Property Matters. The next open meeting is on Tuesday January 10th 7.00 p.m.

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1 IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS Housing Benefits (Landlords) Benefits & Council Tax Environmental Health (including noisy neighbours) Domestic violence helpline Environmental Maintenance (refuse, pest control, abandoned vehicles etc) Environmental Maintenance (Roads, signs, lighting, footpaths etc) For Electricity suppliers For Gas suppliers Planning Enquiries Private Landlords/Tenants Kathy Hawley Police or (Emergency ) 999 Crimestoppers Transco (if you smell Gas) Princess Royal Hospital or (Shropdoc in Emergencies) Please advise us of any other important numbers you would like listed above. All information and advice in this newsletter is given in good faith. Wrekin Landlords Association accept no liability for actions or damages arising from its content meetings January 10 0h April 11th July 11th Oct 10th all at: The Oak Tree Centre, Lightmoor. Annual Dinner May 12th Representatives of The Wrekin Landlords Association can be contacted on : TENANT REFERENCING CHECK (Paul Spiers) The Chairman, Mr. Bernie Lewis Treasurer, Mr. Paul Spiers or write to WREKIN LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION, The Cornerhouse, 57, High Street, Madeley TF7 5AT Winter 2016/17 Property Matters The Official Newsletter of the Wrekin Landlords Association The next open meeting is on Tuesday January 10th 7.00 p.m. The Oak Tree Centre. Lightmoor Village, Telford. Happy New Year! Come along to an open discussion and share your thoughts with your fellow members. Maybe have some questions answered and meet like minded people. IN THIS ISSUE... CHAIRMAN STANDS DOWN ANNUAL DINNER RENEWALS ARE DUE RENTING TO POLISH TENANTS BTL CRITERIA CHANGES BEATING THE CUTS 20 Website:- My life in Property Needs your stories. NOW!

2 CONTENTS FRONT COVER Meeting January 10th LHA Rates for Help for tenant debt. 4 Chairman stands down 5 Renting to the Polish 6 Blocked Drains Eviction rulings Members say and Recommendation Laugh it off 11 Annual Dinner 12 Membership renewal 13 Future meetings 15 BTL Lending Criteria changes 16 Beat the cuts. 17 Community Project. 18 Classified Ads 19 Contacts 20 Chairman's letter. Dear Members It was good to see you at the Autumn Conference and I am confident that that many of you took away some valuable information. Certainly The presentation from the Lee Higgins and his team was fascinating and extremely useful for those of you with Benefit tenants The year ahead could be very different for many Landlords and no one quite knows all the implications of the changes in local, National or even International structures. It is not as if we haven t faced challenges before and usually come out the other end having turned them into a positive, it s just that we probably haven t encountered so many shifts in attitude from so many diverse people before. I firmly believe that much of the change in opinion is due the new availability of so much information now and people whose opinions were never previously considered are now making their presence known in much of the decision making process. I don t know if that is good or bad it is just different and we are not always used to different. Anyway, life goes on and we hope you will all continue with you membership (see page 13) and book up for the Annual Dinner (see page 12) May I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New year. See you all on the 10th. Kind regards Bernie Lewis ACCOUNTANTS Neil Phillips ARCHITECT Nick Hatton BOLIER GRANTS Renewab Solutions BUILDING Steve Holford Rob or TN Builders SMJ Carpentry CARPET SUPPLY & FITTING AST (Dawley) Mark Atwell fitting CARPET CLEANING Shropshire Carpet cleaners Butlers Dry clean carpets CLEANING Make It Sparkle Vortex Cleaning CONDENSATION Enviro Vent DECKING Chetton Timber or DECORATING Williams Friendly Services DOUBLE GLAZING Safeway or ELECTRICIANS Simon Bird or Tye Electrical PB Electrics or APS Electrical (Simon) ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTS. Tim Gough Phil Bowen FENCING D W fencing or GAS SERVICE Gastec, Dave Emberton M.C. Services F.M Gas or CLASSIFIED ADS GARAGE DOORS Steve Barratt INSURANCE Alan Boswell Brokers INVENTORIES Integris Proerty Solutions JOINERY MANUFACTURERS Christian Roussel KITCHENS Kitchen facelift Co.(Martin) LAWN CARE Mal MAINTENANCE David Smith Jag of all trades (mobile) Bailey s or Keith Williams MORTGAGE BROKER Gemma PEST CONTROL David Watkins PLASTERING GS Plastering PLUMBERS David Battye Brian Tarr (reliable) PLUMBING SUPPLIES PH Boiler Spares M.R Bathrooms & Fires PROPERTY Abroad Steve and Helen Ruth & Stephen Barry & Linda PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Wrekin Property Management REMOVALS Recyclex or Man with a Van SEWAGE & DRAINS Mayglothing Waste SURVEYOR Terry Nutt For Newsletter info or btinternet.com If you have any recommended tradesmen please let us know 19

