Sunday 30 May 2010

Student have started searching for rentals for next academic year

Students are starting searching for rental accommodation for the academic year that starts in September.

Many students stay in University or Collage accommodation in the first year, then move into shared accommodation from then onwards. Naturally they are on very tight budgets and if they can find a four bedroom house that has a separate lounge and dining room, will try and rent that to accommodate five of them.
Unfortunately with House in Multiple Occupation legislation, this can often be tricky these days.

Many students have been visting letting and estate agents since early May trying to find property. They often want to view a few properties and believe the owner will hold it for them through the summer so they can move in in Mid September.

As many of these properties can be owned by buy-to-let investment landlords, this often proves difficult as landlords want income 12 months a year. Students need to know that unless they can pay rent for the unoccupied period, it is not a lot of point trying to find something this side of the summer.

It is a good idea to register with agents and sometimes they might have a property coming available to fit in with their timescale. Every year a similar situation occurs and many agents put notices in their windows saying don't apply till a certain date has been reached.

One responsibilty students won't have to worry about, however is paying Council Tax. It is essential however that students take out insurance on their personal possessions as these will not be covered by their landlord's insurance.
These days there are a lot of personal items like computers, mobile phones, ipods, bikes and clothing that should be insured. Find out more at:

Saturday 29 May 2010

Rents start rising again in the UK as demand outstrips supply

Press Release from The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) That is good news for landlords in the UK

25th May 2010 - Rents start rising again as demand outstrips supply

A lack of supply is pushing rents higher signalling a revival in the lettings market, says the latest RICS Lettings Survey.

The net balance of chartered surveyors reporting rising rather than falling rents rose from zero to 30 percent - a marked contrast to April last year when 58 percent more chartered surveyors were reporting falling rents, an all-time low for the survey.

Surveyors are optimistic that rents will continue to rise with the rental expectations net balance climbing to 36 percent - the highest figure recorded in the survey's history*.

The more positive picture for rents can be attributed, in part, to the continued decline in the supply of both flats and houses in the marketplace. 12 percent more chartered surveyors reported a fall rather than a rise in the number of new landlord instructions for this period. The upturn in the housing market has tempted many of the accidental landlords to sell up with new instructions for sale on estate agents books now rising.

However, one consequence of the turnaround in the rental trend is that the net balance of surveyors reporting an increase in gross yields has turned positive for the first time in a year.

Significantly, demand for property to let remains strong with 30 percent more respondents still seeing it rise than fall, the strongest reading since January 2009. Houses remain marginally more popular than flats but flats are starting re-establish their appeal.

With sellers back in the housing market, supply has fallen back in the lettings sector. This is good news for landlords as rents are set to move higher in the coming months and yield returns are likely to improve. Moreover, the news that buy to let specialists are beginning to lend again may also encourage investors to return to the market.

However, the prospect of higher capital gains tax on the sale of property may in the near term encourage some existing landlords to take advantage of the current more benign tax regime.RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf

More information on this survey Here at:

LOOKING FOR INSURANCE FOR YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY? VISIT For HomeLet - Letsure -Endsleigh -Rentguard - Intasure - Simple and more

HIPS are history but EPC's are not

The NLA - National Landlords Asoociation
has sent out an email entitled

"HIPS are history but Energy Performance Certificates stay"

The Government has scrapped Home Information Packs (HIPs) in the hope of kick starting the housing market in England and Wales*.

The requirement to provide a HIP when selling a home was suspended on 21 May 2010 and will be abolished shortly. This means that homes put on the market on or after 21 May 2010 will no longer need a HIP.

Landlords and homeowners will still need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before selling or letting homes:

An EPC must be commissioned before a property can be marketed for sale or to let (if not already available)**

The EPC must be available before the contracts are exchanged or the tenancy agreement is signed

All EPCs for sales and letting are valid for up to 10 years
Only qualified and accredited Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) are able to create an EPC.

There are thousands of DEAs vying for your business, just make sure they are producing professional reports.

NLA EPCs offer the same competitively priced service throughout the UK, no matter where your residential property is based or its size.

An EPC costs only £55. An EPC plus professional floor plan only £66. (NLA member rate including VAT. For residential property only).

*There are currently no plans to scrap the Home Report in Scotland. There has never been an equivalent to HIPS in Northern Ireland.
** EPC not required when marketing non-self contained HMOs for let (eg bedsits).

According to a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) News Release of the 19th May 10 "Scottish Home Reports unaffected by HIPs scrapping"

Home Reports in Scotland are unaffected by the abolition of Home Information Packs (HIPs) in England and Wales.

The scrapping of HIPs was a long-standing commitment of the Conservative Party and has been adopted by the new UK Government.

Recent media coverage has lead to some confusion over the position in Scotland.

Home Reports are a devolved matter so responsibility lies entirely with the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament

Irish Landords under pressure from falling rents

According to a report in Thursday May 27th 10 edition of The Irish Times Property - residential supplement "Landlords under pressure from falling rents".

The report has described the year on year "collapse" in rental income as "pretty shocking".

According to the report "Still a renter’s market, as supply outpaces demand and that this isn’t going to change so long as supply outpaces demand."

