Romantic Trips in your Motorhome

heartYesterdays was Valentine’s Day, and whilst we know that the traditional thing to do is go to a restaurant, sometimes we can’t help but feel that if you own a motorhome you should make use of that instead! The best part of owning a motorhome is that it enables you to be spontaneous and also creative, so if you want to treat your loved one to a romantic motorhome trip this weekend here are some ideas:

Spend the Weekend Away

If you really want to surprise your loved one then why not take them on a trip to somewhere you have never been before? There are so many beautiful cities, seaside resorts and nature reserves in England that you truly are spoilt for choice. Or you could do something even more extravagant and head over to Europe for the weekend – Paris is the city of love after all! Just make sure that your motorhome insurance covers you for long-haul trips before you go, and make sure you do a bit of sneaky packing the night before!

Spend the Weekend… at Home?!

Some of you may love the idea of a spontaneous trip away but unfortunately it may not be practical or feasible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your motorhome! Why not arrange a night in together but stay in your motorhome instead of your house. To make things special why not add some fairy lights to the outside of your vehicle, plan to cook a meal and then sit out under the stars under some blankets with a nice warm hot chocolate (or even a glass of bubbly if you fancy splashing out). It may sound silly but it will be something completely original and definitely a night to remember.

Hire out Something Special

Even if you own a motorhome that doesn’t mean that you can’t hire something different for the weekend. There’s so many companies across the UK that offer vintage motorhomes and campervans for hire, and true enthusiasts will love going on a journey in a new model. Furthermore, you can organise with your friends to hire a motorhome too and organise a double motorhome date together!

Valentine’s Day can really be something special if you try and think of something original and fun, and using your motorhome is the perfect way to achieve this. We hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Keeping yourself warm in your Motorhome

motorhome covered in snowLast week the sunshine came out and there was a glimmer of hope that winter was finally coming to an end. However, we got excited a bit too soon as the cold weather has now returned along with snow in the north of the UK. We know that many motorhome owners will be disappointed that the weather still hasn’t improved, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourselves in your motorhome! You just need to make sure you stay warm, and here’s how:

Check your Heating Appliances

If you have chosen to stay in your house throughout the winter months then the first thing you need to do is check your heating appliances in your motorhome. Chances are they could have deteriorated in the winter months, so make sure you double check before you head off on your journey, otherwise you could find out too late. If you are concerned about your heating appliances the best thing to do is call your motorhome insurance provider and make a claim so it can be fixed by a professional quickly and easily.

Keep yourself Warm inside

When the weather is cold there is nothing better than treating yourself to some hot food and drinks to warm you from the inside out. Soup is one of the most popular choices for a cold day, and if you bring the tinned variety you don’t have to worry that it will go off whilst you are away. Even though it’s a great idea to keep some tinned soup in stock, why not be a bit creative and try making your own? Also, don’t forget to bring lots of tea bags and hot chocolate to warm you up in the evenings!

Pack appropriate Clothing

Most people will know to bring a coat when the weather is cold, but many don’t think about things such as appropriate footwear. If it starts snowing you will need boots or shoes that provide grip for when you are outside, however these are usually not suitable for driving in, so make sure you pack multiple pairs to help you throughout your journey. Similarly, if you want to wear gloves when you are driving then make sure they are made of a material that lets you grip the steering wheel; usually leather is a good choice.

Even though the weather isn’t great it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy going out in your motorhome. Just make sure you plan ahead, pack sensibly and at all times stay warm!

Allowing Pets in your Property

cat asleep on sofaSome landlords are extremely strict when it comes to pets, and many refuse straight away for any tenants to keep pets in their properties. However, if you are planning on letting out to a family, or are planning on investing in a long-term tenancy then you may have to relax the rules a little – after all your tenants want to feel like the property is their home. So here is some advice if you do decide to allow pets in your properties:

Set out rules in the Tenancy Agreement

In order to avoid having to have an argument with your tenants you should set out the rules concerning pets in the Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. You may decide to only allow small pets such as hamsters or fish, or you may have a clause stating that your tenants must gain your written permission before buying a family pet. If it’s in the Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and your tenant’s break the rules you know you can rely on your landlord insurance to help you remove the pet (or the tenant!) from the property.

Don’t put yourself Out

Whilst you may want to keep your tenants happy, it would be ridiculous for you to let them have an animal in the house which will cause you stress. For example, if you are allergic to cats or dogs then it probably isn’t a wise idea to let a tenant keep one in the house, as you would end up allergic to your own property! Furthermore, make it clear to your tenants that they need to train their animals properly, the last thing you need is angry neighbours complaining about nuisance pets!

Agree on Maintenance Costs

Pets cause mess; there is nothing you can do about that. However, what you can do is arrange with your tenant extra maintenance costs for your property should they wish to keep a pet. Obviously this may not be the case if they just want to invest in a goldfish, but if you need new upholstery due to cat scratches, or a steam cleaner to remove animal smells then you need to make sure the tenant will pay. Also, make it clear to them that they could lose their deposit if they fail to co-operate!

Letting pets in your properties can sometimes be a risky decision, especially if it’s a short-term tenancy, as it may put off future residents to know that an animal lived there. However if you do decide to allow pets in your houses make sure you explain the rules carefully to your tenants first.

