Walsall property left with “Zero” value after discovery of Japanese Knotweed!

Walsall property left with “Zero” value after discovery of Japanese Knotweed
Walsall property left with “Zero” value after discovery of Japanese Knotweed

I recently discovered that one of our rental properties in Walsall has Japanese Knotweed growing in the garden.  My immediate thought was “ouch this is going to be expensive and potentially very troublesome!”.

I knew from discussions with past colleagues and fellow industry professionals how much damage Japanese Knotweed can cause, especially if it gets under the structure of the property.  If found on a survey, mortgage lenders won’t even consider lending so it could potentially leave your property with zero value!

What is Japanese Knotweed?

I found the following definition from the Royal Horticultural website:-

“Japanese knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) is a weed that spreads rapidly.  In winter the plant dies back to ground level but by early summer the bamboo-like stems emerge from rhizomes deep underground to shoot to over 2.1m (7ft), suppressing all other plant growth.  Eradication requires determination as it is very hard to remove by hand or eradicate with chemicals.  New legislation now covers its control”

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Would you buy your Walsall home off the internet?

Would you buy your Walsall home off the internet?
Would you buy your Walsall home off the internet?

People say buying a house or moving home is stressful.  I totally agree and whilst at my Agency we do our best to make things easy believe me, when I say it’s nothing compared to online shopping!!

My close friends and family know that I dislike self service tills and the impersonal detachment of internet shopping.  I can be honest and admit that I absolutely hate it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it has its place especially when I enviously see my neighbour’s food shopping being brought by a kindly man driving a Morrison’s van bringing their weekly shop to the door.  Seeing this made me think how great it would be and how much time I would save if I or my wife didn’t have to go food shopping.

The one and only time I tried food shopping online I received all sorts of stuff.  Some I ordered and some I didn’t… other times I tried Birthday gifts which didn’t arrive on time, clothes which looked lovely on the internet model are not what I had hoped for – sack of spuds springs to mind!

A long awaited mother’s day gift for my sister was delivered by courier to my house and because no one was home they very kindly left it in a safe place… the recycling bin which was emptied on the same day!  So, if you don’t mind, I’m sticking to high street shopping in the future.

Thank goodness we don’t buy houses online.  Can you imagine it…?!

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Get out of the Walsall Property Rental Market!

Get out of the Walsall Property Rental Market!
Get out of the Walsall Property Rental Market!

I was recently reading a report by the Home website which suggested that landlords are selling en-masse their buy-to-let investments due to increasing burdens on them in the buy-to-let market.  Their findings suggest the number of new properties that came onto the market nationally (for sale) jumped by 11% across the UK as a result.

Those increasing burdens include new tax rules coming in over the next 3 to 4 years and the announcement that all self-managing landlords (i.e. landlords that don’t use a letting agent to look after their buy-to-let property) will soon need to register with a compulsory redress scheme to resolve tenant arguments and disputes; as Westminster wants to heighten standards in the Private Rented Sector.

Interestingly, a few weeks ago I was chatting with a self-managed landlord from Bloxwich, when I was out who didn’t realise the other recent legislations that have hit the Private Rented sector, including the ‘Right to Rent’ regulations which came in to operation last year.  Landlords have to certify their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK.  This includes checking and taking copies of their tenant’s passport or visa before the tenancy is signed.  Of course, if you use a letting agent to manage your property, they will usually sort this for you (as they will with the redress scheme when that is implemented).

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Smokin’! What’s The Deal With Smoke Alarms?

Back in 2015 The Smoke Alarm Regulations came into being. Now, apparently approx 30% of UK residents have never tested their smoke alarms so, what does all of this mean for landlords and tenants?

Let’s talk about landlords first:

  • Landlords must install a smoke alarm on every floor of their rental property.
  • Landlords must install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (E.g. Coal fire, wood burning stove). Though not a requirement, it is advisable to also install one near a gas appliance.
  • Licensed HMOs are exempt from this regulation as they must comply with separate fire safety regulations.
  • Social housing landlords are exempt.
  • Live-in landlords are exempt.

