Piggybank News

January 28, 2013

Landlords liable for tenants water bills!

As a result of recent changes to the law, under Part 2, s45 (1-3) of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 that came into force in October 2012, landlords failing to notify the water company of a tenant’s details will become jointly and severally liable with their tenant for overdue water charges. Invariably, the easier option for the water companies, therefore, will be to pursue the landlord for the debt, rather than trying to trace and recover from the tenant.

Landlords should always therefore make a point of informing, in writing (and in view of this measure perhaps by recorded delivery) all the utilities suppliers of the tenants’ full details when a new tenancy starts. Likewise, when a tenancy ends, the landlord should again inform the utilities companies, providing a forwarding address for the tenants whenever possible.

In Milton Keynes, our water supplier is Anglian Water, who provide a handy online form, as well as a telephone number, for landlords to inform them of changes to a tenancy.

However, we have recently been alerted by an MKPLA Member that Anglian Water’s online form does not provide an appropriate receipt for the information provided. Their automated reply email simply confirms that a change of address has been supplied, but does not confirm that any tenant details have been provided. This may also be an issue that is not limited to Anglian Water.

January 21, 2013

Changes to Council Tax Discounts and Exemption

Recent legislation has given local authorities the power to determine classes of Council Tax discount.  This means that different local authorities will be adopting different strategies; the only common thread is that they have to reduce the cost of such subsidies by a minimum of 10%.   Some of the changes will  undoubtedly affect landlords/investors.

In Milton Keynes the Council has adopted the following changes which come into force on 1/4/2013.

Empty Properties
Class C exemption is where a property has been empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) and it currently attracts a 100% exemption for a maximum period of six months. From 01 April 2013 the exemption will be removed and will be replaced with a 100% discount for a maximum period of 1 month, then a nil discount (100% charge) for remaining period.

Uninhabitable Properties
Class A exemption is where a property requires or is undergoing major repair works to render it habitable, or is undergoing structural alterations and it currently attracts a 100% exemption for a maximum period of 12 months. From 01 April 2013 the exemption will be removed and will be replaced with a 50% discount for a maximum period of 12 months.

Read more here >> http://tinyurl.com/bclylju.


December 19, 2012

A Politically Correct Christmas Message :)

Filed under: Business Advice,Business Utilities,Domestic Utilities,Hot tips,Property — nspresources @ 9:05 am

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you All!

November 21, 2012

Add value to your property with an extension

Following the recent announcement of a 2yr relaxation to planning laws Nationwide issued a special report detailing the increase in value to houses following different types of improvement.

Commenting on the Special Report, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said “With housing market demand still very weak, increasing numbers of homeowners may opt to improve rather than move. Our research assesses the factors that affect the value of homes, and the potential to add value.”

Nationwide’s House Price Index Special Report looked at the value of improvements made to an average three-bedroom house. Nationwide found:

  • Creating an extra bathroom could add 6% to the value
  • Adding another double bedroom can push up the value by 12%1
  • Building an extension or loft-conversion to create a double bedroom and en-suite bathroom could add 23%2 to the value
  • Increasing floor space by 10% can add 5% to the average value (more…)

November 14, 2012

Universal Credit – What do we know so far?

The current government have set out on a programme of welfare reform aimed at reducing the overall cost of benefits to the state. There is also a general implication that people on benefits should not be better off than those in work and some of the changes reflect this policy. The change to Universal Credit in 2013 is one part of this general programme of reforms and will combine several means-tested benefits, tax credits and housing benefit into one monthly payment paid direct to tenants.

The change will cost £4 billion to implement but is expected to save £2 billion a year in administrative costs.  According to the government, a single, direct payment will encourage people to take responsibility for their finances, but Landlords Associations across the country have warned that  it is likely to result in increased rental arrears and homelessness as some tenants fail to manage their budgets.

Universal credit will be phased in gradually from October 2013. The first wave of applicants to be affected by the change will be those making a new claim for benefits or those that have a change of circumstances resulting in a reassessment of their benefits. It is expected that a blanket switch will occur later (between April 2014 -2017).   Concerns have been expressed in some quarters that the infrastructure required to get this change off the ground will not be in place within the proposed time frames  but the government remain adamant that Universal Credit will roll out as expected.

At present the government has not disclosed how they plan to deal with the big question of ‘direct payment’ to landlords.  All housing sectors, including charities such as Shelter and Social Care providers, are concerned about the possible implications of a change to pay tenants directly regardless of the circumstances.  Due to concerted lobbying there have been some recent indications that provision may be made for the most vulnerable tenants  to have payments made to the landlord (as they do at present) but, until the government reaches a final decision,  nobody really knows what will happen. (more…)

April 10, 2012

What your mobile says about you…

Long gone are the days of having a mobile phone simply to make calls. Most new generation mobiles now allow users to browse the internet, send and receive email, and even bank online. As a result, more personal data than ever is stored on our phones and this is making life much simpler for identity thieves.

