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60_07_February_2018online

Oliver Jaques YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERTS TRIED, TESTED AND REGULATED FOR YOUR PEACE OF MIND Michael Petherbridge Stephen Banks Michael Petherbridge MNAEA | Branch Manager Stephen Banks MARLA | Lettings Manager As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to meet a minimum energy performance rating on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). In a bid to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, the minimum energy efficient standard (MEES) for non-domestic buildings, as announced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, will be set to an E epc rating. In short, it means that it will be unlawful to let or lease a residential property with a poor rating. Thought to be the most signifi cant piece of legislation to a ect our existing building stock in a generation, it will force landlords to upgrade the energy e ciency of hundreds of thousands of homes currently rated F and G. And, if they don’t, they will face being unable to let them until they improve the rating. Currently, almost 10% of England and Wales’ 4.2m privately rented homes fall below the E rating meaning that between now and April 2018, there’s work to be done! Furthermore, if a tenant requests a more e cient home and a landlord fails to comply, the landlord could ultimately be forced to pay a penalty notice. Landlords will be able to let out F- and G-rated properties beyond 1 April 2018 for the remainder of existing rental contracts, but will not be able to renew a contract or let the property to someone else until it is brought up to an E rating. Whilst we think that some landlords may consider this new announcement as too much red tape, we’re sure that most will agree that it’s a positive move forward to reducing energy bills of tenants who are on low wages and perhaps paying over the odds for poorer standards of accommodation. How to improve your property energy rating: Just some of the things you could do to improve the EPC rating above E could be: - Make sure any cavity walls are fi lled with insulation materials, such as foam or beads. - Replace an old boiler for a newer, more e cient model. - Ensure the loft insulation is at least 270mm deep to keep heat inside the property. Will you have to review the EPC rating of your property (or properties) ahead of 2018? Conveyancing is the pivotal aspect of buying a new home, so fi nding a good solicitor is crucial. Kick o your search with these 5 top tips. Buying or selling a home is probably the biggest ‘deal’ in your life. So, it’s vital you have a strong team around you to represent your interests. A key part of this is choosing a vetted solicitor that you can rely on. So how do you go about it? 1. Seek personal (and recent) recommendations Good old fashioned word of mouth is one of the most reliable methods of ensuring you get a good service – in any kind of trade. Ask friends and colleagues who have recently bought or sold property if they were happy with their solicitor or (licensed conveyancer) and whether they would recommend their services. The proof, after all, is in the pudding 2. Consider a local fi rm As much of the conveyancing process is now carried out online (or via the traditional post) it’s not imperative that the fi rm you choose is local to your current home. However, if time pressure is on later down the line, it can be reassuring to know you can deliver documents or photo ID for example, by hand. 3. Sound them out fi rst While you might not fully understand the ins and outs of what a solicitor does, remember you are a paying customer and it’s your right to scope out what you can expect in terms of contact, speed and estimated cost. Always telephone the solicitors before making an instruction and ask to speak to whoever will be handling the case. This is also an opportunity to establish a rapport which could prove useful later down the line. 4. Think about the size of the fi rm Especially if it’s during the summer or Christmas holiday season, you might want to consider using a larger fi rm of solicitors. This way, there’ll be more likely to be others that can step in and cover if your solicitor is o – and keep that all-important momentum going. 5. Don’t plump for the cheapest It’s a good idea to get an estimated fi xed cost upfront from your solicitor, don’t be tempted to just head straight for the cheapest. The saying, “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys,” is one that springs to mind. My advice is to choose quality. local. established. recommended. www.o-j.co.uk 020 7231 5050 east london south east london 020 8980 0999


60_07_February_2018online
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