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  1. An anecdote: I live overseas, and let my flat in London (bought to live in, not with the thought of a BTL - don't jump on me!). I use a local agent* to manage the flat, as it would not be fair on the tenant to try and contact me on the other side of the world with problems, and I am not in the position to deal with plumbers etc in London from here. The rent is paid to the agent, who then transfers the money to me. Anyway, the tenant has always paid the rent on time to the agent (usually a little bit early, perhaps to avoid it sitting around in their account), and the money has always promptly been paid to me. The last couple of months there has been a delay in me receiving the rent money, including one over Christmas that was blamed on "the office being closed". I am more inclined to think that there is a cash flow problem with the agent rather than the tenant. Rent is due on Saturday, so I'll see if/when it gets to me. Oh, and for the record, by the time you take off agents fees, repairs, mortgage fees it does not make any money. I'm purely keeping it in case I get "trumped". *I don't wish them bad fortune, they are a small one man band, and do a decent job. I'd rather pay a fee to them than the bastards at Foxtons etc.
  2. Not BOMAD, but BOGAG. I had saved £45,000, and was ready to buy when an early inheritance of £25,000 (which became an actual inheritance during the buying process 😞 ) was given to me. Part of the condition was that it was used to lower the mortgage amount, rather than buy a larger property.
  3. I think for all of these personal stories in the Guardian, they choose the most unsympathetic people possible in order to get website clicks. Anything on deportations from the USA to Mexico will without fail concentrate on interviews with people with multiple criminal convictions being deported, rather than the average "keeping their head down" person.
  4. A17

    Where in the world do you live

    I live in Chicago, having moved here from London. My company had an opening here, so they transferred me at the beginning of the year. The City of Chicago itself has about three million inhabitants, with the urban sprawl and surrounding suburbs ("Chicagoland") taking it up to ten million. I'm going to try and avoid general cliches about the USA. The good Property feels cheaper, although it is by no means cheap. Certainly compared to London. Once you start looking at the outer suburbs family homes are affordable for families. Of course, you then have a hefty commute into the city center. Chicagoland certainly does not give the impression that it is for either the very rich or very poor, like London does. Public transport is generally decent. The city itself has a good subway service, with commuter lines stretching out into the suburbs. You can live in the inner city without a car, but the suburbs need one. The commuter lines only run a train every two hours at the weekend, so if you want to visit the city you need to drive or plan your timings carefully. Chicago is a genuinely interesting city. Beautiful architecture, museums and beaches on the lakefront. Despite what you would think, the city works fairly well. Rubbish is collected weekly with none of the fuss like in the UK (the garbage men will take furniture for instance). Most civic services can be done online. The mixed Chicago is infamous for its gun crime, but it is generally (touch wood) confined to certain areas. There is cheap housing there, but it is cheap for a reason. The majority of the shootings occur in the early hours, and the victims are frequently known to the police. Even so, you would not want to live there. Property taxes are high, ranging from maybe 1.5% to 2.5% of the property value each year depending on the suburb. This helps to mitigate the list property prices. A $10,000 pa property tax per year is nothing unusual for people. Unlike council tax (generally), it is a genuine consideration in deciding how much home you can afford. It certainly forces people to pay their way in taxes - no oligarchs limited to £1500 pa council tax! The bad The city is still extremely racially segregated, which makes me uncomfortable. The urban sprawl is extensive. Chicago is hemmed in by the lake, with downtown at the lakefront, so all the sprawl is one way. You can be over forty miles from downtown, and still in the urban sprawl. The urban infrastructure is bursting at the seams - the highways and the airports. Continuing problems with the city finances. Chicago (and Illinois in general) still has enough "pull" to keep people here, but there is the underlying fear that it will turn into another Detroit. Would I recommend it? Yes. It feels like a big city that is still accessible for regular people.
  5. A17

    cant pay we'll take it away

    I've seen a few episodes of the show. The renters being evicted can be very sad. In the majority of cases they have clearly been told by the council to "stay in the house - we can't help you until you've been evicted". The tenants take this as advice to ignore all letters until the day the High Court Enforcement Officers turn up, and are terrified that they have to leave within a few hours. By this time the landlord has probably had close to six months worth of non rent payment, and the tenant thinks that the matter has essentially resolved itself. Some of the evicted tenants are clearly gobby scumbags, but it is the ones who are clearly a few sticks short of a bundle I feel sorry for. People who's lives are so "state-cushioned" they have no idea of reality or consequences.
  6. A flat fee pa. It is a little complicated as I have an offset mortgage. As I have a decent cash savings to mortgage ratio it makes sense for me, just.
  7. I informed my lender when I moved overseas that I wanted to let my flat - I was charged £500 approximately for the first year, and I think it would be £1500 for each subsequent year. This is to remain on a residential mortgage. Of course, I could have probably got away with it, more fool me.
  8. That might hold as a reason when there was Cameron trying to keep his back benchers in line. But sooner or later, there will be another prime minister who is willing to sign us up for anything and everything.
  9. A17

    Home Owner, Mortgage Owner or Renter

    Mortgage holder of a leasehold flat that I am trying to let. Trying to rent a place in a new city. I ticked mortgage owner, although I suppose I am two thirds renter in a way.
  10. I've just been looking for rentals in Chicago. It seems like $1700 pm can get you a two bedroom place in a "trendy" part of town, although not particularly luxurious. Nice rentals in the smart part of town go for $2000 pm for a one bedroom. Of course, if you go into the bad parts of town you can buy a house for under $100,000. Something for everybody! In terms of purchasing, it seems very different to London in that you can spend as much or as little as you like really. The crapholes here are genuinely cheap unlike London, although the areas are far worse. Regular people can buy a decent place to live though.
  11. Yep. It won't replace benefits. It would simply supplement them. The sums simply don't add up - it would be impossible to survive only on the citizens income if the current welfare spend was simply split between everybody equally.
  12. Eliminate tax credits entirely, and abolish the loopholes, and we can return to more reasonable taxes for the rest of us. It doesn't have to be one or the other!
  13. Eliminate tax credits entirely, and abolish the loopholes, and we can return to more reasonable taxes for the rest of us.
  14. People don't seem to get that. I have heard people admit that property prices are falling, but they are convinced that it will just be contained in the prime market.
  15. A17

    My housing experiences in London

    I am considering doing that. It's just the concept of having a place to return to, should I ever return!

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