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Sheldon Bosley Knight Acquires Bishops Estate Agents

We are delighted to announce that Sheldon Bosley Knight has acquired Bishops Estate Agents in Kineton.

Bishops Estate Agents was established by Debbie Burrows in 1998. The branch is situated in a prominent location within Kineton village and covers residential sales in the South Warwickshire and North Oxfordshire areas.

The acquisition opportunity came at the perfect time for both parties at the end of 2019. As Debbie was planning to retire, we were seeking a new commercial base to cover the area between our Shipston and Leamington branches. Having worked in the industry for 40 years as the first Birmingham businesswoman to establish her own residential estate agents, Debbie is a well known and popular member of the local community. We hope to maintain the trusting relationship with Bishops’ loyal customers and continue serving the village community.

On the acquisition, Debbie said:

     “I’ve been proud to have served the local community for so many years during which time I’ve made many great friends. I look forward to supporting Mike and the Sheldon Bosley Knight team as a retired Estate Agent! Thank you for your business over the last 25 years.”

We are pleased to announce that the new branch will be managed by Sara Jordan, who will be joined by sales negotiator Kathy Molan. Sara is a returning member of staff at the company, bringing with her an impressive 15 years’ experience in local estate agency. Both Kineton residents, their local knowledge and friendly manner is already proving a great asset to the company. Sara announced:

     “I’m delighted to be returning and excited to lead a new team, where a professional and personal service will be my priority. We welcome residents to pop in and meet the team.”

Kineton is now our seventh location; joining branches in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Evesham and Shipston-Upon-Stour, and our brand new head office at Stratford Business and Technology Park.

We’re proud to be growing the Sheldon Bosley Knight brand and are looking forward to another exciting year in land and property!

Visit the new Kineton branch at:

3 Southam Street
Kineton
Warwickshire
CV35 0LN

01926 642200

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Well-Deserved Praise for Residential Lettings Team

Sue Maaz, Residential Lettings, Sheldon Bosley KnightWe are always delighted when we receive positive feedback from our customers and were especially pleased when we heard from one of our long standing landlord clients.

The Sheldon Bosley Knight office in Shipston have been acting as the managing agent for this client since 1997 when the site was originally purchased and a number of flats were marketed for rental.

Our client is a busy builder/developer and over the past 22 years Sue Maaz and her team have managed the properties, dealing with the various tenants, inbound and outbound, as well as periodic refurbishments.

Sue and her team always take pride in the service they provide and it was a pleasure to receive the following note from our client:

“As one of your landlords I have dealt with your Shipston Office since 1997 when we purchased the above site. 

Your staff have always given a good service, but over recent years it has got even better. Whenever I speak to one of the team I always express my appreciation for all they do. But I am writing this to let you know how very pleased we are.

Due to too many commitments elsewhere over the past few years, I have not been as involved as I would like to have been, as a result I just leave everything to the team to deal with, this is a great help to me – and they make the right decisions.

Recently I met with Sue Maaz at Flat 3. I understand that she has been the main coordinator of the refurbishment, which looks very crisp and bright and well thought out. I am very grateful, as I know being a builder/developer, that even a small refurbishment takes a lot of organising.”

For more information about the Sheldon Bosley Knight residential lettings and property management service please visit our Lettings page.

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Is Your Letting Agent Regulated?

Lettings Sheldon Bosley Knight

Lettings Sheldon Bosley KnightWith effect from 1st April 2019 all letting agents must be in a regulated Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.

We at Sheldon Bosley Knight have been regulated and in a CMP for many years via the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who require us to hold out the highest standards when it comes to handling your money. In fact, we are delighted to say that one of our companies was awarded a rating of “Outstanding” in 2017.

From 1st April 2019 all agents must:

  • Belong to a Government approved CMP scheme
  • Display a certificate confirming this
  • Provide clients with the name and address of the scheme of which they are a member

This is not new to us so we do not need to make any changes, although there are many in our industry who will have to catch up. However, if you have any questions please contact us and we will be happy to advise you.

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Lettings Market Looking Strong

SBK property To Let

SBK property To LetThe latest findings from ARLA paint a positive picture for renters nationwide.  The supply of rental stock has risen over the past 10 months, which suggests that reports of landlords pulling out of the market as a result of the referendum result or changing tax regime are not accurate.

This is supported in ARLA’s findings, which reveal the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties hasn’t changed since April.

