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EPC's and Landlords

1/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

From 1st October 2008 all landlords are required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) whenever a domestic or commercial building is rented out. The regulations state that a prospective tenant should be provided with an EPC at the earliest opportunity and certainly prior to entering into any contract to rent out a property. A landlord will not need to obtain a certificate where an existing tenancy is simply being renewed, nor is a certificate required when a tenant rents only a room and shares the main facilities. 

The EPC must be obtained from a qualified energy assessor and looks similar to the certificates issued with washing machines and other electrical equipment. An A-rated property is the most energy-efficient while a G-rated is the least energy-efficient, with an average property in the UK currently being around the D or E band.  An EPC will also include recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of the building and once obtained it is valid for ten years unless changes are made to the property that affects its energy efficiency. The bad news for landlords is that it is the landlord who has to bear the cost of the EPC and this cost cannot be passed on to the tenant, for example by way of a service charge.  So far it appears that those landlords with the most efficient buildings have not benefited from an increased rental income as a consequence of this being reflected in the EPC. However, the introduction of EPCs has given tenants much more scope to argue for a reduction in rent where the building has a poor energy rating.

Some landlords of multi-occupancy premises such as flats have also reported that it is more economically viable for them to have all of their properties assessed on a discounted basis rather than pay for each individual property to be assessed as and when they are required.  In addition, where one landlord owns a building with a common heating system or owns several similar units within the same block, one certificate may be required for all of the units rather than obtaining a separate certificate for each separate unit.

The Lighthouse Keeper celebrates Lighthouse’s first decade.

5/16/2011 10:02:23 AM

Lighthouse was started in 2001 by Tim and Philippa Clark and has grown from a ground floor office space to being spread over three floors in just over 7 years.

Why not read through this seasons edition of the lighthouse keeper and find out how it all started. Also in this edition, find out about some of the new faces to appear at lighthouse as well as take a look into making your property a greener place to live in or let.

To download your copy, why not head on over to the download section, or click here to grab the PDF. Alternatively, why not pop into the office and pick up a copy.

Buy-To-Let Mortgages

5/19/2011 3:43:56 PM

The latest figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), showing continued growth in the buy-to-let mortgage market, offer good news for landlords looking to purchase new properties.

New buy-to-let mortgage lending in the first three months of 2011 totaled £2.9 billion across 27,600 loans. Echoing a more pronounced decline of 11% in the wider mortgage market, buy-to-let lending in the first quarter was around 3.5% lower than the £3 billion of lending across 28,600 loans in the fourth quarter of 2010, but up on the £2.1 billion and 22,000 loans in the first quarter a year ago.

We have seen new lenders enter the market and a number of specialist commercial lenders have been offering innovative, but niche, buy-to-let schemes; lender requirements have begun to ease somewhat and it is now possible to get a buy-to-let mortgage up to 80% loan-to-value; there are also products currently available for limited companies, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and for light refurbishment works. These developments all help landlords in obtaining the finance they need to obtain new properties, which in turn provides you with more opportunities.Lighthouse now offer, in association with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) an online mortgage service, which can be accessed via the new Mortgage section on this website.

Lighthouse Go Paintballing

5/19/2011 4:04:57 PM

Staff & family of Lighthouse Property Services LTD enjoyed a corporate day paintballing at Bawtry Paintball Fields after a donation of £250.00 was made at a charity auction to Children with Leukaemia by their Managing Director Tim Clark.

Contents insurance

6/17/2011 10:08:54 AM

It is fast approaching the time for students to move into their your new houses. To make sure that your contents are protected from most forms of accidental damage, we have details for a policy with HomeLet - the market leading specialists for referencing and insurance for the lettings industry - which can cover all your belongings for just £10.99pcm.

For more details on what is included in this policy please click here


We have recently been informed that the person stated on the letters recently sent out about contents insurance with HomeLet no longer works at the company. However, we have been given a new point of contact should you wish to take out the HomeLet Contents Insurance policy directly over the phone, or to discuss any thoughts you might have on it with him.

