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17Jul

Everything You Need To Know About The Tenant Fees Act 2019

You have just found the perfect property for you and now you have to pay the deposit, one month's rent and ‘referencing fees before you are given the keys. Not anymore, on Saturday, June 1st 2019 the law surrounding what tenants can be charged for when starting a tenancy changed. The Tenant Fees Act will apply to all tenancies from now on meaning that the landlord and the letting agents will be banned from charging any tenant fees such as inventory checks, referencing, credit checks and more. As well as all of this tenancy deposits have been capped to five weeks. All of these changes could save tenants hundreds of pounds. 

 

What Were The Fees For? 

Letting Fees usually cover a range of different services, these generally include arranging a guarantor form, credit checks, reference checks, inventory and having the house cleaned before moving in. The fees also include drawing up the official contract between the landlord and tenant. One of the key arguments to the tenant fees debate was that the fees were paid by the tenant but they are not actually for the tenant. After two years of debate, it was agreed that the fees would be abolished. 

Which Fees Are Now Banned? 

For tenants, the law is very helpful and will save them a lot of money. Now the tenant only will have to pay the monthly rent and a protected deposit to put down home and pay absolutely nothing to take it off the market. Whilst you may be thinking, “ Can’t the landlord just put up the first month's rent to cover the costs?” The law ensures that this is not possible. However, they are able to raise the rent for the duration of the tenancy to cover any costs.

 

Put simply, any fee that is in the tenancy agreement will be void. An example of banned fees includes; charging for a guarantor form, credit checks, inventories, cleaning services, references, administration charges and gardening services.

What Type Of Tenancy Does The Act Apply To? 

  • Student Accommodation 

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancies

  • Licenses

What Might I Have To Pay? 

For properties in England, The Tenant Fee Act 2019 means that in addition to rent letting agents can only charge tenants for the following payments: 

 

  • Holding deposits

  • Deposits 

  • Payments to change the tenancy

  • Payment for early tenancy termination 

  • Communication services 

  • Interest payments for late payments of rent

  • Reasonable costs for replacement of lost key

  • Contractual Damages

 

The act also states that estate agents and landlords do not have to return any money they have charged a tenant before June 1st 2019. 

Restrictions On Holding Deposits & Deposits

The holding deposit is taken before the tenancy is granted, whilst the pre-contract checks are made ie: references. This holding deposit will be limited to one week’s rent maximum and this must be refunded where a tenant later enters into a tenancy agreement. The deposit must also be returned if the tenant does not go ahead with the tenancy if the tenant is not at fault.

 

In regard to restrictions on deposits, for annual rent below £50,000, this will be limited to five weeks rent and for annual rent above £50,000, the deposit will be limited to six weeks rent. 

Breaching The Act 

If a free is charged wrongly, this can be recovered for a tenant via the County Court System. The first offence can carry a £5,000 penalty and the second offence if within five years can carry a £30,000 penalty.  

Castles Estate Agents

 

The Castles Estate Agent’s team are here to help. We are here to advise you on the action you need to take to comply with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. If you are thinking about selling or renting your property or if you are looking to buy or rent a property and would like to find out how Castles Estate Agents can assist you please contact us today on 01793611677 for more information. 



17Jul

Getting Your House Ready To Sell

The idea of selling your home can seem daunting, luckily, before you put your home on the market there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you increase your chances of getting the offer you deserve. From the initial research to the viewing process, Castles Estate Agents have created a guide for you to get your home ready to put on the market. 

Do Your Homework

Before you start anything it is important to brush up on your local housing market knowledge. You should take a look at the prices that houses in your area are selling for and figure out what an appropriate price for your home would be. You should pay special attention to the different homes location, features and square footage and think about how they compare to your home. Castles Estate Agents will be on hand to help you with this research and will also guide you towards a price which is perfect for your home, you can also request a free valuation to have an expert work this out for you. 