Other recent reports, from the CSO, the Irish Property Investment Report from the Irish Mortgage Brokers and and the ESRI/PTSB House Price Index also show that residential property prices are grossly overvalued and still falling and that there is still strong outward migration and unemployment. (Using yields as the starting point, the highly technical Irish Property Investment Report suggests that investment properties are currently overvalued by an average of 37% in Dublin, 43% in Cork, and 39% in Galway.)"

Throw in the reluctance of the banks to lend, the bad, bad news about the euro and indebtedness
here and in the eurozone, and the longer term rental market starts to look a little firmer.

25th May 2010 Press Release from

Rents show signs of stabilisation in early 2010

Rents fell by just under half a percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to the latest report published by the property website, Having risen in January, rents fell back slightly in each of the three following months and the average rent nationwide now stands at just under €760.

The stabilisation in rents is being driven by Dublin and Cork cities, where rents have largely been level since the start of the year. In Dublin city centre, rents actually rose 1.3% between January and March. In Waterford and Galway cities, rents fell slightly (by 0.5% and 1.3% respectively), while in Limerick, rents fell relatively sharply, down over 3% on the previous quarter. Outside the main cities, rents typically fell by 1%, a much smaller rate of decline than during 2009. Overall, rents are now 25% below peak levels seen in early 2008.

Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, Economist at, said: "The signs from the rental market so far in 2010 point to a market starting to stabilise. Nonetheless, conditions remain fragile, particularly outside Dublin. The total stock available to rent has been very high since late 2008 and, after falling back in the second half of 2009, has started rising again."

Average rents in the cities, Q1 2010

•Dublin: €952, down 14.3% on last year
•Cork: €785, down 11.8% on last year
•Galway: €773, down 8.0% on last year
•Limerick: €638, down 12.9% on last year
•Waterford: €610, down 11.2% on last year

Other findings

•Rent-a-room income in Dublin is generally 10% below where it was a year ago. A double-room in the city centre now typically costs €525 a month.
•The flow of new properties to rent has slowed somewhat in recent months, down 10% annually, although the total number of properties available to rent - particularly outside the cities - remains very high.
•The most expensive one-bedroom rents are in Dublin 4, where they average €1,000 a month, followed by Dublin 18. The cheapest rents are to be found in Ulster, where the average one-bedroom costs €385 a month.
The full report is available from and includes a commentary by Jill Kerby, Personal Finance Journalist, as well as an analysis of affordability and statistics on residential yields around the country. is Ireland's largest property website. The latest audited report from ABCe (May 2009) shows traffic of 103 million page impressions (pages of information received) and 1,275,630 unique users per month. is now the number one property website in Ireland across all demographics, from first-time-buyers to commercial property investors.

The Report, now in its 33rd edition, is based on an analysis of the full database of properties posted for advertisement on This edition of the Rental Report includes an analysis of almost 40,000 properties posted for rent between February and April 2010. This figure represents the bulk of the available properties to let in the country and therefore gives the most accurate and timely reflection of what is happening in the Irish rental market. Figures are calculated from econometric regressions using standard methods.

Looking for insurance in Ireland? Visit or

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Concerns over possible CGT changes expressed by investors

Plans by the new government to increase capital gains tax in certain instances so that it more closely matches income tax have raised worries among investor groups.

The rate to which CGT, currently at 18 per cent, will rise has been a matter for speculation, although the new government has suggested that the tax due on the profits made from the sale of non-business assets could climb to match the higher rates of income tax. In other words, 40 per cent or even 50 per cent.

The present profit threshold at which CGT is triggered is £10,100, but this may, too, be altered, coming down as low as £2,000.

The change will affect those who own second homes, buy-to-let properties or portfolios of shares.


The National Landlords Association (NLA) has urged the government to clarify whether buy-to-let properties will be categorised as business assets. In which case, sales would qualify for the lower CGT rate.

David Salusbury, the NLA’s chairman, said that a CGT increase would “act as a barrier to further investment in residential property”. SEE NLA Campaign regarding Capital Gains Tax

Some experts in the market have been predicting that the change could herald a sudden surge in the numbers of buy-to-let properties that are put up for sale.


Fears exist that individual stock market investors could also follow suit and sell their assets in order to take advantage of the present 18 per cent flat rate. Narrowing the differential between CGT and income tax could see people in higher tax brackets capitalising on their gains ahead of the emergency Budget.

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) counselled caution on any rise in CGT rates.

Simon Walker, the BVCA’s chief executive, said: “We would caution against the assumption that any increase in CGT that could be used to reduce taxation elsewhere. The BVCA will, therefore, be actively engaging with ministers to urge them not to make any hasty decisions in this complicated area.”

CGT only raises about £3 billion annually in government revenue, and an increase in the rate charged on non-business assets is unlikely to make a substantial contribution to reducing the budget deficit.

Its primary purpose would be to prevent the conversion of income into capital and the exploitation of the gap between income tax and CGT.

The government has not made clear when any change would apply. It is possible that the new tax, when it is detailed in the emergency Budget, could be backdated to 6 April 2010, although such a move would be unusual.

Indexation and company share schemes

Indexation and company share schemes are other areas where worries have been voiced.

When the last Chancellor, Alistair Darling reduced the rate of CGT to 18 per cent two years, indexation was also removed.

Indexation took account of any increase in the value of an asset generated by inflation, so that the seller only had to pay tax on the actual return on their investment.

