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End of Stamp Duty Holiday: first deadline fast approaching

stamp duty holiday

End of Stamp Duty Holiday: first deadline fast approaching

The Stamp Duty holiday in England will end on 30th June 2021, lowering the nil rate band from £500,000 to £250,000 for all but first-time buyers, who have a threshold of £300,000 before stamp duty is due. The rates will then change again in October to return to the standard amount pre-Covid-19.

The temporary nil rate for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced in 2020 when the UK went into lockdown amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, allowing anyone to purchase a primary residential property up to the value of £500,000 without paying Stamp Duty. From 1st July to 30th September 2021, the nil rate band will be reduced to £250,000 and then will be reduced again to return to the standard threshold of £125,000, again, except for first-time buyers who have a threshold of £300,000.

The rate of SDLT that applies to a purchase depends on the date that the purchase is completed and not the date that contracts are exchanged. This means that many people who are in the process of buying a house now could miss out on the extra relief but still have the opportunity to benefit from the £250,000 nil rate if they complete by October. The rate above £250,000 will be 5% on the next £675,000 (up to £925,000), 10% on the next £575,000 (up to £1.5 million), and 12% on the value above £1.5 million.

The adjustments to the Stamp Duty nil rate apply to main residences. Additional properties, for which there is no nil rate unless they are bought for less than £40,000, incur a 3% tax up to £500,000 until 30th June. This then changes to 3% up to £250,000 until October.

Anyone hoping to take advantage of the lower Stamp Duty rates, whether buying a main residence or an investment property, should think about moving quickly. Property purchases can take a number of months, and there are just over three months left until the SDLT rates revert to the standard amounts.

June 30th is the first Stamp Duty holiday deadline to pay attention to if you’re currently in the process of buying a property. Now is the time to try and speed things up and perhaps try to set a completion date before this deadline. If you miss this first deadline, you can still benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday, with a further three months to take advantage of the £250,000 nil rate. To check how much you’re going to pay, you can use the Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator.

If you have yet to find the perfect property, Pick My Pad can help you to speed up your search. Our estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and suggest properties for your shortlist. Please contact us on 0161 790 3999 or use our contact form. If you’re currently viewing properties, you can also speed things up by getting other necessities out of the way, such as lining up a solicitor and talking to a mortgage broker. This will put you in a good position to move quickly once you find the right property.

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Mistoria Estate Agents expands with new Cheadle branch

Mistoria Estate Agents expands with new Cheadle branch

Our sister company, Mistoria Estate Agents, is opening its 6th North West based office, this time in the suburbs of Cheadle. The new branch joins the already successful Mistoria Estate Agents outlets in Manchester, Bolton, Liverpool and Salford.

Parent company, The Mistoria Group, specialist in property investment, with a particular interest in student accommodation and HMOs. As a result, the Group’s estate agents are heavily involved in the student lettings market, whilst simultaneously providing traditional residential sales and lettings services. The Cheadle branch will further expand on these core property services by also offering mortgage brokering and conveyancing services. This is made possible by the fact that the new estate agents will share office space with MCC Accountants (also a part of The Mistoria Group) at their Church Road location in the heart of Cheadle’s busy high street.

Cheadle Branch Manager, Dewi Caughter, is keen to get going and build up the Mistoria reputation in the local area . He says, “Cheadle offers a new demographic make-up for Mistoria, but we’re keen to establish ourselves here and grow the Mistoria brand across the wider, more lucrative south Manchester area.

“We will provide a bespoke estate agency service for all pricing levels of the local property market. Our aim is to provide high quality customer service standards and competitive prices.”

The Mistoria Group CEO Mish Liyange comments, “This is an exciting time for The Mistoria Group. We already have five successful branches in the North West and have plans to expand into five more areas over the next five years, with the first being Cheadle. As well as Mistoria Estate Agents, our acclaimed in-house accountancy practice, MCC Accountants have also taken up residence in the new office and we hope the two companies will work together and complement one another to meet the needs of the south Manchester property and business sectors.”

