LANDLORD S NEWSLETTER

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1 LANDLORD S NEWSLETTER O V E R V I E W Welcome to the flaming June fifth edition of our Newsletter. Summer is here, and the green shoots of recovery are beginning to grow and we are happy to say that the rental market shows no sign of waning. In this issue we shall be looking at - ARLA launch Licensing Scheme for UK members and code of practice for letting agents. Lettings No Longer the Black Sheep Insurance for Landlords - part 2 - Letsure Use it or Lose it! - AC Mole & Sons We welcome your comments or queries and please do let us know if there are any issues you would like us to cover. Bennett Residential can be found at 16 Station Road, Taunton TA1 1NL and can be contacted by or by telephone: Visit our Website: Andy Bennett MPS WELCOME LICENSING FOR LETTING AGENTS MPs welcomed Licensing for Letting Agents and gave their backing to the launch of the Association of Residential Letting Agent s licensing scheme at the House of Commons. MPs signed a register in support of ARLA s commitment to create the highest standards for letting agents in the UK and prevent unethical practice. Iain Wright, Housing Minister, said: Many residential letting agents operate with great professionalism and there are already ways of seeking redress when these standards haven t been met, but we have to go further. ARLA's new licensing scheme will promote greater professionalism and increase consumer confidence. It is this kind of commitment to the highest possible standards that we are looking to ensure across the private rented sector." Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of ARLA, said: The support of today s event by the attending MPs highlights the need for a scheme that stamps out bad practice and offers assurance and protection to tenants. From this point on, the consumer will now know that working with an ARLA approved agent means that they will receive the best possible advice and service. Footnote:- After Bennett Residential s approach to Taunton MP Jeremy Browne, he has written to confirm he has now signed Early Day Motion 1413 in support of this.

2 Lettings - No longer the black sheep of the Property Market The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is introducing a licensing scheme for its UK members and a code of practice for letting agents. Protection Members of ARLA's licensed agents' scheme will have to: Hold a professional qualification relating to lettings Take part in continuing professional development Have professional indemnity insurance Have plans in place to protect any money they are holding for clients Have an annual independent audit carried out on clients' funds. Under the scheme, if an ARLA licensed agent went out of business, any money it owed to clients would be protected. Lettings agencies are going out of business and owing their landlord clients thousands of pounds, or even tens of thousands of pounds, in rent," said Peter Bolton-King, ARLA's chief executive. Tenants in England can expect: A tenancy agreement That deposits be held by a tenancy deposit scheme That landlords should carry out repairs That landlords should give notice of inspecting or entering a property That rented properties should have a gas safety certificate That they should not be harassed or illegally evicted She added the ARLA scheme would "create the gold standard for letting agents in the UK, offering consumers best-practice service and advice - as well as a commitment to the protection of their money". All consumers should have the right to expect a professional letting service and have access to redress when problems arise. "So this offers protection to landlords in the worst-case scenario." Deposits paid by tenants were already supposed to be protected under a government deposit protection scheme - though Mr Bolton-King said that this did not always happen. 'Gold standard' "For too long the rental sector has been seen as the black sheep of the property market, with a lack of regulation and a requirement for redress to protect the consumer when the agent's failings are to the financial detriment of that consumer," said Ruth Lilley, head of membership and professional development at ARLA. STOP PRESS Bennett Residential have been appointed Somerset s first ARLA Licensed Member

3 Taking Cover Part 2 Rental Guarantee insurance companies, you can have one point of contact throughout the claim which helps make the process as stress-free as possible for you, so make sure you double-check this with your insurer. Rent guarantee insurance is not only tax As well as covering the rent until vacant deductible, like all insurances associated with possession of your property has been obtained, letting your property, but best of all it ensures a rent guarantee policy should provide that you get the rent that you re expecting if additional protection, which may include your tenant can t or won t pay, and can pay continued cover of your rent for up to three out for up to 12 months until you get vacant months whilst you find a new tenant. This can possession of the property. Most rental often be for up to 50% of the rent and covers defaults occur due to a change in a tenant s re-lettings costs to ease the expenses of void circumstances such as the break up of a periods, which can be expensive. relationship or the loss of a job, so it s important to have protection in place no You ll need to ensure that you ve referenced matter who your tenants are. If you have a all tenants to a level that is acceptable to your buy-to-let mortgage or regular outgoings that insurer prior to the tenancy commencing, as you need to cover this type of insurance can well as showing that you ve complied with any protect your income. The types of rent conditions contained in the referencing PropertyLive.co.uk is the new property search reports. portal. There are currently over 13,000 members (and growing) representing hundreds of agencies around the UK and overseas, so PropertyLive.co.uk is immediately going to become one of guarantee available can vary, so don t forget to read the policy wording before you take out a policy. Obtaining vacant possession on your own can take time and cost money. The average repossession takes five months and legal fees alone could cost you over 800. When this is added to unpaid rent your potential losses could be substantial. One of the main benefits of a rent guarantee is the support provided by the insurer s claims and legal teams who may handle the entire process for you, this peace of mind can be invaluable. With some