Around 125,000 mobiles are left in London taxis alone each year and hundreds of thousands more are stolen. This is in addition to legitimate markets for second hand mobiles, such as eBay and mobile ‘recycling’ schemes that offer to pay cash (often to charitable causes) for unwanted handsets.

Unfortunately wiping the memory of your phone completely is difficult, but there are some basic steps you can take. (more…)

January 13, 2012

Petition prompts energy price reduction.

I received this notification from consumer action group “38 Degrees” this morning.  I think it is an important message so I have copied in its entirety below.

“Over 85,000 of us have signed the petition telling gas and electricity companies to cut their prices – in just 4 days!

And it’s starting to work. Numbers on the petition are sky-rocketing and it’s making the news – have a look at this report covering the petition on Channel 4 news: http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/display/playlistref/110112/clipid/110112_EDF_11

In just 4 days, three of the biggest gas and electricity companies have folded under the pressure. EDF Energy, British Gas and Scottish and Southern have all said they’ll cut their gas or electricity prices by around 5%.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start and proves that if enough of us get involved we can win. Three big companies – E.ON, npower and Scottish Power – are still holding out, and those that have dropped prices haven’t gone far enough. The bigger the petition, the bigger the message we send that we’ve had enough of being ripped off.

Can you forward this email to your friends now to ask them to add their names and help send the petition rocketing past 100,000?

Can you also spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, if you use them? You can tell your friends about the petition easily by clicking the quick links below:

Share on Facebook: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/energy-ripoff-facebook

Share on Twitter: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/energy-ripoff-twitter

When 38 Degrees members have come together before in huge numbers, we’ve won some amazing victories. Last year, half a million of us worked together to force the government to reverse their plans to sell off England’s precious woodlands.

Let’s turn up the heat on the gas and electricity companies now by forwarding this email and asking everyone we know to add their voice: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/stop-the-energy-rip-off

January 10, 2012

Making your money work for you

Making Your Money Work for You
With interest rates at an all time low, financial institutions have been cutting the rates they pay to savers. Check the rates your savings are earning – you may be surprised by how quickly the attractive interest rates used to tempt new investors are reduced.  If you have a significant amount of savings then you may need to consider alternative investment options, such as property, in order to maximise your returns.

Similarly, look at the costs of financial products you buy – insurances, your mortgage etc. It is easy to just let things roll over at the annual renewal but there may well be savings to be made.  Even if you are happy with your current supplier it is worth checking out other deals, as you can use this comparison to ask for an improved quotation.

Check that your utilities are being supplied in the most cost-effective way.  In general terms you will save money by having both gas and electric with the same company and paying by monthly direct debit will also reduce charges.  There are also a number of bundled deals available which can help you make savings on energy as well as broadband and telephone bills.

(Piggy says “The most expensive way to buy your energy is via a card or key meter – typically the charges for these are up to twice as much as for a credit account.  If you have one of these meters then your supplier should be able to change it for you free of charge provided that you do not have any arrears.”)


November 30, 2011

The best Feed in Tariff in the UK?

What is a Feed-In Tariff?

Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) are a way for people to save money — or make money — by generating their own electricity at home, using technology like solar panels or wind turbines.

Under the FIT scheme, the customer is paid:

  • For the electricity they generate and use
  • For the electricity they generate but do not use. They sell — or ‘export’ — this electricity to the national grid.

You generate electricity. Your electricity supplier pays you for each unit of electricity you generate and you can use it to power your home. You stay connected to the national grid so that you can buy electricity from your energy supplier in the normal way when you need more power.

Why are the Utility Warehouse claiming that their new Feed-In Tariff is the best?

Quite simply, they will pay their customers more for their electricity than anyone else. Normally FIT customers are paid a set amount determined by the government for each unit of electricity they generate.  UWDC have taken the extraordinary step of announcing that they will pay an extra 2p per unit of electricity on top of the standard rate. That should add up to about £45 a year for an average household — and it’s guaranteed for three years!   You can’t find this deal on their website yet so contact us direct at NSP Resources  if you want to know more.

November 9, 2011

Are you or your tenants living in fear of the bills?

If not, then you should be thankful,  because according to the latest research, one in four of the British population does live in fear of bills! A quarter of UK adults admit to getting stressed before opening their bills according to a study from a price comparison website.  A shocking 1 in 5 also confessed to delaying opening as well as paying bills, because they are too afraid to face them.

54% of people said the biggest fear factor was that the cost of bills keeps increasing at rates which are not matched by their salary and one third admit to having more money going out of their current accounts every month than they have coming in.

If this any of this describes your situation then it is obviously time to regroup and see if making some simple changes can help reduce your outgoings.  If you are a landlord and this situation could apply to any of your tenants then it is only a matter of time before the rent payments become an issue.  Offering some straightforward advice and assistance now could help avoid a crisis later.

Here are a few suggestions from the helpful Piggy at Piggybank News… (more…)

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: