Communal Areas – Added Bonus or Extra Headache?

When it comes to signing a new tenancy, it is the little extra’s that are appealing to new tenants often securing you at least a year’s worth of income. These extras could be having access to a swimming pool, a garden or possibly a gym in communal areas. These are great for enticing new tenants but can be a headache for landlords.

Communal areas often require a service charge. As a landlord though, you are of course, entitled to pass this charge onto your tenants. However, within the current market, many tenants are looking for low rental payments so having to pay for the little extras may mean they won’t sign the contract.

One of the disadvantages of communal areas is that they have to be shared and this inevitably is going to cause an argument somewhere down the line. If a dispute does occur, whether it is the fault of your tenants or someone else’s, it is best to let them sort it out themselves. Do be prepared though to have to step in if things get a little more than a heated discussion.

The communal areas often don’t have security which does make them a prime target for thieves. In this instance your landlord insurance may not cover you as these areas aren’t directly managed by the landlord. If you are unsure though, whilst taking out your policy make sure you ask and check.

These added extras are a great way of attracting new tenants especially as everyone wants a little extra for their money in today’s climate. Just as they can prove a great opportunity they can also cause a little difficulty. Make sure you know about service charges, be aware of any disputes and don’t be vulnerable to thieves.

Campervan Holidays in America

Some of the most obvious choices for taking a campervan holiday are countries within Europe. This is because by and large they are easy to access. However, just because you already own a campervan doesn’t mean you can’t travel a little further abroad and rent one. America is a great place for a campervan holiday as there is a huge amount to see and has some stunning scenery.

If however you don’t already own a motorhome and are planning on buying one, renting one first is a good idea, just to check you are going to enjoy it as much as you think you are. These holidays aren’t meant for everyone. The vehicles are very confined and bring able to do lots of things in one go because everything is close is handy. However spending the length of your holiday in a confined space with you family does mean arguments are inevitable. Bikes are a great addition to the campervan especially if you are going on holiday with children. This gives everyone a little more space and will hopefully defuse any arguments.

Whether it is your first campervan holiday or not, there is nothing better than the feeling of getting in the vehicle and driving just about anywhere you please. When travelling in America, an essential trip to do is The Grand Circle. This covers areas in five states and includes some of the greatest national parks. This means vast spaces, stunning scenery and a great place for the kids to get on the bike! The five states that are included are Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

Although when travelling with children it obviously hard to go on holiday outside of the school holidays, however, the best time to go to America is in April. This is to avoid intense heat that comes with American summer time. Also when planning your holiday, make sure you have checked whether campervan insurance is included in the hire.

When driving in America you do need to have a full British driving license and you will need to book the hire on a major credit card.

Student Lets and What is to be Expected in the Future

With the University term starting at the end of September many will be starting to move into their new homes. It has been reported that student are now opting for private lets instead of halls during their first year, however, the first years that are starting in September are the first to be paying the increased tuition fees. Many landlords are already reporting rent arrears from students even before any tuition fees have been paid.

Most students take out a student loan that is funded by the government to those who are in full time education. One thing to remember as a landlord is that the student’s don’t actually ever receive the loan for the fees. It gets paid straight to the University; therefore the first year students starting in September are no worse off than those that preceded them. They only pay back these fees once they have graduated so in the short term, not paying rent because of high tuition fees is not an acceptable reason.

The best way to protect your income is to take out landlord insurance because paying rent is often last on the list of things students want to spend their money on. Even those who are good at money management aren’t risk free so protecting your investment and income is the best way to ensure some security.

As a result of the increase in fees there have been less applicants meaning less new students who want to rent a property. However, if you are letting in a student town then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as there are plenty of other years that will need a place to stay for the year. This is especially true as Universities are trying to shift the responsibility of accommodating students to private landlords and there is an undersupply of these properties in the market.

By understanding changes that will be taking place for your potential tenants it will make it easier to determine what is valid and what isn’t. Having landlord insurance will protect you in the case of a dispute over something that isn’t valid and knowing that there will always be a constant stream of students looking for a place to live is reassuring. The student market is one that will remain buoyant.

Frankel: Horses Answer to Usain Bolt

Even those among us who may not be horse fanatics will probably have heard about Frankel; the fastest horse in the world. He has been dubbed Usain Colt although he has a better record and is faster than Usain Bolt.