4 Landlord s legal expenses security of windows or doors. Emergency assistance policies will provide parts and labour for insurance This is often bought with rent up to a specified amount for each call that is guarantee insurance and provides legal cover usually for up to 50,000 access to a helpline that s available 365 days of made, but it also provides your tenants with which can enable your insurers to evict your the year, 24/7. This means that the insurer gets tenants for any breaches of the tenancy agreement. As well as providing cover for the evicproved contractor to contact your tenant and the call, not you and they ll arrange for an aption of any unauthorised occupiers, legal expenses insurance shouldn t have a policy excess time. begin to resolve the issue, no matter what the and should also include the recovery of the costs of any damage caused by the tenants. Legal expenses could be used for a number of reasons and the list of circumstances that could cause a claim is long, but a few examples include cover if the tenant refuses to move out at the end of a tenancy as well as other unauthorised occupiers of the property, failure to keep the premises clean, breaches of local government laws or keeping animals without your approval. These can all be difficult situations to deal with, but when you have a legal expenses policy all you have to do is make a valid claim. As with Rent Guarantee insurance, you ll need More than one property to insure? to ensure that you have referenced all tenants PropertyLive.co.uk is the new property search portal. There are currently over 13,000 members (and growing) representing If you look hundreds after several of agencies properties around you ll know the UK and overseas, so PropertyLive.co.uk is immediately going to become one of to a level that is acceptable to your insurer prior to the tenancy commencing, as well as showing that you ve complied with any conditions contained in the referencing reports remember to keep all paperwork in a safe place as this will have to be supplied to your insurer at the point of making a claim. Emergency assistance This insurance provides cover in the eventuality of an emergency such as failure of the electricity or cooking systems in your property, lost keys, plumbing problems, leaking roofs and the that it can be a handful to manage. Having portfolio insurance can make things much simpler, because you have one policy for all your properties, with one renewal date and the ability to add or remove properties from policy. As well as saving time and the hassle of managing multiple policy details you could also save a considerable amount when compared to individual policy premiums, in some cases this can be a saving of up to 45%. Letsure Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Register No Registered in England number Registered office address: 4-9 Highview, High Street, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 0AX

5 U S E I T O R L O S E I T! Tax Advice From A C Mole Secondly you may wish to consider There was a surprise for property owners securing rollover relief either on a sale of in the Budget. The special tax breaks for the property before next April or on the furnished holiday lettings (FHL) are to be acquisition of a new FHL property before extended to cover properties in the then. Once a capital gain has been rolled European Economic Area (EEA) until 6th over into an FHL property, the gain will April 2010 but then entirely withdrawn not crystallise unless and until the from that date. There is a limited time in property is disposed of. There is a limited which to take advantage of the rules opportunity therefore to use FHL before they are withdrawn. properties as shelters for certain capital For a property whether in the UK or gains. within the wider EEA to qualify, it must Some people suggest that FHL properties be available for letting for at least 140 are exempt from inheritance tax, but that days in the season and actually let for at is only the case if there is a very least 70 days, but not for more than 30 considerable degree of service provision consecutive days to the same person. A by the owner. longer winter let (out of the season ) is This article does not cover all of the permitted. The letting must be carried on issues or time limits you might need to with a view to realising a profit. consider and you should take advice If the rules are complied with then any tailored your own circumstances. losses are available for offset against other income, any capital gains on sale of the property can be rolled over into the acquisition of another trading asset and any gain on sale of another trading asset can be rolled over into the acquisition of an PropertyLive.co.uk FHL property. It is also is the possible new property to search portal. There are currently over claim 13,000 holdover members relief (and for capital growing) gains representing tax hundreds of agencies around the where UK and a property overseas, is given so PropertyLive.co.uk away. FHL is immediately going to become one of profits count as earned income for the purpose of ascertaining the amount that can be contributed to a pension fund. None of these tax breaks apply to normal lettings. The good news is that it may now be possible to make claims in respect of EEA properties let on the conditions described above for FHL going back several years. The bad news of course is that FHL reliefs disappear completely next April. What action is possible before the rules change? Firstly, if you are considering giving an FHL property away then you may wish to do so sooner rather than later to secure holdover relief. Please feel free to contact either Robert Zelazik or Paul Aplin at A C Mole & Sons on or them at or

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LANDLORD S NEWSLETTER

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