Essex

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how efficiently a home uses energy, the cost of running a home and recommendations of how to improve the energy efficiency of the property.

As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating.

Improvements

So long as the minimum E rating is obtained, it is left to the landlord to choose which works need to be carried out. Below are a few examples of works that will improve the energy efficiency of your property.

  • Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
  • Pipework insulation
  • Replacement glazing
  • Roof insulation
  • Hot water cylinder insulation

Penalties

Penalties for a single offence may be cumulative, up to a maximum of £5,000. Further penalties may be awarded for non-compliance with the original penalty notice where a landlord continues to rent out a non-compliant property; however, penalties would be cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000.

For further information please see link below:

https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates

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Myths: we’ve all heard them before, whether they’re about eating carrots to help you see in the dark, not drinking coffee for fear of stunting your growth or waiting an hour to swim after eating.

Myths are everywhere, and it’s sometimes harder than you’d think to tell which you should believe and which are completely false.

Stephen Jury, Spokesperson for Plentific said, “We all have that one friend or family member that swears by an age old myth when it comes to home improvements and DIY. Whether it’s an energy saving tip or secret cleaning hack, knowing what actually provides results and what is a waste of time can be tricky.”

So, here at Plentific.com, we’ve compiled a list of ten popular home improvement and DIY myths that are false, to give you peace of mind when you decide to renovate your home.”

1. Solar panels don’t work on a cloudy day

With summer on the way, it may seem like the perfect time to invest and install solar panels, because everyone knows that solar panels need sunlight to work, right? Wrong! Although solar panels do work best on a sunny day, they are still functional on cloudy days. This is due to their ability to absorb UV and infrared light on cloudy days so that they can continue generating energy.

2. Leaving the heating on low all day is more efficient

Many people believe that leaving the heating on low all day is more efficient than turning it on as and when you need it. This  topic is widely debated on various heating and energy platforms, with the general consensus being that because no home is completely airtight there will always be a small degree of heat escaping from your home throughout the day.

Therefore, you will always waste heat, even if your system is on low. Only having the heating on when you need it would mean that there is no heat to be wasted when you’re not around, saving you money.

3. Bleach eliminates mould spores

This is a common misconception due to the fact that bleach will kill and remove the visible mould in question. However, bleach will not be able to get rid of the mould spores altogether. This can be done with a scrubbing brush, water, and an appropriate cleaning product such as detergent.

Once the cleanup has been done, it’s worth also investigating the cause of the problem and then treating it effectively to prevent the mould from returning. Remember, mould can be as bad for your health as asbestos!

4. Painting a radiator will make it more efficient

While it is a scientific fact that darker colours are better at absorbing and transmitting heat than lighter colours, covering a radiator in dark paint will not improve its efficiency.

The main way that radiators work is with ‘convective heating’, which essentially means that the radiator heats up the air around it. This is why some radiators have grooves or wings, as they increase the surface area and expose more air to the heat. Painting over a radiator can actually insulate this heat, which will in fact make the radiator LESS efficient!

5. The best time to water the grass is the evening

Another scientific fact is that heat evaporates water, so you would be forgiven for thinking that the best time to water your garden is in the evening once the sun goes down. Watering in the evening does have some benefits for soil, in that it is able to soak up and retain the water more efficiently. However, this also creates an ideal breeding ground for mould, fungi and other potential problems for your garden.

The best time to water your grass is, in fact, during the morning when the sun is first rising. This will ensure that the grass has time to absorb as much water as it needs to before the sun evaporates the excess throughout the day, preventing diseases and keeping your garden looking fresh for longer.

6. You can kill trees using copper nails

It’s an age old myth that copper nails can kill trees, but in an ordinary healthy tree a copper nail will not have much of an effect. In fact, it’s thought that some plants use copper as a source of proteins that are essential for photosynthesis. There have even been cases of trees being chopped down to reveal rings of copper nails that the tree has actually grown around!  The only way it seems this myth can be proved true, is by attaching a copper nail to the end of an axe when chopping it down!

7. Asbestos always needs to be removed for health purposes

Although in some cases this is true, there are exceptions where there is no need to remove asbestos within your home. Contrary to common belief, asbestos isn’t actually harmful to your health unless the fibers become exposed or disturbed due to home renovations or decorating. Still, although materials containing asbestos won’t necessarily affect your health if left alone, it’s always important to check them on a regular basis for wear and tear as this is when damage can be done.

