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P R O P E R T Y T A X Are you up to speed with changes taking place in Buy-To-Let In association with
SPRING 2016 ISSUE 6 £2.75
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HOUSE&HOME T H E U LT I M AT E R E A D F O R P R O P E R T Y
A DRAGONSALE SUCCESS T with
Interview TOUKER SULEYMAN
WHATS GOING UP… Our in-house planning update GROW YOUR OWN Garden for the grassroots
RENTAL HURRICANE HITS UK Housing shortage leads to upsurge in rents
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PLUS: WHY IT’S TIME TO REJECT THE BIG BANKS P1 COVER FINAL indd 1
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To olley â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
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Advice on structuring the transaction Preparation & submission of UK T Ta ax Returns Inheritance T Ta ax planning Capital gains tax planning HMRC Investigations Commercial Properties Where clients hold commercial proper ties within their por t folio, we provide a range of ser vices including V VA AT and capital allowance advisor y ser vices. Congress House, 14 Lyon Road, Harrow, HA1 2EN
Contact us on +44 (0)20 8515 1234 or at firstname.lastname@example.org www.godley.co.uk @GodleyCo Godley & Co is the trading name of Godley & Co Ltd
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HOUSE&HOME We have what is now our third round of
FEELING AT HOME
Very useful tips are
stamp duty changes, and there are more
contained in just a few
Welcome to our 6th
changes yet to come in the property market
pages which will no
edition of Asian House
which will deface the property market in
doubt help any aspiring
and Homes. I’m sure you
a permanent way. I am talking about the
person to come to a
will agree we have been
proposed changes in tax which are due to
good decision on all aspects of purchase,
improving with every edition; and this one is no
be implemented starting in
construction and do all other necessary
exception. We have a new and unique content
2017. In addition there
chores to have a satisfactory property
and flavour. I want to thank those who took
are forces on a national
the decision to advertise and sponsor us, as a
and global level which
newish publication your support is appreciated
are likely to influence
and will hopefully be reciprocated.
property prices, there
A glance through the pages genuinely impressed me, especially the efforts put in by the team behind this magazine.
Being Indian usually means buying
is a nervousness
REVIEW THE RECENT TRENDS IN THE FLUID UK HOUSING MARKET AND KEEP YOURSELF UP TO DATE ON THE POSSIBLE FUTURE SCENARIOS
property is something which is in the blood;
in the market to see
castle, but to climb the property ladder,
however there is an aversion to mortgage or
which way things will turn.
some essential information is very crucial
any kind of debt. This may be no bad thing,
Will there be an aversion to the
given the last downturn we went through was
market and a dampening of prices? Or will
a credit crunch.
it be a case of funds looking for safety in the
They say an Englishman’s home is his
In the European Union, Britons are among the most prominent home owners.
The first generation of immigrants from
UK property market? It remains to be seen. One thing is for sure
Asians, especially Indians are in the
East Africa and India worked two/three jobs
lead with almost 87% living in their own
at a time, and had tenants in their homes in
there will always be a strong focus on property
properties. And this has given them
order to rid the property of debt as quickly as
investment in the UK. It’s therefore important
enough rope to hang themselves.
possible. I remember what things were like
to keep yourself abreast of these changes and
The magazine has all the basics for the
when I was in my teens in our house, having
prepare as best as you can for the changes
property buyers as well as those who plan
an extended family and still tenants in one of
which are on the horizon. Enjoy this edition
to expand their portfolios.
the rooms in a small 3 bedroom house.
and please give your feedback if you have any
Well done my team!
This was the mentality a generation ago.
suggestions or contributions.
Now the values have changed and having a large mortgage has become PUBLISHER/EDITOR
digestible and accepted.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS:
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BIGGEST NEW GRO WTH ZONE!
INTERVIEW CHAT WITH TOUKER SULEYMAN
This month in Asian House & Home… 11 HOTSPOTS PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES... RACHEL DIMOND 15 KITCHENS KITCHEN SENSE... RACHEL DIMOND 17 EPCON PROJECTS INTRODUCING THE ART OF CONSTRUCTION... SUNETRA SENIOR 19 HOUSE INSPIRATION STYLISH DESIGNER LIVING MADE EASY... MICASA 24 KONDO RECHARGE YOUR HOME THE KONDO WAY!... MAYA GUDKA
27 PROPERTY TAX ARE YOU UP TO SPEED WITH CHANGES?... YOGESH PATEL AND RITIKA DOSHI 33 DOCUMENT Q WHAT YOU SEE...IS IT REALLY WHAT YOU GET?... JAYESH PATEL
TOP AUCTION ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS
35 PLANNING WHAT’S GOING UP...OUR IN-HOUSE PLANNING UPDATE 2016... KISH BHUDIA
Build in tune with nature - Vastu!
RETIREMENT PLANS MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE
Rachel Dimond Editor
Rachel Dimond, Contributing Editor has brought her wealth of editorial experience to Asian House and Home. With her extensive background in publishing, she has enjoyed guiding the team throughout the development and rebranding of this issue.
42 GARDENING GROW YOUR OWN!... YOGESH PATEL 43 AARDRA SYSTEMS WHERE EVERY DROP COUNTS... DHARMESH JOSHI 44 MORTGAGES WHY IT’S TIME TO REJECT THE BIG BANKS!... ROGER AITKEN
39 BATHROOM GUIDE
47 HOUSING MARKET RENTAL HURRICANE HITS UK!... DINA BHUDIA 49 VIEWPOINT AT THE COFFEE SHOP... RACHEL DIMOND
Yogesh Patel Executive editor Yogesh joins the Asian House & Home team with a wealth of experience in property taxation. He helps SMEs and private clients with their property taxation matters and supports them grow their business in a tax efficient way. Yogesh works for Godley & Co, a firm of Chartered Accountants & Tax Specialists. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser and accountant drawing on over ten years of advisory experience, including 7 years’ experience at PWC. After graduating from LSE, Yogesh worked at Blackrock Investment Managers, analysing property investments both in the UK and overseas.
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A DRAGON’S SUCCESS TALE
Suresh Vagjiani meets with Touker Suleyman
was thinking of shirts as I met Suleyman, because I love Hawes & Curtis. In 2000, he paid £1 for Hawes & Curtis. It had a £500,000 debt and no stock. It was about to go into administration. He offered 10p to 20p in the pound and the whole business cost him around £100,000. Today Hawes & Curtis has 28 branches in the UK. Born of hard working immigrant parents from Northern Cyprus, he has reason to be proud of his business career. In 2011 The Sunday Times listed Suleyman as 637th in its Rich List, estimating his fortune to be £150 million. But Suleyman is a genuine people’s person, and sharp, proactive, thoughtful and fun. Although he’s a man driven by passion, he is in his own words, ‘prudent’. Like many famous entrepreneurs he made his own way to success, funding himself and learning from his mistakes. He reaps the rewards of hard work, but knows what it’s like to lose everything. His modesty and determination serve him well and the staff whose jobs he has saved (he
Q When did you start becoming successful? I was about 22, but I started when I was in accountancy! I had bought some dresses for my grandmother and she told me all her friends wanted one. Therefore I bought some and she sold them. So my first business was for my grandma and her friends! Then along came the Polly-Peck era. Q What happened next? I got into a partnership with the person who made the dresses. He was making them for somebody else and said that he wanted to sell to me directly. So we started that, but within a year he wasn’t interested, so I bought him out. I remember these dresses going into C&A. I was making money and then all of a sudden somebody said to me that there was a stake in a public company. It was the ‘80s, shares were going up, and I bought a stake in a company called Mellins. The share price went from 3p to 360p in six months on
safeguarded 142 jobs at Ghost) and those who work for him now appreciate this. Regarding his role in Dragon’s Den he says that he wants to support people with the guts to pursue their dreams. Financial backing, opportunities and support bring success and this is what he wants to provide them. Age five, the young Suleyman could not speak English when he arrived in England with his parents, who left Cyprus when the troubles began. They came with money and were successful in the restaurant business. He had his own challenges. When he was 10, he contracted a nasty infection in his left hand and lost a year’s education, living with the fear his hand might be amputated. He left Peckham Manor secondary school with eight O levels at 18. Family pressures for him to make a name for himself meant he started work as an accountant, where he was paid £5.50 a week plus expenses. But he left after two years.
the back of the Polly-Peck. Q What mistakes have you made?
I was interested in a company that had £15 million worth of assets, and organised a financial review of the deal. The mistake was to buy the company before this review was done.They had £15 million of assets that were showing but in reality it was £20 million in the red and it was showing to be undervalued. So the whole thing collapsed like a pack of cards. I lost the company and I lost my house. I wasn’t bankrupt and I have never been. I paid my debts, even on my house. I was with Lloyds, the same bank I am with these days and they didn’t press me to sell my house but I sold it and gave the money to them, like an honourable person.
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Q Who helped you through this? I was lucky
that I had my family around me. My brother and sister were there at the time and they had a small business. So we started again and built it up. The secret to my and my family’s success was that we made money in clothing. We went to Turkey for manufacturing, and we were the first supplier there. We supplied to BHS. Arcadia group, and eventually to Marks & Spencer. Q Was it a secret that you bought property on the side? The secret was that we ran the
company like a public company. We took a salary, a very strict salary and that was it. We lived off the salary. With the profits we made we bought commercial property. Q What was the first property you invested in?
Probably in Conway, just by Fitzroy Square. We were only buying property in Central London. We bought that property around the 1980s, then I bought Fitzroy Square.
my ex-wife is in a nice house. Our children go to a nice school. Q What do you think of the future for business?
At the moment I think we are in for a perfect storm! You have an all time low and China is not doing great. I was in New York two years ago, looking for a store for Hawes & Curtis and couldn’t find anything as every four stores were empty. The retail trade has been suffering since Black Friday. Retail is tough out there. I think we are going to have another recession. Commercial properties are doing very well, at least in Central London. However, looking at the rates now, small companies won’t be able to afford them and there will be casualties. I think there is a lot of development being made in East London, North London where people think they are going to achieve £800-900,000, but this is where I think they will have difficulties Q Are they looking at the rear view mirror?
