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Blog Articles

There is a first time for everything…

Research now shows that most people will live in a rented property at some point in their lives, but what if it is your first time? Whether you are moving to a new area, starting University or perhaps downsizing, it is well worth putting some thought into a plan to ensure that the process runs smoothly. Your main duties as a tenant are to pay rent and bills on time and to look after the property, keeping it clean and maintained and to report any issues to the landlord. Always being mindful of neighbours is not only courteous, but can avoid any problems being reported. If there are any issues in terms of not meeting your responsibilities and you can find yourself in breach of contract and potentially at risk of losing your home. But if money makes the world go around, let’s consider what you need in terms of cash and affordability is key. So, let’s start out with your budget. It is essential to work out how much rent you can afford to pay and stick to it. This should be based largely on your income and outgoing commitments. Keep in mind however that your outgoing commitments will increase as you move into a new home so it is important to consider what you will pay in terms of utilities (water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet), contents insurance and council tax – after you have moved into your new home Most people use lettings agents rather than rent directly from property owners. At the outset, there is a number of outgoings to also consider including administrative fees and charges for references and credit checks from your letting agent. You will also require your first month’s rent and a deposit that is returned at the end of the tenancy providing that there all rent is up to date and that the property is not damaged. Here at C&D Properties, we pride ourselves on open and honest communication and will always have an open and honest discussion about affordability and our fees with prospective tenants upfront. We are proud of our reviews and track record. To chat to a property specialist today, call 0151 236 6611 or contact us here.
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16th August 2017
Posted by Ian Murray

Let's go outside!

School’s out, the sun is in and out; it must be summertime here in Liverpool. But what does that mean in our industry? It can be a strange time if you are thinking of, or already selling your property as the market can cool off during the months of July and August. It is not all bad though, our experience shows that lighter nights, longer days and school and work holidays can mean that there are more buyers about with time (and hopefully money) on their hands, In general, people’s attention tends to shift towards the outdoor life during the warm months and their priorities when looking to buy a home or investment property can change. So, what can you do to help things along? Green fingers or not, it is time to get the garden and outside areas in order. Freshly cut grass, a well-kept garden and strategically placed garden furniture can make all the difference. You want people to think “I want to live here” so it is time to get creative. Don’t overlook faulty fence panels, shabby sheds or gates, so pay attention to small details with small spruce ups and get rid of all smelly rubbish. It goes without saying that there is more light in the summer, so along with more opportunities to complete your list of jobs – it is time to let it in your home, stash your heavy winter curtains away and replace dark cushions with summer- coloured accessories. On the inside -minimialist, de-cluttered areas can all create a Mediterranean atmosphere and musty smells are no-no so fill the place with natural smells such as fresh flowers. And don’t forget – the sun can show you up so make sure your windows are cleaned, dust is cleared away and mirrors are smear-checked. There is always the off chance that things can get hot and sticky so be sure to keep all areas cool. Throw open curtains, blinds windows and patio doors - and welcome in all of those prospective buyers with an offer of a cool drink or even an ice lolly.
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16th August 2017
Posted by Daragh McDonald

The Weakest Link

Around three in 10 (28%) people have experienced a property purchase falling through, according to a 2016 Which? survey of 2,000 home-movers. ‘In a chain’ – the very words can strike fear into the heart of anyone who is involved in buying or selling a property.   To put it simply, a chain describes the situation where buyers and sellers are linked together because they are each buying or selling a property. When buying or selling a property, each party may have an estate agent, solicitor, surveyors and mortgage providers involved so it is easy to see where delays can occur. Long chains can build up when participants aren’t in a position to proceed due to hold ups in their process.   Many savvy sellers now actively take steps to avoid getting involved in a chain. Sellers sometimes choose first-time or cash buyers or offer to move into short-term property such as staying with friends and family or a rental to prevent buyers from withdrawing from the process.   When it comes to buying, avoiding a chain can also be made possible by looking for a short upward chain by buying new build homes or properties, where the previous property owners have perhaps separated, died or have owned the property as a buy to let, which removes the chain aspect. However, chains are often a natural part of the process, and it does not necessarily have to equal a long process. Here at C&D Properties, we are particularly proud of our selling process and the steps we employ to keep the process moving forward as swiftly as possible.   There are also a number of things you can do to help things along. Contacting all parties regularly and ensuring that you are not holding up the process at your end in any way, can help to ensure that things run smoothly. Don’t overlook any details and make sure that all documents you send are delivered by hand or by using recorded delivery. The misplacement or loss of a document can add two weeks to the process. Keep everything where it can be found and names and numbers to hand. So now is time to start an organised file with copies of key documents, notes on phone conversations and contact details. Finances that are in top shape can also be a great fast forward, so make sure that everything is in order from the start, including your deposit and mortgage arrangements. Finally, clauses in your buying and selling contracts detailing the dates of exchange, survey and completion can help to formalise and hurry things along, so consider these carefully at the start to manage the expectations of all parties.   Whether you are looking to break the chain or help it along, with years of experience and a network of trustworthy and reliable partners, C&D are on hand to help with residential, commercial or buy-to-let properties. Contact us here.
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25th May 2017
Posted by Ian Murray

