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HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

UK property investors and private rental sector landlords are being offered tax training online by Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC), in order to make it easier for them to understand when and how to pay tax on property assets.

The computer-based training tutorials are aimed at property investors and private rental sector landlords who are renting out property and have not registered to pay tax, or have under-declared their rental incomes or have under-paid tax.

The tax training is part of HMRC’s Let Property campaign, and it is understood that HMRC are also in discussion with various landlord associations in order to make the training available to their members.

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Grab Your Copy Of The 2013 Emergency Cashflow Report

Grab Your Copy Of The 2013 Emergency Cashflow Report

Warning: Why buying property
could ruin you

More people than ever are discovering that property investing is an excellent way of making substantial returns on their savings.

Savings that would normally be eroded away in their bank accounts thanks to high inflation and low interest rates.

It’s no secret – ordinary people, with no specialist property investment education, are right now buying properties easily, with big discounts, renting them out, and making consistent monthly cashflow profits – without having to become ‘hands-on landlords’ or becoming overwhelmed in the process.

BUT with easy access to finance, a plentiful supply of heavily discounted properties, strong tenant demand and a massive rental market to play with, comes a warning

As with every investment boom and opportunity, it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the facts, and not become sold on the hype and excitement of other people generating cash from property investment.

Get The Insider’s Secrets On Profitable Property Investing

If YOU are thinking of investing, or continuing to invest in property in 2013/2014, then it’s essential you read the latest Property Cashflow Report, written by 4-Time Bestselling Property Investment Authors Rob Moore & Mark Homer, the brains behind Progressive Property.

If you’re brand new to property and property investing, this report will give you the best step-by-step guide to generating a healthy second, or even replacement income…

Access the report here before Wednesday

Rob & Mark have bought over 350 properties since 2005, trained over 300 private VIP clients, and trained over 26,700 residential property investors.

In the last 8 years they’ve witnessed the expensive property investing mistakes, the lengthy tests, and they have documented action-steps which create reliable, cash-flowing buy to let property investments.

These two controversial, 30 year old property investors, who were recently featured by the BBC, are releasing their 6th annual Property Cashflow Report

Inside you’ll read the nuts-and-bolts details of how to buy and profit from residential property, explicit facts highlighting the mistakes and assumptions about property investing that you must avoid, mistakes that other investors have already fallen victim to…

PLUS: The full debrief of the biggest controversial warning ever to be shared outside of the property investment community.

Access the report here before Wednesday

Don’t expect any fluff or padded filler waffling about the joys of property investing, this report delivers the reality about what to do, HOW to do it, and what to avoid for the next 12 months, including:

  • The property investing buying process – every step explained in simple terms
  • How to ALWAYS have enough money to invest, age and credit no factor
  • Why buying at auction is one of the best kept secrets + how it works
  • How to make £2k per month without ever owning property
  • How to make letting, tenancy, and property management easy and stress-less
  • How to find big discount properties through estate agents – at zero cost!
    &…
  • The Top 20 Mistakes Investors Make When Dealing with Agents

Access the report here before Wednesday

PLUS: Case studies of career employees who have easily replaced their above-average incomes, on their own terms, by simply following the advice complied in this report.

Download your copy now, and avoid risking your finances RUINED by poor investment decisions or inexperienced guesswork.

Access the report here before Wednesday

2013 Emergency Cashflow Report

New Row Over Letting Agent's Evil Fees

New Row Over Letting Agent’s Evil Fees

Homeless Charity Wants All
Letting Agent Fees To Be Met By Landlords

The homelessness charity, Shelter have started to campaign to get all letting agent fees currently charged to tenants banned throughout England, and they want landlords to foot the bill for it, a point which has angered the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and caused consternation with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Shelter have launched a new report, “Letting Agencies: the Price you Pay”, claiming that charging landlords is a fairer way of doing business and the charity also claim that tenants are having to go without food or heating to meet increasing housing costs because letting agents’ fees are out of control.

Shelter were instrumental in getting letting agent fees banned in Scotland and now want the practice outlawed by MPs in England and are calling for politicians to take action.

The homelessness charity seem to think that all letting agents are the devil in disguise and recently questioned 58 separate letting agents throughout England, anonymously, asking them about what fees each charged in order to set up a tenancy for a tenant and discovered the average administration fee charged by agents was £350 (GBP) plus upfront rent and tenancy deposits. Less than a third of letting agents questioned charged fees totalling more than £400 and seven charged in excess of £700.

The Shelter research claims that in the last three years,

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Landlords expected to do UK border agency's job for them

Landlords expected to do UK border agency’s job for them

Private landlords are set to become an extra line in UK Border Control as they will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let rental properties to people allowed to be in the UK under immigration laws announced in the Queen’s Speech.

