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Your Move Property Blog

Thoughts, Opinions & Analysis of the UK Property Market

Landlords and Legionnaires: how to protect your tenants!

April 24, 2014 09:07 by YOUR MOVE

When you buy a property to let or rent your own home, probably the last thing on your mind is to check whether there is a chance of your tenants getting sick through Legionnaires disease. Normally we only hear about incidences in hospitals or places where there are lots of people living.

However, you might not know that as a landlord, you have a duty of care to your tenants to make sure your water supply is working properly. 

What is Legionella?

This is an illness a bit like pneumonia. It's relatively rare, especially in residential homes, but we need to take care as if it does develop, then it can be fatal. People catch the illness from hot and cold water heating systems including storage tanks which aren't functioning properly or have been stagnant for some time. The result is bacteria can develop and lead to a tenant inhaling infected small droplets of water contained in the air.

What checks can you carry out?

You can carry out your own risk assessment as long as you are considered to be a 'competent person'. From the HSE's perspective, this means you need to know about the sources of legionella, what precautions to take and how to maintain and control systems to minimise the risk. The Health and Safety Executive has a free document you can download which explains this in more detail.

You need to identify the risks so you can do what's required to prevent Legionnaires disease developing. Main things to check will be showers, water tanks and hot water systems. The other thing to bear in mind is identifying if you have a vulnerable tenant. According to the Health and Safety Executive some tenants are more susceptible to catching Legionnaires' disease than others. People considered vulnerable are over the age of 45, smokers or heavy drinkers, or those suffering from respiratory or kidney disease or immune system problems.

Example of checks include:

1. Sources of contamination such as a water tank, showers

2. Breakdowns which can allow the bacteria to develop and cause a problem when restarted

3. Use of disinfection

What can you do?

The likelihood of this happening in your property is pretty small, however, it can be quite devastating if it does. So, when buying any heating system, or things like showers, it's worth asking the manufacturer and plumber or engineer how they can ensure bacteria doesn't develop. Another time to be cautious is if the heating system has broken down and it takes a while to fix it or if you have been renovating a property, so always have checks done in these circumstances.

Finally, if you ever come across your tenant with flu like symptoms: so coughs and colds, headaches and muscle pain. In severe cases it may lead to mental confusion.

What can Your Move do for you?

If we are managing your property, this is the kind of thing we are aware of, so we take it into account when letting your property and organise any changes to your heating and water systems.

If you manage the property yourself and need any help, please feel free to contact us for guidance. Call 0845 450 5507* or email Landlords@YourMove.co.uk

 

- See more at: http://www.your-move.co.uk/newsletter/legionnairesaprxiv.html#sthash.qZwUZEyl.dpuf




March 2014 Buy-to-Let Index

April 23, 2014 10:17 by YOUR MOVE

BUY-TO-LET LENDING TAKES RENT RISES TO FOUR YEAR LOW 

• Rents rise at slowest annual pace since January 2010 – up just 0.9% in twelve months to March
• Average rent across England and Wales now stands at £741 per month, after 0.2% monthly fall
• Proportion of all tenants behind on rent stands at 7.8%, down from 8.5% in March last year
• Rising house prices increase landlords’ annual returns to 12% – or almost £20,000 per year 

 Overview
Rent rises across England and Wales have slowed to their lowest annual rate in over four years, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns national chain Your Move.
As of March, rents across England and Wales are now just 0.9% higher than twelve months ago.
Rents have not increased as slowly since they grew by 0.4% in the twelve months ending January 2010, making the latest annual rent rises the slowest for over four years. 

In absolute terms this means the average rent in England and Wales is only £6 higher than a year ago, currently standing at £741 per month compared to £735 in March 2013. On a monthly basis, rents fell by 0.2% between February and March. This leaves rents in England and Wales approximately £1 lower than in February. 

Rents by region 
Rents in five out of ten regions are higher than in March 2013, led by the South West with 5.2% annual rent rises.
This is followed by 2.3% annual growth in the North West and 1.4% annual rent rises in the South East.
Of the five regions where rents are now lower than a year ago, the East of England has seen the sharpest fall, down by 3.6% over the course of twelve months. Wales has seen rents fall 2.0% in the past twelve months, while rents in the West Midlands are 1.2% lower than a year ago.  

Commentary on the Index:
David Newnes, Director of estate agents Your Move, part of LSL Property Services, comments: “Mortgage lending is recovering steadily – and the impact is becoming clear. This year is seeing access improve across all areas of the property market, and that now includes private renting.
“A flow of investment from landlords has increased supply of homes to let, supported by historic low mortgage rates and significant growth in the number of buy-to-let loans. At the same time more first time buyers are starting to balance the many thousands of new tenants entering the rental market.  
And this is slowing demand a little. The result is a private rented sector where supply and demand are more aligned than for many years. More mortgage lending is good for tenants too.” 

