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Can I let off fireworks at my rental property?

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There’s a very real chance that by next year, the use of fireworks on private property will be illegal, but while this may be the last year you can enjoy a display in your back garden, you may already be prohibited if you live in a rental property.

Leading rental management platform, Howsy, has provided some top tips for those thinking of celebrating the 5th November within their rental home to ensure they don’t get in hot water with their landlord. 

Am I allowed?

Many tenancy agreements prohibit any kind of bonfire in the property’s garden and while this isn’t restricted to Bonfire night alone, it doesn’t necessarily prohibit fireworks either, but it is the first thing to look out for when planning a party.

That said, while uncommon, banning any use of fireworks can be included in the tenancy agreement by your landlord and so you should also check to see if this included.  

If it’s not, give them a ring and talk it through to double-check. A tenancy agreement will usually state that you must not pose any kind of nuisance or annoyance to neighbours, or engage in antisocial behaviour and letting off fireworks could be classed as both.

Therefore it’s common courtesy to inform your landlord and neighbours to ensure that your bonfire party isn’t misconstrued as such.

Other issues

Not only can a poorly organised bonfire party see you become one of the 4,000 people to attend A&E due to injury, but fireworks and bonfires can cause considerable damage to lawns and fences, while a rogue firework can be a lot more costly and in the worst case, damage the property beyond repair.

Advice

Prepare with care and ensure all fires, if you have to have one, won’t catch light to the lawn, fences or any other plants, sheds and so on. You will have to repair any damages so make sure you budget for this scenario. A fire pit or a brazier is a great way to have your bonfire cake and eat it without doing any damage, and they come in handy all winter long. 

To avoid causing a noise nuisance, inform your neighbours, keep your display to a reasonable length of time and hold the event in the early evening. You could even invite them to combat any ill-will against your display. 

Think about the rest of the house. You’re holding an outdoor party that is likely to involve some of the indoors and so you will need to protect carpets and floors from muddy footprints or you’ll have to pay to have them cleaned at the end of the tenancy.

Make sure your smoke alarms are working in the terrible event a firework does stray through a window and be sure to have something on hand, such as a fire extinguisher, in order to fight the fire and reduce damage.  

Remove any debris or leaves that could catch fire and ensure the garden is clear to avoid any trip hazards around the fire.

As with any party, ensuring everything is in hand and doesn’t get out of control is the best way to limit any potential damage to your rental property and the consequences this could bring from the landlord.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented: 

“Just because you live in a rental property it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate annual events like Bonfire Night, but it’s important to remember that you are doing so in someone else’s house and you should treat it as such.

By taking a few simple precautionary measures, checking everything is above board with regard to your tenancy agreement, and minimising any chance of damage to the property, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate Bonfire Night without facing eviction or a substantial bill.  

As is often the case in the renal space, your landlord will appreciate any attempts at preventing an issue far more than your attempts to resolve one once it’s already happened.” 

Property

Cost of maintaining a buy-to-let hits £12k a year in parts of the UK

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Leading property management platform, Howsy, has looked at the cost of maintaining a buy-to-let property each year and how this varies across the UK.  

Buy-to-let can be a tricky business if you don’t tackle it properly and there are a whole host of costs that can trip up the amateur investor. From the more obvious additional three percent stamp duty tax, to various other tax implications, void periods, mortgage costs, agency fees, the cost of finding a tenant, and more, Howsy’s previous research shows the average buy-to-let brings an annual return of just £2,000.

With the Government’s continued attack on UK landlords, making the most out of your investment financially can be tough and even when you consider all financial commitments for a property, many can still be caught unaware by out of the blue maintenance and repair costs. 

Buy-to-let landlords should squirrel away savings in anticipation of these events and an industry rule of thumb is an annual budget equivalent to 1% of your property’s value. 

So what does that equate to?  

Across the UK landlords should be tucking away an annual budget of £2,344 to cover repairs and maintenance, with this rising to £4,746 in London, with the North East home to the lowest repair costs at just £1,328. 

Of course, markets with higher rent returns may seem promising from an investment standpoint but the higher the reward, the higher the cost when things do go wrong. In Kensington and Chelsea, this annual 1% saving climbs to an eye-watering £12,292, hitting nearly £9,000 in both the Cities of London and Westminster.  

Outside of London, South Bucks and Elmbridge are home to the most expensive buy-to-let maintenance costs at £6,091 and £6,019 respectively.

Head to the likes of Burnley or Blaenau Gwent however, and this yearly maintenance budget drops to less than £1,000 a year.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented: 

“The buy-to-let sector can be a minefield for the amateur investor and now more than ever, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to maximise the return on your investment.

While technology now allows a greater level of control and service when managing your investment at a lower cost via online platforms, it isn’t just about the financial side of things. Providing a fit for purpose property is not only a legal requirement but essential to ensure a happy tenancy and a reduction in void periods.

Of course, things can go wrong and having the budget available to fix them is a must. In the worst-case scenarios, a cash pot equal to one percent of your property’s value might not be sufficient, but it should cover you for most eventualities and is a good benchmark to start on.

As with all buy-to-let investments, good preparation, organisation, and education are key, and whether you go it alone or have a great management agent if you stay on top of things, a bricks and mortar investment is still one of the best you can make.” 

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