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BTL landlords will benefit from £2bn home insulation scheme

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The new £2bn grant scheme in England for projects such as insulation, unveiled yesterday by the chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a wider £3bn plan to cut emissions, initially did not appear to include BTL landlords and homes in the private rented sector.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements, with the poorest getting up to £10,000, but Labour cast doubt on whether BTL landlords would qualify for the Green Homes Grant.

Labour yesterday called for a “broader and bigger” plan to cut carbon emissions and suggested that should include homes in the PRS.

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband commented: “It appears there is almost nothing for the people who rent the 8.5 million homes in the social rented sector and private rented sector, which has the worst energy efficiency standards. That means one-third of people are left out.”

But ARLA Propertymark has welcomed the scheme, confirming that landlords will be able to apply for a grant.

From September, homeowners and landlords can apply for vouchers to help to fund energy-saving home improvements, an amount which the chancellor estimates will cover up to two-thirds of costs per household.

David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, commented: “Since the withdrawal of LESA [Landlords Energy Saving Allowance], we’ve been calling for a simple grant scheme to help private homeowners and landlords make their properties more energy efficient.

“The announcement is a big step forward to ensure that they can take the necessary steps to do this and ultimately create a greener property sector in the UK.”

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The way a residential building is constructed, insulated, heated, ventilated and the type of fuel used, all contribute to its carbon emissions, and can now seriously impact on the cost of running the property and even its value.

Buy-to-let landlords could reap significant competitive advantages by shifting to a ‘green’ model of potentially adding value to a home, and so many will welcome this new scheme.

Mary-Anne Bowring, creator of automated letting platform, PlanetRent, pointed out that the UK’s housing stock is some of the oldest in Europe.

She said: “This is not just bad for the environment but bad for our health too, with too many properties suffering from problems with damp and cold.

“It is important the government’s voucher scheme covers renters, especially as homes in the private rented sector tend to be older.”

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Supply Exceeding Normal Levels Since Stamp Duty Cut

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New listings are on the rise and stock is quickly shifting since the first month of the Stamp Duty holiday but there are already fears about how long it will last.

Analysis by property website found supply of new sales instructions is “exceeding normal levels” and properties are being quickly snapped up close to asking price, but separate research by RICS warns this may not last into next year.’s research based on agency listings found London agents were the busiest with the total of new inventory in July up 45% annually

The east and south-east of England regions were not far behind with new instructions up 29% and 30% respectively.

Despite an overall uplift in monthly supply of 22%, the UK total of stock for sale remains 9.1% lower than a year ago.

Average asking prices are up 3.3% annually to £319,039, according to, which said 13% fewer properties on the market were reduced in price last month compared with July 2019, suggesting vendors remain both confident and patient.

This confidence was partially reflected in the latest RICS Residential Market Survey for July.

Increasing numbers of surveyors are now reporting more enquiries, instructions and sales since the Stamp Duty threshold was raised at the start of July.

However, while 26% more predicted an increase rather than drop in sales over the next three months, 10% thought activity would decline instead of rise on a longer-term outlook of 12 months.

Respondents expressed concerns about the prospects for the UK economy and the impact this will have on employment as the furlough scheme expires in October and the Stamp Duty holiday ends next year.

The research was also conducted before the UK officially entered recession.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist for RICS, said: “The strong impetus provided to the housing market is evident both in the results of the RICS survey and many of the anecdotal comments from respondents.

“However, it is interesting that there remains rather more caution about the medium-term outlook with the macro environment, job losses and the ending or tapering of government support measures for the sector expected to take their toll.

“Significantly, some contributors are now even referencing the possibility of a boom followed by a bust.”

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How will the property market fare as the economy enters recession?

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“The property market has proved resilient post the market reopening in May and buyer confidence is still high.”

So, the U.K. is officially in recession. And not just any recession but ‘the deepest recession since records began’.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP), fell in the second quarter of 2020 by 20.4% compared with the previous three months, and that is the biggest quarterly decline since comparable records began in 1955.

It cannot be said that the news came as a shock given that the economy substantially shut down in March as a result of Covid. But the decline in GDP is worse than any other EU country or G7 country in the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, said:

“Sadly, this economic announcement hasn’t come as a surprise.”