3 HOLIDAY APARTMENT, LOS ALCAZARES, COSTA CALIDA, SPAIN 2 Bedroom apartment on small complex with communal swimming pool. Walking distance to shops, restaurants and beach. Cheap flights to Murcia airport (10 mins from apartment) flying from Birmingham & East Midlands, Ryanair, BMI Baby, Jet2, Airport pickup available. For more info, pictures, and availability go to Ref: number or contact Barry & Linda Smith or Prices from 195 per week. Shropshire Community Project An organisation that gives it s profits to local charities and projects by raising funds and providing resources to support those in our community that are in need of help, who believes that no-one should ever face a problem on their own. New furniture Shropshire s biggest not-for-profit New Furniture Retailer, available to buy online and in store. Honest everyday low prices and free delivery. thefurniturepeople.org.uk Facebook.com/thefurniturepeople Used furniture Profits go to support Your Community. Delivery available, donations of used furniture welcome, we will collect for free. shropshirecommunityproject.org.uk Facebook.com/Shropshirecommunityproject Telford Community Store Unit 5, Forge Retail Park TELFORD TF3 4AG Shrewsbury Community Store Riverside Mall SHREWSBURY SY1 1PJ Your Help towards a better Community Current LHA RATES (Telford & Wrekin Area) Category Max. Weekly Max. Monthly Shared Accommodation Bedroom Bedrooms Bedrooms Bedrooms The above are the maximum Local Housing Allowance rates used for calculating Local Housing Allowance. The number of bedrooms is based on the tenant s family make-up and age and not on the number of actual bedrooms in a property. For more information please visit the LHA pages at: benefits or Telford and Wrekin Council s Customer Services on When the chips are down there s probably been a good potato harvest. Or click the link on your website 3

4 TENANTS PERSONAL DEBT INCREASES. HELP THEM NOT PUNISH THEM CAP is an award winning charity, recommended by TV s Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis. that offers free, face-to-face debt counselling to all. Almost 90% of clients pay all their bills & debts, including rent, on time, every month, with the same number saying that the help given by CAP was life transforming or at least a great help. CAP visits people in their own homes, negotiates with any creditors and supports people right up until they are debt free. The service is available to anyone regardless of age, faith, gender or background. In the UK, there are over 270 CAP Debt Centres and we have one in Telford. So local people can access the service locally. To find out more, call Christians Against Poverty s freephone number or visit Beating the cuts Following on from the previous page possibly your property portfolio may not look so shiny. In the moves that no-one saw coming, the Government has really had a go at the Private residential Landlords. What does the loss of tax relief mean? Up to now, people buying to let have been able to claim tax relief on their mortgage interest payments at their marginal rate of tax. This means that a basic rate taxpayer would get 20 per cent tax relief, higher rates would receive 40 per cent relief, while top-rate taxpayers could claim 45 per cent. When the changes come in, tax relief will be a flat rate of 20 per cent. Landlords who pay basic rate tax would see no change, but those on higher in-. comes will find themselves losing much more in mortgage interest payments. The Nationwide Building Society published estimated figures of how a typical landlord s profits might be hit. Someone with a 150,000 buy-to-let mortgage on a property worth 200,000, with a monthly rent of 800, would currently have a net profit of around 2,160 a year. Under the new system, the net profit would plunge to 960. The additional stamp duty may for some be the final straw for buying additional BTL properties. What s the answer? Hiking up your rents to compensate is unlikely to work, as most tenants are already paying as much as they can afford. You could switch to shorter-term fixed rate deals to get lower rates of interest, although these mortgages carry more risk, or you could place your property portfolio in a limited company structure. You would then pay corporation tax (which is lower) rather than income tax on your profits. A drawback is that it is not a simple process and your mortgage options will narrow as fewer providers will lend to a company. Also if your spouse pays a lower rate of tax, you could transfer ownership of one or more properties to them, providing this does not lift them into a higher tax band. The silver lining to this particular cloud is that if you are a landlord with a lower income, you are no longer at such a disadvantage to those in the big league. This level playing field may in fact help the new wave of silver landlords hoping to use their pension pots to buy rental property. It may be time to sit down with your mortgage advisor and/or Accountant and review your options A mortgage adviser should be able to answer all your questions about this issue. 4 A representative of CAP was at our Conference in October STAY SAFE! STAY LEGAL! 17