Whether exempt or not, it would behove all landlords to ensure the safety of their tenants.

  • All alarms should be in working order at the start date of a new tenancy as per the tenancy start date stated in the tenancy agreement. This does not include tenancy renewals.
  • It is advisable to obtain the tenant’s signature for them to confirm that the alarms were tested and working in their presence. This could be included in a document that also confirms they have received all documentation as per the How To Rent Guide“.
  • Or, it could be included in an inventory and schedule of condition.

There are no requirements for a specific type of alarm or on the location of the alarm installation. It is recommended to follow manufacturer’s instructions and that they are installed on a ceiling in a circulation space i.e. hall or landing. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be placed at head height and approx one to three metres from the solid fuel/ gas appliance. If in doubt on the installation of alarms you can also contact you local fire service for advice.

The failure to comply with these regulations is a fine of up to £5000 if the 28 day remedial notice has not been adhered to.

 

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Are all Walsall Tenant’s Needy?!

Are all Walsall Tenants Needy
Are all Walsall Tenants Needy?!

Over the weekend I had an email from one of my Blog reading friends.  I thought I would post this below and discuss in this week’s Blog post as it may benefit the rest of my friends who follow the Walsall Property Blog…

Landlord’s Question:

”Dear Salek,

Over the past two years I have had three different tenants in my rental property in the Delves area of Walsall.  At first each of them came across like ideal tenants.  However, not long into each of their tenancies, problems started to arise.  To cut a long story short, between the three tenancies there have been months of non-payment, plenty of damage to the property and harassment (in the sense that I was called over  40 times in the space of 4 weeks  with requests to change light bulbs, locking themselves out of the property etc).

Why am I attracting these tenants?  Is this a common thing with being a Walsall landlord?’’

 

My Response:

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Walsall Millennials set to inherit the Earth!!

Walsall Millennials set to inherit the Earth
Walsall Millennials set to inherit the Earth

That got your attention… didn’t it!

Last weekend I went to our favourite restaurant in Leamore (North Walsall) with the family.  The owner is a client of mine and so, in between the Biryani and Nan Bread naturally, we started talking about our favourite subject… the Walsall property market.  He informed me that he was a Millennial which is a term I’m familiar with but then he also told me that I was a Generation X!  I had to look this up when I got home as I thought he was teasing me at first.

What is Generation X, let alone Generation Z, Millennials, Baby Boomers…?  These are phrases banded around about the different life stages of our society.  When terminologies like this are used as often and habitually as these phrases (i.e. Gen X this, Millennial that etc.), it appears particularly vital we have some practical idea of what these terms actually mean.  The fact is that everyone uses these phrases, but often, like myself, they are not exactly sure where the lines are drawn… until now…

So, for clarity …

Generation Z:             Born after 1996

Millennials:                 Born 1977 to 1995

Generation X:             Born 1965 to 1976

Baby Boomers:           Born 1946 to 1964

Silent Generation:      Born 1945 and before

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Self-Managing a Walsall Property… I Can DO It…!!

Self-Managing a Walsall Property… I Can DO It…!!
Self-Managing a Walsall Property… I Can DO It…!!

During my rounds in Walsall town centre this weekend I bumped into one of our Let Only landlords who I hadn’t seen for a while.  I’m going to call her Ally Monie just for the fun of it!  We decided to have a catch-up over a coffee inside the new Co-Op on Bridge Street (lovely it was too!!).  She told me about the shock and dismay when she recently visited one of her properties after 3 years!

It’s ok, it’s not one of those horror stories that you hear where there was a cannabis factory in the loft, or there were four other people living in the property that shouldn’t have been or worst still the property was deliberately trashed, or is it…

Ally owns a number of properties and used our services to provide our Walsall Tenant Find Only service.  She didn’t need an Agent for management, agency fees are money for old rope, and she had plenty of time to manage.

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