Mistoria Estate Agents Cheadle have two opening offers that they hope will attract sellers and landlords alike. Those wishing to sell their property can enjoy fees of just £999, with no hidden extras. Landlords are being offered a fully managed service for just 8%. Both are hugely competitive offers and both are available for a limited time only.

More information can be found by visiting the website: www.mistoriaestateagents.co.uk/cheadle/

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Two Views on the Ending of the Evictions Ban in the UK

walkden letting agents

Two Views on the Ending of the Evictions Ban in the UK

For the pandemic period, a “new normal” has been in place. This new normal has included an unprecedented financial package from the government to help individuals who have lost their incomes to support themselves and find new work. One helpful measure has been the “eviction ban” that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who can’t pay their rent. But as the pandemic nears its end this ban has been lifted prompting concerns on both sides of the divide. In this article our Walkden letting agents look at the views of both landlords and tenants, each of whom has equally valid views on the government’s latest pandemic decision.

The view of tenants

As the Covid-19 pandemic draws to a close the government has decided to curtail the ban on evictions put in place during the pandemic to protect the homes of tenants. Under this law, tenants are not able to pay the rent due to pandemic circumstances – job loss or furlough – we’re not legally obliged to leave the property – that is no longer the case.

As of May 2021 landlords with tenants who do not pay rent or are in substantial arrears can be evicted from the property. This means that those who have suffered a loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and were not able to pay rent, as a result, might now find themselves homeless.

Who is affected?

According to recent reports, the lifting of the eviction ban could affect up to one million people in the coming weeks and months. It’s estimated that 400,000 people have already been served with an eviction notice by their landlords as a result of unpaid rent or rental arrears. This could precipice a housing crisis.

The pandemic has rocked the country as a whole and uncertain times lay ahead, but for renters, with low paying work or zero-hours contracts, their position was already precarious. The eviction ban was a lifesaver for many people as it allowed them some breathing space after losing a job and going onto benefits. While many of those people now have paid work again, rent arrears still put them at risk of eviction.

A housing crisis

Those same people who are only now getting back on their feet now have to stress about whether they will have a bed to sleep in after their shift or if they have to find a way of securing a new property on a low-income wage. Up to a million people are expected to be affected by the lifting of the eviction ban, raising the thorny question of where they are expected to go.

The view of landlords

When the pandemic struck it is fair to say it affected everyone. It’s also fair to say that the response to the pandemic was fair to governments, individuals, businesses, and landlords. It’s hard to imagine a landlord objecting to the eviction ban in the first few months of the pandemic. But now things are different.

As the pandemic grinds on and things appear to be looking more promising with the rollout of several vaccines, the government has decided to lift the eviction ban and give landlords the power to demand their rent from tenants once again. This has not been easy for tenants with high arrears but there are good reasons for it.

The counter-argument

It’s easy to take the side of tenants who have been affected by the pandemic and can’t pay rent temporarily, it’s even easier to take their side when the landlords in question are portfolio landlords with many properties on their books. But that isn’t always the case, and in fact, the majority are single property owners.

Single property owners use the rent from their tenants to pay for their own mortgage, so when this isn’t coming in their mortgage stops. With the eviction ban in place, landlords were finding that tenants didn’t respond to letters asking for rent because they knew they were safe from eviction – some even told their landlords to take mortgage holidays.

The future

As we leave the pandemic and the eviction ban is lifted it would seem to spell the end of a difficult financial time for landlords – but that isn’t necessarily the case. If tenants don’t pay their rent the landlord will be forced to evict them and shoulder the weight of arrears there are owed. Under present circumstances, there is no guarantee of a new reliable tenant either. What is needed is a benefits package from the government to help tenants pay landlords in the short term.