“A large share of our economy is focused on services, hospitality and consumer spending, and with the UK in lockdown from mid-March usual activity levels within these areas simply couldn’t be sustained.”

“What’s promising however is that the latest figures from the ONS do indicate that the economy is showing some green shoots of recovery, and just last week the Bank of England revealed that the economic shock triggered by the coronavirus pandemic will be less than initially feared.”

“The property market has proved resilient post the market reopening in May and buyer confidence is still high.”

“As soon as estate agents were given the green light to return to work we saw the pent-up demand from when the property market was closed translate almost immediately into sales.”

“This, combined with the stamp duty holiday and many buyers wanting more space in their homes following the lockdown, is causing a spike in transactions across our network. Whilst today’s figures are bleak, even if in line with expectations, this sentiment is certainly not translating into the housing market.”

“There is no denying that stamp duty has encouraged more buyers into the market; 41% of our clients at the end of 2019 believed there should be a wholesale reduction in stamp duty across all price brackets. Meanwhile, over a quarter wanted Government to abolish stamp duty on all homes under £500,000.”

David Alexander, joint managing director of apropos, commented:

“Once the decision was made to put the country in lockdown it was inevitable that the economy would enter recession and GDP numbers would show an enormous fall.”

“The key issue now is how quickly the economy can recover. Although the quarterly figures are poor, the monthly data shows that the biggest decline occurred in April with some recovery already occurring in June. This could point to a V-shaped recovery.”

“The sales and lettings market have been remarkably buoyant with the increase in the SDLT threshold having a clear impact on buyers.”

“The private rented sector has also been remarkably resilient, and we have seen a large increase in new renters since lockdown was eased. This may be temporary but is welcome. Construction has obviously been heavily hit but again may recover more rapidly than some are predicting.”

“The next hurdle will be the levels of unemployment. If they rise suddenly then this could clearly stall the economy and have a consequent impact upon the property sector.”

“The success of the Chancellors’ measures to preserve jobs in the services sector (such as the Eat out to help out scheme) will be crucial in determining how rapid the rise in unemployment is and its consequent impact on the wider economy.”

“I remain cautiously optimistic at the moment and believe the recovery will be quicker than expected.”

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HMO And Serviced Accommodation Furniture Packs

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Designed to Sell are pleased to offer our new HMO and Serviced Accommodation furniture packs!

These HMO and Serviced Accommodation furniture packs can save you time and money and remove the hassle and stress out of furnishing your HMOs and SAs.

We have three HMO and SA packages to suit all budgets

Package includes delivery and full installation and we can deliver throughout the UK.

Check them out and give us a call or drop us an email to discuss – all can be tailored to your specific requirements and budgets.

Our furniture balance style, durability and price point – boosting retention, improving rental yields and avoiding void periods.

Our fleet of vans work tirelessly to ensure that every product is delivered to your property with efficiency and care.

Our professional and highly-experienced installation team will have your furniture in place with minimal disruption and the utmost care.

Installation is part of our one-stop service and is included in the price. Our teams are used to installing across a wide range of properties.

#HMO #HMOs #Servicedaccommodation #SA #SAs #propertydevelopers #sold #Furniturepacks #UK #properties

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Changes to eviction rules after Coronavirus Act passes into law

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The UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on Wednesday 25 March 2020 providing additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak including measures to suspend new evictions from private rented accommodation while the national crisis is taking place.

Under the Coronavirus Act, landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988.

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When using either Section 8 or Section 21 notices to quit, landlords must give at least three months’ notice before they can apply to the court for possession. This applies regardless of which ground is used for Section 8.


The changes apply to England and Wales only and came into force on 26 March 2020 (the day after the Coronavirus Act was passed) until 30 September 2020.


Importantly, the change in law only applies to notices served on or after 26 March 2020. From 27 March 2020 the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases either currently in or about to go in the system 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.


The Government has updated Form 6A Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy to reflect the change in the law which came into force on 26 March 2020. The Form 6A should be used by landlords in England up to 30 September 2020.


The new rules mean that granting possession is not stopped completely, rather the Government has chosen to extend notice periods. However, the UK Government has the power to alter the three-month notice period to six months or any other period.


Propertymark has developed a Fact Sheet with details of the legislative change that will be published very soon. Propertymark members have access to the legal helpline for specific enquiries about the application of the law.

