News

The latest news from Abacus Letting Services in Chichester and Felpham

If you want to hear about the latest trends, market scenarios or updates in Chichester, Bognor Regis and the surrounding areas, you've come to the right place. If you're looking for a letting agency to take care of your buy to let property or you are looking for a house to rent, get in touch with Abacus Letting Services or visit our office.
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Proud to be a local business supporting local tradespeople!

We are proud to be one of the few local letting service providers to solely use local tradespeople from locally based businesses. 

Many larger letting agents use national firms that are based in one location to run property maintenance. This can be more efficient and cost effective for them, but not for you. Someone unfamiliar with your property and the local area could end up making costly decisions that are not in your best interests as a landlord. 

Local agents like ourselves who manage a large rental property portfolio, come with a wealth of contacts of skilled and trusted tradespeople that are based in the area. Having these existing relationships with tradespeople saves our landlords time and money as they get to know your property on repeat visits and can be held answerable if there are problems. 

From electricians and plumbers to carpet fitters and decorators, we have a team of qualified and reliable tradespeople on our books that we have built relationships with over many years of working together. These are expert professionals who can be called upon in emergency situations and can be trusted to deliver the best results in an efficient time frame. 

A professional business offering a friendly and efficient service, we are committed to getting the right person to the right job!

Abacus Lettings Services has merged with Gilbert & Cleveland Lettings

We are excited to announce that Abacus Letting Services has merged with Gilbert & Cleveland Lettings. 

Abacus has been working in partnership with Gilbert & Cleveland for a number of years and is delighted to reveal that we have officially combined forces to operate under the joint banner of Abacus Letting Services. Run by husband-and-wife team, Jonathan and Elaine Gilbert, we are looking forward to expanding and developing the business to benefit landlords and tenants in the area. 

Both businesses have built a reputation of experience, efficiency and enthusiasm and are dedicated to providing customers with outstanding levels of customer service. 

During this exciting transitional period current clients will continue to be looked after by the same people at the same location and with our high levels of service. Jonathan Gilbert, comments: “We are thrilled to be beginning this new chapter with Abacus Letting Services. Due to past, present and forthcoming legislation that effects the residential lettings industry, Elaine and I decided that it was the right time to merge both our companies. We share the same professional values and standards, and are confident that we can continue to expand and develop our services to benefit clients.” 

Elaine Gilbert, adds: “We want to assure all of our current customers that our services will remain unchanged by this news and would like to thank all our clients for past and future support as we embark on this exciting new development.”

Abacus Letting Services will continue to operate from their existing office in Felpham and now also at 10 Eastgate Square, Chichester, enabling them to service all surrounding areas. 

Gilbert & Cleveland Residential Sales based in Bognor Regis, Chichester and Selsey will continue to support Abacus Lettings Services and likewise we will continue to do the same in respect of sales. 

We invite anyone with any questions or concerns regarding the merger to contact a member of our expert team. 
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Reduced tenancy fee during December!

We have some wonderful news if you are in search of a new home. We are getting in the Christmas spirit and offering a reduced tenancy fee throughout the month of December!

Our special tenancy fee, valid only for this most festive month, is £200 inclusive of VAT, helping you to save money on your move and potentially be in your new home before the big day itself. All you need to do to take advantage of this offer is to commit and pay the fee in December!

Contact us today on 01243 842048 to find out about our range of current properties and see if we have the perfect new home for you! 
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Tips on becoming a landlord

When considering becoming a landlord it is wise to think carefully about where to purchase your buy-to-let property. Researching popular rental areas is a great place to start and also helps you consider the type of tenant you want to attract. Factors such as proximity to universities, good local schools, noise level and amenities will all affect the kind of tenant you are likely to find looking in the area.

Student properties can be an attractive option as they are easy to fill, however they often have lower rent, a higher turnover of tenant and may not be treated with the same respect as a longer-term family home. Proximity to travel facilities and local amenities are paramount for those wishing to attract the higher value young professional market and those seeking a longer-term family home are likely to be looking for a property near local schools and parks.

If the property you are considering letting is already one you own, then it is important that you inform your mortgage provider of your intention to let. There are often high penalties for breaking any of the terms in your mortgage and this usually includes informing them if someone other than yourself will be living at the address.

Ensuring you inform HMRC is also important when you start renting out a property as tax may be payable on your rental income. HMRC can supply information on everything required and provide you with a time frame for items such as submitting tax returns, advice on recording related outgoings and ensuring you save correctly for a tax bill.