Walkden Letting Agents

As Walkden letting agents Pick My Pad understands the property industry in detail. We specialise in DSS or social housing, and private rentals as well as HMOs but can offer expert help and advice on all forms of property letting. For more information on what we do, contact us on 0161 790 3999 or use the details on our contact page.

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VIDEO: Top Tips in Social Housing HMOs

VIDEO: Top Tips in Social Housing HMOs

Our CEO Mish Liyanage presented at the National Landlord Show’s Nationwide Online Super-show on 26th May 2021, for which The Mistoria Group (our parent company) were a Sponsor.

If you didn’t manage to see the presentation then you can still catch it here as we recorded it for you….

Top Tips in Social Housing HMOs

 

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What’s Driving the Current Surge in Property Valuation Prices, and is it Sustainable?

walkden estate agents

What’s Driving the Current Surge in Property Valuation Prices, and is it Sustainable?

2020 was undoubtedly a unique year by any standards. COVID-19 took the world by storm, forcing humanity to rethink its definition of normality and disrupting the global economy profoundly.

In the UK, the housing market was one of the most affected sectors of the economy. The factors affecting this sector include:

  • Brexit
  • The pandemic 
  • The success of the vaccine
  • How businesses will act post-pandemic

However, contrary to many expert predictions, the global pandemic has not spelt doom for the property market. On the contrary, demand for housing has increased tremendously, and it does not seem likely to wane any time soon.

Pick My Pad’s Walkden estate agents look at the factors driving the surge in property values and predictions about its sustainability.

What is Driving the Surge in Property Valuation?

The primary reason for the drastic increase in the valuation of property is the chancellor’s stamp duty holiday. The government introduced this tax holiday to maintain stability in the housing sector, and the plan is working well.

The government is keen to maintain stability in the housing sector to avoid a severe crisis, as was witnessed in 2008. This single move has played the most significant role in ensuring that property value did not plummet due to the pandemic.

Additionally, banks throughout the country are being pragmatic and not increasing interest rates for mortgages. This has undoubtedly played a role in increasing the value of properties because buyers are not afraid of seeking loans to finance property purchases.

Moreover, people have been saving more over the past year than they did previously. This behaviour has also played a part in ensuring that the value of property keeps going up.

The pandemic itself has also led to increased valuation of the property. This is because of working from home, which has forced people to redefine what they want in a home.

For many city dwellers, staying at home for days on end led to the appreciation of space in a house. Consequently, many people are looking to move to the suburbs to have enough space to work comfortably from home.

On the flip side, property in the city has seen a drop in valuation, reflecting the decline in demand for homeownership in urban areas. People are no longer concerned about commuting for hours since they are working from home, which further decreases the lure of city property.

Is the Surge in Property Valuation Sustainable witnessed by Walkden estate agents?

According to many financial experts, the value of real property will level off in 2021. This is partly because the stamp duty holiday is set to expire by the end of June, making the transfer of property quite expensive.

However, demand for suburban property is set to continue increasing since the viability of working from home has been tested and proven. Therefore, people are bound to continue with the practice long after COVID becomes a thing of the past. If you want to sell your house fast, this is certainly the time to do it.

Contrary to many predictions, the value of property in 2021 has been increasing steadily despite the pandemic. This can be attributed to government policies as well as consumer behaviour. However, property value is set to level off in 2021 as the dust settles post-COVID.

To find out more, or for help and advice in any other property related matter, call our Walkden estate agents on 0161 790 3999 or use the details on our contact page.

 

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PRESS ARTICLE: Can Private Landlords Plug The Housing Gap For Social Tenants?

PRESS ARTICLE: Can Private Landlords Plug The Housing Gap For Social Tenants?

Recent research for the National Housing Federation and Crisis that was carried out by Heriot-Watt University reveals that 145,000 affordable homes should be built annually for the next five years, of which 90,000 a year should be for social rent.

This is the lowest-cost housing that councils and housing associations provide, with rents tied to local incomes. In recent times, fewer than 7,000 new homes a year have been created in this category in England.

