Category Archives: Letting Agents

Successful Property Renovation in Derbyshire

We recently renovated a property for a local landlord.  Once the property was completed it took just two days before the property was occupied.

The pictures below are are the before, during and after images:

Before Renovation:

before bathroom renovationbefore lounge renovation

 

 

 

 

During Renovation:

during bathroom renovation     before lounge renovation

 

After Renovation:

decorated stairsrenvated hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

decorated ceiling architraveDecorated Peep Hole

 

 

 

decorated ceiling architrave   decorated living room

room complete after renovation    bathroom after renovation

The result was a successful property renovation and one very happy landlord with a new sitting tenant.

If you want us to renovate a property to this high standard, contact us today on 01773 742746.

 

Black mould and condensation

With the temperatures dropping some home owners are having problems with condensation which can lead to black mould growth. This can be an unpleasant issue in the home and can affect your plaster and decoration and can also be a potential hazard to health. The issue of black mould growth appears in houses at cold spots that are called dewing points. This usually happens when the building fabric becomes cold and the condensation condenses on the cold spot and allows the correct level of dampness for the black mould to grow. This can then spread to other areas of the property the places that tend to be worse affected are behind furniture the corner of rooms and ceilings particularly on and adjacent to external walls. Many homeowners suffer this year after year and face the annual spring clean and redecoration but there is a permanent solution. You can fit a unit in the roof void called a P.I.V. this stands for positive input ventilation. These units work excellently as they work to reduce the humidity levels in your home solving the root cause of the problem which is condensation and high humidity levels within the property. Once a unit has been installed and all the historic mould growth has been removed the property will remain free from condensation related mould and you can start to enjoy your home again. Many home owners try various other options first from dehumidifiers through to cutting in additional air bricks. The majority of the time this is not enough to resolve the issue and it is either only partly resolved or the mould and condensation will simply move to a different area of the home.

Dilapidation reports and repairs

Dilapidations is a phrase well know in the world of commercial property but is something that can catch out and be an expensive lesson for commercial tenants. Depending on the wording and conditions of commercial property lease agreements will depend on who is responsible for which and to what degree of property repairs and other associated costs. For instance if you are a commercial tenant and you have occupied a property for many years you may be responsible to return the property to the landlord with the appropriate statutory requirements in place. This does not sound to onerous but if could mean the introduction of various fire safety and other stator requirements. This could mean a new electrical fire detection system, fire doors and frames and some additional fire separation between fire exists. Dependant on the size and condition of the property this could leave the tenant with a bill for tens of thousands of pounds of refurbishment works. It is important to get a contractor on board who understands not only what needs to be done but also who needs to be informed and how to manage your dilapidation and repair budget. Even if the work is carried out by the correct competent person to the correct standard using the right materials you could still fall foul of the regulations and approval of building control. This could then create further issues and costs associated to getting in or out of the lease. There are different types of commercial property leases but retailers are very often only prepared to sign what are called weather leases. This term is used to describe a lease agreement where the landlord remains responsible for keeping the building weather tight and the tenant for the internal elements. So essentially the landlords keeps the roof, walls and external windows and doors in safe and serviceable condition while the commercial tenant looks after the rest.

Commercial refurbishment projects

Commercial properties are exposed to a lot more wear and tear than private houses and for that reason and other commercial requirements usually undergo a programme of refurbishment more regularly than houses. Retail, offices and other commercial facilities not only tend to have more foot traffic but they also fall under stricter and more onerous statuary requirements and regulation. This is why it is important to employ competent refurbishment contractors who understand and can advise not only on your businesses requirements but also on statuary requirements. There are several issues to be aware of when carrying out a commercial property refurbishments. They range from asbestos management and refurbishment surveys though to disabled access assessments. It is also important to involve a fire safety consultant as well as informing the local authority building control department or a private building inspector. With a competent building contractor they will have a good outline understanding of the various regulations but will require input from the various professionals to make sure they have covered all the site specific issues like interpretation of the various regulations. The regulations can be effected and budgets affected by a variety of other aspects. The end use of the property, if it is listed or in a conservation area even down to the use class orders or if it is zoned as a town centre property. It is also important to make sure that there are no under lying issues with the property that could affect the works once the refurbishments has been completed. It is important to get exposed areas checked for issues like damp or structural defects that will be covered up and could come back to cause problems in the future.

Do you need property management or property maintenance?

Many landlords dread those Monday morning calls saying they have a bill for boiler repairs or a leaking roof. This is often why landlords chose to use a letting agent or property management company however with many tenants now paying by direct debit the only main advantage is the repairs and maintenance. What if you could find a single point of contact, one company that can look after all your investment property requirements and arrange all the repairs and certification. You could save hundreds of pounds a year in property management fees. We have experience of providing this service to many agents and facility management companies that carry out exactly this service. So you could cut out the agent and come direct for all your repairs and also enjoy the benefit of our various experts and skilled tradesmen. Do you need a company that can advise on roof repairs right down to a blocked drain and also arrange for all the electrical and gas certifications? Our team have been managing and developing properties specifically for the residential rental market since the 90’s. So we know how to look after a maintenance budget to give you the best value and keep your tenants happy. We know that landlords are happy when their tenants are happy with the condition of the property and pay their rent promptly.

What do I need to do before I alter my shop or office?