5 New Mortgage Rules to hit BTL Investors. Property Investors will face tough new mortgage affordability tests from January 1st The Chancellor Philip Hammond announced additional rules on buy-to-let which will result in ordinary investors being able to borrow far less, he indicated he was concerned about "financial stability" following a boom in residential property investment as savers try to find profitable places to put their money in the wake of the collapse of many retirement pension plans and the current low lending rates for buy to let properties. Ministers have recently targeted buy-to-let with aggressive new taxes, including higher rate stamp duty and the removal of mortgage interest tax relief. Experts fear the announcement will make the investment unaffordable, closing down further potential saving/investment opportunities. Under the plans, affordability checks are to be introduced for investors, who will now have to prove they can make a profit of 25 per cent profit from tenants even if interest rates rise and make their mortgage more expensive. If interest rates rose too quickly it would cause buy-to-let investors, used to low rates. a huge problem. If they were unable to repay their mortgages the market could suddenly be flooded with properties. The new move will reject borrowers who make less than 25 per cent profit from their investment, this in turn can only have two outcomes either Landlords will be forced to increase their rents OR will have to turn family homes into H.M.O.s to validate the loan criteria. While would-be landlords are being locked out of the market, current landlords may look to sell, studies have indicated. One survey by the Residential Landlords' Association found that a quarter of buy-to-let investors are planning to sell their rental properties as a result of the Government tax changes. This comes on top of other action to curb the buy-to-let mortgage market, which has fuelled lending growth. In March the FPC set out measures intended to reduce new buyto-let mortgages by between 10% and 20% during The changes in tax relief for buy to let will be reduced to a flat rate of 20% compared with the current 40% or 45%, while an extra 3% has been added to stamp duty on buy-to-let purchases. Some lenders are already making changes to their borrowing terms. Chairman Stands Down. The time has come for me to move over and make way for someone else to take the reins of the Wrekin Landlords Association. I feel I have done as much as I can in the 15 years that I have held this Office, guiding it through the turbulent times when we relinquished our ties with the Council (who, initially, set up the Association) and recreating the Newsletter, introducing the Annual Dinner, working with sponsors and advertisers, to maintain a positive financial picture, introducing the Autumn Conference, tripling our membership and the very tricky negotiations to help with Telford and Wrekin Accreditation Scheme. Whilst we have approached someone to take my place, there will be a democratic election at the AGM so if any of you feel that you might be able to bring something to the organisation then please get in touch and we will talk through the position. I am confident that with the membership base that we currently have, there s huge potential to make a big difference to all the local Landlords. I hope to maintain a place on the committee and I m sure you will be pleased to hear that Pat will continue to organise the Annual Dinner, for the next couple of years at least, with the permission of the new chairperson. Thank you all for your support in the past and I wish you all success in the future. Local Based Company Providing recycling and waste disposal. Also sameday delivery and collection anywhere in the U.K. For Landlords, we specialise in House or Garden clearance, waste removal, all responsibly certified disposal, guaranteed no Fly tipping. For House removal we offer Man and a Van. Free quotes given. Call today to discuss your project on: / Website: Fully licensed, anywhere in the U.K. 24/7 16 5

