Should you avoid UK property? — Jamie Lawhorn’s Blog

Since the credit crunch, the UK property market has soared. Particularly in London and the south east, it has offered relatively dependable growth that has left many investors contemplating selling shares and piling into property. However, results released today from diversified property business Countrywide (LSE: CWD) are rather disappointing. Could now be the right time to […]

via Should you avoid UK property? — Jamie Lawhorn’s Blog


Converting Offices To Residential Properties To Be Made A Perminant Right

Permitted Development Rights are a current government initiative which was orignally brought into force on 30th May 2013 to further boost the economy by increasing renovation of disused or under utilised offices and provide more supply in much needed housing. This is the permitted development rights (PDR) to convert a buildings use without the costly and complicated need for full planning permission.

Premises  having a in B1(a) office use can change to C3 residential use, subject to prior approval covering mandatory building consents  such as flooring, highways & transport issues and contamination.

Previously, these changes of use were only to be lawful if occupation by residents commenced prior to the 29th May 2016 and one would assume that this to was ensure developers sought permitted change but not leave completion to drag on beyond this date.

The new rules set out in Chancellor Osborne’s most recent Autumn budget have extended this PDR for an indefinite period and no longer fixed to require completed or occupation by a predisposed date.

Prior approval fees for change of use is set at £80. Which is a far way short of the usual planning fees running into hundreds of pounds.

Office availability in the UK stands at ” and many landlords have….


Nelmes Road, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 3JA


A superb 5 bedroom detached property for sale via Savills at a £2.25 million is the perfect piece of paradise just a stone’s throw from the centre of the UK capital.

Brought to you by New Generation Construction, this newly redeveloped three storey 5 bedroom property has been finished to an exceptional standard and boasts an impressive swimming pool, gated in/out driveway, fully landscaped gardens and it’s very own detached leisure complex including sauna and hot tub!

A video of the property can be found on you tube here:

For the full property brochure please click here:

Making the most of halls and stairways

Mishon Welton Estate Agents

First impressions count, so if you want your visitors to feel wowed as well as welcomed, here are a couple of ideas to make your hallway heavenly.

68ad4f2405433c9b90d87e8d7cf6642eIn a narrow hallway, a two or three tier wire potting bench makes the perfect quirky hall table, with plenty of room for letters, keys, a notepad as well as a jug of flowers or pot plants. Probably cheaper than a hall table too.

Provide practical storage in the hallway for boots and shoes, which can easily hide when you have guests. A low level chest or trunk is ideal as a ‘hidey hole’ and provides a surface to pop the post on.

Prop a big mirror against a landing wall to reflect the light and make the space seem bigger. It’s good place to make use of a discarded door from an old mirrored wardrobe too. A repaint and a wax can…

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Autumn Statement 2014 – Osborne Confirms Business Rates Review

The Chancellor, George Osborne, has pledged a ‘full structural review‘ of the business rates system, which has been in place since 1988,to help High Street stores take on internet firms. Mr Osborne says he ‘recognised the impact of business rates on small business and promised to devise a new, fairer system‘. Having read the Autumn Statement, the main points relating to Property tax are as follows: 1. Business rates administration review: interim findings – The government will publish its interim findings in December 2014, setting out a summary of stakeholder responses and providing an update on how the government proposes to respond to businesses’ calls for clearer billing, better sharing of information and a more efficient appeals system. 2. Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) – The government will extend the doubling of SBRR for a further year from 1 April 2015. (7) 3. Business rates: transitional arrangements – The government will extend the transitional arrangements for properties with a rateable value of £50,000 and below facing significant bill increases due to the ending of Transitional Rate Relief from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2017. (10) 4. Business rates: backdating – The government will change the rules so that alterations to rateable values can only be backdated to the period between 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2015 for Valuation Office Agency (VOA) alterations made before 1 April 2016 and ratepayers’ appeals made before 1 April 2015. 5. Business rates: discount – The government will increase the business rates discount for retail and food and drink premises with a rateable value of £50,000 and below to £1,500 up to the state aids limit for 1 year from 1 April 2015. (9) 6. Business rates: indexation – The government will continue the 2% cap on the RPI increase in the business rates multiplier for an additional year from 1 April 2015. (8) 7. Business rates: long-term review – The government will conduct a review of the future structure of business rates to report by Budget 2016. The review will be fiscally neutral and consistent with the government’s agreed financing of local authorities. The government will publish terms of reference in due course.   My main concern with this policy is that Mr Osborne has also stated that this measure would be fiscally neutral – therefore – not change the current income levels to the Government. My own thoughts on this are that we are likely to see re-valuation and a lowering of the Rateable Values, but that businesses are most likely to see increased multipliers applied so there are no savings to our already ailing businesses!

