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Dendrow Day Out: Que City Maze

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Published: 01/12/2017   Last Updated: 01/12/2017 12:06:20   Tags:

How many of you out there, wanted to lock your colleagues and Directors in one room and throw the key away?


I have accomplished that!!! Well, minus throwing the key away, but locking them all for good 60 minutes without them even protesting!

 
Que City Maze: place where you literally lock yourself in until, by following the clues and solving the puzzles, you can get out!


So, two rooms, two teams and 60 min on the clock. Let’s see who will bring it! As it seems I have managed to keep the most of the group in dark (apart from Amar Malik who somehow figured it out) with what we are doing on the day. I was little bit disappointed that NOONE took me seriously with the importance of Sock Monkey Cap.

 

After all, I have said…. ‘You have to have it on the day’! Significant of that act was of the greatest importance and Dendrow failed colossally to oblige! So, there…… the prize of 500.00 dinars for the best produced monkey cap therefore is going to remain in my pocket forever!


But I am digressing!


Where was I?


Ah, two rooms, two teams and 60minutes on the clock! I have presumed that dividing teams would not go easy so I prepared the pictures of ‘Jungle Book’ and TV Show ‘Lost’ characters to help us out. Teams were soon after grouped and marched to the rooms: Jungle Book team into the Bumbuzzled Room and Team Lost into the Lost cabinet room. What both teams didn’t know is …. That I have arranged for the staff in City Maze to observe us on the cameras and give us the report on how we acted as a team. To be honest, I forgot about it as well since ones you are in….. you are so engaged in solving the puzzles and problems ahead that pretty much you forget about everything else!


Our faithful Captain Austin was stirring the ship…in all directions …. but with great and accomplished results. At the 50th min we have all tasted the sweet juice of the victory thinking how we solved all of the puzzles with  10min to spare only to discover that we have the WHOLE OTHER ROOM of puzzles to solve?????????????
10 Min left on the clock
4 more puzzles to solve
P A N  I C !
Funny thing is, panic gives you WINGS (yes and the red bull also) and with adrenalin surging into out parietal lobes we have managed to finish the last few puzzles in no time!!!


6 bodies hurled back into the previous room to place the last piece on the board within the time frame allowed.


And NOTHING?! Clock still ticking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently, we have missed the memo somewhere saying that for the room to open we all have to scream BUMBUZZLED !


Nevertheless … Jungle book team escaped the City Maze which it wasn’t the case with our co-workers in the team Lost, since, yep they lost and they remained locked in the room to this date!


Well, no, not really, that would be silly…. but so tempting ☺!!!! 

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Dendrow Renews UKALA Membership for another Year

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Published: 01/12/2017   Last Updated: 01/12/2017 12:12:09   Tags:

Dendrow International are Proud to announce that we have retained our membership with the UK Association of Lettings Agents for a further year.


UKALA is not just another membership body for Lettings Agents in the UK, it is a body that has a unique relationship with the National Landlord’s Association (NLA).

UKALA State:


'A single, unified voice for the private rented sector
UKALA’s aims are two-fold. We are dedicated to representing the interests of letting and management agents in the UK, whilst also safeguarding the interests of both landlords and tenants. To assist these aims, in 2011 UKALA signed a mutually beneficial business agreement with the NLA, the leading association for private residential-landlords in the UK. This coming together represents an important and progressive step towards a unified voice for landlords and letting agents in the sector.'


'Our continued membership with UKALA and now our ‘Recognised Supplier’ Status with the NLA clearly shows that Dendrow International are committed offering the best level of service and to ensure compliance across all areas of the business.
In doing so, we commit to ensuring that that all our clients form part of the Family and that Dendrow International ‘Keep it Simple’ for all'

Peter Wilkinson, Managing Director of Dendrow International

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Good News for First Time Buyers: £0 Stamp Duty

Published: 01/12/2017   Last Updated: 01/12/2017 12:12:35   Tags:

In a rather surprising turn for this Tory Government, Chancellor, Phillip Hammond MP announced in his budget on 22/11/2017 that First Time Buyers (FTB) would pay ZERO Stamp Duty (SDLT) on properties under £300,000 and in London, SDLT of 5% between £300,001 and £500,000.


This means that FTBs will be saving a staggering £5000 in SDLT on the purchase of their new home.

At Dendrow, we love finding new homes for all of our clients and in times such as these, we sit and think how can we help.


Rightmove and other portals can be a great source of information when searching for a property and Dendrow’s Brand Exposure on Rightmove has surpassed 40,000 views a week in the last six months. In terms of Brand and properties being seen, for an independent agent in West London, this is astonishing. So whilst we may not have a plethora of Properties for sale at these price points for FTBs, we do have some and more coming to market every day.


As of today 23/11/2017 Rightmove has 2629 properties listed in the “London” area for under £300,000


Also between £300,000 and £500,000 there are 13,753 properties on the market

Both maps above show that there are plenty of properties in London at those price ranges, albeit with maximum filter definition.


Would it be possible to by a 2 bedroom house in Kensington at that price? Probably not, but what do first time buyers really look for in a home? Is it a step on the property ladder? A roof over head? Or is it freedom to choose?


However, there is another issue to contend with. Reduced SDLT or no SDLT doesn’t mean that a FTB can just buy a property, there is also the matter of the Lender’s Criteria in offering the Mortgage and then the acquisition of the Deposit, even with a government scheme can be a challenge and for some it may mean that the Bank of Mum and Dad may be called upon.


Is this a turning point in the Market for First Time Buyers? Maybe. Yet an article published by thisismoney.co.uk states that '…Office of Budget Responsibility said this (elimination or reduction of SDLT for FTB) would feed through into higher house prices, meaning first-time buyers pay more. Its review said: ‘Thus the main gainers from the policy are people who already own property, not the first time buyers themselves.’

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Autumn Budget 2017: What’s in store for Property?

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Published: 27/10/2017   Last Updated: 27/10/2017 11:13:26   Tags:

It is always difficult to predict what exactly will be in the Budget forthcoming. However many do attempt to speculate on what will happen.


Other than Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer going through the throws of usual spending and economic reform, the real question on our lips at the moment is what will the government be doing to prop up the economy with regards to the housing market.
There are calls for the eradication of the Clause 24, effective double taxation to landlords and investors and the reduction of the increased stamp duty on second homes or investment properties. Even with the increase in revenue from the increased SDLT the number of transactions decreased since the introduction date.

First Time Buyers


It is possible that Mr Hammond could remove SDLT for older homeowners so that they could downsize and free up their homes for younger families. Also calls for a reduction in the SDLT for first time buyers to prompt more uptake on this front.
However, this may be unlikely owing to the pressure to rescind the public sector pay cap. Taxes will rise in some guise, although it is unlikely to be the obvious headline rates of income tax or VAT.

Developers, large and small


Reforms around the section 106 agreements need to happen as this is where large developers pay money to local authorities in exchange for planning permission. Smaller developers simply don’t have the leverage in negotiation that the bigger developers have. An overhaul of the system could assist smaller developers.

So, we are going to have to wait and see on 22nd November 2017

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Is it Plane? Is it a Bird? No! It’s a FIX!

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Published: 27/10/2017   Last Updated: 27/10/2017 11:11:12   Tags:

Well our fun day started off with a lovely bring and share lunch in our Paddington office. This is also one of Dendrow  tradition, where each member of staff brings in lunch for us all to share. Hmmmmm chocolate cake!!
 
As we are full and energised it was time to burn some rubber. Full speed ahead to Acton, motorsports to be exact. Calling all Schumacher and Hamilton enthusiasts it’s to show your speed and skills around high speed indoor go kart circuit.
 
All suited and ready!!
During to the 15 mins demonstration video you could feel the tension of everyone’s competitiveness rising. Eager to start our 15 mins warm up laps followed by another 15mins laps of qualifier and the big race.
 
Throughout the warm up and qualifier, it was clear to see who the favourites are, with Matthew, Jan, Amar and myself leading in qualifying.
 
Now the competitive juices are flowing!!
 
Everything lined up for the main race (F1 style) lights out and we’re OFF!!
 
Rubbers seeking and grinding, A few bangs and crashes!! Chequered flag!!!
 
With everyone hoping out the cars not know where we all finished and who was the winner.
 
We all gathered waiting eagerly to see who will stand on top tier of the podium. 
 
3rd place:
 
2nd place:
 
And first place....... goes to PETER WIKILINKSON!!
 
To everyone’s surprise, he kept his head down through warm up and qualifier to come reign supreme.
 
When it was all said and done, it was fantastic to see the enjoyment and smiles on everyone’s faces. Must say it was a fantastic day!!

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London developer to allow rental tenants to pay deposits in bitcoin

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Published: 27/10/2017   Last Updated: 27/10/2017 11:16:34   Tags:

A London property developer is to allow its tenants to pay their deposits in bitcoin – the first time the virtual currency has been used in the UK residential homes market.

Co-living pioneer The Collective has announced that prospective tenants can pay deposits from Monday in bitcoin. By the end of this year it will also accept rent payments in the cryptocurrency. This is the first time in the UK a major property developer has enabled bitcoin payments. The Collective said it was in response to demand predominantly from international customers.

The price of bitcoin hit a record high of $4,700 (£3,627) last week, having risen by 350% since the beginning of the year. Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralised currency and is not controlled by any government or bank. While increased global recognition is leading to mainstream adoption, critics warn that – as a vehicle popular with speculators looking to make a quick buck – it is volatile, risky and potentially dangerous.

However, from Monday The Collective’s online booking form for its Old Oak co-living scheme – the world’s largest co-living development,with 550 rooms, which launched last May and where rent starts from £178 a week for a 10 sq m space – will accept bitcoin deposits. The standard deposit is £500 – for all unit types and sizes – and The Collective has pledged 'spot conversion', which means it will bear any financial risk while holding the deposit, returning it at the original value when the tenancy finishes.

Tenants will have the ability to pay their rent using bitcoin from this autumn.
'The rise and adoption of cryptocurrency globally, particularly bitcoin, is a fascinating development in how people store value and transact for goods and services worldwide,' said The Collective’s chief executive and founder, Reza Merchant. 'With many savers and investors now choosing and becoming more comfortable with cryptocurrency, people will expect to be able to use it to pay for life’s essentials, including housing deposits and rent.'


Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you


However, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) expressed reservations. 'There may be niche parts of the market that would be willing to accept bitcoin in exchange for traditional rental income,' said David Cox, chief executive of Arla Propertymark, but I think the bitcoin and electronic currency market is still in its infancy and the market will need to develop more before it becomes a mainstream payment method for rent.'

The Collective’s head of technology, Jon Taylor, said: 'One of the biggest barriers to the popularity of bitcoin is making it more consumer-friendly, and we believe this will become established as an easy and convenient way to pay deposits.'

The Collective’s model is to give tenants a hassle-free life similar to that in a student hall of residence, but for people starting out on their career. Its expanding facilities offer a 21st-century alternative to flat-sharing, the traditional rite of passage for twentysomethings arriving in the capital. Tenancy levels are typically 97.7% and the first Collective baby was born in August, although the family has since had to move out as children and pets are not allowed to live in the building.

The company recently announced that the London Legacy Development Corporation was set to grant the world’s first 'co-living' planning permission for its latest building, a 250-room, 19-storey development in Stratford, east London, which will open in late 2018 or early 2019. It has also acquired a third major site in London’s Canary Wharf.

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Why Right to Rent imperfections shouldn’t concern pragmatic landlords

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Published: 27/10/2017   Last Updated: 27/10/2017 11:19:20   Tags:

The findings of the BBC investigation into ID fraud linked to Right to Rent checks will come as no surprise to longstanding landlords. In fact, for those of us who followed the debate leading up to the implementation of the legislation, it was absolutely predictable that Right to Rent would lead to an increase in demand for black market identification.

Right to Rent puts landlords in a tough spot. It gives the impression that we’re a sort of quango; an arm of the Home Office that shares its risk without the funding or the training to do so. The genuine fear is that a tenant without the Right to Rent in the UK commits a serious offence while living in a privately rented property.

Landlords and letting agents are therefore asked to check tenants’ identity documentation to verify that they have permission to stay in the UK. On the face of it this is a fairly straightforward task, although 170 fines have been issued under Right to Rent in the past year.
But, in reality, beyond checking that a passport photo lines up properly and the binding doesn’t look suspect, there really isn’t a whole lot landlords can do to identify a fake document. Even if it feels that way sometimes, we’re not customs officials. We’re not trained to know what a fake EU passport might look like and, crucially, we aren’t actually required to.

So long as a landlord can readily show a record of having correctly completed a Right to Rent check, and that the identification appeared to be genuine, they are in no way culpable if it transpires that the tenant does not have the right to live and work in the UK.
But the BBC investigation does raise important questions for landlords relating to their due diligence when letting a property.
However small your portfolio, being a landlord should be viewed as running a professional business. There’s no excuse for relying solely on a visual check of couple of pieces of identification when arranging a let. As landlords we should be fully referencing and credit checking potential tenants, and using the raft of technology available to support us.

Most lettings agents provide a referencing service, so ask your agent what they offer. If you’re self-managing, you should be making use of technology services that do at least cursory validation of your tenants, which is available for as little as £3 per Right to Rent check. This ensures you take all the steps required of you by the government, stores all the relevant images and documentation, and means you can show your work should a problem arise.

On the one hand, Right to Rent is clearly an imperfect piece of legislation and landlords cannot be expected to perform as auxiliary border control officers. On the other, there is no excuse for relying on a passport and an envelope of cash when arranging a rental.
That’s why Right to Rent doesn’t overly trouble pragmatic, common sense landlords who opt for additional vetting and use technology to their advantage. A relatively small investment can be a highly valuable barrier against potential difficulties; whether this is a couple of months’ unpaid rent or a serious offence by a tenant who doesn’t have the right to be in the UK at all.

Vik Tara is a landlord, the CTO of Technology Blueprint Ltd and the director of CheckDocs, a document checking service for landlords and letting agents.

Source: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/10/why-right-to-rent-imperfections-shouldnt-concern-pragmatic-landlords

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Dendrow Day Out: Thorpe Park

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Published: 29/09/2017   Last Updated: 29/09/2017 15:43:26   Tags:

As tradition in our company we had our monthly last Thursday of the month day out, this time it was my turn and I was particularly excited about this one as I love roller coasters, so yes of course you’ve guessed it, it was ‘Thorpe Park’. As always, it’s a surprise to everyone and as part of the fun everyone is trying to guess where we might be heading.


We all met in Ealing at 11am and there were three designated drivers to take us to the park, as soon as we got to the park we decided to go on Stealth (the ride which goes from 0 to 80 mph in 1.9 seconds) a few people where too scared to take part and others were forced to come on but seeing the look on everyone’s faces as we got off was priceless and it just confirmed why it’s my favourite ride at the park it’s amazing!!!

The next ride we decided to go on was the Swarm backwards in a death-defying flight for your life through apocalyptic devastation on Europe's tallest winged rollercoaster!!!!! It’s safe to say after that some people were either feeling dizzy, sick or scared stiff but me being me and loving rollercoasters I was ready for more.

We then decided to go and have some lunch in Finn’s Bar and Grill, which everyone enjoyed and the most popular dish which most people choose was the jerk chicken (something not too heavy we didn’t want anyone throwing up on the rides!!!!)

Next  we decided to go on Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, the attraction incorporates virtual reality, motion simulation and illusions designed in collaboration with the British mentalist. It is themed as an abandoned Victorian train depot and is also themed around the health effects and controversy involving fracking. This one everyone was so excited about as it was the new ride at the park, the only down side was the length of time we had to wait but it was worth it and lived up to what it was described as, the virtual reality side of it was amazing along with the real like actors, if you’re into that sort of thing I recommend it.

After this, a lot of us where feeling tired and needed a tea or coffee but some of the others decided to go onto the Saw the Ride the world's first horror movie rollercoaster as you experience a 'beyond vertical' drop of 100 degrees from a height of 100ft. They all came back with smiles on their faces saying how crazy the drop was, so I then was gutted I didn’t go on!

It was now time to go home but we all had a fantastic time and channelled into our inner child!!!!!

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Student Rents Unchanged for Second Year Running

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Published: 29/09/2017   Last Updated: 29/09/2017 15:37:15   Tags:

Private student rents have remained at an average of £100-£119 per week for the second year running, according to an annual report into student accommodation compiled by Glide Utilities, the student utilities and service provider.


The What Students Seek report shows that accommodation represents the second biggest outlay for students during their studies, behind fees. The majority (72%) of student rents are between £80-£139 per week. However, university locality creates some variance, with 15% of London students paying over £200 a week, while 69% of student rents in the North East are less than £90 per week.


Almost half (45%) of students surveyed said that their accommodation offers good value for money, but 36% disagree, suggesting that, while student rents remain static, landlords need to understand students better to attract and retain the best tenants; a growing concern given the continued increase of modern student developments on the market.


The annual What Students Seek report uncovers what students look for when it comes to their accommodation, to unveil common themes that could help landlords improve the market appeal of their properties.


When it comes to house shares, 39% of students currently share with five or more people. However, when asked how many people they’d ideally like to live with, almost half (48%) indicated that they’d like to share with just two people or fewer in their next property.
And it appears that a television isn’t going to sway students into renting a property – the majority (60%) rated having a TV as the least important factor when choosing accommodation. After cost, a fast broadband connection is by far the most important factor for students, followed by good storage space, rent inclusive of bills and double beds.


Positively, the majority of students (57%) are happy with the way their property is managed. Nevertheless, almost a quarter (23%) weren’t pleased, with the following issues causing the most problems: lack of response on maintenance issues (37%); poor upkeep of the property (30%); and lack of communication (28%).
One way that landlords could please their tenants is to include bills in the rent, which three quarters of students said was essential or

quite important when considering a property.


You could even go the extra mile and offer cash or a non-cash incentive to students, which have been given to one in 20 students. Their landlord had even taken out 2% of students for a drink!
The report also highlighted the best university cities for landlords to invest in, based on overall tenant satisfaction ratings and annual yields.


Although there are great investment opportunities across the UK, cities in the North East consistently rate highly for both annual yields and tenant satisfaction, with properties in Middlesbrough delivering a 16.1% annual return and 82% satisfaction rating. Durham and Sunderland followed close behind.


Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, London rated lowest, with an average annual yield of just 2.7% and a 76% satisfaction rating.
Outside of student rents, the report also pointed to a decline in the infamous student social life. When asked how respondents funded their social lives, almost one in five (17%) admitted that they didn’t have one. Despite this, over a third still rated the proximity to bars and clubs as an important factor when choosing accommodation.
The CEO of Glide Utilities, James Villarreal, comments: 'It’s good news for students that private rental costs remain static, especially since the price of living in halls of residence continues to rise. However, it’s very likely that costs will rise moving forward, as the ban of tenant fees will inevitably get passed through to the price of the rent. Therefore, landlords and agents can offer students greater value for money by offering bills included, and ensuring that properties are well maintained and efficiently managed.'

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Watch out Landlords! Looking at a 4th Property? Good luck with the Mortgage

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Published: 29/09/2017   Last Updated: 29/09/2017 15:44:00   Tags:

'New regulations due to come into force soon will force rental properties back onto the market for sale'.


Not the phrase you wanted to hear?

New buy to let mortgage rules could force rents higher and lead to a fall in the number of homes available to let.


The Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) is forcing lenders to change their approach to lending funds to portfolio landlord with four or more mortgaged properties.


Lenders will now need to see a landlord’s entire portfolio prior to granting any more leverage or new finance.

The new rules are due to come into effect from the end of September and some lenders have already adopted the principles early and cross market into commercial as well (although not mandatory)

What’s going to happen now?

These rules are being introduced to avoid over lending to landlords and leveraging too high. We’ve already seen huge changes over the last few years. The introduction of the additional 3% on the stamp duty land tax, the stress testing at 5.5% and income being 125% of interest mortgage payments, with lenders adopting the higher 145% level.

Who does this affect?

Sorry Tenants! Bad News Landlords!

Rents are going to have to go up! It’s the same time and time again, we are getting tired of the saying “Rents must go up”!
Why should rent go up? Why not adopt a property with minimal furnishing? No white goods? That’s overcome the wear and tear and tenant’s deposit or deductions?

In all seriousness, the higher cost of administration and throttling of ability to ensure a profitable business will definitely mean that homes to let will start to disappear from the market, thus pushing more rental properties into a sales domain. The issue here is that capital repayment mortgages and lenders look at personal income and maximum lending is around 4 times annual salary. So to by a property at £600,000 one would need to earn over £100,000. Which, as you will most likely agree, is rather higher than the average salary in the UK and in London.

Where will this go now?

The honest answer is we just don’t know, Property is now starting to go the route of Financial institutions. More regulations, more compliance, more tax, less relief. It may seem like landlord’s are fighting a losing battle. Most would assume that to get the maximum amount of rent, one would have to provide the best quality property. However, spare a though for this, and bear with the analogy.

Lower rent, not hugely lower, but not an attempt to maximise rent and yield; unfurnished property, so no beds, wardrobes etc; White Goods? Don’t supply them, leave the space for them but don’t supply.

Could this work?

Possibly for a certain type of tenant. The investment that a tenant would make in the purchase of the home appliances and furniture may mean that a longevity of occupation would be beneficial to a landlord.

Of course the usual regulatory and compliance matters would still need to be covered by the landlord, Gas Safety, buildings insurance etc. However, minimising the items in a property and the 'things that could go wrong' could possibly maximise return for a landlord and minimise any deductions to a tenant’s security deposit (as there’s no furniture to damage)

What are your thoughts on this? Where do you think this will go?

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As the Northern Wall is Breached-the White Walkers Enter Westeros

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Published: 01/09/2017   Last Updated: 01/09/2017 14:47:07   Tags:

If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, Season 7 Finale, then the title of this article probably just spoiled it for you.


The revelation of John Snow’s original Heritage and the death of a seasoned character were a shock to us all. However, with autumn fast approaching it’s time to start planning outfits for all those Halloween Parties that we are invited to.


The idea of donning a wig and going as Daenerys or Cersei would probably appeal to many alike, however, the idea of spending a cold autumn’s evening in very little isn’t that comfortable. Perhaps, choosing to go to the local ikea and picking up a faux sheepskin rug and dressing up as John snow is more of thing for you?


If so, then you’re in luck, Ikea have released an assembly manual for the manufacture of the John Snow Night’s Watch Look.

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How A Letting Agent Can Help Landlords Find The Best Tenants

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Published: 01/09/2017   Last Updated: 01/09/2017 14:48:24   Tags:

A letting agency can charge between 10% and 15% of the total rental income that you receive from a property, but while this may seem steep, they can also help ensure that you have reliable and long-term tenants, suffer fewer vacant periods, and even charge a higher rental. Using an agent also means that you don’t need to dedicate as much time to managing the property, freeing you to search for additional property with companies like House Network. What’s more, they will help you to meet the legal requirements that are necessary when renting property out.

Quicker Letting

Letting agents spend all day everyday matching tenants with properties, and matching landlords with tenants. Their experience not only means that they are better able to spot good tenants, but it often means that they have a list of tenants looking for specific types of property, and will certainly have access to online property search sites as well as their own website and a local high street shop front. You could save weeks, or potentially even months, of having your property sitting vacant while you miss out on rental income.

Better Rental Rates

Not only do letting agents help prepare a property to ensure that it is an appropriate standard to attract better rental rates, but they may also have close contacts with relocation agents and other companies that may only be willing to deal with letting agencies, and are willing to pay a premium for the reliability and professionalism that an agent offers. It is in the interest of a letting agent working on commission to earn as much rental for your property as possible, so it makes sense that they offer the benefit of higher rental income.

Tenant Checking

Tenant checking means checking references and running credit checks, securing deposits, and ensuring that a tenant is a good fit for a property. If you only have one rental property, then it may be achievable to manage this yourself, but if you have no experience in the checking process then using an agent can greatly cut the time it takes, minimise errors and omissions, and help ensure that you get reliable and long-term tenants in your property.

Property Preparation

Whether you are marketing a family home or a student bedsit, you need to know your target market, and you need to prepare the property in such a way to attract the right market. Your letting agent’s experience means that he or she will be able to assist in the preparation of the property, and also extol the benefits of your home to any potential tenants. With a larger pool of potential tenants, it means that you can enjoy the pick of the bunch and potentially benefit from greater rental income too.

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Winter is Coming

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Published: 01/09/2017   Last Updated: 01/09/2017 14:50:40   Tags:

This Month’s outing was a chilly affair, which for summer, seems rather strange.


As part of our company culture, once a month for the afternoon on the last Thursday of the month, a member of the Dendrow International Family has the honour and responsibility to arrange an afternoon out, which this month was a rather wonderful delight of Sledging and a Skiing lesson.


For those of us who have never even been on snow, the bambi legs were definitely out, with some of us spending more time on sliding down the slope on our rear ends, than standing up on the skis.


