March 2023


The Importance of Regular Landlord’s Inspections

With costs of labour and materials rising almost daily, carrying out repairs to properties that have been damaged by unforeseen circumstances can soon spiral out of control.  That is why having adequate landlords insurance cover is an absolute necessity, but repeated claims can increase premiums and excesses, especially if the damage results from circumstances which, with a bit of foresight and routine maintenance, could not only have been foreseen but also avoided.

Good management of a landlord’s properties includes regular and targeted inspections of all their rental investments looking for early signs of issues which if left unchecked, could lead to more serious problems which take considerably more time and effort to rectify.

What to look for?

An inspection has to be far more than just a cursory look around to see if the tenants are mowing the lawn or keeping the carpets clean.  It is primarily the condition of the property that needs to be assessed, not the housekeeping skills of the tenants.  However, if some of their actions, or lack of them, are causing issues to the property, these will have to be addressed by due process.

The Garden

A first look at the outside of the property might reveal signs of water damage from broken guttering and downpipes.  In an area with many trees, guttering can become easily blocked with fallen leaves so will require periodic cleaning to prevent water from overflowing and running down the walls.  Of all the claims made on landlord’s insurance, the greater number are due to water damage, either by water ingress from the outside, or leaks from within.

Also, check the ground-level walls for signs of rising water in the form of green stains or other plant growth.  Earth, building rubble, and even rubbish piled up against walls, can allow moisture to breach the dampproof course and result in rising damp inside the building.

In all, these case simple and timely maintenance can prevent more significant problems from developing which would require considerable expense to repair.

Inside the house.

Again, the primary focus here is looking for signs that might indicate a problem is developing which if treated early will avoid unnecessary claims and costs.  Not only will serious issues take up more time and resources to remedy, but they might also make the property unliveable for a time, resulting in lost rental income and even extra costs for rehousing the existing tenants.

Signs of damp and black mould are early indicators of damage due to excessive moisture.  The primary culprit is condensation.  While moisture in the air is unavoidable, everything we do, from breathing to cooking and having a shower, puts more moisture into the air, and damp and black mould are indicators of ineffective or non-existent ventilation.  Opening windows might seem the obvious answer, but in cold weather, with the central heating on, this may not be a popular option for the tenants.  And in these cash-strapped days, some tenants may even cut down on their heating resulting in cold spots throughout the property where excess moisture will condense.

The solution is to provide efficient extractor fans in the primary sources of moisture, the kitchen and the bathroom.

Other areas of concern will be under kitchen cupboards where appliances have been connected to the water supply, and in the bathroom, around the shower, sinks, bath and showers.  It must be remembered there a property contains many channels and voids within its structure, so signs of water damage may be the result of a leak elsewhere in the building.

In the roof.

A regular inspection of attic spaces might reveal poorly lagged pipes, which could cause problems in cold spells, or damage resulting from water ingress as a result of broken or missing tiles.  Flat roofs are a particular area of concern, so a simple check might reveal pools of rainwater or torn felt.  Prompt remedial action will again stave off the cost of replacing the whole roof.

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What are Unpaid Payroll Taxes and Ho to Pay Them Off

Small firms sometimes struggle to thrive amid the ups and downs of the economy. Payroll taxes are one of the most fundamental concepts that many businesses overlook. Payroll taxes are the employer’s share of the Social Security, Medicare, and Federal taxes that must be deducted from an employee’s gross salary and submitted to the government.

Although taxes invoices are already unpleasant enough, the penalties associated with not paying them are far worse. There may be several reasons why the penalty is assessed, but the main one is either not paying the required payroll tax amount or not adhering to the processing and filing requirements for income tax returns.

Unpaid payroll taxes are taken seriously by the IRS. They view unpaid payroll taxes as theft. The collection of unpaid payroll taxes statute of limitations is up to 10 years, which begins on the date of the last assessment. The IRS has the right to tax the parties in charge of payroll if the company is unable to repay payroll taxes. Yet, if the company continues to avoid paying payroll tax debt, the IRS has the authority to close the company down.

How Bad Can It Get

Criminal charges may result from failure to pay trust fund taxes. A willful refusal to pay over or collect tax is a criminal offense under Section 7202 and is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine, five years in jail, or both. Instead of situations where an owner or other responsible person in a business that was having financial difficulties used the money to pay other creditors in an erroneous attempt to keep the business afloat, the IRS reserves criminal charges for the most egregious cases, typically where the responsible person owned the business and diverted the money for his or her personal use.

By submitting payroll tax returns on time and paying payroll taxes in excess, it is preferable to avoid the trust fund penalty. Encourage everyone you know who has neglected to pay payroll taxes to make every effort to do so.

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