Colliers International have criticised this step as “fiddling while the high street burns”. – I don’t disagree!!

Clued up on Business Rates?

Many of my clients, more so in recent times, have mentioned business rates charged by a Local Authority. The most common complaint is that business rates are too high.

Let’s start with the basics, business rates are set by the Valuation Office and are assessed every five years, however the 2013 valuation has been deferred by a further 2 years to ‘help’ businesses – this is another topic for another day. The Valuation Office use comparable data to assess what they believe the market rent is for a given property and the business that is in possession of the property pays a percentage of that figure using the business rates multiplier. The business rate multiplier in Colchester, for instance, is 47.1p in the £1. So, if your Rateable Value is £10,000, you pay £4,710 per annum. However, there is currently a small business rate relief (which expires in April 2014) this is applied on the basis that a company occupying only one property gets full business rate relief if their Rateable Value is less than £6,000. For Rateable Values between £6,000 and £12,000 there is a sliding scale of Releif from full Releif at £6,000 to no Releif from £12,000 and over.

It is no suprise that many small businesses and investors alike are confused by this and unsure of what options are available to them. For further information or for further bespoke advice, please contact me to discuss your Business Rates queries.

BSc (hons) Real Estate Management GRADUATE!

I am pleased to announce the successful completion of my 5 year BSc (hons) degree course studied in Real Estate Management at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, Essex. I have now had my graduation today with no sign of ” We are sorry Mr Swan, we made a mistake and you didn’t make the grade” which is always pleasing!

Now I can boast the benefit of holding an RICS accredited degree in a topic which I am passionate about and hope to be able to put to good use in the not too distant future.

I would like this opportunity to thank all my family and friends for their time and support over the years, as well as the tutors and my fellow graduates for their invaluable help and advice along the way.

Here’s to a successful and progressive future!

Regulation of buy-to-let mortgages shelved (for the time being)

The original Government proposal was for buy-to let mortgages to become subject to the Financial Services Act regulation, However, this is no longer the case, as the Government says it now accepts that further investigative work is needed to clarify the role of buy-to-let.

In particular the government want to explore the following two key points:

1. The impact of regulation on professional landlords

2. The role of advisers in promoting possibly harmful practices

Positive News For Investor Landlords

Whilst the selling market is still suffering the recession hangover, residential investors / landlords (in particular) can celebrate recent news that captial growth is still possible…prices have been reported to have risen 9% to January 2010, however, there has been a recorded 1% fall in February according to statistics from the Nationwide building society , so an overall 8% rise over 10 months is still positive! This may be more due to lack of supply with increased demand, however, it’s always good to know that overall the market is looking more bouyat than is has for the last few years!

Further to this, rental properties have seen a slight increase in rental prices as tenant demand is outstripping the current supply. According to statistics from supply of rental properties hasnt been lower since October 2008.

Further to these statistics, rents increased by 0.7% over the past four weeks, marking two straight months of rises in rental prices. In fact,’s most recent rental price index stood at £820 per month, representing a £16 increase since the beginning of the year.