Monthly Archives: January 2016

How to declutter your home

As a new year begins and we leave behind the Christmas holiday our houses are crammed full of presents and left over decorations. This is the perfect time to declutter and organise your home to make room for 2016!


Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean throwing away all your belongings and embracing the minimalist look; organising your home can make a huge difference to the way your house looks and feels. Whether thinking of selling or simply making your life less stressful, here are some tips to help you with the ‘clear up’:


Find better storage solutions

Creating designated areas for your clutter can be a real space saver. Having a cupboard for bedding and a draw or box for paperwork can help organise your home and your head, knowing every item has a place.


Vacuum storage bags are a great way to store clothes or bedding neatly, keeping them clean and fresh for the next time they’re needed.


Stop hoarding

Sometimes we just have too many things filling our home, rather than throw away good quality clothes, books or furniture, help out your local charity shop or earn a little extra through selling online. This is a great way to declutter and will help someone else in the process.


Throwing away items is sometimes inevitable! If clothes and shoes are worn or ripped then the bin might be the best option, although there are recycling bins for textiles at your local refuse depot or recycling point.


Check the use by dates on medicine and food, you may find old cough medicines and tins of soup well past their date, which can be thrown away, ultimately saving you much needed cupboard space.


Get organised

Clothes can often start spilling from your wardrobe or piling up on chairs. So dividing your wardrobe into seasons, by hanging up the winter clothes you need every day and storing your summer clothes away, provides easy access to the clothes you need.


Organising your paper work will help you find urgent documents easily and separate the important letters from junk mail, aiding your peace of mind.


Stop the source of the clutter

Once you have transformed your home, it will be easier to keep it feeling fresh and tidy and hopefully stop the clutter piling up again! (Providing you avoid the sales!)



That’s a BIG NO to George’s buy to let tax changes after £50,000 is raised to mount a legal challenge

WestminsterThe latest £50,000 target to fund a legal challenge to Chancellor George Osborne’s proposed tax changes for buy to let landlords has been reached – despite the industry’s hiatus over Christmas and the New Year.

Steve Bolton, whose Platinum Property Partners business has £200m of residential property in its portfolio, is working with fellow landlord Chris Cooper to mount a legal challenge on behalf of around 250 investors in the PPP network, by means of a Judicial Review.

The pair launched their campaign just before Christmas, initially requiring £15,000; this was quickly reached on the CrowdJustice crowdfunding platform. Now another £35,000 is required to enable the pair’s legal team to bolster its case; over the weekend that was reached and exceeded.

The fundraising pitch says: “The Finance Act 2015 includes Clause 24, which overturns a fundamental financial business principle, where INCOME less COSTS equals PROFIT. The current Government sees fit to change this tried, tested and proven commercial formula. In simple terms, the Government believe that it makes complete sense to tax property owners on that part of the rent that has been paid to the lender as mortgage interest, as if that money was still in the property owners’ bank account!”

The claim is that there are a number of fronts on which Clause 24 is allegedly unlawful and should be challenged:

– Owner-occupiers pay zero Capital Gains Tax when they sell their property, whereas owners of rental accommodation pay between 18 and 28 per cent CGT;

– Owner-occupiers have no regulations or costs associated with fire, gas and electrical safety and certification, licensing and energy performance certificates, whereas owners of rental accommodation have financial and/or legal obligations relating to more than 200 different regulations and laws. Failure to comply can result in imprisonment and substantial financial penalties;

– Many owner-occupiers can buy property with a deposit of just five to 10 per cent and access lower interest rates, compared to 20 to 25 per cent deposits and higher interest rates for buy to let borrowers;

– Owner occupiers can benefit from the ‘rent a room’ tax-free scheme, which is rising from £4,250 a year to £7,500 from April, compared to paying tax on rental profits of between 20 to 45 per cent.

“Those involved with this campaign fully support the elimination of unethical, unprofessional and illegal practices and unscrupulous landlords in the private rented sector. We also welcome fair measures to cool the housing market, so that we avoid the historical ‘boom and bust’ scenario. However, Clause 24 is not the fair or intelligent means of achieving that goal” say the landlords.

Philip Chadwick is the Lettings Director of Gascoigne Halman, and a board member of The Association of Residential Letting Agents.


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