Across our three lettings offices in Stratford upon Avon, Shipston and Leamington Spa we have not seen an oversupply of rental property but it is noticeable that tenants are remaining in rental properties for longer and are less inclined to move on, meaning that less properties are available. In normal circumstances this would create an opportunity to increase rents but currently it is also noticeable that rents in Stratford, for example, are not rising as they have done in previous years and any available properties must be priced sensitively in order to find good tenants within an acceptable timeframe. The advantage for landlords of this stability is that they avoid unwelcome void periods between tenancies.

SBK House KeysWe wait with interest to see the impact of increases in the taxation of landlords who have buy-to-let mortgages attached to their homes. Market experts are divided about the potential impact of the changes but Rightmove said that during September, buyer enquiries from potential landlords and investors were up 30% compared with May, after a short-term dip after the stamp duty changes came into force in April.

We are, however, confident that 2017 will bring new growth to the rental market. With various properties in the pipeline and growing rental yields, the buy to let market is still a good choice for investors in our areas.

We look forward to the next wave of investment properties hitting Stratford, Shipston, Leamington and Kenilworth’s rental markets and making sure Sheldon Bosley Knight Ltd are well placed with our skills, knowledge and expertise to take on the management of these properties. The team at Leamington has been further strengthened recently with the addition of Marc Martin, Rebecca Jones & Faye Mulkeirins who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience.

For more information about our Lettings Services please visit www.sheldonbosleyknight.co.uk.

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ONE HUNDRED NOT OUT!

Rebecca Jones, Marc Martin, Faye Mulkeirins
Rebecca Jones, Marc Martin, Faye Mulkeirins
Rebecca Jones, Marc Martin, Faye Mulkeirins

THREE new faces have joined our lettings team – scoring a century by taking the team’s combined years of industry experience over the 100 mark.

Marc Martin joins the company to become the new Lettings Manager.

He has worked in all areas of the industry – and built up a vast amount of local knowledge in and around Warwickshire.

Marc prides himself on being able to provide the very best customer service, establishing excellent relationships with landlords.

“It’s a privilege to join SBK,” he says.  “The team now has more than 100 years of experience in the industry – a professional, reliable, well-established service for landlords and tenants, which sets us out well in front of our competitors.’’

Marc is joined by Rebecca Jones and Faye Mulkeirins, who both join as Lettings Administrators.

With over 20 years of experience working in the property and lettings industry, Rebecca started her career working for a housing association and went on to work for a number of lettings and management companies, both large corporate and independent firms.

“Throughout my 20 years of working in the Leamington area, it’s been interesting watching the property industry expand and develop, especially over the last 8 years,” Rebecca says.

“I am extremely excited to be working at SBK.  I find myself in a company that is showing itself to be very successful and expanding in a very challenging industry and I am delighted to be part of a dynamic, fun and knowledgeable team.”

Faye has worked for an independent agent for more than 12 years. After gaining a vast amount of knowledge of all aspects of lettings – covering administration, accounts and negotiation – she now looks forward to exceeding the standard for SBK.

“I enjoy all aspects of working within the lettings industry but particularly like being involved in meeting new clients and customers and providing them with excellent customer service,” she says.

Modern Mews EstateSheldon Bosley and Knight and Rennie – two of the leading estate agents in Warwickshire – merged in 2016 to form Sheldon Bosley Knight. Knight and Rennie previously acquired Anne Reeve Lettings, cementing its position as one of the biggest and most trusted lettings agents in the area.

SBK currently has more than 1,500 properties across Warwickshire under management.

The lettings team – based in Leamington Spa and with a new Lettings Centre due to open in Kenilworth in 2017 – provide coverage six days a week, with a rapidly growing landlord and tenant base.

“Welcoming three new, very experienced faces, to our already well-established lettings team means we can increase our capacity and extend our expertise to even more landlords and tenants,” Mike Cleary, Director of SBK, said.

“The lettings market is very strong across Warwickshire – and we look forward to a busy 2017.”

For more information about our Lettings Services please go to www.sheldonbosleyknight.co.uk.

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We are recruiting

Job advert

Job advertWe are seeking a full-time Residential Lettings Co-Ordinator for our busy and friendly office in Shipston-on-Stour.

ARLA qualified applicants are preferred although training will be offered to the right applicant.

