Working from home in Hertford – Our top tips!

Way before the Coronavirus outbreak seized the headlines, there was already a significant movement of people working from home.

At Abel we’ve increasingly seen over the past few years home buyers wanting spaces within their dream properties that they can work in.

Many employers, large and small, are now actively encouraging their staff to work from home to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the foreseeable future.

Of course, not everyone has the option to work from home, but those that do can benefit from our seven tops below.

  • Set a routine. Working set hours will give you structure and set work boundaries.
  • Act as if. How would you dress for work? Not in your Pyjamas or nightgown we’re guessing. So, act as if you are going to the office even if you are working from home. Dress as you would for working in the office.
  • Choose a spot. Having a dedicated work area at home helps you get organised and be more productive. Whether it’s the kitchen or dining table or a desk, choose a spot and call that your workspace.
  • Avoid work creep. That’s work creep, not work creeps. This is a phrase used to describe working matters spilling over into your own time. It’s a particularly easy trap to fall into, especially when working from home, so stick to that routine you set in point 1.
  • Schedule a couple of calls. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling isolated when working from home, so take time out to call a colleague rather than email. This will help you maintain a sense of human connection, which is something we all need to a degree.
  • Diarise distractions. Working from home conjures up many more distractions than the office or usual workplace. Kids, pets, the doorbell, the sofa! Be realistic and build space into your working day to allow time for those distractions.
  • Yes, the advice may well be to work from home and avoid places where large numbers of people are congregating. But it’s important for your mental health to get outdoors in the fresh air, even if it’s a walk around the block.

It’s very much business as usual here at Abel, but we are taking the NHS advice on steps we can all take to keep ourselves, our clients and our community safe and healthy.

We’d love to hear your working from home tips.

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What the budget means to Hertford residents!

 

The new Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his budget earlier.

From a property perspective, a lot of his thunder was stolen by the big news which broke around five hours earlier.

An announcement from the Bank of England (BoE) introduced an emergency cut in interest rates to bolster the economy in the ongoing fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

The BoE reduced rates from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history.

This should make it cheaper and easier to get a mortgage. And could help maintain and protect the positive momentum in the housing market in Hertford since the election in December.

A little surprisingly there was nothing in this budget on help First Time Buyers and not a whisper about the preciously discussed Mansion Tax.

The Coronavirus Budget

The budget’s initial focus was quite rightly trying to protect the people of the UK against the health and financial impact of the Coronavirus with a £30billion fund to fight the disease and its fallout.

There was nothing on the Stamp Duty front apart from a two per cent surcharge on the purchase of UK investment properties by non-resident overseas buyers. This is set to begin in April 2021.

A potential knock-on effect could be less foreign investors creating an opportunity for first-time buyers and smaller domestic landlords. But that, like a lot of things, remains to be seen.

21st Century Planning

There was also a welcome £650m commitment made to provide more than 6000 homes for homeless people and rough sleepers.

Additionally, the Chancellor promised to bring the UK’s planning system ‘into the 21st century’, and there will be an additional £1 billion allocated for the removal of unsafe cladding from residential buildings taller than 18 metres.

Sunak, who has only been in the job a month, announced a freeze on the duties on fuel and alcoholic drinks including cider, whisky, wine and beer.

One of the biggest cheers he received all afternoon was when he declared that £500m a year would be assigned to fixing 50 million potholes across the UK. We’ll drink to that.

To find out more information about what the budget could mean to you and the Hertford property market, get in touch with us or ask us a question on social media.

What the new electrical safety proposals mean to landlords in Hertford

After years in the pipeline, new electrical safety standards for private rental properties are expected to come into force on 1st July, the legislation is likely to get the green light in the House of Commons and the House of Lords in the coming weeks…

 

What will the new rules mean?

Currently, landlords are obligated to keep the electrics in their properties in good working order, but there are no hard and fast rules about exactly how and when they do this. After 1st July this is likely to change, every fixed electrical installation in a rental property will need to be inspected and tested by a qualified electrician every five years.

This inspection process will generate what’s called an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Get used to hearing this acronym. As a landlord, you’ll be required to give each tenant a copy of the property’s EICR at the beginning of a tenancy. Your local authority will also have the right to ask to see a copy of the EICR – a request you must comply with within seven days. And letting agents won’t be able to move people into your property unless you can provide them with one too.

What if an inspection reveals a problem?
Any issue must be remedied within 28 days – or sooner, if it’s a more serious fault. The work needs to be done by a qualified person, and you need the paperwork to prove it’s been done to a high standard.

What if a landlord fails to comply?
Breach these new regulations, and you could be hit with a fine of up to £30,000. It’s also worth noting that local authorities will have the power to carry out repair works themselves – and then pass the costs, along with a hefty fine, onto the landlord. If you don’t feel comfortable overseeing this process yourself, we can provide you with the right advice and numbers for good electricians to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.

When does it come into place?
The new rules are expected to come into effect on 1st July 2020. Any new tenancy or renewal after this date will require an electrical inspection and report (EICR). For pre-existing tenancies, you have until April 1, 2021, to get an EICR.

If you’d like more advice about this new legislation contact Abel of Hertford, Our team are well-informed about these, and other new changes, and can help guide you through the processes.