Happy New Year…
2018 was an interesting year in property with changes to tax, Stamp Duty and Brexit speculation. A record number of landlords and property investors read our news pieces on the market, property law, taxation and investment opportunities. In case you missed any of our articles, they are all in the news section of our website Benham & Reeves news. But to show you what others are interested in, here are the top 10 performing posts.
1. Development of the year: Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms, SW8
In terms of size and grandeur, few London landmarks match Battersea Power Station, a truly imposing presence on the Thames waterfront. Superbly re-purposed as an elegant conglomeration of modern apartments, it is already attracting massive interest from corporate professionals looking for a home to rent in London.
2. Top ten issues that will devalue your London rental property
With an increasing amount of choice for tenants, it is important to make your property stand out. That said, there are things that can make a property stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s the top ten things that can be off putting for tenants.
3. What do you do if your tenant goes to prison?
As a landlord, you may have to deal with many eventualities. One of the most worrying, although thankfully rare, is dealing with a tenant who is sent to prison. You probably won’t see this coming so there isn’t a lot you can do in advance to cover yourself but should the worst happen to your tenant, we can offer some guidance as to the steps you should take to protect your rental property – and income.
4. Where to find the biggest discounts in the London property market?
While the London property market may be in a certain state of flux due to Brexit and stamp duty, there are still some things that are certain. It is the world’s capital city with amazing historical attractions, world-renowned educational institutions and thriving business opportunities.
For these reasons, it is likely to always need good private rental properties for the professionals and students looking to live and work here. In fact, PwC reports that 60% of the UK population will be renting by 2025 and in need of property to rent in London.
5. What happens if your landlord dies?
The first thing we would say to tenants is ‘don’t panic’! If a landlord dies the tenancy does not end. It becomes part of the landlord’s estate, just like the landlord’s other assets and after Probate has been granted it then passes to the landlord’s beneficiary/beneficiaries who will become the new landlords.
6. Changes to tax relief for residential landlords
The gradual phasing out of tax relief for interest at higher rates of income tax entered its second phase on April 6th 2018. Previously landlords who were higher rate tax payers could receive relief at their highest rate of tax – 40% or 45%. They could offset the interest they paid on their mortgage/loan repayments against the income they received from rent payments before paying tax. Now, restrictions are being phased in so the amount of Income Tax relief all landlords can receive on residential property finance costs from April 6th 2020 will be restricted to the basic rate of tax – currently 20%.
7. Top 10 tips to get the best return on your property investment
Ever wondered how some property investors just seem to shrug at the raft of financial and legal changes affecting the buy-to-let market. If you’re asking what they know, the answer is these ten tried and tested property investment rules to help stay balanced amid times of change.
8. Can I gift property to my children as part of my Inheritance Tax planning strategy?
Inheritance tax planning is a hot topic right now and particularly important for investors who own property as values have increased dramatically over the last couple of decades. Gifting property to children is a useful way to reduce your exposure to Inheritance Tax but there are important issues to consider before you decide whether this is the right option for you. For the purposes of this blog, we will assume that the property to be transferred is a buy-to-let property and not the individual’s main residence as different rules apply.
9. Choose your property agent wisely
With news from accountancy firm Moore Stephens that 153 high street estate agents became insolvent between April 2017 and April 2018 and an estimate that a further 7,000 UK agents show signs of ‘financial distress’, it’s becoming ever more crucial to choose your property agent wisely, and with due diligence.
Last year, the UK’s largest estate agency Countrywide were in the process of receiving a £140m emergency cash rescue package, showing that size does not automatically equate to financial stability. Similarly London’s Foxtons experienced its first ever loss in 2018 of £2.5 million according to their half-year results, after a downward trend in share prices which has lasted a year. From a buy-to-let landlord or property investor’s perspective, there are a number of factors which should be reviewed prior to instruction. Here’s our guide to choosing a good letting agent.
10. My tenant has lost his job and can’t pay the rent. What should I do?
Non-payment of rent is one of the issues that, understandably, landlords worry about most. We have strict procedures in place to minimise any potential losses to landlords, if for example a tenant loses their job and cannot pay the rent. Effective communication lies at the heart of this and usually gives the best outcome, as we aim to work together to find an amicable solution. But if this fails and it becomes necessary to evict a tenant, it is essential to follow the correct legal procedures. So let’s take a look, step by step, at what happens from the outset if a landlord finds out that the rent hasn’t been paid.
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