Changing tenant demographic – February 2014

Changing tenant demographic – February 2014

There has been a significant change in the age and type of tenants living in the private rented sector in England, Scotland and Wales, according to analysis from Countrywide Residential Lettings, the UK’s largest lettings agency.

The number of people aged over 30 living in rented accommodation in January 2014 increased 5.8% compared to January 2013. This age group now equates to 59.3% of all tenants. 

The number of families living in the private rented accommodation has also increased in most regions, with London seeing the greatest year-on-year increase of tenants living with children.

According to the ONS, 22% of 20-34 year olds in London are living at the family home, up from 18% ten years ago. However, London has the lowest percentage of young adults living with their parents than anywhere else in the country.

Source: Countrywide Residential Lettings

Stamp Duty Land Tax when you buy property



Before 4 December 2014 stamp duty was charged on the entire purchase price of a property.

Prior to Gordon Brown being in charge of the nation's finances stamp duty was a flat rate of 1% above £60,000.

Additional levels were added of 1.5% above £250,000 in 1997 and 2% above £500,000.

As house price inflation took off, Mr Brown decided to cash in further by raising the tax again to 3% above £250,000 and 4% above £500,000 in 2000.

The 1% initial level was raised to its current threshold at £125,000 in March 2006.

George Osborne raised stamp duty to 5% above £1million in 2011, and 7% above £2million in 2012.

Despite the punitive nature of the higher bands, they have never risen in line with the huge house price inflation that has been seen since their introduction.

From 4 December 2014 stamp duty will be charged on the purchase price at a sliding scale as follows:


£0 - £125,000 - 0%

£125,001 to £250,000 - 2%

£250,001 to £925,000 - 5%

£925,001 to £1,500,000 - 10%

Above £1,500,000 - 12%

To calculate what stamp duty you will pay please use the calculator tool below:

Help to Buy scheme – Is it driving up prices? – March 2014


Help to Buy scheme – Is it driving up prices? – March 2014

Large numbers of mortgage lenders and brokers are predicting part of the government's Help to Buy scheme will be withdrawn early because it is artificially inflating house prices, according to an industry survey.

Research by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), a group made up of banks and building societies that offer loans through brokers, found growing concerns that rising house prices could cause the chancellor to pull the plug on the part of the scheme that guarantees 95% home loans before the end of its planned 3 year term.

A key criticism of the scheme has been that it drives up demand for properties without increasing supply.
Source: The Guardian


key reasons

Some key reasons to use us:

  • Experienced Chartered Surveyors with an in depth local knowledge
  • Wide range of professional services
  • Clearly written reports in plain English
  • Fast, friendly and efficient service at all times
  • Constant communication with our customers often outside of normal office hours 


This case involved a complex residential development concerning the conversion of a Victorian school into 21 flats. The school is situated on the Bromley borders. A number of surveyors from the Orpington team were involved at various stages of the exercise as many different skills were needed including: planning knowledge, design, marketing and research, valuation, building surveying and engineering matters…to name a few.

Our clients wanted market intelligence on the type of unit that would readily sale as well as guidance on specifications and planning matters. They also required a comprehensive survey on the state of the buildings (3 in total) and advice upon general development matters. A detailed valuation was also needed for funding purposes and this involved a valuation of the project in its existing condition and once developed.

We were involved in all stages of the development process, from start to finish. This included supervision of works, selection of contractors/specialists, marketing advice, valuation and planning matters. We attended regular weekly on site meetings with our clients and all involved in the project.

The development was an immense success and all properties were sold on the launch weekend.

Since this project we have been retained by our clients to assist on other similar projects.





This was an interesting multi facet project undertaken by surveyors from our Wealden Office.

The initial brief was to acquire, value and survey a period house in The Weald of Kent. The client wanted an historic building that needed modernisation and also had a few acres. A budget was defined.

Several prospects were identified and discussed in detail with the client. A choice was made. The chosen farmhouse had been on the market for only 10 days and already there were 5 prospective purchasers at figures in excess of the guide price. Our client was keen to acquire and wanted a full building survey and costings within 48 hours. This we provided thus enabling the client to exchange contracts within 48 hours from receipt of our comprehensive report.

After the purchase our client instructed us to sort out the planning and prepare plans and specifications for the works needed. These were extensive as the building was in a poor state of repair. In fact it was subject to a Closing Order. If it had not been a Listed building it would have been the subject of a Demolition Order and pulled down………it was that bad. However it had immense potential.

