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I am writing to you today to ask for your support in a matter that I know is becoming a major issue for many landlords across the country.
We have seen a huge increase in the number of tenants who are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit who are in rent arrears. These tenants are receiving the allowance direct from the council but they fail to forward the payment on to either the landlord or the letting agent.
The local authority have a process in place that we must follow in order to have the housing benefit or the housing portion of Universal Credits paid directly to us. We have to wait until the tenants are 8 weeks in rent arrears before we can apply to have this payment made directly to us as landlords or agents.
They then make an assessment and if they deem it suitable they will then make the payments directly to us. They don't always agree and in the meantime, the tenants' rent arrears accumulate. When we contact the local authority to tell them the tenant isn't paying forward the rent, we are told that because they have made the payment to the tenant, we have to take it up with them or pursue the tenant through the courts for the money. This is becoming an extremely costly exercise for the landlord by way of court costs for pursuing the rent and many times it ends up with the landlord having to take the tenant to court in order to get a possession order in place to evict them. And throughout this time, the tenants are not paying any rent on the property.
The system doesn't work and it is us as landlords who are footing the bill. In addition to this, the current changes to the tax rules and the implementation of selective licensing are making it unaffordable to be a landlord.
I have taken steps to have our voices heard. I wrote to Angela Eagle to express my concerns and the day she received my letter her assistant contacted me with an invite to meet with Angela. I feel it is time that something was done to change the way the benefits are paid and also the rent arrears from Housing Benefit are dealt with.
These tenants are fraudulently claiming and receiving these benefits and keeping them for any purpose other than paying rent.
We are also working with Credit Expert, or Experian as you may know them, in order to attach tenants rent payments to their credit file. This is something we hope to be able to implement in the first quarter of the year. Our intention is to reduce the current level of rent arrears and late payers and increase your income as a landlord.
I am asking for the support of any landlords who would like to get involved.
The bigger our voice, the louder we can shout about these issues.
Thank you in advance for your support.
I will keep you updated on progress after my meeting.
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The future looks bright for Wirral-based lettings and property management specialist iLetsGo Properties as owner Michelle Ramejkis announces intentions to expand the business into the sales arena.
36-year-old entrepreneur Michelle acquired Lets Go Properties in January 2015 and merged it with her existing lettings agency, iLets LPM to form iLetsGo Properties. After an exciting 13 months of office refurbishment, recruitment and the usual teething problems that come with setting up a business, Michelle is now ready to spread her company’s wings and take business to the next level.
Specialising in tenant-find and full management services, estate agency is a natural progression for iLetsGo, Michelle says: “2015 was a rollercoaster year; we refurbished our new premises, and expanded the team, and during that first 9-12 months the company experienced a rapid growth period. It was a very busy time for us.
“I want to continue riding that wave and I feel that sales is the natural path for us to take.” She added.
This surge in rental business is supported by the latest English Housing Survey which shows a leap in the number of families renting privately and a dip in the number of private renters expecting to purchase property.
“2016 looks very promising on both the lettings and estate agent fronts. In February there was a stark increase in buy-to-let purchases – partly due to beating the year-end clock but I think this is also due to reports of an increase in rental business - landlords want to be in a position to meet the demand while it’s there and so do we!”
Going it alone was a natural progression for Michelle, who gained the experience she needed in the industry working as an employee for various corporate agencies prior to setting up her own company (iLets LPM) in 2013.
iLetsGo is currently operating various offers for landlords and vendors – visit iLetsGo.co.uk or call them on 0151 630 5888 for more details.
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Sell your house quicker with home staging
Photo courtesy of Via House
Are you thinking about selling your house? Or perhaps you’re already in the process of selling it? Maybe it’s been on the market so long that you’re beginning to doubt whether anyone’s going to want to buy your gorgeous property – and that confuses you, after all, since you’ve made so many lovely memories here and it looks so wonderfully homely.
Well, there may be a reason for not selling the house quickly: because it still looks like it’s your home. People looking to purchase a property aren’t looking to buy your home; they want their own home with their own style. That’s where home staging can help.
Setting the Stage
Home staging is all about calling in professionals, like us, who will create a de-cluttered space that has a real flow to it. Prettifying it up so that anyone who walks through the door just has to own the house.
It’s sort of like selling a car: while the engine might be top-notch, and the mileage is good, if the back-seats are chockful of children’s toys, and the glove-box is filled to the brim with all your favourite CDs then that’s all people are going to see, no matter how brilliant that car is. And that can seriously harm any potential sale.
What home staging can do is de-personalise your home, without ripping out the actual personality of the house itself. With a home that’s been professionally ‘staged’, we can work to make it far more appealing to prospective buyers. A way of generating an atmosphere that has anyone who tours the house effortlessly imagining themselves living there.
Sales of any kind are based on first creating a desire. You’ve probably experienced it yourself; whether it’s an unmissable deal or an attractive product, if you think ‘I need that’, then half the battle’s already won. Home staging helps with stirring up those desirous emotions, making your home appealing to as many potential buyers as possible.
The Wow-Want Factor
It’s about creating first impressions that really make an impact. That first impression needs to be ‘Wow! I want to buy this house. I don’t want anyone else living in this house. My house.’
When it’s done right, home staging is perfect for this. Not only, as we’ve said, does it entice more people into viewing the property, it also entices them to picturing themselves owning it. As such, it’s an ideal route to selling your home quicker. So, is it time you set the stage in your home?
About the author
Debbie Bennett is the owner of Style Interiors, an Interior Design company dedicated to helping customers sell their house quickly and for the best price. You can contact Debbie at the following places:
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Check-our our new banner stand we recently picked up courtesy of Rob Jones from EMJ Printing in Ellesmere Port. Keep an eye out for this at all of our local networking events!
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