property management

Managing your rental properties the easy way

Here at Cleared Away we work with Robinson Jackson in Gravesend and the rental properties they manage. The property managers here work with landlords to ensure hey have a ‘hassle-free’ investment.

There are reportedly over 500 laws and legislations governing the buy-to-let industry. The lettings staff and property managers at Robinson Jackson receive daily updates on rental rules and regulations, so they can keep you better informed. When new regulations are introduced they ensure you are compliant.

Based in two central Letting Centres, their Property Managers are qualified, experienced professionals, who are unflappable in an emergency.

The benefits of using an agent to manage your rental properties include:

  • Collecting rent and producing a monthly statement of accounts
  • Conducting regular property visits
  • Swift response to maintenance issues, obtaining quotes and overseeing the works
  • Annual gas and electricity checks
  • Providing the financial information needed for your tax return
  • The option of rent guarantee and legal cost protection

They will also offer a tailor-made lettings package to suit your individual circumstances as each landlord is an individual. If you would like to know more about becoming a landlord or if you would like to transfer your managed rental properties over contact Robinson-Jackson here.


Does your garden need sprucing up?

We’ve had a wonderful few days over the last few weeks that make it feel like Spring is definitely on the way. With this is mind does your garden need sprucing up?

Some people are naturally green fingered and during this lockdown have been outside and made what was a good garden great. If you have been working throughout or are not gifted in the art of garden design or, you might not like getting out their and weeding etc, we may be the help you need.

This time of year is the perfect time to create the garden of your dreams so you can enjoy those longer and lighter evenings and as well as balmy summer days. You may just want a garden clear up with weeding, lawns mowed and shrubbery trimmed. If you are looking to create a more functional space outdoors why not think of a decked area where you can relax in the sun.

Perhaps you want your garden to be low maintenance so the grass needs removing and replacing with gravel, stones or paving. A smaller garden benefits from this look with stylish painted fences and pot plants to draw interest and add colour.

However big or small your outside space is we can help personalise it to your tastes and making sure it fits your needs. A play space for the kids, a vegetable patch, a place to entertain, maximising the sun spots, adding colour with paint and pots or even giving the old shed a new lease of life. Your outside space can be an extension of your home with a stunning gazebo or conservatory adding extra living or entertaining space.

There is no need to settle for a few shrubs and a lawn nowadays. If you are green fingered and just need help clearing the garden our team can help you there too. If it’s a modern or more classic design we are here with experience to help you.

Whatever you need, our team here at Cleared Away are experienced gardening professionals. We can provide maintenance services or a full garden re-design.

end of tenancy clean

Need an end of tenancy clean?

If you are a tenant and moving out of your rental, in order to get your deposit back you need to ensure your end of tenancy clean is up to the standards required.

As a landlord an end of tenancy clean is the bare minimum you need to do before a new tenant moves in. A rental property needs to be in tip top condition before it is rented out again. Renters are looking for clean, tidy and neutral properties to move in to.

Some landlords have to manage much more than a basic clean though, as some renters can leave a property in less than a charming condition. This might mean removal of rubbish, tidy up of garden, re-painting within the property and of course the end of tenancy clean itself.

This is where we come in as our expert team is used to transforming properties. From construction right the way through to cleaning we can make sure you investment stays in tip top condition in between rentals.

We work with real estate agents and property management agencies to handle cleaning of homes after tenants move out and before the new ones move in.

End of tenancy cleaning services are tailored to take one of the biggest stresses out of moving out of a rented property. Well, ours are, at least. We clean the property like never before. Whether you are a tenant, landlord or estate agent managing a portfolio of properties we are here to take the strain out of moving.


How colour can transform a room

Whether you are furloughed or working from home right it is fair to say a chunk of the population are spending more time at home. It is amazing how colour can transform the look and feel of a room too. Does your home need an area that is more calming or relaxing? The right choice of colour can influence the whole way you feel about a space.

Taking care of our mental health is as important as ever right now and redecorating your home can be a great way to create tranquil spaces.

One of the best ways to create relaxing areas in your home is to choose a calming colour scheme and it’s the little changes that can make a big difference.