Q Do you remember how much you bought it for? About £800,000 so it was a
Yes, it’s not likely to be happening. I think that the boom is over and I think there are going to be a lot of casualties. The problem is Sharp nose? who will suffer? Will it be Someone said to me that the developers? Would it I am a people’s person. I be the banks?
substantial amount in those days but it is worth about £10 million today. Then I bought Victoria Square which is worth about £50-60 meet people from all walks Q Why would the banks million this year. of life and adapt. You have suffer? They loan out £1 and get back £10. If you This was all bought to understand who look you find out. I read in by one company. they are and what their the paper that two hedge The company was motives are funds have shortened Berkeley generating cash to fund homes by 5% of their stock. They the businesses and now in all sold the stock thinking the share price my properties, I owe about 1/2% of is going to come down. In a way, I’m in a good the value. Q Wow! How come? Why? Because I am a position, though, as I have money to invest. Q It’s a good chance to mop up, isn’t it? very prudent guy and the point is that now The question for me is that I do like all my property deals are fetching me lots of trophy buildings and I like a building for its income. Q You must pay a lot of tax? Yeah, but it is what architecture as well. I’m not someone who it is. You cannot avoid it - whether you pay it looks at a flat image and then I’m done. I now or when you die or in-between. It is there don’t buy yields, I create yields. Q Where have you made most of the money? In and has to be paid. Q Yeah but I though it was prudent just to have property without a doubt.You need the cash 50% borrowing you’ve gotten into 1%? Yeah flow business, but when you are prudent you well… make money without spending it. You don’t Q You’re not a Muslim right? Yeah I am. go around buying fancy cars, enjoying fancy Q Is that why you don’t like the concept of holidays. You re-invest it. What motivates interest? No, it is not but I think for me it was me is that I’m very loyal to my staff. I’ve got a matter of principle anyway. Look, having factories in Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia. I been through what I had been through at a love products and I love doing this and it’s much earlier stage, where I lost everything, me and it’s my life. It’s my passion. I don’t this made me much more prudent. And as like holidays. I only go on holiday once a year you get older you don’t want to take any of - I’m not someone who’s on holiday every those risks any more, and in a way, even other weekend. Q How important do you think it is to today, I feel comfortable and I don’t want to understand human character? Very. be super rich. I don’t fly in a private plane. I Q Do you feel that you have a sharp nose for don’t have my boats, I live in a nice home and
it? Someone said to me that I am a people’s person. I meet people from all walks of life and adapt. You have to understand who they are and what their motives are. That’s a normal thing in life. You make mistakes and you learn from your mistakes, you progress. Q Do you think you have a sharp instinct for people’s character? Listen, even if you rarely
make mistakes you cannot really know a person. You can only see someone from the surface and think you’re a good judge of character. Sometimes it’s up to yourself to bring the good out of people. Especially when you’re employing people. Q How did you get into Dragon’s Den? A friend of mine, James Henderson, runs a PR company and we were using them for one our brands. He was asked whether he knew someone that could be a Dragon, and asked if I would like to go. I wasn’t sure. He said to just go and meet them, so I went along, didn’t realise that it was a competition and talked to them. They emailed me later asking whether I could come to Manchester as they wanted me to be a Dragon. Q How long ago was this?
Well that was probably 2 years ago. Q Do you enjoy it? Yeah, it’s a bit of fun. I’ve made a few investments and they seem to be okay. Q What is the follow through like? Well the follow through is about due diligence, and some people even change their minds. I have one at the moment who sat beside the contract yesterday and is thinking, oh I might have sold it to you for cheap. In the meantime I have made a few phone calls, opened doors for them and started the contract even. But we’ll see. I don’t want to take their business away. If someone feels that they don’t want to sell it, then that’s fine. I don’t want an unhappy partner.
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VASTUWISDOM When choosing a home or building an extension, decisions can be made that may prove very beneficial for your work and relationships long term, bringing prosperity, good health and harmony. By Sri Sudevi
What is Vastu?
Vastu Shastra is the ancient knowledge (Shastra) of how to design a building in tune with natural forces and the building’s surroundings, to ensure harmony and a natural flow of energy. Originally they were based on a mandala design.
MAIN AIM: TO ENHANCE POSITIVITY AND REDUCE NEGATIVITY
DON’T FEEL PRESSURED Don’t be taken in by scare-mongers. For example, these kind of statements are best ignored: “Dwelling in a building which is not according to Vastu principles can lead to loss of money, illness, disorder and in some cases untimely death of someone in the house.” Believing your house is doomed is a negative way to live and bound to lead to problems, regardless of layout! Be positive. If your house is in the wrong place facing the wrong direction there is a wealth of Vastu knowledge that can be used to offset any perceived problems.
Flexibility is the key
It is not, as some people might tell you, a rigid system that must be adhered to otherwise problems will occur. Vastu is about flexible design guidelines to maximise space and light to best serve the intended purpose of the dwelling. So a temple design would not today look like your extended family home - unless of course you want a temple within your home. Vastu is primarily based on the relationship with the sun and the earth and natural forces, hence the emphasis on direction. In India the sun’s rays are uncomfortable in the afternoon. In this way you can see how Vastu might be adjusted in climates with far less light and sunshine available. A complete reading of the available Vastu shastra literature confirms that an architect is free to adapt the ideas to new materials of construction, local layout constraints and into a non-square space. It is not about finding the perfect situation and space. Jaipur was built in part around Vastu Shastra principles for example, and there are many modern buildings in India that also follow these principles where space was not at a premium. The most important recommendation is that you think about the direction of the site and the direction of the rooms so that their purpose can be facilitated rather than impeded.
GUIDE FOR PURCHASING LAND If you are buying a plot, buy one that is in the South West or South or West. The most important direction of the house is North East. It’s associated with our income and progress. It is good if it slopes toward the North East. Plots that are square or rectangular are better than those that are irregular. The entrance ideally should be in the North or North East or East - for prosperity, good luck and harmony. It is good if there is land around the house.
BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSE Common walls are not recommended as this creates mixed energies. However, not everyone has the choice to live in a completely detached house. The great advantage of studying Vastu is that there are ways to offset any potential negative energies. Make sure the centre of the house is free from obstructions. For example, free from pillars, a staircase, wall or lift. Avoid placing your main door towards a deserted and rundown building as this can create negative vibes.
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Kitchens are used for more than cooking and storing food, they can also be the best spot in the home to entertain and the place where much of family life takes place. By Rachel Dimond
GUIDE TO WHICH SURFACE IS BEST
That’s why a kitchen design can be adapted to suit your household, reflecting both function and style. Whatever size and space you’ve got to work with, there’s a perfect kitchen for you. It just takes a bit of time and thought and yes, some cash! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
When you think about buying food or other items in bulk, you might picture an underground bunker in some remote area with enough supplies to survive a zombie apocalypse. Bulk buying is no joke, however. If you have the space, stocking up can be an excellent, budget-friendly way to fill your shelves with food and other items routinely needed in your daily life. Less packaging means less waste and is, therefore, a smarter environmental choice. Buying more at once saves on time and also petrol and other related expenses.
WORKTOPS What surface resists staining by Tumeric? Sealed Granite. This is an igneous rock made up of mostly quartz and feldspar and it has some remarkable qualities as well as being very pleasing to look at. Unlike marble, granite is not susceptible to scratches because it is harder. In fact, you can cut and chop directly on a granite countertop. Granite is actually harder than steel, so cutting on it may eventually dull knives over time. It is also more heat resistant than marble. Setting a hot pan on a kitchen countertop or a hot curling iron on a bathroom countertop will not damage the stone. It also protects against mold and mildew.
ABOVE: Granite options. Many colours available to suit your kitchen look
Quartz is one of the hardest surfaces on earth and also makes an ideal material for kitchen countertops. Its non-porous surface and unique blend of beauty and easy care make quartz an exceptional match for any lifestyle.
Many kitchens provide vertical cupboards for bulk buying. If you are looking for a new home, never discount those walk-in larders as old fashioned. Even if you are going to renovate the property, these are not a ‘must go’ item. They are ideal for all your bulk buying from chapati flour to cereals and paper goods. They served many families well in the war years in London as did the cellars which are ideal if you get one that will be dry.
Sealing is essential
For DIY enthusiasts or those on a budget do take note. Due to its porous nature, the countertops should be properly sealed to prevent liquids staining the surface. Sealed granite can then be easily cleaned using mild soap and water, followed by rinsing and towel drying. Polishing is the most common finish for granite countertops. A polished finish provides a smooth, shiny surface that shows off the character created by mineral deposits in the stone.
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GET CREATIVE Green Revolution, an India-based dustbin manufacturing company, came with the concept of hospital dustbins with frame in order to have a better hygienic principle in the hospitals arena. There is no reason not to use these for food storage. However, it is best to keep food in their original packaging to avoid any harmful plastics seeping in. Pick up a 5 gallon bucket with lid. A 5 gallon bucket will easily hold an entire 25lb bag of flour. Store in a cool, dry place. Store bags of rice, etc. that you bought at discounted prices under beds or in unused spaces around the house. But beware: inadvertently breaking that chapati flour bag on the bedroom carpet could create a domestic storm!
TOP TIPS Use a funnel to swiftly and cleanly transfer goods from larger to smaller containers. Old measuring cups and spoons or tablespoons work well too. Add some bay leaves to keep the flour fresh. If you are going to be away for a while, put flour in a freezer for a day or two when you first get it, to kill off any possible bugs. Then store as usual. Avoid plastic if possible. As many Asians know, stainless steel is far superior to plastic and china. For storage purpose there are additional reasons to switch. On health grounds you will avoid harmful BPAs seeping into your food, and on environmental grounds you will not get the petroleum products (plastic is made from petroleum).
1 2 3 4
Cleanliness: Install a hand basin One essential item if you are designing your new kitchen or adapting and renovating the one that came with the property is cleanliness. Investing in a hand wash basin to go alongside sink will bring peace of mind and a practical solution at the turn of a tap to everyone who asks “where can I wash my hands and mouth?” This ensures that dish washing, cleaning vegetables and other domestic cleaning tasks take place separately
at all times. There is no denying the charm of a rustic Belfast sink and these can now be found for a decent price if you take the time to search them out. But there are so many options, you will be spoilt for choice. The stone wash basins will go well with the worktops if you go for granite worktops and are aesthetically very pleasing. They come in granite, onyx, glass and copper to name a few and they will be custom made if you wish.
Stone wash basins
GO WELL WITH THE WORKTOPS IF YOU GO FOR GRANITE WORKTOPS AND ARE AESTHETICALLY VERY PLEASING
BPAs Stainless steel is far superior to plastic and china. On health grounds you will avoid harmful BPAs seeping into your food by avoiding plastic 16
It’s fun for children too if you can ensure steps to reach this basin, or put it at a height that small people can access easily. Anyone in a wheelchair would also find a lower level sink much more accessible.
According to Vastu Shastra white, yellow, orange, rose, red and chocolate are the best colours for a kitchen. If your kitchen is in the North then you can consider green. White is particularly recommended. However, these suggestions are not written in stone as everyone has their own personal preferences and the family might prefer or need a harmonising and peaceful blue theme! In today’s chocoholic world the chocolate theme with some tasty art work could work for family get togethers very well. And it might mean you lose the craving… We are not just what we eat, however, we are what we digest. So for this reason orange and red tones are great. They are said to improve digestive fire and many people recommend eating from these colour plates for this very reason. Bon Appetite!