During our initial building survey the main defects we discovered were dry rot, deathwatch beetle, woodworm, mortar bees, subsidence, defective services, poor drainage, the need for strengthening the timber frame and re-roofing. Walls and floors also needed reconstruction plus joinery and rainwater goods needed replacing. Rats, mice and bats were also in occupation. All of these matters required our detailed attention.

Our client wanted to radically alter the accommodation layout plus enlarge the property. Listed Building Consents were therefore needed and we were involved in a long period of consultation with local planners and architectural experts. Listed Building Consents and Building Regulation Approvals were obtained and works could therefore start.

The detailed working drawings and specifications were prepared along with tender documents. Contractors were selected and the works were put in hand. At all stages we were responsible for the selection of building materials and liaising with the various specialist manufacturers and trades involved in the project.

Our surveyors supervised all works and the project has been completed to everyone’s satisfaction. We were also involved in valuing the building at various stages for release of funds.





This was one of those instructions where you instantly know that speed and accuracy is everything (and there are so many of them these days ).

Our client needed an urgent report. He was in a sealed bid situation on his intended purchase and wanted fast, detailed advice….yesterday. His bid needed to be submitted within 24 hours of his first contact with our Whitstable team.

We carried out an inspection of the property within hours of his first phone call and also arranged for experienced local contractors and specialists to meet us on site to assist in the appraisal. We carried out a full Building Survey and advised contractors to prepare written estimates for the repairs identified.

The written report was hand delivered to our client, together with the estimates. The sealed bid was submitted to the selling agents along with a copy of our appraisal. Although the offered price was not the highest it was accepted by the vendor as it was felt that our client had carried out the due diligence exercise fully and was completely aware of the property’s condition and the costs and liabilities involved with any intended purchase.

We were subsequently retained to supervise all necessary repair and restoration works. We have since performed similar tasks for this client’s family, friends and colleagues. All part of our service commitment to more, better, faster.


For many months our clients had wanted to purchase a period cottage/farmhouse in a quiet rural location. They had viewed and rejected over 10 possible candidates and then they found the “house of their dreams” in which to bring up their young family. It was in an idyllic country lane setting in an area where properties rarely appear on the open market.
The housing market was booming and properties of this nature were selling within hours of initial marketing. Competition for this property was fierce and our clients submitted an offer above the guide price. It was accepted on the proviso that contracts were exchanged within 21 days and that the survey was carried out within a week. These were the conditions communicated to our clients by the estate agents handling the sale. Following a discussion with their solicitors our clients were recommended to us and strongly advised by their legal advisers to obtain a full Building Survey. Our clients had several concerns about the property for it was listed and many DIY type alterations had taken place to it over the years.
An added complication was that the vendors wanted to be present during the survey and that they were only available at weekends. At such short notice, and working to a strict 7 day deadline, this was going to be a tough commission. The offer had been accepted on a Thursday so we had no option other than to carry out the survey on the Saturday or Sunday coming. The survey was booked for Sunday…starting at 7.30am.
We left the site on the Sunday afternoon having documented our findings following a very detailed inspection of the building. The following day (Monday) the survey report was prepared and submitted to our clients by email. The report included over 40 images relating to areas of concern along with suggested remedial action. Our clients now had 3 days in which to exchange contracts but were worried about the costs involved for the necessary repair works and also that retrospective Listed Building Consents were needed for some of the past alterations.
Estimates were obtained from competent professional contractors and our clients arranged to meet the vendors to talk through their concerns. They presented the survey report and estimates to the vendors.
Within 24 hours a revised purchase price had been agreed and our clients proceeded to meet the exchange deadline.
Subsequently, the vendors of the property instructed us to carry out a survey on their own purchase and we have continued to assist the buyers in connection with various improvement projects and the obtaining of Listed Building Consents.


One of the most interesting and challenging surveys and appraisals for longstanding clients that we have ever undertaken was that of a stone built, Grade 1 listed castle and scheduled ancient monument.

It occupies a commanding position on a man-made mound and has been substantially altered over time. It stands in large established grounds and comes with a separate, detached, 2 storey, stone built cottage and a substantial range of stone built barns and outbuildings along with a resident ghost.


The castle has 14th century origins with later additions and modifications dating from the 17th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

The oldest parts of the building have fallen into decay and remain ruinous to this day.

We have inspected other castles in the past but none as professionally challenging as this one.

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