London

Planning to move to London? Relocating is hard, and London is not the easiest city to adapt to.

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Getting yourself mentally prepared is the first step and we found a good article about things to consider before moving to London on Property Division. We dived them into ‘pluses’ vs. ‘minuses’ so you can do the math:

– higher rents

+ more available jobs and different types of careers to choose from

+/ – housemates (it’s a + or a – considering the type of person you are)

+ meeting interesting people

– high costs for transportation

– pricey pubs

+ lots of new things to see

+++ everything’s open late!

Things Northerners Should Consider When Relocating to London

Now what do you choose? Being a tourist or a Londoner?

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Understanding the difference…

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When searching for the ideal property to buy, aspiring homeowners may be faced with a choice: leasehold vs. freehold. What are the differences?

 

 

Leasehold vs. freehold: the basics

The main difference between leasehold and freehold is that if you buy a leasehold property, you own the property but not the land it stands on. With a freehold property, you own both the building and the land.

In England and Wales, the majority of flats are leasehold, while houses are usually sold as freehold properties.

 

Buying a leasehold property

With leasehold properties, the land the building stands on is owned by a landlord, also known as the freeholder.

You will own the property for the length of a lease agreement with the freeholder. After the lease expires, ownership of the property will revert back to the freeholder.

You’ll pay ground rent to the freeholder, although this usually won’t be very much. The freeholder will also be responsible for maintaining and running the building, so you can expect to pay a service charge to contribute to the cost of this.

 

 

Buying a freehold property

When you buy a freehold property, you’ll own the dwelling and the land it stands on outright.

There will be no time limit on your ownership, so you won’t have to worry about a lease running out.

You’ll be responsible for maintaining the building and any related costs, but this will mean you’ll be free to do whatever you like to the property (subject to planning permission).

 

Leasehold vs. freehold: a summary

Buying a home is an exciting step, but it is very important to understand any impending issues surrounding property ownership.

When it comes to leasehold vs. freehold, the main difference is that as a freeholder you’ll own your property outright from the get go, while as a leaseholder your ownership will be limited to a set length of time.

If you want to know more about buying a home, get in touch with our team today; we are more than happy to help!

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Landlords have been the target of some serious new taxes and regulations. Although these are worrying for some, these measurements are not an end of the rope for most.

For those of you considering investing in properties, keep in mind this:

long-term investments will surely bring you a good profit. New research showed that investing in buy-to-let, but not on an amateur level, will bring the landlord a stable and consistent source of revenue.

More details and a good case analysis in this article on Property Reporter:

How much could an average long term property investment earn you?

If you’re thinking about investing in a buy-to-let here are our property recommendations from the Victor Michael website:

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Unlike most other student based cities London is the exception in the fact that students are not locked into their contracts early. Take the University of Southampton for example, Southampton being the student-dominated city it is; the search for a property for the next academic year starts in November and most of the good properties go by February. This forces students and Fresher’s especially, to seek a property and housemates right as the start of the academic year, whilst Fresher’s are establishing who their friends are. Also, it forces students to pay full summer rent although they are not in the property during the break due to the high demand for properties.  But London being the bustling city it is this problem doesn’t occur.

Below are our 5 top tips for students at London universities seeking tenancies.

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  1. Do not rush to enquire.

Our policy, like most other agencies, is not to advertise properties until a month before the current tenancy is about to end. If you want to move in September, start enquiring in August. This ensures you do not waste your own time or the time of the agency. It also ensures that you aren’t made to pay rent over the summer unnecessarily if you are not staying in London during the holidays; this will save you untold amounts of money.

 

  1. Know your requirements.

How long do you want the property for? When are you looking to move? What is your preferred location? What is your maximum budget per calendar month? Are you willing to share facilities with other tenants? Make sure you know your requirements before you enquire so that the agent is best able to help you.

 

  1. Know what the agency requires.

For full time students, except those completing a PHD, agency and landlords require you to have a guarantor. A guarantor is someone, often a family member or loved one, who is willing to agree to pay your rent if you default payment and your rent becomes in arrears. Your guarantor can be international, though some countries are harder to reference.

 

  1. Be prompt with your referencing.

Referencing students for the property is a little more complicated as we have to verify your guarantor too. Make sure you promptly fill out your referencing forms, send over all necessary documentation and that of your Guarantors, especially if you have a holiday planned just before you move-in.

 

  1. What to know when you move-in. 

 

An inventory check-in is often mandatory on the day of your move-in. You are required to attend and the inventory clerk will go through and note any damages to the property left by the previous tenant, this is for your benefit so you are not unfairly charged at the end of your tenancy. We would advise you to take your own pictures as evidence and store this one a backed up memory drive.

 

Your Deposit. All landlords and estate agents are legally required to register your deposits 30 days after receiving it. Make sure you are provided with evidence of its registration. If your landlord fails to register your deposit he may be liable to pay you 3 times the deposit amount and is prohibited to issuing a section 21, an eviction notice.

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The Government is set to take a closer look to the regulations concerning carbon monoxide alarms.

Main topics to be reviewed are:

-> if the alarms should be mandatory for all types of heating installations (including gas and oil).

-> if the installation rates for these alarms are raised by the cost of the alarm itself.

The campaign to review the regulations for carbon monoxide alarms was launched by Eddie Hughes MP and was agreed by Housing Minister Dominic Raab.

Reviewing the regulations will start from the number of carbon monoxide poisonings because, as Dominic Raab said:

“Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer and my top priority is to ensure people remain safe and protected in their own homes.”

Main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Dull headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Confusion.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Loss of consciousness.