 

Perfect Presentation

First impressions count, which is why it is important to show off all of your home's assets to a potential buyer. Most people who are looking to buy a home will search online, which is why it is imperative to include professional quality photos on your online listing. If your photos do not look good online unfortunately your property could be overlooked by potential buyers. At Castles, we take pride in the photos we take and are confident that we will emphasise the positives of your home, photos of your home. However, if you wanted to explore the opportunity of employing the services of a professional photographer, Castles Estate Agents would be only too happy to point you in the right direction.

 

From The Outside In 

A recent study showed that more than a quarter of potential buyers would be put off a home altogether by an overgrown garden, which means it is important to spend some time on yours before any potential viewings. Add flowers, some outdoor seating or anything you think will give your garden that wow factor. 

 

Declutter & Clean

Decluttering and organising your space could go a long way with potential buyers. When your home is clutter free, potential buyers can solely focus on the home instead of any personal belongings or clutter surrounding the area.

 

After you have decluttered and before listing your home, give your home a deep clean, this means every room of the house in detail. When people come to visit your home they will want to envision themselves there which means you should show your home in the best possible way that you can. 

 

Leave Your Usual Parking Space Free 

If you have an allocated parking space at your home, you could consider leaving it free for the potential buyers. It’s convenient for them, especially if they are not familiar with the area and it offers them an experience of what it would be like for them to live at your home. 

The idea of selling your home can seem daunting, luckily, before you put your home on the market there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you increase your chances of getting an offer you deserve. From the initial research to the viewing process, Castles Estate Agents have created a guide for you to get your home ready to put on the market. 

Thinking About Looking For Your Next Home

In the event that your home is sold quickly, it may be time for you to start looking for your new home too. If you want to buy a new home you need to be prepared to move quickly to avoid missing out altogether. Ensure you have researched areas that you would like to live in, look up information such as schooling, crime levels and local facilities to find an area that suits you. Castles Estate Agents have provided you with a Buying Tips guide to help you choose the perfect home for you. 

 

Castles Estate Agents 


Castles are one of Swindon’s top selling agents and have been for many years. Castles Estate Agents have been chosen by the Relocation Agent Network & The Guild Of Property Professionals as the best estate agent in Swindon to represent their networks. If you would like more information on how to get your home ready to be put on the market, Castles Estate Agents have created a sellers checklist for your convenience and to save you time. If you would like to list your property today, contact Castles Estate Agents on 01793 611677 for more information.

13Jun

Renting or buying: Which is the best for your lifestyle?

 

Whether to rent or buy is a question asked by many people. Buying a house or flat is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life and it is very important to make sure you’re making the right choice for you. Some people cannot wait to get on the property ladder but this is not the case for everyone. Castles Estate Agents have put together a list of advantages to both renting and buying, which will help you make the right choice for you based on your lifestyle.

 

Castles Estate Agents have the highest stock of properties available since 2013 which means you won’t be short of choice when choosing the home of your dreams. If you would like more information on Castles Estate Agents properties please get in touch through our website today.

 

Can I afford it?

The first major question to ask yourself is which choice would be the most cost effective for you? When you are renting a home your costs are usually fixed for the term of your lease. Your monthly rent may not include other costs such as water, gas, internet and electricity which are important to consider. When you first start your lease you will more than likely require the first month's rent, a deposit and holding fee to take the property off the market. The good news, however, is that because you are a tenant, the landlord is usually responsible for fixing any issues with the property, whether it’s a broken washing machine or a door handle has fallen off.

 

With the tenant fee ban now in place, you know longer have to pay referencing fees and administration fees therefore, renting a property has become even more cost effective.

 

When you are buying a home most mortgage lenders need a deposit of between 5% and 20% of the properties price. You will also need to factor in bills such as water, gas, internet and electricity which is the same as if you were renting. The good news is however once you have paid off your mortgage your home will be yours and you will not have to worry about paying for a place to live.

 

It is essential that once you have decided you would like to buy instead of rent that you take professional mortgage advice, speaking to the best possible mortgage brokers can make the difference between buying or not! Castles mortgage partners are in their opinion the very best in Swindon and offer jargon-free and honest advice to put you in the strongest possible buying position. To arrange a free mortgage appointment please contact Castles on 01793 611677.