8. Put conkers in your window sill and in the corners of your bathroom keeps spiders at bay

Many people will remember visiting their grandparents and finding little piles of conkers on the window sills and in the corners of the bathroom. The myth is that conkers contain a harmful chemical that wards off and can even kill spiders, making them ideal as a natural repellent. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that this works. Instead of leaving conkers in your room to repel spiders, why not pop a couple in your wardrobe to keep moths away, as this is one myth that is proven to get results.

9. Coffee grounds unclog sinks  

This myth could be doing your sink more harm than good. In fact, coffee grounds are among some of the top causes of blocked drains. Emptying coffee grounds down a sink will create a build up of thick slushy material that may require a plumber to unblock. Some plumbers even compare it to pouring cement down the sink!

10. Turning your electronics on and off at the plug uses more energy than leaving them on standby

Switching appliances to standby mode instead of turning them off is a fairly common habit that many people have. Unfortunately, many electronic devices on standby mode will continue to use energy if the power is not cut at the source or the wall socket.

While some people believe turning devices on and off at the wallplug generates a surge in energy greater than leaving appliances on standby, this is often not the case. Having said that, the belief that turning off appliances at the switch stops the use of energy is also, in fact, false.

 

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/top-10-household-myths-busted.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-204729-Campaign+-+02%2F05%2F2017+MC 

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In recent years, Leytonstone has seen an influx in purchasers having sold their apartments in areas such as Hackney, Stoke Newington and Shoreditch.

Prices having risen as much as 24 % in Hackney over the last two years and have enabled such clients to sell at a profit and upsize with larger deposits.

Leytonstone, Leyton and Walthamstow areas seem to have been targeted for it’s recommended OFSTED schools, excellent transport links in to the city whilst also offering better value for money.

Victorian houses and flats seem to be the main source of attraction providing high ceilings, and in some cases original fireplaces as well as other period features.

The new wave of young families purchasing in Leytonstone have the best of worlds enjoying city life as well as the peace and tranquillity of open spaces such as “Hollow Ponds Boating Lake” or “Wanstead Flats”.

 

 

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Selling or buying a home can be daunting at the best of times. Victor Michael are here to assist their clients during this process, giving them a personable service to make this process, and life easier to bare.

Spring is the optimum time to sell a home. Regardless of whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, inventory almost always rises in the spring. Why? Because the largest number of buyers are actively searching for a new home during the months of April, May and June.

While mortgage rates have risen in the last year, experts say 2017 will still see strong home sales as job growth continues and people who’d been waiting to enter the market take the plunge into homeownership. To attract buyers in any season — and sell for a good price — sellers need to show their homes in the best possible light. That means cleaning up the interior and exterior, removing personal items that could distract potential buyers, adding a fresh coat of paint, and deciding which upgrades and repairs will deliver the best return on investment. Of course, real estate is a hyper-local industry, so national trends may not hold true in all markets. A good estate agent can help you understand what buyers in your area are looking for and how to appeal to them.

What if I’m not ready to start selling yet?

Simple, don’t sell. It’s much more important to choose a time that works for you. If you rush your home on to the market without preparing it and yourself, could set yourself up for a fall. And if you do get a buyer, you want to be able to move as quickly as possible before they can change their mind.

Take some time first to make sure you have your home looking its best. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending thousands of pounds on huge renovation projects – just take some time fixing the little details, such as wonky gates and cracked toilet seats.

Remember, Victor Michael will be here, waiting for you when you are ready…

 

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Sitting at the heart of Leytonstone town centre is St John the Baptist Church which hosts a market in their beautiful churchyard one Saturday a month. In the market you can enjoy a lovely atmosphere with live music and entertainment at this family friendly event. You can buy from a great selection of local traders offering homemade hot & cold food, arts & crafts, handmade gifts, clothing, jewellery and more.