After all, the rooms in our homes are wearing many hats at the moment, so we want them to have as much personality as possible. Let’s take a look at two of the rooms we are supposed to relax in.

Your Bedroom

When we’re in our bedroom, we want it to be like a sanctuary of calm. Colour plays a big part in that. This is especially true of greens. People are looking for the soothing effect of this palette. Its earthiness brings the outside in, distracting us from our phones and devices in the process.

Blue has similarly positive effects on the mind and the body. As the colour of the sky, ocean and sleep, it invokes rest and can cause your body to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquillity.

Your Bathroom

Bathrooms were once a space used purely as somewhere clean, but they have evolved to become a place where we go to relax and feel rejuvenated, too.

Bringing the spa to your house, you could say. With this in mind, the way we decorate our bathrooms can have a huge impact on how we start and end our day.

Bold shades such as teal or red will definitely give you a much-needed caffeine boost in the morning whilst hues of yellow is one that will lift spirits and when teamed with accents of white or grey add a contemporary twist. Dusky pinks will generate a more restful vibe, and don’t need to be too feminine. Consider the amount of natural light your bathroom receives and pick a tone that enhances the cool or warm feeling you need to enhance.

If you are not comfortable updating the look and feel of these rooms why not call in the experts. We have your relaxation spaces spruced up in no time at all.


Benefits of an extension for business use

With more of us starting to work at home some are asking the question as to what the benefits of an extension to the home for business may be. In fairness there will be things you can claim back.

If you are a sole trader or managing director of a business and intend to convert or build an area in your home that will solely be for the use of the business then you may be able to claim VAT back from a business perspective as it will be the business that pays for the work to be undertaken.

As more and more people are comfortable and effectively working from home is this something you have personally considered. A prime space that is separate from the main area of the house where you could get your work done (including video calls) without the family noise and interruption.

If you are a higher level executive this may be all more important from your clients perspective from a confidentiality point of view.

Now when you look at your property where could any extension go? Is there space above the garage? Perhaps a double height extension could add an extra bedroom to your property. Perhaps a remodel of the interior ground floor could provide the space for your family and close off an area for business.

It does seem that we are staying at home for longer than all of us ever first considered. If you would like a chat about a construction project or conversion project our team will gladly talk you through the process.

Your imagination really is the key to this whole process starting. Imagine the best version of what you require and we will help you bring that vision to life. Consider colours, textures, shapes, what you need to achieve from the build and the picture will start to build.

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Public services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres
  • getting an MOT, if you need to drive when lawfully leaving home

home office

Do you need a home office?

If this year has shown us anything it could be the benefits of working from home. So do you need a home office? Many people have managed with make shift desks in the form of dining tables but this is not the best way to ensure you have a proper workspace.

Right where the family are running around, the TV might be on, people asking you questions all when you need to concentrate.

So, if you need a home office do you have the space for it? If not have you thought about extending your home or perhaps building above your garage?

What are the benefits:

Firstly you have a space dedicated to work, one where you will not be disturbed when the door is shut and one you can leave once your day is done.

It will make you much more organised and focussed. This means you can have the perfect creative and professional space for you to work. You can even create the perfect workspace for your conference calls and virtual meetings.

You’ll notice that your productivity will increase when you move from an area in the home to your own home office. This is because you are no longer surrounded by distractions. You won’t be sat near the TV so that temptation is avoided. You also won’t see the kids toys around you that need to be cleared away. You’ll be in your home office, away from all the distractions.

There are some huge tax savings and tax reductions available when you have a garage conversion or convert areas of your home into a home office.

If 2020 is anything to go by then it may be a good idea to start planning this now. Give one of our friendly team a call and let us help you create a calm and professional place to work.


Is your boiler fit for winter?

Whether you are a homeowner, property manager or landlord now is the time to starting thinking about the health of your boiler.

So what is the condition of your heating system?

Did you know over 50% of domestic boiler breakdowns occur between November and February, so consumers need to plan ahead to ensure that their heating systems are ready for the cold weather.

For boilers that are already suffering from wear and tear, the increased strain of daily use can cause components to fail and breakdown. 

The warning came from consumer advice firm, The Heating Hub.