A Decade of Deposits

  Change is inevitable and time flies; we all know the sayings, but the ten years since the Government introduced the compulsory deposit scheme has whizzed by. A quick look back in our office this week, to the pre-scheme days, saw us exchanging tales of times when the handling of deposits was often unfair and could easily descend into chaos.   Since then, we all agreed that the legislation has helped to raise standards, increase transparency and provide confidence for both parties. But what’s it all about? Tenants pay deposits at the beginning of a tenancy, with the amount usually equivalent to one month’s rent, to specifically cover any damages, cleaning and unpaid bills at the end of the tenancy.   The change in the law in 2007 means that, for all shorthold tenancy agreements, landlords are requires to safeguard the deposits in one of three government-backed deposit protection schemes: Deposit Protection Service (www.depositprotection.com), MyDeposits (www.mydeposits.co.uk) and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (www.tenancydepositscheme.com). The deposit schemes also offer a free Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) service when landlords or tenants cannot agree on matters of what should be deducted.   Here at C&D Properties we act on behalf of landlords and tenants to make sure that deposits are placed in Government-backed schemes. Although, disputes can and do still arise, our experience and comprehensive approach to property management can help to minimise the chances of this. Often it is the matter of fair wear and tear that can result in differences of opinion. Our professional inventory service and check-in and check-out processes, combined with regular visits can ensure that the state of the property is clearly recorded. Here’s to the next decade. For more information on our services, click here.                                 
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25th May 2017
Posted by Ian Murray

Tenant Turnover

With demand for rental properties still outstripping supply, C & D Properties are matching new tenants to properties daily and our office here in the centre of Liverpool. However, our experience mirrors national research that shows that for a landlord -high tenant turnover can be one of the most stressful elements of letting out a property or properties. Along with voids during the changeover, checkouts and inventories, turnover can make a dent in cash flow.   There is a number of things that can reduce tenant turnover including a matter that has been in the news this week. Following research from Plentific that over 73% of tenants have improved and personalised their properties, the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AICC) urged landlords to help tenants to do this as much as possible.   The current market conditions are making it slightly more challenging to buy properties and this is leading to more and more long-term tenants. It goes without saying then, that tenants who remain in properties for longer will want to add their own touches. Furthermore, if it feels like a family home where they are settled, it will benefit you as the landlord as you will be far less likely to leave.   So how can that this be managed? The leave it as you found it mindset goes hand-in-hand with renting properties but if the changes are reasonable, communication can be key and asking your tenants to keep you informed can go a long way. Documenting the agreed improvements and ongoing updates to inventory schedules can avoid any future rental disputes. A fresh lick of paint, shelves and even blinds can all go a long way to ensuring that tenants feel really at home and can mean a well-maintained property at the end of the contract. For more information on our managed service, contact us here.
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4th April 2017
Posted by Ian Murray

Sitting on the fence...

The C&D Properties Maintenance Team has been busy over the past few weeks. With gusts of wind over 94mph, Storm Doris came one Thursday in February and took us all by surprise. Along with missing tiles and loose gutters, many of our Managed properties became victims of fallen and broken fences by the time she had blown herself out.   Any outside space such as a gardens, yards or courtyards can be protected by fencing, keeping out any trespassers or criminals. They are also great for offering privacy and can add aesthetic appeal to a property. As a property feature, fencing is fairly cost effective and easy to maintain but we are often asked - if it is broken or blown down, whose responsibility, is it? It is not always clear cut, but knowing a few points can help to prevent it turning into an ugly dispute that has been known to cost up to £100,000 in court fees.   Checking the property deeds should always be the first port of call as it may provide quick answers. Land and property is registered with HM Land registry and these reveal the true information on boundaries. Some information is available on the website and hard copies can also be obtained for a small fee.   The plans may show a number of markings and where a 'T' is shown on the inside of a boundary line of the plans - this shows ownership and that the responsibility to maintain it is yours. If you spot another T on the boundary - can also look like a H when there are two Ts together- this shows a boundary to the party/wall and means that both neighbours have joint responsibility for the maintenance.   However, in many cases the deeds will not include any information and in this case the law says that for fences with posts or struts on one side, that the owner is responsible for the fence. One more thing that can cause issues in our experience is if a fence is altered or replaced over time. To help overcome any problems, many people choose to photograph boundaries as they move into a property with a record in case neighbours make changes    Above all, our advice would be that it is essential to keep talking if you need to maintain, change, or put up a new fence. As with many things, communication is the best policy here and if you or your tenants have a good relationship with the neighbours, this can often be completely sorted with a simple chat, and where better than for this to take place - than across the fence.
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4th April 2017
Posted by Ian Murray

Are there any applications in already?

