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11Apr

The whole team at David Baker & Company would like to wish you all a very happy Easter. This may be the strangest one yet, but we hope you can all find ways to enjoy it. 

Keep safe.


David, Richard, Craig, Charles, Liz and Hannah x 

27Mar

We are trying our best to maintain channels of communication between tenants, landlords and contractors in order to keep the service a smooth one. I’m sure that we can all appreciate that these are trying times and there is currently some guidance out there from the Government, mainly concerning Mortgage Holidays for landlords, and protection from eviction for tenants.

Landlords

The main government support for Landlords is the encouragment for lenders to offer Mortgage Holidays. It is prudent to look into this on a personal level, with your lender, from what we understand, the idea of the mortgage holiday is just that, and that any break would need to be paid back through the term of the loan. There is some good information on the Money Advice Service website. The full Government advice can be found on their website here and is as follows:

The government is also committed to supporting landlords, and maintaining the positive partnership between tenants and their landlords. That is why, in addition to the measures outlined above, we have also agreed with lenders that they will ensure support is available where it is needed for landlords. Landlords will also be protected by a 3 month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgages.

 

Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.

 

An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.

Tenants

As mentioned above, the main support for tenants in the protection from eviction. There is currently no legal protection or assistance for rent and are still legally obliged to pay rent. Landlords are able to take mortgage holidays, but his has potential implications for their repayments moving forward. Our best advice if you are a tenant and are struggling to meet a rent payment, as always, would be to raise any concerns over rent as soon as possible, with us, and we can have that discussion with the landlord.

In terms of tenant eviction, the period has now been increased from two months to three months with all ongoing eviction applications being delayed for 90 days and this is something that we imagine will be under constant review.

 

Again, the full guidance from the Government is as follows:

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

To ensure all renters are clear on the full package of support that is currently available to them, we are bringing this together into one place.

From today (26 March 2020) landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.

This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed.

This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988. After 3 months if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.

From tomorrow (27 March 2020) following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.

Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available. In the first instance they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme. However we have also put specific measures in place:

· We are working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and also extend this to the private rented sector. This will help landlords and tenants to agree reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.

· We have already made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship.

· As part of the workers’ support package, the Chancellor announced the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month, where workers are placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

· Both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.

26Mar

With many bold headlines out there, we look at the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic and the potential next steps for the UK property market.

DB sold

Many major media outlets are today reporting that the property market has been shut down by the UK Government. One example being here from the Guardian. Guardian Article. This explains that the Government have started to expand on their lockdown instructions by giving guidance to those in the process of moving. Despite the alarming headline, the article points to specific sections of Government advice, such as asking buyers and seller to adapt and be flexible in order to agree new moving dates at a more convenient time. This sounds very sensible and providing all parties in the chain want to work to the same goal, there is no reason why ongoing sales such fall through. The government points out that there was no need to pull out of transactions but both parties should try to agree a new date unless the property is empty, and that banks and lenders should play their part by extending mortgage offers where possible. Of course, homeowners should allow no visitors to their homes for viewings or valuations and this is something that we would wholeheartedly agree with. Your safety, and the safety of your family and friends as well as our team is of paramount importance.

As an independent, family run estate agent, David Baker & Company pride ourselves on being small enough to be flexible and adapt quickly to the constantly changing landscape and give our clients the best advice possible to our clients. We are now fully working from home, and the market is on hold, but we are expecting things to get moving fairly quickly when this is over and restrictions are lifted.

 

We recommend that any home currently on the market remains on the market, so that you maintain a visible presence online. Of course, if it suits you to remove the property from the market for personal reasons then we would support you in that. Potential buyers may still be keeping an eye on the market and we are able to arrange remote viewings where possible. 

 

For those wanting to explore their options, we are able to offer remote valuations either through a desktop report or using a video call servic such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom – as with all our market appraisals, remote valuations are free of charge and come with no obligation.

 

25Mar

(From the Guild of Property Professionals)

Recent updates with the COVID-19 virus has meant a lot of employees are having to self-isolate and adapt to new work routines from home. With flexible working becoming increasingly popular and advances in technology that keep you connected with the office, working from home has never been easier. We delve into our top tips to help you perfect your working from home routine.

