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

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Large numbers of mortgage lenders and brokers are predicting part of the government's Help to Buy scheme will be withdrawn early because it is artificially inflating house prices, according to an industry survey.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

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:

We offer the following services:



Specialist Areas/Other

• Building Surveys (formerly known as structural surveys)
• Development Appraisals
• RICS Homebuyer Reports
• RICS Condition Reports
• Insurance Valuations
• Specific Defects Analysis
• Valuations for all purposes
• Vendor Surveys
• Snagging Lists
• Home Condition Reports
• Portfolio Valuations
• Probate Valuations
• Retrospective Valuations
• Expert Witness Reports

• Building Surveys (formerly known as structural surveys)
• Compensation
• Development Appraisals
• Expert Witness Reports
• Insurance Valuations
• Leasehold Enfranchisement Advice
• Negotiations
• Valuations for all purposes
• Boundary Disputes
• Compulsory Purchase & Compensation
• Defects Analysis
• e-commerce Applications
• Expert Witness Reports
• Lectures & Presentations
• Party Wall Matters & Disputes
• Planning Applications & Appeals
• Portfolio Valuations
• Preparation of Plans
• Project Management
• Schedules of Dilapidations
• Specifications & Tender Documentation



Why should I have a survey?
Buying a home is a very important investment decision. The only safe way of reaching an informed decision is to have a professional survey and valuation. Before you commit yourself, legally, to the purchase you can minimise any risk by asking Nichols Surveying to answer these questions for you:

  • Is the agreed price reasonable and does it reflect the condition of the property?
  • Are there problems/defects/drawbacks that I don't know about?
  • If so, what do I need to do about them?
  • Should I even buy the property?

Having your own survey is the simple and economical way to avoid unpleasant (and perhaps costly) surprises after you move in. In some cases the surveyor's report may help you to renegotiate the price.

But I already have a mortgage valuation
You have your mortgage offer and probably also a copy of the report prepared for the lender following a brief inspection by the valuer. It is still advisable and prudent to arrange your own survey, by your own surveyor. The Consumers' Association, Which magazine and The Council of Mortgage Lenders all give this advice. Also most lenders incorporate a warning notice at the bottom of the Mortgage Valuation Report urging borrowers to obtain their own detailed survey report before committing themselves to the purchase.

The reason is simple - the mortgage valuation is for the benefit of your lender - not for you, the borrower. It answers only the lender's questions relating to the security of the property for loan purposes. You cannot rely upon it to answer the questions that concern your personal interests. It also may not disclose significant defects.

What choice of surveys do I have?
Nichols Surveying offers four types of surveys and valuations, at competitive prices, which are specifically designed to help home buyers. These are MARKET VALUATIONS, THE RICS HOMEBUYER SERVICE, THE RICS CONDITION REPORT SERVICE and THE BUILDING SURVEY as explained below....



Essentially, a valuation report is a limited document which is designed to give a valuation opinion with only an overall comment on the condition of the property which may include the identification of essential repairs that need to be carried out in order to preserve value.
This is a form of report that is typically provided to mortgage lenders following only a brief inspection by the valuer. Prospective purchasers should be aware of its limitations in that it is not a building survey or a schedule of disrepair and therefore should not be totally relied upon. It is still advisable and prudent to arrange your own survey, by your own independent surveyor. 



This is in a standard format and is designed specifically as an economy service. It therefore differs materially from a Building Survey in several respects:

It is intended for particular types of properties only eg. houses, flats and bungalows that are:

  • Conventional style and construction.
  • In reasonable condition.
  • Of an age, type and size that does not warrant a Building Survey.

It identifies what the surveyor considers to be the most important issues. By applying condition ratings to elements of the building, services and permanent outbuildings, the surveyor will tell you whether defects are serious or urgent. It also includes an opinion of market value and reinstatement cost. It focuses on matters that, in the surveyor's opinion, may affect the value of the property if they are not dealt with. The report also includes other valuable information.

What else should I know about the HOMEBUYER SERVICE?

The Service - the inspection, report and valuation - are all explained, in detail, in The Description of the HomeBuyer Service.

The main features are:

It is an economy package. Owing to the practical limits of the type of property and the scope of its coverage, The HomeBuyer Service is priced economically - more expensive than the lender's mortgage valuation, but less than the Building Survey.

The surveyor's main objectives are to assist the client:

  • In making a reasoned and informed judgement on whether to proceed with the purchase or not.
  • Assess whether or not the agreed price is reasonable and take account of any repairs or replacements the property needs.
  • Be clear as to what decisions/action should be taken before exchange of contracts.

The concise report covers the inside and outside of the building, the services and the site. It includes :

  • The general condition and features of the property.
  • Particular matters that should be referred to the client's legal advisers.
  • Other relevant considerations i.e. safety matters, location, environment, energy peformance etc.
  • Condition ratings for elements of the structure, the services and permanent outbuildings.
  • Specific risks associated with the property.

Any defects that the surveyor considers do not need repairing or replacing, or any minor matters that do not affect the value of the property, are generally not included in the report.



  • A clear and concise report that provides a "snapshot" of the condition of the property and is suitable for owners, buyers and sellers seeking an objective report at an economic price.
  • It summarises the key risks and individually rates the various elements of the property using an easily understood colour coded, traffic light system.
  • In brief, it is a survey report that provides important guidance at an affordable price and is primarily designed for houses, bungalows and flats that are conventional in type and of traditional construction. It is better suited to more modern properties.
  • It is less comprehensive than The RICS HomeBuyer Service or a Building Survey but includes more detailed commentary upon the condition of a property than a valuation does. 



The purpose of a building survey is to give a professional opinion on the structure and condition of a property. As such, it is a much more detailed document in comparison to the RICS HomeBuyer Service. 


A Building Survey is suitable for all types, size and age of residential properties and provides a full picture of the construction and condition. 


It can be designed to suit your own specific needs and is likely to be needed if the property is unusual, dilapidated or has been altered extensively or if you are planning alterations yourself. 


The report will include extensive technical information and will detail both major and minor defects.

Use our online form to get a quote right now.