For others, who have some more experience on the slope, albeit, the last time Matt was on the piste was over 10 years ago, snowboarding on the over 100m slope was a launch back into a confidence building activity.


We started the day with a long journey up to the Milton Keynes Snozone (Xscape) by minibus, with musical entertainment provided by Mimi in the form of sing along on the coach. Although not everyone got involved, I’m sure there was still some fun in the spectacle adjourned by others.


Arriving at the Snozone, we were kitted up in our warm winter waterproof attire, with an hour booked for sledging on the slope, with some of the team choosing to attempt some stunts on the half slope. Albeit, it did seem faster than it looks in the videos.


Afterwards, we were all kitted up for our one hour’s skiing lesson, more of an intro into the basics of skiing, some were faster learners than others, and some were more likely to fall over going up the conveyer belt lift. It was still good fun all the same, and the fact that we experienced it all together was part of the activity.


Matt seemed to be in his element with snowboarding down the slope and did really get stuck in.


Take a look at the photos and the videos over on Facebook and comment what you think.

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Changes to new digital tax system in UK welcomed by landlords

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Published: 31/07/2017   Last Updated: 31/07/2017 18:18:21   Tags:



A trade organisation representing landlords in the UK has welcomed changes in the requirements from some small businesses and landlords below the VAT threshold to process their tax affairs digitally.

The Making Tax Digital requirements are being delayed for a year and there will be a longer lead in period with those with a turnover below the VAT threshold of £85,000 not having to switch until the system has been proven to work well.

Under the new timetable announced by Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride only those with a turnover above £85,000 will have to keep digital records from 2019 and only for VAT purposes.

Business will not be asked to keep digital records, or to update HMRC quarterly for other taxes until at least 2020 and Making Tax Digital will be available on a voluntary basis for the smallest businesses, and for other taxes. ‘This means that businesses and landlords with a turnover below the VAT threshold will be able to choose when to move to the new digital system,’ said Stride.

‘As VAT already requires quarterly returns, no business will need to provide information to HMRC more regularly during this initial phase than they do now. All businesses and landlords will have at least two years to adapt to the changes before being asked to keep digital records for other taxes,’ he added.

The move to digital filing was announced by the now former chancellor George Osborne in the 2015 Autumn Statement, with a view to digitising the tax system with the self-employed, small businesses and unincorporated landlords needing to keep digital records and use software to update HMRC quarterly.

But the plans have faced criticism from MPs, the Treasury Select Committee, business and professional bodies, with various bodies, such as the National Landlords Association (NLA), raising a number of concerns and reservations.

The NLA said during the consultation process that it believed that the £10,000 income threshold for unincorporated property businesses should be raised, had concerns with the workability of the software and IT systems and recommend a longer lead-in period before the scheme becomes mandatory for small businesses, the self-employed and landlords. It also called for there to be a backup option for those landlords who genuinely could not take part, with sufficient financial and educational support needed to help landlords meet the deadline.


Stride said the changes mean that three million of the smallest businesses and landlords will be able to move to the new digital system for keeping tax records at a pace that is right for them. ‘Businesses agree that digitising the tax system is the right direction of travel. However, many have been worried about the scope and pace of reforms,’ he pointed out. ‘We have listened very carefully to their concerns and are making changes so that we can bring the tax system into the digital age in a way that is right for all businesses,’ he added.

 

‘We are pleased that the government has finally listened to the concerns raised by the NLA on behalf of landlords who would have been dragged into a system of tax reporting rushed into being before they or it are ready,’ said Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the NLA.

 

‘While we have always supported simplifying the tax system, we were concerned by the issues raised by the Making Tax Digital programme, and welcome the changes as they address exactly the points we’ve been raising since the initial announcement,’ he added.

 

The changes mean that landlords will each have a single digital account with HMRC to which they will have to submit an update of our income and business expenditure every quarter. They will have to do this online, either using their own software or using software provided by HMRC. But it seems that many landlords are likely to be ready to go digital. A study from the Residential Landlords Association that 48% use spreadsheets for record keeping, 13% already use specialist software with just 38% using paper records. The benefits including being able to see how much tax is owed at any point throughout the year, rather than having to wait until filing the annual end of year tax return. For landlords who are genuinely unable to submit digital updates, such as those who can’t get online or haven’t fathomed how to use new technology, HMRC has promised extra help and support.

 

From: http://www.propertywire.com/news/uk/changes-new-digital-tax-system-uk-welcomed-landlords/

 

Located at: https://www.facebook.com/Dendrow/posts/

 

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The Lost Keys: What to do?

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Published: 31/07/2017   Last Updated: 31/07/2017 18:21:38   Tags:

Here’s a question that we don’t always put a lot of thought into. What would I do if I lost my keys?


There are several possible scenarios around getting another set of keys or the worst case scenario which would be to replace the lock.


Let us start with the worst case scenario.


Changing the Lock


Picture the scene, You have just returned home after an evening out or straight after work, only to find that your keys have been misplaced. There’s no one else in the property and you’ve called the office, checked at the pub or restaurants.


Nope, not anywhere. Go back to the office, retrace steps to try and locate. Nothing.


You’ve got to get back into the house.


What do you do?


Well either break in through a window, although we at Dendrow would never endorse this method as it can be highly dangerous and quite suspect. If keys are lost then a locksmith would be required.
The one thing about a locksmith, is that there is a flat call out charge of anywhere from £80 to £200 for a call out and then a cost per hour or part thereof and then any materials on top.


It could quite easily become a job costing a couple of hundred pounds if the locksmith isn’t able to use their tricks to gain entry.

Live in a flat, Block has Security Key


In this situation it is somewhat more difficult as a new key cannot simply be cut from an existing copy that a flatmate may have.


Also, the key can only be delivered to the owner of the appointed managing agents.


The good news with these security keys (such as ASSA or Banham) is that there are specific rules that must be followed.


The bad news is that there is a higher cost involved. Again these keys can cost anywhere from £20 to £45 depending on the type of key.


If the management won’t cut a new key for you then they may charge you for changing the lock on the entry door, then supplying replacement keys for the occupiers.


In a block in Maida Vale where there are 8 flats in a block and each flat has 4 keys as £20 each, plus the contractors cost and then the administration charge from the management company. The cost can be well over £500 if not over £1000.


When there is a Board of Directors of the freeholding company who make and ratify the rules, then owners and subsequently tenants will need to pay for it.

Management Agent’s Administration Charge

If you’ve lost keys and a management agent has to provide the service of arranging another set of keys then this is a service and therefore becomes chargeable.


To say that “I’m not paying an administration charge because the agency has to provide keys because that’s their job” is just ridiculous.
Let’s use the following example:


You work at a company in a sector industry and get paid for working there. Either weekly, monthly etc.

Your Line Manager, Employer says to you, 'by the way, I need you to do this specific thing for me, oh and you won’t get paid on it even though you’re doing it for me'


Let’s ask the question, would you do this time and time again? Even if it means that you and the company lose money?


More often than not the answer would be no.


So given that administration charges are sometimes not liked, they are necessary.


The alternative is to quite simply go without.


So the final questions would be, are you prepared to go without for your property?

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The Queens Speech: Banning of Letting’s Fees

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Published: 31/07/2017   Last Updated: 31/07/2017 18:23:14   Tags:

Even though the consultation period only ended earlier this month, it seems that the government in a desperate attempt to claw back at popular support, decided to include this manifesto pledge in the Queen’s Speech.


This really didn’t leave the government much time to conclude from the consultation what the actual outcome should or would be, but essentially, this was just a box ticking exercise and the decision had already been made to ban Letting’s fees.


We must look back to the Renter’s Rights Bill, which outlined that those fees which were being charged at a premium would be banned, and those that the secretary of state decides are not premiums, would be limited by a cap.


At Dendrow, whilst we try to keep costs down as much as possible, sometimes, it is challenging as we must pay the outsourced companies would carry out this critical work.


The process of due diligence is vital to ensuring the protection of a Landlord’s property.


If we think about some tenants who have caused an extortionate amount of damage, or those who don’t pay rent for months on end, leading to a lengthy legal battle to repossess the property; The way to prevent this is through professional referencing and additional due diligence.


Granted, there are those who would take advantage of the system. Criminals committing major fraud and entering into a tenancy under false pretences, who then subsequently sub-let a property illegally and the owner then has to spend a substantial amount of money to evict the tenant and pay the mortgage at the same time, whilst not receiving any rent money whatsoever.


As an investment landlord, there are risks, there are countless variables that mean that a contingency plan must be in place.
So, how does this relate to the banning of letting’s fees to tenants and the process of lettings?


In reality, not much, in so far as Letting’s Agent today, reports that the majority of letting’s agents will need to pass on these costs to the landlord, who in turn would require a greater rent on the property to cover these costs. Ultimately, the tenants pays at the end of the day.


It’s in a similar fashion to the clause 24, taxation changes, where a landlord is charged tax on turnover rather than profit, without the ability to offset the mortgage interest against the tax with only a 20% exemption allowance. Again, this doesn’t bode well for investors with small portfolios or the accidental landlord. It has shown that rents have needed to go up to cover this shortfall.


In conclusion, it may appear that the government has brought incentives in place to help protect tenants and renters in the private sector. However, it is not the case as all industry professionals that are cited in public media predict that rents will increase to cover rising costs. Thus making the capital more expensive than it already is.

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Wear and Tear -What is Fair

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Published: 31/07/2017   Last Updated: 31/07/2017 18:24:40   Tags:

The House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as: ‘Reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces’ So when do natural forces become in excess of what is ‘ordinary’?

Suzy Hershman, Head of Dispute Resolution at mydeposits offers some valuable guidance to help landlords and agents understand what fair wear and tear is and how this can be judged by considering certain criteria. Clearly there are financial consequences when it comes to returning all or only part of a tenant’s deposit, so we advise each party to consider each of the following criteria in the context of the individual circumstances. When negotiating deductions at the end of the tenancy it is important for all parties to understand that the landlord/agent is not entitled to be compensated in such a way that the property will be improved at the tenant’s expense. It follows that the landlord/agent may be entitled to have something replaced if the damage is considerable but the cost of replacement will not be down to the tenant in full. Whatever amount is proposed as a deduction must be reasonable and proportionate to the damage attributable to the tenant which is in ‘excess of fair wear and tear’. Has the carpet just been well used over a number of years or irretrievably and unreasonably stained during the tenancy? What about picture hooks left in the sitting room wall? Or the new cooker that looks as if it has produced a good three meals a day, every day and has never been cleaned? All of these questions can only be answered by looking at the criteria in each individual situation.

Key considerations for fair wear and tear
Age
Was the carpet new or the walls painted at the start of the tenancy or how long is it since they were new? If you have this information, and even better, the invoices to show their age, you can work with these to make an accurate judgement on how much wear the item has had up to the end of the tenancy.

Quality and expected lifespan of decor, fixtures and fittings
It is important to take into account the lifespan of items and decor or fixtures and fittings. The quality of the carpet or an appliance can affect the expected lifespan. A landlord is not entitled to claim 100% of replacement costs when there has been even a small amount of wear (the tenancy alone may have been 6 or 12 months). For example a carpet newly fitted at the start of a two year tenancy may reasonably have another three years life left in it. If the tenant has damaged the carpet to the extent that it needs replacing a landlord would only be entitled to approximately 60% of the cost of replacement.

Number and type of occupiers
The more rooms and occupants, the higher the wear and tear in all the common parts - sitting room, passages, stairs, bathrooms and kitchen. If some of them are children, factor that in too. Scuffs and scrapes are unavoidable in normal family life. Think of the difference between a property occupied by a single professional (or couple), a family of four with two young children or a student house. All of this will need to be considered when it’s time for the tenants to check out and will also influence the lifespan of the property’s contents.

Length of tenancy
The longer the tenancy, the more natural wear to the property. Common sense, but think, for example, how much wear a carpet in your own home shows after one, two or three years. Also consider what its condition was in the first place? Was it brand new or has it already seen a few tenancies come and go? Take into account all these factors. By addressing the above criteria in this way it should be clear for everyone to see what is fair in the particular circumstance and avoid any potential dispute. On a positive note there are a number of ways in which wear and tear might be kept to a minimum and all parties aware of the likely outcomes.

Prevention
Maintaining good relations with your tenant from the start and giving them good guidance on how to look after the property can be beneficial. Conducting mid-term inspections (i.e. every three or six months) can help you spot any issues as and when they arise allowing you to carry out remedial works promptly or give appropriate advice on such problems as condensation without waiting until the end of the tenancy when problems may have got worse.

Photo and video evidence
Photographs and video inventories are a helpful means of recording the condition of the property pre and post tenancy by providing a clear record of the property prior to its occupation and after the tenant has moved out with all belongings. If a tenant, landlord or agent has this evidence, clearly dated and/or signed by the tenant to verify the detail shown, this will serve as a good negotiating tool at the end of the tenancy. Photographs and video footage of damage such as burn marks, carpet stains, scratches or damage to woodwork and flooring or tears and rips in furniture can be very useful. Bear in mind the importance of digitally dating photographs to verify when they were taken or providing an inventory where photographs are embedded.

The Adjudication Process
Remember that the adjudication process in the event of a dispute, is independent and like a court of law, evidence based. An adjudicator cannot ‘assume’ and can only make a decision based on the evidence provided to them. You cannot challenge an adjudication decision unless there has been an error in fact or law and it is highlighted within a reasonable time. The only other option is to take it to court. The better quality your evidence the higher your chance of success if a dispute is brought against you.
Conclusion
Wear and tear is a topic that is open to interpretation. Ultimately, your aim is firstly to minimise the level of wear and tear in the property throughout the tenancy and secondly, to ensure that you have covered all bases in the unlikely event of a dispute with your tenant over the return of the deposit.

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Hey Mr Landlord! Give us your Money

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Published: 30/06/2017   Last Updated: 30/06/2017 14:30:26   Tags:

So said the government as they introduce their tiered changes in taxation from this year.
Oh, the joy of having to pay more tax! Oh the pain, of being in a negative cashflow because of the disallowance of all mortgage interest relief. The broken Boilers in winter. The Windows not staying open in summer. The leaky system, which needs to be upgraded in part because of constant lower than usual water pressure. Or the immersion heater that has finally packed in.
Times aren’t looking too bright for the average property investor, with minimal amount of knowledge around tax and an accountant who just states, 'Well, you’ll need to sell of that property to pay the tax on the other two'.
Is this a wise decision? Most likely, and from experience, NO.
At Dendrow, we don’t believe that investors should be in a position where more tax is needed to be paid.
Victoria Whitlock, a writer for homes and Property has the following to say:
When the Government announced way back in the summer of 2015 that it planned to remove mortgage interest tax relief for landlords from April this year and replace it with a more-miserly tax credit, I had a vague notion it would mean I'd have to pay quite a lot more tax. But 2017 seemed such a long way off that I thought I had plenty of time to come up with a plan to keep my rental business viable.
However, when I finally got round to filing my tax return for 2016 last week, it hit me that it's just two months until the new, more draconian tax regime kicks in — and I still don't know my best course of action.
The way I see it, there are three options for landlords to reduce the impact of the loss of mortgage interest tax relief. In theory, we can increase our rents, transfer our properties into limited companies, or switch to offering holiday lets.
Oddly, both limited companies and holiday rentals get to keep tax relief on mortgage interest payments. However, I don't think any of these options will work for me.

Personally, I don't think increasing rents is realistic because they're already pretty high in London, and tenants struggle as it is.
If I incorporate my properties, I will have to pay stamp duty on the 'purchase' and capital gains tax on the 'sale', because I will be transferring their ownership to a new entity. This will land me with a bill in excess of £150,000 and there's no way I can raise that kind of money. Plus, it's probably more than I would save.
I had briefly considered turning at least one of my properties into a holiday rental as it's in a popular part of London with great transport links into the centre. However, this option would be difficult, not least because it would be, er… illegal.
Under the Greater London Council Act of 1973, landlords in the capital can only offer holiday lets for a maximum of 90 days in any 12-month period. Any longer and we have to apply for planning permission.
I contacted several London boroughs to find out how likely they would be to grant landlords such permission and the few who responded to my query said: 'Not very likely at all.'

Most London boroughs have a shortage of homes, so naturally none of them wants to see residential properties turned into accommodation for tourists. One told me that 'permission might be granted in certain circumstances, but it is rare'.
Kensington & Chelsea said it would 'resist the provision of holiday lets … where it involves the loss of permanent residential accommodation'.
One council said it would be hard for it to enforce the law because unless someone grasses on a landlord, a local authority would find it very difficult to prove what they were up to. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to run the risk, given that there is the possibility of a £20,000 fine if caught.
Also, Airbnb, one of the most popular websites to advertise holiday lets, has decided to automatically block Londoners from taking bookings for entire properties for more than 90 days in a year to make sure they don't fall foul of the law. So it looks like I am going to have to pay the extra tax after all, which is fine while mortgage interest rates are low, but if and when they rise, I will probably just have to sell — or reluctantly put up the rents

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The Queens Speech: Banning of Letting’s Fees

Published: 30/06/2017   Last Updated: 30/06/2017 14:25:30   Tags:

Even though the consultation period only ended earlier this month, it seems that the government in a desperate attempt to claw back at popular support, decided to include this manifesto pledge in the Queen’s Speech.


This really didn’t leave the government much time to conclude from the consultation what the actual outcome should or would be, but essentially, this was just a box ticking exercise and the decision had already been made to ban Letting’s fees.


We must look back to the Renter’s Rights Bill, which outlined that those fees which were being charged at a premium would be banned, and those that the secretary of state decides are not premiums, would be limited by a cap.


At Dendrow, whilst we try to keep costs down as much as possible, sometimes, it is challenging as we must pay the outsourced companies would carry out this critical work.


The process of due diligence is vital to ensuring the protection of a Landlord’s property.


If we think about some tenants who have caused an extortionate amount of damage, or those who don’t pay rent for months on end, leading to a lengthy legal battle to repossess the property; The way to prevent this is through professional referencing and additional due diligence.


Granted, there are those who would take advantage of the system. Criminals committing major fraud and entering into a tenancy under false pretences, who then subsequently sub-let a property illegally and the owner then has to spend a substantial amount of money to evict the tenant and pay the mortgage at the same time, whilst not receiving any rent money whatsoever.


As an investment landlord, there are risks, there are countless variables that mean that a contingency plan must be in place.
So, how does this relate to the banning of letting’s fees to tenants and the process of lettings?


In reality, not much, in so far as Letting’s Agent today, reports that the majority of letting’s agents will need to pass on these costs to the landlord, who in turn would require a greater rent on the property to cover these costs. Ultimately, the tenants pays at the end of the day.


It’s in a similar fashion to the clause 24, taxation changes, where a landlord is charged tax on turnover rather than profit, without the ability to offset the mortgage interest against the tax with only a 20% exemption allowance. Again, this doesn’t bode well for investors with small portfolios or the accidental landlord. It has shown that rents have needed to go up to cover this shortfall.


In conclusion, it may appear that the government has brought incentives in place to help protect tenants and renters in the private sector. However, it is not the case as all industry professionals that are cited in public media predict that rents will increase to cover rising costs. Thus making the capital more expensive than it already is.

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Everything we know about the Grenfell Tower blaze - Why did it happen and how many are injured?

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Published: 16/06/2017   Last Updated: 16/06/2017 15:22:47   Tags:

Where was the fire?

It took place in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Kensington, West London. The residential highrise was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 am, with London Fire Brigade saying it was called at 12.54 am.

According to several witnesses, the blaze started on one side of the tower block, before sweeping around the building and engulfing it in flames from the second to the top floor.

Forty fire engines containing more than 200 firefighters have attended the scene.

What caused it?

The cause of the fire is so far unknown, but residents had previously raised concerns that a 'catastrophic' event could happen. An action group of Grenfell residents said their warnings fell on 'deaf ears' after highlighting safety concerns about the block.

The group said there was one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures at the building.

Following the fire, the group posted: 'All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.'

There are five theories being widely speculated on.

Gas explosion - Residents said refurbishment work had recently been carried out with work on the gas supply to the flats.

Faulty fridge - Witnesses described hearing one distressed resident apparently telling neighbours his faulty fridge caused the blaze.
Faulty wiring - One of the safety issues they highlighted was faulty wiring and said a disaster cause by the problem was narrowly averted four years ago.

Cladding on outskirts - Grenfell Tower was fitted with zinc rainscreen cladding and glazed curtain walling after a £10 million refurbishment. Experts have claimed this could have exacerbated the spread of the fire.

Lack of sprinklers/exits - Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick said the Government has resisted calls to install sprinkler systems in high-rise blocks in the wake of the Lakanal House tragedy. The local Action Group also warned that there were not enough entries and exits to cope with a catastrophic event.

How many people have been killed and injured?
 
So far there have been twelve confirmed deaths, but the Fire Service have suggested that number is likely to rise further, and it is unlikely any more survivors will be recovered from the building.
The ambulance service has now said 68 patients have been taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 people in critical care.
A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital.
A 'significant number' of people are still unaccounted for.

Police have said a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries.
The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Nick Paget-Brown said 'several hundred' people would have been in the block when the fire broke out

The Metropolitan Police have set up a casualty bureau for anyone concerned about their friends and family on 0800 0961 233.
 
What about the missing?

A number of children and elderly people are missing, as friends and family have appealed via social media for information on their whereabouts.

Among them are a 12-year-old Jessica Ospina.
Jessica's other aunt, Sandra, wrote: 'If anyone sees Jessica she should come to The Harrow Centre where the family are waiting for her. Or speak to any police officer to guide her'.

Hamid Ali Jafari said that he his 82 year-old father Ali Yawar Jafari had not been seem since the early hours of the morning as the family were trying to escape the blaze.

He said: 'He was with my mother and sister in the lift and she said the lift stopped on the tenth floor and he said there was too much smoke and he couldn't breathe and he got out of the lift and then the doors shut and it didn't stop again till the ground floor.'
What did witnesses see?
 
Witnesses have spoken of hearing screams and seeing some people escaping using bedsheets as improvised rope ladders.

London Fire Brigade told people to put wet cloths over their mouths to avoid inhaling smoke as they made their escape.

The building has been gutted and the families left only with the bedclothes they were wearing when they were evacuated.

There were reports of a strong smell of burning plastic, thought to be white cladding that was installed on the building last year as part of a £10million refurbishment.
 
Who is on the scene?

Fire crews have been sent from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and surrounding stations.

In all 40 fire engines and around 200 firefighters have been deployed along with police. The London ambulance service has sent its  Hazardous Area Response Team.
 
What do we know about the building?

Grenfell Tower was completed in 1974, so would have needed to comply with strict new regulations which ensured buildings would not fall down in the event of a blast, or a major fire.  However recent cladding works to the outside may have exacerbated the fire, according to experts at the University of Edinburgh.

Have there been other tower block fires in London?

In July 2009, six people were killed at more than 20 injured when in a blaze at Lakanal House, a tower block in Camberwell, south east London.

In May 1968 four people were killed and 17 injured when Ronan Point, a tower block in Newham, east London, partially collapsed after a gas explosion, which blew out several load-bearing walls

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Fields of Wheat? Come what "May"

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Published: 16/06/2017   Last Updated: 21/06/2017 09:22:38   Tags:

Colm Wilkinson’s rendition of 'Come what May' from the Famous West End Musical 'Les Miserables', is not necessarily the first thing to come to mind when we think of an election result.If you know the song, you’re probably singing it in your head right now?

And yes, of course for an anecdotal headline, it may be somewhat grabbing.

Yet, when we look at the state of the government and the chosen electorates who have become cabinet ministers, along with the delay of the Queen’s Speech as the DUP still wish to agree terms of appointment with The Prime Minister. What exactly does this mean for the public and more specifically those who invest or those who live in a property.

If you’re reading this, then we are all residing in a property, either rented or owner (outright or mortgaged) etc.

There have been articles that show that Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party, is Anti-establishment, Pro-Brexit, with the general consensus showing that the youth vote, students at university and those in the lower age brackets are more likely to vote for him, however, that doesn’t go without saying that Corbyn does have valid points and the sheer number of seats his party won in this election shows how an unsurmountable task, or more accurately one that may have been deemed impossible under the current First Past the Post System given the fact that the labour party needed 97 seats gained in order to win a majority government. The gains that Labour made do show how much the party is in touch with the public and how those safe seat areas may not necessarily be all that safe.

However, what is interesting is how the Swedish News Network, SVT, showed on their website a visualisation for the British system of Voting (first past the post) and the Swedish system of voting,
In their model and using the results of the election, with a proportional representation system the following chart shows more than just a hung parliament.

The Conservatives could form a coalition with UKIP or with the SNP and the Lib Dems and there would be the majority government. But really, would Theresa May form a government with UKIP?

Whose main priority was the pushing forward of Brexit, when we don’t really know what Brexit means? How are we, the people, informed on what the outcome is or what Brexit will look like when fake news was running riot and the electorate spent more time slandering the opposition rather than making a solid manifesto?