There are around 8 million alarms for carbon monoxide all across the UK, many being installed after 2010 when they became mandatory for appliances based on solid fuel. Moreover, in 2015 private rented sector landlords have been obliged to install these alarms wherever they offer accommodation that has a solid fuel installation.

Source: Press release

Government to launch review into carbon monoxide alarms

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The Tenant Fees Bill can soon be a reality for tenants in England. The Government also answered upon the HCLG Select Committee report on the draft Tenant Fees Bill.

The main changes the Tenant Fees Bill can be read here. The most important provisions in the document that are to affect tenants (and landlords) are:

  • Maximum security deposits: six weeks’ rent.
  • The upper limit for holding deposits can be of no more than one week’s rent.
  • The landlords can charge more than £50 for sharer charges only after they prove that the costs were greater than the amount mentioned.
  • Landlords will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice until they have repaid any unlawfully charged fees.
  • Letting agent transparency requirements will be included in The Consumer Rights Act 2015. This will also be applied to websites and portals that do lettings.

Moreover, the Trading Standards should help tenants to recover unlawfully charged fees via the First-tier Tribunal.

To sum up, there are only some limited extra-charges a landlord or an agent can charge the tenant with:

  • a change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant
  • utilities, communication services and Council Tax
  • payments arising from a default by the tenant such as replacing lost key

What is your opinion upon the bill? Does it help enough tenants? Are landlords and agents too restricted?

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Renting will cut your monthly income by a almost a quarter. Taking that into consideration, it is only natural to choose wisely when it comes to places to rent. However, a recent study found that there are some common interests between London renters.

Major concerns and interests for renters:

-> saving money: discounts and offers that help saving money daily.

-> the rising cost of living.

-> saving money on transport costs.

Despite all the eagerness to save money, 74% of renters questioned would pay a higher rent if this means saving money on daily necessities (groceries, household bills, and transport).

For more insights, read the entire article on Property Reporter.

Where do you find yourself? A big spender or a cautious cost planner?

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Awards for the Victor Michael team at the 2018 ESTAS

Last night was a very important night for Victor Michael. The team at Victor Michael was awarded two gold awards at the Estate Agent of the Year Awards (ESTAS) 2018.

The two gold prizes received by Victor Michael were for:

  • Best Estate Agents Group in London
  • Best Agent in London East

The ESTAS awards 2018 happened under the tagline “Because Service Matters” and it highlighted regional and nationally services like real estate agents, brokers, conveyancers, home-builders for the excellent standard of customer service they deliver throughout the year.

You can watch the moment of the announcement of the Gold Winner on our Facebook page.

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Are you looking forward to investing more in your future home? Extra budget should mean you have to be more careful at the property you are prospecting.

We found a useful guide when searching for a luxury property on Property Division.

-> Location is key. Check out the neighborhoods’ houses!

-> Carefully analyze space layout, design and architecture.

-> Extra-large kitchen should equal luxury.

-> High-end finishes must be genuine!

What do people look for when buying a luxury home?

Check out our recommendations for a great luxury home! You’ll know they’re exactly what you are looking for!

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Don’t let renting a house stand in the way of your design aspirations. With a pinch of imagination, you can transform your rented home, tackling even the most overlooked areas such as the hallway or landing.

Try these landlord-friendly ideas for adding personality and character to your home.

Light it up

Lighting is an easy, high impact way to brighten up your home. An eye-catching floor lamp can change the whole feel of a room, so use it to highlight your style. And the best part? You can take it with you when you leave.

Treat your feet

Whether you’ve got wooden floorboards, laminate or carpet, you’ll need to protect it to protect your deposit. Rugs and runners are typically inexpensive and will enhance and style a room or hallway whilst keeping the floor intact.

Accessorize

Inject life into your home with bold prints and jazzy patterns. Textured scatter cushions and chunky throws will add personality to any room with minimal effort or cost.

‘Mirror-mirror!’

A mirror is a classic addition to any room, but there’s no need to fix it to your wall.

Where your tenancy agreement doesn’t allow you to drill holes to hang a mirror, try propping it against the wall instead.

This will add the illusion of space and depth and using a large mirror in a cramped hallway or smaller bedroom will make it look twice as big.

Add artwork

Just as with mirrors, making holes in the walls to display photos and artwork may not be possible in a rental home. Use what you have to avoid causing any damage to the walls; a fireplace mantle, existing shelving or a freestanding cabinet.

Try framing a large piece of art or a poster and leaning it against a wall to make a stylish statement.

Make it modular

When you potentially move every 1-2 years, you want furniture which you can take anywhere. Modular furniture is perfect for rented properties as not only will it fit any size or shape room, it is easy to remove at the end of your tenancy.

Bring the outside in

Fresh flowers are beautiful, but buying them regularly can be expensive. Plants are an easy and slightly cheaper way to bring life and colour into a space. You can sit your plants in pots on a book shelf, in floor stands or hang them from the ceilings in macramé hangers.

Create an indoor herb garden

When it comes to rentals, outdoor space can often come at a premium. Potting herbs indoors is a simple way to bring greenery into your home and keeps fresh flavours within arm’s reach.

Revamp your terrace

Don’t forget to decorate your outdoor space!

It’s easy to create a personal oasis by adding hardy plants, comfortable seating and a barbecue for those summer nights.

Don’t be afraid to ask

Whilst your tenancy agreement may contain restrictions, there is no harm in asking your landlord if you can paint a room or add a few pictures to the wall. As long as you fill in holes, generally most landlords should be quite open to you personalizing the space.

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