Friday 16 December 2011

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme from Rentguard News

  Just come across this piece from Rentguard Landlord and Tenant insurance.  Government payments to help people afford to stay in their home should go directly to the lender rather thanthe Landlord Insurance holder – according to What Mortgage– according to What Mortgage.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced this week that it’s launching a Call for Evidence on how the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme could be improved in the future.

But while Ben Wilkie, editor at What Mortgage, thinks the principles behind the SMI are good, the scheme must ensure funds are used directly to help struggling homeowners keep their property – rather than to pay off other debts.

He says: “The whole point of Support for Mortgage Interest is that people don’t lose their homes, but having the money paid directly to the claimant could increase the number of people who do”.

However, Mr Wilkie also notes the SMI could be changed to include a charge on any homeowners who use the scheme and later benefit from property price rises.

In other landlord insurance news doing the rounds today, it’s being reasoned that buy-to-let lending looks set to make up a larger percentage of the mortgage market next year.

David Whittaker is managing director at Mortgages for Business, and he thinks the current “soft” state of the UK mortgage market suggests the share of buy-to-let lending could increase this quarter and throughout 2012.

He says: “Historically, [buy-to-let lending] ran at about 13 per cent of the market, but dropped as low as eight and a half or nine per cent of the market in 2009, so you could say that all it is doing is re-establishing its status quo relationship with the residential mortgage market as a whole.”

The comments follow the announcement that Paragon Mortgages has won the ‘best buy-to-let portfolio lender’ title at the Your Mortgage 2011-12 Awards.

And despite all the hype, it seems the promise of the Olympics has had no effect at all on the London rental market from the point of view of any buy to let insurance holder. is an online letting agent, providing letting agent services to 31,829 landlords across the UK.

Daniel Burgess is managing director of, and he says: “The Olympics is the last thing on the minds of landlords or tenants. Getting through the next three to six months is what people are thinking about.

Discover the wide selection landlord insurance available from Rentguard and see how cost effective the all-rounded residential landlords insurance can be. - More Information Here

Source:  Rentguard Insurance

If you live in a "flood area" it could be a complete "no go area" says some insurance companies

Neil Cook an insurance broker who specialises in areas like flood affected property insurance, ex offender insurance and a lot more is a regular contributor to this blog.

He has just contacted saying that "I am hearing yet more and more reports from clients saying  that certain parts of the country are now complete no go areas because of either flood risk (such as SL6 5ND a rather nice part of  Maidenhead) rather than wasting clients times and effort just say to them we KNOW A MAN WHO CAN !! "

He goes onto to say that "rather than worst case of selling them worthless cover IE without flood or subsidence or a vast excess and premium any excess over £1500 is totally unacceptable".

So if you are having problems obtaining cover, or cover with a very high excess, contact Neil for more information.

How do I do this? Follow this link please  

Friday 9 December 2011

HomeLet insurance raises money for the Nomad Trust of Lincoln

HomeLet the specialist landlord and tenant rental insurance company has raised money for a charity based close to their Lincon offices

The Nomad Trust is a Christian based registered charity which provides welfare services in the City of Lincoln for those who are homeless or otherwise in need.

HomeLet  insurance has raised £4,000  in just five months at various events organised by members of staff, including a cake sale, quizzes and a Halloween fun-day that included a fancy dress competition and trick or treat game.

This staggering amount of cash is more than half of the £8,000 target HomeLet has set itself to raise by April 2012. The cash will then be spent on a mini bus for the charity’s service users to travel around the area for journeys, such as to job interviews, to help people move off the streets and begin to lead a more normal life.

The Nomad Trust is a Lincoln-based charity that helps homeless people in the area from all walks of life to regain their independence and self-respect. For the past 26 years, the organisation has been helping homeless and vulnerable people in Lincolnshire by running an emergency night shelter and charity shop. The Trust’s workers also support its service users by offering life skills and resettlement advice when they are able to move into their own home.

HomeLet announced its support of The Nomad Trust in May 2011. Its employees are set to raise money for the charity for three years, and a calendar of events has already been organised so another £1,000 is raised in time for Christmas.

Brenda Shiels, Service Manager at The Nomad Trust, said: “For HomeLet to have raised more than half of the amount needed to buy the new minibus already is a fantastic achievement. The vehicle will be a massive benefit to our service users who struggle to travel to different places once trying to rebuild their lives. Therefore on behalf of The Nomad Trust I would like to thank everyone at HomeLet for all their hard work and generosity.”

John Boyle, HomeLet’s Managing Director, said: “Raising the money at so many events has not only been enjoyable, but also very gratifying as we know the cash is going to be spent on local people who are finding it hard to get themselves out of a traumatic and difficult situation.

“We’re now confident we can raise even more than the £8,000 needed for the minibus, so we can help this very worthwhile cause assist as many local homeless people as possible over the next few years.”