More to the point, how does each party stack up in relation to Property?

The Tories brought about a rather socialist policy of Clause 24, essentially double taxation on income on rental properties, which taxes on turnover rather than profit, with allowance for 20% as mortgage interest relief. Is it sensible? Not really, as it means less money for repairs etc. the renter’s rights bill, banning lettings agents’ fees, well, with some considerations, as to what would be classed as being charged at a premium rate and which of those would essentially be capped. Except for Holding Deposit/Reservation fees, which, by and large, within the industry, if an applicant fails to take a contract after placing a reservation fee with the agent, then they forfeit the fee. Ultimately this would somewhat less advantageous within the industry, however, it does indeed provide the reform so desperately needed as the regulations are non-existent and the need for standardisation in the industry is sorely needed.

However, how will this affect rent?

We are already feeling the problem with the government’s increase in the stamp duty hike on buy to let and second home properties, where the Treasury has lost out on around £500 million in stamp duty revenue in 2016.

Granted this is a Daily Mail news Source, and in contention with other news sources. As the telegraph and prime resi showed Stamp duty receipts up on the previous year.

The lenders have increased their stress testing level up 0.7% from 5% annual rent to 5.7% annual rent. (source: IFA), though sources would state that the new stress test would be that rent would need to be 145% at 5.5%

Meaning that if one was to purchase a property at £1 million and required a loan of £750,000 then the annual rent would need to be a minimum of £37,500 per annum or £721 per week at 5% and £42,750 per annum or £822 per week at 5.7%

With the recent lack of substantial interest in purchasing and the lack of available applicants in the market, prices may seem to have stagnated.

However, at Dendrow, we have noticed that the months of April and May have shown rather large numbers of Letting’s Applicants looking to move now or in the next few months. Some tenants who are looking at renewing their contracts, are worried about the effect of Brexit on their careers in the UK and what will happen. Nothing will happen for the next coupld of years, so there is no need to be worried.

However, onto more disturbing matters, the Democratic Unionist’s Party (DUP), Northern Irelands opposition to Sinn Fein (who never show up to the commons, thus giving a working majority to whichever party is the majority government of the time), are discussing terms of agreement with the conservative party to form a majority government.

This may not be a bad thing for the country. It will provide a “Strong and Stable” government, as Mrs May is so keen on saying. Or will it? How will we find out what the union of these two parties will form?
Are we looking at 'The Handmaiden’s Tale' style of UK, 'V for Vendetta'? Post-apocalyptic world?

In all truth, we won’t know what’s happened until it’s happened.

References: http://live.mfb.drawgroup.com/news-insight/2016/may-2016/what-is-a-stress-test-and-why-do-buy-to-let-lenders-use-them/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4011308/George-Osborne-s-stamp-duty-reforms-cost-Treasury-nearly-half-billion-pounds-tax.htm

http://news.tvguide.co.uk


Visuals: https://www.svt.se/special/valsimulatorn-uk/

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Dendrow Day Out: Ceramic Cafe

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Published: 26/05/2017   Last Updated: 26/05/2017 14:53:18   Tags:

It is becoming quite challenging now to choose something for the company to do on the monthly afternoon out. The challenge is trying to find something new to do that doesn’t cost a fortune and that we can do in an afternoon.


We have experienced some fantastic afternoons, punting, the theatre, team activities paintballing of laser tag. So, it’s wonderful sometimes, just to be able to slow down, focus on an activity that isn’t too physically strenuous.


When I was a child, my parents took my brother and me to the ceramics café in Richmond, and to this day, my mother still has (and uses) the ceramics that we created nearly two decades ago.


In the usual time, honoured fashion of Dendrow International’s afternoon out, we met in our Paddington office for our famous bring and share lunch. Most people o buy a selection of items, some bring in healthy home-made food and others, just take away and chocolate. Now I’m not complaining, as I do love chocolate on occasion, but maybe as we have a multicultural company, why not have cuisines of the World?


After lunch we made our way up to West Hampstead, where we were all given a budget and then we could choose our ceramic. After a briefing on the paints and ideas for techniques on how to paint with stencils, we were on our way.


The designs and choice of items was really varied and some were definitely more time consuming in terms of the actual detailing and some, not naming and names (ahem *Jenny*) chose only the slightest bit of detailing which in reality looks rather nice.


It’s wonderful to see everyone get involved in the activity and it was really beautiful to see several members of the team helping out another member who had quite a complex design, however, the finished product did wonders!


Take a look at our photos of the day and the finished products.
I’d highly recommend the Ceramics Café in West Hampstead as little bit of Art 4 Fun. Check them out at http://www.art4fun.com/

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Property-a-holics : Impact of 2017 Election on property market

Published: 26/05/2017   Last Updated: 30/05/2017 12:10:15   Tags:

I am starting a new thread to document the impact of the 2017 election on the property market.

One thing is certain, an election causes uncertainty and the property market does not like uncertainty!

Straight out of the blocks ...

Five of the UK’s largest property funds are holding more than a fifth of their assets in cash rather than bricks and mortar, as fears persist of a repeat of last year’s run on the real estate investment sector.

Although property markets have calmed since the UK’s Brexit referendum sparked panic last summer, the fractious EU divorce process and Britain’s unexpected general election scheduled for June have kept the impact of political risk high on fund managers’ agendas.

Meanwhile ...
Retail sales slide casts shadow over economy and gives Bank of England a rates headache

Retail sales in the United Kingdom slid in March by more than forecasters expected to cast a shadow over the UK economy in the week Theresa May called for a fresh General Election.
The 1.8 per cent month-on-month decline for March revealed by the Office for National Statistics this morning suggests consumers are reining in spending after a long run of splashing out.
The March data brought the fall for the first quarter of 2017 as a whole to 1.4 per cent following a 0.8 per cent rise in the last three months of 2016 - it also led to one economist to reiterate that he expected no interest rate rise in either 2017 or 2018.

Economists think the data pushes back the timeframe for an interest rate rise.

Alison Platt, chief executive at estate agent Countrywide says:

'Past trends show a clear correlation between general elections and the level of transactions in the property market. Analysis of sales transactions over the course of the last nine general elections indicates there will be a dip in activity pre-election.'

John Phillips of Property Reporter says:

'The next five weeks are an intriguing prospective if you’re a fan of political discourse and General Elections themselves, however from our housing market perspective I suspect there will be many wishing that Theresa May had stuck to the fixed five-year term. What we can say is that housing is likely to play a major role in the Election – indeed in his first interview post-Election announcement Corbyn mentioned this – and that every manifesto will have something interesting to say on how the housing market can be ‘fixed’'.

Unfortunately we are all likely to be treading water while we await the outcome of the Election and to see how the winning party might put its plan into action.


Yorkshire Building Economist Andrew McPhillips said:

“The housing market is going through a sluggish period at present and a general election adds to the chances of it lasting longer.
“Home buyers who are well on the way to making a purchase have traditionally not been put off by such surprise macro-events but those only thinking about it may decide to pause.”

The British Property Federation believes the snap election will create “short-term uncertainty at a time when it’s critical to maintain business and investor confidence”, says its Chief Executive Melanie Leech.
She also appeared to predict the outcome: “It should, however, provide the next government with a clear mandate to negotiate our future relationship with the EU and deliver the UK’s long-term economic health”.


Geeta Nanda, chief executive, Thames Valley Housing, said:

“The election is an opportunity to update or even scrap old manifesto pledges that are untenable or proving difficult to deliver on. Buy to let investors, stung by higher stamp duty and taxes, will be hoping for a reprieve.

“The real vote winner would be to offer tax breaks for longer, stable tenancies for those in private rent – a move which would benefit tenants and landlords alike.”

On a positive note, the run up to the General Election is relatively short!

The next few weeks are vital for landlords to lobby MPs about Section 24.

The Axe the Tenant Tax page on Facebook is reporting that 16 MPs have written to the Chancellor to speak out against S24, but landlords still need to do their bit!

PLEASE SHARE AND TWEET THE PRIME MINISTER, CHANCELLOR AND HOUSING MINISTER...
@PHammondMP Landlord votes will count for a lot in this election. Axe the @TenantTax (Section 24) in the manifesto for more support
@Number10gov Landlord votes will count for a lot in this election. Axe the @TenantTax (Section 24) in the manifesto for more support
@Gavin Barwell MP Landlord votes will count for a lot in this election. Axe the @TenantTax (Section 24) in the manifesto for more support

 
Source: https://www.propertytribes.com/impact-of-2017-election-on-property-market-t-127629236.html
By Vanessa Warwick

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Eurolink Roundtable on the Government’s Proposed Ban on Lettings Fees to Tenants

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Published: 26/04/2017   Last Updated: 26/04/2017 15:45:55   Tags:

Dendrow International’s Business Development Director was part of the roundtable held by Eurolink, the article of which is below.

Leading property software firm, Eurolink, last week gathered representatives from 12 of the UK’s leading agency firms to debate the government’s proposed ban on lettings fees.

The debate was held in Eurolink’s new cutting edge headquarters in the exclusive technology hub in London’s Kings Cross, alongside Google’s headquarters.

Agency clients of leading property software services provider, Eurolink, are calling on the lettings industry to unite to block the government’s proposed ban on lettings fees and help prevent lost income totalling over £1 million.

Speaking at a Eurolink roundtable debate on the proposed ban last week, the agents, who represented firms from across the country, revealed that failure to block the ban would result in them losing anything from £85,000 in income per year for a single office to over £850,000 for a multi-branch network.

The proposed ban, which Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his inaugural Autumn Statement in November, could see the end of upfront, renewal and exit fees for tenants.

Roundtable guests suggested that lobbying local members of parliament in addition to a range of bodies, such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents and housing charity, Shelter, would be more effective than relying on a single industry voice to take on the government ahead of its consultation, which is expected to be launched by the end of April.

In addition to the possible cost of the proposed ban, the roundtable debate explored possible outcomes, such as staff redundancies, and the steps already taken by some of the agency guests ahead of the ban, such as increased tenancy fees.

The debate also explored some of the challenges in store for agents, such as dealing with staff redundancies.

Nigel Poole, managing director at Eurolink, says: “The government’s lack of clarification around what the ban will entail is making it incredibly difficult for lettings agents to plan for the year ahead and work out how best to position their businesses to offset any negative impact.

“Perhaps the best solution is for agents to focus on the opportunities that a ban will create. Using their own client data to generate substantial new revenue streams from third party providers is a case in point – an approach that we have been working on with many of our clients for some time.”

The roundtable debate was held in Eurolink’s new cutting edge headquarters in the exclusive technology hub in London’s Kings Cross, alongside Google’s headquarters.

Contact Nigel Poole on +44 (0)203 897 6632 for more information about the debate as well as Eurolink’s rolling events calendar.

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2016-2017 Rugby Season with The Old Priorian RFC

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Published: 30/03/2017   Last Updated: 30/03/2017 15:58:01   Tags:

Dendrow International are proud to have sponsored the Old Priorian Rugby Club for the last season, being the maiden season for sponsorship and to witness an incredible team do well in the most senior amateur league in the region. With our own Matt Wilkinson being an old boy of St.Benedict’s School in Ealing, the OP RFC is primarily comprised of ex pupils of the school however it is open to all will to participate in the sport.


It is indeed an achievement to be performing well with seven wins under their belt, we are sure that the OP RFC will continue to grow from strength to strength.


We wish them well and good luck for their upcoming game on Saturday 1st April against Saffron Walden.


Old Priorian RFC in its current form offers the best amateur rugby in Middlesex and the greater West London area. A club it’s in own right throughout the 60s and 70s it offered rugby to the past pupils of St. Benedict’s Ealing, today it’s a flourishing community club fielding 2 sides with a vibrant social reputation playing out of Perivale. Our first team plays in the most senior amateur league in the region, London 1 North while our 2nd team enjoy life in the Middlesex Merit league tables.


 An active twitter account, website and newsletter keep players past and present, supporters and rugby fans up to date with what we do and how we play. Yearly tours, exchanging players with European clubs and a solid relationship with local schools in the area means that we are busy not just on the field but off it.


Our social events have included “One night in Barcelona”, race nights and raffles. We have raised funds for Cancer Research in the past and we participate fully in RFU sponsored courses ranging from First Aid to Coaching.


 In our current form, we celebrate our 10-year anniversary next year, a proud milestone and something certainly to celebrate. Hopefully the next 10 years will be just as successful and we look forward to our partnership with Dendrow.


Alex Pereira-Inacio

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"No turning back" on Brexit as Article 50 triggered

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Published: 30/03/2017   Last Updated: 19/06/2017 15:59:13   Tags:

 Media caption Theresa May: 'This is an historic moment'
Britain's departure from the EU is 'an historic moment from which there can be no turning back', Theresa May has said.
She was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year exit process by handing a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.


A sombre-looking Mr Tusk said it was not a 'happy day' for him or the EU.


The European Parliament warned security cooperation was not on the table as it fired its opening salvo in what are expected to be tough negotiations.


In her letter to Mr Tusk triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Mrs May said failure to reach a trade deal within the two-year time limit could 'weaken' cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.


But Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said he would not accept any attempt to 'bargain' between trade and security, adding: 'I think the security of our citizens is far too important to start a trade off from one for the other.'


Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said the UK could end intelligence-sharing with Europol, the EU policing agency, if there was no agreement.


But in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, on BBC One, Mrs May said on security that she 'would like to be able to maintain the degree of co-operation on these matters that we have currently'.
Downing Street insisted Mrs May's comments were not intended as a threat to EU negotiators, saying it was a 'simple fact' the existing arrangements would lapse if Britain left the EU without a deal.
But opposition MPs accused her of jeopardising public safety by attempting to use security co-operation as a 'bargaining chip' in the forthcoming negotiations.


Media captionMay hopes security cooperation will continue
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives both sides two years to reach agreement so, unless the UK and the 27 remaining EU member states agree to extend the deadline for talks, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019, a Friday.


At a press conference in Brussels, Donald Tusk held up Mrs May's letter, saying: 'We already miss you.'


In a brief statement, he said it was not 'a happy day' for him or for the EU and promised to begin arrangements for the UK's 'orderly withdrawal'.


He said the EU's aim in negotiations was 'damage limitation' and to 'minimise costs' for EU citizens, businesses and member states.
In a statement in the Commons, Mrs May said: 'Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people and it acts too on the clear and convincing position of this House.'
She added: 'The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.


'This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.'


She said Britain would now make its own decisions and its own laws and 'take control of the things that matter most to us - we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home'.
She told MPs that this marks 'the moment for the country to come together'.


Mrs May said it was a 'moment of celebration for some, disappointment for others' and promised to 'represent every person in the whole United Kingdom' during the negotiations - including EU nationals, whose status after Brexit has yet to be settled.
She said that while the UK would remain the 'best friend and neighbour' to its EU partners, it would also look beyond the borders of Europe, saying the country can 'look forward with optimism and hope and to believe in the enduring power of the British spirit'.
'I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead.'
A six-page letter from Mrs May triggering Article 50 was handed to European Council President Donald Tusk by the UK's ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow.
________________________________________
Focus on May's letter to Tusk - see blog image
 
Alex Forsyth's analysis: 'In this section the prime minister is attempting to highlight the mutual benefits to both the UK and the EU of reaching an agreement about their future relationship - and warning of the dangers if that doesn't happen. It's a carrot rather than a stick, albeit one that comes with a health warning.'

________________________________________
In a leaked draft position paper, the European Parliament, which has a final say over any deal struck with Britain, says Brexit could be revoked, despite opposition from the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to making references to the reversibility of the process.
It also suggests that the European Court of Justice, the EU's top court, will be the 'competent authority for the interpretation and enforcement of the withdrawal agreement'.


MEPs also insist that any trade deal between the UK and the EU can only be struck after Britain has left.


On the shape of a likely trade deal with the EU, Mrs May told Andrew Neil: 'What we're both looking for is that comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which gives that ability to trade freely into the European single market, and for them to trade with us.


'It will be a different relationship, but I think it can have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade.'


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected Mrs May's call for negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU to run in parallel with talks on defining their future relationship.


'The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship... and only when this question is dealt with, can we, hopefully soon after, begin talking about our future relationship,' said Mrs Merkel in Berlin.


There is also likely to be a big row over outstanding debts the UK will have to pay when it leaves. Mrs May promised a 'fair settlement' - the EU wants £50bn.


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would 'back' Mrs May if she meets his party's tests on the Brexit deal - including full access to the single market and protection for workers' rights.


Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who opposes Brexit, said Mrs May was 'twisting the will of the people, leaping into the abyss without any idea of where our country will end up'.


He said it was 'still possible for the British people to stop a hard Brexit and keep us in the single market - and if they want, it is still possible for the British people to choose to remain in the European Union'.


'It is a tragedy that Labour are helping the Conservatives in doing this damage to our country,' he added.


The SNP accused Mrs May of breaking a promise to secure a UK-wide agreement before triggering Article 50 - and took a swipe at the prime minister's claim that 'now is not the time' for another Scottish independence referendum.


The party's foreign affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond, said: 'After nine months of this prime minister's approach to Brexit Northern Ireland is deadlocked, the Welsh are alienated, Scotland is going for a referendum, the English are split down the middle, and Brexit MPs are walking out of Commons committees because they don't like home truths.


'Has the prime minister considered, in terms of invoking Article 50, that 'now is not the time'?'


Negotiations with other EU nations are expected to begin in mid-May.


On Thursday the government is expected to publish details of its 'Great Repeal Bill', which aims to convert EU law into domestic legislation and repeal the European Communities Act, which says EU law is supreme to the UK's.


Theresa May signs the letter to the EU confirming the UK's departure
________________________________________
Up for discussion
Trade: The UK will withdraw from the single market and seek a new customs arrangement and a free trade agreement with the EU
Expats: The government wants to secure an agreement with European countries 'at the earliest opportunity' on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and Britons living in Europe
Brexit bill: The UK government has promised to honour its obligations as it leaves, but has brushed off claims these could run to £50bn
Northern Ireland border: Aiming for 'as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland'
Sovereignty: Britain will leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice but seek to set up separate resolution mechanisms for things like trade disputes
Security: The UK government has said it wants to continue to cooperate on security and intelligence-sharing
Transitional deal: An interim arrangement may be needed before the final arrangements come into force

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Spring Budget 2017

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Published: 30/03/2017   Last Updated: 30/03/2017 15:59:06   Tags:

Written the day of the budget


Chancellor Phillip Hammond has introduced no new property taxes in his Spring Budget - but a clampdown on those setting up companies to minimise tax burdens may ultimately lead to additional controls on landlords.


There was no explicit reference to the introduction of mortgage interest tax relief changes for landlords, announced in the summer of 2015 and scheduled to begin next month; some landlord groups had campaigned for it to be scrapped.


However, measures announced to minimise the advantages of self-employed over the employed in terms of National Insurance and tax payments suggest that the fine print of the Budget - to be released later today - may have some issues for landlords, including those who set up companies to reduce the impact of the mortgage interest change.


The Residential Landlords Association has already estimated that about a fifth of landlords may be affected by the National Insurance changes.


Prior to today's Budget it was made known to the media that the Treasury had looked at data surrounding the effect of stamp duty on both residential transaction levels and on revenue achieved by the measure. But Hammond ruled out action today, suggesting he would see if there was a need for further revision of SDLT later in 2017.


Update to the spring budget- It seems that there has been a U-turn on the increased NI and more information will follow

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Is Letting Property a “Business”? A follow up from S162 Incorporation Relief

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Published: 26/01/2017   Last Updated: 26/01/2017 13:23:01   Tags:

The previous Article on Incorporation and looking at Incorporation relief can be found here.


The case of Mrs Ramsay Vs HMRC (2013) is of interest as a First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found Mrs Ramsay liable for payment of CGT, however, the appeal at the Upper Tribunal (UT) overturned the FTT’s decision on the basis that she was indeed running a business.

Issue before the FTT


The issue before the FTT was whether Mrs Ramsay had transferred a business to a company as a going concern in exchange for shares issued by TPQ (the company), in order to qualify for roll over relief in accordance of s 162 of TCGA. The FTT decided that Mrs Ramsay did not transfer a “business” within the meaning of s 162  and therefore did not qualify for relief.


The question before the UT


Was what Mrs Ramsay transferred to TPQ a business?

The Law and The Facts


In order to be concise, it would be prudent to refer to pages 3 to 5 of the following document, which can be located here:


http://taxandchancery_ut.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/Documents/decisions/Elisabeth_Moyne_Ramsay_v_HMRC.pdf

The main point within these pages is that Mrs Ramsay and her husband had indeed been taking regular care of the properties which were rented out or acquired through purchase as Mrs Ramsay inherited a one third share of a building in 1987 and had subsequently transferred half of her one third share to her husband, prior to purchasing the other two thirds from her brothers.


In 2004 Mrs Ramsay transferred the property to TPQ in exchange for shares in TPQ and in 2005 a gift of all the shares to their son who became the sole shareholder and director of the company.


What is interesting here is that the activities in respect of the property, being what any normal investor/ private landlord would do with property, such as renting the flats, unblocking drains, taking care of gardens etc are clearly outlined in the UT’s decision, in order to establish that Mrs Ramsay did indeed transfer a business as a going concern.


“21. At [47] the FTT concluded: “The Tribunal finds that the activities which have been cited by [Mrs Ramsay] are those which are normal and incidental to the owning of an investment property. They are not of a unique nature and applying the 30 principles set out in Rashid v Garcia are those which arise by necessity when one owns a property, such as this, which is let out in flats.””


The Meaning of “Business”


It now gets rather ambiguous in respect of this particular term. An awful lot of case law is referred to ranging from 1884 to present day, utilising the dictionary meaning of business through to The Privy Council stipulation, which is as follows:


“31. The Privy Council went on to draw a distinction between the case of a private individual merely receiving rents and a company doing the same. Giving the 15 judgment, Lord Diplock said (at p 684):


“In the case of a private individual it may well be that the mere receipt of rents from property that he owns raises no presumption that he is carrying on a business. In contrast, in their lordships’ view, in the case of a company incorporated for the purpose of making profits for its 20 shareholders any gainful use to which it puts any of its assets prima facie amounts to the carrying on of a business.

 

Where the gainful use to which a company’s property is put is letting it out for rent, their Lordships do not find it easy to envisage circumstances that are likely to arise in practice which would displace the prima facie inference that 25 in doing so it was carrying on a business.


The carrying on of “business”, no doubt, usually calls for some activity on the part of whoever carries it on, though, depending on the nature of the business, the activity may be intermittent with long periods of quiescence in between. In the instant case, however, there was 30 evidence before the special commissioners of activity in and about the letting of its premises by the company during each of the five years that had elapsed since it closed down its former tobacco business. There were three successive lettings of the warehouse negotiated with different tenants; there was removal of machinery from the factory area 35 which made it available for use for storage and a separate letting of that area to a fresh tenant; and as recently as October 1968 there was the negotiation of a letting to a single tenant of both the factory area and the warehouse.”


 32. Mr Richard Ramsay, appearing for Mrs Ramsay, argued that the reference to 40 “some” activity in this passage indicated that only a modest degree of activity was required. I do not accept that submission. The Privy Council was making the point, simply, that mere passive receipt of rent would not normally be regarded as the carrying on of a business, and that it had to be accompanied by some activity, even if that activity were not continuous. It was not setting a quantitative test as to the degree of activity required to cross the threshold; that remains a question of fact””


 The Facts again


It must be reiterated that Mrs Ramsay, who had no other source of income, was actively managing the property and that it was indeed her business as subjected to the tests outlined by Lord Fisher.

Decision


The UT Judge Roger Berner allowed the appeal as a result of the following

“…Applying these principles, in this case I am satisfied that the activity undertaken in respect of the Property, again taken overall, was sufficient in nature and extent to amount to a business for the purpose of s 162 TCGA. Although each of the activities could equally well have been undertaken by someone who was a mere property investor, where the degree of activity outweighs what might normally be expected to 40 be carried out by a mere passive investor, even a diligent and conscientious one, that will in my judgment amount to a business. I find that was the case here.”


The facts of the decision can be found on page 14 to 17 of the same document stipulated above.


Conclusion


Therefore Mrs Ramsay won the case at the UT under appeal from the FTT based on the fact that the FTT did not utilise the correct terminology in respect of a “business” and that in this instance the going concern that Mrs Ramsay transferred to the company TPQ Developments Limited was indeed a business and thus qualified for roll over relief of s 162 TCGA subjected to tests outlined by Lord Fisher.

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A wonderful time of year.

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Published: 13/12/2016   Last Updated: 13/12/2016 16:41:00   Tags:

A wonderful time of year. The weather starts to turn and Jack Frost can be felt in the air. Years ago, it used to snow in December and especially at Christmas. Just glance back to the memories of a white Christmas and displaying all the Christmas cards one would receive.

