Archives January 2023

When Can A Landlord Use A Security Deposit?

There are laws and legal rights that govern how to rent a home. They need to be known by both tenants and landlords. Some of these laws will relate to the times a landlord is able to use a security deposit.

A lot of the time, tenants pay their deposit and then assume they’ll get it back at the end of their lease; they might even make plans on that assumption. However, there are circumstances in which a landlord can use a security deposit – read on to find out what they are.

Unpaid Rent

Tenants may not be able to pay rent for many different reasons. But even though some things are out of their control, missing or not paying rent is a good reason why they shouldn’t get some or all of their deposit back.

Many landlords would rather take money from the tenant’s security deposit than give them a Section 21 eviction notice. If your tenant owes more than the amount of the deposit, you can go to court and ask for the full amount to be paid back. This will cost you money in legal fees, so you’ll need to figure out if it’s worth it from a financial point of view.

Cleaning Issues

When it comes to tenancy deposit disputes, cleaning can be a big point of contention between landlords and tenants. This is mostly because we all have different ideas about what is “clean.”

But it’s a common reason why a deposit is taken out. For example, if the tenant agreed in the lease that they would pay for a professional carpet cleaning after having pets in the home, they must keep this agreement. If they don’t, the landlord can use a security deposit to pay for the cleaning. 

Bad Redecoration

If a tenant decides to redecorate the place without asking first, they may be breaking the terms of their lease. So, you might be able to take money from their deposit to fix up the room and get it back to how it was before. If you let a tenant redecorate but they do a bad job, you can also claim the cost of redecorating.

Serious Damage

Damage to the property, like broken windows or broken furniture, goes against the terms of the tenancy agreement. Because of this, landlords can use a security deposit to pay. But keep in mind that this can’t be considered normal wear and tear.

How Can An Inventory Help?

It’s fine to say that these are some of the circumstances in which a landlord can use a security deposit to pay for the problems caused by a tenant, but the burden of proof is on the landlord – they have to show that the problem occurred after the tenant moved in.

That’s why it’s so important to have a thorough, professional inventory report. This will show the condition of the property before the tenant moved in, allowing the landlord to prove any damage, neglect, or cleaning issues were down to the tenant.

Contact Looksy Inventories today to find out more.

What Is A Property Check-In?

While the meaning of a property inventory report is generally well understood, a property check-in is often misunderstood. A typical mistake made by landlords is to refer to the inventory as a “check-in inventory” or “moving-in inventory,” neither of which really describes what happens.

An inventory is a detailed record of all the possessions at a given location, along with notes on their current state. It should include a general description of the property and a list of its contents, including specifics regarding the state of the various walls, ceilings, floors, paint, carpeting, curtains, furniture, appliances, and fixtures like cabinets, windows, and doors.

The locations of all meters, stopcocks, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as the results of their most recent tests, should be noted in the inventory as well.

So What Is A Check-In Report?

The property check-in is when the inventory and keys are given to the new tenant, and they go through a process to make sure that they know the basics about their new home and its condition.

At this point, the renter can look over the inventory and make notes about anything that was left out or was listed wrong. New photos can be added to the inventory to back up the tenant’s comments, a new meter reading, or an item that wasn’t on the inventory.

How To Carry Out A Property Check-In

Although a landlord or letting agent can carry out a property check-in, it’s better for an unbiased third party, such as the experts at Looksy Inventories, to do it to ensure there are no issues and that it is done exactly right.

We use the most up-to-date devices and apps in this field so that everything can be done on-site and all tenant comments are clear and easy to read. Our reports don’t need to be printed. When we meet the tenant at the check-in, we give them the inventory list on a tablet. They can go through the whole list while at the property, typing in their comments and taking new photos on the tablet. After the inventory check, they sign on the tablet, and the keys are given to them.

This is done to make sure that there is only one version of the inventory. Once the tenant signs, everyone will get a copy of the report with the new comments and photos, so there is nothing else to do.

Every letting agent has their own way of doing things, and that includes the property check-in. We are flexible enough to adapt to their ways. For example, for some of our clients at the property check-in we only do a quick walk through the property, check the alarms, show the tenants where the meters are, hand over the keys, and get their signature. We then give the tenants a week to check the inventory on their own time and type in their comments online using their phone, tablet, or computer.

In conclusion, we offer a flexible and highly professional property inventory service that saves time and money for everyone involved while providing consistent and accurate property inventory reporting at an affordable price.

Contact us today to find out more.

