On 1st June 2020 major changes to the electrical safety standards came into force for the private rented sector in England to apply from 1st July 2020 for all new residential tenancies and from 1st April 2021 for all existing tenancies.

The regulations require landlords ensure that all fixed electrical installations (such as light sockets, plug sockets, fridge/freezers, ovens, etc) are safe and maintained on a regular basis. This means that they must be inspected and tested every five years by a NAPIT or NICEIC qualified person in compliance with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations.

Once an inspection and test has been completed the landlord will be given an Electrical Installation Safety Report. This will state what tests were done, the results of the tests, and the date the next inspection and test is due.

The landlord must supply a copy of this report to each tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test. Any new tenant should be given a copy of the most recent test before they move in.

If the report finds that further ‘remedial’ work is needed to meet the standards, this will have to be carried out by a qualified person within 28 days of the report (or the period specified in the report if less than 28 days).

A landlord or letting agent will not be in breach of their duty to comply with a remedial notice – for example if they cannot find a qualified person or a tenant denies them access to the property – if they can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.

An electrical installation does not need to comply with the 18th edition of the wiring regulations if it is deemed to be safe. If in any doubt, a landlord should contact an electrical inspector to decide whether the installation complies with the electrical safety standards.

Once an inspection and test has been carried out the report will be valid for five years and will cover a change of tenancy. It is not needed for every new tenancy.

For newly-built properties or those which have been completely rewired, an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC), valid for five years, should have been provided at handover.

If you are a landlord or a tenant and you have any questions about these new requirements, please contact David Munday at david@vespergroup.co.uk for further information and guidance.

The agreement on a Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU brings a long period of uncertainty to a very welcome end! How will this impact the property market and what does it mean for your property?

The UK will continue to have a close relationship with the European Union, which is good news! However with COVID at the forefront of people’s minds and multiple lockdowns in the UK it’s put the brakes on the economy. Rents have tumbled and it’s only for the stamp duty holiday that sales prices have remained steady.

If you are looking for your next buy-to-let property and are looking to purchase in London you could be looking at 10-15% discounts on new builds in the East and North West of the city, with many empty completed units sitting on developers books.

In Manchester, you could easily ask for a £5,000-£10,000 discount off the list price or ask for a furniture pack or stamp duty contribution – in some cases you could negotiate both!

If you are looking to sell a property, we suggest staying put and waiting until 2022/2023.

As always, we are here for you so please don’t hesitate to contact the team at the Vesper Group today with any questions.

With the UK once again in national lockdown, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are renting, selling or buying property.

First and foremost, the property market is open! In fact, with the stamp duty holiday ending on the 31st March and the foreign buyers surcharge tax coming in on the 1st April, the sales market has been in overdrive for the past 6 months.

However, for lettings, the market has been pretty dire these last 3 months with further reductions in rent. On the bright side, we are seeing a uplift in enquires now that we have come out of January.

For most, living in Central London was not feasible due to high rental prices but with an average of 20-30% reduction in rents we are seeing a new generation of renters coming on. Properties outside of Zone 2 have seen rents drop by just 10%.

If you are a landlord or vendor don’t worry! Prices will rebound slightly later this year in time for summer. We don’t expect pre COVID rents to come back until 2022.

Staying safe

In-person viewings are permitted and moving house can go ahead along with cleaners, inventories and maintenance work. Many estate agents are offering virtual viewings for those applicants that do not wish to view in person or those that are currently stuck abroad.

Our team are required to wear personal protective equipment, such as face masks and applicants must wear these at all times when viewing a property.

If you have any questions about renting, selling or buying during lockdown, contact Vesper Group today and we’d be happy to help!

For many years the UK government has talked about increasing the tax for foreign home buyers but it will soon become a reality.

From the 1st April 2021 all overseas buyers will need to pay an additional 2% in tax, in addition to paying the stamp duty on a property. It is important to remember when you are looking at a property that you will need to work out your stamp duty liability and add an extra 2% on top of the purchase price.

On a £500,000 property, this tax would equate to an additional £10,000. Important to note as well that this tax is applicable for all buyers, regardless of their intentions to live in the property or use it as a buy-to-let.

Do you want to learn more? Feel free to reach out to us today!

One of the most exciting aspects of the year 2020 for property is the stamp duty holiday. If you are a seller or a buyer, now is the time to act to take advantage of this government incentive.

In short, the UK government has waived the stamp duty tax for buyers purchasing property under £500,000 where the property is the main home. That said, investors benefit too as the tax has halved for buy-to-let landlords. For a £500,000 home, if it is your first home, you would currently pay no stamp duty. If it’s your second home, you’d be saving too, at 3%. That works out to a £15,000 savings, which is quite a large benefit when normally your stamp duty would double that amount.

In order for you to take advantage of the stamp duty break you will need to complete the purchase by the 31st March 2021. If you work backwards then, you really need to have your offer accepted in the next few weeks if you are purchasing with a mortgage. For cash buyers there is a bit more time, perhaps offering you until February or so.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this break, or have any questions, feel free to reach out to a member of our team.

We have compiled a list of the official communication for the universities we cover in London and Manchester for student accommodation.

University of London

From September, we will provide a blended learning experience that incorporates online learning with access to our campus and virtual social network.