St John the Baptist Church was designed by leading 19th-century architect Edward Blore, who also worked on Buckingham Palace & Westminster Abbey. Over the past few years it has undergone extensive refurbishment of the tower, roof and interior, and complete interior redecoration, which was finished in May 2012. Buy Viagra in London from http://northcentralhealthdistrict.org/viagra/ or purchase Viagra in Los Angeles and Houston with fast shipping.

From July 2012 the church opened up the tower for regular tours. The tours combine the chance to see the stunning panoramic views of the Olympic Park, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Central London and Epping Forest.

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Otters have been found in the area for the first time in many years. In 1991 there were only three sites in Essex where the otter was thought to be successful, but 18 years later they may be making a come back.

Redbridge conservation rangers are working in conjunction with the Wild Trout Trust and the city of London in hope that they can bring them back into the area.

Once the area is cleared and they’ve built a Holt for them, we trust one or two may settle down there. There have been a couple of possible sightings recently so we know they can visit the area.

Reclaimed logs will be used from May to build an otter Holt in the area that will hopefully encourage families of the small mammals to settle here once again.

Mahe Georgio, Branch Manager at Victor Michael – Woodford Green

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The latest research from Simple Landlords Insurance has revealed that women now account for two in five landlords and use property to top up their monthly income.

Data analysis of tens of thousands of landlords revealed than 40% of landlords are women. By comparison, only 17% of SME owners are women, demonstrating how property is moving towards equality at a faster pace than other industries.

A poll of over 400 landlords showed how male and female investors have different goals for their investments. 63% of female landlords said using rent for monthly income was their long-term business goal, as opposed to long term capital growth, compared with 53% of men.

The findings, together with real life examples and practical advice for female landlords from the Female Property Alliance, are published in the Women in Property Report 2017 www.simplelandlordsinsurance.com/women-in-property-report

It charts how women have successfully grown from accidental landlords to full time portfolio investors and used property investment to gain financial independence.

They include the story of Bindar Dosanjh, who built a multi-million pound portfolio after she became a single mother and she had to rent rooms to pay the bills and survive.

Bindar Dosanjh, a multiple award-winning landlord, property mentor and founder of the Female Property Alliance, said: “For me, investing in property was about having the freedom to make choices about my life.

“Women cannot take our health, our relationships, our careers, or our families for granted. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way but have been able to fall back on property income when I lost my job in the 2008 recession and again when I became seriously ill and was unable to work. I say to my students you don’t have to be passionate about property but you need to be passionate about your life.”

Accidental landlords

The research also found that women are more likely than men to have become accidental landlords. Some 48% of female landlords are deliberate buy-to-let investors, compared to 61% of men. Women were more likely to have become landlords after moving in with a partner and renting out their own property or through purchasing a property for a family member to live in, such as a child attending university.

For accidental landlords, this raises the importance of staying up to date with legislation, tax changes, inspections and ensuring rental properties are protected with specific landlord insurance rather than homeowners buildings insurance.

Broader acceptance

Female landlords are also likely to provide rented accommodation to a more diverse range of tenants than men. Some 35% said they would rent to housing benefit recipients, compared with 25% of men. Women were also more open to renting to pensioners, students and single employed tenants.

Landlords renting to different types of tenants may wish to consider additional insurance products such as for malicious damage by tenants, rent guarantee and legal support.

Alexandra Huntley, Simple Landlords Insurance Head of Operations, says: “As recently as 1970 women could be refused a mortgage without a male guarantor. But buying, selling, renovating, and renting property is no longer just for the boys. Those stereotypes are firmly consigned to history. Women have been steadily gaining ground over the last 50 years and are increasingly gaining financial independence through property investment.”

Bindar added: “Being a good communicator, a good negotiator and being good at managing people are key attributes for any landlord. They are also things women can be great at – but don’t always recognise as valuable and transferable skills.  These are all skills that can be learnt.

I see many women who have ‘hidden’ skills, that can be applied to property investment more easily than they think. For instance, women often fall into being the family organisers, and keeping alot of balls in the air – another vital ability if you’re going to run a successful portfolio.

It is very important that women surround themselves with the right advice, experts and protection so they can take control of their property, their money, and their futures with speed, safety and certainty.”

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/rise-of-the-modern-landlady.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-203092-Campaign+-+20%2F04%2F2017+MT 

 

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As if there isn’t enough stress involved in buying and selling a property, once the purchase is agreed it’s far from over.