Create a dedicated workspace

Create a dedicated work space

It is important for your routine and productivity to have a dedicated space to work in. Working from your bed or the sofa might seem tempting, but you are likely to be less productive in the space you associate with relaxing. A home office is perfect, if you have one, but any consistent area with a table and chair will help you associate a home space with work. Have the right equipment and technology all set up and organised to help you remain focused. Try to find somewhere with lots of natural light, as this sends signals to your brain to help you feel positive and awake. Finally, if you can, close the door to eliminate distractions or have a rule with family to ensure you are left to concentrate when necessary.

 

Dress for work

Dress for work

To help you get in the right mindset, you’ll want to dress for the part. Wearing your pyjamas all day might seem appealing but taking the time to get dressed properly is not only better for your productivity, but your mental health too.

 

Structure your day

Structure your day

Implementing routine simplifies your day and makes it easier to keep yourself organised. You could start your day with checking your emails and creating a daily to do list while having your morning coffee. Consistency will make it easier to get into the flow of work.

 

Learn to communicate effectively

Learn to communicate effectively

There are lots of different mediums to communicate and send information to people, such as instant messaging, emails, phone calls, video calls and more.

Learn to use each medium practically for what you need to achieve. Video chats are useful for meetings, while instant messaging is more useful for a quick question or update. Figure out which mediums are most practical for what you need to achieve and for the people you are communicating with.

Remember, working from home can feel isolating at times, so a quick video chat or phone call can make all the difference.

 

Take breaks

Take breaks

Breaks are vital to create a distinction between work and personal time. Just like working in an office, allow yourself a proper lunchbreak so you can walk away from your work area and have some time for yourself. Having a break will clear your mind, allowing you to get back to work with a fresh perspective and more energy.

 

Limit your work hours and stick to them

Limit your work hours and stick to them

Working from home can mean your work can creep into your personal life, which can be detrimental to your productivity and psychological health. You are more likely to stay motivated when you set yourself work hours and stick to them. Create a mini routine for the end of the day, such as having a call with your manager or employees, to set a cut-off time.

23Mar

Our office is shut, but we are OPEN.

We have taken the heartbreaking but responsible decision to close our Station Approach office - for the first time in 50 years!

Our committment to our sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants remains the same. We will be working from home, fully dedicated to achieving the best results we can. Should you need to speak to us, as an existing or new customer, please give us a call on 029 2070 2622, email info@davidbaker.co.uk or alternatively email a member of the team directly if you have been dealing with them already.

We will always be here to help.

Please take care and be safe.

David, Richard, Craig, Hannah, Charles and Liz.

10Dec

David Baker & Company has attained the high standards necessary to be awarded with the property industry’s most prestigious mark of excellence.

On Thursday 10th October, over a thousand of the leading estate and letting agents from across the UK gathered at Battersea Evolution, London for a leadership conference, exhibition and awards luncheon, where the results of this year’s Best Estate Agent Guide Awards were revealed.

The results follow the largest assessment of the property industry, with the winners receiving their awards from TV’s Gabby Logan and Jonathan Davies.

Over 15,000 estate agencies are included in the assessment, which is conducted by Property Academy and the UK’s leading property portal, Rightmove.

Each office is scored against a unique set of criteria, using a combination of data analysis and mystery shopping, from which, the top 3% of agencies in the country are identified.

The Best Estate Agent Guide Awards are awarded for marketing, results and customer service.

Home-movers and landlords can search for those estate and letting agents that made the grade in their area by visiting bestestateagentguide.co.uk or by looking out for the distinctive winners marks.

We were delighted to be recognised for their dedication to providing the very highest levels of service.   This is a massive pat on the back for the incredible amount of effort that the team put in on a daily basis and the care we take in being your Estate Agent of choice. Thanks to all the people and companies that have supported us, and all the lovely sellers, buyers, tenants and landlords that have chosen us this year.

For further information, please visit www.bestestateagentguide.co.uk.