As demand for rental properties continues to increase…are there any applications in already…are the words we hear most often from prospective tenants when showing them around a property. They have seen something they like-so why wait? But what if somebody got there before them? Competition is a good sign for landlords but what happens when two (or even more) tenants apply for a property at the same time.  Although it may seem like a good problem for any landlord to have it also presents a conundrum for many. Luckily working with a reputable letting agent such as C & D Properties means that we can deal with the issue on your behalf and make sure that you don’t have to revert to drawing straws or rolling dice. It is illegal to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, so it is essential to follow a transparent process but first isn’t necessarily best, and the wrong decision can prove to be very costly. In these situations, we leave no stone unturned to ensure that we make a fair and decision that protects you and your property as much as possible. Firstly, rental history, references, credit checks and financial security are the predominant factors and we adopt a forensic approach that would put Poirot to shame. An available moving in date is the next clear issue on the list and can be the deciding factor if time is of the essence. Finally, even though C&D Properties is leading the industry with digital technologies and communications, nothing can replace face-to-face meetings. We always meet all prospective tenants to find out their current situation and why they are moving. This helps to underpin our research and find a tenant who pays on time, cares for your property and remains in the rental for a long time. To discuss our Fully-Managed or Tenant-Find service, contact us today.
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7th December 2016
Posted by Alice Rimmer

Maintenance, motivation and millions…

The news that Buckingham Palace is set to be refurbished to the tune of £390 million pound has certainly had people talking. The news that the Queen and rest of the Royal Family will remain at their luxury residence while the work is taking place shows how well the project will be planned to minimise disruption. At times, landlords and tenants ask us how often maintenance should take place and whose responsibility it is to pay for the work. An interesting question and one that there is not necessarily a straightforward answer to.  Many landlords choose to carry our refurbishments when trying to find new tenants or during change-over periods, but what about when long-term tenants occupy your property? Recent changes from the Government mean that the pressure is on for landlords and if a property is already attracting rent, it can be hard to find the motivation or the cash to spruce the place up, particularly if it is not essential repairs.  However, just like with the palace, maintaining a property gradually can save time and money as the place will inevitably and gradually become dated, scuffed and damaged. There are some tax benefits as maintenance costs are classified as expenditure, unless they are capital improvements so it is always worth checking the HMRC guidelines as this can be a complex area. Although it does not necessarily need to be fit for the Queen, most importantly small touches can help to keep your tenants happy and provide a clear renewal incentive, making them much more likely to stay. It will also keep the rental value good when you re-let if they should decide to leave. Like most issues in property management, it does of course depend on the individual situation and circumstances. However, adding a provision on your budget for maintenance, even when long-term tenants are in place, can provide a clear advantage in the long-run. To discuss your property with a lettings expert contact us today.
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7th December 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

Around the world in 108 days.

The news from a recent Post Offices Mortgage survey announcing that it takes up to 108 days to sell a property in Liverpool got us talking in the office. We are not about to give you a lesson in economics; now is not the time, but property sales come down to supply and demand – easy enough, right? Asking prices, the condition of the property, locations, local schools, the number of bedrooms on offer all play a part also, but if it is taking twice as long to sell in our city than some other UK cities, how can we make your property stand out from the rest? Before we turn our attention to marketing your property, we invest time and energy to understand the property you want to sell and your circumstances. Whether it is the much-loved family nest where you raised your children or a key asset in your property portfolio, it is a one-off, and we will craft a sales plan and powerful marketing package that starts with you. Unrivalled attention to detail, expert market knowledge and honest and transparent services – it’s who we are. More than 90% of property searches begin online so first things first, we add your comprehensive property listings to our mobile friendly industry-leading website. Using expert photography and creative copy writing, a listing on some of the most popular property portals, including Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla will also boost your ranking and chances of a quicker sale. And with 1.44 billion people on Facebook worldwide, we take full advantage of this channel and other social media outlets such as Twitter to target potential buyers with expert precision. Let’s be honest, you never know who might be watching. Despite all these tactics, at times it can’t replace face-to-face and good old network marketing. A bright and friendly For Sale board is part of the deal; it should go without saying. Our busy office in Liverpool City Centre, passing custom and prominent window displays also shout about your property, links with other agencies within and outside the area, and a database of contacts allows us to scour a captive audience of prospective buyers and investors. What’s more, if you are unable to show people around, we will conduct expert viewings on your behalf. Just drop off the keys, they will be safe as houses. Predicting the future may be difficult, but our office discussion concluded with a consensus; selling your property with us means that you can be confident that we are reaching out to as many buyers as possible. Contact us today and let us guide you through the process.
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28th October 2016
Posted by Daragh McDonald

Boo! Why are we so scared of bold colours?