Read the full index




February 2014 Scottish House Price Index

April 16, 2014 14:24 by YOUR MOVE

Help to buy drives Scottish housing recovery further in February 

• Average prices climb £5,584 in last twelve months
• All seven cities in Scotland see house price growth over the past year
• Prices in Aberdeen climb 12% since February 2013
• Inverclyde tops table for both sales and price rises 

Commentary on the Index:
Gordon Fowlis, Regional Managing Director of Your Move, an estate agency chain that is part of LSL, comments: “Help to Buy has been the spark driving the engine of recovery for the Scottish housing market. Since launching at the tail end of 2013, the scheme has helped thousands get a foot on the ladder. With sustained growth taking hold, there are now signs that the independence debate is less likely to rock the housing recovery boat. However, there’s still some uncertainty surrounding the ramifications of an independent Scotland for the banking sector. The potential fiscal impact may be felt in mortgage accessibility and employment stability, which in turn could have a knock-on effect on housing. 

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed average prices climb by over £5,500, with Inverclyde seeing the greatest annual growth of all, at 16% – with the region clearly benefitting from its close proximity to Glasgow. In a sign of the widespread revival, all seven Scottish cities have also seen price rises from last year. This urban renaissance is being driven by first-time buyers benefitting from Help to Buy, typically taking the plunge in vibrant cities. Aberdeen in particular has seen the average house price climb by 12% over the past twelve months – it has its own micro-economy. The same trend is being seen across metropolitan areas in England, with places like Manchester also seeing positive growth. 

Read the full index




March 2014 House Price Index

April 15, 2014 09:52 by YOUR MOVE

House prices climb £17,500 in 12 months, but sales slow in March 

- Prices hit record £262,291 – with highest annual rise since September 2010 
- Lightning fast growth in London: prices rise twice as fast as any other region 
- Sales stall in March as poor weather and shortage of homes takes its toll 

Commentary:

David Newnes, Director of Your Move estate agents, owned by LSL Property Services plc, comments: “Average house prices have never been higher, rollicking upwards by £17,500 – or 7.2% over the past twelve months. This marks the highest annual increase since September 2010, when the market had only began to emerge from the depths of despair. Prices are now 26% higher than the bottom of that bleak pit five years ago, in April 2009.

“Equally, a rejuvenated economy, more accessible mortgage market and better employment prospects are underpinning greater confidence among aspiring buyers. For the ninth month in a row average prices have set a new record, and we’re certainly seeing reports of this renewed optimism throughout Your Move branches across the country.”

Regional overview:


London continues to dominate the regional league table in terms of house price growth. With an annual increase in excess of 13%, London’s house price inflation is more than double that of any other region in England & Wales. It is also the only region in our table with price growth above the average for England & Wales as a whole. The increase in prices then ripples out from London to the South East, where prices are up by 6.0%, followed by the East and West Midlands, both up by 4.0%. We then see price growth on the east coast of England, with Yorks & Humber up 3.9% and the North, up 3.6%. The West coast then follows with the South West also up 3.6%, followed by Wales, up 2.7% and the North West up 2.2%. East Anglia falls outside this ripple effect at present with only a 1.6% increase in prices, with Cambridgeshire currently showing a fall in prices over the year, particularly in the cost of detached homes.




April 2014 Tenant Arrears Tracker

April 4, 2014 10:40 by YOUR MOVE

Households facing serious rent arrears fall by a third 

- Cases of tenants severely behind on rent have fallen by one third (35%) in last twelve months
- 68,000 households remain seriously behind with rent payments, compared to mid-2012 peak over 116,000
- Number of landlords in mortgage arrears reaches lowest level since mid-2008
- Progress starts to be reflected in number of evictions, as court orders fall 3% in final months of 2013

Overview
Tenants struggling with late rent have made significant progress in the last twelve months, according to the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker by LSL Property Services plc, owners of Templeton LPA, the specialist practice of LPA Receivers.   (Based on analysis of LSL and English Housing Survey data.  Data subject to revision. Quarterly figures revised since last edition as more data became available)

As of the first quarter of 2014, the number of tenants in severe arrears – those more than two months behind on their rent – stands at 68,000, down from 105,000 in the same period last year.  Representing a 35% annual improvement, this comes despite an 11.1% seasonal increase in cases of severe arrears between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014.)  

Comment
Paul Jardine, Director and Receiver at Templeton LPA, comments: “Personal finances are finally defrosting across the UK, with many people experiencing the first real financial spring for half a decade.  Tens of thousands of households are looking forward to a slightly more comfortable year in 2014, without the lurking anticipation of serious rental arrears.

“It’s true there remains a long way to go.  Certainly, for any particular tenant still facing serious hardship, this won’t yet feel like an improvement.  And the seasonal difficulties of the festive period and New Year have taken their usual toll.  But a clear positive trend is emerging.   With three successive quarters showing a sharp annual improvement in the number of such cases, the chance of tenants falling so far behind is receding.  Slowly but surely a brighter economic picture is breaking through the gloom and is starting to make a real difference to purse strings across the country.”

Read the full tracker
 

 




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