This means that Private Rental Sector (PRS) and social housing landlords will have a responsibility to make sure their tenants are in the country legally

Over 3 million buy-to-let landlords are rental property owners in the UK private sector and will be responsible for checking the immigration status of all potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for those breaking the law.

Employers will also face more substantial fines for employing on illegal immigrants.

It appears that UK landlords and employers are expected to police the immigration system as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency.

Landlords are being given additional responsibility with no recompense other than the threat of heavy fines for failure to comply. Why are we expected to do the UK Border Agency’s job for them when they are paid handsomely for failing to do the job they are employed by the Government to do?

Does this mean that Landlords will be given a financial incentive to turn informant?

I don’t think so…

The new measures are included in an amended Immigration Bill will also limit the ability of European migrants to claim UK state benefits and ensure that the right to residence in the UK on the basis of family commitments is not abused by criminal elements. The UK judicial system will be expected to balance the nature and seriousness of the crime committed against the right to remain resident in the UK.

Temporary migrants will be charged for use of NHS services and only those who have lived in an area for at least two years will qualify for social housing. Regulations will also be amended to ensure that European immigrants cannot claim benefits for more than six months if they do not actively seek legal employment and show they have a genuine chance of obtaining work.

The legislation has been drawn up as the Coalition Government struggles to contain the electoral threat posed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which has hard-line immigration policies.

The details of how the measures will be implemented will be set out later in the year. The plans will be the subject of a formal consultation in the coming months.

Ministers expect the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) properties. However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas.

It is unclear how landlords are supposed to verify the authenticity of documentation, as many employers have already discovered to their cost since the tightening of employment rules surrounding immigrant workers, as falsified information has no way of being checked and is only up to the diligence of the employer to ascertain the true identity of their employees.

The limit of the financial penalties set to be levied on landlords who fail to comply is also yet to be decided but is expected to be severe and may run into thousands of pounds.

March 2013 Sees PRS Rents up by 0.5%

UK PRS Rents Increase Again

UK PRS Rents Increase Again

UK private rented sector (PRS) rents increased for the first time in five months in March 2013, led by busy regions such as London, according to LSL Property Services. 

The latest figures reveal that average monthly PRS rents rose by 0.5% in March compared with February to reach an average of £735 (GBP). 

London private sector rents surged to a new average high of £1,106 (GBP) per month, following a 1.3% month-on-month increase.

The study, which has been running for five years, is based on rents achieved on 18,000 UK PRS rental properties, show that average rents in the capital are now £81 (GBP) higher year-on-year.

However, the increase in rents has left a greater number of tenants struggling to keep up.

Tenants’ finances worsened to levels not seen since before Christmas 2012, with 8.5% of all rent late or unpaid in March, compared with 7.4% in February.

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 Obey Gas SafetyLaws Or Face Prosecution – Landlords Warned

Gas Safety Is A Legal Responsibility

Gas Safety Is A Legal Responsibility

UK Landlords need a better understanding of the many laws and regulations regarding the safety of tenants in private sector rental accommodation, or they may find that non compliance with any of the prescribed regulations can make them liable for prosecution and will render their Landlord Insurance invalid.

UK Landlords have moral and legal responsibilities regarding the safety of all tenants living in private rented sector (PRS) rental accommodation, occupied under a lease or licence, which includes, but not exclusively:

  • Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, housing co-operatives, hostels
  • Rooms let in Houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
  • Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outlines the landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for use by tenants comply with all the latest UK safety regulations and are not hazardous to the health of the tenant.

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Are Landlords Sure Thay Are Not Victims Of A Rent To Rent Scam?

Are Landlords Sure Thay Are Not Victims Of A Rent To Rent Scam?

There are more worrying developments in the UK PRS, as the practice of Rent To Rent within the UK residential lettings market is causing increasing concern among industry professionals.

The practice of Rent To Rent, sees one set of individuals renting a privately owned residential property within the UK private rented sector (PRS) and then sub-letting it to another tenant for profit, as a business.

It is widely believed that many Rent To Renters are operating without the landlord’s knowledge or consent.

Professional tenants have reportedly accepted a tenancy, signed agreements of multiple properties, then they have proceeded to sublet the properties to unsuspecting third parties, unaware of the true situation.

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New LHA Rates For 1st April 2013 Announced

New LHA Rates For 1st April 2013 Announced

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has published its new Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, which come into effect on the 1st April 2013.

LHA rates were frozen for a 12-month period until 31st March 2013. Future upratings, whilst still based on market rents, are limited to the rate of the September Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The LHA rates to be used in the first annual uprating in April 2013 were determined by rent officers and have been published on the VOA corporate website.

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Local authorities have the power to charge council tax on all rental properties as soon as they become empty, a critical point that will hit landlords hard and give lettings and property managing agents a massive administrative headache.

It used to be that when a residential property became vacant, the owner was automatically granted a period of six months exemption before council tax was payable.