So please now call Jamie Dyer directly on 01522 838637 and for any other enquires please speak to their team on 0845 117 6000.

Homelet declaration altered

6/29/2011 10:58:12 AM

Today Homelet - the market leading specialists in referencing to the lettings industry and the company we use to reference all new private tenants - have changed the way the declaration on their application forms is presented and this means we need to update all of our referencing forms.

This means all of the application forms have been changed to update to the new declaration.

To find our updated forms please click here.


To see how this affects you please read this press release from Homelet:-

"We've changed the declaration that appears in our referencing application forms. This means that from now on you must use the new versions for all referencing applications.  


It’s really easy to get new copies, so don’t panic if you’re worried about swapping over.

What's changed?

The section that’s changed is about using applicants’ details for marketing purposes. Following feedback from you and your tenants, we’ve made it easier for them to opt out of receiving information about our products and services, such as contents insurance.

Why has the declaration changed?

Our applicants asked for an easier way to opt out of receiving marketing material - so as part of our Financial Services Authority (FSA) duty to treat all customers fairly, we’ve amended the declaration wording. From now on, all tenants have to do to opt out of marketing is tick a box, rather than having to call or write to us."

Safe As Houses

4/4/2012 3:03:24 PM

Making a sound financial investment that will make your money work for you is something we all want to achieve – but it can be confusing when considering what kind of venture to put your hard-earned cash into.

So when it comes to putting your money into something tangible that should offer security, the expression ‘safe as houses’ has never been more apt.  Investing in a buy-to-let property to rent to students or professional tenants is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to paying into a savings account or a pension. Those taking up the option often get excellent capital growth and rental returns – indeed, some of our recent investments have been producing returns against capital employed of up to 20 per cent.

There are many factors that make now the opportune time to consider this type of investment: interest rates remain at their lowest for 50 years, while rents have increased with inflation and are still rising, and demand for rental properties has risen for both the student and the residential sectors.

Financial lenders are now showing a new found confidence in the buy-to-let sector too with a greater number of products being made available to potential buyers at competitive fixed rates. According to moneyfacts.co.uk, an independent financial comparison website, there are 100 more deals on offer now than a year ago.

There are also improved deals available. MoneyFacts.co.uk comments: “The heightened competition among lenders to attract landlords has also seen the average buy-to-let rate drop from 5 per cent this time last year to 4.79 per cent.” 

Therefore it really is a buyers’ market, and in turn a landlords’ economy.

In addition, if you have an existing property portfolio, equity release could present a viable option in order to facilitate growth of your existing portfolio.

Since Lighthouse Property Services was first established in 2001 we have assisted many landlords in acquiring residential property as part of their investment planning. Our specialist investment sales department markets properties for sale that are already let – so you will be generating income from the day the sale has completed. And by engaging Lighthouse to look after the property for you, you can reap the financial gains without having to concern yourself with the, often intensive, day-to-day management of the property or tenants. 

For further information and to discuss the potential of buy-to-let or your portfolio growth strategy please contact Simon Sewell on 01522 780020 or email simon.sewell@lighthouse-properties.co.uk

The Cash Back Method

9/4/2012 5:24:58 PM


The Cash-back Method

 

When you’re moving out of a rented property there is always plenty to think about – have you changed your address, is the property clean, have you handed in the keys?  The list goes on.

 

One thing you can look forward to, however, is getting your deposit back. But unfortunately some tenants find that money has been deducted from their deposit for entirely avoidable reasons.

 

The deductions may have come as a result of issues such as the property being left in a poor state, excess rubbish not being removed, stained carpets or damaged furniture. Simon Sewell, Lettings Director at Lighthouse Property Services, said: “It’s a common misconception that agents will do anything to retain tenants’ deposits. In reality, if a house is left in a reasonable condition, then their deposit will be returned in full which is far less work and hassle for us.