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Introducing the Art of Construction
When you move into a house, you create new memories. Each nook and cranny will be etched in with your activities; the happy times you have together. We respect this, and want to give our clients a home that will last a whole life time: it’s why our Epcon contracts happily make us liable for a minimum of six years, and that too with an Open Book Costing policy.
alking into their sleek and modern HQ in Dalston, you can tell that Epcon Projects is no ordinary building service. The shelves filled with multi-coloured rows of design books, staff running 3D blueprints at their computers, and at the back, a neat little consulting room to which you are courteously led, the sort of make-over owners Rakesh Parikh (Head of Structural Engineering) and Neil Eldem (Head of Architecture) are giving the industry makes itself immediately known. This is the face of architectural engineering: a brand new dimension of the business, which as Rakesh stated “puts design and vision first. Unlike your usual builders, Epcon is an integrated model where the construction itself is almost a by-product: an extension of careful planning and communicative customer care.” “We are looking to challenge the negative stereotype of builders,” Rakesh continued “and with good professional practice actually break it down. You’ve heard of cowboy builders who just come in half-invested and do the shabbiest work; we’re the antithesis of that. ” Indeed the talented duo – each with their 20 years of successful experience – will help the customer put together a personal project portfolio to finally capture their dream abode. The resulting document is chocked full of detailed images and preferred features, from the tint and shape of each door handle to the style and spans of the house. And if you felt an itch to change that bathroom door from a walnut hue to cream last minute, or to experiment with the interior spaces, this would be welcomed as innovation: “Rakesh and I have completed many projects together” Neil told us, “so there’s little we can’t accommodate. It’s a thrill to have the challenge. We’ve had inner city jobs as well as exposure to sites across the country;
for example when we amalgamated three structures to create a Tesco Express, or when we added underpinning – a delicate operation whereby a basement level is incorporated into the building – for an old Victorian terraced house. We can provide both the most secure and creative solutions.” This extends to the company’s pricing too: “because we use a method called Open Book Costing,” Rakesh explained “the customer can see a clear break-down of all overhead costs alongside the profit we’re making, to confirm we are being reasonable and cost-effective throughout the project. Its’ this transparency that allows us to be flexible: it’s always clear
a person’s psychology. The award-winning McLaren’s building in Woking, for example, is high tech and clean, and that makes you want to be likewise.” Originally partnered through their workplace in 2001, Rakesh and Neil have grown to understand the value of their special, customer-focussed ethos. As well as receiving the highest praise for the projects they’d been at the helm of and created, they emerged with a reputation for directness and personal honesty. Fast forward 15 years and Epcon stands as an untethered realisation of a much needed philosophy in the industry: a building outfit that not only lets you see behind the
Epcon is an integrated model where the construction itself is almost a by-product: an extension of careful planning and communicative customer care. how the quotes change.” And it is not just how Epcon Projects works that is impressive, it’s the why. As we talked about the gentlemen’s inspirations and their personal journey, it became clear that such mindfulness was only the natural extension of deep passion: “Because we are architects first,” Rakesh stated “we appreciate the nostalgic significance of a building. That’s another important factor: our desire to leave a legacy. Most independent builders are looking to see what they can take. We’re concerned with quality; what it is we can leave behind.” Here Neil gently added: “when you move into a house, you create new memories. Each nook and cranny will be etched in with your activities; the happy times you have together. We respect this, and want to give our clients a home that will last a whole life time: it’s why our Epcon contracts happily make us liable for a minimum of six years. Surroundings will affect
scenes – including the giving of strong and immediate guidance as chartered designers who never outsource the work – but holds you artfully through the entire process. As the architects concluded, “all good ideas come from those little conversations and thoughts: if you look at The Shard, its story began with just a fragment of glass. We want to help you articulate your inspiration; after all, such creations are here to stay”.
NEIL ELDEM: (DIPARCH RIBA): FOUNDING PARTNER AND HEAD OF ARCHITECTURE; A CHARTERED ARCHITECT AND CONSTRUCTION EXPERT WITH OVER 20 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN DESIGN OF BUILDINGS IN THE UK AND TURKEY. RAKESH PARIKH: (B ENG, M ENG, MISTRUCTE): FOUNDING PARTNER AND HEAD OF STRUCTURES; A CHARTERED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER WITH OVER 20 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN DESIGN OF COMPLEX STRUCTURES IN THE UK, MIDDLE EAST AND INDIA.
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Furnishing and Design Solutions for the Property Market
l At 4 Front Furniture we recognize the importance of finding the correct furniture at the right price. We aim to provide a complete, trouble-free service for busy Landlords, Estate, Letting & Managing Agents in furnishing their rental properties. l Our dedicated delivery professionals will bring your order to your property, expertly assemble and arrange to your instruction, and remove all packaging, whilst always treating your property with care and respect. l We deliver hundreds of in-stock items every day across London, offering free next-day delivery (on our regular ranges to account holders) within our local delivery zones of North & East London. For orders delivered beyond these zones, we will work with you to provide the fastest, most economical delivery process possible.
020 8803 6446 www.4ff.co.uk
STYLISH DESIGNER LIVING
In the first floor of this listed building the original features have been retained and the high ceilings do a great job in creating a very light and airy atmosphere. The entrance has also been completed keeping in accordance with the flat itself. The flat has been cleverly furnished, creating an impression of high class and luxury, meanwhile remaining very cost efficient. Finishing touches are something which are often overlooked when developing properties, though it is important to remember these can give the edge when it comes to selling the final product. For this property, this has been achieved through some very innovative methods, which we have listed below for the benefit of our readers. The property has been a runner-up in design awards and a well-known model requested to use it for her up and coming photo shoot.
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Sumptuous living spacesâ&#x20AC;Ś
KEEP THE LOOK SIMPLE
Beautifully designed living rooms place noteworthy objects at every level. Position elements in such a manner that it encourages the eye to travel up, down, and around. Here are a few living room design ideas.
COFFERED CEILING Twin coffered ceilings, each with a double layer and feature chandelier, add visual drama and depth to the room, creating a striking formal environment
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ACCESSORIES Large accessories such as the chrome mantle clock and large vase add a bold statement to the room
BOLD PATTERNS Striking bold pattern on rug lifts the wood effect floor adding interest and being visible through the glass coffee table
FEATURE PELMET Shaped pelmet upholstered in contrasting fabrics housing luxurious pinch pleat curtains provides a formal framing to the windows
GRAND SOFAS Two facing grand sofas in fabric with an array of textured cushions give a sumptuous feel to this living room
COFFEE TABLE & glass coffee table are reflected in the border pattern of the rug
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Perfect for entertainingâ&#x20AC;Ś
DINE, LOUNGE & SOAK
How about having a stylish room completely devoted to dining and entertaining. In this section, there is also advice on making bathrooms the ultimate glamour rooms. CLASSIC STYLING Wall panelling gives this room a quintessentially classic British feel whilst the feature light styling is understated and effective DINING CHAIRS Cut velvet fabric for the upholstered dining chairs gives a rich and glamorous feel
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ARMCHAIR DETAILS Bold patterns for dining room occasional chairs serve to provide an alternative focus; whilst the simplicity of the TV room cream chairs complement the feature wallpaper
FEATURE WALLPAPER Bold geometric print wallpaper with a dark base colour, tones with the coffee table â&#x20AC;&#x201C; providing a stunning backdrop to the sofa
DESIGN AND PHOTO COURTESY: MICASA WWW.MICASAGROUP.CO.UK
TILING Italian porcelain tiles with natural movement were used on both walls and floor to create an exquisite feel for this master ensuite
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RECHARGE YOUR HOME
the Kondo way! Why is it so hard to let go of stuff we don’t really want!
y work means I’m interested in all aspects of positive psychology that bring happiness, clarity and energy. These include nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and the importance of fulfilling work. Our home environment features highly in all of this too. What’s the point of a beautiful home if it makes us feel weighed down with stuff? I’ve looked into minimalism, but was put off at the mention of eliminating the kettle and toaster – not practical! I don’t want to be extreme, just live in a calm and pleasing home, without too much effort. Enter Marie Kondo, Japanese tidying consultant and her best-selling book on tidying. Her approach is simple – tidy by category, and keep only items that spark joy. Her book has created a global fan base and sell-out talks, one of which I attended. Hundreds of people explore her approach but I’m interested in how it applies to those of us with digital lives, busy with families and work. How much time and effort do you have to put in, and what do you really get out of it?
What’s so special about Kondo?
It’s CATEGORY based and carefully ordered. You start with the most personal possessions such as clothes, go on to books, then move to more communal possessions. (It was at this point I started involving my husband) Tidying and deciding on homes for possessions by category brought such clarity. Plus, I Saved Money: I realised I had been stockpiling contact lenses and toothpaste in 3 different places – and kept getting more as I couldn’t find them when I ran out. Consciously deciding on the best home for items produced a number of ‘ahah moments’ as things just seemed to click in their rightful home – very different from the overwhelm of previous tidying efforts.
of families she knows the familiar pitfalls and the emotional ties we hold to unread books, notes, worn and unworn clothes etc. She makes tidying feel like a spiritual act and very exciting too.
Is it really a ‘one-off ’?
Kondo says this is a one off act that you never have to think about again. In practice, though, we work, have families and busy lives. I found the process quite emotionally draining for certain beloved categories – in my case notes and journals. It wasn’t ABOVE: Marie something I could do in one weekend. Kondo Kondo, Japanese concedes that for busy working parents, breaking tidying consultant. down big categories such as clothes into further sub RIGHT: Best-selling categories and spreading these out might be helpful. book, the life-changing Online I saw that this Kondo process was magic of tidying up taking some people a full year. Because it involves everything, even the stuff you store at your parent’s house. And in our case, our toddler’s stuff. It took me a month to do 80% of it, using mainly weekends and a day of holiday. My husband joined in too and we cleared a Ahah moments total of 40 bags and bin liners out that Consciously deciding on month. There were a lot of trips to the the best home for items recycling bins and charity shops. I was like produced a number of
‘ahah moments’ as things just seemed to click in their rightful home
ONLY KEEP OBJECTS THAT SPARK JOY: De-cluttering can sound and become clinical. The ‘magical art of tidying’ recognises it needs both heart and mind to create a space you love. Marie Kondo gently coaches you through each category, helping you understand how you relate to different types of possessions and how to identify what to keep. After helping thousands
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a person possessed. Then two very busy months went by and over Christmas we needed a ‘refresh’ –jewellery drawers got messy after about a month. To complete the final 5% of the process, I’m planning to take a couple of days off work. I want a totally clear mind to focus on it.
What benefits have we experienced?
TIDYING IS EASIER, almost enjoyable! It feels more purposeful restoring things to their chosen home. GETTING DRESSED IS EASIER: you can actually see the clothes you’ve chosen to keep! TIME AND MONEY ARE SAVED: looking for things such contact lens subscriptions by realising I have too many spare ones. IMPORTANT STUFF is now cherished. I would get rid of this one as it sort of duplicates the one below. Maybe combine into: CHERISHED ITEMS ARE NOW VISIBLE: these needn’t take up much space, such as the digital photo frame and all those Gbs of photos MY DAUGHTER IS LEARNING about and involved in tidying. BEST OF ALL: MY HEAD IS CLEARER. This process affects everything – the decisions about how to spend my time, what to read, what needs attention, what sparks joy. As Kondo said, ‘let’s imagine this clutter as your mind’. As you get on top of your stuff, you get on top of your life.
How does Kondo’s approach apply to busy family households?