Should the rate climb to 40 per cent, there are worries that it would represent an unfair tax charge if indexation were not re-introduced and inflation, now up to 3.7 per cent, were not accounted for.

A Treasury spokesman said that there is a “range of possible options” on CGT and that “no decision has been taken on one option”.

A share ownership organisaton, ifs ProShare, has contacted Treasury minister, Mark Hoban, asking if the government intends to introduce an exemption for such schemes.

Supermarket chain, Asda has said that some 15,000 of its employees will benefit from a payout of around £47 million as part of the company’s three-year save-share scheme.

Some employees could make as much as £8,000 profit from the scheme, which, if the threshold is lowered, could make them liable to the new CGT charge.

Julie Richardson, of ifs ProShare, commented: “The principle of investing in the company you work for is a sound one. We would not like to see this undermined by potentially unintended consequences of CGT changes.”

The Treasury responded by saying that no decision has yet been taken on the status of company share schemes or their possible exemption.

The counter argument

One case to be made in favour of a CGT increase on non-business assets – such as second homes – is that if they are held to generate income – in the form of rents, say – rather than as a means of trading – sales – then the CGT rise will have no impact.

As with VAT, capital gains tax offers at least some discretion at whether it becomes payable or not.

Information provided without any responsibility for accuracy.

Grant Shapps appointed as new Housing Minister

Following the formation of the coalition government many people in property professions, including the lettings industry, were concerned by the length of time it has taken to announce Grant Shapps appointment as Housing Minister. Although Grant has been the Tory Shadow Housing Minister since 2007 he will not be attending cabinet meetings like his predecessor.

Commenting on his appointment, Grant said: 'I look forward to continuing and developing my relationships with the industry and feel sure that our new government will be able to make genuine improvements to the housing industry which has suffered so badly under 13 years of Labour Government.'

Heidi Abbott, HomeLet Sales and Operations Director commented 'It's understandable that the new government are focusing on addressing the key economic issues and tackling the county's current deficit. However, it's key that the new government clearly outlines their long term plans for both the private rented sector (PRS) and the lettings industry.'

'The PRS is a very important element in the housing supply chain. But with the length of tenancies increasing and demand out weighing supply the traditional 'churn' in the lettings market is beginning to slow. The government need to encourage investment in the PRS to stimulate the market and help to increase stock levels.'

If you want to know more about HomeLet Tenant insurance - Landlord Insurance follow this link

Monday 24 May 2010

Scope for ex offenders



There are still major insurance issues faced by an estimated, eight million UK, and Northern Ireland residents who have a current unspent criminal conviction that may stop them starting either a business or going about their every lives thus contributing to society.

Similar issues are faced by bankrupts and those with adverse credit history
Mainstream Insurers are either refusing them Insurance or restricting cover including Employers Liability which is a requirement by Law
For those venturing out with a new enterprise, or still trying to get the correct cover including Public Liability cover, as well as cover for the business assets
Many would be clients of insurers maybe unsure or unaware that there is a DUTY OF THE POLICYHOLDER TO DISCLOSE MATERIAL FACTS THAT COULD AFFECT THE POLICY
For example a MATERIAL FACT that must be disclosed relates to criminal convictions
With Insurance becoming an automated process either being bought via the internet or at call centres manned by staff that may not have vast experience the important issues of disclosing material facts is often never pointed out.

The fact that the Internet type policies are offered at perhaps slightly unrealistically low rates without checking on convictions etc is also affecting the Insurance Premium Tax revenue as well
It is muted that insurers may be taking on risks that will be invalidated when claims occur and the conviction is brought to light

Perhaps this is an explanation as to how those insurers can cut the premiums is that there are a substantial number of the total policies sold that will not pay out in the event of a claim as they can just be invalided due to the conviction. Figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service are indicating a greater number of complaints of this nature

. This matter has been raised with insurance industry via the Financial Services Authority, the British Insurance Brokers Association and the Association of British Insurers But no real action is being taken to solve the problem OF NOT TREATING POLICYHOLDERS FAIRLY
. It has been proven by a number of ex offender organisations that this issue is in fact a reality, either the main stream insurers go out of there way to hide the fact that convictions are to be disclosed or when the policyholder does disclosure they are refused cover or given a poor service .

Q What are the problems faced by ex offenders looking for insurance?
Many ex offenders are unaware that they must disclose any unspent criminal conviction no matter how minor on an insurance proposal form. Do not be fooled, just because an insurer does not ask if you have any convictions, does not mean you do not need to disclose them. Unless all your convictions are declared and agreed in writing with an insurer, any claim against the policy may be refused. You could even be charged with attempting to defraud the insurers for non-disclosure of a conviction and potentially face another conviction.

Anyone who has, or lives with anyone who has, any unspent conviction should always read insurance policies carefully. Be on the lookout for the phrase “DO YOU OR ANY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY HAVE UNSPENT CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS?” Remember it is when you come to make a claim that things can go very wrong.