With Halloween just around the corner and the recent clown craze fresh in our memory, there’s enough reasons to be spooked at the moment. But when it comes to letting and selling a property, we have all now become well accustomed to painting properties a magnolia colour to attract the widest interest and attention. So why are we, and why should we be scared of bolder colours? So, when all it is, is a variety of cream shades, how has magnolia become the mainstay chameleon colour for developers, and the top seller in DIY shops everywhere? Most of us would agree with the theories behind the psychology on the colour and the feelings that it is said to bring about. Space, a feeling of cleanliness, calm and light are among some of the main benefits along with the fact that it can introduce some warmth, where white can feel cold and harsh. Blue and black or white and gold, we all remember the viral dress meme from February 2015 that divided the nation and beyond. However, it raised the key issue of perception, and in the land of property, one person’s ‘dream feature wall’ can be nothing short of a repellent for the next person so if you are buying or letting out, here is not the time to impose your tastes on others. Our friend magnolia allows prospective tenants and buyers to be able to enter a property and easily visualise how they will personalise the space and ultimately make it their home. It sounds cliché, but it does offer a blank canvas, and with more than 95% of property searches beginning online, you do not want to put prospects off at first sight. When it comes to discolouration, magnolia also holds its own against white, but can still have a relatively short life span. Tenants don’t and won’t care about the property as much as you, so walls can quickly become scuffed and marked with greasy finger marks. However, (and I am speaking from direct experience), anybody who has patched up wallpaper or painted walls following the departure of a tenant or previous owner with a penchant for black silk and pillar box red, will fully appreciate that it is much cheaper and easier to repaint magnolia walls more often with one quick and easy coat. It’s low maintenance all the way. If you are a landlord or thinking of selling your property, we offer a helping hand with a range of property services. Our experienced team offers a tenant-find and fully managed service for rental properties and affordable options for selling your properties. Talk to us today!
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28th October 2016
Posted by Nicole Lea

Rent it or sell it?

We’ve all heard the saying; the only thing that is constant is in this world is change… and it is no different when it comes to property. Perhaps it is time for a bigger place or there has been a change in your family circumstances; when life throws changes at us, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Sell it and move on, or choose to become a landlord? Whatever your situation, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether to rent or sell your property. The current market conditions will undoubtedly influence your decision to a great extent. Depending on how long you intend to keep the property, you should assess whether prices are rising or falling and whether your plans could withstand potential short-term dips in value. If you are thinking about selling, it is wise o arm yourself with some knowledge on how well, and how quickly properties are shifting in the area. Alternatively, have a look at how likely the property would be to rent if you select that option. A scan of the local market should reveal local levels of demand and occupancy, and what levels of rent you may expect to attract from potential tenants. The next thing that you must consider of course is your current financial situation, age and plans for the future. Have a close look at your lifestyle, dependents and outgoings to assess what you need for living expenses. A second property can provide a valuable source of income but you will also need to make sure that you can sustain and finance two properties. Depending on the terms of your mortgage you may also need to change your current agreement to a buy-to-let product and this brings implications for having two mortgages depending on where you plan to live. Do remember, if you decide to sell the property, you may pay capital gains tax on the amount you have made if the property has gone up in value. Buy to let is also a different ballgame when it comes to tax; becoming a landlord brings a number of HMRC requirements. The Chancellor has dealt a number of blows to the sector recently, and it is essential to keep up to date with the changes. Any rental income is added to your other income so must be declared on your Self Assessment tax return. That said, some expenses can also be offsett against your rental income and it is here that advice from professionals can also be invaluable. If you are leaning towards becoming a landlord, how are you for spare time? Got much on your hands? Property management can be time-consuming and depending on your other commitments, this needs to be taken into consideration. You may need to be on –hand if there are problems and depending on the distance that you live from the property, using a property management agency can be a very sensible option to deal with any issues on your behalf. Along with these implications we have discussed for your income and taxation, it is essential to have a reserve of cash to see you through those maintenance requirements and inevitable repair jobs that will arise. Expect the unexpected and remember to factor in the cost of that all important landlords insurance and property management costs who will usually offer a choice of a finders-only or fully managed service. It may seem that there is a lot to think about, and it is fairly easy to see that there is no right or wrong answer. However, taking the time to gather this information can make your position clearer. A reputable property management agency can help. It is also always a good idea to consult an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA), Mortgage Advisor (if you need another agreement) and an accountant if you run your own business.
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17th August 2016
Posted by Jessica Bird

It’s British summertime; time to take cover.