6 RENTING TO the POLISH COMMUNITY If you have a vacant property or soon to be available you might like to consider the option below which is now established and working well for one of our members: We have 5 single let houses all let to Polish People. Polish tenants were recommended to us back in 2008 when we started, and since our first tenants, we have not looked back and find our new tenants through our existing Polish tenants. After 18 months of preparation we are now able to offer this market to you free of charge as we have a a system that we can share with you all through our website. Simply go to our website at you can place your own advert for your own property (complete with pictures and details) just like a lettings agent website only this will not cost you anything! We will not charge. We are NOT a lettings agency we will not come between you or your tenant. However, if you want a Polish translator or maybe you would rather pay someone to handle the viewing (in Polish!) then we will help you. At this moment, we need Property available to rent on our site the more that are advertised, the more we can encourage the Polish Community to visit the site. Not all our viewers are Polish, but we are focussing on the Poles. We can also be found on Facebook as Shirtone Properties but the website is where you can post the glossy adverts Go to now and place your free adverts. A recent vacancy posted on this site (for a one bedroom flat) was tenanted in less than 3 days! Future Meetings Please note: The next meeting is 10th January at : The Oak Tree Centre, Lightmoor Village, TELFORD TF4 3EG See directions below M.R. Bathrooms & Fires Cuckoo Oak Green, Madeley, TELFORD, TF7 4HT FULL Range of plumbing & heating products, Boilers, radiators etc. Copper tube, fittings (inc TDC plastic adaptors) tools, bathroom suites, showers, surrounds, taps, wastes etc. We also have a range of fires and fire surrounds available in our showroom. Tel: The owner is a member of the Wrekin Landlords Association himself and will always be pleased to see you 6 TENANT REFERENCING CHECK (Paul Spiers) We look forward to seeing you there at 7.00 p.m. 15

7 SIMON BIRD ELECTRICAL SIMON BIRD ELECTRICAL SIMON BIRD ELECTRICAL SIMON BIRD ELECTRICAL 24 HOUR EMERGENCY CALL OUT SERVICE Simon Bird Telford s Live Wire Domestic * Commercial Industrial Electrical Installations and Maintenance Part P building Regulations Approved Periodic Inspections and Testing Portable Appliance testing Proud to work with Wrekin Landlords Telford Fax mobile Make it Sparkle Cleaning Services Covering Shropshire and Staffordshire. End of tenancy deep cleans and/or clearance. Spring cleans, weekly/fortnightly cleans Carpet cleaning, builders clean up. Oven cleaning Interior painting and decorating and basic DIY Fully insured and CRB checked Phone Sharon Kelly A competitive company built on honesty and reliability 14 Telford Energy Savers:

8 Unblocking drains You know how it is, you get one blocked drain and suddenly everyone seems to have one. This is when you start to find out how much it can cost you. Before you pick up the phone just ask a few simple questions as to how the drain became blocked, if it is a bath or a basin then it may well be just hair and soap. So advise the tenant to get a drain dissolver like Buster from Tesco or similar. If it persists it may well be worth investing a in a drain unblocker, which is a coil spring on a reel which are less that 20 and can be used time and time again. If the problem is in a kitchen sink it is more likely to be grease related so discourage your tenants from putting grease down the drain, I suggest using empty butter tubs to tip the fat or grease into and then putting them into the bin or pour it on scrap bread and put it on the bird table, that way everyone benefits and you can save a fortune. If it is a blocked toilet it can have much more serious implications and you have an obligation to your tenants (even though they have probably blocked it) to clear it. We have, in the past, had the sewer pipe cleared by a professional and if it was suggested that it was the tenants fault we show them the bill and advise that if it ever happens again they will pay the bill, that usually stops them. Eviction changes. The Housing Minister has written to councils over eviction advice, following NLA pressure, to clarify the homelessness guidance, who s research showed a number of private tenants are being told by their local council to ignore eviction notices and wait for bailiffs to turn up before moving out. The NLA has consistently warned that the advice was increasingly being offered because councils refuse to accept tenants housing applications before an order for possession has been granted by a Court, despite guidance from Central Government that confirms all housing applications should be accepted from the time notice is served on the tenant. The statutory Homelessness Guidance Code, is clear on this matter, it contains guidance on how authorities should treat homelessness applications in circumstances where a tenant has received a valid S21 notice and authorities should not, in every case, insist upon a court order for possession and that no local authority should adopt a blanket policy in this respect and they should not be place tenants in this position. 8 Did you know? MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS ARE DUE 1st January PLEASE SEND IN YOUR TWENTY POUNDS NOW! TO: WREKIN LANDLORDS ASSOCIATION, CORNERHOUSE, 57, High Street, MADELEY, TELFORD, TF7 5AT Just fill in the enclosed/attached form and keep the top part as a receipt. We are relying on your co-operation to keep costs down. Many thanks! OR You may pay by direct banking into the: Wrekin Landlords Association RBS Bank account : Account number & sort code on enclosed/attached form. Please use your membership number and name as a reference Remember it is only 20 again this year. We thank you for your prompt payment! OR Bring it along to the New Year meeting on: TUESDAY January 10TH till 9.00 p.m. At the Oak Tree Centre, Lightmoor. see page 15 for directions All are welcome. 13