When insurance cover is cancelled for non-disclosure of a conviction you will be unable to make a claim on the policy.
Q Why do ex-offenders face issues with insurance?
It has long been considered that someone with a conviction is a bad risk, although this attitude has never been proved. It just seems to be an unwritten rule in insurance. A more enlightened approach to insurance not only for ex offenders but also individuals with adverse credit has been hard to find. Mainstream comparison websites have offered little or no assistance in this area,
Q What can ex offenders do to help reduce their insurance premium?
Firstly do not waste money buying a worthless policy without disclosure! Be honest disclosing convictions to the right insurance broker should not cause a problem. Correct disclosure does not always mean increased insurance premiums but it defiantly means you are insured.
Q What do you think the future holds for ex offenders facing insurance issues?
The Financial Services Authority has been aware of the bad practice of unfairly treating ex offenders and other socially or financially excluded groups. Current figures suggest there are 8 million people in the UK with unspent criminal convictions, which consequently affects other family members.


.Due to these insurers relying on high volume sales they have adopted, rather than the traditional policy method of issuing a comprehensive proposal form for the policyholder to complete they use what is referred to as assumptions. A standard statement set that the policyholder should read and understand prior to purchasing the policy. Within this assumption there are words similar to “Neither you nor any member have an unspent criminal conviction” as well as other facts that will affect the validity of the policy.

. The problem this causes is that it compounds the confusion of the policyholder as rather than making clear from the outset that the insurer will not or cannot accept risks where a Criminal or bankruptcy situation is disclosed it is done at final point of sale. Also at that late stage a point the policyholder cannot understand
. A better practice will be making it compulsory with all online/telesales insurance purchased that the “standard statement” is highlighted before the purchase even begins and when the policyholder confirms they do not comply the quote process ceases and they should be re directed to a specialist provider who will cater for them after full disclosure . There was a working party group formed by the consortium of online insurance aggregators and insurers who had this matter on their agenda after regulatory pressure. The group did not last very long and in fact did not ever actively function
. Private sector/ Government departmental misconception
Those organisations working with ex offenders cannot or do not understand the issue actually exists as it is not part of their operating remit or practice
.Public misconception. The public in truth only have a vague understanding of the insurance process ridded with hearsay and miss conception/ urban myths so a great need of re education is needed about DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL FACTS, also that it is possible to obtain insurance with criminal convictions and that importantly when dealt with by specialist providers who are socially aware and are truly ethical.
Also that in truth it should cost the same premium with disclosure as it does without the public fear is that if they do disclose the premium will become un affordable which is in fact should not be the case

The mainstream insurers must be forced to act fairly with clients and cease using public lack of awareness or ignorance as means to sell them worthless cover and be more forthright about the risks they can accept and those they cannot IE ensuring the “standard statement” precludes any cover purchase and that they work with specialist providers who can
There is also a huge need for organisations working with ex offenders to understand the issue so that the correct guidance is given at point of prosecution & rehabilitation

YOUR MP has work to do for you !!!!! please write to them

If are being unfairly treated by the mainstream insurers

Perhaps you or any member of your family are one of the 8million people who have a criminal record

Or you Live in area that has been affected by the floods or one that the environment agency has reclassified as a flood plain you will struggle to get cover at renewal as despite the assurances from the Association of British Insurers anyone who in flood affected area may not get flood cover and the housing market will suffer as these properties could become worthless as without flood cover you cannot get a mortgage!

In the past these maters have been brushed over by weak statements from the FSA & the ABI

Please do lobby your MP to ensure these important issues are resolved once and for all

Source: Neil Cook

If you looking for ex-offenders insurance please visit this page:

Friday 21 May 2010

NLA Campaign regarding Capital Gains Tax

The NLA - National Landlords Association has just emailed Landlords on it mailing list about their latest campaign.

Capital Gains Tax - Stand up and be counted -Treasury plan Capital Gains Tax raid

Following a General Election campaign, where housing was barely mentioned, the new Government should be focused on encouraging investment in residential property.

On the contrary the rumoured new CGT regime would act as a significant disincentive for landlords considering further investment.

A flat rate of 18 per cent on capital gains on non-business assets is likely to be replaced by rates which mirror income tax bands and therefore represent a significant increase.

The NLA is calling on the Treasury to recognise letting as a legitimate business and therefore include capital gains from the sale of residential property in the wide-ranging “generous exemptions” which have been hinted at by Government.

Speculation continues to grow that Capital Gains Tax will be reformed.

Government has indicated that it plans to tax 'non-business gains' at a similar rate to Income Tax. For landlords this could mean a return to 40% or 50% tax on gains when selling property, as residential letting is treated as a 'non-business' activity.

NLA is calling on Goverment to recognise the real difference between short term speculation and long term business planning by landlords.

To help ensure that investment in housing remains viable they are calling for:

Recognition that owning rental property is a business activity and not speculation.
Introduction of CGT relief, or a reduced rate, for assets held over a number of years.
A commitment to maintain a meaningful 'Annual Exempt Amount' - similar to the Income Tax Personal Allowance.

Extend Roll-over Relief to encourage the reinvestment of gains into areas of housing need.
A delay until April 2011, to allow landlords to fully assess how their business (and tenants) will be affected.


The Government will be announcing its plans at an emergency budget on 22 June 2010.

They need the Government to understand the strength of feeling from the entire British landlord community about the proposed changes.

Please support their campaign by writing to your MP NOW by using their online form here.

If you are a Landlord, do support their campaign and if you are not a member of the NLA, why not join Now?

Endsleigh free key insurance

Endsleigh provides free key cover

Student insurance provider Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited has announced that it is offering students free key insurance for those moving into campus accommodation, or accommodation not already protected by an Endsleigh block possessions insurance scheme.