If our topsy-turvy British summer weather and the 2016 Olympics in Rio are not keeping you busy enough; the quieter summer months can be the ideal time to review your property insurance policies. Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or landlord, you may be so busy going about your life and business that you don’t leave enough time to arrange the right level of insurance. Home Insurance may seem like a straightforward arrangement that can be sorted with several mouse clicks, but there are a number of different options on offer based on your circumstances. It can be all too easy to get bamboozled by an enthusiastic salesperson or tempted by the offer of a free cuddly meerkat, and end up with the wrong or overlapping policies. Let’s start by looking at the main types of products on the market; a buildings policy covers the building and permanent fixtures. If you are renting, your landlord is responsible for arranging this cover. If you own or are buying the property, most mortgage lenders insist on a buildings insurance policy as a minimum to ensure that the property can be repaired or rebuilt. Homeowners in some areas of the country may also now be required to secure additional cover for flood or earthquakes depending on the level of risk. The level of building cover you need depends on the cost that it would be to rebuild your home rather than the market-value and it is therefore, essential to increase this value if you extend the home after moving in. These figures should be as accurate as possible so the Association of Building Insurers provides a useful calculator for calculating the costs of rebuilding.  Next, let’s look at the contents insurance; a cover you will need if you are a homeowner or a tenant. A recent survey by Sainsbury’s suggested that the average costs of replacing the value of the items inside a British home currently stands at £55,000 and this is often underestimated, leaving many people seriously at the risk of being underinsured in the event of a claim. It is a good idea to go throughout your entire home to calculate the value of your possessions correctly. What’s more, if you have any items of high value, do check the small print of your insurance policy to find out if they are covered or need to be added as extras. These often include bikes, laptops, phones, jewellery, heirlooms or antiques. If you currently rent out a property you will need a specific type of insurance for the properties. Here, a policy designed for landlords is your very best bet as a standard policy is unlikely to be sufficient. In addition to buildings and contents, you may also need to cover damage to your property by tenants, loss of earnings/rental income and liability for potential accidents. Over and above your basic policy, some insurers also offer a number of additional cover options, including accidental damage, temporary accommodation, appliances and legal cover so do assess your individual circumstances to understand what bolt-ons may be needed. It’s easy to see that there is no one-size-fits-all but it is important to remember that if things go wrong, costs can easily rise so it makes sense not to skimp on protection. Shop around to find cover that is adequate for your circumstances and fits your budget.
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17th August 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

Plug into property management expertise

In an ideal world, renting out your property would come trouble-free, with no repairs or general upkeep to worry about, and for your tenants, the ideal runs along the same lines. The reality, of course, is that fixtures and fittings, furnishings and appliances have a shelf life, and the need for minor repairs during the time you rent out your property is inevitable. Landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties to a decent living standard for their tenants, and while there will always be varying opinions on the seriousness of a stained carpet or a broken door handle, there can be no doubt that both landlord and tenant benefit from repairs to these kinds of problems. Problems can arise, which can cause a headache for the renter; living with a stuck lock or a constantly dripping tap can quickly move from a minor irritant to something which the tenant feels is a real concern. Stepping in before the issue hits this point is always a good idea for any smart landlord. It can help to prevent minor faults becoming major problems, and can ensure a smooth relationship with your tenants. If a tenant receives a speedy response when reporting something in need of minor repair, they will feel confident that anything major would also be dealt with efficiently. Fixing and maintaining as you go along, and carrying out thorough assessments in between tenancies, will also keep your property in sound condition for a long renting future. Keeping a structurally sound building, maintaining piping and drains, and keeping common areas such as hallways and staircases in good condition is also the responsibility of the landlord. Together with these requirements comes making sure that plumbing and heating are running safely. Repairs to these areas can rarely be put off; assessing the severity of the fault is always advisable in the first instance and will offer some peace of mind to your tenant. As a landlord, there is a lot to consider, and numerous legal requirements and safety obligations to meet. The law is clear on areas such as fire and gas safety regulations and when it comes to electrical safety, failing to act on your obligations as a landlord can expose you to significant financial risks and could potentially lead to fines being imposed and invalidate your insurance. When considering the electrical installation in a rented property, the requirements can seem somewhat mind-boggling, especially for first-time or “accidental” landlords. The following points may be helpful to note: Make sure your property has adequate RCD protection Check that all appliances you provide, such as kettles, cookers, etc, have at minimum the CE marking (the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law) Use a registered electrician for any work on your property Carry out regular safety checks on the electrical appliances provided as part of the rental agreement   For further information on requirements for landlords when renting out a property, contact C&D Properties.
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7th June 2016
Posted by Daragh McDonald

A landlord’s guide to inventories.