Kondo has been criticised for not mentioning how this works for those of us with young families. It struck me that the earlier in your life you do this, the better, for sure. It’s a mindset yielding life-long returns. That’s not to say it’s ever too late! I do feel excited that my daughter will grow up with this philosophy. We asked Marie how her baby has affected her approach and her response was that it hasn’t. I want to ask her the same question in
Making it work
WAIT: Don’t start before you’ve read the book as it’s designed to support you throughout the process. I was itching to get started but I’m glad I waited. MAKE TIME:Give yourself a day or two to really get stuck in, otherwise you won’t break the back of it and you won’t start seeing the benefits. Take time off or use a weekend – it’s worth the investment. SHARE: If you can lure your partner in, it will really help, especially when you’re flagging and need to cleanse the freezer! Gentle encouragement is necessary because you have to be mentally and
a year’s time! I’ve taken a Montessori approach getting accessible drawers for my daughter’s toys and she herself has embraced it, as 2-yearolds have high sensitivity for order. It has transformed our downstairs. Having kids is another reason for regular refreshes as they grow and change.
THE ‘MAGICAL ART OF TIDYING’ RECOGNISES IT NEEDS BOTH HEART AND MIND TO CREATE A SPACE YOU LOVE
What about digital clutter?
Kondo doesn’t really mention digital clutter. And yet for most of us this is an exponentially growing area of stuff. Once I was into the process I felt I was cheating if I ignored these Gigabytes. Marie does say it’s best to save physical photos till last as they are the most sentimental. I spent hours tackling my bursting digital photo files, reducing their volume from 100GB to 5GB, investing in a cloud-based digital photo frame so that they are actually seen, and moving all my other files to the cloud. It has been enlightening. And now I can access all my files and photos from any device.
Our expert emotionally ready to embark on this journey. With both of you on board, it’s also easier to maintain. We now say things like, ‘what’s the best home for the thermometer?’ MAINTAIN: I asked Marie about how to maintain this long term. She said she spends very little time tidying on a daily basis but twice a year she makes sure she removes anything that doesn’t spark joy. For those of us who aren’t professional tidiers, I think that means at least a seasonal refresh here in the UK!
MAYA GUDKA IS A LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY PROGRAMME DIRECTOR AT LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL (LBS), AN EXECUTIVE COACH AND HAPPINESS CLUB FOUNDER. SHE WRITES ABOUT HER EXPERIENCES FOR LBS’S BUSINESS STRATEGY REVIEW AND PSYCHOLOGIES MAGAZINE. FIND OUT MORE AT MAYAGUDKA. COM , ON LINKEDIN, AND @ MAYAGUDKA ON TWITTER.
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Unit 51-53 Sapcote T Trading rading Cent Centrre, 374 High Roa ad, Willesden, NW10 0 2DJ Tel: 020 8459 9 6969 Fax: 020 845 8451 51 6965
Unit 1, Honeypot Business B Centre, Parr Road, R Stanmore, Mid ddlesex HA7 1NL Tel: 020 8381 3559 Fax:: 020 8952 6999
Email: info@e ur ok e n. ne t | W e b : w w w . e ur ok e n. ne t
ARE YOU UP TO SPEED WITH
PROPERTY TAX CHANGES Yogesh Patel and Ritika Doshi explore the impact of some of the major UK residential property tax changes brought in by the Chancellor.
eorge Osborne has been trying to rattle the foundations of the Buy-To-Let world since 2013! Below is a timeline which outlines how much UK residential property tax has undergone a makeover since 2013! In the Chancellorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2015 Autumn Statement, he announced an array of changes to the way buy-to-let properties
are taxed. Some of the tax changes are so far reaching that over 700 landlords have grouped together and appointed Cherie Blairâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chambers to challenge the Government. Over the next few pages we take a look at what the changes are, how they affect you and what you can do to soften the blow, even just a little bit!
Penal tax charges for buying, owning and selling residential properties held by a corporate structure, subject to various reliefs
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) for residential properties changed from the slab system to a marginal rate system (similar to the progressive application of income tax)
Non-UK resident (including corporates) subject to UK capital gains tax when disposing a UK residential property. Non-UK residents to pay any capital gain tax due within 30 days of any assets disposed of on or after 5 April 2015, rather than 31 Jan after the tax year end
FROM APRIL 2013
FROM DEC 2014
FROM APRIL 2015
3% additional SDLT on purchase of 2nd home or additional Buy-to-let property . Abolishment of the 10% wear & tear allowance (from 5 April)
Restricted mortgage interest relief at 20%, which will be fully phased in by tax year 2020/21
FROM APRIL 2016
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Wave goodbye to the Wear & Tear allowance as of April 2016!
The wear & tear allowance, which was brought in by HMRC to make the lives of property investors easier when computing their rental profits, saw its final day on 5 April this year. The allowance enabled landlords of furnished properties to claim a hearty deduction of 10% of their rental income, less certain expenses, for any ‘wear and tear’ to their property. The beauty of this allowance was that it could be claimed regardless of whether any expense was actually incurred or not. From 6th April 2016, landlords will only be able to claim a deduction for expenses they have actually incurred, under the Renewals Basis. For example, any costs of replacing items such as cookers, washing machines and soft furnishings will qualify as a deductible expense. So hopefully you delayed the replacement of any furnishings till after 6 April 2016 to maximize the tax relief.
Stamp Duty Land Tax increase – will you have to pay? With property prices set to increase by nearly 5% in 2016, according to the RICS’s December ‘15 report, it is becoming increasingly difficult for first time buyers to fly the nest and purchase a property of their own. To help try and combat this problem, the Chancellor announced an increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) from 1 April 2016. The SDLT increase of 3% will apply to all purchases of additional residential properties over and above their main residence i.e. buy- to-lets, second homes and holiday homes.
What if I already own a second home, which I let out, and want to replace my main home? If you find yourself asking this question, I’m afraid the news isn’t great and you would still be liable to pay the 3% levy. However, if your previous home is sold within 18 months a refund of the additional SDLT can be claimed. Married couples and those in civil partnerships are not safe either, as the government plans to treat them as a single unit. Couples can only have one property between them without having to pay the extra 3% SDLT. So they will not be able to buy another home, in either person’s name without being caught in the SDLT net.
Can I still help my children to buy their first home? You would hope that helping your children buy a property would be exempt from the additional 3% STLD charge, right? Wrong. If you are looking to help your children get a mortgage, you would be better off putting money towards a deposit rather than jointly owning the property. Otherwise this again, would count as a second home and be liable to the 3% surcharge (so your children may grace you with their presence for a little while longer!)
Deduction of finance costs – Are you going to be pushed into the red?
SDLT 3% increase
The biggest shock the Chancellor delivered to landlords was the will apply to all purchases restriction on loan interest tax relief. of additional residential At present full tax relief is available properties over and above on loan interest for rented property, the main residence giving individuals paying tax at i.e. buyto-lets, second higher and additional rates relief of up to 40% and 45% respectively. homes and holiday However, from 6 April 2017, homes. tax relief on loan interest will be restricted gradually over the next three years and by 2020 tax relief will only be available at the basic rate of 20%. The changes are complex, but the easiest way to illustrate them is to use simple calculations to portray the impact they will have on rental profit. Currently, landlords can deduct mortgage interest plus any other costs before determining their taxable profit. For simplicity, we will assume the landlord is a higher rate tax payer. UNDER CURRENT RULES £ PRE 6 APRIL 2017 RENTAL INCOME MORTGAGE INTEREST COSTS OTHER COSTS PROFIT TAX AT 40% PROFIT AFTER TAX
10,000 (5,000) (1,000) 4,000 1,600 2,400
From 6 April 2020, when the changes will have fully taken effect, instead of being able to deduct your full mortgage interest, you will only be able to claim a basic rate deduction. Taking the same figures as above, let’s see the effect of the changes: NEW RULES FROM £ 6 APRIL 2020 RENTAL INCOME 10,000 MORTGAGE INTEREST OF £5,000 NO LONGER DEDUCTED OTHER COSTS (1,000) RENTAL PROFIT 9,000 TAX AT 40% 3,600 LESS: BASIC RATE MORTGAGE (1,000) DEDUCTION (20% X £5,000) TAX TO PAY 2,600 PROFIT AFTER TAX* 1,400 INCREASE IN TAX 62.5%
The changes are significant, from the example above the tax increase from 2020 is 62.5% higher compared to current tax legislation. In addition, the taxable profits are significantly higher (£9,000 from 6 April 2020 vs. £4,000 under current rules). This may push many individuals into the higher rate tax bracket
* POST TAX PROFIT IS CALCULATED AS RENTAL INCOME (£10,000) LESS INTEREST EXPENSE (£5,000), LESS OTHER COSTS (£1,000) AND LESS TAX (£2,600)
THIS PUBLICATION IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL GUIDE AND CANNOT BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. NEITHER THE AUTHORS NOR GODLEY & CO LTD ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OCCASIONED TO ANY PERSON ACTING OR REFRAINING FROM ACTING AS A RESULT OF MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS PUBLICATION
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and leave landlords that were previously making rental profits, into the red, especially those with highly geared investments! So, from an income perspective, investing in buy-to-let properties may no longer be as lucrative as it once was, especially if the property is highly geared and/or interest rates increase significantly.
What lies ahead for nondomiciled individuals?
A major ‘bomb shell’ to non-domiciled individuals owning UK residential properties through offshore structures was announced in the 2015 Summer Budget. Historically, non-domiciled individuals would use offshore structures to purchase residential properties within the UK. This would then protect the UK property from being subject to inheritance tax on the individuals’ death. However, like all good things, this may now come to an end after April 2017 resulting to the UK property forming part of the non-domiciled individual’s estate on their death. We are still awaiting the publication of the consultation document, which was promised last Autumn!
So, is buying through a corporate vehicle an option?
The amount of mortgages held through corporate vehicles has increased enormously from 18% to over 50% in the past six months alone, according to Mortgages for Business. So, is holding properties through a limited company the next best thing to do? We feel it is worth considering for new acquisitions, however, may not be a suitable strategy for transferring existing BTL properties as it may trigger a significant capital gain and Stamp Duty Land Tax. See the table opposite which highlights the potential pros and cons of buying through a corporate vehicle.
The pros and cons of buying through a corporate vehicle. PROS
Favourable rates of corporation tax at 20%
Extracting cash out of the company can end up being just as expensive as holding property as an individual Lending rates may be higher for companies
Full deduction of mortgage interest is available Capital allowances can be claimed on expenditure
SDLT will be payable at 15% unless the company classifies as a property rental or property development business
On disposal of a property the company can benefit from indexation allowance, a deduction against the effects of inflation when calculating the capital gain
Additional administrative burden and costs inc. filing accounts, tax return and being compliant with the ATED regime No personal allowance available
Landlord’s cash-flows will be impacted as rent will be unchanged but the tax payable will increased. In certain cases this will move landlords into a loss making position from a rental perspective.
As you can see most of the changes have been designed to disrupt the buyto-let market and as always, broaden HMRC’s net to collect more tax. Owning UK property and investing in it now needs careful consideration and thought. However, with the correct tax planning in place, it is still possible to reap the benefits of investing in property. The structure you choose should be tailored to your personal circumstances and future intentions. Whether you already have a property portfolio, or want to invest in property, or even if you want out completely, the UK tax implications now and in the future will vary.
