Here’s our latest set of Q&As from the LBC Property Hour, sponsored by Direct Line Landlord Insurance. I was with the lovely Ian Payne and we were joined by Alan Milstein, chairman of the Residential Property Surveyors Association.
Here are the Q&As and some more help and advice if any of these issues apply to you:-
Q – My father lives in a care facility and I have power of attorney, am I allowed to sell his property below market value to fund his care?
A – As you have power of attorney it is your choice how much you sell the house for, however you should contact an agent and/or surveyor for a valuation. Clearly it will vary depending upon how quickly you wish to sell the property as you may not need to sell the property quickly.
Q – I live in a semi-detached property and have recently had a loft-extension, the neighbours also have an extension at the back of their property. My surveyor mentioned that a part of next door's property protruded over my boundary, this would have occurred before I moved in, where do I stand?
A – Unfortunately, this is sounds like a case of “it is what it is”. Defining property boundaries is a tricky business at the best of times and needs to be done prior to purchasing. If they were doing work now they would require a party wall award/agreement, the best thing to do is aim to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours for when either of you need future works doing
Received a party wall notice but not sure what to do or need work doing, then read our checklist on what to do if you receive a party wall notice from Collier Stevens.
Q – In February I moved to a new property, I noticed that the kitchen floor was usually warm but thought it must be to do with the boiler. The floor was still warm during summer but I assumed this was due to the room getting a lot of sunlight. However, a couple of weeks ago it was still really hot.
I checked the inventory to see if there was any mention of underfloor heating, there wasn't. Soon after I discovered a small dial in a cupboard which controlled underfloor heating and it was turned up full. The landlord and agent seemed to have no idea about it.
Worried about your bills? Read:
A – The letting agent and landlord are likely to have a moral if not a legal responsibility to you if they didn’t make you are aware of how the heating worked, however this isn’t easy to prove.
What might be a good idea is to try and negotiate a resolution with them so they take some of the blame.
To find out more about the importance of inventories, read our specific information on checking in and out of a property as well:
Inventory yourself or get someone in? From Inventory Genius.
Q – Should I buy now or wait until article 50 is triggered?
A – Great question, but unfortunately there is no simple answer. One thing to bear in mind is that whatever happens to property prices, you need to put a roof over your head. What’s a good idea is to think about the best way to do this for the length of time you are planning to stay in an area rather than worry too much about external factors, concentrate more on what suits you, your family and your finances.
Not sure if you should buy? Read:
Q – My partner and I believe we are the victims of a revenge eviction, we have been perfect tenants for five years and think we are being evicted just because we asked for a new cooker.
A – If you think this, then you should chat to your local authority as there are new rules to guard against revenge evictions. The landlord won't be able to evict you if the local authority does find sufficient evidence.
Q – I have purchased a flat with a private roof terrace that can only be accessed via my property but nothing is written down on the lease to say I have exclusive access, do I need that in writing?
A – It is always important to make sure information about access to and from your property is clear when buying or selling. To make sure you have an answer to this question, contact the conveyancer or legal company that carried out the work for you when you bought the home and ask for them to clarify, or check the paperwork you have.
For more, read our checklist on how to choose a conveyancer from the Society of Licensed Conveyancers.
Q – I bought my first property at the beginning of the year and am now looking to invest in another property but haven't got enough for a deposit where I live. I have looked in Manchester, where is best to buy there?
A – What you need to bear in mind is that property prices rise at different rates across the country at different times. For example, since 2007 prices in Manchester have gone up by 3% while London prices have risen in double digits. In addition, remember adding a property to your portfolio will affect the tax you pay so before you add a second property to your ‘wealth’ you should consult an independent financial adviser so you understand the implications.
When it comes to buying and funding an investment property, talk to a mortgage broker so you can find out how much deposit you will need and the terms you can borrow against. Once you know what you can afford, you then work out what areas you can start to research to buy a property in.
Not sure about buy to let tax? Read our buy to let tax checklist.
You can also look at how to analyse a buy to let which will help you once you have found an area to search you can afford.
Q – Why landlords should invest in boiler cover?
A - In this video Nick Breton talks about some of the issues landlords may experience with broken down boilers.
Q – My landlord gave me verbal notice and email to leave my rented property, is this legal?
A – However the landlord has advised you that they want you to leave, it is important that the first thing you do is to check what your tenancy agreement. How long did you commit to living in the property for? Under what circumstances and notice does the landlord have to give you to quit the property? Generally speaking whether you want to leave or the landlord wants you to leave, this should always be done in writing and in some way it should be recorded, for example if you email, always do a ‘read receipt and if you don’t deliver by hand, then send the letter y recorded delivery. In most cases, if it is an assured tenancy agreement you will have two months notice after the first six months have expired.
If you are a landlord do need to get rid of tenant, read our how to evict a tenant checklist from Landlord Action.
Q – I recently bought a house, my neighbour is a tenant and their side of the fence is in a terrible state. They have large dog and I have young daughter, does the landlord have a legal obligation to fix it?
A – In a lot of cases fence ownership is undefined, so the quickest and safest option is for you just to put a fence up as it is not the tenants responsibility. You can then spend more time asking the landlord to fix the fence.