When you become a landlord, the Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme provides a level of protection for you and your property in the event of damage to your property. However, when it comes to the finer details, a full inventory (sometimes known as a schedule of condition) can also be a massive advantage. Although it is not a formal or legal requirement, an inventory demonstrates best practice when letting a property and can aid negotiations over the amount of deposit to be returned at the end of the tenancy to avoid lengthy disputes and protect all parties. As well as the fixtures and fittings, an inventory should list everything at the property in order to identify anything that is damaged or goes missing at a later date. A common misconception is that it is only furnished properties that require an inventory. Although it goes without saying that any furniture and appliances should be included, everything in the property from sockets to switches, carpets, curtains, blinds and even walls should be included. Details on the current decorating conditions, colours and the state of the garden should also be included. For a small investment, a full record with photographic evidence that is signed and agreed by the landlord and tenant at the state of the tenancy can support any claims you may have in the future. Where photos may not offer enough detail, video evidence can also be useful, drawing attention quickly and easily to any relevant issue. In the event of needing to make a claim, it is important to keep receipts for any repairs carried out or replacement items purchased. These documents, along with any quotes or estimates for work which may need to follow, should be fully itemised for complete accuracy. Disputes commonly arise from deductions made in relation to cleaning charges, with tenants claiming a lack of clarity at the start of a residency regarding the expected cleanliness of their property upon leaving. Landlords can seek to avoid this by recording the cleanliness of a property in as much detail as possible on the inventory, and by taking into account that they should allow for fair wear and tear during the tenancy period. It is possible to create your own inventory; however, one of the benefits of using a reputable agency is the opportunity to draw on the experience and professionalism of property experts. This also means you have the advantage of having adjudicators who will look impartially at any disputes and ensure a fair outcome. For an informal discussion on inventories for tenant check-in, mid-term inspections or check outs, contact us today. 
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7th June 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

Do only fools rush in?

Are you off out this weekend? If so approximately how long will it take you to decide what to wear? According to research, us Brits ponder for 17 hours on what to wear for a night out, yet one in ten make a snap decision to buy a property in under two minutes. Choosing a house can be daunting, but our experience has shown that many people base their decisions on intuition. During property viewings, we witness many people either mentally moving into the home or dismissing it out of hand. So, with such a lot at stake, should such an important decision be so speedy or is there a risk of snoozing and losing? Of course, to an extent it depends on the state of the market and the individual property but there is nothing like the unsettling feeling that you may either miss out on something, combined with fear of rushing in. Usually, this is precisely where that good old saying about fools inevitably rushes into your head. So with all this swirling around your head, how do you make a sensible and well-thought out decision? From the neighbourhood and location, to the house itself and of course the cost, there are many factors that come into play. First up, is the style and quality of the property. Here, it is useful to decide if you are willing to consider old or new properties, or perhaps both. Some older houses can cost more in terms of maintenance and heating bills but offer benefits in the amount of character and space. It is useful at this point to consider the practical considerations amount of decorating or improvement you are capable of making. That being the case, it is always a good idea to have a second viewing and come prepared to look in more detail at décor, room sizes and any obvious structural problems before consulting with a professional surveyor For some people, the location will be the deciding factor. From schools to the neighbourhood to nearby amenities, if you have your heart set upon an area, it may mean that you need to alter your choices. A recent survey of 1,990 home movers in 2015, found that over two-thirds of homebuyers had made some kind of compromise when choosing their property - and yet 89% were satisfied with those compromises. And last but not least; from a financial point of view, affordability is the key. From the deposit to any repairs that may be required, we always recommend that you consult with an independent mortgage adviser to fully understand your finances and help you shop around for the best deal. Although, we may not be the best people to help you choose your outfit for this Saturday night, if you are looking for help on buying a home, look no further than C&D Properties. Contact us here for more information. 
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20th April 2016
Posted by Alice Rimmer

Becoming an accidental landlord.

Perhaps you have recently moved in with a partner, found a new job, started or expanded your family? Or maybe you have inherited property or need to move for your job. Whatever your circumstances, If you can’t or don’t want to sell your property,  the local rental market can offer a number of benefits. Depending on the amount of equity or outstanding mortgage that you have on the property, along with the financial responsibility, it can be uncharted territory. If you have lived in the property, or it is has been a much-loved family home with treasured memories, the idea of strangers living there can be unsettling. A reputable property management company can help, and C&D Properties can work with you on everything from finding tenants to securing your deposit in a Government-backed scheme and drawing up an agreement and thorough inventory so you, and your tenants are clear on your rights and arrangements.When it comes to receiving regular and timely rent, peace of mind that your property is cared for and being up to date with all legislation, a little help can go a long way. As well as your insurance provider, do talk to your mortgage provider to let them know as you may have to alter your current arrangement. When it comes to your finances, tenants may come and go and it is inevitable that repairs and maintenance will be required at some point. That being the case, do make sure that you have some savings and contingency plans in place for when that boiler gives up over Christmas or the next gales blow your fences down.  And finally, how can we forget to mention tax planning? Unless you have been on a desert island, it is impossible to get away from the debate on tax efficiency, and knowledge is certainly power when it comes to working out your tax liabilities as a landlord. All rent you receive will be classed as income by HMRC and will need to be declared on your tax return at the end of the year. Remember, however, that deductions you are entitled to claim include interest charges, letting fees, repairs and energy-efficiency improvements. If you are looking to let your property and want to have an informal chat, contact us today. 
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12th April 2016
Posted by Jessica Bird

