Becoming a Commercial Property Landlord

officesWhen thinking of landlords the first thing that comes into most people’s minds is private rented accommodation such as flats or houses. Whilst this market is doing extremely well at the moment there are other types of properties that landlords can invest in, and doing so will not only give you a more well-rounded property portfolio but also give you a deeper knowledge of the rental and property markets. So what do you need to know before becoming a commercial property landlord?

Buying a Commercial Property

Generally, if you are planning on investing in a commercial property it will be based in a town centre or industrial estate nearby. However, there are companies which choose to be based in areas that are more suburban as they feel it is a nicer setting for their employees, so make sure you have a look around and see if you can spot something special you could convert! At this point you will have to think of what type of commercial property you would be happy to let and whether there is demand for it in the area. For example, if you want to let out a shop then it’s a good idea to be near to public transport services, whilst offices need areas with good parking facilities.

Your Responsibilities

Becoming a commercial landlord means that you will have to adhere to regulations such as making sure that the property is safe and well maintained. If you are planning on letting out an office space you will need to check if there are regulations on the building concerning how many people are legally allowed to work in the office before you place it on the market. Most commercial properties will also expect certain things as standard such as facilities that enable them to set up the internet quickly and easily, and the ability to modify and personalise the property so that it is in line with their company’s image.

Damages

It is more likely for damages to occur in commercial properties rather than residential ones due to the fact that so many people will be there for long periods of time during the day. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have commercial property landlord insurance that will help pay to keep the property maintained if there are damages. If you are letting a shop commercial property landlord insurance will also cover damages caused by customers, as well as other situations such as malicious damage caused by passers-by.

Whilst becoming a commercial property landlord may sound difficult at first, remember that many companies are prepared to pay for well-maintained properties. And if you keep the property in good order you could find your tenants wanting to stay there for years on end!

What Dishes to Have on your Motorhome Trip?

Motorhome foodThe benefits of having a motorhome or campervan are that you have the choice of making homemade food away from home, as well as spoiling yourself at a nearby restaurant. This means that if there are quite a few of you on holiday, you can save a bit of money by cooking your own food and spending quality time together around the campsite rather than eating out each day and night.

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Motorhoming in Europe

EU flagEurope is one of the most popular destinations for motorhome owners due to the fact that once you cross the channel you can then drive to any country you like! Furthermore, due to the fact that Europe is so large and made up of so many different countries there are multiple experiences to be had and endless opportunities for a fun day out. But what do you need to know about Europe before you go?

Busy Seasons

Every country in Europe has their own busy period so you need to do some research first before you go! For example, getting to the South East of France during the ski season could be extremely difficult, and if you haven’t booked a caravan site ahead you may find it hard to find somewhere to park your motorhome legally in the evenings. Don’t forget that traffic will probably be a nightmare around this time too, so make sure you have plenty of fuel and your motorhome insurance documents in case you break down!

Currency

Being from England we are all well aware that every country which is part of the European Union doesn’t use the Euro as currency, which means that you need to check the currency of each country you are planning on visiting before you go. For example, if you are planning on going to Denmark you will need to exchange your money for Krone, however keep in mind you will probably want to take some Euros with you as well for when you are travelling through different countries along the way! It may also be a good idea to invest in a debit card that doesn’t charge if you take money out abroad, that way no matter where you end up you know you are covered!

Laws and Culture

Even though Europe is just across the channel from us the laws and culture in many countries may surprise you. There are some that are obvious, like driving on the right hand side of the road and reading speed signs in kilometres instead of miles per hour, but others may be more elusive. Some countries require more paperwork than others to visit, so you need to make sure all of this is done before you get to the border! You should also make sure that everywhere you plan to visit is covered on your motorhome insurance, as even if you have European cover you may find there are some which are excluded!

One of the great things about Europe is that as it is so close you will probably find areas you love that you will visit again and again. Just make sure that you plan ahead and learn everything you need to know about the country before you go!

How the Budget will affect Landlords

pennyOn Wednesday we discussed how this year’s Budget would affect those in the restaurant trade, and today we are looking into how it will change the private rented accommodation sector in the next twelve months. Housing was one of the most important topics for the Budget this year as not only is there a massive shortage of housing across the UK but also an increase in the amount of people now renting properties as they cannot afford to get onto the property ladder. Here we explain some of the key points of the Budget that will affect landlords the most:

Construction

Lack of housing throughout the UK has led to the government making some rather unpopular decisions recently, such as introducing the ‘bedroom tax’ which will lead to anyone living in a property that has a ‘spare room’ having their housing benefits cut. At the same time as trying to use what property is currently available to the best of its ability, the government is also investing heavily in the construction sector, however they have stated that they are not planning on borrowing more money for projects as this could adversely affect markets.