Some local authorities, such as Durham Council, have already implemented this action and have been collecting council tax on empty rental properties as well as privately owned empty residential properties for a number of months.

With the Class C exemption still under debate, have Durham council jumped the gun?

A spokesperson for Durham County Council reckons not: “We have been applying full council tax liability on all empty properties within the 7 boroughs of our region since April and landlords must understand that revenue is due from all residential properties regardless of whether or not they are lived in.”

Now MP’s want to abolish the mandatory 6 month class C exemption period, for all local authorities across the UK, using the Localism Act.

The Government reckon that there is no compelling reason why the first six months should be treated so generously, so their proposal is to abolish the Class C exemption for council tax purposes and replace the exemption with a clause that would let local authorities charge whatever they wanted on all empty properties for the first six months.

Class C dwellings are empty properties that are largely unfurnished. Other classes, which would appear to remain untouched by the latest moves, include homes left empty after someone has become ill or because the property is subject to probate.

The proposal will impact hardest on landlords with void periods, as well as property vendors who may need to relocate quickly for a variety of reasons such as for work or, in the case of older people, to be closer to family.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Finance Bill, currently going through Parliament, will allow local councils to charge higher amounts for residential property that has been empty for two years or more, as well doubling rates for second homes.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said “The proposals could have unintended consequences, but it would be nothing like as complicated as the proposal to abolish Class C”.

In the official consultation earlier this year, 169 local authorities voted in favour of the Class C exemption being abolished with only 25 councils voting against the plan.

Only five property-related businesses responded during the official consultation, with 3 businesses voting against the proposal and 2 for it.

70 members of the public were also consulted, although the proportion of landlords remains unclear. Of these, 11 were in favour of the idea and 59 were against it. Only 1 MP responded, favouring the abolition of the exemption.

With so many local authorities under a great deal of financial pressure during the recession it is hoped that councils will choose not to grant council tax-free periods, because of the major financial implications it will have for landlords and struggling property vendors.

Additionally, there will be an increased administrative burden for letting and property management agents in that they will have to continually revise information of vacant rental properties to local authorities, most of which are often only empty for a few days.

It is also likely that it will cost local authorities more to collect the small amounts of council tax owed than the additional revenue they hope to achieve.

Durham council do appear to have acted independently of all other local authorities in the UK by implementing the abolition of the Class C exemption well before everyone else.

As a landlord with properties within the Durham council area I for one remain unhappy and will be talking to the RLA (Residential Landlords Association) about lobbying the Government to review this ridiculous way of thinking and because the abolition of the Class C exemption is not approved by Government at the present time I will be demanding repayment of unfairly levied Council Tax payments already made.

Award Winning Property Management

Award Winning Property Management

Castledene Property Management was awarded as Silver in the Northern Medium Letting Agent category at The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2012 in association with The Sunday Times and The Times and sponsored by Zoopla.co.uk.

On Friday 25th May, over 450 leading lettings agents from throughout the UK attended a glittering ceremony at The Lancaster London Hotel opposite Hyde Park where the winners of only dedicated awards for the lettings agency industry were revealed. The winners received their awards from former Olympic Champion, Sir Matthew Pinsent who wowed the audience with some incredible stories of his achievements.

The awards ceremony was the culminating event of a rigorous and thorough judging process carried out over a four-month period by a panel of industry experts who assessed initial entry submissions before conducting an extensive review of the entrants, which included hundreds of telephone interviews and mystery shopping exercises. The whole of the judging process was overseen by The Property Ombudsman; Christopher Hamer.

Now in its third year as a dedicated competition, these awards have become widely recognised as the most sought-after and difficult to win. With more entrants than ever before, over 5,000 offices were represented this year, but only the very best of the best were crowned as winners.

Castledene Property Management winners of the Silver in the Northern medium letting agent category were delighted to receive the award.  John Paul, Managing Director commented “We are delighted to be recognised at such a prestigious event. All the hard work and dedication by the staff has paid off and it shows that with the right focus and determination you can prosper despite all the doom and gloom in the media”

A website listing all the winning companies with comments from the judges as to why they won can be found at www.lettingsagencyoftheyear.com

Peter Knight, Chairman of the event organisers Estate Agency Events commented; “Landlords and tenants can be confident that the agents displaying this awards medal represent the very best of the best. Whilst there has been much talk of the need to establish minimum standards for lettings agents, I am delighted that these awards can shine a light on those firms that are exceeding standards at every level within an increasingly competitive industry.”

The main awards were sponsored by Zoopla.co.uk, whilst the specialist categories were sponsored by some of the industry’s leading suppliers including Audio Agent, ARPM, BriefYourMarket.com, Endsleigh Insurance, Imfuna, LetMC, MidWest Displays, Moneypenny, Ravensworth, Reapit Spark Energy and The Property Academy. 

For further information, please contact Johnpaul@thecastledenegroup.com

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