Every year more than 5 million people lose their keys, causing great stress and costing time and money to replace.

Most rental agreements place no burden on landlords to replace lost keys, prompting Endsleigh to help support students in this way.

The offer is open to students who register their moving-in date by by 30 June 2010 and provides insurance coverage against lost or stolen keys up to £500 in value.

The insurer will also provide assistance finding a locksmith to students unable to enter their home.

Endsleigh’s Rhiannon Harris explained that the insurer wanted to help cut costs for students and help stop a small error becoming an expensive and inconvenient one.

Source: Insurance Daily.

Looking for Student insurance from Endsleigh?

Thursday 20 May 2010

Staysure up to the minute travel information

Staysure Insurance has become increasingly aware of how quickly global events can change and how quickly these events can change the plans of our customers.
In order to better inform our customers and ensure the correct action is taken, Staysure will now be providing up to the minute travel information via their website. This allows customers to receive the most up to date information in real time, including how insurance policies may be affected. Below is the information they have published on the 20th May, however more up date information would always be available from their site or office

Information at at 20th May 2010 Ltd volcanic ash information

If you have already booked or are about to book a travel insurance policy through Staysure you may be worried about how the volcanic ash crisis will affect your policy. In order to keep you informed of the situation we have detailed below how we can help, and who to contact in order to resolve any queries.

For single trip policies already purchased and travel not yet commenced

To accommodate the interruption caused by the volcanic ash we will allow you to modify the travel dates on your policy, even if the policy was purchased more than 14 days ago. Our standard amendments fees apply. Please call 0845 508 9886

For single trip policies already purchased and travel already commenced (i.e. you are currently at your destination and your return journey has been delayed)

To accommodate the delay in returning to the UK caused by the volcanic ash we will allow you to extend the travel dates on your policy to a maximum of 31 days. It is not necessary for you to inform us of this extension. Customers wishing to extend their trips beyond 31 days please call customer services on 0845 508 9886 and they will be happy to help you.


Underwriters have advised that cover is not provided within your policy for this type of crisis, therefore FOR INFORMATION REGARDING RECLAIMING FLIGHT COSTS TOGETHER WITH ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS WE SUGGEST YOU CONTACT YOUR AIRLINE.

British Airways' Strikes May 2010

It has now been confirmed that British Airways' cabin crew are to strike on four separate occasions over the next month. The first strike will begin on the 18th May lasting five days until the 22nd May. Subsequent 5 day strikes will take place beginning on the 24th and 30th of May and the 5th of June.

The following notification applies to all four strikes announced.

BA is responsible for flight arrangements, so contact them or your Tour Operator/travel Agent, to discuss the options available. In the event that the flight is cancelled, BA will make a full refund or offer an alternative flight.

Cover for Travel Delay

Applies to Comprehensive policies underwritten by either Europ Assistance or Mondial Assistance

The compensation provided will be as follows


for more than 12 hours beyond the intended departure time: We will pay the sum of £20 per Insured Person for the first 12 hours Your departure is delayed and a further £10 per Insured Person for each subsequent full 12 hours delay, up to a maximum of £300 in all per Insured Person per Trip; or


up to £5,000 in total for your part of the unused costs of the journey which have been paid or where there is a contract to pay that cannot be recovered from anywhere else, if, after you have been delayed for more than 12 hours, you decide to abandon the journey before you leave the UK.

Cover for Cancellation

Applies to Comprehensive Travel insurance policies underwritten by Europ Assistance only

Europ Assistance will reimburse up to a maximum of £5000 per Insured Person in total under this policy for financial loss You suffer, being non-refundable deposits and amounts You have paid (or have contracted to pay), for travel and accommodation You do not use because of Your inability to commence travel or complete the Trip.

Cancellation cover applies if You have booked a Trip to take place within the Period of Insurance, but You are forced to cancel Your travel plans due to the British Airways strike action, which is beyond Your control, and of which You were unaware at the time You booked the Trip.

There is no cover for cancellation on Mondial Assistance policies


In the event of a claim please contact the underwriter of your policy directly, full details including address can be found on your validation certificate, key facts and policy wording

Source: Staysure Insurance - Note information should not be relied on for accuracy and you should contact Staysure direct for further information

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Public liability insurance found for ex-offender

Story of an ex-offender who had difficulty obtaining insurance.

My son convicted of section 18 assault when he was just 19 years old. Whilst out one Friday night in a local pub a man celebrating the local football derby, a rugby player who by his own admission had 13 pints of alcohol during the day started a fight with my son’s friend. My son tried to help his friend who was punched in the face and who was about to be punched again. My son punched him, knocked him to the floor (or he may have fallen in a drunken stupor). My son says he was afraid if the man got up he would really hurt him as this man was so much bigger so my son kicked him to stop him getting up.

This man did attend A&E after the event but he had no substantial injuries and was released after being seen. His medical records noted that he was aggressive in A&E but the court put that down to the pain he was suffering. My son pleaded not guilty as he was defending his friend. When he faced the judge and jurors he was frightened and did not fare well when being questioned. He was made to look like a young lager lout, with no self control. Not a young lad out with his friends and me having a few pints on a Friday night. My son wasn’t drunk he had four pints. The man who started the fight was older and spoke well on the stand as he sipped his water and made out like he had done nothing wrong. He came off worst on this occasion but was known to be a bully and a trouble causer.

