How the Stamp Duty Holiday could benefit Buy to Let Investors

How the Stamp Duty Holiday could benefit Buy to Let Investors

See below a piece from our friend, Adam Nanson, Managing Director at Your Mortgage Expert in regards to the latest updates;

In July, The Chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday for all purchases under £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland. The potential to save up to £15,000 on purchases, has without a doubt stimulated the market.

This stamp duty holiday will also benefit those investing in Buy to Let properties. Whilst the 3% additional property rate still applies to all those buying an additional property i.e. someone who already owns their residence and/or a buy-to-let and is buying an additional property, the stamp duty holiday will still apply to the original Stamp Duty Rate.


Prior to July 2020 the Stamp duty payable on a £300,000 property for anyone buying an additional property in England and Northern Ireland would have been £14,000 (£5,000 standard stamp duty plus £9,000 additional property rate). However, under the new changes the stamp duty payable will only be £9,000, representing a saving of £5,000.

See below table for more information:

Stamp duty threshold in England and NI (from 8th July 2020)

Property Value Stamp duty rate Additional property
rate (eg: Buy to Let)
Up to £500,000 0% 3%
The next £425,000
(the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)
5% 8%
The next £575,000
(the portion from £925,001 to £1.5m)
10% 13%
The remaining amount
(the portion above £1.5m)
12% 15%


With savings such as these, now could be an ideal time to purchase a property to rent out. At Your Mortgage Expert, we can access hundreds of different mortgages from a wide range of lenders all under one roof. Fixed rates, trackers, buy to let – we have access to a huge range some of which might not be available to you directly. We will take the time to understand your circumstances and will provide tailored advice to help you get the most suitable option for you.

The team at Bassets can then help you let your property quickly with good quality tenants.

For more information on advice on Buy to Let mortgages, contact their team on 01722 322468 or visit their website

How to Comply with the Law

How to Comply with the Law

Complying with Law

More and more legislation is coming out every year, making it increasingly difficult for Landlords to comply with Law. Even though some of the legislation is not ‘statutory’, if anything does go wrong, then you may still end up with a fine or imprisonment. It may well be better therefore to leave it to a professional letting agent to manage the whole process for you, to make sure you do comply with law.

Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, known as the Homes Act, replaces Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985) in England, with the purpose of improving living standards in the private and social rented sectors.

Under the Housing Act 2004, landlords and agents were not required to ensure their rental properties were free of potentially harmful hazards. Consequently, an offence was only committed where the landlord or agent had failed to comply with an Improvement Notice issued by the local authority.

The tenant could not take their landlord or agent directly to Court and had to rely on the action of the local authority. Consequently, landlords and agents could legally rent out defective properties, and unless this was addressed by the local authority, they had no requirement to rectify any hazards.

Under the Homes Act 2018, landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf must ensure properties, including common parts where they have an estate or interest, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy. Tenants will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply with the Act.

The rules have applied to all domestic tenancies granted or renewed on or after 20 March 2019 and all Periodic Tenancies that commenced before 20 March 2019 are subject to the legislation from 20 March 2020. The legislation affects tenancies in England only.


Fitness for human habitation is defined in the LTA 1985. The Homes Act amends this definition to include other dwellings alongside houses. A property unfit for human habitation is ‘so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition.’ ‘Matters’ refers to: Repair; Stability; Freedom from damp; Internal arrangement; Natural lighting; Facilities for preparation and cooking of food; Water supply; Drainage and sanitary conveniences; Ventilation; and facilities for the disposal of wastewater.
NB: The Homes Act adds to this list ‘any prescribed hazard.’

The Housing Act 2004 defines a ‘hazard’ as ‘any risk of harm to the health or safety of an actual occupier of a dwelling or HMO which arises from a deficiency in the dwelling or HMO’. The hazards used in the Homes Act, are the 29 as listed in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

The 29 HHSRS hazards are: Damp and mould growth; Excess cold; Excess heat; Asbestos and Manufactured Mineral Fibres; Biocides; Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products; Lead; Radiation; Uncombusted fuel gas; Volatile organic compounds; Crowding and space; Entry by intruders; Lighting; Noise; Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse; Food safety; Sanitation and drainage problems; Water supply; Falls associated with baths; Falls on level surfaces; Falls associated with stairs and ramps; Falls between levels; Electrical hazards; Fire; Flames, hot surfaces and
materials; Collision and entrapment; Explosions; Ergonomics; and Structural collapse and falling elements.

If you wish to view the Governments formal guidance please follow the link:

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988*

Gas Safety Legislation is statutory. If you do not comply with Law, then you are breaking the law and will be prosecuted – often resulting in a fine or imprisonment. Pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances must be serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions, or annually unless advised otherwise.