Here is some top tips to ensure your move goes as stress-free as possible:

1. If you’re renting, you’re in a strong position. Keep the rental property for an overlapping week (or as long as you need/can afford) to make the process deliciously smooth.

2. There’s an idea that moving on a Friday is a good idea, but we think Tuesday is the best day, especially if you have young children. Take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work, giving you Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get ready; move on Tuesday; then Wednesday to straighten things up while the children are at school. The weekend’s not far away for a final push. The good news is that removal firms generally charge less for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday move.

3. Spend several months pre-move having your children’s friends to stay, so you can call in all sleepover favours over your moving period. Farm out children, pets, or any other member of your family who won’t be a positive asset to the process.

4. Don’t even think about packing the contents of your house yourself. Look at the removal costs as part of the big picture and get the pros to do as much as possible. (You will of course already have de-cluttered and dispensed with anything that, in the words of William Morris, ‘you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’).

5. If you find you are moving a box that hasn’t been opened since your last move – now is the time to get rid of it!

6. Use your pre-move time productively by obsessively labelling boxes with their contents AND which room the box should go into on arrival in its new home. Use as much colour coding, labelling, post-it noting and organisational brilliance as you can muster.

 

7. If you’re downsizing, build in as much time as possible between exchange and completion to give you adequate opportunity to dispense with the possessions you will no longer have space for.

8. Not all removal companies are the same (or charge the same). Personal recommendation is generally best, but social media is extremely helpful for finding the best suppliers of this kind of service. Get quotes from, and meet, three companies before you make a final choice.

9. It’s better to find a removal company that is local to your new home than to use one in your existing area. You should be able to advise them about local access and parking issues at your existing home, and they will have a good understanding of any problems in your new area.

10. If you’re moving out of London, bear in mind that London removal companies charge like angry rhinos as soon as they see a postcode outside the M25. And if you’re moving down the road, don’t be tempted to do it yourself – it’s no easier to move 300 metres than 300 miles, so grit your teeth and get over it!

11. Check and double check access. Several smaller vans are more flexible than one big one, but it will cost more. If you’re relying on on-road parking space for the removal van, speak nicely to your new neighbours before putting some cones out.

12. Take a picture of the metres at your old home as you leave the premises, and the new ones as you cross the threshold. That way, arguments with utility companies are easy to resolve.

Finally, stay calm, and try to see the funny side if things don’t go according to plan. The chances are you will be gaining anecdotal entertainment on which you will be able to dine out.”

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/top-tips-for-stress-free-house-moving.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-202776-Campaign+-+18%2F04%2F2017+MC 

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  • 1. Every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year – double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week
  •   2. The largest ever Easter egg hunt was in Florida, where 9,753 children searched for 501,000 eggs.
  •   3. In 2007, an Easter egg covered in diamonds sold for almost £9 million
  •   4. When people gorge on a chocolate Easter bunny, 76 per cent bite off the ears first, 5 per cent go for the feet and 4 per cent opt for the tail.
  •    5. With all those chocolate eggs for family, relatives, loved ones and friends, it should be no surprise that households spend an average of £75 on Easter treats each year.

When is the best time of year to sell your house?..Traditionally, everyone used to wait to put their homes on the market at Easter. But why was this? Well, Easter is the first Bank Holiday after Christmas and the four days off would have given families time to view several properties together and put in their offers. Life has changed now. We demand ‘immediacy’. Mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones give us instant information and constant updates and no one can wait to see what’s trending next. Traditional seasonal trends seem now to have gone and everything is available to us all throughout the year. No longer does it make sense to delay the marketing of your property until the traditional Easter period. As soon as you’ve found a suitable property you can start actively marketing your own house.

Over the past five years the months of January, February and March have proved to be some of the most successful for achieving sales. The weather between January and March is very rarely so bad that viewings of properties have to be cancelled and having made the decision, at Christmas, to move, it is now natural to want to start the selling process as soon as possible.

If you are thinking of selling in 2017 you may want to ask for a marketing appraisal and consultation on your property sooner rather than later.

 

With so much fun and chocolate around, it is easy to see how the real meaning of Easter could be overlooked. Victor Michael recognise all faiths and religions, and would like to wish everyone a smashing Easter!