9 WREKIN LANDLORD SERVICES LTD PH Boiler spares Ltd is an independent sales counter situated on Stafford Park 15. Open to both the trade and the public alike it is owned and managed by Ian Cull a qualified Gas service engineer. PH Boiler Spares Ltd pride themselves on the personal service they provide and technical knowledge of Plumbing and heating. YOUR PROPERTY IN SAFE HANDS Paul Spiers B.A. (Hons), ACMA, CGMA, LL.Dip (Laws) wrekinlandlordservices.com. They stock an impressive library of boiler spares and a diverse selection of plumbing Supplies. Call in today and see, Where those in the know Go! Worester PCB A-Rated Circulating Pump 5 Meter head pump. Code: PUM015 14th WLA ANNUAL DINNER DON T MISS IT. FRIDAY MAY 12th 7.30 p.m. for 8.00 THE PARK INN (Radisson), FORGEGATE, TELFORD One person goes FREE in each paid up membership, an additional Guest/Partner pays only Choice of 3 course menus, (choices upon application), In addition to Mark Rees we will have a Fantastic live band ELEVATION Demand is high, BOOK EARLY. Ring Pat now on Parts centre Price PH Boiler spares Alpha Divertor valve Parts centre Price PH Boiler spares Unit C2,Stafford Park 15 Telford,TF3 3BB Tel: Fax: Heating controls 22mm Mid position valve. Code: MIDPOS007 Only Only Toilet components Only Opella Syphon Code: CIST024 All prices inc VAT and are valid till 1/1/2015 Comparison prices are taken from Parts Centre web site 27/09/ TENANT REFERENCING CHECK (Paul Spiers) 9

10 Members Say Dear Bernie Might I congratulate you on an excellent Autumn Conference. I am surprised it was not better attended as this is the sort of information that is so area specific you cannot get it from any of the usual sources, well done keep up the good work. Tony Hi Tony Thank you for your kind words and insight into what makes this organisation so special for local landlords.. However, as you will see from my announcement on page 5 that I will not be organising next years Conference, although I am confident that whoever takes over from me will, no doubt, do an even better job than I. Kind regards Bernie Dear Bernie I have just heard that you are standing down as Chairman. Might I say on behalf of the my fellow members that you will be sadly missed as your wit and repartee have always brought a sparkle to every meeting, however, I am sure that you have good reason for your decision and that it is in the best interest of the Association. We will still look forward to seeing you in the future and we all thank you for the work you have done for us all over the last 20 years. Kindest regards John Dear John Thank you for your kind words, although it has only been 15 years, I m sure to many it feels like twenty years. I have done a little article on page 5 so if you would like to stand for the position I m sure you would have much support. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role, meeting with you all and hearing of your experiences has been fantastic. I do hope the new Chair has such a rewarding experience and will continue to have all your support. Many, many thanks Bernie. RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations for: F.M. Gas Services. (See GAS Service Page 19) Thank you for putting me in touch with F.M. Gas Services. I lost my previous Engineer and was a little reluctant to try someone unknown. I simply phoned F.M. gave them the times and addresses, he did the job without a fuss, without disrupting the tenant. His bill was less than I had previously paid. I am more than happy and will continue to use him on my other properties. By your recommendation I have just saved my annual membership fee. Regards Dave 10 LAUGH IT OFF Anti-Social Media. I don t have a computer but wanted the experience of Face Book. So I went out every morning and walked up to total strangers in the street and started to tell them about myself and what I had for breakfast, I showed them pictures of my cat and last nights dinner and so on. It seems to be working as I already have four followers. Two Policemen, a Social worker and a Psychotherapist. Cruel collection. Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.. Creepy old man. My wife calls me Spider Man. Not because I fly through the air saving the World, it s more likely to be because I can t get out of the bath without help. Obvious target What will the FBI shout at President Elect Trump if he is danger? Donald Duck! Unsavory Christmas Treats. Who did MI5 arrest at their Christmas Party? Was it the Mince Spies? Remember when. Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one. D SMITH BUILDing Ltd Member of the Telford and Wrekin traders register. * Renovations ( all aspects undertaken personally ) * Fencing. * Damp proofing * Driveways. * Ponds and landscaping.. No job too small or big. Competitive rates. Checkout my website for testimonial dsmithbuildinglimited.co.uk Or: Ring now for an inspection and competitive quote