This was the first time my son had a prison sentence and he pleaded not guilty as he didn’t feel that he was. The judge said ‘he was making an example of my son’ as lager louts had to be punished. Politically this was a time when the government were campaigning to stop binge drinking and street fights. My son was a political tool. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

It was devastating for him and for all of us. He served the sentence first in a closed prison and then for the last ten months in an open prison as his good behaviour was recognised and rewarded. He was approached by the prison officers to talk to and to help new prisoners to settle when they arrived.

Since his release he has had self employed work. He found this work himself. It appears to me that there is little assistance for people who come out of prison. The probation officers see them once a week initially but offer no help when it comes to finding a job or managing to re-establish themselves into society after being locked away for so long. This was a difficult and heart breaking time. Seeing someone with low self esteem but trying so hard to find work and consistently being turned away because of the prison record.

When he found himself a job in construction/suspended ceilings (with a family member) he required public insurance liability. It took some time to find him that cover as he had a criminal record. On searching the internet and making numerous phone calls I eventually found cover at a cost of over £300 as opposed to the £50 quotes for someone without a previous prison sentence. There was a £95 charge for the introduction to get the insurance required to enable my son to work.

Can you imagine just out of prison, no income other then Job seekers allowance, low self esteem and trying to fit back into the life you left, application forms for jobs thrown in the bin whilst you stand there trying to get work and then when finding work through sheer determination a huge fee is charged.

It has been a hard slog for him and for his family as we supported him through all of this. Then came the recession and no work, as things are picking up and he has again managed to find himself work he needed public liability insurance. I searched the internet, rang many places and I was fortunate enough to find the number for Neil Cook, Head of Specialist Risks, at Equity and General Insurance Services Ltd.

Neil has been marvellous, so helpful and, understanding of the situation. He has managed to organise public liability insurance at the cost of £105. The service provided was not only affordable, it was brilliant. Neil also advised about my house insurance, as I didn’t realise that since my son has come to live at home although I have been paying insurance premiums I would not have been covered as I have not informed the insurance company I have an x convict in my house.

I find it all ridiculous, so much for serving a sentence and paying a debt to society. It is a never ending debt that penalises the person convicted and family members. It is hardly surprising that statistics show over 70% of offenders re-offend and end up back in prison there is so little help for them and everything costs more. Thank goodness for people like Neil and the company he works with who are actually helping people like my son and I.

Source: Client of Neil Cook - Published here with the consent of the writer and Neil Cook

If you looking for ex-offenders insurance please visit this page:

Monday 17 May 2010

What the new UK Government means to landlords?

The NLA - National Landlords Association sent out a newsletter on the 14th May asking "What the new government means to landlords?"

They reported that Grant Shapps appointed Housing Minister.The new Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has a challenge on his hands as he takes over the reins from Labour's John Healey.

Following a flurry of new regulations and proposals in the run up to the election, landlords can be forgiven for hoping that Mr Shapps will take a long hard look at the sector before making any new announcements.

After only a few days in office no new announcements have been made but, based on pre-election pledges, new policies are likely to include:

Provision of home energy improvement funded by a 'green investment bank' and efficiency measures
Scrapping of Home Information Packs (but retaining EPCs)
Changes to the planning system
Reform of Local Housing Allowance
The next subject covered -Capital gains tax concerns
The Government plans to raise CGT according to media reports. Speculation is growing that the 'Emergency Budget' in June will contain potentially damaging Capital Gains Tax (CGT) reform.

Although details are unclear, the coalition pact between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats states that the government intends to 'tax non-business gains at rates similar or close to those applied to income'. This could mean a return to 40% CGT or even 50% CGT for the highest earners. There is some suggestion that this could be introduced retrospectively to apply to gains achieved since 6 April 2010 (the begining of the current tax year).

The NLA has a News Release on this issue at:

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Make your holiday home more cost effective

Staysure the travel and property insurance company offer the following advice about making holiday homes more cost effective.

No matter how much we enjoy work there comes in time in most of our lives when we start to make plans for retirement, for some it can’t come soon enough, whereas others are quite happy to continue to a reasonable age. There lies the rub, what constitutes a reasonable age?

But seriously, that shouldn’t deter home owners in warmer climes from looking at ways to curb wasting water and energy. If saving the environment doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling, then look at it as a way to cut your bills.

Domestic appliances, particularly older models account for up to 16% of water used in the home, with washer-dryers taking top position as the main offender, followed closely by washing machines (half-loads), showers and flushing the toilet. However, there are lots of ways to reduce the amount of water used without impairing performance. Here are some simple ways to improve energy and water efficiency without breaking the bank.

A water closet that won’t waste water
Flushing the loo can use up to 9 litres of water. But don’t panic, this can be reduced by around 3 litres by inserting a ´hippo´ (essentially a heavy hardwearing bag) in the cistern. Alternatively, if you plan to re-do the bathroom buy a ‘low flush’ loo.

Invigorating yet efficient showers
Regular shower heads can use up to 9 litres of water per minute. The obvious solution to saving water is to take shorter showers or take less of them, none of which are a particularly popular choice. A less intrusive approach would be to fit an energy efficient shower head designed to regulate the flow of water. The same theory can be applied to taps. And voila!