This horse has never been beaten in all of his 13 races and has now won more than £2 million in prizes but his fortunes won’t end there. After he is retired and breeding, the offspring will provide a rather large amount of income when sold.

Frankel is worth £100 million and runs at 40mph so it will come as no surprise to you that there are CCTV cameras in his stable, that his trainer Sir Henry Cecil has fed to his bedroom.

This week in York all his devoted race fans came in their thousands to see Frankel race and win his eighth European Group One victory in a row. This means that he has now broken the record of seven wins in a row. This was set by Rock of Gibraltar whose part owner is Sir Alex Ferguson.

There is a lot to think about when racing/owing horses and getting them to races safely is one of the top priorities. By making sure you are covered with horse box insurance means that you have a little peace of mind when it comes to travelling.

In the race during the week also competing was Frankie Dettori on his horse Farhh. They finished second to Frankel and Frankie said, “It’s a joy to ride in the same race.

“He’s an absolute star.”

Frankel’s jockey is Tom Queally and he has said, “A horse of his calibre deserves a huge following so it’s good the public have latched on.”

The horse will run one more race and retire after, no one knows where or when he will be racing but they do know there will only be one more.

Proud Protein Only Restaurant

A new restaurant has opened that claims to the UK’s first protein restaurant and they are aiming to bring healthier meals to children in schools. The restaurant is called Gyms Kitchen and is in High Road in Leyton.

The restaurant has been set up by Steve Mavrou and business partner Richard Klein and they plan to provide the school meals to those in Waltham Forest. They decided to set up their venture as a result of the amount of takeaway and fried food outlets in the area. They wanted to create a place where people could get low fat, high protein grilled meats and a variety of vegetables to encourage the younger generations to eat healthier.

Setting up a new business is very difficult especially in the current economic climate and even more so to set up a restaurant with strict health and safety regulations. There are many costs to consider such as: wages, rent, restaurant insurance, suppliers and many more.

Steve Mavrou has said, “We really want to continue Jamie Oliver’s work of getting kids to eat healthier because there’s still more improvement needing to be done. The meals are better but could be much more nutritious.

“We are planning a kids menu which will be great. Also we are very interested in actually providing school meals; I think it’s the next step for us.”

The pair came up with the idea for the business of an all protein restaurant when they went on holiday to Los Angeles. They have an all protein breakfast over there and they wanted to bring the idea back to England.

They are currently being promoted by the gym Fitness First and have been visited by the captain of Leyton Orient Nathan Clarke. “It’s a little overwhelming but it’s great fun, I’m pleased with the way it’s going. Hopefully we can get the borough eating healthier bit by bit,” said Mr Mavrou.

The manager at Leyton Orient, Russell Slade has said, “It was great to visit with Nathan for the launch and sample their food, which was first class.

“Their vision of bringing accessible and tasty healthy food to the local high street is one which should be supported, especially in the aftermath of the Olympic Games, which has done so much to draw people to sport.”

Country Roads Vs. Motorhomes

When we think of motorhome holidays we think of the wide open spaces, the freedom to drive just about anywhere and as a result most of us head towards the country to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city. However, as a result of this new found freedom during out holidays it is easy to forget that even the country roads can be labelled as A and B roads even though they may be little more than a dirt track. These are very difficult to take a motorhome down, especially when you are expecting a typical A road. We have put together some safety tips for you to remember while travelling through the country.

So we have all seen the “Go Slow” signs however, how many of us actually pay attention? Most of the time we assume we always know what is best and ignore the signs that tell us to reduce our speed. However, these signs are obviously there for a reason and even more so in the country when roads are often very uneven and there can be poor visibility. When travelling in a motorhome in the county it is always best to stick to 30 mph even if the speed limit is more. Most country lanes do carry the national speed limit but if you are travelling at these top speeds and you do need to claim on your motorhome insurance, your providers are less likely to cover you if you are travelling at the faster end of the limit.

There are some concerns when it comes to using your horn in any vehicle let alone a motorhome. Some use it to show their anger, others use it to encourage others to move on at lights, and some use it when taking on tight corners to let others close know of their presence. Of the three, we all know which one the horn is intended for however even this can be a little dangerous, especially on country roads. This is because if there is livestock around, the sound of the horn will scare the animals and if they aren’t fenced in they could run into the road and cause more of an accident.

These are all obvious things we know but in the excitement of going on holiday they can easily be forgotten and driving a motorhome is not an everyday occurrence so getting used to the motorhome each year takes a little getting used to.