  • An annual gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue at the property and ensures that all gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
  • We recommend that you get all appliances serviced and a safety check done at the same time to save cost and to ensure that you comply.
  • The regulations apply equally whether the gas comes from the mains, from a bottle or from a tank in the ground.
  • If the Tenants have their own gas appliance, you are responsible for maintaining the pipework, but the Tenant is responsible for the safety of the appliance.
  • All installation, maintenance and safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety

Generally, we would recommend that you let the property unfurnished. The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amended) Regulations 1993 require all upholstered furniture and furnishings (e.g. sofas, chairs, mattresses) supplied by the Landlord in rented properties to be fire retardant and to carry a fire retardant label. If a property fails to comply, the Landlord faces a fine or imprisonment. Generally, most furniture purchased after March 1990 should comply with the regulations and will be labelled accordingly.

Energy Performance Certificate, Ratings and Works*

Landlords of most properties (‘listed’ properties are excluded) must legally have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before letting out their property. An EPC should cost less than £100, lasts for 10 years and we are happy to order one for you. Although the penalty is £200 a day if you are caught, we are unable to act for you without one. A qualified ‘Domestic Energy Assessor’ will need to visit your property for about 45 minutes. Their main objective is to assess how energy efficient your property is currently and how efficient it could be following works. If you think you have an EPC but cannot find it, we can retrieve it online within a few seconds free of charge.

Tenants can now request that energy efficiency improvements be carried out and Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent. It will, however, be the responsibility of the Tenants to pay for any improvements.

From the 1st April 2018, any unlisted properties rented out in the private sector will have to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. For guidance on how to make sure your property is up to standard, visit: 

This now affects all tenancies from April 2020 including existing tenancies.

How to Rent Guide*

The Landlord must also provide Tenants with a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s publication “How to rent: The checklist for renting in England” – available at (Assured Shorthold Tenancy notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015).

Electrical Safety -What do the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 require?

The Regulations apply in England to all new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. You can read formal guidance at:

Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

  • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
  • Ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years.
  • Obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test.
  • Supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.
  • Supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report.
  • Supply the local authority with a copy of this report within 7 days of receiving a request for a copy.
  • Retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test.
  • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
  • Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works

Oil Safety

Oil storage tanks and supply pipework should be checked regularly for general conditions and any leaks repaired. There is no legal requirement to obtain an ‘oil’ safety certificate, however, BS5410: Part 1 requires all oil-fired appliances and equipment to be serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions. Oil storage tanks and oil supply pipework should, therefore, be checked regularly for general condition and any leaks repaired. SO WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND AN ANNUAL SERVICE.

Smoke Alarms

It is law to fit one smoke alarm per floor when letting out a property. All properties built since June 1992 (and all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)) must be fitted with mains operated smoke detector/alarms and with at least one detector per floor. If the property was built prior to 1992, then the legal requirement is for Landlords to provide ‘long life’ smoke alarms on each floor.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Alarms must be fitted in any room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation which also contains any appliance which burns, or is capable of burning, solid fuel. This would include log and coal-burning (solid fuel) stoves and open fires, even if they are not normally in use. This does not include gas and oil boilers. If an open fireplace is purely decorative and not useable then it is not covered by the regulations.

Whilst gas is not solid fuel, we would strongly recommend a Carbon Monoxide Alarm is also fitted in all rooms with a gas appliance.


Better to be safe than sorry, so it’s vital to fit safety and toughened glass where needed such as to a single glazed back door or internal glazed door near a staircase. To avoid serious injury, safety glass should be fitted in all doors, windows and glazed areas that are lower than 800mm from the floor level. Glass panels less than 250mm wide can be fitted with 6mm glass or laminated glass instead of toughened glass.

Legionnaires’ Disease

Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires’ Disease. Health and safety legislation requires Landlords to carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause the disease and thereafter to maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced. By way of example, Legionella bacteria could be found in cut off pipework or in an unused water supply.

Immigration Act 2014

All Landlords in England are obliged to check their Tenant’s status and Right to Rent. The government is making it harder for illegal immigrants to rent accommodation. The Immigration
Act 2014 introduced a requirement for landlords of private rental accommodation to conduct checks to establish that new Tenants have the right to rent in the UK. Landlords who rent to illegal migrants without conducting these checks will be liable for a fine.

*Required to serve a Section 21 Notice to end an assured Shorthold Tenancy. All of these documents and certificates must have been provided to the Tenant.

Controlling Condensation & Mould

Controlling Condensation & Mould

What is Condensation

Condensation is formed due to the lack of ventilation in your home when there is an opposite of temperatures on each side of the window. Therefore, in winter months when it is cold outside, and you have the heating on inside, there is likely to be condensation on the windows.

Excessive condensation can cause dampness in your home, which can then lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, clothes and other fabrics. It can also lead to the rotting of wooden window frames. Damp humid conditions provide an environment in which house dust mites can easily multiply. The presence of mould and dust mites can make existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis, worse.

Look for condensation in your home. It can appear in or near windows, in the corners and in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. Condensation forms on cold surfaces and places where there is little movement of air.

How to Remove Mould

To kill and remove the mould, there are several different detergents you can use. Fungicidal washes and sprays are readily available at local supermarkets. However, sometimes these cleaners are not strong enough to treat a severe case of mould and bleach often does a better job of removing the mould.

In areas where possible, soak the contaminated area in bleach for several hours before thoroughly rinsing down. Make sure the detergents you use carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Approval Number and ensure you follow the instructions.