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New Green Homes Grant For Insulation And Double Glazing

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What You Need To Know

Green Homes Grant vouchers worth up to £5,000 will be issued to homeowners in England to make their homes more energy efficient under a Government scheme being launched in September – here’s the latest info we have following an update issued on 4 August.

As part of the Green Homes Grant scheme, eligible homeowners will be able to use the vouchers to help pay for environmentally friendly improvements such as loft, floor and wall insulation or double glazing to replace single glazing.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined the plans, which will see the Government put aside £2 billion for green home upgrades, as part of his economic statement in July. And the Government has now released more details about what the vouchers will cover and who’s eligible.

For more on the help you can get with the Green Homes Grant for energy efficient improvements, see our Free Insulation and Boiler Grants guide. Plus for more on the other big announcements in the Chancellor’s statement, see our Stamp duty cut and 50% off discounts when eating out MSE News stories.

How will the Green Homes Grant work?

The idea is that the Government will give homeowners in England vouchers towards the cost of energy efficient improvements, which should cover much – and in some cases all – of the cost. You’ll have to apply for a voucher once the scheme is up and running in September. You’ll then be able to spend it to improve your home.

The aim of the scheme is to help homeowners and promote energy efficiency, but also to help boost the economy during the coronavirus pandemic by creating jobs.

The Green Homes Grant applies to England only – so unfortunately won’t cover homes in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Updated. What will the vouchers cover?

The Government has now, in its 4 August update, confirmed the full list of improvements covered by the scheme.

As expected, it’s more complex than it originally appeared. To qualify for any financial support, you’ll need to be installing at least one of the following “primary” improvements:

  • Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation.
  • Low carbon heating, such as air-source or ground-source heat pumps, or solar thermal systems, which provide renewable ways of heating your home.

If you already have these measures installed, you can use the vouchers to install “top-ups” – for example, additional loft insulation so it reaches the recommended level – but not to replace what you already have.

The Government also adds that if you’re installing low carbon heating, you’ll also need to have adequate insulation in your home, though this can be installed at the same time as the heating.

Then if, and only if, you’re installing at least one of the improvements above, you’ll also be able to use the vouchers to install the following “secondary” measures:

  • Draught-proofing
  • Double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing, but only if you currently have single glazing – it won’t cover replacement double glazing.
  • Energy efficient doors, where you’re replacing doors installed before 2002.
  • Heating controls and insulation, including appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed-start thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves.

But crucially, you can only receive funding for these secondary improvements up to the amount of funding you’re receiving for the primary measures. So for example, if you’ve received £1,000 towards cavity wall and roof insulation, you can only receive a maximum of £1,000 towards any secondary measures, such as double glazing or thermostats.

How much will the vouchers be worth?

For most homeowners, the vouchers will be worth about two-thirds of the cost of the energy efficient improvements, up to a maximum of £5,000 per household. For example, the Treasury says a homeowner installing cavity wall and floor insulation costing £4,000 would only pay about £1,320, with the Government contributing the remaining £2,680 through the voucher scheme.

But those on low incomes will be able to get more – in that case the Government will cover the full cost of the energy efficient improvements, so you won’t have to pay anything, and the vouchers could be worth up to £10,000 per household.

Of course, green improvements such as insulation can also help cut your energy bills, with the Government saying families could be able to save hundreds of pounds a year as a result.

Will anyone be able to get these vouchers?

The Government confirmed on 4 August that all owner-occupied homes (including long-leaseholders and shared ownership properties) will be eligible to use the general £5,000 voucher scheme – though it’s likely leaseholders and those with a share-of-freehold type lease will need to get permission from the (other) freeholder(s) before making any changes that affect the building. We’re checking with the Government how this will work and will add the information here when it’s released.

Landlords of private rented and social domestic housing can also use the scheme, along with park home owners.

It’s also confirmed new-build domestic properties and all non-domestic properties, for example commercial premises, DON’T qualify for the green home vouchers. We’re checking the definition of a new-build home for the terms of this scheme, and will update this story when we have the answer.

And while the Government has confirmed that the Simple Energy Advice service will suggest “appropriate improvements” to homeowners, it says there’s no requirement to use the measures it suggests and owners won’t need to have assessments of their homes. But it’s not yet clear exactly how the approval process for individual improvements will work – we’ve asked for more details and will update this story when we know more.