  • Clean driving licence and own car essential
  • Immediate start
  • Salary negotiable
  • Pension scheme available
  • Monday to Friday and to include 1 in 3 Saturday mornings

Please apply in writing to:

Sue Maaz FARLA
Sheldon Bosley Knight
The Corner House, Market Place
Shipston-on-Stour CV36 4AG

Or by email to smaaz@sheldonbosleyknight.co.uk

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Stamp Duty and Leasehold Property

Pound Coins and Twenty Pound Note

Pound Coins and Twenty Pound NoteIt is often forgotten that Stamp Duty is payable on the grant of a lease.

This is based on the net present value as calculated by HM Revenue and Customs.  So for a 7 year Lease starting after 1 April 2016, with an annual rent of £50,000 per annum, the net present value will be calculated as being £305,727 and the stamp duty (due at 1% over £150,000) would therefore be £1,557.

Stamp Duty is payable on leases for residential and non-residential property and further information can be found at the Gov.uk pages here.

 

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Warming the Planet vs Warming Your Home

EPC Graph for rental property

EPC Graph for rental propertyGiven that oil prices have halved in the last 12 months an argument could be made that the pressure for introducing energy saving measures into your home has relaxed somewhat.

However heating cost is not the only driver, given climate change and global warming concerns. There are now EU, and therefore UK targets, to meet in improving insulation standards. The measure of insulation efficiency is now most commonly made using Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). These are available for both commercial and residential property. The energy performance measured includes the type and energy efficiency of the heating system and the insulation standards for all components of the property. Even the efficiency of the light bulbs is measured.

From 1st April 2018 it will not be possible to advertise any property with an EPC rating of F or G, residential or commercial, to let without having first improved the EPC rating to E or better.

Row of terraced housesThis year, effective since 1st April, landlords of domestic private rented property in England and Wales are no longer able to unreasonably refuse a request by an existing or future tenant to carry out energy efficient improvements, where those improvements can be funded at no cost to the landlord, by central government, a local authority, the tenant or any other person. This would include property let on assured and assured shorthold tenancies and on Rent Act 1977 protected tenancies. Farmhouses let on agricultural tenancies would normally be regarded as commercial property and therefore would fall under this regulation from 1st April 2018, unless they are sub-let.

The ‘Green Deal’ which was supposed to help fund much of these improvements closed in July 2015, so there is now far more ‘stick’ than ‘carrot’ in persuading property owners to make the necessary improvements.

The regulations continue to squeeze, since from 1st April 2020 residential property cannot “continue to be let” if it does not comply with these energy efficiency regulations, and from the 1st April 2023 non-domestic property, by which definition would include a farmhouse, is also caught. The regulation in respect of Listed Buildings is commonly misunderstood. It appears to be the case that an EPC is required for a Listed Building, but the owner does not have to act on its recommendations if compliance would unacceptably alter the character or appearance to the building.

A ‘new letting’ would include the extension or renewal of a lease, for the purposes of these regulations. A landlord that is in breach of these regulations is likely to be exposed to penalties rather than being a ground to bring any form of tenancy to an end.

For more information please contact either our Stratford on Avon office on 01789 292310 or our Shipston on Stour office on 01608 661666.

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Property Investment Still in Favour

house for sale

house for saleHow will the new increased stamp duty levels affect demand for property investment?

The recent changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax have the potential to affect the buy to let market with a further 3% duty now applicable to purchases of second homes.

As expected, we did experience a rush on getting sales exchanged prior to the 1st April deadline but despite the increase in tax it is now anticipated that for occasional investors in property, the additional tax will not significantly affect the market.

There are many reasons that property remains an appealing investment, including continuing poor return from the stock market and from bank interest.  The possible growth in the property market, coupled with the rental return in an investment which can be perceived as “real” will continue to be a particular draw.

In respect of non-residential property, although Stamp Duty has risen with a top line rate of 5% for any property over £250,000, a benefit is now being given in Capital Gains Tax with a reduced rate to 20%.

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New Deadlines for Lettings Sector Energy Efficient Compliance

EPC Graph for rental property

EPC Graph for rental propertyNew dates for energy efficiency compliance in rental properties have been announced by the Government. These are as follows:

April 2016: From this time, tenants living in private sector rented properties with F or G rated homes, as stated by the Energy Performance Certificates, will be able to request improvements and the landlord will be legally bound to bring the property up to an E rating.

There will be a few limited exemptions:

April 2020: By this date the requirement for a minimum E rating will apply, not just to new lets but also to existing tenancies;

2025: The target is for a minimum D rating;

2030: The minimum target will be a C rating.