This year Dendrow International’s Christmas card was the product of a competition run at Christ the Saviour School in Ealing Broadway.
The competition was open to children of all ages who attend the school and the lucky winner would be awarded a prize and Dendrow would print their design on the front of the card.

With special thanks to the Art Teacher Mrs McCulloch and the Head Teacher Mrs Tramoni at the school for allowing us to run the competition for the first time this year.

Our Managing Director Peter and Melissa were at Christ the Saviour to present the winner with a prize.

The very talented Tara, aged 10, was selected from the rather large pool of submissions. It was not an easy task as there are so many talented and gifted children who entered the competition, however there could only be one winner.

The runners up, although not taking a prominent position on the front of the card, have been displayed on the back of the card as well.

Well Done Tara.

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Christmas Jumper Day 2016

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Published: 13/12/2016   Last Updated: 13/12/2016 16:41:13   Tags:

This year your Local Family Run Estate Agency is supporting Save The Children.

This year Dendrow staff will be supporting the cause by wearing a Christmas Jumper to work on Friday 16th December.
 

Together we can help create change.

To support the cause and donate £2 simply just text TEAMDENDROW to 70050, and together we can help others.
Post a picture of your Christmas Jumper on our Facebook Page along with your “thank you message” to share the support at this time of year.

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How to Deal with Common Household Mould and Mildew

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Published: 13/12/2016   Last Updated: 13/12/2016 16:50:20   Tags:

It is a common phenomenon in most accommodation that the appearance of Black Mould or Mildew will inevitably happen over time.


This can be a normal part of living and can quite easily be treated. However, this article will focus on the most common cause that Dendrow have experienced, being formation of condensation from daily living. There are some exceptional cases involving rising damp and water leaks, however, these will be covered in another article.

The Science
Moulds and Mildew are fungi. They are neither plant nor animal, but have their own kingdom (since 1969) which includes such marvels as Penicillin, yeast for making bread and in wine fermentation.
Most common fungi are ubiquitous within our environment and we are exposed to them constantly. It is very rare that diseases are caused by these common fungi and it is necessarily the inflammatory press reports that cause a hype around concerns.

Requirements for Mould Growth
There are four requirements being
1. Mould Spores
2. Mould Food
3. Appropriate Temperatures
4. Considerable Moisture
It does not help matters that Mould grows wonderfully in temperatures akin to human comfort and that moisture can build up in a home through many of life’s daily activities.
Activities such as:
1. Showering or bathing
2. Cooking
3. Drying clothes on indoor clothes driers or tumble dryers which are not vented to the outside
These all increase the internal humidity within the home and can indeed aid the growth of spores and spread throughout.
These all cause a considerable amount of condensation in the home, even breathing causes a build up of moisture and the natural micro-organisms that are carried on the body can multiply in a home.
Determining if you have Mould
There are many different identifiers in the home for characterisation of mould growth. However, in this instance the two most notable are the black that appears on bathroom grout, or the green-black mould on a bathroom ceiling. Indeed these can appear in a bedroom, kitchen, lounge or even in your fridge.

Tell-tale Signs
1. Earthy or musty smell, like the forest floor
2. Appearance of Dark or Black spots on ceiling, walls, grouting or mastic (main areas)

Case Study
Dendrow manage a garden flat property in a Victorian Mansions block, where Rising Damp was determined to be present. This resulted in Kenwood PLC being instructed to carry out damp proofing works throughout the whole property.
Tenants moved into the property once the work had been completed as advised and after 6 months the tenants started to report mould growth and they believed that it was rising damp.
Given that Kenwood PLC have a guarantee in place, Dendrow immediately instructed Kenwood to go and evaluate the situation.
The returned report conceded that the cause of the mould growth was condensation within the property and there was no evidence of rising damp.
 

Conclusion
The activities outlined above as causes of mould growth were indeed to blame for the instances experienced in this case study.

Eliminating Mould Growth
Preventative Measure
Some simple tips and tricks for preventing growth
1. Regular cleaning with bleach containing products
2. Ventilation of the property by ensuring that the extractor fans are left on and turned on whilst showering
3. Ensuring the heating is on for a reasonable time to allow condensation to evaporate and escape the property through extractor vents.
4. Extractor hood is used when cooking
5. Ensure the property is ventilated when drying clothes and the heating is on.
6. If a tumble dryer is present, ensure the vent exits the property

Eliminating mould when it first appears
From experience, the first action that must be taken when mould or mildew first appears on walls, ceilings, grouting or mastic is to immediately treat it with a bleach containing product, such as Flash with Bleach and leave overnight then wipe away with warm water in the morning.

This simple piece of advice can indeed alleviate mould or mildew caused by a build up condensation in the home.

Another common place for the formation of Mildew/Mould is in the

bathroom and specifically on the bathroom ceiling. Ensuring the extractor fan is clean and free of any dust or blockages will ensure that it is as efficient as possible, whilst leaving the heating on in the bathroom will aid in the evaporation of the condensation and extraction through the vent.

If the build up of mould has passed the stage where a standard solution of bleach with water (i.e flash with bleach) is no longer sufficient, then a specialist product such as “HG Mould Spray” can be used. Again, this has only been used in bathrooms and in particular on the ceiling. Left overnight, the ceiling looks brand new.

Follow the instructions on the package carefully and do consult other sources of information

Overall the tips and tricks highlighted above will indeed aid in the prevention, elimination and alliveation of common household mould. Although not an exhaustive list of causes, it is indeed an avenue by which tenants can free themselves from the constraints of mildew buildup in the home.

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The Christmas Party

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Published: 13/12/2016   Last Updated: 13/12/2016 16:46:55   Tags:

After the excitement and grandeur of last year’s Christmas Party, which left a legacy that is still talked about to this day, it would be difficult to find an event that could top the magic of Disney.

However, this year, with an event closer to home, the whole of the Dendrow team and several other companies that Dendrow works with, were in for a treat at the Enchanted Toy Shop Christmas dinner and entertainment.

On arrival, the usual cohort received an arrival drink and it wouldn’t be a Christmas Party without a few bubbles. On in this case a few bottles.

The venue, located in the midst on London’s Conduit Street and being surrounded by the likes of the Westbury Hotel and the Vivienne Westwood Flagship store really did bode well for a high-class evening full of fun and games.

Quite literally, games.

A wholes section of the main entrance room was full on oversized games and those from years long forgotten. Oversized Connect 4 and that little game where one must traverse a metal ring along a maze of electrified track and avoid hitting the track otherwise the buzzer sounds and it’s back to the start. A steady hand and nerves of steel are required to complete the course.

The Column of Mirrors, misshaping body parts and sometimes improving some areas was joyous for those who walked past. The laughter can be seen in the faces of those standing in front and enjoying the amusements.

During the three course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, entertainment was provided in the form of “what happens when toys come alive” the Solider marching, the Ballerina dancing, and the Teddy Bear providing free hugs to all.

Once the meal was over, all the guests were invited to carry on the party in the basement of the venue where an afterparty was organised.


Although some guests were worse for wear, it was definitely an enjoyable experience.

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To Incorporate or Not to incorporate: Property for Landlords

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Published: 13/12/2016   Last Updated: 13/12/2016 16:52:52   Tags:

Disclaimer: Dendrow do not advise nor suggest any course of tax advice in respect of the following article, every care has been taken to ensure the facts in the matter and Dendrow would recommend speaking to a qualified accountant who has experience in incorporation relief under section 162. Our Clients use Raffingers Stuart to manage this process for them.


With the upcoming changes in taxation, landlords who currently own Buy to Let properties in their personal name will be subjected to increased taxations because of the Governments “Clause 24”, which essentially looks at taxing on the turnover rather than the profit, many are wondering “what can we do?”

For some there is the beauty of incorporation that will allow for transfer of property into a limited company using Section 162 incorporation relief.

So why would a landlord want to transfer their property business i

into a property company?

First, there is the corporation tax, which is currently at 20% and due to be reduced to 18% by 2020, there is even talk about 15% corporation tax.

Companies are not restricted by financial cost relief and liabilities are limited to the value of the company, therefore a personal guarantee is often required by a Lender.

The ability to raise funds by adding new shareholders and the ability to make pension contributions are some of the additional benefits, there are many more besides these.

How does S162 Relief work?
At the point of incorporation shares are generated from the equity in the properties. Subsequently, this share value can be offset against the capital gain using S162 incorporation relief.

This means that potentially no capital gains could be paid if the equity is greater than the gain.

The following example should clarify:
Base costs of property portfolio = £3,000,000
Current value = £5,000,000
Current mortgages = £2,000,000
In this scenario, the landlord could increase mortgage debt to £3,000,000 and put £1,000,000 in the bank.
The landlord then incorporates and offsets the £2 million of shares against the £2 million of capital gains.
The landlord then loans the £1,000,000 in the bank to the company.
The company then reduces mortgage debt back to £2 million.
The net result is that the company now owes the landlord £1,000,000. Repayment of a loan from company to landlord incurs no income tax. Therefore, the landlord can now withdraw the next £1,000,000 of profits from the company in the form of a loan repayment without incurring any additional income tax liability.
(Example from Property118.com)

There is one very large proviso in this matter. It would be down to the accountant to justify to HMRC that Property is the only business for which you receive income. Therefore, meaning it is the sole income for a landlord. If there are two people in partnership who have held property portfolios in their own name, and the first condition is met, then it is possible to join in partnership and form an LLP and using the S162 incorporation relief form a limited company.

At the stage of incorporation, the properties are then re-indexed and any future capital gains would be calculated from the re-indexation date and not the original purchase date. This firm would recommend that any readers take independent financial advice on this matter if this is a desired scenario.

Lastly, the funds generated by the company through the income from property (or disposal of property) would need to be used for the purpose of the business, any funds that are taken out of the company by the director, would then become taxable at the personal income tax rate. However, this would not necessarily apply to the repayment of the loan.

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An Afternoon under the Big Top

Published: 02/12/2016   Last Updated: 02/12/2016 10:26:04   Tags:

Something that has been a monthly tradition in Dendrow for years is to always make sure to celebrate the month’s wins with a day out together with the Team. The last Thursday of each month is a day we all are looking forward to and a chance to gather in a relaxed environment and enjoy an afternoon together as no business talk is allowed.


A great way to cut off from a busy work week and have some fun!
This time we started the day with a lunch in our fabulous Ealing office, there we all bought our favourite bits to share and a big birthday cake for our Jenny that had her birthday and the person that had the pleasure to organised our day out.


For the rest of us the event was unknown.


Well at the event we got treated with candyfloss and popcorn. We had arrived to a pristine white tent in Ealing Common, the temporary pitch of the Continental Circus Berlin and a three-hour long show with fantastic performers from all over the world.
The show offered breath-taking artistes, packed full of comedy, juggling, balancing, acrobatics & aerial acts – even the latest sensation the Laser Man which was a success for the kids.


A great all age experience all in all!


To find out more about the circus click http://www.circusberlin.co.uk/

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The £369 Million Refurbishment Project: Buckingham Palace – For Queen and Country

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Published: 02/12/2016   Last Updated: 07/12/2016 12:35:36   Tags:

A recent petition calling on the Royal Family to privately fund the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace has amassed more than 120,000 Signatures. More than the required 100,000 signatures for a House of Commons debate to take place on the subject.

The reasons for the refurbishment work, which shall take place over the next 10 years, are given that ageing cables, lead pipes, wiring and boilers need to be replaced with a phased program allowing for the Palace to remain working.

Lest we forget that the Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster have a program in place for refurbishment and renewal which is due to start in the next 3 years at the earliest. The Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster has over 1,100 rooms which dates from the mid-1800s, being an iconic symbol for democracy and an iconic building throughout the world.

Again, lest we forget that an Education Centre in Victoria Tower Gardens adjacent to the Palace Grounds was completed in 2015 and in 2011 the Speaker’s Court cast iron roof overhaul began as part of ongoing repairs to roofs.

In 2015 the estimated cost of repairs was calculated at £7.1 Billion which are substantially higher than that for Buckingham Palace, with repairs due to start in 2020.

So how can the public cause such an outcry at one of the Crown’s, if not The Crown’s and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s most iconic building needing refurbishment?

How the Crown is to Pay for the Refurbishment

The independent Property Company “The Crown Estate” which claims that net revenue profit was up 6.7% in 2015/16 to £304.1 Million. With which over the last ten years contributing £2.4 Billion.
Let’s just showing that Numerically:

£2,400,000,000.00

This is how much The Crown Estate has contributed to the treasury.
It is from this that the Royal Family is re-paid 15%. Which essentially makes The Crown (if we compare to standard income tax) a rate payer of 85%. The amount returned to the Crown until the phased refurbishment work is complete would be £25% of the profits from the treasury having been paid across from the Crown Estate.

When we look at the portfolio of The Crown Estate and the amount amassed throughout the lifetime of the monarchy the £9,119 Million Property Valuation in 2015/16 (source https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/our-business/financial-information/), one can understand the amount of wealth that the Crown has ultimately put into the treasury for the benefit of the British People, one cannot blame the Crown for the Use of the Funds which have been placed in the care of the Government. One must look to the Government for answers, not the Crown.
The treasury has stated The Monarchy have no power to sell property, which is managed by “crown estate commissioners”. (Source http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/petition-royal-family-pay-369m-buckingham-palace-refurbishment-passes-100000-signatures-a7429536.html).  Therefore, the private residences which amount to approximately £11 billion must remain as part of the Historic Briton that we have all come to know and love.

 

The financial information can be observed from page 87 of the following report https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/761966/annual-report-and-accounts-2016.pdf


The Needs of the People


A shortage of housing, changes in the unemployment rate, austerity and an NHS in crisis are all mentions in Mr. Johnson’s Petition to urge the royal family to pay for their own restoration work. However, one must view the economic climate of the country as one that is the responsibility of Parliament. Yes, the Crown can advise and recommend as far as the constitution would allow, however, it is the work of the elected officials who would make false promises just to gain popularity and win an election or alternatively a referendum.
Let us take a moment and look at what has occurred in the USA with Donald Trump being elected President.


What about South Africa with Jacob Zuma as president? How about Nigel Farage for that matter? Showing that Anti-Establishment can succeed in countries.


When the world is in so much turmoil and the peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland need a strong figurehead with whom to back, who else can we turn our attention to other than the Queen?


God Save the Queen.

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What's That Going Extinct? Upfront Tenant Charges

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Published: 02/12/2016   Last Updated: 02/12/2016 10:22:31   Tags:

In the autumn statement, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that a new bill (which at the time of writing was in the committee state in the House of Lords) had been introduced to abolish Letting’s Agent’s upfront charges to tenants.
A step in the right direction for the consumer? Potentially.


Detrimental to Landlords? Potentially.
The Renter’s Rights Bill introduced in 2016 outlines four main changes in respect of property and the charges around letting’s fees.
The Bill’s exact words are as follows:

“2 Ending of certain lettings fees for tenants
(1)  The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended as follows.
(2)  After section 30B insert—

“30C Letting fees for tenants
(1)  A letting agent who, in connection with the grant, renewal or
continuance of a residential tenancy, requires from the tenant the
payment of any premium shall be guilty of an offence under this
section.
(2)  In subsection (1), “premium” means any fine, sum or pecuniary
consideration, other than the rent or deposit, and includes any service or administration fee or agency charge.
(3)  In subsection (2), “deposit”, in relation to a residential tenancy, means any money intended to be held (by the landlord or otherwise) as security for—
 (a) the performance of any obligations of the tenant, or
(b) the discharge of any liability of the tenant, arising under, or in
connection with, the tenancy.
(4)  The Secretary of State may by regulations specify the categories of sum which are not to be treated as a premium for the purposes of this section; and the maximum amount which tenants may be asked to pay in respect of such a sum.”

Is this worrisome to Letting’s Agents around the country? Probably not so much if they have prudent strategies in place and if similar to Dendrow, aim to keep fees to tenants as low as possible to ensure fairness, by only charging what the firm is charged by the relevant contracted companies.


What is interesting in respect of the Renter’s Rights Bill is the statement of “Ending of certain lettings fees for tenants”.
What is yet to be defined is what fees exactly will be classed as a premium and those which will ultimately be payable by the landlord.
For example, a professional referencing charge that a letting’s applicant would be required to pay, which includes (but not entirely) a Credit Check, Affordability Check, Previous Landlord Reference, Current Employment Reference, Electoral Roll Search at previous address, Registered Accounts Check; also (if possible) a Right to Rent check and Guarantee.


Surely, the benefits of this to a landlord are clear with ensuring that a good standing and proper tenant is found and a contract issued.
However, from a renter’s point of view, what is there to stop them from applying for, let’s say, 10 properties and ultimately going through the various processes and then withdrawing from 9 of the applications?


This is yet to be determined and subject to further consultation and adequate consideration through the House of Commons and Royal Assent.


What does this mean for Lettings’ Agents currently?


Well, actually, nothing.


Furthermore, until the Bill has been received by the Queen and Royal Assent is achieved, then nothing needs action.


Some letting’s agencies are reducing their administration charge; others are removing the upfront fee altogether. Although they are still charging fees at the end of the tenancy for check out and other charges.


One final point to note is section 4 of the out-take of the Bill.
The Secretary of State can specify which Categories which are not to be treated as a premium and what the maximum amount which can be charged to tenants will be.


Just let that sink in.


The future of the rental market is about to change drastically. Well, when Royal Assent has been achieved and the House of Lords have had the final reading and the Commons have had the First Reading, Second Reading, Committee stage, Third Reading, Amendments and Royal Assent.

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Dendrow’s Day out by the Seaside

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Published: 04/11/2016   Last Updated: 04/11/2016 09:54:53   Tags:

It’s not often that we are granted the ability to vacate the office for the day. However, our very own MD Peter had arranged for the whole company to have a day out by the seaside taking in the historical site of the Royal Pavilion with a private tour through the seaside pleasure palace of King George IV.


The décor inside was fabulous with a mesh of Chinese influence and stunning stone work with the richly decorated Banquet room with the addition of the Welsh Dragons, which although the feel was Chinese. Probably had something to do with the stone masons and Architect at the time.


As wonderful as the tour was, at the end of it we were all treated to a sit down Chinese lunch in the Lanes.


For more information on the Royal Pavilion Brighton click http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/royalpavilion/

After which some of the team decided to try out the British Airways i360, which is a verticle cable car that offers views of Brighton and the surrounding areas.


The journey to the top glides up to a height of 450 feet in a futuristic glass pod. Some decided not to make the ascent and that includes our photographer, who managed to snap the group going up the tower.


A new addition to the Brighton seafront http://britishairwaysi360.com/


Towards the end of the day we all met up on the infamous pier and generally being a workday somewhat quieter than expected and in recent visits.


The fun fair threw some surprises for some risking it all by entering the realm of horror and thrills through the haunted house and additionally having a go at seeing who could get the most hits on the bumper cars.


It was definitely one for the books and something we won’t forget anytime soon.

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The Lost Keys: What to do?

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Published: 04/11/2016   Last Updated: 04/11/2016 09:51:42   Tags:

Here’s a question that we don’t always put a lot of thought into. What would I do if I lost my keys?


There are several possible scenarios around getting another set of keys or the worst case scenario which would be to replace the lock.
Let us start with the worst case scenario.


Changing the Lock

Picture the scene, You have just returned home after an evening out or straight after work, only to find that your keys have been misplaced. There’s no one else in the property and you’ve called the office, checked at the pub or restaurants.


Nope, not anywhere. Go back to the office, retrace steps to try and locate. Nothing.


You’ve got to get back into the house.


What do you do?


Well either break in through a window, although we at Dendrow would never endorse this method as it can be highly dangerous and quite suspect. If keys are lost then a locksmith would be required.
The one thing about a locksmith, is that there is a flat call out charge of anywhere from £80 to £200 for a call out and then a cost per hour or part thereof and then any materials on top.


It could quite easily become a job costing a couple of hundred pounds if the locksmith isn’t able to use their tricks to gain entry.

Live in a flat, Block has Security Key


In this situation it is somewhat more difficult as a new key cannot simply be cut from an existing copy that a flatmate may have.


Also, the key can only be delivered to the owner of the appointed managing agents.


The good news with these security keys (such as ASSA or Banham) is that there are specific rules that must be followed.


The bad news is that there is a higher cost involved. Again these keys can cost anywhere from £20 to £45 depending on the type of key.


If the management won’t cut a new key for you then they may charge you for changing the lock on the entry door, then supplying replacement keys for the occupiers.


In a block in Maida Vale where there are 8 flats in a block and each flat has 4 keys as £20 each, plus the contractors cost and then the administration charge from the management company. The cost can be well over £500 if not over £1000.


When there is a Board of Directors of the freeholding company who make and ratify the rules, then owners and subsequently tenants will need to pay for it.

Management Agent’s Administration Charge


If you’ve lost keys and a management agent has to provide the service of arranging another set of keys then this is a service and therefore becomes chargeable.


To say that “I’m not paying an administration charge because the agency has to provide keys because that’s their job” is just ridiculous.
Let’s use the following example:


You work at a company in a sector industry and get paid for working there. Either weekly, monthly etc.


Your Line Manager, Employer says to you, “by the way, I need you to do this specific thing for me, oh and you won’t get paid on it even though you’re doing it for me”


Let’s ask the question, would you do this time and time again? Even if it means that you and the company lose money?


More often than not the answer would be no.


So given that administration charges are sometimes not liked, they are necessary.


The alternative is to quite simply go without.


So the final questions would be, are you prepared to go without for your property?

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Below Market Value-The Search for Unimaginable Yields

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Published: 11/10/2016   Last Updated: 11/10/2016 09:58:24   Tags:

Within the realms of Property Developers and investors, the acronym BMV crops up time and time again. But what is a BMV?

BMV stands for Below Market Value. Simple enough to understand. Essentially a sales property that can be bought for less than the current market value of the property.

There must be a catch?

Of course, there is always a catch in obtaining a BMV sale and there are other considerations to take into account when progressing a BMV sale.

There is always an element of doubt when searching for a particular type of property and what one can do with respect to the issues that may arise.

If looking at the initial purchase price one can consider a plethora of options.

One such example is the “short lease” purchase. A prime location property, such as central London, yet, with a short lease can be purchased for a rather reasonable sum. However, when looking at the larger picture one must consider the wider implications. Such as the cost of a lease extension and the time limit prior to the application, should the vendor not instigate the process.

Granted, it does indeed take a particular type of individual who would function solely on these types of properties. However, looking at adding value, how does one find a BMV and transform it into something magical and create a home for a young family? Or alternatively a first time purchase for a young professional relocating for a new career. The options are endless.

At Dendrow, we have helped several clients purchase properties that were in need of modernisation. Essentially a shell of a property was transformed into a rather splendid property with a purchase price of substantially less the half a million pounds then subsequently lends itself to a larger gain.

The one consideration to make though is that refurbishment costs and other opportunity costs must be taken into consideration. Carrying out due diligence on a property is vital, whether it be through the Land Registry, or through another method to ensure that there is nothing negative on the property, irrespective of the method of purchase or “Value Addition”, it is always vital to ensure that variables can be accounted for.

Can a wall be erected? Will it be a cash purchase? Is there lending requirements? What will the capital expenditure look like? How long will it take to complete the refurbishments? Is there a mortgage on the property under a Buy to Let and is there an early redemption charge? Is bridging available for the time frame? (Although costly, it can be a way to aid in purchase)

Although it may seem like a lot of work for what would be essentially a small return does it not make sense to do what you love and be paid for it?

To develop property is a passion for those who work with Dendrow and who have ideas to maximise space and incorporate requirements.

Sometimes there is magic, and sometimes it doesn’t quite work out.

There is an awful lot more that can be written about Property Development and considerations. So much so that there are courses devoted to it, websites, blogs, educational material.

If Property Development is your Love, then please do share with us your projects.

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Dendrow Escape From the Basement

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Published: 11/10/2016   Last Updated: 11/10/2016 10:00:24   Tags:

On the last Thursday of the month, the whole team gets together to participate in an activity that is purposefully designed to help the team grow together and work on solutions. Sometimes, there’s an extra special treat, sometimes, there’s fears and overcoming then.

This month, overcoming restricting spaces by working as a team to solve problems and escape from the Japanese Zen Room at London’s Hint Hunt (Based in Euston).

The objective of the game was to escape from the room in an hour by solving clues and riddles within the room.

We were split into two teams in our head office in Paddington and in time honoured tradition, no one knew where we were going. This month’s activity definitely was a testament to that. Not only did we all not know where we were going, we didn’t know what to do in the event, nor did we know how to get out.

The Zen room presented challenges that seemed rather ominous and somewhat weird. Difficulties arouse and tensions were rising. The time limit and the threat of being locked in the room for all of eternity (a slight exaggeration, but the fear was there for some).

Help was on hand for those who needed it, although one of the teams didn’t quite need any help, and that was the only team to make it out unscathed.