Mortgages

As well as investing in housing construction, the government have also launched a new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme that will give 20 per cent loans to anyone that manages to save a 5 per cent deposit for a new property. The aim of the scheme is to help first and second-step buyers and improve the overall market; however there have already been criticisms from members of the housing industry. Many have argued that previous schemes of this type have not worked, and that the government should invest more in the private rented sector as at this point in time it is providing more accommodation for people across the UK than privately owned houses.

Banks

Even though the government is against borrowing more money for housing projects, George Osborne is planning on incentivising banks to lend more money to those in the housing sectors. This is good news for landlords as it means it may become easier to gain funds for buy-to-let properties and expand their portfolios. This also means that landlords may be able to remortgage their properties more easily in the future, which will help with their overall business. Landlord insurance providers will also be happy to hear that landlords will have more access to funds as it means there will be less chance of them defaulting on their payments.

 

Budget News for Restaurant Owners

cashToday the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced his annual budget, and as per usual there are changes concerning taxes and government spending. As a restaurant owner you may not think that most of this will affect you, but there are actually many changes that will have an impact on the overall income of your business. Here we look at some of the changes in the Budget that will affect restaurant owners:

The Price of Beer

When most people go out for dinner they like to enjoy a drink with their meal, however the recent increase in alcohol costs put in place by the government has led to many pubs and restaurants struggling to attract customers. In order to combat this George Osborne has announced that the price of beer will be cut by a penny per pint, however this cost will be covered by an increase in the cost of wine and spirits. This is important for restaurant owners to consider when ordering stock, as it means that they will have to consider the change in prices when it comes to deciding what to order and how much it will cost.

Income Tax

One of the most important pieces of information that the Budget revealed today is that the UK deficit has not decreased by the amount George Osborne originally projected, meaning that the government will have to make more cuts and for a longer amount of time. However, it seems that income tax will not be affected; in fact in 2014 the tax free allowance will actually increase to £10,000, so that on average each person will have £700 more each year. You will need to keep an eye on these changes when it comes to paying your staff or filling out your tax forms each year, although help will be at hand through the HMRC website.

Cost of Living

It is well known that during times of financial difficulty most people have to give up certain luxuries like visiting restaurants which is bad for the industry. However, as one of the main aims of this years’ Budget is to reduce the cost of living for a large proportion of the UK those that work in the restaurant and leisure industries may start seeing an increase in customers. This is good news for restaurant owners who may start to see even more income each year that will also help towards the cost of running their restaurant, restaurant insurance payments and expanding as a company.

The Importance of Restaurant Insurance

cafeIf you own a restaurant you will know that you are typically rushed off your feet, and because of this no matter how careful you are accidents can happen. There are also occasions where damages occur through no fault of your own, which is why investing in restaurant insurance is so important. So how does restaurant insurance protect you and your business?

Everyday Risks

Kitchens are known to be dangerous areas where a myriad of things can go wrong. The most obvious danger in a kitchen is fire, which can often spread quickly and cause thousands of pounds of damage in a matter of minutes. However, there are also dangers that you probably haven’t even thought about, such as electrical wirings that can become worn down over time and can also cause a fire to start. As you never know what could happen, investing in more than the legally required amount of smoke and fire alarms is a wise decision; just don’t forget to test them all every month!

Outside Influences

Unfortunately, most restaurant kitchens contain equipment that is expensive and therefore is often targeted by thieves. Furthermore, even if you have an alarm system fitted, this doesn’t always deter vandals who may also damage your restaurant whilst it is closed for the evening. There is also the problem of bad weather that can damage your drains and ultimately force you to close until they are fixed, which is why having a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy can not only save you money but also get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.

Human Error

What would you do if a member of staff forgot to put a ‘wet floor’ sign down whilst cleaning and a customer tripped and injured themselves? Well firstly, you would apologise, but unfortunately this is usually not the end of the matter as the customer could sue you for compensation. Restaurant insurance covers you for public liability, meaning that if you need to go to court or pay compensation you won’t have to cover the potentially expensive costs on your own.

When owning a restaurant it sometimes seems that anything could go wrong at any minute, which is why restaurant insurance is so important, as it not only protects your business but also gives you peace of mind!