Listed buildings can look great, but behind the splendid high ceiling or under the quaint thatched roofs a property nightmare might be waiting. With a little know how, you can move into your dream home without a glitch.
Here are FIVE do’s and don’ts when thinking about buying a listed building:
Get to know your VAT rights!
Some energy improvement work for renovation projects attracts VAT at only 5%. So always check before you pay any bills to see if you can reclaim on VAT.
Get the right insurance.
If the unexpected happens and any of the property suffers damage, your Conservation Officer will likely require you to repair the damage to a similar standard and with similar materials. This can become costly so it is well worth contacting specialist insurance companies who deal with listed buildings in advance of proceeding.
Get friends in high places.
It can never hurt to have friends in high places – especially if they are your local Conservation Officer. They will know about similar problems encountered by other property owners in the area and may be able to advise you on the property you have your eyes on.
Do your research.
It seems like an obvious point to make, but always check the previous work carried out on the property with your surveyor. Any unapproved work carried out on the property before you take ownership will become your problem, so you need to know what these are before proceeding.
If you do any work on the property, keep all planning permissions and building control documentation safe, as you will need these when you sell your home in the future.
Always build to match!
We advise against combining modern repair methods with traditional methods. For example, dated properties will likely be built with old lime mortar, and using cement with this in situ can cause irreversible damage.
Keep it similar.
Always seek permission before removing, altering, or repairing original features. This can be anything from decorative stonework, fireplaces or windows as they are integral to the properties listing status. Permission needs to be obtained from the Local Authority and from freeholders where the property is leasehold.
Leave the stones alone!
Make sure stonework, chimney, flues are not painted or rendered.
It’s not just the building.
A lot of the time boundary walls and trees can be protected. So always get permission before altering or demolishing.
Take your time!
Always weigh up your options and listen to the professionals. A simple phone call to either your local Conservation Officer or to Historic England can clear up any questions you may have before you proceed.
With some new legislation coming into force and other regulation being considered, here are a few changes landlords need to look out for this year:
1. The Homes Act
‘The Homes Act’ which was previously named The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, came into force on the 20th March 2019, in England. The Act gives tenants the freedom to go straight to court if they believe a property isn’t being maintained to the expected standard, cutting out them having to complain to the Local Authority.
Under the Deregulation Act 2015, a landlord has to respond to a tenants complaint regarding the condition of the property within 14 days and conduct any necessary repairs in a reasonable timeframe.
If you are a landlord and haven’t had your property checked by a professional for a while, it may be worth having your property checked out and ensure you are remaining on the right side of the law.
2. Digital Tax (Making Tax Digital)
A new, digital way of keeping your records is being introduced. From the 1st April, if your Buy to Let business turnover is above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000 per annum) you’ll have to keep records digitally and send them to HMRC via MTD-compliant software.
This could actually turn out to be of benefit to some people for a few reasons:
Instead of finding out your tax liability at the end of the year, you can obtain estimates throughout the year of what you owe.
Real-time digital tax records can help you accurately capture more deductible expenditure and receipts
Records can easily be shared with your tax and finance advisers
The information can help you to budget and manage your cash flow by providing more clarity on your profits
3. Public Availability of the Database of Rogues Landlords
The ‘rogues database’ that was introduced in April last year has been reported as ‘insufficient’ as records were not made available to the very people it was supposed to protect – the tenants. In response to this, it has now been announced that the Government will make it public. There may also be further steps taken towards ensuring all landlords sign up to a redress scheme, something that was first pledged at the Conservative party conference in 2017.
4. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Going Up
In 2018, properties with an EPC rating below ‘E’ were not permitted to be rented legally on a new tenancy and this will apply to existing tenancies from April 2020. You may want to consider upgrading your property sooner rather than later if your rented property is currently rated ‘F’ or ‘G’ and you aren’t able to secure an exemption, especially keeping in mind the minimum rating is likely to rise to ‘D’ in 2022.
5. Client Money Protection (CMP) to Become Mandatory
Applications from potential Client Money Protection providers have been assessed by the government and came into law on the 1st April 2019. This means all letting agents need to be insured for the loss of any tenant/landlords money, including rent and maintenance.
Some agents may go out of business as they need to able to prove they have a financially stable business, therefore it is likely not all of them will be able to obtain Client Money Protection.
https://davidebert.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Landlords-should-know.jpg9001600Aamir Rawathttps://davidebert.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/David_Ebert_Leaders_in_Law.pngAamir Rawat2019-05-10 16:34:072019-08-23 08:48:31A Few Changes for Landlords to Watch Out For in 2019
Boundary disputes between neighbours can be some of the ugliest conflicts in modern day society, often triggered by putting up a new wall or fence, to your neighbour’s tree hanging over your garden, it brings to light the difference in opinion of where the true boundary lies.
Just like property disputes, boundary disputes can escalate very quickly as emotions are running high when people feel like their property is under threat. This is because people tend to form strong emotional attachments to their homes.
It is advised to seek help from specialist solicitors who are not emotionally invested in your property as they can help defuse the situation while remaining level-headed.
Doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to take legal action against your neighbour, what it does mean, is that you are obtaining the relevant knowledge and information you may need going forward and if anything were to escalate, you are prepared and know your legal rights.
Boundary disputes can touch on many other related property law issues such as:
Party wall disputes
Rights of way
Rights to light
How to pre-empt a boundary dispute
It is much better to avoid a dispute happening in the first place rather than trying to resolve one which has already escalated. Therefore it is advised to communicate your issues with your neighbour before you take any legal action.
Dealing with a boundary dispute
If you are going to go down the route of taking legal action it is beneficial to obtain as much information as possible before confronting your neighbours regarding a boundary.
You can obtain copies of the Land Registry plans for your property to work out with the boundaries lie, however, these plans only show the general area of the boundaries and are not definitive.
If your property isn’t registered, you should be able to access copies of the title deeds which may include information regarding the boundaries of the property.
Photographs and old planning documents may also be useful.
Instructing a specialist surveyor
It is often beneficial for both parties to instruct a specialist surveyor as they can carry out an examination of the property and its boundary features such as a fence, wall, or hedge. This can give both parties a clear understanding of where the boundary lies and there will be no need for further action. You may instruct a surveyor before you confront your neighbour or you may come to an agreement with your neighbour and instruct the surveyor together, agreeing to be bound by that surveyor’s decision.
How to know when to take the matter to court
If the dispute cannot be resolved by communicating or presenting evidence to your neighbour, further action may need to be taken.
There are a variety of mediation schemes available which are definitely worth looking into, however, if the case does end up in court it is in your best interest to have an expert property litigation solicitor by your side.
https://davidebert.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Boundary-disputes.jpg9001600Aamir Rawathttps://davidebert.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/David_Ebert_Leaders_in_Law.pngAamir Rawat2019-05-10 16:28:142019-07-19 07:59:34How to Resolve a Boundary Dispute With Your Neighbour
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