Q & A with Kate Faulkner from LBC Property Hour week 6, sponsored by Direct Line Landlord Insurance.

publication date: Nov 18, 2016
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Q & A with Kate Faulkner from LBC Property Hour week 6, sponsored by Direct Line Landlord Insurance.

Thursday nights are my radio show night and along with Clive Bull and my special guest Paul Shamplina, I was helping to answer any property questions you have, all thanks to the sponsorship and support of Direct Line Landlord Insurance.

In case you didn’t catch the show and aren’t into podcasts, here are write-ups of the main questions and some extra helpful information:

Q – I've got a flat that I rent out in Hackney which I'm thinking of selling, how should the changing value of pound affect my decision?

A – Hackney is one of the highest growing property price areas so you may find you get people from abroad buying back into the market, meaning the pound drop could be good for you. However, when you look to sell do it at time that's right for you rather than trying to ‘play’ the market and, if it’s an investment property, always remember to consult a property tax specialist.

Looking to invest in property? Take a look at our checklists:

Q – I've been renting a flat recently and just moved out, the deposit was in a custodial scheme and there was a dispute. When I vacated a flat I used an agent recommended cleaning service which was approved. The claim went further and I was told that they would write to me for proof. I didn't receive anything in the post but got an email saying that because they hadn't heard from me they were relieving disputed amount, can I get them to hold onto the payment?

A – Cleaning is the biggest source of disputes between tenants and landlords. Legally you can be chased up via telephone, email and letter. If you have missed a deadline there is a grace period, but if you missed an email you may have lost the case and the opportunity to appeal.

For more on tenancy deposits, read our Tenancy Deposit Scheme checklist and if you are unhappy about a decision visit the TDS complaints page.

Q – I have a problem with a neighbour, I've got a flat roof and 4-6 weeks ago my wife saw their builders working and they had a ladder on our roof. There have also been other problems with them walking on the flat roof and making excessive noise, what can I do?

A – In this instance the Party Wall act applies, if your neighbour needs to do work they do have some rights but they should talk to you first. You should contact a party wall surveyor as they will guide you through the process, also as a precaution take a photo of roof in-case any damage occurs.

Want to find out more about party walls? Read the advice from our experts:

Q – What are the main reasons for eviction? How can you get good tenants?

A – Paul Shamplina talks about evictions and the correct process to evict a tenant

Want more on the eviction process? Read our how to evict a tenant checklist,

Q – I'm the freehold owner of an ex-council property. I spoke to neighbour about 10 years ago because their tree roots were damaging my property foundations, he laughed in my face. I then to wrote to him which he ignored. Four years ago the perimeter wall fell down as a result of the issue and the council rebuilt it but we had to contribute to the cost. I have been chasing the housing association for years and in 2014 they agreed that roots were causing damage but nothing has been done. Can I sue the owner or housing association?

A – Whenever there is an issue with a neighbour that is causing damage to your property, the first thing to do is contact your buildings insurer as it is in their interest to make sure your property and building structure is looked after. They should take cases like this on your behalf, rather than you having to deal with this on your own.

So, if you think that something is causing a problem to your home, contact your buildings insurance company first and foremost as they are insuring the structure of your property. If they don’t help, then take the advice of a surveyor. They have expertise in neighbourhood disputes, particularly when it comes to boundary and damage issues.

Need to find a surveyor? Read our choosing a surveyor and type of survey checklist and for a fun bit of fun, here are five things you might not know surveyors do!

Q – I've got a tenant who has gone through a six month shorthold tenancy and there were no problems. I gave her a call about moving out as we needed to renovate and she stopped paying rent. I then issued section 8 and 21 simultaneously and she paid arrears on time. I then got a letter from the council as she said it was a retaliatory eviction, she is refusing to go, how do I proceed? She moved in after October 2015 and I served all the relevant paperwork.

A – If you complied with deregulation act you should be able issue proceedings but it may go to court and you will have to wait for the judgement. Ideally in a situation like this it is worth taking expert legal advice.

Need more on the eviction process? Read our how to evict a tenant checklist,

Q – My wife and I currently rent in Ealing but are looking to get a property in West London as we want easy access to the west but with Brexit, Crossrail and other fears, we are not sure what to do, we are worried if we buy we may end up in negative equity.

A – A lot of the news is scary headlines when it comes to property and to be honest it is best to ignore it. When you buy, think about what is best for you and your circumstances, not necessarily trying to play or worry about things from a market perspective. Remember whether the market is going up or down, you will always need a roof over your head, so it’s less about what is happening in the market and more about the cost of putting that roof over your head ie renting vs buying and owning.

Don’t forget if you own a home for 30+ years, the market is likely to go up, down and stay the same, you just need to make sure you protect yourself from a downturn as much as possible.

Not sure how to work out the costs of putting a roof over your head?

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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