The other needed a bit of a helping hand to escape although there was friendly competition around who actually got out.

The A team definitely knew it was them.

Partly this article has left out some key areas around the challenge itself because we at Dendrow love to have fun and we don’t want to spoil the surprise for future contestants in the Hint Hunt.

We never know what may come from next months afternoon out? Perhaps the Crystal Maze? Now there’s an idea for an afternoon out!

For more information and Booking on Hint Hunt London check them out at www.hinthunt.co.uk

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How technology could revolutionise the future of renting

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Published: 11/10/2016   Last Updated: 11/10/2016 10:03:56   Tags:

The content of this blog was sourced directly from the following link: http://www.independent.co.uk/money/how-technology-could-revolutionise-the-future-of-renting-smart-meter-landlord-bills-a7182306.html

Google and Nest’s smart home gadgets never really took off, but similar technology could drastically change the relationship between landlord and tenant Getty

A revolution has been promised for UK homes. From smart meters to the internet of things, the near-future could see the way we live change dramatically. But one thing that is also set to change is where we live; the number of people who rent rather than own is soaring.

Households living in private rented property have already more than doubled in number since 2001 and analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that more people will rent privately in the UK than own with a mortgage by the year 2025.

But some landlords have been slow to adopt home technologies that don’t directly benefit their bottom line, such as adding insulation to their properties to bring down tenants’ bills. (The smart home revolution launched by Google and Nest for example, has struggled to get off the ground.) That's despite the fact that certain technologies increase efficiencies for both landlords and tenants, and could transform renters’ homes perhaps even more quickly than homeowners see updates.

Technology already available includes self-bleeding radiators, automatic stopcocks that shut down supply if a flood risk occurs and wi-fi-enabled door locks, which allow landlords to protect their investments.

But if technology is being used to drive efficiencies for landlords, some people believe there’s a risk that tenants will be overlooked.

Easy gains

Done well, retrofitting homes with smart technology can see gains for all involved. Ana Nekhamkin, managing director of rental management company Inhabit, explains: “Technology has the opportunity to enhance the resident experience, create operating efficiencies for landlords and reduce the environmental impact of homes.

“However, the speed of technological advancement should push developers to embrace scalable innovations and seek future-proofed solutions where possible. Market research shows that streamlining services so that rent can be paid digitally or a tenant receives phone notifications when a package is delivered are likely to have a more positive impact on tenant experience than more hardware-involved gadgets allowing residents to control every aspect of their apartment remotely.”

James Brook, group marketing manager at Rix Petroleum, says that technology such as smart thermostats can be hugely useful for landlords, meaning tenants can enjoy the benefits as well. “[They] give the landlord peace of mind during cold months such as the winter, if the tenant is working away or on holiday, the heating can be activated remotely via the app. This will certainly limit or reduce the chance of frozen or burst pipes caused by cold weather,” he says.

“For tenants, a connected thermostat will give them much greater visibility of their usage and hopefully help them budget; especially if they are new to the property market or type of fuel the house or flat they are renting uses.”

Smarter landlords

Technology could also connect landlords with tenants more efficiently. Richard Jacques is lettings director at Purplebricks, which provides landlords with a hybrid lettings service. A human support team is complimented by technology, and they plan on rolling out an app for tenants in the near future.

He describes their system: “Research tells us that 60 per cent of activity happens when traditional estate agents are closed, so all landlords and tenants are given a unique log in to a secure portal which enables them to liaise with each other 24/7.

“Landlords can track things like rental payments, maintenance reports and contractor invoices. We also offer landlords an app which enables them to do all of the above, but on the move. To my knowledge, no other estate agent is able to offer this kind of convenience and freedom and our customers tell us it’s enormously helpful.

“Our technology benefits tenants too, because they can book viewings, report maintenance issues, make offers and submit references 24/7. They don’t have to try and pop in or make calls during working hours, which in today’s time-poor society can be a real pain.”

And that technology is only developing, meaning tenants’ experiences of renting could become smarter very soon. Mr Jacques adds: “In the near future, we would also like to be able to offer contactless key entry and contractor tracking as well. Technology massively makes lives easier and a little further down the road I can see landlord portfolio analysis tools and tenant budget tools coming into play, too.”

Yet not everyone believes such innovation will be welcome. “Technology for technology’s sake will not appeal to everyone,” cautions Ms Nekhamkin. “Some renters will continue to prefer to unlock their door with a traditional key as opposed to a hotel-style card because it has a greater association with home. Ultimately, providing all renters with somewhere they can consider home is most important, so new technology should reflect that. Moderation is key.”

With promises of greater efficiencies, easier property management and potentially higher returns, tenants could find technology is transforming their homes whether they want it to or not







 

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How A Letting Agent Can Help Landlords Find The Best Tenants

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Published: 26/08/2016   Last Updated: 26/08/2016 10:21:46   Tags:

Published from https://www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk/sponsored-content/2015/6/how-a-letting-agent-can-help-landlords-find-the-best-tenants

A letting agency can charge between 10% and 15% of the total rental income that you receive from a property, but while this may seem steep, they can also help ensure that you have reliable and long-term tenants, suffer fewer vacant periods, and even charge a higher rental. Using an agent also means that you don’t need to dedicate as much time to managing the property, freeing you to search for additional property with companies like House Network. What’s more, they will help you to meet the legal requirements that are necessary when renting property.

Quicker Letting

Letting agents spend all day everyday matching tenants with properties, and matching landlords with tenants. Their experience not only means that they are better able to spot good tenants, but it often means that they have a list of tenants looking for specific types of property, and will certainly have access to online property search sites as well as their own website and a local high street shop front. You could save weeks, or potentially even months, of having your property sitting vacant while you miss out on rental income.


Better Rental Rates

Not only do letting agents help prepare a property to ensure that it is an appropriate standard to attract better rental rates, but they may also have close contacts with relocation agents and other companies that may only be willing to deal with letting agencies, and are willing to pay a premium for the reliability and professionalism that an agent offers. It is in the interest of a letting agent working on commission to earn as much rental for your property as possible, so it makes sense that they offer the benefit of higher rental income.

Tenant Checking

Tenant checking means checking references and running credit checks, securing deposits, and ensuring that a tenant is a good fit for a property. If you only have one rental property, then it may be achievable to manage this yourself, but if you have no experience in the checking process then using an agent can greatly cut the time it takes, minimise errors and omissions, and help ensure that you get reliable and long-term tenants in your property.

Property Preparation

Whether you are marketing a family home or a student bedsit, you need to know your target market, and you need to prepare the property in such a way to attract the right market. Your letting agent’s experience means that he or she will be able to assist in the preparation of the property, and also extol the benefits of your home to any potential tenants. With a larger pool of potential tenants, it means that you can enjoy the pick of the bunch and potentially benefit from greater rental income too.

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The Dark side of Online Advertising-Portal Juggling

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Published: 26/08/2016   Last Updated: 26/08/2016 10:18:04   Tags:

Recently, the Times published an Article regarding Larger Estate Agents and Large Property Development Companies utilising Online Advertising Portals in the most immoral of ways.

In order to understand what portal juggling is, we must first understand how the portals work.

How Online Portals List Properties

Online advertising media lists, through a specified criteria based on what the searcher has entered, properties, with the most recently listed appearing first. These “New Listing” properties appear at the top of the search results page and ultimately receive the highest level of interest.

This is perfect for searchers as it is the newest available properties recently brought to market by Agents or others with access to online portals via a Third Party.

Therefore, the most interest is gained in these properties and thus a higher price can be achieved, this is particularly prevalent in turbulent market conditions where the future is uncertain as a result of macro-environmental factors affecting not only the property industry but also other sectors directly linked to property, e.g. Finance etc.

What’s the Problem Then?

So is it wrong to have the same property uploaded over and over again in order to gain the most exposure from literally millions of eyes seeing the advertisement every hour/day/week/month?

For a Vendor or Landlord, no, because the need to a sale or a let within a timescale that suits them, is vital. However, is this a fair policy to accept for everyone? Not necessarily so.

Imagine that there is one large consortium of agents or one large developer, with their own agency who have a variety of properties in one particular area, who engage in the act of portal juggling. What would then happen to the advertisements from their competitors? Well they would be seen less often and likely to receive less enquiries and thus the instructing owners would then dis-instruct the current agent and move to the better performing agent.

But surely this is good business? It is! Indeed, it is a loophole in the design and the architecture of the online portals, however, there are terms and conditions that agents agree to when they sign up. Which ultimately inhibit most agents from accessing this level of deception.

Essentially, to the purchaser it looks as if more property is on the market and it makes an agent look more successful than they are.

So now that the explanation of how the portals function in respect to the processing of advertisements and the rules around what has to be done to correctly inform the public around the available properties, we can understand how some are trying to get a competitive edge over others.

What Can Be Done About This?

The portals have strict codes of conduct and will ban anyone found to be attempting this sort of deception. However, this seems a bit extreme and they have systems in place to recognise properties that are being relisted and able to detect what is actually going on.

The practise is now under investigation by the Nation Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, which said: “Such actions by estate agents could be a breadk of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and could ultimately result in an agents fitness to engage in estate agency work being questions by the NTSEAT.”

What Does this Mean for Landlords and Vendors

Agents who are not Marketing Property effectively may find it somewhat difficult to justify why a property is not performing well, others will be able to adapt their marketing strategy and ultimately complete a transaction.

At Dendrow, there was a difficult property to let, which was successful in submitting leads through the online portals, however, the enquiry levels as per the Click Through Rate were high, yet viewings were minimal. However, after a brief conversation with the owner Dendrow changed the marketing strategy and within one day the property was under offer, a holding deposit received and referencing processed through a third party facilitator.

This really does show the strength of checking the reports generated in the back end of the various online portals, by agents.

The Future of Property Marketing

Various codes of conducts and regulations mean that estate agents should be more adhering to the legalities, more so than some of them are, however, it is difficult to actually enforce when Estate Agents and Lettings agents have no mandatory requirement to be part of a professional regulatory body.

At Dendrow, Our Business Development Manager is an Associate Member with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Our managers are registered as members with the National Association of Estate Agents and Dendrow is working tirelessly to become a Licensed Organisation with the NAEA; as well as encouraging other members of the team to begin training with the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) for show our commitment to development and investment in people both individually and within the team.

Through the various different bodies and schemes, Dendrow ensures that all necessary regulations are adhered to and that all members are fully compliant with rules and regulations laid down that are all too often overlooked when the old style of agency is broached.


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Associate of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (ACIM)

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Published: 29/07/2016   Last Updated: 02/08/2016 16:59:34   Tags:

In this very special issue, Dendrow International are very proud to announce that our very own Business Development Manager, Matt Wilkinson, has been awarded the level of Associate Membership with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (ACIM). Louise Heasman has found out more about this achievement as we at Dendrow love to celebrate all wins.

Louise Heasman:  what is the Chartered Institute of Marketing?


Matt Wilkinson:  CIM is the world’s leading professional marketing body, it is uniquely placed not only to be the voice for the marketing community, but an active participant – catalysing and shaping the future of this ever-changing profession. Independent and the vision is that Marketing is recognised for playing a pivotal role in Business, whilst being the only Chartered body for Marketing.


LH:  You must be pleased to have achieved this membership status with CIM?


MW:  Most definitely. I have had to work hard to achieve this membership, through completion of the Professional Diploma in Marketing, which is Level 6 qualification (similar to an Undergraduate Degree) and through experiential work through a variety of different methods.


LH:  Haven’t you already completed a Bachelor’s of Science degree though?


MW:  Yes, I read Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (University of London) in which I received an Honours Degree completed in 2010

LH:  So would you say that your previous university experience aided in your study for the Professional Diploma in Marketing?


MW:  Yes, I would say that the study techniques that I used back then were definitely transferable, although the world of Biomedical Sciences and Marketing can be seen as far removed from that of Business and Marketing. However, it did mean that I was able to disseminate information and process it for the relevant need. With the ability to recall information as required and adapt and build suitable systems in business based on proven models and methods.


LH:  Interesting, so what does the future hold for Dendrow International with your new found Qualification and newly acquired membership status?


MW:  Our clients and customers should have already seen and felt a changed business, whilst studying for the Diploma I have implemented systems and processes all throughout the business from how our Sales and Lettings Marketing is carried out through several different media, right through to Property Management processing and communications.
I’ve always found that Listening to the Customer and developing systems which not only make property rentals and sales smoother but also simpler for all to understand. We deal with a variety of different people from different backgrounds, from the young newly married couple looking to purchase their first home to the seasoned investor looking for new opportunities. All our clientele require something slightly different along the same theme and that theme is Property. Dendrow International have some exciting new developments in the pipeline that will not only aid in the planning, implementation and execution within Marketing and General Business Administration, but also from an internal point of view, whereby the team members will be able to have the flexibility to work from any given location.


LH:  Sounds like exciting times lay ahead?


MW:  Most definitely, as a company we have been growing over the last five years, now we have experienced property consultants who are trained in areas of property salient to their requisite denomination within the company focusing on excellence in their field. Emmanuel, for example, has recently gained membership with the National Association of Estate Agents; along with another one of the other managers who is in the process of gaining their membership. Other property consultants are studying for their ARLA qualifications (Association of Residential Lettings Agents).
We have a resident accountant who completed two university level degrees in Accounting and gained a post-graduate honours degree working within the portfolio management department and our Administration gaining further experience both on the job and within formal study as well.
The Diploma in Marketing has not only taught me how to become a better Marketer but also how to better run the company and become a more well rounded manager with the ability to look at changes in the internal and external environment and adapt.


LH:  So Marketing is not just the way we see it then? Is there more to it?

MW:  Of course, we all see a TV advert and thing “wow that’s great” or “what on earth was that?” but realistically the amount of work to just get that advert out in front of us is immense and agencies are just one part of Marketing. There is so much more than just the promotional aspect that we experience on a daily basis.


LH:  You say there’s more to Marketing? Can you elaborate?


MW:  Well, there’s the extending Marketing Mix (or the 7 P’s) of which promotion is just one part. However, we must remember that Dendrow International is in the Services industry and within that we are two sided, in essence, Marketing our services to clients and products to customers. So indeed it is definitely a diverse environment, from internal metrics to measure campaign success in regards to promotional material and advertisements right through to internal processing in respect of property management and full refurbishment. There is so much more that I could go into, but we’d be here for the next month talking about everything.


LH: Wonderful, well thank you for sharing your experience with CIM and how it has benefited Dendrow International, where can people looking for more information find it?


MW: You’re welcome, I’m more than happy to talk about my experience and open to suggestions, anyone can contact me through Dendrow and further information on CIM can be found at www.CIM.co.uk

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Dendrow Day Out - The Cinema

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Published: 29/07/2016   Last Updated: 29/07/2016 16:00:10   Tags:

On a rather warm and muggy day with a light shower, none of us particularly felt up the the same level of excitement as the day out last month, which revolved around jumping around at Oxygen Freejump in Acton. Definitely fun, but I felt that we should do something slightly more relaxed and comfortable.


The Everyman Cinema chain is an independent network of boutique cinemas, with a passion for quality from service of food and drink to seating and films, every cinema has a unique bar or foyer space. The Maida Vale branch definitely does not disappoint. It is incredibly comfortable with every row being made up of sofas and tables for a very comfortable viewing experience.


Independence Day was a hit back when it was released in 1996 with the leading roles being given to Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum who made this iconic film all the more memorable. Even appearances from the likes of Brent Spiner, playing the highly excitable scientist in charge of Area 51 and Mary McDonnell as the first lady.


Independence Day: Resurgence is set 20 years after the original film being the sequel and features an all star ensemble of Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner and William Fichtner.
However, missing from the line up is Will Smith. Although the plot looks primarily at Captain Hiller’s son, who now has taken his father’s place in the USAF equivalent the ESD serving as Fleet Leader

.
The Alien Invasion in the ’96 film meant that the United Nations had set up the Earth Space Defence, being a global defence and research program to reverse engineer alien technology and serve as Earth’s early warning system against extra-terrestrial threats.
The film is as nail biting as it is humourous. With little praise being given for the plot by critics.


The idea was good and the premise for the story is well intentioned, yet it seems to have been lost somewhere through the production. Missing the witty humour and characteristics of Will Smith in the film meant that it was somewhat lacklustre without compromise or being made up.


Even though the film may not have been what we were expecting, it was nice to have a more relaxed outing for this month.
Let’s see what’s planned for next month.


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Day out in Victorian London

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Published: 26/05/2016   Last Updated: 26/05/2016 10:05:40   Tags:

To explore Victorian London by walking through the perfectly preserved halls of of a Victorian Studi House.


18 Stafford Terrace was the Sambourne Family Home where Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne lived with his Family.


The house gives a prime example of the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th Century qhich advocated the use of “foreign or exotic influences to decorate the home”.


Opened to the Public in 1980 by the Victorian Society, which was inaugurated at 18 Stafford Terrace in 1958 by Sambourne’s grand-daughter, Anne, 6th Countess of Rosse and in 1989 the ownership of the property passed to the Royal Borough of Kensignton and Chelsea.


It was surely to be an interesting day of Culture and to see how a Victorian Studio Family home was kept and managed. From the Décor to the furnishings and the sheer expense the Sambournes went to to furnish their home in the style of the then ‘current’ period was astonishing to see.


An enjoyable and interesting experience.


More information on the Sambourne Family Home can be found here.

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New London Mayor: Good or Bad for Housing

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Published: 26/05/2016   Last Updated: 26/05/2016 09:55:46   Tags:

After the Election on May 5Th 2016, Sadiq Khan was elected as Mayor of London. A Labour candidate after having Boris Johnson for the last few years may seem like a blessing for some and catastrophic for others.


The Mayors Housing Directives
Khan’s website, under the homes for Londoners sections states that the election for the Mayor of London was also a referendum on housing citing that Khan will deliver new affordable housing for both sales and rentals by utilising unused public land for development such as land owned by public bodies like TFL. Thus allowing more homes to be built where they are needed and not where developers can make the most profit.


Creation of the London Living Rent with rent based on a third of average local income and not market rates. “A new form of tenure, more affordable, and giving you the chance to save for a deposit.”
The Mayor also wishes to have 80,000 new homes built a year under housing associations with the £400 Million that the Conservative Mayor “failed to invest”.


Khan will also establish a not for profit lettings agency to promote longer term ternancy agreements and the Mayor will work with boroughs to set up Landlord licensing schemes, naming and shaming bad landlords and promoting good ones.


Now that we have established what the Mayor of London wishes to do in respect of housing in the capital we should realistically evaluate if this is actually viable and possible.


Landlord Licensing
First, addressing the last point on the Mayor’s list, Landlord Licensing. This is not something new to the UK and has been around in various forms from HMO through two Selective Licensing. Essentially the latter is a discretionary license, along with additional HMO Licensing.


What does this really mean? Well, the NLA provided a report in 2015 on the use of Licensing in the UK and although it is not a bad thing for a property to be licensed, what Mr Khan is promoting is downright slanderous, as tenants who may have a disagreement with their landlord would essentially be able to report their Landlord and have them listed as a bad landlord. How this would ever be introduced is unfathomable.


The disadvantages of licensing is the increase in cost, for example, to license a property in the London Borough of Ealing would be £1000; this cost ultimately would be passed to the tenants and it increases the landlord’s overheads.


This causes some controversy in respect of Landlords, as the Mayor wants to include a London Living Rent. This Rent cap essentially, if applicable through out London may mean that increases in rent would only be linked to inflation, and not any other contributing factors, such as Clause 24 (there was a previous article written by John McKay regarding this). Again more controversy here.


Buy to Leave and Foreign Investment
The Mayor wants more affordable housing in London to be purchased by First Time Buyers. However, when the average cost of a home in London is £500,000 and Lenders would only provide a mortgage of up to 80% (check with your financial advisor regarding limits and schemes) based on four times a person’s income (Gross) would need to be around £100,000 in order to purchase a home.


London Property is always going to be seen as a worthwhile investment to both UK citizens and Foreigners as Capital Appreciation in the capital has been attractive over the last 20 years or so. The phenomenon known as Buy to Leave has been common with Foreign Investors in London, who sometimes purchase property off plan and remain the owner until the property reaches a certain level and is sold at a profit.


These properties must be rented out to provide accommodation for Londoners. However, from an investment point of view, the tribulations associated with renting a property may not seem worthwhile.

Where does this leave everyone?
It is unclear what, if anything will happen whilst Khan is in office, however, it does not look too promising for Landlords who believe they can just rent out a property and leave it as is for several years. First Time Buyers may get the boost that is needed, considering the schemes and recent changes in Mortgage Lending (up to 100% lending with one high street bank), which seems promising.


Although the economic implications of the changes implied may not take effect for a while. It is a wait and see time before any forecasted action can be taken.

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Properstar-Certified International Advertising

Published: 26/05/2016   Last Updated: 26/05/2016 09:55:52   Tags:

Dendrow International are proud to be able to advertise our Clients’ properties internationally across more than 80 Portals in over 50 countries.


Dendrow have been Certified by Properstar (a List Globally company) to list properties across the entire certified network of Properstar.


Property listings are translated into 16 different languages through our partnership with Properstar.


Foreign investment in London have purchased over £100 Billion worth of property in the last six years. London First (Londonfirst.co.uk) has stated that London is perhaps the international nosiness city. From both residents within London, to further afield, international and multicultural coalitions exist. London’s housing investment is partially financed by selling properties overseas. This may not be the most beneficial for the housing crisis experienced in the Capital, but it does aid in the economic growth. Wider social benefits are provided through inward investment provides employment for local Londoners.


Even with the investment from Overseas Investors, the real scale of the issue is not the fact that properties are being sold overseas, it is that too few homes are being built to cope with the high demand for property.


Dendrow has the capability of being able to find, not only homes for customers through residential sales and lettings, but also, being able to facilitate a sale for a vendor with a time scale that suits both Parties.


Internationally renowned cities such as London are always going to be desirable and Dendrow are here to ensure the best possible exposure for advertising property as well as finding homes for all.

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My Rent Increases Due to Clause 24

Published: 16/03/2016   Last Updated: 16/03/2016 16:12:22   Tags:

Published with Permission from Author John McKay (2016) from (http://www.property118.com/rent-increases-due-clause-24/84540/)

I have always tried to keep my rents low, and like many other full-time ‘professional’ landlords I have the ethos that I don’t increase rents on tenants in situ.  In recent years this has been relatively easy as interest rates have been low (though my HMOs have seen utility bills rise significantly). 


Clause 24 has overturned this philosophy and is forcing me to take action that hitherto I have never considered.  ARLA forecast that rents will have increased by 25% by 2020/21 and this assumes interest rates staying low.  It is impossible to make increases like that in one go, unless there is a change of tenants, so I have started the process now and many of my tenants are now feeling the first effects of Osborne’s indirect Tax On Tenants.  This is intended to be a snapshot of where I am with rent increases due to Clause 24 of the 2015 Finance Act, and also to show that many of my tenants are not in a position to buy.


First, I must say that 3 or 4 years ago I took the decision to start handing the tenant management over to letting agents though I generally look after the properties myself.  This handover has usually taken place at a change of tenant and means that for a lot of properties I do not have in-depth knowledge of the tenant’s circumstances, so I have not included them in this summary.


HMO 1
I manage two tenants that have been with me a long time, the other 3 are managed by the agent.
Adam – Ex army and in his late 50’s and been with me for nearly 7 years.  Adam is on his own and moved to the area to be close to his daughter and grand-daughter.  He works as a cook and is on a low income.  He enjoys the low-cost lifestyle and has no aspiration for his own place whether rented or purchased.  His double room is part ensuite with its own shower and basin.  His rent has been £72 pw ever since he moved in but has now increased to £77 (7% increase) with further annual increases planned.  The rent covers all utilities, broadband, council tax and a cleaner for the shared areas.  These facilities apply to all my HMO’s.


Trevor – Trevor has been with me about 5 years and is in his twenties.  He works as a journalist for a railway magazine and whilst I can’t say for sure, he also doesn’t seem to want to get his own place.  His rent has always been £65 pw for his double room but has now been increased to £70 pw (7.7% increase), with further rises planned on an annual basis.


HMO 2
Ella – She is a young Polish woman who has her own cleaning business and also works evenings at a local restaurant.  Ella would love her own home but does not have a long enough credit history in this country.  Her rent has just been increased from £65 to £70 pw due to clause 24 (7.7% increase).  Ela is a great tenant and very cost conscious so whilst I am concerned that after the next rent rise, she may well move on, I have little choice but to increase rents due to C24.