According to Shelter, building social housing will be an investment, as it will cut the housing benefits being paid to private landlords. “The bottom line is, you cannot solve affordability without genuinely affordable homes,” says the housing charity Shelter. “That means we need to address the chronic shortage of social homes in this country. This shortage is at the heart our housing emergency.”

When the ban on tenant evictions ends on 31 May 2021, many local authorities expect to see an increase in levels of homelessness, with 94% saying they expect to see an increase in people made homeless after being evicted from the private rented sector, and an increase in newly unemployed people made homeless by the pandemic.

However, landlords commencing eviction proceedings must give six months’ notice except ‘in the most serious of cases’, such as instances of domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour.

Mish Liyanage, CEO of Pick My Pad, comments: “Affordable social housing has become scarcer, leaving many households with no choice but to rent in the private sector.

“Increasingly private landlords across the country are working with local councils and housing associations to provide housing for social tenants. Alternatively, some landlords use specialised DSS letting agents and let properties to LHA tenants who are on universal credit or housing benefit.

“Over the last 12 months, we have seen a significant increase in private landlords opting for LHA tenants on universal credit and housing benefit, up 28% year on year. With the support of the right letting agent, landlords can benefit from longer tenancies with higher rents than from private tenants.

“There are many advantages of having LHA/housing benefit tenants such as consistent demand; minimal rental voids; rent being higher than private tenants; more secure long-term tenancy; and landlords having more control over their properties.

“There has been a surge in tenants on benefits looking for private rental accommodation in the North West, especially in Walkden, Little Hulton and Salford areas. The LHA rates are very good as they are in line with Central Greater Manchester rates.

“At Pick My Pad, the leading property agent for social housing in the North West of England, we warmly welcome tenants who are in receipt of benefits such as personal independence payment (PIP), housing benefit, disability allowance or universal credit (UL). “We pre-qualify all enquiries and carry out reference checks and where applicants are not able to meet certain requirements, such as guarantors or a deposit, Pick My Pad assists in securing rental deposit certificates and rental bonds from local councils.”

Pick My Pad will liaise with the council to ensure that the benefits/universal credit will be paid directly to the agency thus ensuring the landlords have the peace of mind that the rent being paid on time. www.pickmypad.com or call 0161 790 3999.

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DSS Tenancies and COVID-19: is your agent working for you?

houses to rent walkden

DSS Tenancies and COVID-19: is your agent working for you?

Since the country went into lock down in March 2020, the word “uncertainty” has become a well used part of our vocabulary. It’s an emotional and/or financial state that most of us have encountered to some degree over the last 11 months. As letting agents with houses to rent Walkden based Pick My Pad are used to some level of uncertainty. Housing markets fluctuate, new legislation pops up all the time and the wants and needs of tenants and landlords is ever changing.

Whilst we’ve seen the sales market undergo all sorts of highs and lows with the value of house sales up 26% in 2020, and the busiest month in a decade recorded in July, not to mention the stamp duty holiday and subsequent extensions, what about the rental market? And more specifically, the DSS market?

It’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new financial uncertainty for many. And with it many are facing the daunting task of claiming Government benefits, such as Universal Credit, for the very first time. The furlough scheme and other business support packages have been a lifeline but it’s not stopped 100s of 1000s of people finding themselves in financial hardship and struggling to pay the rent, utility bills and food costs. With record numbers of people now claiming housing benefits due to financial hardship, the DSS tenant market is becoming an area many private letting agents and landlords are exploring for the first time.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 was introduced to protect most tenants in the private and social rented sectors by putting into place measures that require landlords to give an extended notice of intention to seek possession to their tenants. For notices issued between 26 March to 28 August 2020, the required notice period was three months. The provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 have been extended meaning that from 29 August 2020, landlords must provide six months’ notice to their tenants in most circumstances. This said, there are some (serious) cases where it is right that landlords are able to start progressing within a shorter time frame.