Dripping taps waste cash
To the casual observer a dripping tap is nothing more than a minor nuisance but not particularly serious. On the contrary dripping taps can waste up to 15 litres of water each day – water you are paying for but not using.

Energy efficient dishwashing
It’s more cost effective and energy efficient to use the dishwasher than wash large quantities of dishes by hand. Music to every washer-uppers ears - end of!

Re-use water in the garden
When a garden needs water it isn’t fussy about where the water comes from; baths, washing up or rinsing it’s all the same, just remember to let it cool down first. The best time to water plants is in the morning or the evening after the sun has gone down, preferably using a watering can instead of a hose pipe.

If you would like more information on how to save money, water or any other green energy measures check out the government website at:

Staysure’s holiday home insurance also provides a way to save money without sacrificing quality. Choose comprehensive cover buildings, contents or both and you are guaranteed great value prices plus you can avoid unnecessary and potentially costly misunderstandings which can occur when dealing in a foreign language*. All policy documents are written in English, English 24-hour helpline and English claims department!

*Staysure’s holiday home insurance covers property in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Eire, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and second homes in the UK. For more information visit the Staysure page at the jmlp-property-insurance website

Monday 10 May 2010 provides added financial security

Press Release from 10th May 2010 has just arrived provides added financial security for consumers while airlines count the cost of volcanic disruption, one of the UK’s fastest growing flight consolidators, now includes additional financial security for consumers who arrange their flight tickets through their company.

The volcanic disruption occurred just as experts felt the airline industry had turned the corner following two years of record losses, however this natural disaster highlights the continued fragile state of the sector.

In the event of insolvency of a non-bonded ticket, have undertaken to refund customers their lost monies and will even arrange their flight home if they are away at the time of the collapse. These repatriation costs can often be several times more than the original ticket costs.

‘Many of our clients are protected by the CAA’s ATOL arrangement because they are booking charter flights, however there is a massive volume who arrange unprotected flight tickets only and as a result fall outside of the government sponsored protection’ explained Colin Gill, Sales Manager at

The decision to include the service is to assist those customers who, many times unknowingly, travel with no financial protection. Section 75 of the consumer protection act also has limited protection as it only applies for credit card purchases in excess of £100 which is little assistance for many low cost fares plus it will not pay additional and increased costs in getting someone home.

‘The collapse of airlines like Globespan and XL, which left thousands out of pocket, highlighted the gap in consumer protection which we are now addressing and our message to consumers is to find out what protection you have from your ticket issuer and make sure they can meet their obligations’, added Gill. ‘As a responsible travel organisation we have taken steps to protect our clients.’

‘An airline failure would result in huge problems for our customers so we have arranged added security directly with International Passenger Protection Limited, the specialist in providing solutions to the travel industry. Now anyone who books with us can now have peace of mind against their airline’s insolvency’ concluded Gill.

Looking for Financial Failure Travel Insurance from as little as £5 per person? Follow this link

Sunday 9 May 2010

Volcanic Ash closes airports in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and France

According to online reports on the 8th and 9th May European air traffic faces growing disruption again, with a cloud of ash spewing from an Icelandic volcano affecting flights in Spain, France and Portugal.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday, while many trans-Atlantic services were delayed as they skirted the plume of debris from the Eyjafjoell volcano in Iceland, which plunged air travel across the continent into chaos last month.

The volcano began erupting on April 14 and caused travel chaos, with airspaces closed over several European nations for a week because of fears that aircraft engines would be damaged with fatal consequences.

It was the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled and eight million passengers affected. The airline industry said it lost about 2.5 billion euros

Spain shut down 19 airports because of the ash cloud, including Barcelona, the country's second biggest airport and that is closest to the Spanish Grand Prix circuit at Circuit de Catalunya,
In Portugal, 104 flights serving Lisbon, Oporto and Faro were cancelled on Saturday, hitting mainly low-cost airlines, airport officials and websites said.

In France, the national weather service said the ash cloud would be covering the southern part of the country by late Saturday, with concentrations rising to 6,000 metres.

Meteo France official Roxane Desire could not predict if the ash would disperse before Wednesday 12th May opening of the Cannes film festival, when private jets in particular throng Riviera airports.

Easyjet announced on their website at 9.00 on Sunday 9th May that “Due to the ongoing volcanic eruption in Iceland, there will be further disruption to flights operating to and from Switzerland, Southern and Central France, Northern Italy and Northern Portugal on Sunday 9 May 2010. We therefore strongly advise all passengers who are booked to travel with easyJet on flights to and from Switzerland, Southern and Central France, Northern Italy and Northern Portugal tomorrow (Sunday 9 May) to to check your flight status at before travelling to the airport.”

British Airways placed this message on their website at 9.35 on the 9th May. “Volcanic ash levels over Europe may result in flight disruption. Currently our Italian services are most likely to be affected.”

It looks like this problem is not going to go away for a while and travelers should make sure they have adequate travel insurance.

You can find a list of travel insurance providers at the website by following this link. Do make sure before you purchase that the policy will cover you in the event of flight disruption.

Friday 7 May 2010

Lighthouse Property Services of Lincoln offers broadband


Lighthouse Property Services in Lincoln is the first lettings firm in the UK to offer tenants an exclusive wireless broadband service that can be used both at home and throughout the city for free and all on the same network.