Thomas – Thomas is a nice Polish guy and is managed by a letting agent.  He has the biggest bedroom and currently pays £75 pw.  I will be talking with the letting agent with a view to increase it to £80pw.  He works shift at a salad packing company.  He again cannot buy his own house due to lack of credit history, and doesn’t want the extra cost of renting a house because he is on a low income.
Neil – A divorcee in his 50’s that wants to live locally to be close to his 4 sons, all of which still live with their mother.  He’s been with me 8 years and works on building sites but has no real aspirations to get his own place.  There was a recent exception to that when his ex-wife threw his oldest son out and Neil was trying to get Council accommodation for them both.  However the situation resolved itself.  The rent on his room has just been increased from £70 to £75 due to C24 (7% increase) and there will be further annual rises.
Gordon – He is a really nice fellow, in his early forties and works as a hospital porter.  Gordon had his own house but decided it was too expensive to run on his income.  He sold it and rented it back for a short while but then moved in to my house where he’s been for over 5 years.  His rent has been increased from £70 pw to £75 pw (7% increase).


This house offers exceptional value for money with 4 double bedrooms, and huge shared areas along with two bathrooms.  There is high speed broadband laid on to this property.


House 1
Gemma – This lady has been with me in this house for 5 years and another one of mine before that for a while.  She is a single mother of 5 and the wear and tear on the property is excessive.  There have been other difficulties, such as rent arrears, but she has an excellent guarantor and I also feel sorry for the kids who have not had the best of starts in life.  I have therefore persevered with the tenancy.  Her rent has always been £700pcm but I have just raised it to £735 (5% increase), with more annual rises planned.  Frankly I do not think she will be able to pay them as she relies on benefits, so I can see that I will have to evict the family to either upgrade the tenant to one that can afford the rise, convert to HMO, or sell.  If I sell the lady is very unlikely to find a suitable house within the Housing Benefit limits set but will hopefully qualify for some sort of discretionary payment, otherwise there are few options open to her.  I would add that this would most likely be the second property I’d sell, the first being one that houses a low-paid care worker and her family.


House 2
Sonia and David –  This house is a SARB (sale and rent back) that I acquired 9 years ago.  They are an elderly couple that were going through severe financial difficulties, despite their quite frugal lives.  Derek had been irresponsible with their money and had to actually declare bankruptcy at a later date.  I purchased the house at a small discount but I made it a condition that I would replace the bathroom as it was well by its ‘sell-by date’.  They pay about 70% of market rent at present and it’s the same figure as we agreed 9 years ago, and whilst I haven’t increased it yet, I fear I may have to.  C24 will put great stress on the rents I charge so I will have to pass it on.  If they can’t pay then I’ll have to evict this lovely old couple who have lived in that house for nearly 40 years.


House 3
Chris –  This is another SARB and the gentleman had also got into a financial problem.  I bought the place over 8 years ago and he has enjoyed the same rental figure of £550 pcm since that date.  I have now increased it to £580 due to C24 (5.5% increase).


House 4
This house is managed by agents. I bought it in 2003 and it was on an estate which had been wrecked by gypsies resulting in making it like a ghost town with most houses boarded up.  This one was partly boarded.  I completely refurbished it and let it out at £600 pcm.  It has had a few tenants over the years and the rent has always been set at the same figure but due to C24 we just increased it to £675 and it was still snapped up (12.5% increase).  The estate has slowly come back into use and is now a decent place to live, but I was amongst the first few people to take a chance in buying one of the houses.


House 5
This is managed by an agent and whilst the tenant has been there for a couple of years on £550 pcm, we have just increased it to £600 due to C24 (9% increase).  There will be another rent rise next year.


House 6
Again managed by agents but had been empty for 14 years.  I spent a great deal of money to renovate it as it was a ‘real state’, and it is now let to a young family.  The rent has not increased since they moved in 4 years ago and I would have been happy to let it stay as it is.  I cannot do that due to C24 and we will be imposing a 5% rise soon.


House 7
This was my own home for 27 years and now houses a single mother of 2, handled by an agent.  The market rent would be around £1050pcm (according to a surveyor) but she has paid £825 since she moved in two and a half years ago.  She is a great tenant but I am now feeling pressure to increase the rent due to C24, which I would not do otherwise.  The lady is on a relatively good income but way below what she would need to earn to buy a house, unless she has about £150k to put down as a deposit.  If I am forced to sell this property she will struggle greatly to find a similar property on the rent I am charging, unless she moves out of town and further away from Cambridge where she works.  This will make it difficult for her children, they can walk to school from where they now live, and will vastly increase her travelling costs.


Like many ‘professional’ landlords I have always taken the view that I do not increase rents on a tenant in situ, and I think that is illustrated by just how long some of my tenants have been with me on the same rent as the day they moved in.  C24 has turned that upside down and I now must put them up.
Not one of my tenants has given notice since I increased their rents.

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Right to Rent-Welcome to Big Brother’s Little Brother

Published: 29/02/2016   Last Updated: 29/02/2016 15:09:09   Tags:

From the 1st of February, the new code of conduct came into effect from the government that essentially affects every person in the UK who rents or lets their home or house.


The government have stated that “As a landlord, you have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector” and that “Under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 a landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, or has a ‘right to rent’ in the UK. Someone will have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK provided they are present lawfully in accordance with immigration laws.”


So, anyone over the age of 18 living in a privately rented property, whether they are on the tenancy agreement or not must have their immigration status and “right to rent” checked. This must be carried out prior to the tenancy being granted.

Landlord Checks

Landlords will have to make the following checks (exclusion apply click here for more)


Check which adults will live at your property as their only or main home.


See the original documents that allow the tenant to live in the UK.
Check that the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant, with the tenant present.


Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.


You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England.


Landlords or Lettings agents will be required to check that the property is used as the tenants main home and checking the original documents.


These checks are only in effect on new tenancies granted after 1st February 2016 and are not required for tenancies entered into prior to this date, nor are the checks required if a renewal agreement is signed after this date, provided the occupiers are the same and there has been no break in the tenant’s rights.


With most rent to rent companies, who rent a property from a landlord, they will be required to carry out the right to rent checks on the subsequent subtenants.

Timing
Rather vital to relocation agents or tenants travelling from abroad who will have arranged accommodation prior to arrival. The government has stated that “landlords are allowed to check a person’s right to rent before taking up occupation of the property, rather than before the start of the residential tenancy agreement.”

Further Checks
Subsequent checks may be required dependent on a tenant’s right to rent and leave to remain in the uk if granted for a period.

Reporting
 The landlord or agent will be required to report to the home office if a tenant’s right to rent status has changed and they are no longer permissible to remain in the UK.


This seems a bit overkill, essentially landlords and agents are now a full time unpaid employee of the Home Office and ensuring anyone who no longer has a right to stay in the UK is removed.

Fines
 This is a code of conduct and not law, the fines are issued under a civil penalty and not a criminal prosecution.


The fines start at £80 for a lodger and £1000 for occupiers in rented accommodation and £500 for a lodger and £3000 for occupiers in rented accommodation if the second offence happens within 3 years of the first.

This can be negated by a statutory excuse being given by the landlord. “A statutory excuse under section 24 of the Immigration Act 2014 allows landlords (section 26 for agents) to avoid a penalty for letting their property to someone disqualified from renting. Landlords can establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty by conducting simple document checks before allowing adults to occupy rented accommodation. Landlords should not let property for use by an adult who cannot satisfy a right to rent check. Some documents will allow for an unlimited right to rent, while others will allow for a time-limited right to rent and these are detailed in this code. Where a landlord has previously let accommodation to a person with a time-limited right to rent, they can maintain their excuse against a penalty by conducting follow-up checks as detailed in this code. If follow-up checks indicate that the person no longer has the right to rent, to maintain their excuse the landlord should make a report to the Home Office as soon as reasonably practicable. Landlords will need to keep records of the checks they have undertaken for those people who will occupy their accommodation.”

List of acceptable documents

 The following is the list of acceptable documents from the code of conduct.


List A – acceptable documents to establish a continuous statutory excuse. If a tenant can produce the requisite document(s) from either group 1 or group 2 then they will not require a repeat check.
Group 1 – if a prospective tenant can produce one document from this group then a continuous statutory excuse will be established.
 
1
A passport (current or expired) showing that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and colonies having the ‘right of abode’ in the UK.
2
A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
3
A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of the European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
4
A ‘permanent’ residence card, ‘indefinite leave to remain’, ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘no time limit’ card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
5
A biometric ‘residence permit’ card (current or expired) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.
6
A passport or other ‘travel document’ (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is either ‘exempt from immigration control’, has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, has the ‘right of abode’ in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.
7
An immigration status document (current or expired) containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
8
A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.
Group 2 – If a prospective tenant can produce any 2 documents from this group then a continuous statutory excuse will be established
 
1
A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents.
2
Evidence (identity card, document of confirmation issued by one of HM forces, confirmation letter issued by the Secretary of State) of the holder’s previous or current service in any of HM’s UK armed forces.
3
A letter from HM Prison Service, the Scottish Prison Service or the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirming the holder’s name, date of birth and that they have been released from custody of that service in the 6 months prior to the check.
4
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check from an officer of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales confirming that the holder is the subject of an order requiring supervision by that officer; from an officer of a local authority in Scotland confirming that the holder is the subject of a probation order requiring supervision by that officer; or, from an officer of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland confirming that the holder is the subject of an order requiring supervision by that officer.
5
A current full or provisional photocard UK driving licence.
6
Benefits paperwork issued by HMRC, a UK local authority or Jobcentre Plus, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions or the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development, issued within the 3 months prior to the check.
7
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check signed by a representative of a public authority, voluntary organisation or charity which operates a scheme to assist individuals to secure accommodation in the private rented sector in order to prevent or resolve homelessness. This letter must confirm the holder’s name, and the address details of the prospective tenancy which they are assisting with obtaining for the holder.
8
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check by a UK government department or Local Authority and signed by a named official (giving their name and professional address), confirming the holder’s name and that they have previously been known to the department or local authority.
9
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check confirming the holder’s name signed by the person who employs the holder (giving their name and business address) confirming the holder’s status as employee and employee reference number or their National Insurance number.
10
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check from a British passport holder who works in (or is retired from) an acceptable profession as specified in the list of acceptable professional persons at Annex A. The letter should confirm the holder’s name, and confirm that the acceptable professional person has known the holder for at least 3 months. This letter should be signed by the acceptable professional person giving their name, address, passport number, profession and place of work (or former place of work if retired), how long they have known the holder and in what capacity.
11
A letter from a UK police force confirming that the holder is a victim of crime and has reported a passport or Home Office biometric immigration document stolen, stating the crime reference number, issued within the 3 months prior to the check.
12
A letter issued within the 3 months prior to the check from a UK further or higher education institution confirming the holder’s acceptance on a current course of studies. This letter should include the name of the educational institution, as well as the name and duration of the course.
13
Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (criminal record check) issued within the 3 months prior to the check.

List B – if a prospective tenant can produce one document from this group then a time-limited statutory excuse will be established. A repeat check will be required within the timescales outlined below.
 
1
A current passport or other ‘travel document’ endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
 
2
A current biometric ‘residence permit’ card issued by the Home Office to the holder, which indicates that the named person is permitted to stay in the UK for a time limited period.
 
3
A current ‘residence card’ (including an accession residence card or a derivative residence card) issued by the Home Office to a non-EEA national who is either a ‘family member’ of an EEA or Swiss national or has a ‘derivative’ right of residence.
 
4
A current immigration status document issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the holder may stay in the UK for a time-limited period.




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Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) set to increase from April 2016.

Published: 29/02/2016   Last Updated: 29/02/2016 15:09:18   Tags:

Not the end of the world for Buy to Let (BTL) landlords or those wishing to purchase a second home, but it does mean that the initial cost of purchase will be substantially higher (by an additional 3%.


The government are yet to release information pertaining to exemptions on this for corporates and funds owning more than 15 residential properties. However the government do say that the additional tax collected will provide approximately “£60 million for communities in England where the impact of second homes is particularly acute”.


This is a rather outlandish statement to make by the government, where is the money really going to go? Austerity and cutting the Public Deficit was supposed to be somewhat of a good thing, but is it really when the Chancellor wants to increase taxes to Landlords who are generating an income through a legitimate business. It is reminiscent of the government’s changes for all major retailers to charge 5p for a plastic bag. Now this seems sensible when going for the weekly shop to the supermarket, but when purchasing clothing at major high street retailers, it forces one to think ahead. The reason this is pertinent is that the Government “hoped that the funds would be re-invested into sustainability”. More information can be found here


The real question here is not the fact that the initial cost of purchase is increasing and the funds being utilised in extra generated income by the government for stabilising the economy, but the real question is what effect will the increased SDLT have on the rent?


Similarly, the worrying factor are the Chancellor’s announcement at the previous budget announcement. Where the phased introduction from April 2017 will see the reduction in the tax relief on the Mortgage Interest (MI) payments reduced. Essentially, should there be zero cash-flow there would still be a tax liability. Further information can be found here of the Chancellor’s announcements in the Summer Budget 2015.


Therefore, this means that the taxes will rise on BTL property income from rent, thus reducing the available funds to improve and maintain the property. What does this mean for Tenant? That the rents will ultimately increase on an annual basis. Will this mean that Investors will dispose of property? Quite possibly. What will this do to the housing market? A surplus of stock and Fist Time Buyers who would find it difficult to qualify for a Mortgage and have deposit funds saved for a purchase. Even though the Government is increasing the amount of borrowing from 20% to 40% on the Help to Buy Scheme: Mortgage Guarantee, within London and the introduction of a Help to Buy ISA, more information here.


And Lastly, one of the more crucial changes that the Chancellor has announced is that Capital Gains Tax will become payable 30 days after the disposal of the property and not when the tax return is submitted annually. Even though this is planned for April 2019 and Legislation is being drafted for consultation in 2016. The result of this for investors could prove quite troublesome.

This may seem like the Government’s angle here is to tax private residential Landlords to excess with exemptions for limited companies with more than 15 properties and Housing Authorities. Yet, we are reminded that investment in property is a marathon and not a sprint. The ultimate goal is provide housing for all and the only feasible outlet for the property market is to build more homes in the areas that can and require regeneration to modern standards.

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Trip to the Science Museum 28/01/2016

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Published: 29/02/2016   Last Updated: 29/02/2016 15:22:06   Tags:

Well it was that time of the month for the Dendrow day out and it was my turn.


Something with interaction so all of us could have some fun at the same time and so it proved as I had organised a lunar landing and a flight with The Red Arrows.

This was only the afternoon so we all met at the Paddington office and enjoyed a bring and share lunch which is exactly as it sounds each person sharing what he or she has provided always a nice way to enjoy being together before we were to set off on our travels.
We were picked up by minibus at 1pm.Let the fun begin!! And so it proved as I had already booked the tickets it was just a simple case of picking the tickets up and then making our way to the first event which I was looking forward to: A lunar landing
We were lead into a small compact cinema and waited not knowing what to expect, then a film started it was an astronaut who explained in his own words how it felt to land on the moon for him and his fellow astronaut and then spending the next three days on the surface collecting rocks for examination back here on Earth. His words to the group were to enjoy the ride.


We were then lead into another cinema this time this was 3D and boy was this exciting as we took our seats and were advised to fasten our seatbelts which we all did then the seats went back the screen at the front appeared and the countdown was on we were in a rocket being blasted out high into space all of which was being felt in the seats with a rumbling effect giving us all the full feeling of being in that position.


Next was the Red Devils similar to what we had experienced in a cockpit this time was absolutely amazing and literally everyone was on the edge of their seats.


The museum with all the interactive bits and pieces was a great day out and an amazing time was had by all.

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Right to Rent-Welcome to Big Brother’s Little Brother

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Published: 04/02/2016   Last Updated: 04/02/2016 13:54:47   Tags:

From the 1st of February, the new code of conduct came into effect from the government that essentially affects every person in the UK who rents or lets their home or house.
The government have stated that “As a landlord, you have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector” and that “Under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 a landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, or has a ‘right to rent’ in the UK. Someone will have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK provided they are present lawfully in accordance with immigration laws.”
So, anyone over the age of 18 living in a privately rented property, whether they are on the tenancy agreement or not must have their immigration status and “right to rent” checked. This must be carried out prior to the tenancy being granted.

Landlord Checks
Landlords will have to make the following checks (exclusion apply click here for more)
1. Check which adults will live at your property as their only or main home.
2. See the original documents that allow the tenant to live in the UK.
3. Check that the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant, with the tenant present.
4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.
You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England.
Landlords or Lettings agents will be required to check that the property is used as the tenants main home and checking the original documents.
These checks are only in effect on new tenancies granted after 1st February 2016 and are not required for tenancies entered into prior to this date, nor are the checks required if a renewal agreement is signed after this date, provided the occupiers are the same and there has been no break in the tenant’s rights.
With most rent to rent companies, who rent a property from a landlord, they will be required to carry out the right to rent checks on the subsequent subtenants.

Timing
Rather vital to relocation agents or tenants travelling from abroad who will have arranged accommodation prior to arrival. The government has stated that “landlords are allowed to check a person’s right to rent before taking up occupation of the property, rather than before the start of the residential tenancy agreement.”

Further Checks
Subsequent checks may be required dependent on a tenant’s right to rent and leave to remain in the uk if granted for a period.

Reporting
 The landlord or agent will be required to report to the home office if a tenant’s right to rent status has changed and they are no longer permissible to remain in the UK.
This seems a bit overkill, essentially landlords and agents are now a full time unpaid employee of the Home Office and ensuring anyone who no longer has a right to stay in the UK is removed.

Fines
 This is a code of conduct and not law, the fines are issued under a civil penalty and not a criminal prosecution.
The fines start at £80 for a lodger and £1000 for occupiers in rented accommodation and £500 for a lodger and £3000 for occupiers in rented accommodation if the second offence happens within 3 years of the first.

This can be negated by a statutory excuse being given by the landlord. “A statutory excuse under section 24 of the Immigration Act 2014 allows landlords (section 26 for agents) to avoid a penalty for letting their property to someone disqualified from renting. Landlords can establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty by conducting simple document checks before allowing adults to occupy rented accommodation. Landlords should not let property for use by an adult who cannot satisfy a right to rent check. Some documents will allow for an unlimited right to rent, while others will allow for a time-limited right to rent and these are detailed in this code. Where a landlord has previously let accommodation to a person with a time-limited right to rent, they can maintain their excuse against a penalty by conducting follow-up checks as detailed in this code. If follow-up checks indicate that the person no longer has the right to rent, to maintain their excuse the landlord should make a report to the Home Office as soon as reasonably practicable. Landlords will need to keep records of the checks they have undertaken for those people who will occupy their accommodation.”

List of acceptable documents

 The following is the list of acceptable documents from the code of conduct.
List A – acceptable documents to establish a continuous statutory excuse. If a tenant can produce the requisite document(s) from either group 1 or group 2 then they will not require a repeat check.

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HARRY POTTER - WARNER BROTHERS STUDIO TOUR

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Published: 04/12/2015   Last Updated: 10/12/2015 12:37:52   Tags: DENDROW NEWS,

A DAY FILLED WITH MAGIC, LAUGHTER & IMAGINATION


This month our very own Mimi Wilkinson and Amy Spurling planned our afternoon out.


All Aboard!!! We all boarded a bus and no one but Mimi and Amy knew where we were going. After a fifty minuet bus ride we arrived in Leavesden to start out tour of the world famous Harry Potter Studio Tour.


It started off sitting in a cinema were we watched a fifteen minuet movie hosted by the famous Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. They gave us an insight into what it took for them and the fellow members of the Harry Potter movie crew to create such an incredible motion picture. The screen then disappeared to reveal the entrance doors to the Grand Hall, where actors from Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon & Maggie Smith had once stood.


Round every corner of the tour something new was discovered. Warner Brothers Studios created a magical feeling from the start till the end. Even though we were given looks at everything behind the scenes it gave us all a greater understanding of what goes into making the movies from the special effects, the prosthetics and every detail of the movies that viewers probably didn’t notice.
The day was filled with magic, laughter and imagination. I can no

w say every person left with a mind full of magic.

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How to Deal with Common Household Mould and Mildew

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Published: 04/12/2015   Last Updated: 10/12/2015 12:38:37   Tags: DENDROW NEWS, TENANTS

It is a common phenomenon in most accommodation that the appearance of Black Mould or Mildew will inevitably happen over time.


This can be a normal part of living and can quite easily be treated. However, this article will focus on the most common cause that Dendrow have experienced, being formation of condensation from daily living. There are some exceptional cases involving rising damp and water leaks, however, these will be covered in another article.

The Science
Moulds and Mildew are fungi. They are neither plant nor animal, but have their own kingdom (since 1969) which includes such marvels as Penicillin, yeast for making bread and in wine fermentation.


Most common fungi are ubiquitous within our environment and we are exposed to them constantly. It is very rare that diseases are caused by these common fungi and it is necessarily the inflammatory press reports that cause a hype around concerns.

Requirements for Mould Growth
There are four requirements being
1. Mould Spores
2. Mould Food
3. Appropriate Temperatures
4. Considerable Moisture


It does not help matters that Mould grows wonderfully in temperatures akin to human comfort and that moisture can build up in a home through many of life’s daily activities.
Activities such as:


1. Showering or bathing
2. Cooking
3. Drying clothes on indoor clothes driers or tumble dryers which are not vented to the outside


These all increase the internal humidity within the home and can indeed aid the growth of spores and spread throughout.
These all cause a considerable amount of condensation in the home, even breathing causes a build up of moisture and the natural micro-organisms that are carried on the body can multiply in a home.


Determining if you have Mould
There are many different identifiers in the home for characterisation of mould growth. However, in this instance the two most notable are the black that appears on bathroom grout, or the green-black mould on a bathroom ceiling. Indeed these can appear in a bedroom, kitchen, lounge or even in your fridge.

Tell-tale Signs
1. Earthy or musty smell, like the forest floor
2. Appearance of Dark or Black spots on ceiling, walls, grouting or mastic (main areas)

Case Study
Dendrow manage a garden flat property in a Victorian Mansions block, where Rising Damp was determined to be present. This resulted in Kenwood PLC being instructed to carry out damp proofing works throughout the whole property.


Tenants moved into the property once the work had been completed as advised and after 6 months the tenants started to report mould growth and they believed that it was rising damp.
Given that Kenwood PLC have a guarantee in place, Dendrow immediately instructed Kenwood to go and evaluate the situation.
The returned report conceded that the cause of the mould growth was condensation within the property and there was no evidence of rising damp.

Conclusion
The activities outlined above as causes of mould growth were indeed to blame for the instances experienced in this case study.

Eliminating Mould Growth
Preventative Measure
Some simple tips and tricks for preventing growth
1. Regular cleaning with bleach containing products
2. Ventilation of the property by ensuring that the extractor fans are left on and turned on whilst showering
3. Ensuring the heating is on for a reasonable time to allow condensation to evaporate and escape the property through extractor vents.
4. Extractor hood is used when cooking
5. Ensure the property is ventilated when drying clothes and the heating is on.
6. If a tumble dryer is present, ensure the vent exits the property

Eliminating mould when it first appears
From experience, the first action that must be taken when mould or mildew first appears on walls, ceilings, grouting or mastic is to immediately treat it with a bleach containing product, such as Flash with Bleach and leave overnight then wipe away with warm water in the morning.


This simple piece of advice can indeed alleviate mould or mildew caused by a build up condensation in the home.


Another common place for the formation of Mildew/Mould is in the bathroom and specifically on the bathroom ceiling. Ensuring the extractor fan is clean and free of any dust or blockages will ensure that it is as efficient as possible, whilst leaving the heating on in the bathroom will aid in the evaporation of the condensation and extraction through the vent.


If the build up of mould has passed the stage where a standard solution of bleach with water (i.e flash with bleach) is no longer sufficient, then a specialist product such as “HG Mould Spray” can be used. Again, this has only been used in bathrooms and in particular on the ceiling. Left overnight, the ceiling looks brand new.


Follow the instructions on the package carefully and do consult other sources of information

Overall the tips and tricks highlighted above will indeed aid in the prevention, elimination and alliveation of common household mould. Although not an exhaustive list of causes, it is indeed an avenue by which tenants can free themselves from the constraints of mildew buildup in the home.

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Written evidence submitted by John McKay (FB 04)

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Published: 05/11/2015   Last Updated: 04/12/2015 11:27:21   Tags:

Submission to the Public Committee on the Finance Bill: regarding 'restricting deductions for finance costs related to residential property' announced in the Summer Budget.

Citation: Mckay, Mr. J (2015) Written evidence submitted. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmpublic/finance/memo/fb04.htm (Accessed Oct 2015)

1. My background:

I have been a landlord for 13 years and have built up a medium sized portfolio consisting of family lets and HMO’s, some of them I own myself and some jointly with my wife. I think it relevant to note that I do not believe that any of my properties fall into the ‘first time buyer’ category. I consider myself to be a good landlord with some very long-term tenants in both types of properties. Most of the tenants are private but I do have vulnerable elderly people and also a single mother of 5 on benefits.
I work full time in the property business. My wife has a salaried job.
I am appalled by the proposal to restrict the mortgage interest relief for private landlords. I have worked very hard to build up our business and feel I am being highly penalised when other sole traders are not being subjected to the same restrictions on monies they borrow for their businesses.
We are not rich people and this tax change will have a very negative impact upon us.

