Frequently Asked Questions
What services do we provide?
We provide you with the A_Z of investing in the UK property market. We will find a suitable property to meet your investment requirements, arrange the finance, deal with all the legal aspects, furnish the property, find tenants and manage the property. For all these services you only have to contact us and we will do the rest. We will even advise you on any future development opportunity for your property to increase the capital value.
Do I have to find and deal with different companies and organisations?
No, we will do all the leg work for you and provide you with a one stop service.
Do I have to find tenants and deal with daily calls from them?
No, we will deal with all tenant issues on your behalf within the authority given to us by you, the landlord.
How do I contact you?
You can contact us at: link to contact us page
What do you need from me as investor?
- How much you would like to invest?
- What do you expect from your return? Capital, Income or both?
- Short term or long term investment?
- Are you looking for something with development potential?
- Would you like to create and release equity in the short term?
- Are you buying for yourself or a fund/group?
- Are you a cash buyer or do you require finance?
What return can I expect on my investment?
This depends on various factors e.g. what your investment goals are; short term or long term, capital or income.
We always strive to provide you with the best return on your capital. We can even guarantee your rent for you. See our rental guarantee investment option
Is the process of buying a property in the UK the same as in South Africa?
No there are several differences. There is also a different process between buying property in England and Wales compared to Scotland.
How much do I need?
Our cost calculator will provide you with an estimate of the costs involved. However, each investment is unique. Please contact us for advice on your individual circumstances.
Are you financial advisors?
No we are unable to advise you on different investments and the risks involved in investing in the UK. However, we will be happy to introduce you to a financial advisor in the UK. Please contact us for further details.
What about record keeping?
We will provide you with a quarterly report analysing income and expenses on all your properties managed by us.
What about taxation?
Currently we are not providing you with a tax service, however please contact us and we can put you in touch with local tax consultants.
What about bank accounts?
We can arrange to open a local bank account where all you rent, net of expenses will be paid.
Can you pay the income directly to my bank account in South Africa or anywhere else?
Yes we can, however by law we are required to deduct tax and pay this directly to HM Revenue and Customs in the UK. Further information can be found on the HMRC website. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/nr_landlords.htm#41
Will there be a tenancy agreement?
Yes we will provide you with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement.
Council Tax: Council tax (CT) is a charge raised against dwellings by local authorities
The tax replaced the Community Charge (“poll tax”) with effect from 1 April 1993; transitional reductions were made available in some cases to reduce the impact of a sudden increase in “local taxation”. The amount of council tax normally payable depends on the dwelling itself, and the occupancy. This info sheet outlines the key considerations relating to council tax as it affects the private rented sector (prs). The information relates to properties in England; there are certain differences in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Council Tax bands
All dwellings are placed in a council tax band, depending on their vacant possession value.
What are assured and shorthold tenancies?
These are the names of the most common forms of arrangement for the renting of houses and flats by private tenants. In their current form, they were introduced by the Housing Act 1988 but important changes were made by the Housing Act 1996 with effect from 28 February 1997.
In the legislation, the term “assured tenancy” covers both assured tenancies (sometimes called “full” or “ordinary” assured tenancies) and assured shorthold tenancies.
An assured or shorthold tenancy is the usual form of letting if:
- you are a private tenant and your landlord is a private landlord
- the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989
- the house or flat is let as separate accommodation and is your main home.
For more detail refer to the Housing Act of 1998 or the government leaflet Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies: A guide for tenants
What are the main differences between an assured and a shorthold tenancy?
With a shorthold tenancy, the landlord can regain possession of the property 6 months after the beginning of the tenancy, provided that the landlord gives 2 months notice requiring possession. If you have an assured tenancy, you have the right to remain in the property unless the landlord can prove to the court that he or she has grounds for possession. The landlord does not have an automatic right to repossess the property when the tenancy comes to an end. The landlord can charge a full market rent for an assured or a shorthold tenancy.
What does the following mean: Freehold, Flying Freehold, Leashold & Commonhold
If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the home, the land it is built on, and you will have the right to live there for as long as you please. You can make moderations to the property within legal and planning guidelines. You may need permission to make structural changes, particularly with listed buildings (old buildings). Most houses are sold freehold. Flats can be sold freehold, but very rarely. They are usually leasehold, however flats are increasingly becoming freehold because of legislation that is making it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold.
You may have heard of “flying freehold”, but never really understood the difference between it and a regular freehold. It’s actually just as common as a regular freehold, and is not considered abnormal. However, flying freeholds are a bit of a grey area in the eyes of the law, consequently most lenders will probably not support you financially to buy a property of that type.
A flying freehold is the part of the freehold property which overhangs land which does not form part of that property freehold. The flying part doesn’t need to be up in the air, it can be over a part of someone else’s freehold, or over a common part, like a driveway.
Here is an example of how a flying freehold may occur: a semi detached house was separated into two freeholds. However, the dividing line does not go straight down the middle, and one corner of the bathroom is above a part of the lounge next door. Another example where a flying freehold may occur is if an extending balcony is above someone else’s freehold land.
If you buy a leasehold property you are actually buying the rights to live in a property for a set period of time. You won’t actually own the property, or the grounds it is situated on. Most flats are leasehold. With a lease, it means you are obligated to pay ground rent to the freeholder. The ground rent will cover the costs of communal maintenance repairs. The lease should stipulate how the service charge is worked out, and how it is divided between the other leaseholders. It’s important to calculate all these costs before committing to a leasehold property, as you may not have budgeted for the additional costs.
Once the set period in the lease expires, the ownership of the property is given back to the land owner. Most leases are roughly 99 years, however you can get an extension. If anyone is buying a leasehold property, it is important to find out how long the lease is for as it will affect the value of the property.
Why do people buy leasehold properties? Well, because most flats are leasehold, and it means everyone living within the same building has to split maintenance costs in respect of the common parts of the building and the communal areas.
It is possible to extend the leasehold to up to 999 years, and you can actually purchase the freehold, but at a cost.
Commonhold is a relatively new idea; it was introduced at the end of 2004. Most properties won’t be commonhold, and those that are were built after September 2004. Again, like leasehold, this type of property is usually found with flats and units.
Most strikingly, commonhold eradicates the concept of a lease and having a landlord. That’s what most appeals to buyers, and why it is favoured over leasehold.
Commonhold is pretty self-explanatory. A group of people mutually own, for example, a block of flats. There is no overall landlord, however, there is a freehold owner and that is a company called a commonhold association. The owner of each flat is a member of the association (i.e if you buy a commonhold flat, you will be part of the association). The commonhold association is responsible for maintaining the communal areas of the building.
The advantages of commonhold are as follows: there is no set period of time to when you have to leave- you are one of the freeholders. All decisions regarding the building are made jointly by the property owners. There will be a standardisation of documentation which is the same throughout all commonhold properties- there will be no input from a dodgy landlord. And what appeals to people most is that the property won’t lose value, unlike leasehold properties that lose value as the period of the lease gets closer to its expiry date.
Leaseholders can convert to commonhold, but every leaseholder will have to buy the freehold together, and everyone in the building must agree to convert to commonhold.