What are my legal and contractual responsibilities?
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out both the legal and contractual responsibilities and obligations of the two parties. It should be written in plain and intelligible language and its terms and clauses should be fair and balanced, taking account of the respective positions of the parties and should not mislead about legal rights and responsibilities.

New trend is welcome news for landlords
The objections to unfurnished property can be traced back to before1974 when disposable incomes were lower, the cost of furniture relatively high and unfurnished property was thought to be a charter for sitting tenants. That impression was firmly quashed by the courts 21 years ago and again by the 1988 Housing Act.

As house prices continue to fall, attractive remortgage deals are becoming more difficult to find. So it’s important to find the best deal that’s right for you and your particular situation. Unfortunately in this current economic climate the remortgage market landscape has changed without all recognition. Lenders are increasingly looking to attract borrowers who have higher levels of equity in their homes, a paradox when prices are falling.

Investors guarantee the growth of the private rented sector
Amidst the findings of a recent study, buy-to-let investors expect to hold on to their properties for up to twenty years in spite of falling house prices, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Prospective purchasers register at a greater rate
A leading national surveyor says there is cause to be optimistic about the housing market as we enter 2009. Tyser Greenwood Surveyors say, while 2008 was clearly a year many in the property industry wish to forget, there are some indicators that there is cause for some optimism in 2009.

Are you paying more than you really need to?
An economic slowdown could have considerable implications for most people’s taxes. Whatever your position, now is an excellent opportunity to take a look at your tax.

Professional advice is essential when choosing your mortgage
If you are considering remortgaging, or you’re a first-time buyer, it is essential that you obtain professional advice to enable you to weigh up properly the pros and cons between opting for a standard variable rate, fixed loan or tracker deal. Especially as interest rates could continue to remain low or even fall below their current levels.

Finding an instant home
For the tenant, it is much simpler to rent than to buy, a contributory factor to the steady growth in the Private Rented Sector and the agent does most of the work for the landlord too. That is why the letting agent’s job is so complex. It is not just a matter of finding a property that appeals to the personal taste of one buyer.

Some borrowers are close to enjoying interest-free home loans
Some borrowers are now close to enjoying an interest-free mortgage, following the Bank of England’s bank rate reduction to 1.5 per cent on January 8, 2009.

did you know?
Offsetting savings or current account deposits against mortgage debt in a single, rolled-up account began in Australia decades ago.

Reducing the negative impact on borrowers
Gross mortgage lending reached an estimated £14.6 billion in November 2008 according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). This is a 22 per cent fall from October 2008 and a 51 per cent fall from November last year.

Capital values of rental properties show signs of stability
Nine out of ten investment landlords are marking time, neither selling nor buying residential rental property, even though asset values and rental yields have fallen, according to the fourth quarter Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) Members Survey of the Private Rented Sector, published on December 8, 2008. This is the largest independent survey of the rental market.

Death of funding is the major constraint
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) welcomed the government’s in-principle decision to accept the recommendations of the Crosby report to rekindle the market for mortgage backed securities. The CML have urged the government to proceed as quickly as possible in seeking the necessary permissions to proceed, as the dearth of funding is a major constraint to the current mortgage market.

How safe is your money?
If you have a savings or current account with a UK-based institution, up to £50,000 of your cash is protected through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) from 7 October 2008. If the institution collapses, you will be entitled to claim back 100 per cent of your money up to that limit.