Reasons to Rent a Home

 

 

Owning a home can offer you a sense of security but if you’re not ready to settle down completely renting could be a good option for you. Renting a home could be a good choice for you if you want some flexibility, you are a lot more mobile when you rent. You can move out at the end of a lease and move anywhere in the country or world you wish too, without staying in one place.

Benefits of Renting

There are many benefits to renting a property such as;

 

1) Fewer upfront costs and paperwork.

2) No need to worry about falling home values.

3) You could potentially build up your credit rating.

4) You are not responsible for maintenance and repairs.

5) You have the freedom to be more mobile.

Reasons to Buy a Home

 

 

 

Buying a home can be a great investment for your future. If houses in your area have been rising, buying a home now could help you stay in your neighbourhood even if the prices keep rising out of your budget. In this case, if you decided to sell on you would instantly make a profit. A sharp rise in local property values always gives you the chance to make a sizeable profit when you sell on.

Buying may be the right choice for you if you plan to stay in the same area for more than a few years, you are able to apply for a mortgage and if you want to settle down and start a family in your own home.

Benefits of Buying

There are many benefits to buying a property such as;

 

1) Once you have paid off your mortgage your home will be yours and you won’t have to pay to live somewhere.

2) If your home increases in value you could make a sizable profit and buy yourself a bigger home or fund a retirement plan.

3) You can spend money on home renovations without having to get permission from a landlord.

4) You will have the pride of homeownership and could tie you to your community.

5) Your property can be passed on to your loved ones when you pass away.

Buying or Renting?

When it comes to the choice of buying or renting it is the option which best fits your circumstances, lifestyle and budget. There are pros to each choice and as your life is changing your choice may change. If you would like some more help making this decision or you would like to see some properties around the Swindon Area, the staff at Castles Estate Agents would be more than happy to guide you to a decision which is right for you. Please call us on 01793 611677.

 

13Jun

How much Is My House Worth? A Guide To A Property Valuation.

 

When you are selling your home the first question that pops into your mind is usually, “How much is my property worth?” This will then be the key piece of information to work out your budget for your next home and overall moving out costs. A property Valuation is a process of estimating the current market value of a property, based on how much it would usually sell for. A property valuation is normally carried out by a professional agency or by a valuer.

 

Having a property valuation is a vital step in selling your home. If you don’t know how much your home is worth you could be marketing your home too low which could end up with you loosing out or if you overprice your home you may struggle to sell it.

 

 

 

Castles Estate Agents have created the perfect guide to help you with everything you need to know about having a property valuation. If you would like more information on our valuations please visit our website today.

Why should I have a property valuation?

Having a property valuation is very important as you will get a better idea of how much your home is worth and you are then able to work out your moving budget for your next brand new home.

 

A property valuation will help you decide an accurate asking price based on the current value of your home. It is recommended you get three valuations so you can receive a true value of what your property is worth. There is nothing worse than finding the home of your dreams and then not being able to buy it due to having been unrealistic or unaware of the true value of your current property.

What happens during a property valuation?

 

You will meet the estate agent at your property at an agreed time. They will provide you with recent selling prices of properties in the surrounding area. A property valuation is likely to take around an hour as the estate agent will need to assess every part of your property. If you have had a home valuation before the estate agent may need to simply update their records which means the visit could be even shorter. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your valuation as there is no exact limit on how long the valuation will take and you may want to ask questions at the end that you may have.

How do I prepare for my valuation?

You may want to have a small spring clean and declutter which will help you maximise the space available in your property, making it look larger. Highlight the key features of your home which you believe would be an asset to a potential buyer.

You should also think very carefully about the questions you may want to ask. These questions may help you gain the key information you need to know from the valuation. It is also important to have any paperwork prepared for the valuation which will help get the estate agent up to speed. The paperwork you may need for your valuation may include rate information, building plans, maintenance charges or more.

 

Castles Estate Agents offer free property valuations online today which you can instantly access at the click of a button. If you would like any more information on property valuations please contact Castles Estate Agents today on 01793 611677.





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