 

“We do everything we can to ensure tenants do get their full deposit back, but they also need to take responsibility for the property and the condition it as well as fixtures, fittings and furniture are left in. Cleaning tends to be one of the most contentious issues as often tenants don’t realise the true cost of hiring professional cleaners. On average a cleaning contractor will charge around £15 per hour so if you have a house needing a top to bottom clean, you can see how the costs mount up.

 

“One example of a tenant not understanding their rights and responsibilities was a case where a student had moved out a month before the contract ended, while the other tenants were still living there. While he gave it a good clean before he left, the other tenants did not leave it in a good condition when they finally left a month later. 

 

“The result was a cleaning charge split between all tenants as they are all jointly liable for the communal areas of the property until the end of the tenancy agreement, regardless of when they leave.  I’d always advise doing a final clean together once the property is vacant. The only area of the property where there won’t be a joint charge if anything needs rectifying is your bedroom – you are solely responsible for that.

 

“It’s also important to understand that charges can be different from one tenant and property to the next, so comparing notes won’t always make sense.  In one case, we had two tenants in the same house who were unhappy about being charged different fees for replacement mattresses which were stained. We explained that mattresses have a five year life and the point during that cycle that it gets damaged will determine how much they would pay. One of the mattresses was only a year old, so had in effect lost four years’ use, so the charge was higher than for the other mattress which was three years old.

 

“In almost all cases we manage to resolve the issue and once the tenant has had a chance to fully understand why they are being charged, they are more than happy.”

 

Tips to ensure the cleaning is done properly include wiping all skirting boards, doors, frames and surfaces including shelves, desks, tables and windowsills; cleaning all windows; vacuuming and moping floors; removing cobwebs and checking behind radiators to make sure they’re clean.  It’s also important to clean under furniture.

 

Bathrooms and kitchens also need to be cleaned thoroughly. Tenants must make sure they clean baths and shower cubicles, basins, taps, toilets, tiles and mirrors.  Other areas people often fall down on are damage to the property caused by things like Blu-tack or holes in the walls.  You need to remove all traces of Blu-tack from the walls and fill in larger holes with polyfilla and paint them the same colour as the rest of the walls. It will almost always be more cost effective to do it yourself rather than us fixing it.

 

 “We always take photos of the property so that we can show the tenant what the problems were if a deduction is queried,” said Simon. “On one occasion we had a tenant who claimed the kitchen was clean and tidy when they left, but in fact, a quick look through our files showed that the cooker and oven were dirty, there were food stains and even mouldy food in the fridge, as well as rubbish in the bin and around it.

 

“Tenants need to be sure they clear any waste away, otherwise it will be necessary for us to call a company to clean it for you, which again will amount to a charge.  You should also try to make sure all furniture and equipment is back in its original location and any extra furniture you have brought in is removed.  Little things often get forgotten, but you do need to make sure that pots, pans and utensils are left clean, the microwave, toaster and kettle are free from grease and kitchen tables and chairs are wiped down – essentially, if you can see it, then you need to clean it, and then clean in, under and around it.

 

“We would always encourage tenants who have an issue to come to us directly so that we can conduct the proper investigations and give a satisfactory answer.  We are proud of our record having been on the approved list of student accommodation providers at the University of Lincoln since it began.”

 

To find out more about renting through Lighthouse Property Services, either visit www.lighthouse-property.co.uk/ or call 01522 780020.

Investment Sales List October 2014

10/2/2014 10:31:18 AM


Please find this weeks list of available properties under our downloads section, or follow this handy link.

Lincoln Foodbank

5/22/2015 11:15:08 AM


TENANTS! When you drop off your keys, why not drop off your beans!


We know what it can be like when you vacate your student house! Would you rather bin your canned food than take it to your new home?

We’re very proud to be part of the Lincoln Foodbank scheme! Bring in your unwanted suitable food to our office and Lincoln Foodbank will deliver it to Lincoln families in need for free!

If you have any other unwanted clean items - Check out their Facebook page! These items may be useful! 

https://www.facebook.com/LincolnFoodbank/timeline

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