YOGESH PATEL, A CHARTERED TAX ADVISER AND RITIKA DOSHI ARE BOTH ACCOUNTANTS WORKING AT GODLEY & CO, A CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT & TAX SPECIALIST BASED IN HARROW WITH A TOTAL OF 110 YEARS OF TAX EXPERIENCE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON UK PROPERTY TAXATION. FOR MORE INFO CONTACT YOGESH.PATEL@GODLEY.CO.UK.
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YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO BATHROOMS
DESIGN ADVICE & IDEAS
BRANDS & PRODUCTS
SHOWROOMS & FITTERS
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
TOP TIPS: First time buyer at an auction? Remember - the only real unknown thing is the price! Look through auction websites in advance and identify your property. Auction dates are often specified well in advance. By Suresh Vagjiani
Buying to let? QUICK RULE OF THUMB To identify the approximate property costs Simply visit www.zoopla.co.uk or www.rightmove.co.uk
Speak to your mortgage advisor Double check that your mortgage is possible. Make sure you have the deposit amount, stamp duty fees and legal costs available before going to the house
DONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T BE EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO YOUR IDENTIFIED PROPERTY WHATEVER THE COST!
STICK TO YOUR BUDGET AT THE TIME OF BIDDING, AS YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND ANOTHER PROPERTY
BE AWARE: IF A PROPERTY IS DILAPIDATED YOU MAY NOT QUALIFY FOR A BTL MORTGAGE. A BUY TO LET MORTGAGE IS EXACTLY THAT; IT ASSUMES THAT THE PROPERTY IS LETTABLE. IF YOU GET CAUGHT OUT YOU COULD BE PAYING A VERY HIGH RATE OF INTEREST ON A BRIDGING LOAN..
Does the property need work doing on it? Get the work estimate done prior to the auction, if the identified property requires any works
Read through the legal documents, including addendum of the property. Or consult the lawyer and get this checked by them. Ensure there are no last minute surprises. Sometimes, on the day of the auction, last minute addendums are slipped in.
Study the local market
CONSULT LOCAL AGENTS COMPARE SOLD PRICES AND ON-MARKET PRICES AGAINST YOUR IDENTIFIED PROPERTY SUMMER 2016 I ASIAN HOUSE & HOME
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Contact: 1530 London Road, Norbury SW16 4EU Komal Pandya M: 07454 223 339 E: email@example.com Jas Panesar M: 07890 777 405 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
EXISTING FRONT ELEVATION
PROPOSED FRONT ELEVATION
Office: 020 3302 1718
New Improved Street View with Side extension & New front Elevation
Change of Use
PROPOSED GROUND FLOOR PLAN
Rare Elevation with New Extensions
Sections: New Extensions
Sectional Plans: New Improved Extensions
ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
WHEN IT COMES TO SECURITY... insist on certified windows & doors Document Q (or ADQ) came into force in October 2015. It applies to all new build as well as change of use of an existing building, such as from commercial buildings or barns to dwellings. If you are working in a conservation area it applies there too. It outlines what is required regarding the security of the dwelling and this covers every aspect from the obvious, such as doors and windows, to access from garages and roofs if these lead to the dwelling.
WHAT DOES ADQ SAY?
It states that reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling. The requirement is that the product must be shown to have been manufactured to a design that has been tested to an acceptable security standard. RESTRICTIONS: It does not apply to work started before 1 October 2015, or work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date, provided the work was started on site before 1 October 2016. TIMELINE: Document Q has been effective since 1st October 2015. Most companies weren’t ready for it, and although many still aren’t fully compliant and/or don’t understand their obligations, there are those who are. For instance, Everglade were ready over one year prior to the law being changed.
Accreditation & Compliance Customers and and developers alike should ensure products have met the
required performance detailed in PAS24 or Police-approved ‘Secured by Design’ accreditation. These are independent testing, certification and auditing bodies, and any reputable company will invest in this to ensure their products are as secure as reasonably possible.
Secured by Design standards For long term peace of mind and quality assurance purposes, the standards set by Secured By Design are an excellent model to aspire to and follow. They are well ahead in this highly significant aspect of design and build. Secured by Design has for some time required that independent third-party certification from a UKAS accredited, independent third-party certification authority is in place. This requirement exceeds the requirements of Approved Document Q and is a robust, secure procedure.
You should ask to see independent certification or refer to the actual accreditation body such as the British Standards Institute or BM Trada. They can verify if the company claiming to have the accreditation actually does.
Whatever the age of the property, be prepared…
Although at present Document Q only applies to new dwellings, if you are replacing any doors and windows it would be advisable to do so with the required standard ADQ. The extra security protection is worthwhile, plus it won’t take long for insurance companies to catch up and expect ADQ as a basic standard for most forms of cover. It is quite likely that Document Q will eventually apply to replacement doors and windows and require third party certification.
• Customers and developers should be wary of manufacturers and/or installation companies who fraudulently display certification – you should independently verify their listing by checking direct with the authority. • Anybody can take a logo off the internet and display it on their website or letterhead, and it’s often the case that companies mislead customers by displaying these logos when they aren’t actually accredited. Verify what they say…
JAYESH PATEL IS THE SALES DIRECTOR OF THE LARGEST WINDOW & DOOR MANUFACTURER IN LONDON, AN EXPERT WHO REGULARLY ADVISES CUSTOMERS FROM HOMEOWNERS TO MAJOR CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES.
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Buying in an ‘unfashionable’ area is a thing of the past. Those with a keen eye and entrepreneurial spirit are buying further from the centre, so here are the latest hot spots that will be wise investments.
according to Savills. The East London Line links Peckham Rye and Queens Road to Whitechapel, Hoxton and Highbury and Islington, and has brought buyers in droves. BRIXTON There is great interest in Brixton for all kinds of great reasons. According to Savilles, second-timers move here from Clapham in order to find extra space or better value.The price rise here is 17.1% (Lambeth Borough) but local agents say smarter properties have risen 25 per cent in a year. Brixton arrived some time ago. The attraction is the big buzz and the 15-minute tube journey on the Northern Line into London’s West End. Or the Victoria Line of course, which might be busy but cuts right through Oxford Circus to Kings Cross and beyond. City workers now rub shoulders with avocado sellers and trombonists and the amazing Brixton market has become a mecca for food-lovers.
reas to the East, West and South The Clapton area around Lea Bridge, where Lea Valley Park begins, has seen 50 per cent of London are becoming highly increases since 2007, according to Savills. sought after. In the search for (And they have been around long properties in areas with efficient enough to know their stuff!) transport links, a choice of good schools BOROUGH OF and restaurants with rave revues, the WISHAM LE South London boundaries are stretching further out. As LEWISHAM This is Cross Rail looks to go North to South as West London attracting those who well as West to East, there is an increasing Price rise! BOROUG HO ACTON Ealing and might otherwise have been excitement about the move South. This part EALINGF Chiswick have always keen to settle more in North of London has traditionally been seen as been sought after, due London, or Blackheath, but realised that the less desirable than North and West London, Price rise! to the variety and size increased quality of life gained further South but this might be because South London of properties available, made a move to Lewisham very desirable. wanted to keep its secrets to itself. Those PECKHAM Where Dulwich was once the but now Acton is a hot spot. who live there love it. place to be, in every sense, it soon became Great transport links and easy access Creatives of the capital might have put obvious that you could get the same to the delights of Ealing and beyond, this is down roots in Hackney, but South and and better for less, by purchasing in a real rising star. It will cost you £375,000 West are near rivals. If Brixton Nunhead or Peckham. It’s quick for a one-bed flat. was always magnetic, it can WEST and easy to be in Central London, There is a large hope value attached to now dress to please its LONDON yet benefit from the best of the arrival of Crossrail in 2018, which has different audiences via £375,000 the suburbs. Price rises were brought investors and international interest. the shops and variety for a one-bedro o m 17.6% (Southwark Borough) It should cut travel times to Bond Street to of cultural activities on flat in this area but prices on this patch have less than 10 minutes, and to Heathrow to offer. Parts of Acton were risen 30 per cent in the last year, less than 20 minutes. perhaps seen as a Property Cinderella, but if you are smart you will buy there and have a rich PRIME 2016 5 YEAR 2017 2018 2019 2020 investment in years to come. Certainly, the CENTRAL LONDON 0.0 21.5 2.0 5.0 6.5 6.5 goalposts are being moved again and we give OUTER LONDON 2.0 18.2 2.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 you the latest hot spots to consider. SUBURBAN 2.0 24.5 4.0 7.0 5.5 4.0
HACKNEY You could say this is attracting those who would otherwise buy in Islington. House prices here are up a third, at 31% (Hackney Borough). This is by far the fastestrising borough with four hot spots and restaurants and clubs springing up faster than you can count them. Top spot is Hoxton on the edge of the City. Second place has to go to Hackney Marshes and Victoria Park, where a seven-bedroom house can sell at £4 million. Then think Cazenove, north of Stoke Newington Common, where 25 per cent of residents are professionals.
5 YEAR MARKET PREDICTIONS
INNER COMMUTE OUTER COMMUTE WIDER SOUTH ENGLAND MIDLANDS/NORTH SCOTLAND MAINSTREAM
3.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
4.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 3.5
6.0 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.0
4.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0
4.5 4.5 4.0 4.0 4.0
24.0 23.4 19.9 18.2 18.8
UK LONDON SOUTH EAST SOUTH WEST EAST OF ENGLAND EAST MIDLANDS WEST MIDLANDS NORTH EAST NORTH WEST YORKS & HUMBER WALES SCOTLAND
5.0 5.5 7.0 6.0 6.5 5.0 4.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 3.0
3.0 2.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.0
3.0 2.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
2.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.5 2.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.5
2.5 2.5 2.0 2.5 2.0 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.5
17.0 15.3 21.6 19.9 21.0 17.00 16.5 12.0 13.7 14.2 14.8 14.2
SOURCE: SAVILLS RESEARCH
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What’s going up... OUR IN-HOUSE PLANNING UPDATE 2016 The rules governing residential extensions were relaxed in May 2013 for a 3-year period ending May 2016. However, this new policy has now been extended for a further 3 years until May 2019. By Kish Bhudia
Our expert KISH BHUDIA IS A CHARTERED ARCHITECTURAL TECHNOLOGIST & PARTY WALL SURVEYOR WITH OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN LOCAL AUTHORITY & PRIVATE BUILDING CONTROL. NOW RUNS AN ARCHITECTURAL & BUILDING CONSULTANCY BASED IN HARROW, SPECIALISING IN HOME EXTENSION, RENOVATION AND NEW BUILD MARKET.
The ups and downs
The scheme was originally introduced for the following reasons: To give the small scale construction industry a boost. To encourage home owners to take advantage of building larger extensions.
of extending this scheme, although there is great opposition from local planning authorities.
Planning pre-submission/fast track The big change last year has been the introduction of Planning Pre-Submission consultations and fast track services.
What does it involve?
