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Top Tips for First Time Property Investors Foreign owners who leave their homes empty should pay more tax says London Mayor Incorporating Food Safety in to Your Commercial Premises

The importance of evolving in all aspects in the commercial world

The commercial world that we see today is not something that had always been there. While there have been commercial entities for a very long time, it can be observed that they have all evolved and changed, and had made the commercial world what it is today. If you have a business or a commercial institution of your own, it would be vital for you to gain an understanding about why it would be so important for you to evolve along with the commercial world. By evolving as an office in the commercial world, you should not just restrict yourself to evolving in just a few aspects, because it would not let you overcome the high competition that is there. What you should do would be to observe the direction that the world is headed in, and then evolve in the all possible aspects.

Doing a bit of research would always prove to be helpful in identifying the ways you need to evolve. By figuring out the next step you could take, it would be possible for you to make sure that your commercial entity has enough stability. As an example, with the current energy situation in the world, it would be more financially feasible to move forward with energy solutions such as solar energy. In order to adapt such energy solutions, your office would have to know a good commercial solar supplier, and then it would be just a matter of letting the supplier know of your requirements. Such solutions would prove to be extremely cost effective, and your office would be able to gain a positive reputation because it happens to be environmental friendly as well. You would also need to focus on adapting the latest technology in your office. This would make the tasks of your office easier, and would allow the employees to work in efficient ways.

 

What is trending today in the commercial world might not trend tomorrow. Therefore, as important as it would be for you to follow trends, you also need to take the sustainability of your actions into consideration. This is why solutions such as renewable energy will prove to be ideal options for an office that will stand the test of time.

 

Whether it is the step that you take regarding solar energy, the likeliness for your office to utilize social media for marketing or even using the latest type of computers in your office, it would be clear that evolving accordingly will allow the office to stay in the commercial world in a successful manner.

 

 

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Top Tips for First Time Property Investors

You would be forgiven for believing that the recent tax changes and regulations involved in the buy to let market may have fully decreased the appeal that property investment has. We can confirm, however, that despite the changes, UK property investment is still a very good form of investment, and you should continue to consider it if you are looking to make your first investment. With interest rates currently at a reasonably low rate and the potential for house prices to increase in the near future, now may well be as good a time as ever to make your first property investment. There are a number of things for you to consider before making your first investment, so we have compiled a list of our top tips to help you make your decision.

Research and Understand the Market

We cannot stress enough how important it is to conduct your own research into the market, allowing yourself to understand all aspects of it and exactly what you are getting into. By doing this, you will be fully educated and will place yourself in a good position to make informed decisions throughout the whole process. Property investment gives you so many opportunities for financial growth, much more than other methods such as placing your funds into an investment fund.

Be Certain About the Financial Aspect of the Investment

The key aspect of any investment is being sure that the numbers add-up, and that they add-up in your favour. Being sure about a good yield for your property is important to making your investment as it shows how profitable the investment is likely to be. Continual focus on the financial aspect allows you to stay on top of how worthwhile your investment will be, meaning that you can generate the optimal amount of money.

Consider the Perfect Area to Invest In

If you proactively research a number of different areas you could potentially invest in, you are able to start considering where might be the best area for you to choose. A low crime rate, access to local amenities and good transport links are just some of the factors that buyers and tenants might consider during their search for their next home. Finding a good balance between a good quality area to live in and good financial aspects on your part is the key to making the right investment. If you are able to find the right balance, you could make a good amount of money whilst minimising the potential of any void periods.

Be Sure About What Potential Buyers or Tenants May Desire

By looking into the area that your property is located in, you will be able to determine a potential target market, and transform your property into something that will be perfect for them to live in. Whether the area is renowned for business, has a local university or is close to good quality schools, you will be able to tailor your property to the right target audience, making it more appealing to them. This will really enhance the chances of you finding a buyer or a tenant, especially if they are able to envisage themselves living in your property.

Have the Right Insurance in Place

Once you are in possession of your property, you will almost certainly want to insure it as soon as possible. Despite this, insurers will typically not look to cover damages on a house if it has been occupied for less than 30 days. If you wish to do so, you could take out unoccupied home insurance, which is more appealing to investors that dont live near to their property as they will wish for it to be as protected as it can be.

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Foreign owners who leave their homes empty should pay more tax says London Mayor

For those foreign property owners who leave their homes empty, they could find themselves paying more tax if the Mayor of London has his way.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as requested that the government agree to increase the council tax bill in those London boroughs where high valued properties are empty.

This request comes after a report was carried out last year to understand the role that overseas investment plays in the property market of London. The London School of Economics and the University of York carried out the research and they consider the how overseas investment contributes to the new housing supply along with any concerns that the public has about those homes that are being left empty after they are purchased by overseas buyers.

It was found that the number of empty properties was relatively low but there were more empty homes in those locations that are upmarket and considered to be prime areas.

Therefore, the Mayor has requested that the Government supports the proposed changes to increase council tax on empty homes above the current 5% level. He stated that councils should have the ability to increase council tax to a rate that is meaningful to the point where it would encourage owners to occupy their properties. It was also suggested that the increase could also help to enhance investment in affordable homes in an attempt to deal with the housing crisis. He made a point of mentioning the Westminsters top Band H, where properties can be worth millions of pounds but due to the empty homes levy would be no higher than 668 per annum.