The Treasury has said it hopes the scheme will help pay for improvements in over 600,000 homes across England.

The boosted £10,000 vouchers, where households won’t need to pay anything towards improvement costs, will be for those receiving at least one income-based or disability benefit. Only owner-occupied homes or park homes will be eligible.

The qualifying benefits are income-based/contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-based/contribution-based employment and support allowance, income support, pension ‘guarantee’ credit, working tax credit, child tax credit, universal credit, disability living allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance, carer’s allowance, severe disablement allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit and housing benefit.

How can I apply for a voucher?

The Government says that homeowners will be able to access advice and support from the Simple Energy Advice service (SEA) about making their homes more energy efficient from “later this month” (August).

The SEA service will then suggest home improvements for which homeowners can apply for funding, and homeowners will be offered a list of approved registered tradespeople in their area to carry out the work.

Once the work is agreed, vouchers will start to be issued from “the end of September”.

Will any firm be able to do this – or just specific installers?

The Government says households will be offered a list of accredited tradespeople in their area who are registered with the scheme to carry out the work.

To be part of the scheme, tradespeople must register for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation.

What about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

While this new grant only covers homes in England, if you live elsewhere in the UK there are other schemes that offer financial support towards making your home more energy efficient.

There’s full info in the links below, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • In Scotland, the Warmer Homes Scheme offers financial help towards installing measures such as wall and loft insulation and draught-proofing if you’re a homeowner or private tenant who’s lived in your home for more than 12 months. You’ll need to fit certain criteria and be receiving certain benefits – check your eligibility via the link above. In most cases all costs will be met by the Scottish Government, though for more expensive improvements you may need to contribute – this can be paid for using an interest-free loan.Under the Home Energy Loan Scheme, owner-occupiers and private sector landlords can get interest-free loans to make energy efficiency improvements such as installing insulation, glazing and heating systems.You can also check area-based schemes run by local authorities in Scotland to see if you can get support with energy efficiency measures where you live.
  • In Wales, the Nest Scheme offers free advice on improving home energy efficiency. It also provides free energy efficiency improvements such as insulation and new boilers for those who own or privately rent their homes and either receive a means-tested benefit or have a low income and a chronic respiratory, circulatory or mental health condition.
  • In Northern Ireland, you could get a grant of up to £1,000 towards replacing an inefficient boiler that’s more than 15 years old through the Boiler Replacement Scheme, if your household income is less than £40,000.

If you own your home or rent it from a private landlord and have a total income of less than £20,000, you may be able to get grants of up to £7,500 to make improvements such as insulation, heating and window glazing through the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

It’s worth noting though that both these schemes are currently only considering urgent cases due to the coronavirus situation.

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A Guide To Renovating For Higher Profits

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A Guide To Renovating – 3 Levels Of Renovation And Profit Margins

This brief guide to renovating will guide you through the different levels of renovations that can be carried out on a property and the impact your decision-making process might have on your profit margins. The guide to renovating will also briefly touch on the perils of bad due diligence and planning during a renovation project (overcapitalising vs under-capitalising). It will also give you an idea of what can be done in order to maximise profits while sticking to a given renovation budget.

3 levels of renovation

Before going into the concept of profits and return of investment let’s see what types of renovations a property might need in order to make some profits.

Renovations project can be divide in three broad categories: Refresh, Refurbish, Remodel/Extend
A) Refresh – aka Basic Cosmetic Refurbishment

This is the simplest and often quickest type of renovation to undertake. It simply improves the appearance of a property at superficial level.

Generally speaking, a cosmetic renovation is, as the name suggests, a renovation that improves the physical appearance of the property. It might involve repainting walls, painting cupboards and woodwork, updating flooring, replacing taps and doors hardware, updating light switches and sockets, and undertaking some landscaping work.

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B) Refurbish – aka Higher Cosmetic Refurbishment

This level of renovation includes some or all of the basic cosmetic renovation items and adds to it the big ticket items within a property, such as the kitchen or bathroom. It might therefore include a new kitchen re-fit, new bathroom re-fit, new doors, skirting boards, mouldings, windows, roof, water drains, adding driveways.

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C) Remodel/Extend – aka Structural refurbishment

This is the most involved level of renovation which generally aims at solving a current problem. For example, moving a bathroom to the upper floor from the ground floor, or enlarging a small kitchen into a family kitchen/diner, converting a loft space, converting a garage, and so on.