The pre-submission process allows applicants to submit their proposals for the planner’s informal review and to meet and discuss the merits of the application before it is formally submitted. The fast track service promises to provide a quicker It hasn’t really had the effect that was heralded: response, including a site visit, with recommendations There are still considerable restrictions on the type on the applications within a shorter time frame. The level of service and the additional fees of houses that can be extended. Immediate neighbours objecting to extension can payable vary from council to council. result in a straightforward refusal. This service is not always well publicised, so you may Where a 6m/8m rear extension is permitted, a have to ask if this is available in your borough. Both these services are designed to speed up the local authority may place further restrictions on planning process, but it is also an opportunity for any subsequent extensions that would ordinarily councils to earn the much-needed extra money. Both have been granted. They do this on the basis that the of the above services are long overdue. The planning accumulative bulkiness of the resulting house would system has been very stagnant for a number of be out of keeping with the surrounding area. This has years, and for the average householder it is a subsequently reduced the number of people taking this very bureaucratic process. We have personally route. experienced a significant increase in the Office conversions number of new enquiries for residential Part and parcel of this new extensions. This is based on the Both these services legislation was general theme that there is simply are designed to speed slackening the rules for a shortage of suitable houses on up the planning converting office spaces into the market. With the infinite rise process, but it is also an in house prices there seems to residential units. This has opportunity for councils seen significant growth, with be no alternative but to extend in all redundant office buildings being directions possible. to earn the much-needed converted into extra money flats without the extensive planning hurdles to jump over. Many office blocks built in the 19601970’s are now outdated and the way businesses operate in today’s high-tech superhighway has changed the demand for office space. The geographic and demographic part of the formula has simply been eroded. HOWEVER: Planning authorities have historically been keen to retain commercial uses, in the hope that they would create employment, as smaller enterprises often spring up around these areas to service the workers, e.g. cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, etc. The government is currently reviewing the option
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FAMILY MATT E how much choice is there? Not everyone has the luxury of designing an entire house around their ageing parents, but there are smart ways of living or for that matter cost-efficient ways of modifying the home for the elderly. These ideas will surely help make a home safer for an older resident.
veryone worries about what will psychological space too. Increasingly many happen as they get older and elders now take a six-month trip to India need more help. The elders once a year which rejuvenates them and are not only concerned about gives everyone a break. themselves but also for those Upsizing they depend on. Many donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be a For those who got on the property burden, especially if they are squeezed into a ladder a bit later the question of upsizing home that is not really fit for purpose. Others is foremost. There are a good number never think like this and just know their place of properties with enough bathrooms, is firmly within the family until they pass away. bedrooms and even separate entrances They are a practical resource and provide now on the market to suit this need. constant child care and at times much Location can sometimes cause a headache wisdom. Most of us, young and old, are just and obviously schools and local amenities concerned to do the best for everyone, of will be central to any choice, course, and the pride of always but there is a good range keeping the extended family now in North London together is a key factor. Make life across many sought But physical and mental easier after areas. incapacity can present Invest in a stairlift, this huge problems these Downsizing will give the user much days. If the family This is an option home is bursting more independence and for at the seams, with a relatively low cost means for those elders who had invested in a large elders inconvenienced the whole house can property and seen their or uncomfortable, still be accessed families grow up and move this poses a dilemma. on, leaving them more or less We look at the increasing on their own. Bijou apartments, diversity of approach to what is many with some kind of on call system of in many ways a new challenge for the Asian care if wanted, are now available across community who have traditionally given such London and development pushes into new a great example to others when it comes to areas. Many have excellent local amenities caring for their parents. such as GP practice, local shops and good Property size transport connections close by. For all those who came to England Adaptations some time ago, worked hard and got on These need to be considered the property ladder before all the boom carefully If the property and location is and bust, there is not always much of a good enough and no one wants to move problem. They thought things through, out or on. Any adaptation needs to be planned ahead and now have a good sized well designed so that a future sale is not family home that caters well for their own compromised. Increased frailty as well as family and the husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents. They disability requires specific changes to door enjoy their life together but all families need
size for wheelchairs as well as walking frames. Stair lifts are expensive but the range has widened considerably so there is much more choice than ten years ago. The family need to discuss how these and other adaptations such as moving bedrooms downstairs can solve the problems and enable the elders to remain in their home.
The ability to extend is now much easier due to changes in the law, and if this is possible it is an excellent option. Value is always added to a home by increasing the layout and providing more space. However, good design is important here, as an extension that is too specific to your needs might not be popular with buyers if and when you come to sell it off. It is good to create an extension that works for the family needs but is also attractive generally.
Separate living arrangements
Sometimes families do not have the choice to upsize, create more space or fit the aids and adaptations needed. Bathrooms that wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take a sit in shower, or doorways that are not able to be extended and so on, might mean that elders cannot be physically catered for. They might be very content but if they cannot wash and move about easily, health problems will come and cause distress for everyone. In this case it might be best to look for a small home which can be adapted, that is close enough to visit frequently. It might feel like a huge disruption and go against all your principles. But if you are all living in the same area and contact is frequent, this can be a win-win scenario for elders who are mentally agile but not able to move around without frames, chairs and bathrooms designed for their needs.
There are an increasing number of Assisted Living Schemes in many areas, which can offer the safety and convenience needed in small flats. This might be far
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from your dream of caring for parents and not attractive to them, but they are worth investigating. Loneliness is an increasing problem for all ages but particularly the old. Knowing there are many others in the same building a walk away, and having social areas to congregate can overcome this. Some schemes now provide in-house restaurants and hairdressers for example, and most are situated within easy reach of GP Surgeries. Of course, the best deal would be one
of these flats that is close to where the family live so that everyone can stay close and care for each other.
Retirement & care homes
There are at present not many that cater for just Asian elders. We found one in South London which offers culturally specific care; all staff are fluent in Gujarati and Hindi and food is prepared according to religious principles. Physical needs are well catered for, if this is a reason for someone having to move and social isolation may be relatively less compared to a more diverse social setting.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;What worked for us when my mother-inlaw started to struggle sitting down and then standing up again from her chair, was to pay a retired neighbour to sit in some mornings. This enabled the rest of the family members to carry on as normal with their work. The neighbour was a close friend of my mother-in-law but paying made it less of a favour and enabled her to go about her daily activities at ease and with the comfort of knowing someone she trusted was close byâ&#x20AC;?
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Building - Refurbishment - Maintenance
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ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
Evoke a sense of cultural charm with a bathroom influenced by the rich colours and materials of Asia – the ultimate retreat for rest and relaxation. By Avinash Doshi
For a luxurious look, make a statement with a brass and gold plated black, high gloss Bubbles bathtub, an exquisite piece with black lacquer brass spheres and a high gloss varnish.
£29,310 at Touched Interiors
When designing a family home, there are many elements to consider. The key is to be really practical, yet create some atmosphere. It’s important to think about how the bathroom makes you feel, as we spend a fair bit of time there. With multi-generational living maintaining its popularity, the most successful schemes evoke a sense of heritage, with a nod to rich ancestry from the subcontinent. Think vibrant colour! The rituals of bathing and showering can be combined with childhood memories – this provides the perfect combination for a healthy, happy home. SUMMER 2016 I ASIAN HOUSE & HOME
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“Bathrooms are wonderfully versatile places within the home,” says Chris Payne, senior designer at Ripples, “which can be designed to reflect any cultural influence desired. Bathroom design presents us with multiple opportunities to illustrate this style. The vibrant colours and rich textures that are so visible in Indian culture can be interpreted into the individual components of a bathroom. When used with care and consideration, they will combine to create a vibrant and sophisticated environment. Manufacturers are now producing taps and showers in a terrific range of deep rich coppers, bronzes and golds. Tiles also offer wonderful options to introduce intricate patterns and beautiful colours to large, bold areas. Using indulgent natural materials such as marble can also complement and enhance these colours and textures.”
The latest trends also include Japanese and Balinese styles, with Zen-like designs that promote mindfulness and wellbeing. “We’re now embracing the true beauty of nature,” explains Dan Cook, designer at CP Hart. “Natural finishes have seen a huge resurgence in popularity this year, while curved edges and minimal detailing all add to the aesthetic of pared back design. The Japanese treated bathing as an activity to be enjoyed; any objects that weren’t needed for bathing were traditionally never kept in the same room, allowing the bathroom to become a truly holistic space.”
1 Our expert AVINASH DOSHI IS THE FOUNDER OF FOAM & BUBBLES. FOAM & BUBBLES HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BATHROOMS: ADVICE, INSPIRATION, BRANDS, PRODUCTS, SHOWROOMS AND FITTERS. MORE INFO: FOAMAND BUBBLES.COM
EAST MEETS WEST
Luxury can be interpreted in many ways and for Asian design, it’s all about creating a distinct look with classical appeal. Think natural materials with rough hewn textures, raw wood, the natural veins of marble and slate and jewelled mosaics and glass tiles. Think cool white schemes for ordered calm. For an ultra indulgent feel, look to the more opulent materials and finishes of black lacquer, copper, brushed brass, gold plate and iron. If you want to conjure up images of hot summer months in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, a copper bath from Hurlingham Baths is perfect. It evokes a sense of time and place where the days were endless and the mood relaxed and carefree.
When it comes to fixtures and fittings, a large double-ended tub will provide a focal point within the scheme. Team with one of the latest waterfall taps for a cascading flow and surround yourself with flickering tea lights and candles. Wet rooms and walk-in showers are functional as well as stylish, offering plenty of room with an easy access, flush-fit shower tray. Even WCs have taken their cue from Asian culture, with shower toilets that incorporate everything from a heated seat and spray shower technology to automatic odour extraction, warm-air dryer and even a pulsating massage function.
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1 The Burgbad PLI Collection features furniture inspired by Asia. Prices from £4,666 for a double vanity unit with basin at Ripples. 2 Embrace the rituals of bathing with a timber tub and surrounding metallic glass brick tiles in pale gold Dionysus, coupled with Mother of Pearl accent mosaics, £159.95 at Original Style. 3 A large sized room could be transformed into a spa-style sanctuary with the Neutra Basaltina Easy stone bath, which costs from £47,800 at CP Hart. 4 Using the same tile tones for walls and floor enhances a feeling of light and space. Premium Polished Cappuccino Marble, £29.99 per square metre; Cappuccino Marble Mosaic, £66.56 per square metre, Tile Mountain. 5 This Copper Bateau bath was manufactured in India for Hurlingham The Bath Company and features a luxurious nickel interior. It’s priced at £3,350 and would make the ultimate
statement piece. 6 Colour can bring vitality into the bathroom and this Hammered Pink Glass Mosaic from Tile Mountain is ideal for a walk-in shower area, priced at £59.02 per square metre. 7 A simple scheme of white and wood evokes a serene sense of peace and tranquility. Duo shower tray in Namib Stone, £4,000;
Neutra basins in Namib Stone, from £2,712 per pair; Neutra shelf in solid cherrywood, from £1,389, all at CP Hart. 8 This brushed brass and iron bathtub takes
its inspiration from the recurring symbol in Japanese culture – the Koi Carp. Available in bespoke sizes and finishes, it costs from £19,730 at Touched Interiors. 9 A statement basin with matching brassware will elevate the bathroom from boring to bling. Petracers Divino brassware in gold, from £600 at CP Hart.
