Book a Property Valuation
14May

It’s scary to think about but your home could be fraudulently sold or the deeds could be transferred without your knowledge -  this is an example of Property Fraud!

 

You are most at risk of property fraud when:

·       your identity has been stolen

·       you rent out your property

·       you have paid off your mortgage as no additional authority is needed by a lender to confirm the change of ownership

·       you live overseas

·       the property is empty

·       the property isn’t registered with Land Registry - Properties most likely to be unregistered are those that haven’t been mortgaged or sold since 1990. You can check the register here.


How to protect yourself against property fraud:

·       Make sure your property is registered with Land Registry Land Registry offer a free Land Registry Property Alert serviceAlerts are sent to you via email when official searches and applications are received against the property you want monitored. So for example, if someone tries to make changes to a property you have registered – such as applying to change the registered owner of your property – a notification is sent to you via email. It won’t automatically block any changes to the register but it will tell you what is happening so you can take appropriate action if necessary. You can monitor up to 10 properties free of charge so its a great service for Landlords too. More than one person can monitor a property at the same time, which is useful if you and your siblings are looking after a property for parents in care, however its important to make sure your contact details are up to date. 

·       You can safeguard your property further by applying to put a restriction on title deeds of your property. This stops the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you. A fee for this service may apply

·       Shred or destroy your old documents so that nothing showing your name, address or other personal details can be taken.

·       Store any documents carrying personal information – such as your driving licence, passport, bank statements, utility bills or credit card transaction receipts – in a safe and secure place

·       Do not disclose any sensitive security or bank details over the phone. A bank will never ask you to confirm your PIN or password if you receive a call claiming to be from your bank, call them back on their publicly listed number

·       Monitor your credit report and regularly check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity

·       Think before you buy online – use a secure website which displays the company’s contact details, look for a golden padlock symbol and a clear privacy and returns policy. Check the web address begins with https

·       When you move house, contact your bank, credit and store card providers, mobile phone provider, utility providers, TV licensing, your doctor and dentist etc, and give them your new address – you don’t want the new tenants to have access to letters containing your personal information. You can also redirect your mail by contacting Royal Mail


I hope no one reading this is ever a victim of property fraud, however if you think you may have been, contact the Land Registry property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 or send an e-mail to reportafraud@landregistry.gov.uk.

 

If you would like to read more information with relation to property fraud visit the Gov.uk website by clicking here. 

 

 

 

21Mar

As an individual I know I don't give enough to charity!

I give a nominal amount to cancer research every month and the RSPB, and I randomly sponsor the odd friend running the marathon and that's it - nothing else! 

The more I considered it the more I felt that I should be doing something. I'm not in a position to change the World but I could at least try to have a positive impact on my local town and community.  In my position as the business owner of M&M I wanted to choose a local charity that we could support as a business. One that was providing a service to our town and our local people. There are so many worth while charities that need our support and having spoken to the team we felt that a local homeless charity would fit us perfectly ...The House of Mercy! 

The House of Mercy is in Edwin Street in Gravesend. It was established in 1991 to provide hostel accommodation and support to single homeless people. Since then two further hostels have also opened in Gravesend and Northfleet which provide accommodation for up to 22 people. Residents can stay for up to 6 months, during which time they are assisted by trained staff with housing and job applications with a view to returning to 'normal life'.

Anyone can become homeless very quickly and the emotional effect this can have on an individual is profound. What they need is a space where they can be supported and helped back on to their own two feet so they can move on with their lives, with a job and private accommodation. Often the main catch to someone in getting a job can simply be having a home address - you cant get a job without one and you cant get an address without a job to pay for it!!

Our fundraising efforts started last year when our Branch Manager Lindsey ran a half marathon. In total raising £2,000. 

Our next event was in December of last year with a Reverse Christmas Advent Calendar. We asked people to bring toiletries into the office and they delivered! We managed to collect a whopping 317 items to be donated. 

This leads me to our next event....Spring Cleaning!!

The House of Mercy need clothing as well as toiletries. All clothes are welcome however they must be in good clean condition. You can bring the items into our office at any time and we will ensure they are donated to the House of Mercy.

So I'd like to ask everyone reading this to take 10 minutes, look through that wardrobe and get any unwanted clothes to us. Not only will you be helping someone in need but also clearing some space in your own wardrobe, which lets face it always feels good! 

Should you wish to learn more about the House of Mercy you can visit their web page at www.houseofmercygravesend.weebly.com

Should you wish to donate directly you can go to their 'just giving' page at;

Some residents quotes;

'After my landlord increased the rent I faced sleeping on the streets. I'm eternally grateful for the support and care given to me by the House of Mercy who helped me get back on my feet. I will always be grateful to them' M. 