Use a professional dry cleaning service to remove mould from clothes and other fabrics. For mouldy carpets, shampoo or professional carpet cleaners should be used. Do not try and remove mould by using a brush or vacuum cleaner.

After treating the mould, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint and a fungicidal resistant wallpaper paste to help prevent mould recurring. The effect of fungicidal or anti-condensation paint is destroyed if covered with ordinary paint or wallpaper.

It’s key to remember that the only lasting cure for severe mould is to get rid of the cause – the dampness.

What Causes Condensation

There are four main factors that cause condensation:

  • Too much moisture being produced
  • Not enough ventilation
  • Cold surfaces
  • The temperature of your home

Moisture Produced in the House

Our everyday activities add extra moisture to the air inside our homes; even breathing. To reduce and control condensation, you need to ensure less moisture is going into the air inside your home. If possible hang your washing outside to dry. If you’re unable to put your washing outside, hang it in the bathroom with the door closed and a window slightly open or extractor fan on. Don’t be tempted to put it on radiators. If you use a tumble dryer, make sure it is vented to the outside or that it is of the new condensing type. Always cook with the pan lids on and turn the heat down once the water has boiled. Ensure your extractor fan is on when cooking as this will extract any extra moisture that is created. When filling your bath, run the cold water first then add the hot as it will reduce the steam by 90%. Try to avoid using bottled gas heaters as they produce approximately 8 pints of moisture from an average-sized gas cylinder.

Ventilation of the Home

Not enough ventilation in the home causes condensation. There are many steps that you can add to your daily routine to help ventilate your home.

Hours of cooking and simmering hot stews for a cold winter’s day produces copious amounts of heat and moisture that gets released into your home. This heat travels around your house and if there is nowhere for it to be released, it becomes trapped in walls, windows and wooden fittings. Many homes will have an extractor fan in the kitchen; making use of this can make your house a lot less humid. Ensure the internal doors are closed to prevent extra moisture escaping into the rest of the house.

When showering or taking a bath, aim to ventilate the room for approximately 20 minutes after use by opening the window. Again, if you have one, ensure the extractor fan is always used.

To reduce the risk of mould growth on clothes and other stored items, allow air to circulate around them by leaving the wardrobe doors and cupboards open during the day. Never overfill wardrobes and cupboards as it restricts air circulation.

As bizarre as it sounds, do make sure there is a gap of a couple of inches between your furniture and your walls. This allows the air to flow around the room. If you do not leave an adequate space, the air could condense into your walls, causing mould and eventually cracks in the plaster.

Cold Surfaces in Your home

Condensation forms more easily on cold surfaces in the home such as walls and ceilings. In many cases, those surfaces can be made warmer by improving the insulation and draught proofing. Insulation and draught proofing will also help keep the whole house warmer and will cut your heating bills. When the house is warmer, condensation becomes less likely. Loft and wall insulation is the most effective forms of insulation.

If you install any draught proofing observe the following guidance:

  • Do not draughtproof rooms with a condensation problem, or where there is a heater or cooker that burns gas or solid fuel.
  • Do not block permanent ventilators or airbricks installed for heating or heating appliances.
  • Do not draughtproof bathroom or kitchen windows.

The Temperature of Your Home

Warm air holds more moisture than cooler air which is more likely to deposit droplets of condensation around your home. Air is like a sponge; the warmer it is, the more moisture it will hold. Heating one room to a high level and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse in the unheated rooms. Therefore it means that it is better to have a medium to a low level of heat throughout the whole house.

Keeping the heating on at low all day in cold weather will help to control condensation, but keep a check on your meters to check how much it is costing.

If you have a heating system, such as underfloor heating, but are afraid to use it because you’ve been told it is expensive to run, please contact the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (EEAC)* for an advice guide on how to control your system. You may find that it costs less to run than you expect or have experienced in the past.

If you don’t have heating in every room, keep the internal doors of unheated rooms open to allow heat into them. To add extra heat to a room without any form of installed heating, it is better to use electric heaters, for example, oil-filled radiators or panel heaters, on a low setting. Remember you should not use portable bottled gas heaters in homes suffering from condensation as they give out copious amounts of moisture whilst in use. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually cheaper to heat a room with on-peak electricity than by using bottled gas heaters.

Be careful not to ‘over-ventilate’ your home when it is cold, as it will cause the temperature inside to drop and make condensation more likely. It will also increase your heating costs. If you think that the heating or heaters installed in your home are insufficient to give enough heat to combat condensation, please contact your landlord to enquire about the possibility of an improvement to your heating.

If you have a chronic medical condition and require extra warmth, you might wish to contact your landlord to enquire about the procedure for obtaining a medical referral for heating improvement.

To see what you can do relatively cheaply on a DIY basis; ring the Energy Efficiency Advice centre for a copy of “It’s Criminal to Waste Energy – A Guide to Saving Cash and Energy in the Home.”
For information on how to run heating systems economically please contact 0800512012 or visit

Key Things to Remember

  • Reduce the amount of moisture you are producing
  • Improve ventilation
  • Reduce the number of cold surfaces in your home
  • Maintain an adequate temperature