Winter Preparations

When September falls every year, we usually see this as a sign that summer is over and we have to start getting ready for winter. However, the weather at the moment seems to be playing catch up from the miserable summer we experienced this year. So when Mother Nature gets back in sink and the winter finally hits, we thought we would give you a few tips now to help you prepare your motorhome for the summer.

Obviously we would all love to be travelling around in our motorhomes all year long but unfortunately this isn’t the case in the UK. This means that the majority of motorhomes will go un-used till next spring. This means turning the engine over regularly is essential. If not then the engine will struggle in six months’ time. Turning over the engine means that the parts stay lubricated and hopefully preventing a build-up of problems within the engine over the winter months.

Although we aren’t all lucky enough to have a garage big enough to house a motorhome there are places where they can be stored over the winter. If you can find one that has garages available this is a good idea to protect the vehicle from the frost.

There have been some stories around of people that have left the windows and doors to their motorhome open while it is in storage. We assume they have done this o stop the damp musky smell however this does leave the vehicle vulnerable to mice. Once the mice are inside they will cause a lot of damage and this is unlikely to be covered by a motorhome insurance policy.

They key to avoiding a claim is to look after your motorhome even when you aren’t using it. Turn over the engine; protect it from frost and freeze-thaw and from unwanted visitors.

Choosing the Right Minibus

During this economic climate, money saving is essential within business especially for those who have a fleet of minibuses as it is already becoming increasingly more expensive with the cost of fuel rising and having to pay for minibus insurance too.

There are a few things to consider when buying minibuses for your fleet. One of these is whether to buy a diesel or a petrol vehicle.

Diesel has always been the cheaper choice of vehicle since they were made in the 1980’s. This was because they used to be more economical compared to petrol. Road tax on diesel vehicles was lower too. However this was over 30 years ago and today there is a huge variety of economical petrol engines and at the moment diesel is much more expensive than petrol.

The reason why diesel is more expensive is because it lasts longer than petrol and therefore in theory it is cheaper. As petrol engines are becoming more economical this does mean that this theory is no longer true and the price of diesel is actually more expensive. As well as this diesel models are usually £1000 – £2000 more expensive.

We all know as soon as you buy a minibus the value has instantly decreased so buying a vehicle that has a good residual value is also a great way of saving some money. As diesel vehicles have lower road tax rates and economic use of fuel, many people want them which means they are keeping their value at a reasonable level. This means the resale value of a diesel minibus is better than that of the same vehicle with a petrol engine.

Even though the diesel minibuses have a good residual value, they are less reliable that the petrol models. This means in the money you save in petrol and possible from reselling, this could be spent on repairs and maintenance. Between the two types of engines, minor repairs, in terms of pricing, aren’t hugely different. However serious damage to a diesel engine will cost a lot more.
Make sure when buying new mini buses that you don’t just choose the cheapest as a way of saving money, sometimes this can be costly.

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.