Jo Alsop, founder of The Heating Hub, said: “It’s no great surprise that boiler breakdowns rise during the winter months when we rely on our heating systems more frequently, but faulty boilers can leave households without heating or hot water when they need it most.  

Most people are also spending much more time at home now due to lockdown and this in turns puts extra strain on the hating and hot water systems.

Boilers can be repaired of course but the inconvenience of having no heating or hot water for a few days, especially during a cold snap could cause all manner of problems. For you as a homeowner or landlord and of course to any tenants.

Regularly servicing or managing your boiler can save all manner of costs from spiralling. New boilers are expensive though that investment could be worth it if you could consider the scenario of the damage burst pipes can cause a property – commercial of domestic.

Don’t forget winter proofing your property all round. We have had our first cold snap of the year but post December the cold weather will move in as usual.

If you would like to hear more about our property maintenance services call one of the friendly team today. We can take care of your property so you can relax and enjoy the festive season.


Does your home need a facelift?

This year we have all been spending more time and home and this means all those niggling little things around the home you want to change become more obvious. So does your home need a facelift?

Now we understand that some of you have donned your overalls and got on with those jobs and indeed become more green fingered over this long year, but who hasn’t? Has life not slowed down at all for you in lockdown?

This is actually the case for a lot of people. Looking around your home right now what needs the most attention? Is a simple decorating job enough to give your property a facelift?

Problems sometimes go deeper than that. Have you been putting up with that tired old kitchen for too long or are those drab bathroom tiles ruining your relaxing bath times. If you don’t have the time or skills to fix these kinds of property related job yourself then it can be a real cause of stress.

Have no fear dear clients as the team here at Cleared Away are available to make that real difference to your home right now. We can manage full scale property renovations from a kitchen refurb to property extensions. Because our team is multi skilled we can take care of every aspect of the job from planning to clearing away rubbish and cleaning too.

As we approach the New Year, one we are all ready for, what are your plans? Most people dream of moving as statistics on Rightmove always show increased searches around the Christmas period.

What would you change?

If you are thinking of moving why not put together a list of pros and cons. Think about the changes that could be made within your property to turn it into your dream home.

Do you need more space? Is your home working for your family right now? Does your home need modernisation? Drill down further and list the jobs that need doing. It may not be as costly as you think to create a home that really works for you and your family.

Contact us today for a quote.

The Greener Homes Grant Scheme

The Greener Homes Grant Scheme

Last week the government extended the Greener Homes Grant Scheme until March 2022, giving homeowners longer to make the most of the energy efficiency home improvement vouchers.

Homeowners in England, including landlords, can get up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures like insulation using the Greener Homes Grant Scheme. Low income households can get 100% of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.

Considering making some ‘green’ transformations to your property to lower your household emissions and lower bills? Some things you could think about updating are: Cavity wall insulation; Solid wall insulation; Floor insulation; Loft and roof insulation; Draught proofing windows and doors with double glazing; Insulating tanks and pipes

To qualify for any financial support, you’ll need to install what the Government calls “primary” improvements. These are:

  • Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation. Insulation for a park home is also included.
  • Low-carbon heating, including air-source, ground-source and hybrid heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers, which provide renewable ways of heating your home.

You can then qualify for secondary improvements. Secondary improvements include:

  • Draughtproofing.
  • Double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing, but only if you currently have single glazing – it won’t cover replacement double glazing.
  • Energy efficient doors, where you’re replacing single-glazed or solid doors installed before 2002.
  • Heating controls and insulation, including appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart-heating controls, zone controls, delayed-start thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves.

Now it may be that your home is an older one and adding new more robust windows and doors would be the answer. These things apply to you as a landlord too to keep the costs down on your rental properties.

Thinking of transforming your home?

Making your property into an energy efficient home of your dreams doesn’t need to stop here. Should you find your home design and layout isn’t quite working for your growing or evolving family contact us today as we can suggest ways in which a building reform might help you.

Teenagers might need more space so converting the loft space could be ideal. Perhaps a play room for your little ones or a bathroom revamp that adds a spa-like feel to your bathroom. The possibilities are limited only to your imagination and budget. Our skilled team can manage the project from start to finish so call us today.