Structural renovation can be divided in two categories:

1. under the existing footprint of the property – for example work on the foundations, moving or removing walls moving electrical work, or redirect plumbing/

2. beyond the existing footprint (i.e. adding an extensionto the existing footprint) this level of renovation is certainly more complex and expensive than any of the above mentioned options, but it has its place in renovating for higher return on investment – for the right property in the right market.

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Structural refurbishment generally aims at solving a current problem. For example, moving a bathroom to the upper floor from the ground floor, or enlarging a small kitchen into a family kitchen/diner, converting a loft space, converting a garage, and so on.

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Although structural renovations generally add value to properties, poorly designed renovations can have a detrimental effect and can detract from the existing spaces. As I like to say, it never is a case of “one fits all” approach and it is somewhat detrimental to create lots of smaller spaces in the attempt to add en extra bedroom… which nicely bring be to the next paragraph…


In our guide to renovating each of these depths of renovation has its specific qualities in terms of the work involved and the returns they can bring. There are positive and negative elements to each of them…. For example, a refresh and a refurbish can be completed within a short time-frame and in many cases without planning approval being required (thus positively impact on running/holding costs and cost of money) while structural renovations may take longer, require planning approval and a higher budget (thus negatively impacting on running/holding costs and cost of money). Equally though, the potential return on investment of the latter depth of renovation is potentially much higher (with the right design decision and in the right market conditions).

Again, one fits all approach does not exist and the basic questions for any of the options above are :

  1. What are the cost to do the work?
  2. What does it add in terms of equity and/or rental returns?

Two concepts that might help with deciding on the level of renovation to undertake are:


Even when you purchase the property at a great price, there is a danger you can overcapitalise during the renovation process. Overcapitalising, in simple terms is the process of improving a property beyond its resale value. It is important to mention that avoiding overcapitalising on a property is not just about sticking to a budget; it is also about planning well, being realistic and removing any emotional variable from the equation of the project.


The opposite end of the spectrum is the pitfall of overcapitalising the work you undertake. Overcapitalising occurs when a decision about an element of the renovation results in an area of the project not meeting market expectations or the quality of finish the property demands. Overcapitalising on a property could significantly jeopardise profit margins.

Due diligence and good design practice. both play an important role here. The first step on any renovation project is to understand what your market wants. Some of the things you need to consider include: number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, living space, outdoor area, land size; Parking, quality of finish expected and overall appeal of the property.


There are three widespread beliefs around property renovations and profit margins:

  1. in order to make a property appealing to the broad market a developer must stick to neutral and basic
  2. producing a unique product costs more than designing a plain product
  3. creating an additional bedroom will always increase the value of a property

I personally do not believe that the three above statements are true. Instead, while I believe that deciding on the type of renovation to undertake on a property is an essential step that needs careful consideration, I would say that

  1. creating a unique product will increase profit margins as long as the unique product appeals to your target market
  2. it is the quality and type finish of fixtures and fittings that will determine overall costs (not the neutral and basic as opposite to unique and attractive)
  3. the work required is influenced by the property location, target market requirements, and ceiling price for that particular property

In broad terms I would say that

  • the work required when refurbishing a property is dictated by the overall decoration state of the property at the point of acquisition (and therefore a specific list of must dos, should dos, and could dos)
  • the type of renovation to undertake is guided by the primary exit strategy (i.e. a refurbishment to flip could be different from the refurbishment to undertake on a property that is intended to hold and let)
  • the quality and type of finish for fixtures and fittings will be different in terms of aesthetic/appeal and durability/ maintenance depending again on your target market and your exit strategy

Budget is always at the core of your profit margins and budget should always include a contingency for any unforeseeable event.

One way of sticking to a budget while navigating though the decision-making process during a renovation project, is visualising alternatives and final results prior to undertaking the project itself.

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One way of sticking to a budget while navigating though the decision-making process during a renovation project, is visualising alternatives and final results prior to undertaking the project itself.

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Visualising ensures that money is spent on the right elements and the budget is distributed adequately, prior to the project starting. Visualising also ensure that the market requirements are met, that communication with trades are facilitated, and that any contingency element can be absorbed into the project seamlessly and on time.

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