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GROW YOUR OWN! Top tips from an urban gardener
pring is here, so there’s no better time to start dusting off those gardening gloves and digging out the garden tools. For me it’s a great excuse to go outside to enjoy nature and have the satisfaction of growing something of your own - and not be completely reliant on the supermarket. For many, finding the time or even having a garden space to work in is a rare commodity. So here are some very simple tips from someone who has a passion for urban gardening but doesn’t make enough time for it to be a permanent expensive hobby. WHERE TO START? You can begin with growing herbs. They are generally very easy to maintain, and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Given you don’t need a great deal of any herb at one time, the plant can grow as you cut away at it over the weeks and months. If you are starting out you can even buy the grow pots from major supermarkets for £3. I would suggest the following:
GUIDE TO HERBS
plant element grows fast, high and wide and it will need to be supported with sticks. The main task is to ensure you keep the root, which is the potato, very well covered with soil at all times. NOTE: I tried growing aubergine and baby sweetcorn but didn’t get it right. They seem to need a little more TLC!
Great for tea!
Great for adding to salads, sandwiches or making fresh pesto TIP: if it is warm enough for Basil to be outside it will grow pretty fast – so take off the buds as they appear.
For pizza and pasta.
Also a hardy and reliable herb and a perfect addition to any grilled or fried dish.
It’s great fun growing chillies, watching them grow and change colour. You can also feel proud of growing your own. Be adventurous and try different chillies!
Pots or tro ug
hs You can bu y varies siz but if you b e uy a troug h make sure it has a good inn er lining and also th at it is rais ed so that drains well and is easy to rea ch.
A favourite of mine. These can be grown in grow bags or upright bags and are easy to look after this way. They give lots of pleasure to children and adults alike. And what’s not to like about tomatoes that are fresh and have a great taste. Shop and even market bought fruit and vegetables are often so bland in scent and taste these days, it’s well worth a try. I recommend trying both yellow and red baby tomatoes.
Good if you have space, as they are fairly low maintenance. You can buy special potato bags or use a grow bag. But be warned: the
YOGESH PATEL, A CHARTERED TAX ADVISER IS AN ACCOUNTANT WORKING AT GODLEY & CO.
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WHERE EVERY DROP COUNTS E Maintenance of a lovely garden or a flourishing farm shouldn’t be a matter of complicated devices or debates. It should be driven by innovation at the roots.
very Drop Counts is a phrase that is fast becoming literal and practical in the global warming and water conservation predicament. In the current global climate, conventional climate has been changing its pattern increasing fears for gardening-enthusiasts and plantation and farmowners alike, with unpredictable rainfall. Many areas are experiencing receding rain fall and other areas are having to put up with excessive water. If we are not one step ahead of this unpredictable, uncontrollable situation, it may result in the loss of your precious garden or a loss in plantation yield, while netting a cost on wastage of water. The horticultural and agricultural sectors are indicated to be part of the extensive water usage industry amongst others simply because of methods used and lack of cost-effective innovation in the field. The judicious and economical usage of water
‘how much to water the plants is not at hand’. And add to that various practical barriers that affect the economic use - ranging from ease of use, time, and flexibility. Simply put, whatever that happens to your plants when you’re not near them always- at home, or at your farm or plantation - should be out of your hands? This is where the latest innovation in soil moisturising management systems come into place. There are very few full-automated (setup-and-forget) soil moisturising management systems in the market, let alone ones that are accessible to the everyday home, at the cost and ease of usage. One among our successful innovations at Aardra Systems Ltd. has been to create a cost-effective, accessible, userfriendly system that is scalable to fit small gardens, vegetable allotments to commercial farms. Depending upon the type of soil and what
This is what we believe is going to be one of the breakthrough solutions that is simple enough to change the way watering plants work.
Our expert DHARMESH JOSHI, IS THE FOUNDER AND LEAD ENGINEER AT AARDRA SYSTEMS LTD, WHO DEVELOPS FULLY-AUTOMATED, COSTEFFECTIVE, SOLAR-POWERED, SOIL MOISTURISING SYSTEM FOR HOMES, AND FARMS. IT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT WWW.AARDRA.CO.UK. PH: 0207-164-6163
is widely talked about in all avenues, as water is fast becoming a commodity that is more expensive than petroleum comparatively. As one would be familiar, the watering is done either manually or by using timer irrigation system, and in both cases, the watering is not accomplished economically as there is an element of wastage. If the watering is inadequate or overdone, it will end up with the destruction of valuable plant life. Current research on water conservation also found out that society sees water conservation as important yet take little action to do so -- for example, people may use excessive water to irrigate their lawns or plantations, as the knowledge of
percentage of moisture is required for the apt growth of your plantation, trees, garden, or lawn, the system is set with the values of moisture and a sensor is submerged into the ground where root level water is required. The soil moisture is constantly monitored and come rain or sunshine, or lack of rain or lack of sunshine, valves are opened and closed till the right amount of water is in the soil, thus reducing water wastage and also evaporation from the surface, making sure that your plant life is taken care of. This is what we believe is going to be one of the breakthrough solutions that is simple enough to change the way watering plants works. At the end of the day, every drop counts.
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WHY IT’S TIME TO REJECT THE BIG BANKS! When thinking of buying property of any kind these days, the question of what kind of mortgage features highly, as well as where to go to get the best deal. With astute financial advice on the best deal in both the short and long term, Roger Aitken underlines the benefits of a approaching a building society… Favour Building Society Mortgages Over Bankrupt High Street Banks
If there is “one lesson” from the financial crisis of 2008 - although for some it’s a distant memory is that we should support the UK’s national and regional mutual building societies and “steer clear” of the state-subsidised high street banks and even centralised lenders. This is the loud and clear message from London-based chartered financial planner Filip Slipaczek, who recently achieved the financial industry’s ISO-22222 certification standard - six years in a row. Mr Slipaczek, who has been a financial adviser for over two decades and is also chartered by an examination in banking and insurance, says: “If I have one word of advice to impart to mortgage applicants it is that they should support many of the well-run national and regional mutual building societies across the UK and avoid the bankrupt high street banks who caused the 2008 economic crisis.” But why just take the word of this Polish adviser born in Winchester who proudly has a number of Asian clients?
Banks versus Building Societies
The UK building society sector, which today numbers 44 societies spanning the likes of market leaders Nationwide with group assets of £196,129 million as at 1 February 2016, to smaller societies like the Buckinghamshire Building Society (BS) with assets of £172m as well as
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the Earl Shilton and Penrith societies, had strong market share last year despite a backdrop of heightened and intense competition. The latest full year figures from the Building Society Association (BSA), which were released on 17 February 2016, showed that the value of mortgage loans approved across the sector for 2015 was up 10% over 2014 at £57.8 billion (bn), which represented a 26% UK market share. Overall the building society sector turned in a healthy increase in gross lending and mortgage approvals over 2014 and its market share continued to be strong. Analysing some of the BSA’s mortgage lending figures, building society approvals by number of loans increased 6% in 2015 at 395,300 loans (2014: 373,000). Of this total around a third were to first time buyers. And, the sector’s market share by number of loans approved stood at 28%. At the end of 2015 building societies held mortgages to the value of £265.2bn, which equated to 21% of the UK market. Paul Broadhead, the BSA’s Head of Mortgage Policy, commenting said: “Competition in the mortgage market picked up in 2015 with the large banks demonstrating Slipaczek says: an increased appetite to lend. Surprisingly, many of Despite this, building societies have continued to benefit from their ability the smaller societies to provide mortgages to consumers have access to wholesale with a wide range of requirements, funding and are able including first time buyers, selfto offer extremely wellbuilders, shared owners and those priced fixed and needing mortgages later in life.” capped-rate deals He added: “Despite European and global uncertainty, consumer sentiment in the housing market remains strong and building societies will continue to have a compelling mortgage lending proposition during 2016.” That said, the BSA adds a caveat in noting zzzthat it does “remain concerned” about consumer affordability across all housing tenures due to the continued shortage of housing supply.
Building Societies: Competitive Rates
Our expert ROGER AITKEN IS A FREELANCE FINANCIAL JOURNALIST, WHO HAVING WORKED FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES, IS NOW A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR TO FORBES.
Slipaczek, whose IFA practice in Barnet has handled mortgage applications for a range of clients over the years, has used mortgage products offered by a host of building societies (BS) from the Buckinghamshire BS, Coventry BS, Chorley BS, Earl Shilton BS, Homesdale BS, Hinckley & Rugby BS, Loughborough BS, Monmouthshire BS and Skipton amongst others. Their rates are competitive and compare favourably with the banks and centralised lenders. “Surprisingly, many of the smaller societies have access to wholesale funding and are able to offer extremely well-priced fixed and capped-rate deals,” Slipaczek explains. Indeed, looking at some of the best deals on the market for fixed-rate mortgages as of March 2016, on the 2-year fixed rates front (with no extended tie-in) two
of the best five deals were from building societies - Leeds BS with a 1.75% rate and Coventry BS at 2.35%. And, on those particular building society deals the maximum LTV (Loan-To-Value) on home purchases was higher - at 85% and 90% respectively - than deals from HSBC (60%) and Accord Mortgages (75%-80%). The figures, which are collated and published by Money Facts (www.moneyfacts.co.uk) every month and available online, are mirrored for the best 5-year fixed rates with no extended tie-in - with rates from the Hinckley & Rugby BS and Nottingham BS at 2.79% and 3.14%, respectively. The Winchester-born adviser contends that people should also have a “moral duty” to support the plethora of mutual building societies “where mortgage rates are equally competitive - if not more so - and offering greater flexibility than many of the high street banks and centralised lenders.” It is important also to appreciate building societies are owned by their members - and not ‘equity’ shareholders - as is the case with the big banks. And, according to Slipaczek the societies “are less likely to have their mortgage book securitised”. This centres on the aspect of treating customers fairly (‘TCF’), a guiding principle of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK financial regulator. And, it begs the question as to whether a borrower would draw comfort from having their mortgage securitised by a chosen lender. “Most, if not all, of the UK high street banks and centralised lenders have the option to securitise their mortgage book,” he points out. The origins of the 2008 financial crash in the US was the result of the packaging of inappropriate mortgage debt - often rated ‘AAA’ by the credit rating agencies (i.e. sub-prime). Another aspect highlighted by Slipaczek is the “box ticking” inclination of some banks. “If, for example, you opt for a mortgage with a large high street bank name it’s inevitable that the mortgage applicant(s) and the application will be treated as part of a box ticking exercise.” He adds: “However, in my experience the building society sector offers flexibility and [they] will effectively look outside of the box and consider all aspects that are necessary when successfully underwriting a mortgage application.” And, in the unfortunate and unlikely event that a borrower gets into financial difficulties and goes into mortgage arrears then you are “more likely” according to Slipaczek to gain a sympathetic ear from a mutual building society. Finally, it should go without saying that it is extremely important that when seeking financial advice - whether it be for a mortgage product or other investment services - you obtain independent whole of market and qualified advice.
Note: To find an appropriately qualified financial adviser refer to Unbiased’s website (www.unbiased.co.uk/).
