This information is valid as of 10th January 2021

As you may realise, the government has asked the housing market to remain open during the latest lockdown.

We are committed to protecting our team, clients and contractors so have taken the following steps:

1. Most of the SWR team are now working remotely from home. Please bear with us during this time, we are not together in the office and communication may not be as fluent as during normal times. Several team members remain in the office for key collection and drop off/as a buddy system to avoid unnecessary lone working, but are in bubbles and are fully socially distanced.

2. The office is now not open to general visitors. Key collection and drop off will continue, behind a protective screen. Track and trace is in operation and all keys are sanitised when leaving and entering the office.

3. Viewings in empty properties will continue, but applicants will be met at the door and will not be accompanied around the property. All internal doors will be open to allow for a zero contact viewing.

4. Viewings in tenanted properties will be carried out virtually. This will be through a WhatsApp video call. No in-person viewings will be carried out within tenanted properties at this time.

5. Property visits (inspections) will continue to be carried out via WhatsApp or Zoom. Full PPE will be worn at all times by both our team and our contractors when on site at any of our residential and block/estate management sites. If a contractor does attempt to attend your property without the relevant PPE, please refuse them entry and contact the office on 01454 612735 as soon as possible.

Please stay safe in these challenging times! 😊

Landlords from the UK who choose to live abroad can enjoy living their dream lives in another country while enjoying a steady income flow from their rental property. However, there exist some challenges you’ll face acting as a long-distance landlord. Difficulty communicating and the inability to meet tenants in person are just some of the challenges you may face. Also, if a tenancy ends while still abroad, landlords are left with the singular choice of asking someone else to carry out viewings for them.

For these reasons, landlords who live abroad prefer using a letting agency to manage their property while they live their lives undisturbed abroad. Are you an international landlord? Are you planning to become one soon?

This write-up will discuss some 4 tips to help make the letting process the easiest for you. Sit back, relax, and read on!

Get to Know Your Legal Responsibilities

All rental property owners in the UK are required to pay tax on the rental income. As an international landlord, you are no exception. The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) consider you a ‘non-resident landlord’ if you live out of the UK for 6 months or more in a year. However, this won’t be your case if you live outside the UK only temporarily, i.e. less than 6 months in a year.

You can pay your tax by taking out an essential tax rate from the rents or better still by using a Self-Assessment form for tax return. Payment can be done by a tenant or a letting agent. At the end of each year, the agent will provide you with a certificate. If you do not wish to do this, you will need to join the “Non-resident landlord (NRL) scheme. More information is available by clicking here.

Carry Out Screening through Skype

Meeting tenants one on one before accepting their rental application has proven to be one of the greatest challenges faced by landlords who live abroad. This of course won’t be a problem if you choose to use a letting agent. However, determining whether or not a tenant is the right person for your property without seeing them can be difficult. To help solve this problem, consider using Skype, Zoom, or any other video conferencing platform to discuss with tenants before deciding to accept or decline their rental application.

Give Priority to Long-Term Tenants

Administrative demands are higher for shorter tenancies than longer ones. Also, landlords are more likely to develop stronger bonds with long-term tenants. This helps take away much anxiety concerning how your property is being treated.  

Consider Using a Property Management Agency

The best and simplest way to avoid any headaches with regards to managing your property from abroad is to have someone else do it for you. Most landlords have found this to be the best way to live a stress-free life abroad.

A trustworthy and reputable property management agency like us (SWR) can bear the burden for you. We take care of everything from collecting rent from tenants to ensuring that you pay just the right amount of rental tax as you should normally pay.

Owning an apartment block or a flat on a lease comes with many challenging responsibilities. However, a block management company can help you carefully oversee the welfare of your building and cover all legal responsibilities on your behalf.

The block management company is responsible for the overall maintenance of residential blocks, providing proper assistance for the client (property owner) all the time. Some of the responsibilities of a block management company include:

Routine Inspection

The block management company is wholly responsible for appointing professionals to visit and inspect blocks on their portfolio, noticing and diagnosing legal risks or potential problems on the block. When you own an apartment block, there is a need for these routine inspections. Block management companies take up this challenging task as part of their many responsibilities. The inspection covers all areas, from accounts to records to maintenance. The company makes sure all legal domains and functions are correctly taken care of.

Safety Regulations

The continuous stability of a site is dependent on specific health and safety precautions. The block management company is responsible for making sure that health and safety laws are regulations are strictly followed. The company helps to implement and manage these safety laws consistently. Block management companies take health and safety precautions seriously and handle them professionally for the smooth sailing of property operations.

Insurance

An insured property gets covering against several unexpected risks that may arise at any time – risks from fire hazard, natural damages like hail or storms. A block management company helps you to identify the right cover or insurance policy for the block. It is among the duties of the company to assess the number of occupied or rented apartments and the types of occupants, and then find a suitable insurance policy for the block.

Keeping Records

Legal records, files, and statements can often become cumbersome to keep track of. A block management company is responsible for keeping detailed records of all transactions, work, and inspections. These records are especially vital at certain times. Making use of a block management company saves you from worrying about paperwork and documents. The company carefully holds all necessary records for safekeeping.

Keeping Accounts

Accounting for a block property involves many responsibilities, including rounding up rents and services charges, correctly allocating resources, creating a budget to make sure money is readily available. And overseeing account creation for shareholders of the block. All these accounting processes are vital and delicate and require the professional attention of a reliable block management company. The company appoints a professional accountant to make sure all accounting processes are on track.

General Maintenance

The block management company ensures that maintenance contracts are in place and operational, ranging from general cleaning to gardening to cost-effective installation of necessary facilities.

At South West Relocation, we offer trusted and reliable letting and block management services to our clients. By partnering with us, you have the assurance that you will receive professional and up-to-date management services for your properties.

It has come to our attention that since the 31st May 2019 there has actually been two minor changes to the Government “How to Rent” guides.

This guide must be given, by law, to all new tenants prior to their occupation and in the Deregulation Act of 2015 it is clearly stated that it must be the most ‘recently updated’ version.

Permitted Payments you may be charged:

Holding fee of one weeks’ rent

One months’ rent in advance

Five weeks’ rent as a security deposit or six weeks’ rent if the rent is above £50,000 per annum.

A reasonable charge for loss of keys/security device during tenancy

An interest charge for late rent of 3% above the Bank of England base rate for each day the amount is outstanding, when the rent is outstanding for at least 14 days

A reasonable cost for contractual damages under the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement

A reasonable charge will apply for changes to the tenancy agreement or a change of sharers.

Charges will apply for the early termination of a fixed term agreement.

We are registered with The Property Ombudsman and our membership number is L00493

We are registered with the ARLA Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme and our membership number is C0123573

South West Relo - your local family agent

Family run, our tenants and landlords love the fact we take personal care in what we do to help customers.

Here at SWR, our business model is not to undercut or price match other agents. We offer you the most comprehensive and personalised service to protect your valuable and important investments whilst making the journey of being a landlord as “stress free” as possible.

Come and visit us at The Stables and let’s discuss how we can help you with your property management needs.