What to do if your tenants are in Rent Arrears

wallet with money and credit cardsThere has been a lot of talk in the news recently about how the upcoming welfare reforms teamed with the lack of affordable housing in the UK are leading to more and more families falling into rent arrears. Whilst this may be stressful for them, it can also cause a lot of problems for landlords, especially as you will have to carry on paying the mortgage on the property with a reduced amount of income. So what do you need to know about rent arrears?

The Government’s Plans

Most landlords have already read up on the new welfare reforms, especially if they have tenants that receive housing benefits. Currently, tenants’ housing benefits are paid directly to landlords, however after April they will receive them in one lump sum along with any other benefits they are entitled do. This has concerned many landlords, especially if they have tenants that are not very good at budgeting. The best thing to do in this case is maybe ask your tenants if they would like to set up a personal direct debit so that the money is paid straight to you the same day that they receive it.

Talking to your Tenants

If you know that your tenants are likely to be affected by the welfare reforms, it may be a good idea to arrange a meeting with them so you can discuss if they are worried about anything. By doing this before the reforms are launched you can try and make a plan that will benefit both you and your tenants. Furthermore, your tenants will really appreciate your help, which means they may make more effort to pay their rent on time.

Protecting Yourself

Unfortunately, no matter how much you plan you may end up finding that some tenants are beyond help and will eventually fall into rent arrears. In order to protect yourself against this you need to invest in landlord insurance which includes a rent guarantee policy that will pay out if you find yourself short on income. Your landlord insurance provider will also help you if finally choose to evict your tenants, as they can help cover the legal fees and give advice on what to do.

The welfare reforms may seem a long way away, but when you think that they will launch in just over six weeks then you’ll realise that you don’t have much time left to plan. Whilst it may take up a bit more of your time to talk to your tenants, it could help you protect your livelihood and make things easier in the future.

Cooking in Motorhomes

cooking potsOne of the best parts of going on holiday in your motorhome is that you get to enjoy your trip whilst keeping all the little things you love about home with you. For instance, many people enjoy the fact that they don’t have to guess whether they will like the food in a new country they travel to, so they bring food with them and cook for themselves! If you like to cook in your motorhome, or just fancy improving your motorhome culinary skills, here is some advice:

Don’t pack too Much

Motorhomes are heavy enough as it is, so stocking it to the brim with your favourite food will make your journey more difficult. Instead, before you leave maybe write up a menu so you don’t bring anything you won’t use, and you could also think of ingredients you can use in more than one meal. For instance, there’s no point in bringing the whole spice rack if you only plan on using a bit of oregano! And don’t forget you can always pick up ingredients along the way – some things are the same in every country!

Be careful what you Pack

Whilst some motorhomers may be dedicated carnivores, there’s no point in bringing two weeks’ worth of meat with you as most of it will go off before you finish your holiday! Also, be careful what types of fruit and vegetables you pack – onions and potatoes tend to stay fresh for a while, but salads and soft fruits are likely to bruise or go soggy along the way. Some things that are always great to bring are pasta, rice, sauces and – most importantly – tea bags. Just make sure you don’t leave them in your motorhome for too long as even these things will eventually go off!

Cook Safely

Barbequing goes hand-in-hand with motorhome holidays, however it important to make sure that you keep an eye on your barbeque at all times. Even the smallest amount of fire could spread quickly and damage your motorhome leaving you having to claim on your motorhome insurance, and if worse comes to the worse being stuck without a vehicle! Also, when barbequing make sure you cook the meat all the way through, no one wants food-poisoning whilst on holiday!

Cooking can be a great way to get everyone together on a motorhome holiday, as you are always sure to find someone who is happy to help out with the cooking – or maybe just the eating. Just make sure you plan ahead and stay safe, and bon appetite!

Understanding Deposits

combination safe lockIt has been reported recently that private landlords in Northern Ireland will soon have to use Deposit Protection Schemes that will look after their tenants’ deposits, and also intervene if there are any disputes as to whether the tenant should receive the deposit back in full at the end of the tenancy. In England and Wales it is already mandatory for all private landlords to place deposits in a Deposit Protection scheme, but many are unsure of what is required of them or how much deposit to take, which we look at here:

How much to Expect

It is very rare for landlords to rent out a property without first taking a deposit, as this generally covers any damages the tenants may cause whilst living at the property. Most of the time landlords ask for between four to six week’s rent money as a deposit, however some are arguing that it would be better to ask for a smaller amount. Due to the poor economy and lack of wage increases, many people looking to rent a property may find saving up six weeks’ worth of rent will take an extremely long time, which means your property could be left empty. If you want to get someone in your house in a hurry you may want to reduce or even wave the deposit fee, and instead get your tenants to provide a guarantor.

How to Protect Deposits

There are currently three different Tenant Deposit providers in the UK, and only one that will be launched in Ireland on the 1st of April. For England and Wales they are: Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme. All three of these schemes are government backed, and each requires landlords to submit their tenants’ deposits within thirty days. They also require landlords to provide tenants information on whom and how their deposits are being protected, and if landlords fail to do any of these they could find themselves facing a fine of up to three times the original deposit amount. In order to prevent receiving a fine it is important to research the scheme you choose to invest in and what regulations they have.

Deposits are one of the biggest safety nets landlords have besides from their landlord insurance policies, so it is important to research protection schemes and also talk to your potential tenants as to what it will be used for. A good idea is to add all the information you can to your Shorthold Tenancy Agreements, so if there ever is a dispute you have evidence to support you.