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Advising Companies and Private Clients l Corporate Finance Solutions l Commercial Mortgages l Property Finance l Development Finance l Bridging Finance for Auction Purchases l Residential Buy-to Let Mortgages for High Networth clients Mr Darshan Roy Director
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ASIAN HOUSE & HOME I SPRING 2015
RENTAL HURRICANE HITS UK! How do Asian investors react to the rental market? As the tax changes dawn on our Buy-toLet landlords, they are now mulling how they can maximise on their yields. The RENTAL MARKET is very strong as the gap in affordability to get on the property ladder widens and the forecast on how new transport links maximise income looks more than favourable! Our expert DINA BHUDIA DIRECTOR OF P2M ASSET MANAGEMENT CARES FOR HER CLIENTS AND AIDS TO GROW THEIR PORTFOLIOS BY MAXIMISING THEIR BORROWING NEEDS ENSURING HIGH YIELDS ON THEIR INVESTMENTS, WHILST SAFEGUARDING THEM OVER TAXATION RULES AND RENTAL REGULATIONS
TAX ISSUES The tenant takes the brunt in most cases. However, if the taxman is going to charge from landlords, then they will look to pass it onto the tenants, which in turn hikes up the rents. Investors are not only shying away from purchasing 3-bed properties but thinking smarter and acquiring 2-bed apartments as there is a marginal difference in the rental, and seems to be more of a demand for apartment living. The tax surcharge the government has imposed will only impact the tenants as landlords will make it up by charging higher rents. RENTAL MARKET TRENDS The rental market in the UK is at its peak, with a strong supply of tenants and a continuing lack of supply of property. With interest rates at their lowest, investors will continue to purchase. With international investors finding the UK and sterling a safe haven, this means that property investment remains the best way forward - providing immediate income and a good medium to long term equity growth. NOTE: BUY-TO-LET INVESTORS There will be a reduced supply of rental housing and higher rents after the April tax hike for buy-to-let investors, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). SOME STATS The latest English Housing Survey shows there were 4.3 million households renting privately in England, that’s very nearly 20% of all households in 2014-15. This is predicted by property consultants Savills to grow to approaching 25% of all households by 2025. There are now more young people renting than ever before. In 2004-05, 24% of the 25 to 34 age group lived in the private rented sector. This figure had risen to 46% by 2014-15.
prediction is that demand for rental accommodation will increase by 1.1m households over the next five years, even if the government were to meet its new-build targets over the same period. TRANSPORT TRENDS With recent announcements of Cross rail link here are some Residential Property Market Predictions:a Transport links and infrastructure expansions have historically played a key part in property price performance, especially in the London property market. The extension of London Underground’s Jubilee Line in the late 1990s was the largest addition to London’s transport network in more than 25 years and was thought to have generated a land value of approximately £9 billion. CROSSRAIL’S high speed service is expected to bring an additional 1.5 million people to within a 45-minute commute of Central London. This in turn creates new, desirable residential addresses and naturally impacts the prices of properties and rental income along the route. In 2012 GVA estimated that Crossrail could help generate £5.5 billion in added value to residential and commercial real estate across its route between 2012 and 2021. It was predicted that house prices could rise by 20% in suburban locations, including Berkshire and Essex, and by 25% in Central London. Recent forecasts have now emerged, stating that house prices along the line could continue to increase by 3.3% per year above local house price growth until the route’s launch in 2018/2019 – equivalent to an average increase of more than £133,000! This is great news for Investors looking to make some serious money.
OUTLOOK With big brand agents providing more encouragement Savills’
PRIVATELY IN ENGLAND IN 2014-15
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At the coffee shop Today Rachel Dimond managed to grab an expert in interior designing, Vish Mehta, over a hot drink to delve a little into how it feels to be running a successful award-winning company.
Vish graduated from The London School of Economics always wanting to become a Chartered Accountant. He trained with a Top 20 firm in Birmingham learning some very important skills with smaller to medium sized business. Following roles at PricewaterhouseCooopers and Alamo/National Car Rental, Vish always had an ambition to undertake a MBA and graduated from London Business School in 2002. It was during his time at LBS, that the seeds of becoming an Entrepreneur were sown. Before MiCasa was established, Vish used his background as a Chartered Accountant and MBA to build a successful property development business with his sister, Vaishali. The understanding they both gained into the needs of developers and purchasers, and the surprise discovery of a passion for interior design, led them both to start MiCasa in 2004 with his wife, Neha. His last role prior to joining MiCasa full-time was with Nestle.
How does your typical Monday morning start?
Monday morning is actually a continuation of Sunday evening! I always work late into Sunday night to get ready for the week ahead. I make sure I am up by 6.30am and then Neha and I focus on getting the kids (teenagers!) up and to school. Neha works alongside me, so its teamwork from the start, so we can both get into the office on time. I don’t drink tea or coffee, but make sure I have a good breakfast as soon as I hit the office. It’s then straight into meetings with clients, or a download with Rebecca, my PA, or straight into a conversation with the financial controller. There is no slow start for me any day of the week, especially Monday morning!
knew about such as technical aspects of lighting or audio visual tech. In recent months, I have also had the pleasure of taking a client, who is building a 7 bedroom home, to Venice to show them some high end bathroom furniture, including one of the most unusual stone baths ever! Our clients really value our knowledge and help to make their dreams a reality.
How did the MiCasa Group start and what is the business now?
Vaishali, Neha and I started MiCasa 12 years ago! We started in a small 600 square foot showroom in Northwood, where there were 8 displays of gift ware, candles cushions and vases. My dad used to joke that his Chartered Accountant son had become a cushion and vase retailer! A lot has What is your favourite part of your happened since 2004! Today, I believe, working day? we have an unrivalled business in terms My days are varied and busy and my diary of expertise and breadth of knowledge in is usually booked two weeks in residential design. advance. I really enjoy my client Our ability to offer a meetings. Every client is comprehensive design NO JOKE! different and they have service that starts from A SMALL 600 SQUARE different priorities and architecture right through FOOT SHOWROOM, WHERE WE HAD GIFT WARE, objectives – whether to interior design allows CANDLES CUSHIONS AND it’s having lots of us to provide single VASES. MY DAD USED TO play space for their room solutions through JOKE THAT HIS SON HAD growing family or to full turnkey residential BECOME A CUSHION AND VASE wanting a state of the art projects. We are able to RETAILER! cinema room. deliver any aspect of design in We undertake meetings as your home. From architecture, planning a team with a Senior / Technical Designer and design & build projects to tiling, furniture present. I particularly enjoy educating clients and full interior design, we can transform about aspects of their home that they never every corner of your home.
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Show Home in the UK” at the 2014/15 UK all the time. We all work hard but I believe Our main Interior Design showroom is Property Awards for a project we undertook in having fun when you come to work. You located in Northwood, Middlesex whilst our in Sarratt in Hertfordshire. I was on holiday have to enjoy what you do! We really focus Architectural Studio is in Watford, Herts. when the ceremony was held but I got a call on making sure we have the right people in Between these 2 locations we service at 3am with my sister and Priti, our Design the job and that they are happy and fulfilled between 20 to 40 clients at any one time. Director, screaming down the phone to say as members of MiCasa. I have always believed in developing we had won the UK award. I was buzzing! capability in house so we have our own What is your most valuable tool for It was a very prestigious event and great warehouse operation, fitting teams and all success (skill, equipment, staff recognition of Team’s ability to design, elements of customer service and finance are member!, creativity)? execute and deliver an also employed by MiCasa. My MBA has given me an amazing outstanding showhome We now are a 22 strong BEST framework for running MiCasa. I started project. team consisting of interior INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW HOME IN THE UK on the Executive MBA Programme, which designers, RIBA IT WAS A VERY If you could choose meant I was working and studying at the chartered architect and PRESTIGIOUS EVENT AND a dream location to same time, together with my wife and I finance, operations and A GREAT RECOGNITION OF design and build, where having just had our first child!! However, customer service staff. ALL THE HARD WORK THAT THE TEAM HAS would it be and why? I got the opportunity to quit my job and This year will be DONE OVER THE I would like design study for a semester at Dartmouth Tuck, something amazing… YEARS something in California - in one of the Ivy League Schools in the US. we are due to open a very Laguna Beach or up in the Palo This time gave me some amazing different showroom – we have Alto Hills!. Much of our design influence inspiration and skills to succeed but most been building a 8,500 sq. ft. home in Moor at MiCasa has a classic contemporary importantly I knew I wanted to be an Park, which MiCasa will use to showcase European flavour, mixed with some entrepreneur and not work for someone everything we do – from architectural beautiful British soft furnishings and else. I took a lot of electives focused in interiors, tiling, kitchens to bathrooms and upholstery. We would love to build a this area to include organisation skills, interior furnishings. Furnished with Interior stunning luxury home that pays homage to marketing, strategy etc. Design from the very best brands in the UK, this but ‘over the pond’. The most important aspect for a Italy and Southern Europe, the home will be successful business is TEAM. We one of the most unique showrooms in the Could you share a nail biting project emphasise this every week at MiCasa. Our whole of the UK! We worked on a client’s project in West business is only as good as its people, How has your market changed over the London where the goal was to convert two and my sister and I have focussed on last few years? houses into one without knocking them developing an amazing team. Interior design success is often subject to down. (The client owned one house then Another really important factor the amount of disposable income available. bought the house next door). to our success is that my MiCasa operates at the mid to high end of the The most crazy thing was sister and I come from SERVICE AT market in this respect. Since the economic the time scale. They had very different work ITS BEST I ALSO TOOK A CLIENT TO crash of 2008 our business has transformed. 8 months to complete backgrounds. She is VENICE TO SHOW THEM We introduced new revenue streams focusing the project from start the commercial and SOME HIGH END BATHROOM on a wide range of interior design disciplines to finish and it had to design driver whilst FURNITURE, INCLUDING and this helped us ride out the tough times. finish on a certain day, I look at things from ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL STONE BATHS EVER! Last year was very strange! Prior to the as the day after the operations, finance, HR General Election the market was very quiet. client’s daughter was getting etc. This means between But on the Friday after the Election, the married in the house and its us we cover a number of the phones just went crazy! And it carried on for gardens. I recall we finished about 3am of core ‘business bases’ and we don’t step the whole year. the day in question. My whole team were on each other’s toes! Right now the housing market and mind-blowingly amazing! Later that day the Finally, we have strived to focus on developer market are fairly buoyant, which marquees went up. It was sensational to see amazing customer service. means we are designing a lot of show how we managed it so tightly, but the client From the very first phone call through homes as well as working on some really was ecstatic and the job was delivered to a to the final installation, we instill in all our impressive private client commissions. high standard on time - just! Team the importance of making our clients feel valued and special. We try to be as What has been your best moment since How do you motivate your staff? responsive as possible and encourage the business began? We do staff socials, Xmas parties and regular communication between us / clients Winning the award for “Best Interior Design so on, but mostly keep a light hearted spirit – silence is our worst enemy!
MICASA need to know… INTERIOR DESIGN SHOWROOM IN NORTHWOOD, MIDDLESEX ARCHITECTURAL STUDIO IN WATFORD, HERTS TWO WAREHOUSES 22 EMPLOYEES EXTENSIVE CLIENT LIST – PRIVATE AND DEVELOPERS SERVICING BETWEEN 20 AND 40 CLIENTS AT ANY ONE TIME
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