Whilst this vital step protects the most vulnerable of tenants, it doesn’t stop landlords from falling into financial difficulty. Without the guaranteed rent from their tenants many small landlords are also struggling to make mortgage repayments. And so the financial burden of the pandemic passes through the rental market in a constant game of cat and mouse.

Houses to rent Walkden

Have you found yourself in uncertain financial times as a result of COVID-19 and don’t know which way to turn?

Whether you are a LANDLORD or TENANT with houses to rent Walkden estate agents Pick My Pad can help you along that path, reassuring you that your home is financially safe.

Navigating the Government benefits system for the first time can be very daunting, particularly if you are not aware of what you are entitled to, but there’s no need to feel afraid. At Pick My Pad we have the knowledge and expertise in dealing with DSS tenancies, and the paperwork and application process that come with it. We have studied the rates for 2021 and are up to speed on the legislation so we can fully support you.

We endeavour to help you any way we can so please, feel free to call into the office for a cup of tea where we can sit down with you and explain things further. You can also contact us by email info@pickmypad.com or by telephone 0161 790 3999.

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New Year, New Home?

New Year, New Home?

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the sales market, how about adding a little finesse to give it that kerb appeal. If you want a potential buyer to fall in love with your property consider cleaning out gutters, refreshing the paintwork, clearing weeds or as they say anything that’s broken, fix it!

Buy-to-let landlords

If you’re buying, with the extension of stamp duty plus other benefits, now has never been a better time to buy a home or that buy-to-let investment.

According to the National Landlord’s Association there are more lenders and products now than there have been in the last 10 years, and a healthy competition is playing out amongst them which means there are some excellent deals for buy-to-let clients.

What our landlords say

We recently sent out a few questions to the landlord’s of Pick My Pad which they kindly responded to . This is what was discussed…

  1. I am interested to know what made you buy and rent in the particular area you have chosen?
  2. What advice could you give to prospective landlords?
  3. How do you feel Pick My Pad helped you in the process and would you recommend us to prospective vendors and landlords?

A long-standing landlord’s replied…

I buy to rent in Little Hulton, Salford because the property prices are cheaper than central Salford and Manchester and the rental yields are excellent. I would recommend other landlords use a reputable agent such as Pick My Pad, especially if they are going to be taking on Housing Benefit / Universal Credit tenants. I would also recommend landlords have the correct insurance and keep up with ever-changing regulations such as electrical safety checks. Being a member of NRLA to ensure you keep up with all landlords’ requirements is advisable. Pick My Pad have been an excellent agent for me and looked after my interests. Communication is good and any issues are dealt with quickly.

With the trust that has been built throughout our company and wonderful hard working staff actually enjoying working with each other looking positively at the days and future ahead. Plus always remember problems are only problems if you let them be problems. There is always a way around things to find a solution.

Once again thank you for letting us do the work we love doing and the enjoyment we get out of helping you.

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How to let or rent a property during lockdown in England

houses to rent worsley

How to let or rent a property during lockdown in England

In these difficult times, dealing with property-related matters, such as viewings and move-ins, can be very stressful, as there are additional safety considerations involved for all parties. With this in mind, Pick My Pad Estate Agents will explain what falls within the rules in England whether you are looking to rent or let a property in lockdown, and how to minimise the risk of infection in the process.

Advice for letting in lockdown

In England, government guidance says that estate agents, letting agents and removal firms can continue to work. This means you can let a property in lockdown to new tenants

The rules state there should not be more than one household in any home at any time, so ideally yourself and existing tenants should be absent from a property during an in person viewing. You should also ensure all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected before and after the viewing.

You can still bring in a professional cleaner if needed before new tenants move in, and tradespeople can carry out maintenance and repair work on the property provided they follow the safety guidelines.

Advice for renting in lockdown

In England, you are allowed to look to rent a property in lockdown. Carrying out activities related to renting a residential property is considered a reasonable excuse to leave home. However, the government says you should carry out initial property searches online if possible, rather visiting your local estate agent.