2. Summary of this submission:

The decision to no longer allow landlords to offset all of the finance costs of running their business is iniquitous and unfair. It will lead to businesses which have been viable for many years becoming unsustainable. There has been much misinformation about this, not least in how it was presented by the Chancellor in his speech on the Summer Budget and also in the policy guidance HMRC has published in relation to it. This submission is meant to supplement several of the other submissions to the Committee, and contains critical information on the devastating impact the decision will have if it is not reversed. I urge you to read the examples I will present below so that the Committee can see the range of people affected by this - and when landlords fail, tenants will suffer. A close examination of how the decision will work in practice, based on the models given by Megan Shaw at HMRC demonstrates how the measure introduces the dangerous precedent of taxing non-existent 'profits.' This contravenes a fundamental principle of taxation, namely that you tax where there is a capacity and ability to pay.

3. Example 1:

John Smith has a full time job earning £55,000 per annum. He is a 40% rate tax payer and has a buy to let landlord portfolio comprising 20 properties. He started investing in property 10 years ago.
John is in a quandary. He has heard about the budget proposal to change the way that landlords are taxed. His rental income is currently £100,000, his mortgage costs are £40,000 and his other legitimate business costs are £40,000, leaving him with a gross rental profit of £20,000. John currently pays 4% interest on his £1M borrowings. He pays £8,000 tax on his rental profit, leaving a net profit of £12,000 after tax which he currently uses to fund his children going to university. Later in life, he plans to use his rental profit to supplement his pension.
John has calculated how much additional tax he would pay when the new tax system is introduced. He has worked out that the tax bill on his gross rental profits of £20,000 would rise from £8,000 to £19,000, leaving him with a net profit after tax of only £1,000. This is not much reward for the investment he has made in his property business and for the services he provides for the tenants in his 20 properties. His effective rate of tax on his gross rental profit is 95%.
John is aware that interest rates are likely to go up soon. He has calculated that a 1% increase in interest rates would reduce his gross profit to £10,000. Under the new tax system, the amount of tax John would pay would exceed his gross profit so he would be operating his portfolio at a loss. His once profitable property business would no longer be sustainable.
John knows that if he sells some or all of his properties he will face a significant capital gains tax bill because unlike homeowners, landlords are taxed on capital gains when they sell.
John is now considering the following options:
• Give up, and sell his property portfolio now
• Sell some of his properties to reduce his mortgage costs and risk
• Put up rents to help him pay his higher tax bill
• Just get on with it and subsidise his portfolio from his earned income which has already been taxed
John knows if he does nothing, and interest rates go up, there is a risk that he will not be able to pay his tax bill and mortgage costs and that his lenders may call in his loans and he could be declared bankrupt.
4. Example 2:

John & Julie are married and together run a sizeable rental property business. They have not run this through a limited company due to the difficulty of obtaining finance for purchases with limited company status.

2016-17 2020-21
Rental income 600,000 600,000
Exps 200,000 200,000
Int 350,000 0
Net Rental Profit 50,000 400,000
Personal allowance 22,000 0

Taxable income 28,000 400,000
basic rate(x2) 5,600 17,200
40% 0 85,600
45% 0 45,000
14780
Less 20% relief (70,000)
net tax liability 5600 77,800

Tax increase 0 72,200
effective rate on "real" profit 11.2% 147.4%

John and Julie spend 70 hours a week running the business between them and their cash return is modest. This is because they have ploughed most of their returns into building the portfolio and taken risks to allow them to grow their business. The current business model is now unsustainable as a result of the budget tax changes as their tax bill exceeds their rea l rental profits. (T heir net rental profit is really £50,000 and their tax bill is £77,800)
Every increase in interest rates will exacerbate the position John and Julie will find themselves in. It is, for them, a catastrophic scenario.

5. Example 3.
Susan is a landlord with 16 properties. She is entirely dependent on her rental income and has no other employment.

Rental Income – £108,000 pa
Finance Costs – £47,000 pa
Non-Finance Costs – £20,000 pa

Scenario A – The current method of calculation would result as:
£108,000 – £47,000 – £20,000 = £41,000 pre-tax (so she is in the 20% tax bracket)

Scenario B – The new method for calculation would result as:
£108,000 – £20,000 = £88,000 pre-tax (so she is now in the 40% tax bracket)

Impact of the tax change: this moves somebody from the 20% tax band to the 40% tax band.
The tax payable by Susan would increase from £6,603 to £15,603 as a result of the proposed budget change. (This is before interest rate rises which will lead to a further deterioration in the viability of her business.)
These figures are very realistic and commonplace for professional portfolio landlords, and demonstrates what will happen to a large number of landlords and an even much larger number of households.

6. Example 4:

This is an example based on the information received by Megan Shaw at HMRC.
The details are:
The property rental income on one house is £15,300, or £1,275 p.m. (this could be a 3, 4 or 5 bed HMO maybe depending on the location).
The property value is: £275,000
Expenses: 10% agent fees (£1,530) and a few repairs, gas safety, insurance etc. = £3,300
Finance on a loan of £216,000 (78.5%LTV) @ 5% = £10,800
Net profit: £1,200
1. A 20% tax rate payer who rents out only one property is hereby pushed into the 40% band with the new proposals.
2. The taxable property profit of £1,200 will be deemed by HMRC to be £12,000
3. The "real profit" of £1, 200 was initially taxed @20% making tax due £240
4. The tax payable increases by £1, 800 making a total of £2, 040
5. The tax liability completely wipes out the profit and leaves a further liability of £840.
6. In percentage terms £2,040/£1,200 x 100 is 170%, the effective rate at which tax will be paid.
7. This simple model is no longer viable, the landlord must sell up, pay down borrowings or increase rent.
These figure s are very realistic and commonplace for individual landlords, so this example demonstrates what will happen to a large number of landlords.
If the landlord had a second property, al so with a profit of £1,200, their tax in 2020/21 would go up by £2,640 compared to the liability if they only had one. The effective tax rate on this second property would be £2,640/£1,200 x 100, or 220% of the rent.
Under the current system this landlord would have remained a basic rate taxpayer even with two properties. Under the proposed system they will very much be a higher rate taxpayer.
Explanatory note: After April 2020 (when the restriction will be fully implemented) landlords who incur interest (and other associated finance costs) on residential properties that they let out will need to calculate their tax differently. They will no longer be ab le to deduct interest from their rental income to arrive at their taxable profits; they will instead receive a reduction from their income tax liability equivalent to 20% of those interest costs. If that means they become a higher rate taxpayer (or they were anyway) then they will have to pay more tax as a result of this change.

7. Conclusion:

These case studies demonstrate the precarious position into which portfolio landlords in particular will fall and the human cost to landlords and tenants cannot be underestimated. The Government needs to conduct extensive and serious research into the number of properties and households which this policy will adversely affect before it concludes if the proposal should be implemented in its current form. I strongly believe that if the proposal is implemented in its current form it will have severe adverse consequences for many landlords and tenants, for the private housing sector and the economy in general.

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The Market vs. Rightmove & Zoopla

Published: 31/07/2015   Last Updated: 31/07/2015 17:55:15   Tags: Property Market

“The Paradox of Choice”

On The Market vs. Rightmove & Zoopla

Over the last 15 years Rightmove and Zoopla have been the big boys of the online property advertising world.  With estate agents paying above the odds for advertising with them, to an almost crippling extent, On The Market (OTM) seemed like a breath of fresh air, with drastically reduced fees for agent members, and all seemed to be on the up.  Or was it?

For landlords and vendors looking to let or sell their property, what is the most important factor of instructing an agent?  The answers to this question vary, from the best possible price and keeping the process simple, right through to taking away the stress of management; and that is the real skill of a property consultant.

In effect, there are many different aspects as to why landlords and vendors would instruct an agent to market their property for them.  The magic answer is “exposure”.  Rightmove attracts 90m visitors a month and Zoopla 45m visitors.  Now that is exposure!

This is a brief history of On The Market, very brief as it only launched on January 26th 2015.

“Fed up of shelling out listing fees to these portals [Rightmove and Zoopla], Savills, Knight Frank, Chestertons, Strutt & Parker, Douglas & Gordon and Glentree Estates have formed a not-for-profit organisation called Agents’ Mutual and signed up 4,000 branches to their own new sales and lettings website, OnTheMarket.com (OTM).” ¹

Essentially, whilst the “one company one vote” method is a phenomenal idea, the downside is that these large companies can survive whether or not they need to pay the extortionate fees to Rightmove and Zoopla.  So, for the independent agency, how does this pan out?  To those that rely on the leads generated by Rightmove and Zoopla, surely a change to a cheaper alternative – albeit a lesser known company – would be a good idea?

Yet this is not the case, as The Telegraph states that selling your home in 2015 could become a real headache with properties taking longer to sell and at a lower price.

On the Market is the brain child of the above agents and Ian Springett, you may remember him from Primelocation.  Again this was set up by a consortium of agents, although it was bought by Zoopla through DMGT as it was part of the Fastcrop business in 2008.

Therefore, this begs the question if OTM is a not-for-profit organisation – set up by agents for agents to counter the growing duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla – how can this portal best serve the customer, i.e. the landlord and vendor for a fast-let or sale at the best possible price and the customer looking for their next home at an affordable price?

Thus, we come back to the question, as a property owner instructing an agent for marketing purposes, who is the best one to choose?

Again, the paradox of choice.

Rightmove and Zoopla have a combined reach of 135m visits every month, so it would seem practical to choose an agent that is on both, since OTM wants its customers to believe that it can make a real change in the way online advertising is happening in 2015 by returning control to its agent members.  However, is this really beneficial for clients looking for the greatest market exposure and best possible price?  What about for customers looking for their next home, is OTM really a wise choice in 2015?

Now, OTM state that it would take 5 years for the duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla to fall, based on its restrictive marketing directive, by which agent members can only advertise on Rightmove or Zoopla and OTM.

In 2014, Zoopla launched a marketing campaign with the strapline of “Smart knows where to be seen selling”; stating in their 5 points that they have 73% brand awareness across the UK, user friendly access for tablet and mobile users, and the fact that they spend millions annually on advertising nationally.

Rightmove are similar ³ with their  advertisements appearing all over the UK, where they are inviting searchers to “Find your happy”.

OTM, on the other hand, released a TV advert in January 2015 with print publication nationally, meaning they have hit their target audience, but is that enough for property owners?

It is highly doubtful that the size of the marketing budget that OTM has will be anything but a thorn in the side of Rightmove and Zoopla.  Then again, working for agents by agents it is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can mean that the cost of business will decrease and likewise the cost passed onto clients and customers should be reduced.  However, it is not happening currently as the cost per lead has increased for those agents who have moved over to OTM.

In the end, the role of the property consultant is to best serve the customer and client and ensure a beneficial outcome for all concerned, especially when it comes to removing the stress of the situation.

Finally, using Zoopla’s famous strapline, “Smart wins with an agent on Zoopla”.



1 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/constructionandproperty/11317894/Why-selling-your-home-in-2015-is-about-to-become-a-real-headache.html
2 http://www.zoopla.co.uk/find-agents/smart-selling/
3 http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/rightmove-news/find-your-happy
4 http://mgy.co.uk/latest-news/onthemarket/

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Security Deposit: Ensuring Fair Disbursement at the End of AST

Published: 11/06/2015   Last Updated: 23/06/2015 11:15:19   Tags:

Legal compliance and Regulatory measures mean that Letting agents acting on behalf of their Clients are treading on egg shells when it comes to the holding and protection of a tenant’s security deposit.

Three government backed schemes exist that Letting Agents can use to protect a tenant’s security deposit. They are
-The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
-The Tenants Deposit scheme (TDS)
-Mydeposits.co.uk (TDSL)

They are either insurance backed or custodial schemes. Essentially the main difference is whether the agency or landlord holds the Deposit on behalf of the tenant in a segregated holding account, or if the funds are actually lodged with the scheme themselves.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, along with how the return of the deposit to the tenant or any deductions are negotiated should there be a dispute.

Dendrow have used mydeposits for several years now and have found that the service offered has been rather seamless. There have only been three disputes in the five years that Dendrow have been with the scheme and from experience they have always worked out in a fair manner for both the landlord and the tenant.

The term “fair wear and tear” is used a lot in the deduction and return of deposit.

The House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as:

‘Reasonable use of the premises by the Tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces’

This is not exactly precise and there are no precise rules on what is ‘reasonably acceptable’ when it comes to fair wear and tear. 

However mydeposits do state that some marks on a carpet might be unavoidable, however, nail vanish spills and iron burns are not and would be the responsibility of the tenant for repair or if irreparable then replacement would be necessary.

Tips for Landlords:

- Ensure a complete refurbishment of the property and keep all invoices and receipts (best carried out when first purchasing the property)
- When the property is let, a full Check In Inventory must be carried out by an independent third party Inventory company. This can be done by the landlord or Letting’s agency however it is best carried out by an unbiased third party.
- A correct and fair Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will protect both the Landlord and the tenant by outlining all obligations on both sides.
- Protection of the Tenant’s Security Deposit in a scheme is a requirement under law
- At the end of the tenancy ensure a check out report is completed by the same Inventory Company. This will clearly show anything that may need repair and subsequent deduction from a tenant’s Security Deposit.
- Adherence to time limits set by the various schemes at the end of a tenancy for payment of deposit, informing of deductions (acquiring quotes for itemised repairs if necessary)
- Negotiating the deductions and return of deposit less deductions.
- Should the tenants not agree to the deductions then they can raise a dispute with the chosen scheme (this will be discussed in another article), however this is not as difficult as it may seem.

Ultimately, for a Landlord, the process of protecting a tenant’s deposit and utilising the funds if the property requires work as a result of non-compliance or breach of the contract by the tenant is not a daunting task, but merely an element of added security for the landlord.

Tips for Tenants:

It may seem like an awful lot of money to be paying across to the Landlord or Agent, along with the first month’s rent in advance, administration charges, referencing charges and any other costs incurred when renting a property. However, ultimately, there may be charges deducted at the end of the tenancy, some legitimate and some rather extreme. However the following items are a must in ensuring that you get the maximum amount of deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
Read the tenancy agreement in full and ask the acting property consultant if anything is unclear. The terms under which a tenant is responsible will be outlined here, in conjunction with the obligations required for any post tenancy charges.
“administration charges and check out fees”, ask in advance if any clauses pertain to this as it would usually be the responsibility of the tenant to pay for the check out report and the landlord or agency may charge administration charges to make good any non-compliance by the tenant
The Check in Inventory
Prepared by an independent third party and will state the condition of the property and a schedule of contents
It is usual for the tenant to have responded if they notice anything different within 7 days, if not it is taken as acceptance of inventory.
Deposit Protection Certificate/Deposit Protection number
The landlord or agent will have protected the deposit in a scheme and provided evidence of such to the tenant under scheme rules
The Check Out Report
Completed at the end of the tenancy and will highlight any changes, no matter how small, from the original check in inventory
Deposit Deduction Report
Generated by an agent or landlord to show the itemised deductions and relative cost
Negotiating deductions and fair wear and tear
Check the tenancy agreement for obligations as some clauses will point out tenant responsibilities directly and others indirectly.
Should the tenant and landlord/agent be unable to agree to the deductions then the tenant can instigate a dispute with the scheme (this will follow in another article)
Finalisation and payment back to the tenant

Overall, a security deposit acts to serve a purpose, which is to protect the property on behalf of the landlord and as a deterrent for the tenant to maliciously cause any damage. It is indeed ironic, however this has happened in the past. Essentially, by following the tips outlined above as an overall guide of the most pragmatic way to ensure that a security deposit is held correctly and used for its intended purpose.

Disclaimer:
This article is for illustrative purposes only and not intended as any form of advice, legal or otherwise. It is based on the experience of the writer and covers the most salient points from start to finish for both the landlord and the tenant in regards to the security deposit and protective manner for receipt to both parties under fair wear and tear

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Dendrow Day Out - Go Karting

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Published: 31/05/2015   Last Updated: 10/12/2015 12:38:05   Tags: DENDROW NEWS

Another successful month at Dendrow meant another team day out in May. This time the event was left to Mimmi and James to organise. The day started off in the Ealing Branch, and consisted of a glorious buffet styled lunch. Whilst eating a variety of food, from sushi to chicken wings, the team all discussed what they thought might be in store for the day.

A convoy of cars left the office early afternoon before arriving at the secret destination. The surprise was revealed as we entered the building of a newly built indoor Go-Karting Track! After spending an insightful 15 minutes learning the track rules we were off on the track to compete individually to see who could get the fastest lap-time. As the lights turned green to send us out of the pits the competitive nature of estate agents became evident, and all involved seemed to have turned into Michael Schumacher.


Each race lasted around 15 minutes and by the end of the day there was less than three seconds between each other's lap times. In-between each race the team sat down to discuss how much fun the past 15 minutes had been. The initial competitive nature had been replaced with a sense of excitement and achievement.

On the whole, another fantastic day out at Dendrow International! Who knows what next month will bring us...

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Case Study - Represented Possession Hearing

Last Updated: 07/09/2015 08:57:48   Tags:

Private tenant v. Private landlord

Dendrow, utilising the services of legal counsel, have attended court on several occasions representing clients for possession hearings; most notably for local housing authority tenants that predate the Welfare Reform Act that were still in occupation after this date.

A standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement was used in accordance with The Housing Act 1985 (as amended) to protect the interests of all parties concerned.

In this instance, a private let was carried out on a Victorian mansion block property, located in the leafy London neighbourhood of Maida Vale.  The tenant had been in occupation in the property for several years, prior to the transfer of management of the property to Dendrow.  The landlord had previously managed the property themselves, using a local agent to rent the property for them and entrusting them to carry out due diligence on the tenant, whilst collecting all of the necessary documents required to ensure that the tenant was indeed who they said they were.  Very little of this information was passed onto Dendrow and, therefore, the amount of information held on the central database was limited.

It is standard practise at Dendrow that all new tenants are referenced through a professional referencing company, who can then also provide a rent guarantee just in case that, for whatever reason, a tenant defaults on their rent.  This safeguarding procedure secures the landlord's interests and ensures that any responsibilities that they may have are protected.

Even though the tenancy agreements contain clauses to such effect regarding defaulting on payments – such as a mortgage etc. which are dependent on the payment of rent – it does not bode well for the landlord's future interest in the arena of lending and available credit.

In this particular case there was no rent guarantee in place and no professional referencing carried out by Dendrow, as adhered to under the instructions received.  Therefore, when the tenant started falling into arrears every effort was attempted to contact them regarding any difficulties in payment and in order to set up a payment plan.  Dendrow is more interested in working with clients to ensure that as many people stay in their homes as possible, thereby avoiding court action and the serious implications of a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

When the tenant was in two months’ rent arrears, and after communicating this fact to the landlord, Dendrow was instructed to act on behalf of the landlord to liaise directly with legal counsel to gain repossession of the property.

In accordance with The Housing Act 1985, a notice was served upon the tenant seeking possession of the property under Section 8, Grounds 8, 10 & 11.

Ground 8 is a mandatory ground, meaning that the judge is bound by law to grant the order for possession to the claimant if there are two months’ rent arrears at date of service of the notice and two months’ at time of appearing in court.

Ground 10 & 11 are discretionary grounds, by which the tenant may not be in exactly 2 months’ arrears at either specified point above, however, they may have a history of arrears or late payment with arrears accumulating from this. The judge will use their discretion in whether or not to award an order for possession should these grounds be relied upon.

The landlord and Dendrow received a defence from the defendant’s wife, stipulating several discrepancies in the claim form filed with the court, namely that it was actually her who was the defendant in the case, that her name was spelt incorrectly, and that the amount of arrears was grossly exaggerated.

The skill of the barrister representing our mutual client allowed for clear identification to be made.  Even though the defendant’s wife was claiming to be the defendant she was not, because the landlord being present at the court – along with the witness statement of the property manager – was able to discredit this defence on the following grounds:

The tenancy agreement was granted to the defendant, not his wife, even though there was no title specified on the tenancy agreement.

The fact that the wife took the husband’s full name does not implicate her in the proceedings brought against the husband, which is believed to be the case in some cultures across the world.

A mandatory ground for possession can only be overruled if there was some catastrophic event, which meant that arrears came about as a result of the death of a family member.

The defence clearly stated that travel abroad was vital as bereavement in the family meant that arrears was unavoidable.  Again, the defence filed by the defendant’s wife, to whom the case had no bearing on, meant that the defence was not being submitted to the court with regards to the person to whom that claim had been issued against.

The defence was dismissed by the judge and the order for possession was granted within 14 days, with a money order from the County Court at Central London for the full amount of arrears, costs, and a daily rate after a fixed point.

It is inevitable in cases such as this – where the arrears are in excess of £15,000 and may only be a few months rent – that should Dendrow had conceded to the defence and the court allowed an adjournment, then the landlord would potentially be waiting another six months for the possession order and for return of the property.  Furthermore, there would be the prospect of a highly substantial £60,000 of rent overdue and with no guarantee that returns on the money order would be met.

By acting in the best interests of our client, Dendrow were able to successfully represent the landlord in the County Court at Central London – with the aid of legal counsel and professional representation in front of the judge – to acquire a possession order and ultimately the rightful return of the property to the landlord.

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Case Study - Unrepresented Possession Hearing

Last Updated: 08/09/2015 10:09:25   Tags:

DSS tenant, private landlord

This case study is intended to show that through technological advancements, prior preparation, and the skill of the business development manager at Dendrow, a successful result was achieved in an order for possession being granted within 14 days.  The matter concluded with the judge at the County Court at Central London ruling for substantial arrears, fixed costs, and a use and occupation charge.

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 resulted in cuts to the amount of assistance to those in receipt of housing benefit received.  This, inevitably, meant that even though the rent was static throughout the fixed term of the assured shorthold tenancy the amount of rent received decreased or none was received at all.

In most cases, those in receipt of housing benefit would be awarded a fixed amount and then be required to subsidise the remainder themselves.  However, in some cases the rent is paid in full.

Dendrow were aware that the tenant was in receipt of housing benefit, as the tenancy was inherited and Dendrow were instructed to manage the property on behalf of the landlord.  In the early part of 2015 it was discovered that the amount of rent received was not even a third of the total amount due that month.  This situation continued until no rent was being received at all, despite every effort made to communicate with the tenant through all known channels.

Automatically, once 7, 14 & 21 days have passed since the rent due date, Dendrow's internal system automatically sends out arrears letters and informs the property manager of the arrears at the respective dates.

Two months’ worth of arrears had been accumulated and Dendrow were instructed to arrange for an order for possession.  As such, legal counsel was instructed to arrange for the service of a Section 8 Notice and a Section 21 Notice because the tenancy had come to an end.

A Section 8 Notice under The Housing Act 1988 (as amended) is notice seeking possession of the property under several grounds.  In this case, grounds 8, 10 & 11 were relied upon for this notice.

Ground 8 is a mandatory ground, meaning that the judge is bound by law to grant the order for possession to the claimant if there are two months’ rent arrears at the date of service of the notice and two months’ at time of appearing in court.

Ground 10 & 11 are discretionary grounds, by which the tenant may not be exactly in two months’ in arrears at either specified point above, however, they may have a history of arrears or late payment with arrears accumulating from this.  The judge will use their discretion in whether or not to award an order for possession should these grounds be relied upon.

The Section 21 Notice was served upon the tenants at the same time as the Section 8. Both notices were sent by ordinary mail, registered mail, and by hand delivery through the letter box in the absence of the tenant not being present at the time of service.

The arrears at this stage were already beyond the two month requirement under Ground 8, Section 8.

M Wilkinson was acting on behalf of the owner of the property in these proceedings, along with liaising with the solicitors who were inevitably arranging for the date and time of the hearing at the County Court at Central London.

While three members of Dendrow – the Managing Director, M Wilkinson and the Sales Manager – were at court on another case, it was brought to their attention that a further matter was to be heard that day, the one subject of this study.

Seeking counsel from the solicitors, who advised Dendrow not to go to court and wait for proper representation, the director of Dendrow instructed M Wilkinson to appear before the judge and at least attempt to regain possession of the property.  This is because it was clear awaiting an alternative court date and the time required to achieve an eviction could have taken a further six months.  Additionally, and importantly, the rent arrears would have grown significantly over this period.

As much as Dendrow strives to attempt to resolve matters amicably and without court action, in this case, unfortunately, it was necessary to do so.

Dendrow's in-house system keeps a secure record of most documents and communication on its central server, which can be accessed remotely by authorised users.  As a result, M Wilkinson was able to access the information and – with the permission of the court usher – sent an email with the relevant documents attached to the court.  This evidence consisted of the witness statement, the Section 8 and 21 Notices, the tenancy agreement, and an up to date rent statement.