It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that your property is a safe environment for a tenant and to also keep on top of ever-changing legislation. However, using a full-service lettings agent like Abacus makes this whole process much easier. We ensure that we keep on top of changing regulations including fire, gas and electrical regulations, EPCs, Tenancy Deposit Protection, advice on landlord’s insurance and Right to Rent, and will help ensure that the right measures are always in place to comply fully. 

If you are interested in finding out more about how Abacus can help you with your rental needs, give us a call on 01243 842 048 or email info@abacuslettings.co.uk and our friendly team will be happy to help.
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Recent surge in landlords choosing reputable lettings agents

During 2017 the quantity of landlords using a reputable lettings agent like Abacus Lettings has surged. A survey conducted by the National Landlords Association (NLA) showed that in the first half of 2017 61% of landlords reported using an agent to help them with their property management, this is a rise of 7% since Q4 2016. 

This increase is thought to be due to a number of factors including the frequent amendments in legislation. This has made it difficult for landlords to keep up to date with the technical elements required to manage their own rental properties.

By using the expertise of professional letting agents landlords are able to take advantage of a vast range of benefits including; ensuring that they follow the latest legislation and regulations; the property meets all of the current health and safety standards; the correct procedure has been adhered to when vetting tenants; and that there is minimum disruption should there be any problems with the property. 

During these more uncertain times landlords want to be sure that their buy-to-let property is in good hands and can weather the storm of change. Choosing a reputable lettings agent is the best way to ensure that this will be the case. 
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Love where we live - supporting our local Felpham community

We have been busy this summer supporting a range of wonderful local events! We recently had a great time at the Felpham Fete which was held in the Old Rectory Gardens where we were proud sponsors of the Entertainment Tent. The Felpham Fete is always such fun, with young and old turning up to enjoy the cakes, crafts, music and fun and games. More than 50 local Felpham businesses were involved by either donating to the raffle or sponsoring a stall which added a wonderful sense of community to the event. 

This summer we are also involved with the fantastic Hotham Park Country Fair which is taking place on the weekend of the 5 and 6 August. We sponsored this free entry event last year and it was great fun to be a part of. Hotham Park is a beautiful place and the fair offers visitors a great day out with a variety of arts and craft stalls to visit. Children can also get a close up look at a range of fascinating animals including owls, alpacas and a variety of reptiles and there is even a chance to ride in a horse drawn wagon. 

In August we will be at the Yapton Flower Show and Summer Fair which is being held 12 August on the Yapton Village Green. The fair is set to have a great range of stalls, tractor rides, classic cars, tea and cakes, and will also be the grand debut of Yapton’s first ever Charity Dog Show! We can’t wait to see the treats they have in store and if you are planning on attending, keep an eye out for our Abacus banner!
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Changes to EPC regulations

Changes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations mean that as of 1 April 2018 it will be illegal to let a residential or commercial property with a poor EPC rating.

The changes were finalised by the Department for Energy & Climate Change and are due to affect both commercial and residential properties in the private sector from 1 April 2018. These changes mean that any landlord letting out a property will need to ensure that the building meets the new minimum EPC requirements or risk facing a fine.

An Energy Performance Certificate rates how efficiently your property uses energy using a grading system from A to G. It is already a legal requirement to make this EPC grade available to a prospective tenant. Certificates can only be obtained via an accredited assessor, who will also be able to offer tailored advice and guidance should you require it.

For more details on Energy Performance Certificates please visit the government website.

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Letz Sail with Felpham Sailing Club

We’ve been working with Felpham Sailing Club for the past few months to help them secure a new training boat and on Saturday we got to see the boat in action for the first time at their Push the Boat Out event!

It was a superb day with lots of people of all ages in attendance, including the local MP, Nick Gibb and West Sussex County Councillor, Hilary Flynn. There were good winds and sunshine which meant lots of people took the opportunity to get out on the water, including our Abacus boat ‘Letz Sail’ who went on her maiden voyage! We are so delighted to have been involved in helping the club acquire this new training boat. We hope she will help to get lots more people catching the sailing bug and enjoying our beautiful Sussex coastlines.

At Abacus we believe it is really important for businesses to get involved and support the local community. In addition to sponsoring the Felpham Sailing Club training boat, this year we are also supporting a number of local family events including the Felpham Garden Party, Hotham Park Fair and Yapton Summer Fair. We hope to see lots of you at all these events over the coming months!
Abacus Letting Services at Felpham Sailing Club

Celebrating new protection for landlords and tenants

Recently the Government announced that it intends to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all letting agents. SAFEagent have campaigned for the last six years for this decision, which will protect consumers by ensuring all agents holding rent money and deposits must protect it in a CMP Scheme.
 