If you are considering renting a particular property, you can still book to attend a viewing in person, though it is advisable to request a virtual viewing first. Many agents and letting services have taken steps to enable this.

Should you wish to view a property in person, you must abide by the rules and take measures to avoid spreading the virus. This will include wearing a face mask, staying two metres away from other people, and washing your hands before and after the viewing.

When you are ready to move into a new property, people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless it is absolutely necessary.

Available Pick My Pad houses to rent Worsley

If you’re looking for houses to rent Worsley based Pick My Pad Estate Agents has a wide range of impressive properties in available for rent and for buy-to-let agreements in the area. We have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our existing tenants and those looking to rent with us. If you’d like to know more, please use our contact page or call us on 0161 790 3999.

Parent company Mistoria Estate Agents are members of ARLA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

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Surviving in a Shared House

houses to rent worsley

Living with your friends in a shared house can be brilliant.  But maintaining domestic harmony can sometimes be a struggle, especially during stressful periods. That’s why we’ve written this blog post – so that you know how to survive in a shared house! 

Choose Your Housemates Wisely

Before you even start looking for a house, you need to sort out who you’ll be living with. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. A good idea is to live with the people who you get on with and who you know can live without mess and drama. Alternatively, you could live with people from your favourite sports club, as that way you’ll have something in common (though that’s no guarantee they’ll be good housemates!). 

If there’s something you find irritating about a friend, remember that this will be much more noticeable when you see them all the time in your own home. You should also consider how many people you want to live with; in larger houses, there’ll be more chance of arguments and less chance of privacy, but if you’re a social butterfly, a large house might be perfect for you. 

Room Allocation

When you move into your new house, there’ll probably be a desperate rush for the biggest room. But to avoid arguments, deciding who gets which room should be a democratic process. Each room will have its advantages and disadvantages and you should consider what’s most important to you. If some rooms are considerably bigger than others you may consider splitting them by price, or you could allocate on a first come first served basis.  

Keep Things Tidy

To keep up good relations with everyone in your house, try and avoid conflicts wherever possible. Arguments usually start over the cleanliness of the house. It’s fine to have a messy room, but in communal areas, you should make sure your things are packed away after you’ve used them. Make sure you wash your dishes once you’ve used them. It’s really easy to let plates build up until you have a festering mess in your kitchen and nothing to eat from. 

It’s worth sitting down with your housemates to write up a cleaning rota. That way, every part of the house will be cleaned regularly and no one will be able to argue about whether it’s their turn later down the line.

Ask To Use Your Friends Things

If you’ve run out of cutlery because you’ve not done the washing up, it’s tempting to ‘borrow’ your friends’ things. If you come in drunk and have no food in, you may even decide to steal some of your friends’ food from the fridge. That can cause huge arguments, especially if someone comes down to find they have nothing for breakfast. It goes without saying that you should always ask before taking anything. It may also be a good idea to mark your things with your name.

Don’t Let Your Partner Move In

There is usually only enough space in communal areas for the number of occupants in your property. It can be really frustrating when someone you barely know spends all their time hogging the kitchen or taking lazy showers when you need to get ready to go to lectures. Your housemates will also get irritated that your partner isn’t paying rent or bills but is still using the house’s facilities. No one is stopping you having your partner over a few times a week, but if they’re there all the time, don’t be surprised when your friends get annoyed. 

Pay Your Bills

If your house has opted to pay their own bills rather than move into a bills-included home, it’s best to have one person responsible for collecting all utility payments. Make sure you pay them the right amount, on time. It’s unfair on the lead payer if you’ve not paid your share and they’re left covering for you. Remember that everyone is sharing the cost, so don’t turn up the heating just to walk around in shorts!

Looking For A Shared House?

If you’re looking for houses to rent, Worsley based Pick My Pad have a wide range of properties available. Contact us now.