04May

David Baker & Company supported the Penarth u16 rugby team on their recent tour to France, where they performed admirably and came third! Despite feeling that they did enough to win the tournament, they came up just short but scored 25 tries and conceded only 2. They were unlucky losers, 6-3 in the semi-final, with close refereeing decisions going against them. The final was contested by two local French teams but the boys acquitted themselves well. The tour was thoroughly enjoyed and was a great learning experience for the players involved. Aled Rees was also voted the best number 9 in the tournament in the coaches vote.


To finish the season, the team beat rivals Cowbridge 33-29 last Sunday in their final game!

04May

Local tennis club, Penarth Windsor LTC, is hosting the LTA British Tennis Tour next week, from 7th-12th May. 

The British Tour 2018 provides a circuit of tournaments designed to give up and coming players the opportunity to gain experience in their quest to become professional tennis players, to provide competition for professional players in between competing in professional events at home and abroad, as well as providing a national level open competition circuit

Being a Tier 1 event, the tournament has a high class entry field, including Wales’ highest ranked pro, Evan Hoyt. 

There is free entry daily, with play to continue into the evenings on the club’s artificial clay courts. 

David Baker & Company are proud to have been able to sponsor the Mens and Ladies winners' trophies.


For details visit https://britishtourpenarth.co.uk/ .

04Dec

In his Autumn Statement this week, Chancellor George Osbourne announced a 3% surcharge on the ordinary rate of stamp duty, the land tax paid by purchasers of property in the UK.

This 3% increase above the normal rate, would suggest that the government is looking to raise the barriers to buy-to-let investors and those looking for second homes, whilst improving the situation for first time buyers at the lower to middle part of the market.

Whilst this may well be the case, the unknown would be what effect such a move will have on the availability of privately owned rental property to the market, and any potential increase in rents as landlords look to cover these increased costs. With a clear lack of council properties, and in fact any sort of affordable housing, private rental property is an important aspect of the property market for large numbers of people.

The move coincides with changes to Capital Gains Tax and tax relief available to private landlords.

It has brought strong comment from The National Landlords Association in particular, whose Chief Executive, Richard Lambert, commented "The Chancellor's political intention is crystal clear; he wants to choke off future investment in private properties to rent. If it's the Chancellor's intention to completely eradicate buy-to-let in the UK then it's a mystery to us why he doesn't just come out and say so".

On the other side of the debate, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said "We welcome measures to increase stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes, and that this money will be spent to build more homes. But the Chancellor can't ignore the fact that home ownership schemes like starter homes or shared ownership won't work for many, so building more genuinely affordable homes to rent is still absolutely essential."

Time will tell whether the planned changes effect the market in a positive or negative way, but there will certainly be plenty of discussion and speculation in the meantime.

04Dec

As we head into winter and towards Christmas, it gives us an ideal opportunity to reflect on what has been a mixed but very busy year for us and the property market in Penarth.
 
On the back of a lacklustre end to 2014, the market has never seemed to get going this year, but having said that, instructions and sales are roughly level. Demand has certainly increased and maybe that is why supply appears on the low side. Many vendors are not willing to market their property until they have found the next one, and this is having a knock-on effect, creating somewhat of a stalemate in certain price brackets. Penarth continues to be one of THE places to live in Wales, and this popularity shows no signs of abating.
 
Community minded
We are proud to say that we have once again supported a number of local charities and organisations this year, donating money and our time to groups such as PODS, Penarth Hockey Club, Rugby Club, The Old Pens, Penarth Bowls Club, Marie Curie, All Saints Church, St Augustines Church, Cogan Coronation FC and Save the Children. We love Penarth and always take a lot of pleasure in helping out where we can.
 
Improved service

As we reported earlier in the year, Charles Wood has joined the business and we are now able to offer a wider range of surveys and valuations including Homebuyer reports. We have made a good start with regular enquiries coming through. Customers are really appreciating the fact that we can survey the property and talk them through the findings, rather than just issuing them a copy of the report and moving on to the next one. We can carry out surveys across South Wales, so feel free to give us a call to discuss your requirements.
 
The future
With the economic forecast still unclear, we do not expect next year to be wildly different. The demand for property locally will still be high, and the main issues will be surrounding the supply of new property onto the market. This imbalance continues to drive up prices, with lenders remaining circumspect and cautious with their values.
 
Here’s to 2015, and a positive and forward thinking 2016!

 

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