Tips For Protecting Your Buy-To-Let Property

Many people’s financial situations had already worsened as a result of a pandemic, worldwide conflicts, and subsequent energy price hikes before the UK government spooked the market with its frequent changes in the prime ministership. Landlords are not immune to the larger economic issues facing the country, and many people are feeling the pressure regardless of their income level.

Mortgages are more expensive, lenders are less confident, and the rental market is feeling more pressure as fewer people can afford to buy their own homes due to rising interest rates. When times are tough, how can landlords safeguard their buy-to-let property? Read on for some advice.

buy-to-let property
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Sell Up

There is no use in putting yourself in financial jeopardy by trying to keep up with the mortgage payments on a buy-to-let property if you can no longer afford to do so due to the current state of the market. You worry that the rent is no longer enough to cover these costs, but you also do not want to increase the price of rent. You may also be prevented from increasing the rent charge if you have already done so this year, as some tenants have the right to prevent a second increase in rent.

Instead of riding it out and risking a worse outcome, you might sell what you can and hold on to your equity until the market turns around. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, and there will be a lot to think about, but sometimes the safest course of action is to just recoup your funds and put them somewhere else.

Raise Your Rents

In the event that interest rates rise after you’ve invested in a buy-to-let property, you may need to raise the rent in order to keep up with the mortgage payments, especially if your fixed term is about to expire.

Your property may become less desirable to present and potential renters if the rental price rises over the market average because of this. There are a limited number of people who can afford to rent, and if you set your rent too high, your property may sit empty and lose value as a result of not being rented. Keeping this in mind, any rent increases should not put tenants out of their price range.

Use Tax Breaks

There are other ways to protect your investment if the steps above don’t work for you. For example, Capital Gains Tax is often not paid when assets are moved between spouses.

You might be able to pay less tax if you put some of your assets in the name of your spouse. This could let you use a lower tax band. In other words, if your spouse’s tax bracket is lower than yours, your rental income will be taxed less, which will help you get a better return and solve any cash flow problems you may be having.

Become A Limited Company

Without incorporating, landlords have no protection from the possibility of limitations or increases in contributions to the government. However, there are tax advantages for businesses that choose to incorporate. Corporation tax, for instance, is currently locked at 19% until at least April 2023.

Corporation tax is much less than the income tax a private landlord would have to pay, even with the possible increase in the future. Furthermore, the corporation tax rate is applied to the sale of a property held by the company, rather than the higher rates that apply to individual landlords.

Wait It Out

When the financial market is volatile, waiting it out may be the best option for your investments. While waiting for the market to settle is not exciting, it is the optimum time to invest because the outlook improves.

Possibilities to find an excellent buy-to-let property will emerge, with properties being offered at deeper discounts and having more room to develop in value over time. Landlords need to plan ahead for the next 12 to 24 months and beyond to ensure a prosperous future.

Why You Need A New Front Door

A lot of people forget how important their front door really is. What do people see first when they walk up to your house? What can people see from the road when they drive by your property? What can people see when they look up your house on Google Street View? Your front door. This is really important. It is the physical barrier between the outside and the inside of your home. It is the part of your home that makes people feel welcome. Don’t you want to make a good impression on them? Don’t you want everyone who sees the outside of your house to think that the inside is just as nice? This is the effect a beautiful new front door can have. Here are some of the best reasons why you need a new front door.

Better Kerb Appeal

One of the best ways to update the look of your home is by installing brand-new windows and doors. In particular, installing an updated front door in lieu of your old one is an inexpensive, low-stakes replacement project that can have a significant impact. Changing out the entry door is a great method to modernise the look of your home and boost its value. See the difference that a stylish front door can make by comparing before and after photos of similarly-styled homes.

More Value

Boosting your home’s kerb appeal can potentially raise its value. A new front door provides a 68.8 percent ROI, as stated in the Cost vs. Value 2020 analysis by Remodeling Magazine. Your home’s kerb appeal can be improved with the installation of a new, high-quality front door. In addition to increasing your home’s marketability, it may also attract interested purchasers.

Make A Personal Statement With A New Front Door

Perhaps the most appealing feature of a changed front door is the opportunity it provides to make a unique fashion statement. Whether you decide to paint your new front door or go with a whole other style, it will completely change the look of your home’s outside. There is a wide selection of entry doors to choose from, so you can find one that fits the design of your home. Smooth, simple panels made of clear glass are an excellent choice for a modern or contemporary residence. For a more classic look, go for a door with decorative panels and either quarter-light glass or no glass at all. Grilles, crossbucks, clavos, ornate glass, dentil shelves, wrought iron, and other such embellishments can elevate your decor to the next level.

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