Although there is some concern across the lettings industry that many EPC’s are incorrect and have a lower rating than the true rating, it is still important that private landlords are aware of the legislation.

Very few of the properties managed by Sheldon Bosley have a rating lower than E but as the target rating rises to D in 2025 & C in 2030, many properties will require improvements to comply.

Our advice to all landlords would be, in the first instance, to ensure that each property has a current EPC. Most properties in the private rented sector will have an EPC in place but those whose tenancies have not changed since October 2010 when the legislation regarding EPC’s changed, may not.

Once a current EPC is in place, a sensible course of action can be decided upon as well as a sensible timescale for any improvements.

Sheldon Bosley are well placed to arrange Energy Performance Certificates and advise and oversee any work necessary. In the first instance please feel free to contact Michael Scott in our Stratford office or Sue Maaz in our Shipston office.  Tel: 01608 661666.

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Insurance Valuations

Warning Traffic Sign On Flooded Road

Warning Traffic Sign On Flooded RoadHuge parts of North West England suffered substantial damage as a result of the recent severe storms and the subsequent flooding which has been called the ‘worst in our lifetime’.

Whilst the Cotswolds and surrounding areas were lucky to avoid this particular extreme weather it is important to review your own insurance policy to ensure that it includes the necessary assets and provides sufficient cover.

Many individuals simply pay their renewal year after year and do not think about the consequences of being under insured.

It is important to have your residential, commercial and agricultural property valued regularly to ensure that should the worst happen, you have sufficient cover for the value of your assets. An insurance valuation is the inspection and assessment of a building in order to calculate the re-instatement cost, i.e. how much it would cost to rebuild the building. Each building is different and it is important to assess factors such as size, construction, age, floor to ceiling height, location and access.

If your home has been extended or extensively refurbished, is listed, or constructed in materials other than brick, then it is likely that the buildings insurance valuation is too low; extensive outbuildings, walls and hard landscaping are often forgotten.

At Sheldon Bosley we have the expertise to provide accurate buildings insurance valuations that eliminate this risk so that your buildings are fully insured. If you require further information or advice then please contact Simon Wilkinson DipSurv MRICS MNAEA MARLA or Matthew Payne MRICS at our Stratford office on 01789 292310.

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Stamp Duty Changes for Landlords

George Osborne

George OsborneIn a controversial move, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, announced in last autumn’s budget statement that buy-to-let landlords and purchasers of second homes will be forced to pay an extra 3% in stamp duty on property purchases from 1st April 2016, a move intended to take the heat out of the housing market and help first time buyers.

It has been described as catastrophic news for the private rented sector by David Cox, Managing Director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). Property experts have warned that the move could distort the housing market, with a rush of buy-to-let and second home purchases before the start of April 2016.

This is set to affect more than just property investors, according to the consultation recently published by the Government. People had until 1st February to give their reaction to the consultation and hidden in the document were a number of issues that could affect ordinary people buying and selling who are not looking for a second home or even looking to rent out a second home.

One issue was that the additional 3% rate is intended to apply where a purchaser owns more than one residential property at the end of the day of the transaction. So, if the old home is sold secondly, the surcharge will be payable upon the transaction with the ability to recover the amount afterwards!

It has already been revealed it will take some weeks for officials to go through the replies so the final details are unlikely to be made public until the Budget on 16th March. With the new tax set to take effect on 1st April it means that many purchasers will be exchanging contracts without knowing what the final rules will be.

We can guide you…

We have noticed the buy-to-let market bubbling as a reaction to this news with many landlords hoping to complete a purchase prior to the new legislation being in place. We are well placed to react quickly to change and our experience and qualifications allow us to advise landlords on the best personal choices for them. We can guide you through the process from the selection of the right property through to completion of the purchase and letting the property. You may also choose to purchase a property that requires work but are not confident to manage a refurbishment program yourself.

We have a team of experienced architects and surveyors who can assist you. If you chose to sell at the end of the process or were merely interested in the increase in value achieved, our sales team would be happy to help. Of course the end goal would be to let the property and find suitable tenants. At Sheldon Bosley we pride ourselves in our Property Management process and currently let and manage in excess of 1000 properties that are rented out for residential use, and as such would be more than happy to look after your rental property.

As you can see Sheldon Bosley are able to offer the ‘whole package’ and ensure your capital investment is safe.

For advice on suitable properties for buy-to-let purposes why not contact our lettings managers, Michael Scott in our Stratford office and Sue Maaz in our Shipston office for sound impartial advice.