London is facing a real housing crisis and this challenge alone will not be sorted out overnight. Therefore, a solid plan needs to be put in place in order to deal with the issue.

The Mayor believes that even one empty home is one too many and that is why he wants to form relationships with boroughs in an attempt to stand up for Londoners by asking the government to charge a higher rate of council tax at rate that really does help to make a change.

Many of the boroughs have made their support clear and are now asking for increased flexibility to be provided to local authorities so that they can have a greater control over the amount that can be levied on properties that are empty.

While this would send out a hard hitting message it would create extra money that can be re-invested so that it can benefit those residents who live in these areas. There is no a large push and an increase in support for affordable housing to become available in the capital.

This suggestion from the Mayor should be considered by the government. They certainly need to consider what is working and what is not working in order to reduce the number of empty properties currently located in the city.

Fletcher Day are commercial and residential property lawyers in London.

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Incorporating Food Safety in to Your Commercial Premises

If you are running a business that involves food you will need to ensure that you put the right food safety and hygiene precautions in place. There is more to this than just ensuring that your surfaces are clean because you need to consider the way that food is stored and prepared.

What are your Responsibilities?

The Food Safety Act 1990 gives you three main responsibilities to follow:

  • It permits you from adding or removing anything from food and you are not allowed to treat food in a way that would result in it posing a risk to those who consume it.
  • The food that you sell or serve has to meet the standards that consumers expect.
  • Food has to be clearly labelled and advertised as well as presented in a suitable way so that it is not misleading in any way.

So what can you do?

Keep pests under control

If you fail to meet the expected food standards, you will soon find that pests make an appearance. Once they have a hold on your kitchen they can spread extremely quickly which can lead to contaminated food through the spreading of foodborne diseases. Therefore, it is important that you put the correct pest control measures in place so that it can be monitored and dealt with as quickly as possible.

Deal with waste in a reliable manner

This ties in with the previous point because if you fail to manage waste correctly it will encourage pests to appear. Therefore, waste should be managed in accordance with legal requirements in order to prevent contamination.

To prevent dirt from spreading, business should have waste storage areas and the right containers. There should also be procedures in place for the removal and storage of waste in order to stop waste from building up.

Personal Hygiene

This is more important than you may realise because poor personal hygiene is likely lead to poor food hygiene and it will result in customers turning away. It is important that you make it possible for staff to carry out good hygiene by putting the correct facilities in place so that you can meet the relevant food safety requirements. This means that you will need to ensure that staff wash their hands regularly, their hair is tied up or covered and are not wearing jewellery.

Provide correct training for staff

The right training will make sure that staff fully understand what is expected of them while helping to reduce the risk of contamination. Certain regulations require those who handle food to be supervised as well as being trained in maintaining good food hygiene.

A work environment that is clean

If your work environment is clean it will make it easier to implement good food safety. Meeting the correct hygiene standards can be achieved through disinfection and regular cleaning and this will also help to prevent foodborne illnesses and bacteria.

The machinery also needs cleaning but not as frequently as surfaces or cooking utensils as these can contain microorganisms that can result in food poisoning.

Stuart Jessop is a licensing barrister in London, specialising in health and safety, licensing, planning and regulatory law.

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More Landlords in the UK are selling then adding to their property portfolios

A new trend seems to be developing that shows one in five landlords intend to sell at least one of their properties in the next year. With an increase in rental incomes from tenants, what could possibly be the catalyst for this shift and what does it mean?

A recent report has shown that 22% of property investors looking to sell investment properties, whilst only 18% plan to buy more property for their portfolios. It seems that in the last six months, the number adding to a portfolio has dropped by 7%, whilst those reducing their list of assets has grown by 2%.

The Rental Market

This change in those looking to sell is not due to demand, as 33% of landlords have reported seeing an increase in those looking to rent over the last three years. With a distinct lack in supply, almost half of the landlords surveyed expect to increase their rents in the next 12 months.

This rise in rental rates is largely due to the new buy to let tax changes which will now eat into a landlords profit margins. Many have been left feeling that putting their rents up is the only way to combat the new shortfall.

There are still investors looking to add to their portfolios, but the number of those with such an intention has seen a drop. This might show that these tax changes are a major factor in the decision to reduce portfolios, with many feeling discouraged to invest when monthly incomes have been hit so hard.

Tenants

A recent survey has also uncovered the fact that a third of landlords have attempted to evict a tenant in the last year, with most blaming rent arrears as the reason for this. This has become a serious concern for many investors, and changes to mortgage interest relief will only serve to make landlords feel more uncomfortable.

Welfare reform has also led to some concerns, as 38% of those who let to tenants on universal credit or housing benefit have experienced tenants going into rent arrears in the last year.

More than half of landlords have successfully requested an Alternative Payment Arrangement, but a similar number found that the DWP were unhelpful. Rent arrears from these tenants are the main reason for many landlords regaining possession of their property. This indicates that some changes to the universal credit system must need to be made in order for landlords to be able to claim alternative payments and keep arrears to a minimum if landlords are to be expected to keep providing housing.

The current political and economic climate has shaken the confidence of many industries, and this is certainly true of landlords. A weak result in the general election coupled with the uncertain outcomes of the Brexit negotiations has left landlords doubtful of adding to their portfolios. Whilst 38% were reported to be confident in the sector, 28% described feeling the opposite way, which might explain why plans for landlord portfolios have now seen this shift.

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