 Find out more here about fundraising for The Nomad Trust Here

Source HomeLet Insurance

If you are a landlord (or tenant) looking for HomeLet specialist rental insurance click on the logo below

Latest HomeLet Rental Index is out now

Seasonal trends see rents dip across UK as the latest HomeLet Rental Index shows that average UK rental amounts have decreased in eight of the 11 regions, including London, as part of a seasonal dip.

According to HomeLet Landlord and Tenant Insurance  

■The average UK rental amount fell in October, when compared to September by 2.5% to £763pcm

■Despite falling, the average agreed UK rental amount in October 2011 was still 4.2% higher than rents recorded in October 2010

■Rents in London are still 23% higher than October 2009, and remain 8.8% higher than 2010

■The number of tenants sharing a property has increased in the last two years. The average number of tenants per property was 1.7 in October 2011, compared with 1.4 in October 2009

■Greater London has the highest level of sharing in the country with an average of two tenants per property

■Average UK tenant incomes dropped from September to October by 0.6% to £27,201

■18 – 21 year olds have seen the largest drop in income over the past year. Incomes for this age group have dropped by 5% in October 2011 when compared to October 2010

■The percentage of 36 - 45 year olds renting after living at home with a relative has risen from 18% in October 2009 to 23% in October 2011

If you are a landlord (or tenant)  looking for HomeLet specialist rental insurance click on the logo below

Source: Homelet

HomeLet Insurance wins a national award for its innovation within the lettings industry

The specialist insurance company HomeLet for Landlord and Tenant insurance has won the Innovation category at this year’s 2011 Landlord and Lettings Awards.

In addition to this, HomeLet Insurance was a finalist in the Insurance Services, Supplier and Website categories.

The Innovation award recognises the supplier that has been most innovative in their sector, and HomeLet was praised in particular for the launch and success of its new referencing product, Optimum. Optimum was launched earlier this year and has not only achieved 150% above predicted sales figures, but also been very well received by customers.

As well as offering a robust tenant reference, Optimum offers the unique guarantee – if any tenant referenced through one of two HomeLet checks, Insight and Enhance, either default on their rent within 12 months of moving into the rented property, HomeLet will evict them – for free.

The increase in sales has also seen an increase in customers, with the company’s 1,000th customer being welcomed to HomeLet in October.

Kyle Clark, who works for Homes4U – the 1,000th letting agent to partner with HomeLet, said: “Signing up with HomeLet couldn’t be easier. We signed up online and processed our first reference that day. To be their 1,000th customer is a privilege; although I’m sure there will be hundreds more to join before the year is out!”

HomeLet puts this success down to a number of factors; increased demand for rental properties, the importance of using a reputable letting agent and referencing supplier, its innovative products and services, and the fact that many more landlords are asking their letting agents for HomeLet by name now.

John Boyle

Managing Director of HomeLet, John Boyle, said: “I am delighted at our success at last week’s Landlord and Lettings Awards that recognises our innovative contribution to the lettings industry. It is not only testament to the hard work of our team who’ve developed the product, but also our customers who’ve used HomeLet to reference potential tenants.”

Heidi Abbott, HomeLet’s Operations & Marketing Director, who collected the award, said: "To win the Innovation award was a fantastic result in itself – however, to be finalist in three other categories reflects the commitment we continually dedicate to our customers to make sure they receive the best possible service.”

jml Property Services have been HomeLet agents since 2002 and market the products for the company on the jml insurance and property websites. Find out more details HERE

Source: HomeLet Insurance

Lettings agency is now 10 years Old

South Buckinghamshire Letting agents, The JNP Partnership have just passed the ten year milestone.

In the summer of 2001 the Directors of the JNP Partnership, a very well known firm of estate agents in South Buckinghamshire took the decision to open a lettings office to cater for the expanding rentals business in the area.

Philip Suter who had previously established a residential lettings department in 1984 for Frank Farr & Sons, a firm of long established estate agents in the Slough / Uxbridge area, joined JNP in early November to launch the lettings office.

Philip a landlord himself and via his own company jml Property Services has been a member of the NLA (National Landlords Association) since the early 1980s when it was known as the Small Landlords Association.

Over the past ten years the JNP lettings office has grown from a small “add on” department employing two members of staff to a highly profitable operation employing some 10 members of staff.

Philip still acts as a Consultant for JNP, but the day to day running of JNP Lettings is the responsibility of Lettings Manager Vicky Lyle.

Vicky Lyle Manager JNP Lettings

Vicky has a strong Lettings background having a couple of her immediate family members as seasoned Landlords and having been a tenant herself for a number of years. She has worked for several years within the Lettings Industry, mainly working within the High Wycombe area for another major High Wycombe letting agent before joining JNP two years ago, but having also gained valuable experience working in North London and Hertfordshire.