'After losing my job I found myself homeless and was sleeping in my car. The House of Mercy has given me the chance to turn my life around' J. 

'I was sleeping on the streets which was not a good experience and the charity was there to help me and gave me food and shelter' P.

Thank you in advance!

Sarah

14Mar

It will be unlawful to let residential or commercial properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ (i.e. the lowest 2 grades of energy efficiency) from 1st April 2018. This means Landlords will be prohibited from letting substandard properties which could result in rent loss or fines for noncompliance.

 

Before an EPC is carried out there are various simple alterations you can make that would have a significant effect on the rating. 


So what can you do to increase the energy performance rating of your home?


  • Replace the insulation in your loft

Making sure that your loft insulation is at least 270mm thick

Image result for loft insulation


  • Insulate any cavity walls

If the property was built before or around 1920, it most likely has solid walls. Solid wall insulation can be installed from either the inside or the outside. If the property was built after 1920 it’s likely to have cavity walls. These have a double external wall with a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.


  • Change lightbulbs

Switch old fashioned light bulbs to new energy efficient ones

Image result for energy efficient lightbulbs



  • Replacing the boiler

Replacing an old, inefficient boiler with a new energy efficient one will have a significant impact on any property's EPC rating.


  • Double Glazing

Double glazed windows make a big difference when it comes to lowering energy bills as well as reducing condensation and noise. Instead of double glazing you could install secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window recess to create an insulating layer of air.


  • Heating controls

Even if you have an old boiler, the introduction of modern controls such as a room thermostat, individual Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and Boiler Programmer will have a positive bearing on the EPC results.

 Image result for trv

 

Whilst some of these suggestions will be more expensive than others, try not to think of improving energy efficiency as something you must do to comply with regulations, instead consider it as a commercial decision too. Given most tenants are responsible for paying energy bills, some may be willing to pay more for properties that are energy efficient or simply choose your property over another one. So make sure you’re making the most of this as a selling point.

 

As you will no longer be able to rent out your property if the EPC rating is below E you need to start acting NOW. It is also worth noting that there is a high likelihood that the minimum energy standards will be raised in the future….. Watch this space!!

 

Do you need a new EPC? Contact the office for more information. 

 

If you aren't sure what the EPC rating is for your property the full report can be found on the Governments' EPC Register.


Sarah


21Feb

I think sometimes legislation can be forgotten! Not by us I’d like to stress but by the industry as a whole.  When its introduced there is a lot of ‘hype’ and information in trade literature and then 1 year on dangerously it all disappears, never to be mentioned again under the assumption that everyone is doing what they should be.

 

I feel the RIGHT TO RENT LEGISLATION falls into this category.

 

To summarise, as of 1st February 2016 landlords and their agents must check that a tenant can legally rent residential property in England. Under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 a Landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or EEA or Swiss National, or has a ‘right to rent’ in the UK.

 

As an Agent we must;

-       Establish that the adults that will live at a property will do so as their only or main residence

-       Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents

-       Check documents in the presence of holder, copy documents and date

Acceptable documents are from List A, group 1 (single) or group 2 (combination)

Click here to see a copy of the list and government guide

You also need to have a plan in place to ensure that where a person has a time limited right to remain in the UK, acceptable documents will be from List B & checks should be undertaken not more than 28 days before the AST comes into effect with follow up checks being required.

Landlords that fail to check a potential tenants right to rent will face penalties of up to £3000 per tenant – so it’s not worth ignoring!

If you’re not sure what to do or you’re not sure whether your tenants have the Right to Rent your house then please do not hesitate to contact the office. As always, we are here to help with any queries you may have.

Sarah 

13Feb

M&M Estate & Letting Agents are proud to have achieved the standards necessary to attain a brand new mark of excellence in estate agency. We achieved the high performance standards necessary to be rated as among the top 10% of branches in the country and as such are listed in the Best Estate Agent Guide.

The Best Estate Agency Guide, together with Rightmove, identified criteria that defined exceptional service to determined which branches were worthy of being called a 'Best Estate Agent' following a rigorous and thorough assessment of 25,000 estate and letting agency branches.




To choose which agents are listed in the Best Estate Agent Guide, each branch is scored against a unique set of performance and customer service criteria, using a combination of data analysis and mystery shopping.

Performance was measured over a 12-month period, involving analysis of:

  • Over 25,000 branches
  • 1 million properties listed at any point in time
  • 3 million transactions
  • 50 million leads
  • 3 billion property views
  • 30,000 mystery shops

'We are so proud to have achieved this status as it affirms our commitment to customer service in everything we do!'  Sarah