Many business owners move business premises or open new businesses and are looking to get the most from their new buildings and fit out budgets. There are many things to consider when opening a new business so here are a few of the items that business owners can overlook. First you will need to see the existing asbestos register all commercial buildings are duty bound to have a register that details the presence, type and locations of any materials in the building fabric that contain asbestos. If you do not have one you are not only potentially putting employees and the public at risk you are also breaking the law. The good news is that you can get an asbestos surveyor to carry out a survey relatively quickly and they are a lot less expensive than potential fines or decontamination. The second vital certificate is a fire safety certificate this can be obtained by contacting a fire safety risk assessor and getting a survey underway. You will also need to get the electrical and gas safely checked if these certificates are not available or you are making alterations. If you are making alterations you will probably need the works to be pasted by the local authority building control department or a similar local building control contractor. Check what arrangements or alterations are required for a disabled access again this can require a separate survey. Finally particularly with commercial buildings it is a good idea to get them checked out by a structural engineer if you plan alterations or have concerns about previous alterations or any existing building defects. Your surveyor or a good competent building contractor should be able to advise and recommend the various professionals required to make sure your commercial property redevelopment is completed properly. People are often afraid to undertake structural alterations as they fear the costs however these can often be less than expected and make your building far easier to use or sell from making it a worthwhile investment.

Heavy rain time to check your house?

Heavy rain can affect several areas of your house from the roof down to the drains, and often heavy rain can highlight the areas of your house that need some attention. So work from the top down, check the pointing, flaunching and lead flashings around your chimneys. Check for any broken tiles or slipped slates on your roof and have a good check around the gutters make sure all the gutters are clear and check if there are any leading joints. These can cause further damage and lead to issues with pointing and introduced damp which can cost more money to resolve. Poor pointing can also cause damp patches and contaminate the plaster with hydroscopic salts meaning that it must be removed and the area treated with anti sulphate solutions and re plastered. Heavy rain can also increase issues with rising damp and wet rot to timbers in the roof structure, floor and ceiling joists. Drains can also leak and become over whelmed with runoff water during periods of heavy rain. Again not keeping your drains in good condition can lead to more sinister and serious problems by undermining your foundations. This can lead to the need for major structural repairs and structural solutions like underpinning and pile foundations. If you have any concerns about any issues with your property it is always best to seek some good advice from an expert like a surveyor of get some free advice from a good competent building contractor.

What building work to do before you let your house

When becoming a landlord you have either ended up with an additional property usually by moving from your home or inheriting another house. Or perhaps you have purchased a property in an auction or from an estate agent. It is unlikely that the property is ready to let there is usually some level of building work required. The first consideration is making sure the property has no maintenance issues, have the ridge tiles been pointed is there any slipped slates or tiles? Is there any re-pointing required are the gutters in good condition? Take some time to carry out your own survey or ask for some advice from a building contractor. Next before you let your property you have a duty of care to your tenant so make sure that you have all your electrics and gas checked out and that your building contractors provide suitable certification for their work. The best advice for internal decoration is to opt for white ceilings and gloss work with matt magnolia on internal walls and silk or kitchen and bathroom paint to kitchens and bathrooms. Although kitchen and bathroom paint is more expensive than silk is can prove a little more tenant proof and could save you decorating costs in the future. The next consideration is items like locks it is best to convert your existing doors to have euro barrel locks. This provide a couple of advantages one they are easy to change when tenants leave and also a thumb twist can be provided to the inside of the doors. This means you can still have a 5 lever lock to satisfy your insurance requirements but tenants can get out in the event of a fire or other emergency without searching for the front or back door keys. Then we move onto more permanent fittings like kitchens and bathrooms budgets can vary greatly but in most lets a standard Howdens, Magnet or B&Q kitchen will be cost effective. Avoid patterned or stark colour wall tiles as this could put some tenants off, chose simple and neutral designs. Make sure you fit a shower this can even be achieved in small bathrooms with the use of a ‘P’ shaped bath. Another consideration is the installation of a positive pressure unit this is a clever device that controls condensation. This can often be an issue even when the house has not suffered previously because busy tenants often forget to open windows and allow adequate ventilation for kitchens and bathrooms.

Building refurbishments for houses in multiple occupation

HMO’s or houses in multiple occupations require a licence under legislation from 2004 that was introduced nationwide in 2006. The legislation in managed by the local authority housing standards team and although they have a set of guidelines to work to. The final recommendations are from the inspector attending site, similar to when a building inspector is passing building works. So an inspector will look at the end users requirements when they specify the level of alterations that are required to obtain a licence. The housing officer may be more lenient where student lets are taking place than with more vulnerable individual bedsit lets. The main requirements will be for fire protection, usual in the form of an interlinked mains fire system under BS4839 part 6 grades D LD2. Some HMO’s may require a higher level of system with a mains fire board similar to those used in some retail and commercial buildings. The number of lettable rooms may also require additional toilets and hand basins in to be fitted in the lettable rooms. Another requirement is the correct provision and positioning of electrical sockets. They will also ask for fire doors usually FD30 sometimes FD30S (smoke sealed) these will be one of the main expenses in a conversion and refurbishment. They usually require a minimum of two double sockets per lettable room positioned to minimise trailing of electrical flexes. If you are planning a HMO conversion for student lets or for other HMO requirements it is a good idea to use a building contractor who has experience in the HMO regulations.

Property and construction sectors welcome transparency on Greenhouse omissions

With recent moves to force companies to publish their emissions data this will not only be good news for those companies that think green it will also be positive for those that refurbish commercial properties. Seventeen percent of the UK’s emissions are produced by non residential properties so any measure that will assist in reducing this will be beneficial to the whole of the UK. So who are the losers from this new measure? It is companies or landlords who hold commercial property that is not energy efficient. Some commercial properties are far easier to improve the thermal efficiently of than others so it could even have an effect on the capital values of some building and indeed the book value of some commercial property portfolios. Will this be picked up by the banks? The letability of poor performing property could have an effect on landlord’s abilities to pay bank facilities? Potential tenants will be careful signing leases if this leads to capital outlay to improve the energy efficiency of their commercial premises.