December Newsletter-Latest GuidanceĀ 

December Newsletter-Latest GuidanceĀ 

In the wake of a difficult year for us all, my heart goes out to those harshly affected in the hospitality industry and to the key workers who have kept everything working. Our housing market has had a difficult year up and down, open and closed but we remain resolute and motivated. We have been working tirelessly to ensure a continued
and beneficial relationship with you all.
Our aim at Mark Beaumont is to work with you, listening to your developing needs, keeping you up with the current climate and continuing to be a trusted property leader, providing the best services that we can.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your custom in
2020, and wish you a Merry Christmas. We look forwards to working with you towards a successful 2021.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Ways to cut the cost of home insurance</span>

Home insurance can be tricky to navigate, as there are lots of elements to understand when it comes to finding the right policy and making a claim.
Whilst we're all feeling festive this month, it’s even harder when it comes to protecting your valuables and property over Christmas, given that break-ins and claims skyrocket over the winter period.
Here's what you need to know prior to purchasing home insurance.

Types of cover. To put it simply, contents insurance covers your belongings within the house – such as your sofa, electronic devices and possessions – whereas buildings insurance covers anything stable within the home, like built-in appliances.
It’s crucial to note that if you live in rented accommodation, you shouldn’t need to worry about buildings insurance, as this should be covered by your landlord.

What contents insurance covers. Contents insurance covers your personal belongings against flood, fire damage and theft.
During the merry season, it’s natural to start piling presents under the Christmas tree – even fake ones for decoration! – but even that can showcase the potential valuables in your home to opportunistic burglars.
Where possible, draw your curtains or position your tree and decorations away from doors and windows.
It might seem like you're being over-cautious, but two-thirds of break-ins happen when we're at home, and your Christmas dressings will act as a shop window for the rest of your home.

New for old. As it's the season of giving, you might want to consider which items under the tree will need specialist cover, such as expensive jewellery or equipment and electronics.
When you get contents insurance, it’s beneficial to get ‘new for old’ cover, which simply means if you claim for a three-year old laptop, you’d get a brand new laptop as opposed to the amount it is now worth.
To give yourself peace of mind this Christmas, we'd recommend speaking with an insurance specialist.

If you need further support as a homeowner, landlord or tenant, contact our team today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;"><span class="TextRun BCX0 SCXW76567470" lang="EN-GB" style="font-weight: bold;" xml:lang="EN-GB" data-contrast="auto"><span class="NormalTextRun BCX0 SCXW76567470" style="font-weight: bold;">Your stamp duty and mortgage holiday questions answered</span></span></span>

As we emerge from the country's second lockdown and pick back up with the tier restrictions, we're seeing yet more reports of possible job cuts and unemployment concerns up and down the country.
If you have questions about your mortgage, we'd like to help guide you.
Earlier this year, the introduction of the government's three-month mortgage scheme saw a huge uptake, with lenders granting as many as 2.5 million payment holidays.*
Now that they've extended it, with a deadline for deferral applications at the end of January 2021, it's possible once again for homeowners and landlords to obtain financial support.

If I apply for a mortgage holiday, will it impact my credit?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have publicly confirmed that requesting a six-month mortgage holiday or extension will not negatively impact your credit.
If, however, it comes to the end of the six months and a customer is still in an unstable financial situation, they are advised by the FCA to seek support from their lender.
At this point, a tailored support plan will need to be arranged, which could show up on your credit file.
Although this is a viable lifeline, it is in the borrower's best interests to only use this scheme if absolutely necessary, as you will accrue interest without making any payments for the duration of the mortgage holiday.
What's next for the property market?
With the stamp duty deadline looming, there has been a crying demand for the government to commit to an extension beyond March 31st 2021.
Thousands of property sales are currently moving through the various homebuying stages, with sellers, buyers and property investors keen to make the cut.
As we're seeing such high demand, there have been inevitable delays from conveyancers, lenders and other industry professionals depended on to reach completion.
It's imperative at this time to remain level-headed, to prepare any necessary paperwork to expediate the process, and to keep in regular contact with your agent.
If in doubt about your mortgage options, you should consult your lender directly, as they will provide further clarification on what is right for your personal situation.
To speak with our agents, contact us from our website this December.
*Source: Homes & Property

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Can landlords meet the new guidelines on right to rent</span>

Whilst these would ordinarily have been conducted via face-to-face meetings, right-to-rent checks have temporarily been altered to make it easier and safer for landlords and tenants.
These checks can include:

– Video call checks only

– Tenants can send scanned copies of documentation via email or mobile rather than using originals

– Where unable to provide existing documents, landlords should use a checking service for prospective or existing tenants
Over this year, there have been speculations over whether landlords are able to meet new guidelines, especially in light of the fact that any new tenancies that started during the pandemic are now expected to be completed retrospectively.
So far, 'adjusted checks' have been performed, but this new expectation means all landlords will need to play catch up to fulfil retrospective checks within eight weeks of the COVID-19 measures ending – which may prove a very tight deadline.
Given the volume of checks this refers to, and the fact the backlog is growing daily, there are mounting concerns from industry bodies such as ARLA Propertymarket over landlords' ability to comply.

If you need help and support in preparation for the end of these measures, we can help.
Please get in touch for more information.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Protection for tenants this winter</span>

As we emerge from a second national lockdown in England and return into the tiered system, housing secretary – Robert Jenrick – has confirmed tenants will remain protected over winter.

What are the restrictions?

During the second lockdown, it was announced that no bailiff enforcement action will be allowed to take place in December.
Evictions will also not be allowed to happen up until at least the 11th January 2021, supporting individuals and families who have found themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own.
The government have gone on to further announce that the six-month notice periods will stay in place until at least the end of March 2021 – except for the most serious cases.
Bailiffs had already agreed with the government in October that they would not enforce court orders against tenants that were in tier two and three locations. Courts will – however – remain open through the national restrictions to ensure protection for both tenants and landlords.
This will include the strict prioritisation of cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes.