One of the benefits of Dendrow collecting rent on behalf of the landlord is that Dendrow is able to account for all funds and invoices being raised correctly in an efficient manner.  Crucially, without this action being taken it would have been impossible to complete the task at hand.

Appearing before the judge, M Wilkinson's right of appearance was challenged, however, as the director of the company was present the right was approved and the hearing could continue.

Having printed the documents out – with the kind help of the court usher – the arrears at both the time of service and going to court was presented to the judge, along with the up to date rent statement and the tenancy agreement.

The order for possession was sought in 14 days, with a money order for the arrears and fixed costs.

The judge granted the request for the order for possession under Section 8 Housing Act 1988 (as amended) under Ground 8, as stipulated on Schedule 2 of the same Act.

It was only through the experience of the Dendrow team and the attitude of “doing whatever it takes” that Dendrow were able to complete this on behalf of the landlord.  Furthermore, the use of the internal systems that create an audit trail of documents and communication, along with the new implementation of legally binding electronic signatures, ensures that Dendrow are able to keep up to date with legal compliance.

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Checking Out Of Rented Accommodation

Last Updated: 04/12/2015 11:27:59   Tags:

In the interests of both the tenant and the landlord, the most popular subjects at the end of the tenancy are deposit return and future references.

Dendrow prefers to find its clients homes and wishes them to stay content in them for as long as possible.  Very rarely does Dendrow, acting on behalf of the landlord, serve a Section 21 Notice under the AST requiring possession of the property back.

Advising the landlords that Dendrow acts on behalf of, to provide a semi-furnished condition to the property, essentially equips the tenant with the bare minimum requirement of liveable furniture: a bed, wardrobe, drawers, sofa, dining table and chairs, and white goods (fridge, freezer, oven etc.).  The reasoning behind this is that at the end of the tenancy there is less of the landlord's property that could affect the return of the tenant's security deposit.

It is a reality that, in some situations, deductions are required for damage that is classed as beyond “fair wear and tear”, such as knife cuts into a kitchen worktop, which requires a replacement of that section like-for-like in style.  If the whole worktop required replacing then the tenant would only be liable for a contribution towards the section as a percentage of the total cost of replacement.  However, in this instance and others similar, should a tenant raise a dispute then the relevant schemes adjudicators would require a determination of age of the item.  This would need to be in the form of an invoice or receipt to establish its age, as with age comes fair wear and tear, and as such awarding the amount for the item as is deemed reasonable.

Similarly, carpets are treated in the same manner as above.  Essentially, the schemes taking into account fair wear and tear would not allow a deduction if the landlord stated that the tenant had damaged part of the carpet; therefore the whole carpet would need to be replaced. The scheme would award only what is fair to the landlord in regards to the damaged section caused by the tenant, again taking the age of the carpet into consideration and fair wear and tear.

Dendrow instructs an independent inventory company to carry out the check in inventory and check out report, in doing so providing an unbiased view of the contents and schedule of condition of the property from a purely objective point of view.

The check out report highlights any changes in the property since the original check in inventory was carried out.  Consequently, property managers, or the landlord, are able to see what damage (if any) has been caused whilst the tenant occupied the property.

Some items on the report are essentially non-negotiable, dependent on the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, such as the tenant’s responsibility to change lightbulbs or repair any broken glass.

Provided the landlord or the agent provides evidence of the cost of these works, then even if a dispute is raised by the tenant with the scheme then the adjudicator's decision will be based on: the evidence in the claim form submitted by the tenant, the rebuttal from the agent or landlord, the tenancy agreement, the check in inventory and the check out report.  As such, if the tenancy agreement states under the tenant’s obligations to replace lightbulbs and repair broken glass and the check in inventory clearly shows that all lights were in working order and no glass was broken, then if bulbs and glass need replacing as stipulated in the check out report then the tenant is liable for the cost.  Costs vary in this case, dependent on the amount of bulbs and types, along with the size of the broken glass and type.

Furniture is a difficult item to establish cost of repair or replacement after damage.  Reparation or cleaning of items may alleviate the issue, however, under most ASTs is the tenant’s obligation.  It is the responsibility to return to the landlord the fixtures, fittings and furniture in the property in a good state of repair with fair wear and tear taken into consideration.  It would be prudent to refer to the scheme rules and guidelines regarding replacement furniture through neglect by the tenant.

Finally, one of the most common issues that Dendrow's property managers have to deal with is the reparation to walls as a result of damage by hooks, nails or screws. The reasonable deduction from a tenant’s deposit is for the repair and the repainting of the affected area. Should a dispute be raised it is unlikely that the scheme’s adjudicators would award the landlord the full cost of re painting one wall because of one hook in the middle of it, nor would they award for a full repaint of the property based on light scuff marks as that is considered fair wear and tear.  However, should heavy scuff marks be noted on the check out report or large gashes in the walls then reparation would be necessary at the tenant’s cost.

The above highlights some of the most common issues that Dendrow has experienced in this period of ending tenancies.  The simplest piece of advice for a tenant when they are about to vacate their property is:

• Utilise the check in inventory as a schedule of expected condition for return of the property to the landlord, and check all the lights are working and that furniture is in good order. Remember to log any repairs for which the landlord is liable with them, otherwise the tenant may be liable for payment under the tenancy once the property is vacated.  If the landlord or agent has a formal process for this then it must be followed, otherwise a record may not be held.  For example, if the agent has an online platform and has instructed the tenant in the welcome pack provided at the start of the tenancy to use this method for logging repairs, and the tenant emails the property consultant regarding a repair, then it may not be considered as logged.  This is because instructions clearly outlined at the start of the tenancy were not followed.


Dendrow, working with Fixflo, were able to set up an online reporting system that runs directly from the Dendrow.com homepage.  Any issues relating to the property – from appliance issues, leaks or even complaints – can be logged through this system.  The benefit of using this method of repair/maintenance logging is that the property manager or administrator can download the log into the in-house system.  This enables the generation of works orders for the various contractors and results in more time spent in ensuring the work is completed.  Though experience has shown that tenants do like to call the office and discuss the matter, which is not a problem, this does mean that less time is spent administering the work order and coordinating the contractors for the work. The online platform is superior in the fact that the questions it asks a tenant regarding a repair are standardised completely for clarity.

Dendrow's welcome pack, which is sent out at the start of the tenancy, informs all new tenants coming into any of the managed properties of the procedure for reporting repairs, maintenance or any other issue relating to the property.  The main reason for utilising this as the main procedure is that an audit trail is created on Dendrow's internal system and the relevant managers can see: when the repair was logged, who responded to it, when a works order was created, when it was sent out and actioned by a contractor, any notes or feedback and, finally, when the job was completed and the invoice sent for the work carried out.

More often that not – when a tenant reports a repair of issue over the phone with a negotiator – it is not always passed over to the property management department, therefore it is not guaranteed that the administrator will action any works order.  This is why the formal process is clearly highlighted in the welcome pack for the avoidance of such miscommunication, and why Dendrow cannot be held liable if a tenant does not follow the stipulated procedure.

Case study

Dendrow took over management of a newly developed period conversion in west London this year, and when suitable tenants were found the complete lettings process was followed; most notably with the welcome pack going to the tenants of the flats outlining the formal process for logging repairs.

Recently, at the end of August, Dendrow received a report through the online platform regarding insects discovered in the lower maisonettes of one of the properties.  It was then established that the problem had also been present in the lower ground flat next door, with the tenant stating that they reported the issue when they first moved in to the developer’s liaison officer earlier in the year.  However, as Dendrow were not informed of the matter through the formal channel, the property management department were unable to take action as they were not made aware of the problem. 

The issue was received on 25th August 2015 and within two weeks the property management at Dendrow had carried out an inspection at one of the properties, liaised with pest control to establish the cause, arranged for identification of the insects and an inspection of the property by pest control.  Once authorisation had been received from the landlord to carry out the treatment it began approximately three days later.

The above clearly shows how quickly Dendrow had been able to act quickly and effectively in this situation and how the property manager was able to find a solution for all parties concerned in this tricky situation.  This is because it was a difficult decision for the landlord, due to the fact that when the development was completed (and the prior to the rental of the properties), building control had passed the construction of the building and none of the issues complained of were present.

Suggestions for tenants

1. Follow any and all guidelines regarding reporting of any issues.  It is best that these are carried out in writing or through an online platform.

2. Check the tenancy agreement under the tenant's obligations to see who is liable for payment of the repair, as sometimes it may be a compromise between the landlord and the tenant.

3. Read the check out report when vacating the property and allow the property manager time to evaluate the report and inform the tenant of any itemised deductions.  They will usually provide a time frame for payment back to the tenant or a reason why it would take longer

4. Once received, the deduction report must be used by the tenant to identify the relevant section on the check out report and if anything seems grossly unreasonable then it can be contested.  The property manager would provide a suitable response in a set timeframe, usually utilising specific terms and conditions contained within the tenancy agreement.

Dendrow has managed a large number of tenancies since opening for business and every effort is made to be fair as possible to the tenant; with the primary goal of protecting the landlord’s interest whilst returning as much of the tenant’s deposit.  Therefore, the property managers have substantial experience in end of tenancy negotiation, as well as property management, maintenance and repairs, and the provision of estimates for deduction reports; which are generally very similar to the contractor’s invoice.

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Creating Effective Property Management

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Last Updated: 04/12/2015 11:29:07   Tags:

Renewals and rent collection

Before Dendrow existed, the management of residential property lettings used to be a daunting task for the director and his employees, who would have to use every resource imaginable in order to effectively manage property portfolios.

The main area of concern was the important matter of collection of rent, which was essentially recorded by a bookkeeper on a spreadsheet.  The issue with this method was that the rent received into the various accounts would have to be checked every day and any late rents followed up by a phone call to the tenant.  There was no centralised system for rent collection and no systematic method of contacting the tenants should rent be overdue.  Additionally, each tenancy had a different start date and the ability to check for rent due and received was left to the bookkeeper, the director and sage.

Dendrow began to manage the properties in the various portfolios, that were previously being managed by the company, and were able to input the necessary data into the internal system; such as the start date of the tenancy, the rent amount per month (or whenever charged), the occupiers full names, and the rent due date.  These are but a few of the many functions that the system is able to incorporate.

This facility is an estate agent and property management software called “Veco-Onesystem”, which is provided by Eurolink Technologies Ltd.

The beauty of this management system is the sheer capability the software can provide.  Dendrow is able to manage large portfolios of properties with only one property manager and one administrator; resulting in the ability to give 100% devotion to the client's needs.

Once the system was established and the relevant information entered for a residential lettings property, Dendrow could address the management of the rent and below is what Dendrow currently carries out and recommends to all property owners.

Case Study

• No matter what the start date of the tenancy, the rent is due on the 1st day of each month.  This may seem like a straightforward solution, and in fact it is!  Simply having every tenancy on managed properties paying rent on the 1st of the month makes the identification of late payment far easier and one which Veco automatically picks up.

• With regards to informing a tenant of a late payment, an automated process sends out 7, 14 and 21 day arrears letters to the tenant by email.  In line with the rent guarantee schemes, this is a must for the validity of the policy and with the automated processes running.  It also provides security to clients and the director that the task will be completed no matter what.

• Another automated process is a list of arrears that is sent to the senior property manger, following the 7, 14 and 21 day messages, in order to follow up and take the necessary action.

• Again, another task which has ensured that management of the property portfolios is effective is the renewal of the tenancy agreements.  Over the last two years Dendrow's managed properties have all been brought into sync with regards to start and end date, which is the 1st September to 31st August.  Therefore, providing a renewal season over the summer in lettings – and for what would typically be a quieter time of year – is now a busier one.

• This arrangement has aided an increased level of business during a period where most other companies experience a decrease in the level of enquiries.  However, in lettings, from the experience of the property consultants at Dendrow, the summer provides the perfect opportunity for completed lettings negotiations.  So, with the renewal season starting three months prior to the vacating date of the contract, in June, the majority of the properties which require prospective new tenants to apply would be let within days of being advertised; meaning Dendrow letting property even before it has been advertised online.

Conclusion

Through the facilitated management of the property portfolios within Dendrow, the management team have been able to successfully compose a system for property management that provides an effective way to provide a successful business model.

By doing so, the property consultants have increased their level of business during a usually quieter time of year; whilst at the same time providing a systematic approach to the management of rent collection, payment of mortgages, service charges, the coordination of collection of arrears over time, and even informing guarantee companies of the need for a claim.

Finally, the success of the business relies on the adherence to two simple but important procedures, which are:

1. Rent to be charged and collected on 1st day of each month, regardless of the start date.

2. All tenancies to run from 1st September to 31st August.

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Modern Equality in the UK in 2015

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Last Updated: 26/06/2015 15:14:29   Tags:

It is a far cry to say that the UK has not attempted to make headway in legislation regarding equality for all. With such a diverse society and economy the UK government has indeed created a fairer Britain.
That is not to say that there are still improvements to be made but there are definitely milestones along the way which need to be recognised and celebrated for.


In 1928 the Equal Franchise Act allowed women over the age of 21 to vote in UK elections with all men hbeing able to vote as a result of the Representation of the People Act in 1918.


This really was a step in the right direction for the UK in terms of equality.


Let us Fast Forward to 2004 where the UK passed the Civil Partnership Act where same sex couples were able to obtain essentially the same rights and responsibilities as Civil Marriage. In 2013 the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales which would take effect from March 2014.


Even though there has been and still is opposition to these acts they are continuing to allow Britain to be a World Leader in equality and diversity.


Religious Freedom in the UK is provided by the UK being a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides in Article 9a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; it is the British Government’s Policy to support this Freedom. However this matter has become contentious since the War on Terror.


The subject of Equality and Diversity is such a broad topic that it has been the subject of numerous articles, research and legislation over the past several decades which so many topics appearing to require attention, and detailed inspection.


For more information on Equality and Diversity in the UK please visit http://www.gov.uk

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Raising a Dispute With a Custodial or Insurance Backed Deposit Scheme and How to Prevent a Dispute From Being Raised.

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Last Updated: 23/06/2015 11:16:00   Tags:

All too often landlords are returned their property in a different state to how it was rented previously.  This is understandable, after all, someone or several people have been living in the property for a year or so, but it is all too common that a sense of dismay occurs when the property is returned.

Essentially, this comes down to the expectations of the property owners and the wishes for a seamless process.  After all, provided the property was completely refurbished prior to the occupation, it is unlikely that landlords wish to repaint/refresh, change furniture or even have the property professionally cleaned to a high standard; the funds needed for any remedial work would then subsequently be required as deductions from the tenant’s security deposit.

Ultimately, the security deposit remains the property of the tenant and the landlord/agent are not permitted to utilise any of the funds during the tenancy for any reason, without expressed permission agreed by the tenant, subsequent to use for damages and dilapidations to the property and rent arrears (if any).

Any proposed deductions by the landlord or agent are best negotiated with the tenant as the use of any dispute resolution service should be a last resort, but which can be raised by the tenant should they feel that the deductions are unfair.

When the service is used there are several processes required to comply with the various scheme rules.

No matter how much negotiation happens, tenants may demand a full return of their security deposit even if they have already agreed to any deductions set out in their tenancy agreement, such as the cost of the check out inventory.

They then have the ability to raise a dispute with the scheme and the following steps will happen:

1. The scheme will send out notice to the landlord/acting agent and the tenant informing all parties about the dispute process.
a. Included will be a form asking whether the landlord and the tenant respectively wish to use the schemes adjudication process (ADR) or go through the courts. Both parties must consent to the ADR by adjudicator otherwise it will be required to go through the courts.
2. The landlord or agent must send the disputed sum to the scheme (if insurance backed) within 10 days of filing.
3. The tenant would have filed evidence (within 3 months of vacating) with the scheme stating why the landlord’s claims are defunct and what is being claimed for.
4. The landlord or acting agent will be required to submit evidence along with a rebuttal to the following:
a. That the tenant has damaged the property beyond fair wear and tear.
b. That the tenant has not abided by the terms set out in the AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) leading to any breach of contract or non-compliance (this is vital to the case).
c. That the landlord or acting agent has suffered “financial loss” as a result of the tenant’s non compliance.
d. Any loss of rent through arrears or late payment in the form of a rent statement, clearly showing the name of the tenant and the address of the property.
5. The case will be passed to an adjudicator to make a decision that is binding and would only be able to be overturned by the Courts
6. The disputed funds are distributed amongst the relevant parties.

Despite the fact that this process seems fairly seamless, below is a list of what type of evidence the adjudicator would require in order facilitate a decision. Given that the adjudicator is impartial then it is the responsibility of the landlord or acting agent to prove that a breach has occurred.
1.  Any invoices for work carried out on the property, both at the start of the tenancy and within the last 5-10 years (if available).
2. Tenancy agreement, signed by all parties.
3. Check In Inventory (preferably carried out by a third party company).
4. Check Out Report (preferably carried out by same company).
5. All invoices for remedial work, showing itemised work and cost (quotes can be submitted, but will not bear as much weight as invoices, invoices show financial loss to landlord).

Even though it may not be necessary, it is always helpful to the adjudicator and good practise to prepare a witness statement or statement of truth.
This affidavit should highlight the clauses within the tenancy agreement that the tenant has breached through non compliance.
The most simplistic way is to itemise each deduction, then subsect that into the clauses relied upon, followed by any invoices for work carried out at the start of the tenancy and invoices at the end to show loss.
While the above guidelines are in the author’s experience, some cases mean that one cannot foretell the outcome and it is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence, merely an overview of what would be expected and minimally required.
Should the landlord or agent wish to carry out an inventory themselves then another article will cover how best to carry out property inventories.
Once the evidence and rebuttal is submitted then the adjudication process will start.

Adjudication
The adjudicator is an impartial medium that will balance the case based on the:
1.   Evidence presented (as in the overview above).
2.   Fact that the deposit is the tenant’s money.
3.   Financial loss that the landlord has suffered (through Invoices).
4.   Fair wear and tear on the property through occupation.
It all seems rather simple. In actual fact, it is. Provided the basis of facts are established at the start and at the end of the tenancy.
The issues being for landlord’s is the awarding of the disputed funds under the adjudicator’s discretion. As there is no formal bias from the adjudicator, it would seem that all will work out fairly. However, this is not always the case, as the disputed funds would not cover the damage either through repair or replacement and the adjudicator’s decision is final.
Essentially, the basis of all adjudication in this case is that the deposit funds belong to the tenant and it is the responsibility of the landlord/agent to prove (through evidence) that the deducted sum is correct and feasible. Without such, there is no basis for a claim under adjudication and it is doubtful that a court will allow deductions without evidence of damage and financial loss.

Overall, it is advisable to avoid adjudication as it will tie up the funds for a minimum of 4-6 weeks until there is any recompense and it is highly possible that the landlord may not be awarded any funds whatsoever.
Successful negotiation between the landlord/agent and tenant will ensure a smooth end of the tenancy and provided that there is no major damage it will be a reasonable outcome for all parties involved.
Tenants want to receive as much of their security deposit back as possible and landlords only want to be able to re-let their property to ensure continuity of income without the need for refurbishment.

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'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered

Last Updated: 31/03/2017 13:04:48   Tags:

 Media caption Theresa May: 'This is an historic moment'
Britain's departure from the EU is 'an historic moment from which there can be no turning back', Theresa May has said.
She was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year exit process by handing a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.


A sombre-looking Mr Tusk said it was not a 'happy day' for him or the EU.


The European Parliament warned security cooperation was not on the table as it fired its opening salvo in what are expected to be tough negotiations.


In her letter to Mr Tusk triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Mrs May said failure to reach a trade deal within the two-year time limit could 'weaken' cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism.


But Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said he would not accept any attempt to 'bargain' between trade and security, adding: 'I think the security of our citizens is far too important to start a trade off from one for the other.'


Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said the UK could end intelligence-sharing with Europol, the EU policing agency, if there was no agreement.


But in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, on BBC One, Mrs May said on security that she 'would like to be able to maintain the degree of co-operation on these matters that we have currently'.
Downing Street insisted Mrs May's comments were not intended as a threat to EU negotiators, saying it was a 'simple fact' the existing arrangements would lapse if Britain left the EU without a deal.
But opposition MPs accused her of jeopardising public safety by attempting to use security co-operation as a 'bargaining chip' in the forthcoming negotiations.


Media captionMay hopes security cooperation will continue
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives both sides two years to reach agreement so, unless the UK and the 27 remaining EU member states agree to extend the deadline for talks, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019, a Friday.


At a press conference in Brussels, Donald Tusk held up Mrs May's letter, saying: 'We already miss you.'


In a brief statement, he said it was not 'a happy day' for him or for the EU and promised to begin arrangements for the UK's 'orderly withdrawal'.


He said the EU's aim in negotiations was 'damage limitation' and to 'minimise costs' for EU citizens, businesses and member states.
In a statement in the Commons, Mrs May said: 'Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people and it acts too on the clear and convincing position of this House.'
She added: 'The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.


'This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.'


She said Britain would now make its own decisions and its own laws and 'take control of the things that matter most to us - we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home'.
She told MPs that this marks 'the moment for the country to come together'.


Mrs May said it was a 'moment of celebration for some, disappointment for others' and promised to 'represent every person in the whole United Kingdom' during the negotiations - including EU nationals, whose status after Brexit has yet to be settled.
She said that while the UK would remain the 'best friend and neighbour' to its EU partners, it would also look beyond the borders of Europe, saying the country can 'look forward with optimism and hope and to believe in the enduring power of the British spirit'.
'I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead.'
A six-page letter from Mrs May triggering Article 50 was handed to European Council President Donald Tusk by the UK's ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow.
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Focus on May's letter to Tusk - see blog image
 
Alex Forsyth's analysis: 'In this section the prime minister is attempting to highlight the mutual benefits to both the UK and the EU of reaching an agreement about their future relationship - and warning of the dangers if that doesn't happen. It's a carrot rather than a stick, albeit one that comes with a health warning.'

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In a leaked draft position paper, the European Parliament, which has a final say over any deal struck with Britain, says Brexit could be revoked, despite opposition from the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to making references to the reversibility of the process.
It also suggests that the European Court of Justice, the EU's top court, will be the 'competent authority for the interpretation and enforcement of the withdrawal agreement'.


MEPs also insist that any trade deal between the UK and the EU can only be struck after Britain has left.


On the shape of a likely trade deal with the EU, Mrs May told Andrew Neil: 'What we're both looking for is that comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which gives that ability to trade freely into the European single market, and for them to trade with us.


'It will be a different relationship, but I think it can have the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade.'


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected Mrs May's call for negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU to run in parallel with talks on defining their future relationship.


'The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship... and only when this question is dealt with, can we, hopefully soon after, begin talking about our future relationship,' said Mrs Merkel in Berlin.


There is also likely to be a big row over outstanding debts the UK will have to pay when it leaves. Mrs May promised a 'fair settlement' - the EU wants £50bn.


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would 'back' Mrs May if she meets his party's tests on the Brexit deal - including full access to the single market and protection for workers' rights.


Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who opposes Brexit, said Mrs May was 'twisting the will of the people, leaping into the abyss without any idea of where our country will end up'.


He said it was 'still possible for the British people to stop a hard Brexit and keep us in the single market - and if they want, it is still possible for the British people to choose to remain in the European Union'.


'It is a tragedy that Labour are helping the Conservatives in doing this damage to our country,' he added.


The SNP accused Mrs May of breaking a promise to secure a UK-wide agreement before triggering Article 50 - and took a swipe at the prime minister's claim that 'now is not the time' for another Scottish independence referendum.


The party's foreign affairs spokesman, Alex Salmond, said: 'After nine months of this prime minister's approach to Brexit Northern Ireland is deadlocked, the Welsh are alienated, Scotland is going for a referendum, the English are split down the middle, and Brexit MPs are walking out of Commons committees because they don't like home truths.


'Has the prime minister considered, in terms of invoking Article 50, that 'now is not the time'?'


Negotiations with other EU nations are expected to begin in mid-May.


On Thursday the government is expected to publish details of its 'Great Repeal Bill', which aims to convert EU law into domestic legislation and repeal the European Communities Act, which says EU law is supreme to the UK's.


Theresa May signs the letter to the EU confirming the UK's departure
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Up for discussion
 Trade: The UK will withdraw from the single market and seek a new customs arrangement and a free trade agreement with the EU
 Expats: The government wants to secure an agreement with European countries 'at the earliest opportunity' on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and Britons living in Europe
 Brexit bill: The UK government has promised to honour its obligations as it leaves, but has brushed off claims these could run to £50bn
 Northern Ireland border: Aiming for 'as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland'
 Sovereignty: Britain will leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice but seek to set up separate resolution mechanisms for things like trade disputes
 Security: The UK government has said it wants to continue to cooperate on security and intelligence-sharing
 Transitional deal: An interim arrangement may be needed before the final arrangements come into force

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