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‘Cheap’ insurance can quickly become expensive if something goes wrong. Always read the small print. 

Specialist landlord insurance is not a legal requirement, but if you don’t have it, you could find yourself out of pocket if you are unfortunate enough to have your property occupied by squatters, vandalised or worse still damaged by fire or flood. If you rent out property and have purchased a standard homeowners buildings and contents insurance, you will not have cover for extended vacant periods greater than 30 days or if a tenant is injured on your property and claims against you. Tenants living in a property generally pose a greater risk than the owner living there, so it is vital to take out a specific landlord policy, shifting the risk to your insurer rather than taking on that risk yourself.

Having made the decision to purchase landlord insurance, what comes next?

It is extremely tempting to use a comparison site to get a speedy quotation and find the cheapest option available. This is obviously an easy way to search for a policy and it will give you a benchmark for price, but there is usually a reason for the quote being so cheap.

Dispelling the myth that cheaper is better

It is always advisable to choose a quality policy that offers extensive cover and peace of mind. The insurers behind NLA Property Insurance have been carefully vetted to ensure that the product, service and claims service is ‘best of class’ and provides the widest cover available at the most competitive prices for landlords and buy-to-let investors. Unlike comparison sites, there is help at hand to make sure that you understand the small print and purchase an insurance product that will work for you when you need it the most.

In the field of landlord insurance, the menu of ‘extras’ can be extensive. Some of the bigger, well-known providers may provide what appears to be a cheap quote at the outset, but once you start adding on the ‘optional extras’, additional premiums will apply – pushing up the overall cost of the insurance.

Take a big name like Direct Line: purchasing cover for malicious damage, or even theft by tenants/guests will increase your premium substantially, but it is covered as standard under the NLA Property Insurance’s Superior policy. If your rental property is deliberately trashed, then repairs could run into the thousands. You may have taken a deposit from the tenant but findings provided by mydeposits shows that even a deposit equivalent to six weeks rent is often not enough to cover the replacement costs.

A closer examination of Direct Line’s landlord insurance reveals there are several aspects of their policy which are either inferior to those offered by NLA Property Insurance, or not covered at all without additional premiums. For example, the NLA policy will insure an unoccupied property for 90 days compared with Direct Line’s 60 days. Our public liability cover will pay out up to £5M in the event of death of bodily injury, compared with Direct Line’s £2M – a large difference especially as liability claims have been known to cost several millions and increasing with the new compensation laws that have been recently introduced.

Here’s a brief comparison between NLA Property Insurance and Direct Line.

Comparison chart – correct as of 29/6/2016 (excludes special offers)

Buildings NLA Superior Policy Direct Line
Accidental damage to fixed glass and sanitary fittings Yes Yes
Accidental damage to buildings Yes Optional
Malicious damage by tenant and/or guests Yes (£1000xs) and £25,000 limit per claim No
Loss of rent or alternative accommodation 30% of building sum insured 10% of building sum insured
Unoccupied property 90 days 60 days
Terrorism Optional Optional
Contents
Malicious damage by tenant and/or guests Yes No
Theft by tenant and/or guests Yes No
Single article limit £1,000 £1,000
Landlord’s gardening equipment of theft from outbuilding £1,000 No
Liability
Property owners liability £5,000,000 £2,000,000
Employers liability £10,000,000 £10,000,000
Excess
Standard excess £250 As per policy schedule
Subsidence excess £1,000 £1,000
Malicious damage by tenant and/or guests £1,000 No

 

 

Whether you have a single property or a portfolio of properties, the Superior policy offering from NLA Property Insurance offers highly competitive premiums (including a 15% discount for NLA Full Members) and includes many ‘extras’ such as accidental damage, alternative accommodation or loss of rent as standard.

As a landlord, you will be looking to minimise risk and maximise peace of mind. Remember that home insurance isn’t designed for rental properties – you need specialist insurance for landlords. Choosing a cheap quote from so called big names may seem like a low risk option but don’t forget to check what is included in the price.

 

Source: https://www.landlords.org.uk/?utm_campaign=8161172_NLA%20Property%20Insurance%20-%20April%202017&utm_medium=email&utm_source=National%20Landlords%20Association

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