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LettingFocus

Unbiased buy to let, property investment and letting coaching, mentoring, advice and seminars for landlords from top selling property author and media commentator.

Insurance for Landlords and Finding Good Builders – by LettingFocus.com

Fed up with lousy unprofessional builders, plumbers and the like?
You know the sort!
They are the ones who do that funny noise where they breathe in through their teeth just before telling you that fixing this or that is going to cost you thousands.
They don’t “do” written quotes, they slag off other tradesmen, they are not members of trade associations, they don’t have public liability insurance cover, they don’t provide references, they don’t complete the job on time, they want to be paid in cash (to cheat the taxman), they start late, bugger off for weeks on end and when at last they do finish, they leave your house a mess because they have never heard of dust sheets and they don’t seem to own a vacuum cleaner.
You’ve seen the TV programme “Rogue Traders” so I’m sure you get the picture.
Well, these days, the internet has meant there are lots of great sites out there where members of the public can write recommendations or alternatively post bad reviews.
One decent site I have used recently is RatedPeople.com.
With this lot, what you do is post the job you want doing on line at the site and the site then selects 3 local builders / plumbers/ heating engineers (or whatever it is you want done).
They contact you and you then get the ones you like round to quote for the job.
Then, once the job is done you can go back and write about how they did.
You can also read reviews that other people have written and use that to decide for yourself about which contractor to use.
With RatedPeople the tradesman pays a listing fee of about £50 a quarter and another fee for each lead he chases up.
Now, of course, it is not impossible to cheat the site.
Most obviously, a builder could get some mates to write specs for non existent jobs and then write up about how fantastically well he did - which is why you should always check and go and see reference sites yourself.
But I think sites like these are a good idea and hopefully will make it hard for duff builders and tradesmen to continue in business.
Other similar sites are Problemsolved.co.uk, Mybuilder.com, Trustmark.org.uk and FindaBuilder.co.uk. Check them out and see how they work too.
For more on finding a good builder, read our article: Choosing Builders and Tradesmen

LANDLORDS INSURANCE / INSURANCE FOR LET PROPERTY
There seem to be ever more and better features under landlords insurance these days.
Many companies under their property letting insurance cover now include malicious damage by tenants as a standard feature, for example.
I’m also getting bomarded by landlords insurance companies wanting to advertise at our site – a sure sign that competition is really coming to town for insurance for let properties.
It is nearly always cheaper going to a broker than sticking with your mortgage lender for landlords insurance.
For more on getting cover for let property, read our article: Landlords Insurance.
Right now, we have a great arrangement with UKInsurance.net for landlords' insurance products covering such insurances as rent guarantee cover and property insurance.
Just click on Insurance for Let Property and don't forget to quote our reference code, LFOC to get the best rates from them.
ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS.COM and DAVID LAWRENSON
I’m David Lawrenson of LettingFocus.com - the property letting experts. Read Property Articles.
I’m the author of “Successful Property Letting” which for the last 3 years has been the UK’s top selling property book - buy Property Investing Book.
The new edition is for accidental and experienced landlords and is fully up to date with all the recent changes to tenancy deposit schemes, HMOs, licensing and capital gains taxes.
I’m an expert property writer and property speaker - and I run the well known property letting blog that you are reading now.
I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a number of columns in the press and I provide general advice on property letting and consulting to anyone looking to buy property for themselves or to let out. I can help private individuals with any aspect of buying property or buy to let.
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent unbiased property investment advice because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from these sources.
On the contrary, we are often asked to evaluate other property investments.
Find out about some great deals we have arranged at our Landlords Links page.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2009. This blog is updated roughly once a week.
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Watch out for increased insurance premiums due to flooding risk says LettingFocus

Later this year, up to half a million households could see buildings insurance premiums shoot up by as much as a third when the government rolls out its new revised flood maps.
At the moment, the Environment Agency maps show about half a million houses face a high risk of flooding – which means a 1 in 75 chance of a flood in any given year.
The fear is that the new maps, which will now include floods caused by poor drainage, could increase the number of properties at risk to a million.

An Unsusal Agreement
Whilst the Association of British Insurers has bashed out an agreement with the government that their members will continue to cover existing customers in high-risk areas – this is an uneasy agreement because they will only cover as long as flood improvements are planned in an area.
In other words, there is a battle of wills going on here between government and the insurers!
Keep in mind that even where they do cover a property, insurers can still increase premiums or impose much higher levels of excess.
In effect, if your property falls into highest risk category you could find you are on what might as well be a blacklist. And you could find it hard to sell your property – after all no one likes to pay huge insurance premiums.

Read the Map
My advice is to check out the environment agency map carefully before you buy any property. Even if your property is only in a medium risk area, proceeed with caution before buying. It may be that your property is on a small hill which clearly makes the risk of flood minimal – after all the maps are not super accurate down to individual property level.
But do take care, this is a problem that will only get worse as the climate changes and flash floods become more commonplace.
About LettingFocus
If you need more advice on where to buy investment property ask me. I’m David Lawrenson from independent property investment experts www.LettingFocus.com
I’m the author of the landlords bible “Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let” the UK’s top selling property title.
I’m an expert on property letting and a well known writer on buy to let and I contribute to newspapers and a host of property websites, write a property investment blog and run a landlord and tenant advice service.
I also work as a consultant helping banks, building societies, housing associations and web portals with their buy to let and property products and services.
You can read more of my landlord blog and details of my networking, advice, property investors seminar programme at my website www.lettingfocus.com
What’s unique about lettingfocus.com is that we offer independent property investment mentoring because unlike most people in the buy to let and property “advice” business we are not linked to a property company, developer, agent or bridging loan financier and do not receive commissions from any of these sources.
If a property investment is lousy – We’ll tell you straight and we will tell you all about buy to let and property investment - the good and the bad and we won’t make silly promises that you’ll become a millionaire overnight.
Copyright: David Lawrenson 2008. This blog is updated at least twice a week. Permission must be sought before using the material in the blog.

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