These protections are on-top of the unprecedented package the government has already put in place, including support for businesses and strengthening the welfare safety-net.

Jenrick has stated the government are now going further to help protect tenants from evictions during new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period. The aim is to strike the right balance between helping tenants in need, while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most urgent cases.

How landlords can help resolve tenant problems

Both landlords and tenants must work together to continue a tenancy during such uncertain times.
After all, the aim of a successful let is to find a tenant who will take care of your property, and for a tenant to find a good quality place to call home.
Talking to your landlord about your financial situation may seem daunting, which is why we're here to mediate those conversations, where able.
It should also be noted that landlords can be a source of information for tenants, helping them to access support they may not be able to reach themselves.

If you are a tenant or landlord and have any further questions or want more advice, please contact our team today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">New year, new buyers</span>

While Christmas is the time for overindulging, spending time with family and watching all the classics, it's also a really reflective season.
After the festivities have wound down, we've always found a renewed interest from homeowners and tenants in the days following New Year's Eve, with enquiries and property searches at an all-time high.
We've all spent more time than ever at home this year, so when everyone's gathered around the Christmas tree, you might find yourself planning what your next Christmas could look like and whether you'd choose to spend it living elsewhere.
Whilst it's commonly believed that spring and summer see the strongest market activity, year-after-year January has stood out as a time when online searches peak and more people are ready to make and accept offers in a fast timeframe.
Who chooses to move at this time of the year?
The new year property market usually consists of two types of people: first-time buyers and those re-entering the market after trying in the pervious year.
In the spring and summer, the market typically becomes much more competitive, with higher supply levels.
If you want to consider a fresh start in 2021 with a new place to call home, it's actually a really good idea to start the process now so you can instruct your agent, plan your property marketing strategy and be ready for the expected surge in buyer interest.
Whilst we all hoped the pandemic would be contained within 2020, it's now a confirmed reality that nothing will change when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.
For that reason, we're committed to continuing all of the safe measures and social distancing practices we've implemented this year.
To beat the crowd and make your home extremely visible on the property market over the peak holiday period, contact our agency today – visit our website for more information.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Winter maintenance suggestions to safeguard your property</span>

As we're in the midst of winter, and the cold weather is now in full force, you need to be informed on how to protect your home against any potential seasonal damage, as well as reduce unnecessary spending.

Back in 2018, there were a record number of burst pipers in the UK, resulting in over £194 million worth of insurance pay outs.*

Whilst these can be problematic for homeowners and landlords, there are a whole range of contributing factors that could lead to expensive repair bills at this time of the year.

To help you cut these costs, we've collated advice every property owner should be aware of.

1) Protect your pipes

A burst pipe can cause up to £4,000 in damages – rising beyond this amount in the most severe cases.

Pipe insulation, which can be installed yourself, costs next to nothing. It can be used under sinks, on any pipes running along exterior walls and in attics.

Basements are also important to pay close attention to, where 37% of all burst pipes happen. Insulating your water pipes will prevent pipes from freezing or bursting, which can be a huge inconvenience for households over the holidays.

2) Insulate your loft space

Investing money into insulating your loft will save you a small fortune in the long run, with average annual savings as follows:**

– £225 on your energy bill per year for a detached house
– £135 on your energy bill per year for a semi-detached house
– £120 on your energy bill per year for a mid-terrace house

Alongside this financial incentive, insulating your attic will mean you're directing heat within your property to the living areas, where it needs to be.
By keeping your attic cooler, it may also prevent ice dams from forming on your roof.

3) Clean out and inspect your gutters

Your property's gutters are there to get rid of rainwater that collects on the roof.

Regular maintenance and checks will prevent blockages from forming. If a problem forms, you'll start to notice rainwater running down the side of your house and may even spot discoloured walls inside.

Gutters can become clogged with leaves, moss, twigs or even bird nests.

It is very important that the water can be drained, otherwise damp and mould can form, leading to a much more serious issue for you to tackle!

4) Wrap up your hot water tanks

Perhaps an unusual one, but getting your hands on a British Standard Jacket for your hot water cylinder can protect your home and save money too.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends insulation to be 25mm to 80mm thick.

With yearly savings of up to £150, it's estimated that payback on one of these insulation jackets would take just two months.

Bleed your radiators

Rather than do this once a year, homeowners and landlords should routinely check their radiators to release trapped air, as this will ensure they're working at maximum capacity whenever you decide to turn the heating on.

Close off your chimney

A huge loss of heat can arise from unused fireplaces.

If you have a chimney that you do not use, and you would like to board it up, try a chimney balloon.

They can cost as little as £30 and they are incredibly easy to install, with the balloons keeping the cold air out by blocking any drafts.

The cleaning essentials that you need to know about for your festive preparations:

– A rubber broom: if you opt for a real Christmas tree this year and don't want to battle pine needles on your floor, then you need one of these. As an added bonus, they're also effective at collecting pet hair too.

– Nylon pan scrapers: over Christmas you are bound to have some stubborn pans that even elbow grease cannot save. Invest in a pan scraper to make the clean-up that much easier.

– Red wine stain remover: There will be wine flowing during the festivities, so make sure you have something at hand to fight resilient stains.

– Mould cleaner: As December is typically wet and cold, it is prime time for mould to form. To get ahead of the problem, consider stocking up on mould cleaner to combat areas as soon as they appear!

For more tips on protecting your home this season, talk to our property professionals.

*Association of British Insurers (ABI)
**Energy Saving Trust