Do your tenants have Right to Rent?

At the moment, almost every month seems to bring new legislation for landlords. February saw the introduction of the new Right to Rent scheme that brings a series of obligations to check the immigration status of new tenants. Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 demands that private landlords must not let their properties to those who do not have the right to rent in the UK. After a series of pilots in a number of areas, the law now applies across England to all residential tenancy agreements that began after 1st February 2016. Landlords who are discovered letting to a tenant without the right to rent or who cannot show proof of carrying out the checks, risk facing a penalty of up to £3000. Checks need to be made on the status of any prospective tenants, and other authorised occupiers, to determine whether those parties have the right to occupy the premises before granting a tenancy. A check can be undertaken and recorded up to 28 days before a tenancy agreement comes into effect. Those who are British Citizens, from European Economic Area countries, Swiss nationals and people who have the right of abode in the UK will have unlimited right to rent. Others will have a time-limited Right To Rent, and some will have no Right To Rent. However, it is essential that all checks are carried out fairly and without prejudice or discrimination. The pilot found that the introduction of the checks had led to some landlords only checking non-British citizens and industry commentators warn that these restrictive practices could lead to exclusion and discrimination against members of society who are already vulnerable, including asylum seekers and the homeless. What are the first steps for checking a tenant’s Right To Rent? Check which adults will live at your property as their only or main home. See the original documents that allow the tenant to live in the UK. Check the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant, with the tenant present. For example, check that the photographs look like the tenant, the dates of birth and names are the same on all the documents, and look for obvious signs of damage or change. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check. Retain these records safe for the duration of the tenancy and one year after. If the tenant’s permission to stay in the UK is time limited, the landlord or agent must make follow-up checks on the tenant either just before the expiry date or after 12 months, whichever is longer. The landlord/agent must make a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the Right to Rent. Landlords will not have to evict their tenants if they no longer have the Right To Rent. However, a penalty will apply if: The landlord/agent makes a repeat check and does not contact and make a report to the Home Office saying that a tenant’s stay in the UK has run out. The landlord/agent doesn’t make a repeat check on a tenant who has time- limited permission to stay in the UK.   There are some exemptions from the scheme including: Accommodation arranged by local authorities or relevant NHS bodies in response to a statutory duty Care homes, hospitals and hospices Social housing (including private properties let to social tenants) Hostels and refuges that are managed by social landlords, voluntary organisations or charities Tied accommodation Student accommodation (halls of residence or properties provided for students directly by or nominated by a higher or further educational institution) Long leases (right of occupation term of 7 years or more)   Leave it to us… C&D Properties offers a safe and trusted solution to provide you with the confidence that detailed checks have been completed and retained on your tenant. This is offered as part of your managed service and is also offered as an additional element to our find-only service to provide you with complete peace of mind. For more information, email enquiries@cdproperties.co.uk call 0151 236 6611 or come on in to 63-67 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, L2 2EN.
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3rd March 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

Talking about my generation…

Last month, starting research revealed that almost 60% of Londoners will be renting property within nine years. Research shows that young people will be the ones mostly hit by this trend: only 26% of those currently aged 20-39 will own their house by 2025. With a forecast that the rental market in the UK as a whole will grow by 14,5%, the trend towards renting is expected to expand nation-wide. High prices and low levels of house building combined with house price inflation that is outstripping wages have pushed ownership out of reach for many people. A number of schemes have been introduced by Central Government to help first-time buyers and counter the shortage of affordable housing, including Help to Buy, Help to Buy ISAs and Starter Homes. However, the prediction of rental growth also comes at the same time as the Chancellor’s clamp down on tax reliefs for buy-to-let investors. Experts are warning that this is leading to a crisis of confidence within the industry. A recent survey from The National Landlords Association found that nearly one in five landlords are looking to sell some property in the next 12 months, this represented a rise of 7% from July last year. A mixed bag indeed; It seems that greater rental demand predicted by the figures may come at a price for landlords, yet in turn home-buyers may find more affordable properties available as landlords look to release some of their assets. One thing’s for sure; we'll be watching closely. For advice on buy-to-let investments or buying a home, email enquiries@cdproperties.co.uk, call 0151 236 6611 or come on in to 63-67 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, L2 2EN.
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3rd March 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

The Apprentice- You're hired!