In 2010 a few months after joining JNP, her lettings department portfolio nearly doubled overnight with the addition of the Philip Green and Partners High Wycombe letting business. Along with this additional portfolio came Lettings Negotiator Adam Green, Property Manager Julian Britton and Administration Manager Angela Wilson. Other members of the team include Doreen Coburn, Trefton Joyce, Charlotte Moxon, Jo-Anna Warren and Wendy Buckley who has been managing the landlord and tenant accounts for over four years.

Vicky said ”The rental market is very positive at the moment and with plenty of investment potential with new developments being built (and sold by JNP New Homes) we are increasing our portfolio of let property from an excellent tenant base”.

“We have a very experienced team who are kept up to date with legislation by following ARLA training courses. There is a constant change of legalities that can affect residential lettings, however this minefield is not so bad for experienced staff like ours to tackle and advise our clients on.” 

Stephen Grace MD JNP

Managing Director of The JNP Partnership is Stephen Grace. Stephen has been an agent since 1993 and with JNP since 1998 and he also spent eighteen months running the JNP lettings office.

Stephen said ”I am very proud of the way in which the JNP letting business has grown. We are now the number one choice for clients in the area letting out their property.”

“The JNP Letting Business has become such a major and integral part of our company. I am delighted with the achievements made to-date and am confident in Vicky and her team continuing to lead the way as the chief local lettings agent and their on-going success.”

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, JNP has been running some special promotions. For Landlords and Tenants and will be holding an anniversary evening for clients in mid December.

Apart from being a member of the NLA, Philip has been associated with ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) also going back to the early 1980’s when he brought Frank Farr into ARLA membership. He was involved with the ARLA Council in the late 1980’s responsible for a membership drive and recollects going to one of the SLA meetings that was chaired by Geoffrey Cutting and Lillian Cline and introducing the Chairperson of ARLA to the NLA.

Commenting on JNP Lettings 10th anniversary, Philip said “JNP are now the first choice for hundreds of landlords and tenants in the High Wycombe area. They have a very professional team and I wish them even more success in the future”.

More information about The JNP Partnership

The JNP Partnership is the trading name of JNP Estate Agents. It was established in 1994 fast becoming a very well known firm in South Buckinghamshire, Chilterns and the Thames Valley area with sales offices in High Wycombe, Hazlemere, Prestwood, Princes Risborough and Stokenchurch. It has a specialist New Homes Department, operates The Fine and Country estate agency is Hazlemere and Princes Risborough and is shortly launching an Auction department.

JNP’s residential letting office is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) and MyDeposits (the Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme). Website:
Source JNP Estate Agents Ltd

Thursday 8 December 2011

Winter is here again so is condensation

Winter has finally arrived and so will the condensation problems in rental properties.

Last winter working for a letting agent carrying out routine property inspection visits, a lot of people were compaining about "damp".

Unfortunately in so many properties fresh air does not get. Gone is the era of the old Victorian house with fireplaces in several rooms and floorboards not being fully covered in thick carpet and windows not being one hundred percent sealed when shut.

You now have a situation of double glazed windows, well insulated walls, floors and ceilings and people not letting in fresh air and keeping heaters turned up high.

Yes there are problems with damp problems being caused by slipped roofing tiles, drainage pipes leaking and a lot more, however so many tenants do not open windows to change the air. Heating costs never go down and they are worried about these and don't want to let the cold air in, even for a few minutes.

I came across one flat after Christmas last year and noticed the living room window looked rather odd. Initially I thought it was Christmas decorations and then was told by the tenant that she had put cling film all over the windows to keep the place warmer. The property actually had double glazing and the cling film was causing a build ip of condensation. The tenant was using the trickle vents and do not know what they were for.

Trickle vents are normally at the top of mist modern double glazed windows and doors and let a small amount of fresh air into the room.

When letting a property it is useful to leave notes on how to prevent condensation and list the daily routine.

External bathrooms - open the window for a few minutes after a bath or shower has been taken.

Open windows when cooking.

Make sure any washer dryers are properly vented.

If any black moud appears clean it up and make sure there is proper ventilation in wardrobes, in particular those on outside walls.

Don't hang your washing out todry in front of heaters in the rooms.

Suggest or provide a dehumidifier if the property is likely to suffer from condensation problems.

It is true that a lot of properties can have condensation problems, but it is often the occupiers that cause them. I was involved for several years with the management of a "HMO - House in multiple occupation" divided into several bedsits. Some tenants kept the sah windows slightly open and never had problems. I recollect one large unit whereby the wall were rotting below the windows. A previous couple of tenants had never had a condensation "damp" problem. 

The Environmental Health Officer was called in as the tenant claimed the property was unfit for habitation. The first thing the EHO said was take the heavy duty plastic off ftom the windows as they were completely sealed and could not be opened. It did the trick.

We have more information on the jml Property Services website on this subject here.