Stepping up to the challenge of the sale board

Homeowners, estate agents and solicitors up and down the country are wondering whether to expect the traditional upsurge in the property market in April and May. It’s not looking very rosy, according to recent figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, whose members reported that they expected sales to fall in the next three months. Overall, their outlook for the housing market was the worst for 20 years, and the lack of clarity around Brexit has shouldered the blame for that, with lack of supply and affordability also affecting…

Top Tips for Landlords: Complying with the new Energy efficiency legislation (EPC tests)

As if landlords didn’t have enough paperwork to worry about, as of the 1st April 2018, things got even more complicated. The minimum ratings for Energy Performance Certificates (which have been mandatory for some time) got a lot tougher, and now any rental property must achieve at least an ‘E’ rating for it to be rented out. Whereas before this only applied to new tenancies, now, it covers existing rental agreements too. That means that even if your tenants have been in your property for years, the house or flat…

What is adverse possession? – an explanation of the reality behind ‘squatter’s rights’

If you’re a property owner, one of the biggest worries is that ‘squatters’ will move into a vacant property and take up residency. If they are not removed quickly then there is the possibility that they can acquire the ownership of a property or a piece of land, simply by staying there for a long time. This is known as ‘adverse possession’ or more commonly, ‘squatter’s rights’. Adverse possession is based on the principle that if the property owner does not evict squatters from their property or land within a…

Reservations over home buying reservation agreements

If there’s one thing that infuriates house sellers (other than being gazumped) it’s a buyer pulling out at the last moment without a good reason. However, the government have stepped in and announced that 2019 will see a trial for reservation agreements – which basically tells conveyancers that buyers who pull out of a transaction because they ‘didn’t like the colour of the bathroom’ will face consequences. And those consequences could be costly. Housing Minister Heather Wheeler informed the Council for Licenced Conveyancers annual conference that reservation agreements could be…

Bonus for shared ownership buyers

First-time buyers who bought a shared ownership property in the last twelve months should check if they are due a refund on any Stamp Duty paid That's because when Chancellor Hammond extended Stamp Duty Relief available to first time buyers of shared ownership property in his Autumn 2018 budget, he also applied the extension retrospectively to any qualifying transactions that took place between 22 November 2017 and 29 October 2018. Since November 2017, relief has been available to first time buyers of shared ownership property who opted for the full…

Can’t afford to get on the property ladder? Shared ownership could be an option

The price of properties, even so-called ‘first-time homes’ are completely out of proportion to the average income. To save for a deposit on your first home is now taking house-hunters (especially first-timers) years longer than before. The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ is an option if you’re struggling to get the funds together on your own, but if you don’t have the ability to borrow from family members, or are unable to raise the money for that essential deposit on your own, there is another way to get your foot…

Interview with Laura Gill of our Residential department

Interview with Laura Gill of our Residential Property department Q: How long have you worked at Bowling & Co? A: I joined the firm approximately 18 months ago and work in the Residential team.  Q: What is the typical time frame for a property transaction to take, from start to finish? A: That's a tough question! It really depends on the type of property transaction. The average would be, say 6 to 8 weeks for a freehold property and around 8 to 12 weeks for a leasehold property. However, those average timescales…

Landlords must check they hit the spot with deposits

Claims for incorrectly handled property rental deposits are soaring and landlords should be alert to the danger and ensure they or their agents are complying with the legal requirements, if they want to avoid high penalties. According to figures from insurers, the number of claims relating to deposits peaked at 25% of all professional indemnity claims made by estate and letting agents in the first quarter of this year, up from just 3% last year 1.  The claims most often relate to a landlord lodging a deposit late or failing…

Bump in the night for Airbnb landlords

Rule changes on short term lets could see part-time landlords hit by a new tax bill from next year if they let out their whole property. Homeowners can earn up to £7,500 per year tax free by renting a room to a lodger, but the rise of the sharing economy and sites like Airbnb has seen many hobby landlords come into the market and use the tax break to offset income when they let the whole of their home out for short stays. Whether it’s property owners in SW London…

Buying a house for holiday letting

If you've got the money to buy a holiday home, why have it sitting empty for much of the year? Unless you're going to be popping down to your holiday home every weekend, you could earn a sizeable income letting it out for holidaymakers to enjoy. If you want any more financial incentive then consider that a small, 2-bedroom cottage in a desirable part of the country (such as the Lake District or the West Country), can bring in an income of around £12-£15,000 a year. A larger property could…

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