Working with local service provider AB Internet, Lighthouse will be the only private letting agent to offer the pioneering and unique wireless Internet which can be used by tenants in their homes and through mobile phones and laptops on the move.

Three buildings managed by Lighthouse housing around 90 students have been trialling the new wireless broadband service since September. The plan is to now roll out the service, known as Wireless Lighthouse, with permission from landlords to all student accommodation and then private residential homes.

This means that in addition to being able to use their wireless network at home, Lighthouse student tenants will be able to use it through their phones and laptops on the move, whether in a cafĂ© on the High Street, or at college. As well as enjoying the whole WWW experience, they will be also able to access the university’s digital learning and resource portal as seamlessly as though they were on the campus itself.

Based on the network of local service provider AB Internet, the Wireless Lighthouse project is rolling-out in parallel with the wider, pioneering Wireless Lincoln network, also delivered by AB Internet. Launched in April, Wireless Lincoln offers high speed WiFi access across Lincoln city centre to everyone.

The network coverage is much better than what is normally associated with WiFi. Rather than isolated hot-spots, the network extends from Tritton Road all the way up to Newport Arch and includes indoor coverage inside the Waterside Shopping Centre and coverage at the University of Lincoln and Lincoln College.

Neil Tucker, Sales and Marketing Director of AB Internet, said: “This is a really exciting development. The forward thinking of Lighthouse and the university has been made a reality through AB Internet’s cutting-edge network services. Lighthouse tenants will now be able to enjoy the flexibility and freedom that our wireless connectivity brings, without the restrictions and charges normally associated with mobile Internet.

“It will be completely unique to Lighthouse, making them stand out as a premier city letting agent offering extra benefits to its tenants.”

Tim Clark, Managing Director of Lighthouse, added: “We have supported AB Internet and the Wireless Lincoln project from the outset and it’s fantastic that they are now working exclusively with us.

“We’re looking forward to initially rolling out the service to around 290 student properties with support from landlords and know it will help us maintain our position as one of the leading student lettings agencies in Lincoln.”

Lighthouse will include the wireless service, which has no time or download limitations, within its all-inclusive rental packages. Students can therefore enjoy ‘assle-free surfing and escape from hot-spot WiFi charges, mobile contracts and monthly download and usage fees.

More info:

• Lighthouse Property Services was established in 2001 and is a residential and student lettings agency operating in Lincoln. The company also offers UK buy-to-let and overseas investment opportunities.
• AB Internet Limited is a Lincoln-based wireless Internet service provider that offers its unique wireless broadband services in both metropolitan and rural environments across the United Kingdom and Africa

HomeLet landlord and Tenants insurance are also based in Lincoln. Find out more at

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Northern Ireland Letting agents win Gold Award

County Down estate and lettings agency Pinkerton Murray has won has been recognised for its excellent customer service in the 2010 Estate Agent & Letting Agent Awards (Estas).

It achieved the highest possible accolade, winning gold in both the estate agents category and letting agents category for Northern Ireland.

Pictured above receiving their award from Phil Spencer at the Estas are Managing Director Victoria Pinkerton (left) and Natalie Pinkerton (right).

For More information Go to:

Sunday 2 May 2010

Students to get Extra Protection from Crime via HomeLet Insurance

NEWS RELEASE 30th April 2010 from HomeLet Landlord and Tenant Insurance

Students living in shared accommodation are now eligible for HomeLet’s comprehensive Tenant’s Contents Insurance+ policy which offers an unrivalled level of protection against theft and accidental damage.

The policy, which was launched in 2009, is ideal for people living in a house share as it covers the policy holder and two additional tenants who are named on the tenancy agreement.

Up until now only professional sharers have been eligible but HomeLet, which is the UK’s leading provider of landlords’ and tenants’ insurance, has extended the policy to cover student sharers.

According to HomeLet the average premium for three tenants sharing a property on the Tenants Contents Insurance+ policy, is £12 per month which is exceptional value for money at around £1 per week for each student sharer.

HomeLet’s Managing Director John Boyle said: “Tenant’s Contents Insurance+ is designed specifically to protect tenants, who can often neglect to insure their valuable possessions and I’m delighted that students can now benefit from the unbeatable level of cover it provides.

“When compared to our previous tenants’ contents product, Tenant’s Contents Insurance+ offers double the minimum cover at no additional cost. This is to help ensure that tenants aren’t underinsured, as people can often underestimate the value of their contents.”

HomeLet’s Tenant’s Contents Insurance+ policy is flexible and insures the tenants’ contents against theft by forcible means, fire, lightning, earthquake or flooding and water leaks. Students can also choose to cover specified items like laptops, iPods and pedal cycles outside the home.

It also provides tenants with cover for accidental damage to their landlord’s contents, building, fixtures and fittings up to the value of £2,500. This means that tenants don’t have to worry about losing their deposit if an accident happens.

John continued: “Student residential areas can be prime targets for burglars, especially during the holidays when thieves know the properties are likely to be empty. Our product is excellent value and payable monthly, which is great news for students in particular. This means that no matter where tenants live they have access to comprehensive cover at a more affordable price.”

HomeLet is the UK’s largest tenant referencing, Rent Guarantee and specialist insurance provider for the lettings industry and has around 3,000 approved letting agents nationwide.
 HomeLet have referenced over 1 million tenants in the last three years alone
 For more information please visit