Good for me. Good for my business. Good for you as well actually! Recently, we decided that another member of staff was needed at the throbbing epicentre of that is the C&D Properties HQ. Somebody to take on the seemingly endless amounts of admin and telephone calls involved with letting property, manage our online presence, and also to make sure that the boss gets his regular supply of tea, coffee and Hob Nobs. I was going to recruit through the usual channels - the local press, Job Centre, dragging complete strangers in off the street etc when an e mail dropped into my inbox that caught my eye. It was from The Liverpool Chamber of Commerce; a membership-based business support agency. The email title posed a quick question, “Do you need an apprentice?” I'll be honest; my first reaction was to reach for the delete button and move on to the next email - which, by the way, was from somebody in Latvia, who was clearly under the impression that I suffer from erectile dysfunction (Don't worry readers, all is well!). But something stopped me; I didn't delete it. I opened it. The apprentice email. Not the other one. I deleted that. Obviously. I was pleasantly surprised by what the Chamber of Commerce were offering, and the calibre of young candidates looked very good. I decided that maybe an apprentice could be just what we needed after all, it would give us the chance to teach a new recruit how to do things the right way, the C&D Properties way, before they pick up any bad habits elsewhere. And doesn’t everybody need someone to give them a bit of a start in life? Somebody who will take a chance on them? I know I got one, and you probably did too. I contacted Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and told them we were on-board. I like this next bit. This is the bit where I turn into Alan Sugar. But, I must add, without the neatly trimmed beard and rampant megalomania. Interviews were set up with the young would-be letting agents for later that week and three smartly dressed hopefuls all arrived promptly for their interviews. We all know how daunting interviews can be, but do you know what? Despite some very obvious nervousness and lots of sweaty palms....... I thought I did really well! But, what about the candidates you ask? They did even better. Three very smart, articulate and ambitious youngsters came along and knocked my socks off with their enthusiasm and desire to get a job and do well. They had obviously done their homework on C&D Properties, and all of them knew exactly what I was looking for. Choosing one of them wasn't going to be easy. Lord Sugar would probably have set them all a task at this point, maybe to produce their own unique flavour of ice cream to sell at lunchtime to office workers, a crackpot concoction like avocado & liquorice or Sugar Puffs & Vimto may have gone down really well on Tithebarn Street. Actually, that last one sounds quite nice…* But I didn't do that. Instead, I just chose Jessica, and what a good choice I made. This young lady has come on board and taken to the job like a duck to water, and if she continues to improve at the rate she is currently, then I'll be kicking back on a beach sipping cocktails in Barbados in the not too distant future while she runs the whole show for me. Everybody at C&D Properties describes her as a “real find” and while it is still very early days (don't let all this praise go to your head Jessica); we really do have high hopes that she will be with us for a long time to come. So as you can see, I did a good thing. For me, for the business, for Jessica and yes, for you too! Another young person in employment, contributing to society and delighted to be working. Well done to Liverpool Chamber of Commerce for implementing such a fantastic scheme. Well done C&D Properties for getting involved and reaping the benefits of doing so. But most of all. Well done Jessica - you’re a real find. Now I think your lovely boss deserves a nice cup of coffee! *Note to self - ring Alan Sugar to discuss amazing new ice cream.
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12th February 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

C&D Properties launches new website

Liverpool City-Centre-based C & D Properties has announced the launch of a brand-new website to showcase its expanded property offering. The site provides quick and intuitive access to sales and rental properties as well as a range of resources for tenants, landlords, property investors and home buyers. C&D Properties have been involved in various aspects of property, including management, developments, sales and lettings since 1998. A large office on Tithebarn Street is home to the team and showcases the range of properties on offer. The new site will include a unique design with easy navigation that is available on both desktop and mobile devices. Using full integration with Dezrez Sales & Lettings Software, visitors will be able to search for property listings and latest news and will also have the ability to share properties with others by email and various social media sites. Ian Murray, Managing Director for C&D, enlisted the services of Fire Pineapple web design and digital marketing agency earlier this month after increasingly recognising the need for a modern and streamlined solution that meets the demands of a contemporary property audience without compromising client values. Ian and the team are now confident that the site fully represents everything that C&D Properties stands for. “We have also worked hard to ensure that all clients can find everything they are looking for quickly and easily on our new platform. C&D prides themselves on assisting landlords, buyers and tenants and the website’s content managed system will ensure that the most up-to-date information is available day and night to help everybody be equipped to make the best property decisions.”
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20th January 2016
Posted by Ian Murray

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