months from the original check, whichever is later.

 

If the follow up check shows that the Tenant no longer has the right to remain the UK the Landlord must inform the Home Office HERE.

 

When reporting to the Home Office the Landlord must include the full name and address of the occupier, the date they first took occupation and copies of the documents the Landlord took as part of the initial Right to Rent check. The Landlord must also include their own name, contact address or contact for the relevant agent where applicable.

Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 per person if they are found to have let a property to someone who does not have the Right to Rent and they cannot show they conducted the appropriate checks both before and during the tenancy. Details on potential penalties can also be found HERE.
 

As the UK rental market becomes subject to more long called for legislation it’s never been more important to ensure that you as a Landlord stay abreast of the latest legislation, or if you use a letting agency that you make sure you are using a registered ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings) agent such as us at Hamilton Chess who are professionally committed to the highest industry standards.

 

If you have any queries on the above or need any advice regards to lettings in the local area then please do get in touch with us on

01753 624000 or lettings@hamiltonchess.co.uk .

 

Mitch Moth MARLA

New Business Manager

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015:

Published: 30/10/2015   Last Updated: 04/12/2015 14:33:39   Author: Mitch Moth    Tags: Legal Update, Landlords, Management, Property, News

From the 1 October 2015 landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. They will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas, oil or LPG. The alarms need not be hard wired; battery operated alarms are fine.

The Landlord or the Agent will be responsible for testing the alarms at the start of tenancy date for all new tenancies after 1st October 2015. This does not include a periodic statutory tenancy which starts following the end of a shorthold tenancy.

To test the alarm it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guide; in most cases simply pressing the button to ensure it is working is enough. The testing of the alarm will need to be recorded on file, so it is recommended to be included in the inventory or that where possible the tenant should sign to confirm the alarms were working. It should be noted that the start of tenancy date is the first contractual date of the tenancy, regardless if the tenant does not physically move in on this date.

During the tenancy the liability for the testing of the alarms does then lie with the tenant and the expectation is on them to keep the alarms in good working order i.e. replacing the batteries to the alarm. Should the alarm itself become faulty however, the liability is with the Landlord to replace this.
A booklet from the Department for Communities and Local Government can be accessed here The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

The local authority will be charged with implementing these new regulations. If the local authority thinks that a landlord has not implemented the new rules correctly they will issue a notice advising the landlord what they need to do to resolve the problem. The local authority must give the notice within 21 days from when they believe that the landlord has breached the rules. The landlord has 28 days to respond and/or make good what is needed to comply. It is to be noted that if the landlord can show they have taken sufficient action to remedy the situation, but have not been able to do so due to the tenant, then the landlord cannot be held responsible.

If landlords are made aware that they are not meeting the regulated standard, and do not take action in the permitted time frame, they can face a substantial fixed penalty charge of £5,000.

Full legislation relation to this can be read here The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation

At Hamilton Chess we are members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), so you can rest assured that we take pride in being aware of legislative changes, ensuring our Landlords on our Full Management service are both up to date and covered in this perspective. As the rental sector comes under more scrutiny and subject to new legislation it is becoming more and more important to ensure you use an ARLA agent such as Hamilton Chess to ensure your peace of mind as a Landlord.

Landlords on Hamilton Chess’ Full Management service will benefit from Hamilton Chess being able to advise on and arrange installation of alarms where necessary, plus the recording of their operation on the start of tenancy.

If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about our Full Management service then please call us on 01753 624000, or email lettings@hamiltonchess.co.uk whereby we’d be happy to help .

Mitch Moth
New Business Manager