All lectures and seminars will be delivered online in Term 1 combined with on-campus appointments with academics and student support. We hope to transition to on-campus teaching from Term 2 in January 2021 (in line with health and safety guidance at that time). Campus will be open with social distancing measures in place, halls of residence will be open.

Imperial College London

Programmes commencing in September will be taught via a multi-mode delivery with a combination of on-campus and remote teaching. All on-campus Executive Education programmes until September 2020 have moved online.

London Metropolitan University

No update on the new term yet

London School of Business & Finance

We have taken the decision to deliver our lectures online in semester one. Depending on advice from the UK Government, and where we think it’s safe to do so, we plan to enhance this remote delivery with some on-campus provision.

This blended learning approach is based on an expectation that there will be some face-to-face provision for all students, but only in an environment where we can ensure your safety through social distancing.

University of East London

No update on the new term yet

Middlesex University

We’re doing everything we can to make sure that you’ll get a great learning experience with us with lots of support to do your best when you’re learning virtually and face to face.

  • We’re planning to start teaching you through a mix of online virtual and face to face teaching that we call blended learning
  • This means your big group lectures might be online while some smaller classes or practical activities could happen on campus
  • You could also move between blended learning and fully online virtual learning during the term
  • If you can’t make it to campus for whatever reason, we’ll work to make sure you can start your course fully online. If you’re a nursing or teacher training student, then you will have to be on campus for a number of days at the start of your course.

University of Westminster

We’re making plans for your first term of study in the autumn. We’re planning to start teaching you through a mix of online virtual and face to face teaching that we call blended learning.

University of Roehampton London

In September, our aim is that our spacious 54-acre parkland campus will be open for students and staff to enjoy safely. This includes our teaching facilities, study areas, social spaces and other amenities, all with appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing.

This Autumn, we plan to provide smaller group teaching on-campus, with larger group teaching online. We intend to be as flexible to your needs as we can be and we will therefore also provide the option of studying entirely online for the first term if you would like to, where this is possible. We will also be more flexible where we can on allowing students to enrol late (see below).

 London South Bank University

We intend to start teaching on schedule in September 2020. If any details change, we’ll get in touch with you directly, as soon as we have more information.

University of Greenwich London

The university has now suspended face-to-face teaching and has moved to delivering lectures and classes remotely. Although some staff are working remotely, this will not affect how we process new applications and respond to your questions.

New Students September 2020: Our term starts on Monday 14 September 2020 as planned and we have arranged a range of flexible options for you.

  • We expect to deliver your main lectures online for the autumn term and you will also have the opportunity to attend seminars on campus, as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • If you are studying on a practical course, you will have the option to join smaller, socially distanced groups when the campus reopens.
  • If you are worried about coming onto campus or need to shield for health reasons, you will also be able to access our courses online.

Ravensbourne University London

Following the latest government advice and announcement from the prime minister, we have requested that our students now study from home. All face-to-face lessons have been suspended and the building is now closed until further notice.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and in accordance with government guidance, the Ravensbourne building is currently closed. We are still working remotely and we’re here for you – to answer any questions you might have.

Royal College of Art

We are monitoring the situation very carefully and are committed – if it is safe for our students and staff –  to face to face teaching and learning in our studios. However, with the pandemic continuing to have a huge impact on every part of College life, it is anticipated that all learning and teaching for 1st year students for Term 1 (September to December) will be wholly or partially online, and will only involve campus-based learning if it is safe to do so.

Manchester:

University of Manchester

‘On-campus teaching’ will be activities such as seminars, small group sessions and practical elements of courses. We hope that these will take place face-to-face on campus to allow for discussion and interaction with your teacher/academics as long as government guidance allows for this.

We’re currently planning for every eventuality to ensure that we deliver the highest-quality learning and student experience and ensuring that we follow UK government information and advice. We’ll ensure that more details about the format of teaching and learning for the first semester are shared with our future students regularly over the next few months.

Manchester Metropolitan University

New Students September 2020: We plan to start our next academic year as planned in September. Term will therefore start on Monday 14 September for the majority of our programmes.

We are developing plans to deliver some on-campus learning for most courses, and will be delivering a combination of some online and some on-campus teaching throughout the year, while following national guidelines to secure student and staff wellbeing.

During these difficult times we know we have to adopt that’s why we are now offering 3D virtual tours as standard on all our new listings this Summer 2020, prospective applicants can do their own walk-through of your properties from anywhere, anytime, generating higher engagement and interest.

Preview a Virtual Tour today by clicking here

95%

more likely to call about homes with 3D virtual tours 
 

20%

of offers made without a home visit

26%

less time on market*

It was announced in the press last month (to the surprise of the industry) that the government plan to abolish section 21 notices; they call them ‘no fault evictions. To you and I, this is the notice that we send to a tenant to vacate the property. The government seems to think that tenants are ‘hard done by’ and want to stay longer in properties, however the landlords (you) want them out hassle free when the situation calls.

We all know this is not the case unless the tenant has done something particularly wrong like not paying the rent on time, subletting illegally or damaging the property. The government’s solution to the problem has not yet been prescribed. There is talk of a new housing court and amendments to section 8 notices, which is currently used for non-payment of rent or breaches of the tenancy agreement. Whatever they decide, we will not know for the foreseeable, so we advise continuing business as usual until we seek clarity on the position. What we do know is that the buy-to-let market in the UK is staying strong and the government will not want to risk capsizing it anytime in the future.