GDPR & Walsall Landlords

GDPR and Walsall Landlords
GDPR and Walsall Landlords

Don’t know about you but I had heard so much about the new GDPR laws which came into force towards the end of May 2018 that I thought many of my Blog reading friends wouldn’t wish to hear another word on the matter!!  On the contrary…I’ve received several requests to clear matters up for you guys especially, around your personal responsibility when it came to staying on the right side of the law.

If you are letting a property in Walsall or indeed the UK for that matter, GDPR for landlords certainly affects you in a few key ways.  Before I address these major changes, let’s take a quick look at how we got to this point.

A brief history of UK data protection

In essence, data protection regulation has been enforced in the UK as a way to ensure that businesses and business owners do not abuse or misuse the data of their customers.  The purpose is to ensure it is not just used correctly but also stored safely.  In the UK, the first Data Protection Act was introduced in 1984.

It has been subsequently revised over the years and in 1993, a famous case was brought forward which saw PC Brown being prosecuted for mishandling data.  Though the ruling was eventually overturned, it was a landmark case and UK businesses seemed to start taking data protection more seriously.

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Do Walsall Landlords need Letting Agents?!

Do Walsall Landlords need Letting Agents?!
Do Walsall Landlords need Letting Agents?!

So far 2018 has been hectic or what…??!!  Time seems to be running through my hands like water.  As a landlord and a property manager my daily workload is varied and that’s what I like about my life (afterall, as the saying goes – ‘variety is the spice of life’).  The planned stuff mixed in with the unplanned keeps a working day interesting.  However, if you are prone to anxiety attacks and don’t like uncertainty of a day in the life of a property manager, then perhaps you would be best advised to seek out the assistance of an expert…

So, the short answer to the question posed by a friend of mine (who is also a self-managing Walsall landlord) is that landlords don’t need to use the services of a Walsall letting agent.  Many Walsall landlords decide to be hands-on and undertake the whole lettings process themselves.

I started investing in Walsall buy-to-let property nineteen years ago in 1999 and I was keen to learn and control the whole process myself.  I was wary of entrusting others with what was ultimately my financial future and my thoughts were that no agent could possibly care about my Walsall property as much as me.

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The ‘Hodgepodge’ of Walsall Property Mini Markets

The ‘Hodgepodge_ of Walsall Property Mini Markets
The ‘Hodgepodge_ of Walsall Property Mini Markets

A Royal Wedding, Russia, Facebook, Brexit, Trump, House prices up, House prices down … the Press is full of column inches on Brit’s favourite subjects of politics, scandal, weather and not forgetting (and I appreciate the irony of this!) the property market. As an agent belonging to a national group of letting and estate agents, talking to my fellow property professionals from around the UK, the one thing that is immediately apparent is the UK does not have one property market. It is a hodgepodge patchwork (almost like a fly’s eye) of lots of small property markets all performing in different ways.

… And that made me think … is there just one Walsall Property Market or many?

I like to keep an eye on the property market in Walsall on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Walsall, be that a buy-to-let property for a Walsall landlord or an owner occupier house for a home owner.  So, I thought, how could I scientifically split the Walsall housing market into segments, so I could see which part of the market was performing the best and/ or the worst.

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Walsall Property Market has a ‘Rentirement’ problem.

Walsall Property Market has a ‘Rentirement_ problem.
Walsall Property Market has a ‘Rentirement_ problem.

I think I’ve created a new word! Yes, I said ‘rentirement’, not retirement. Let me define it: rentirement , Renters who are currently in their 50’s and 60’s who don’t own their own home but rent their home, privately, from a buy to let landlord.

In Walsall, there are just under 1416 rentirees and this number is growing steadily! How…?! Read on to find out…

The truth is that these Walsall people are prospectively soon to retire with little more than their state pension of £155.95 per week, probably with a small private pension of a couple of hundred pounds a month, meaning the average Walsall rentiree can expect to bring in about £200 per week once they retire at 67.

The ‘Rentirement’ Time Bomb…

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Property in Walsall purchased for £1k!!

Property in Walsall purchased for £1k!!
Property in Walsall purchased for £1k!!

At a recent family gathering my sister and I were talking about various sibling stuff when the conversation shifted to how she ended up at the property she resides at now.  It became very interesting when she brought out a folder with a plethora of information and history left by the previous owners.

Walsall property owners may be interested in knowing the property built in 1947 was purchased for £1,000 with a mortgage of £700!!

The monthly mortgage payments were £4, 4S which I have no idea how much that translates to in today’s money…however…the thought of buying property for £1k and paying a £4-5 mortgage nowadays is one of dreams.

1947 Walsall Co-op Society Mortgage Agreement
1947 Walsall Co-op Society Mortgage Agreement
Mortgage payments schedule for Walsall property 1947
Mortgage payments schedule for Walsall property 1947

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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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