At Abacus Lettings we place a high importance on ensuring our landlords’ money is safe and therefore we are part of the CMP scheme and proudly display the SAFEagent logo. Mandatory CMP is not yet law, and so a landlord's finances are at risk if they choose an agent who does not have client money protection.

An estimated £2.7 billion* is held by letting agents in client accounts, but unfortunately, there are still too many cases of criminal letting agents stealing landlord and tenant cash. This is why it is crucial to check your agent is part of an agent regulatory organisation which already provides CMP like we are at Abacus Lettings.

The 15-19th May is SAFEagent Awareness Week. The week is aimed at continuing to highlight the importance of choosing a letting agent that is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme run by an agent regulatory body or trade association. To celebrate the week we will be sharing lots of informative guides and advice on our social media platforms. Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter.

*This figure is derived from the number of known renters in the UK, and based on the assumption that letting agents will potentially have their tenants’ deposits and one month rent in their client account at any given time.
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Join our Felpham based team!

We have an exciting new opportunity to join our Felpham based office! We are looking for an organised and enthusiastic individual to carry out viewings, inspections and some administrative work on a part time basis. The applicant needs to be able to work Saturdays between 9am – 2pm and also two afternoons per week – hours to be confirmed.
If you are interested in joining our friendly team, please send your CV and covering letter to info@abacuslettings.co.uk.
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Buy to let still a good investment despite changes to tax relief

Many landlords hoped that the recent budget would reverse the changes to tax relief which will remove a landlord's ability to take away their mortgage interest from their rental income when calculating a profit on which to pay tax. However, the abolition of mortgage interest rate relief announced in 2015 did not get a mention in the 2017 Spring Budget and is still due to come into play next month. This has disappointed many who believe that restricting tax relief to 20% is going to result in landlords upping their rent prices to cover their losses, thus negatively affecting tenants.

April 2017 marks the start of this change being gradually phased in. For the next year the first 75% of landlords’ finance costs can still be claimed on the existing system, but the remaining 25% will be on the new basic rate of tax. In April 2018 this will reduce to a 50% split, then from April 2019 tax relief using the existing system will be 25% with the remainder on the new basic rate of tax and finally from April 2020 landlords will only be able to claim tax relief using the new system.

Of the 3% stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let properties to the right to rent scheme and the aforementioned adjustments to tax relief, the past year has seen many changes to letting legislation. In the ever-changing world of lettings it is important for landlords to be completely up-to-date and fully understand their responsibilities. At Abacus Lettings we make it our mission to keep on top of all legislation, no matter how complex, which means that our landlords can benefit from our expertise and be sure that they are kept in the loop about any important changes which affect them.

Do not be put off by these changes, investing in a buy to let property still sees a good yield whilst at the same time your investment should be increasing in value. Much better than any Bank or Building Society Investment accounts.
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FAQs for landlords

How can I get the maximum rent from my property?
Ensuring that your property is clean, tidy and well-presented is one of the best ways of getting the maximum rent possible. A modern kitchen and bathroom is always a good selling point, as are shower facilities. Clean carpets and a fresh paint job will also make your property more appealing to the rental market.

What are my obligations as a landlord?
A landlord is responsible for both internal and external repairs of their property. This includes regular gas safety checks. At Abacus we offer maintenance and repair services and have a wide range of trusted, reliable contractors which we use. We offer different levels of support for landlords, give us a call to discuss the right service level for you.

What are the different management services we offer?
We offer a range of different service levels depending on a landlords’ requirements. Click here to see a breakdown of what each package includes. We can also create a bespoke management package to suit your specific needs.
If my property is leasehold, who pays the service charge?
The service charge is the landlord’s responsibility and cannot be passed onto the tenant. Consent to let should be received from the Freeholder or Head Leaseholder.

What do I do about phone lines and broadband?
While it is not a requirement to provide a telephone line, the vast majority of tenants will require a broadband connection. It is the tenants’ responsibility however to set up their broadband service with their preferred supplier.

For more information on our lettings services, please call us on 01243 842048 or email us at info@abacuslettings.co.uk
landlords
I've received my deposit back and just wanted to thank you. It's been a pleasure renting through Abacus and you're probably the best agents we've dealt with." – Tammy
If you're looking for a professional letting agency in Felpham, Chichester or anywhere in the surrounding areas, call Abacus Letting Services on
01243 842 048 (Felpham)
01243 532 626 (Chichester)
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