Dealing with Pests in your Property

wasp nestUnfortunately most houses will eventually find themselves with unwanted guests such as rats, mice, and insects, and if your tenants find an infestation they will not hesitate to call you! There are a myriad of pests that can make themselves at home in your properties, some serious, some not so much. So what is the best plan of action when it comes to pests? Here is our advice…

Rats and Mice

This is probably the most serious type of pest that can come into your property, especially as rats and mice carry diseases. If your tenants do complain of a mouse or rat infestation then firstly try speaking to the local council; in some areas, especially built up ones, they offer pest control services for free as they can be quite common. Otherwise, you will have to call an exterminator and pay for the costs with your landlord insurance.

If your tenants do report rat or mice infestations make sure that you not only call someone to deal with the problem, but also go and visit the property yourself. Most of the time rats and mice appear when there is rubbish or uncovered food left out, so it could actually be the tenants that have caused the pests to appear. You should make sure you have a clause in your Shorthold Tenancy Agreement that states that if the tenants have caused the infestation due to negligence of the property then they will have to pay to get rid of the pests themselves.

Outside Influences

Now the weather is getting warmer we will soon start to see the return of bugs and insects in many houses and gardens. This is generally not a problem, however sometimes insects such as ants can over-run an entire garden, and if there are enough of them they could eventually get into the house. Dealing with ants is pretty easy as you can pick up insecticides in most hardware stores; however make sure your tenants know how to handle it properly as it is generally harmful.

Other insects can be a lot more difficult to deal with, such as wasps that can easily build their nests in roofs and under floorboards – especially in old houses. When it comes to wasps you should try to identify where the nest is as carefully as possible but never attempt to dispose of it yourself. You will have to call a professional to come and deal with the nest, and if the infestation is really bad you may even have to rehouse your tenants until it is gone.

Dealing with pests can sometimes be difficult, so it is always a good idea to call a professional and then claim the money back on your landlord insurance. Remember, safety is always the most important thing, so don’t attempt to get rid of certain pests on your own.

Parking and your Property

car on drivewayWhen it comes to renting out your property you will generally find that all your potential tenants will have a list of criteria. This list usually involves things such as whether the property has a garden, if there are local shops and facilities nearby, and whether the property comes with its own parking facilities. Many people will straight-out refuse to even look at a property if it doesn’t have adequate parking, so what can you do to make the situation easier?

Street Parking

In some towns and cities it can be difficult to ensure that your tenants will have their own private parking area, which means that they will probably have to park on the street. If you are planning on investing in a property that only offers street parking make sure you do some research before you buy – some streets get filled up extremely quickly and others may need permits for your tenants to park there.

Driveways and Private Garages

If your property comes with a driveway or a private garage then this can be a great selling point. Even better is if you keep the driveway or garage in a good condition, as it means that there will be more demand for your property. If your driveway or garage is looking a bit run down, it is wise to invest in a renovation as they are generally not too expensive and the amount of worth they add to the property can outweigh the initial spend. Just make sure you invest in landlord insurance to protect your property whilst the work is being carried out.

Public Transport

Families with young children usually use cars as their main form of transportation, however if you are renting to young professionals or students then you may find they don’t even own a vehicle. If this is the case then they would be more interested as to whether there is public transport near the property and how reliable it is, so make sure you do a bit of research into what is available and give your tenants the information they need.

Parking can often be a deal-breaker when it comes to potential tenants, so if you do have facilities available make sure you make the most out of them! Otherwise make sure you are up to date on all the other options available.

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.