Morecambe 3 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

Morecambe secured their passage into round 2 of the FA Cup with an excellent victory over Hartlepool at the Globe Arena.

 

Goals from Kevin Ellison and Andy Fleming and an unfortunate own goal from Hartlepool keeper Scott Loach gave the Shrimps an important victory and earned them £18,000 in prize money at the same time.

 

 

 

Condensation occurs in a property when warm moisture-laden air (steam) comes into contact with cold surfaces. As winter arrives, the problem often occurs.

To simplify this as much as possible, there are just two main causes:

1 – Not enough heating in the building

2 – Too much-unvented steam being produced

Rented properties are particularly prone to condensation because tenants often try to economise on heating or they simply cannot afford to maintain sufficient heat in the property. All rooms should be kept to a minimum of 18 degrees day and night to prevent condensation.

Low heat means that people are reluctant to open windows or allow ventilation when cooking, washing and drying clothes inside the building – drying clothes on radiators is a common cause of condensation.

These two factors combine to become a vicious cycle: cold walls absorb moisture over time until the whole fabric of the building is moisture laden and even colder, condensing even more steam. This causes the formation of black mould and eventually mould spores which are injurious to health.

Condensation

It can, of course, be the case that with older properties wall and roof insulation are not up to modern standards, therefore heating bills are excessive, or it can be that heating system is inadequate or inefficient for the property, or there are insufficient means of ventilating steam at source: for example, in kitchens and bathrooms when cooking, cleaning, washing and drying.

Two times out of three, when condensation becomes a problem in a rented property, it is the lifestyle of the tenants that are the cause. Tenants sometimes need to be educated to the causes of this and how to prevent it.

Unfortunately for landlords, a real understanding of the issue is sparse, even among the so-called “experts”, so the finger is naturally pointed directly at them. If a tenant can’t afford to heat a property adequately, condensation is almost inevitable.

How to deal with Condensation

Unfortunately, there is no easy and quick way to deal with it. Anyone doing a clean up after it must take precautions as mould spores are injurious to health.

Once mould spores have taken hold in a building, and as the fabric: wallpaper, plaster, timber, masonry have all soaked up a lot of moisture over time, it takes months of applying adequate heating to dry them out thoroughly. Even then, if cold conditions recur the dormant mould spores will re-invigorate themselves, unless thorough chemical washing has been carried out.

In other words, occupants that allow condensation to occur will potentially do a lot of lasting damage to a building, and given enough time with these conditions the fabric of the building (wallpaper, plaster, masonry and timber) will start to crumble.

Measures landlords can take:

·       Educate your tenant on ways they can prevent or minimise condensation.

·       Make sure the building is adequately insulated – loft, cavity wall and wall lagging, where the walls are solid. All rental properties should have an EPC rating of E or above by law.

·       Make sure the heating system is adequate and efficient to run.

·       Make sure there is adequate ventilation particularly in kitchens and bathrooms; trickle vents on windows and automatic moisture sensitive fans if necessary. If its cold, tenants will sometimes block-up standard vents so check on these regularly.

·       If all else fails, consider a full forced lofted installed heat exchange ventilation system which circulates warm air and removes moisture from the whole building.

Landlords should be prepared to inspect their rentals regularly (a condition of most landlord insurance policies) and at the first signs of condensation mould, they need to take action. First, to educate their tenants and secondly when necessary to consider changes as suggested above.

Condensation can often be confused with other forms or causes of damp by the inexperienced assessor. Rising damp or penetration damp exhibit different symptoms, but nevertheless, landlords can often be blamed for a case of lifestyle generated condensation. This will often lead to misdiagnoses by, for example, inexperienced housing officers when tenants complain, and subsequent arguments in court if an eviction case ensues.

Condensation never occurs in well heated and ventilated homes, so:

1.     Landlords should try to build a record of those tenants who have occupied their rental without problems, such as by having an end of rental survey on every tenancy

2.     If landlords do end up in court, they should pre-empt arguments over condensation by having their own expert report available for the judge to see – carried out by an experienced chartered surveyor.

Avoiding arguments in the first place is the best policy and by carefully managing tenancy relations a lot can be achieved by landlords.

 

For example, having the heating on constantly at a lower temperature is said to be better and more energy efficient overall than having it switching from high to off, which is what many tenants do when they are out at work all day; a bit of friendly advice here might help.

A new ‘help and support’ page has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to help landlords pay tax and keep records.

The new online page provides buy-to-let landlords with access to useful YouTube videos, live webinars and a toolkit to help manage their accounts.

Available webinars are listed by subject and can last up to an hour.

To attend an upcoming live webinar, landlords must register and sign in at least five minutes before it starts.

Landlords can ask their host questions during live webinars using the on-screen text box.

www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-for-landlords 

 

An obvious consequence of long-term low-interest rates has been a cheaper cost of borrowing. This has been beneficial to those with mortgages - either taking one out or those who already had them - and that includes landlords. 

How do interest rates affect buy-to-let?

The increase in rates announced on November 2nd means many of those mortgage costs will now go up. For landlords, the question is whether to pass that extra cost on to tenants. Part of that decision may be linked to whether they simply considered the lower rate after last summer a bonus, having factored in the benefits of a 0.5 percent rate that had been constant for more than seven years. 

For those who have taken out a buy-to-let mortgage since the 0.25 percent rate was set, the thinking may be very different. In this case, the rise may well have to be passed on, not least because the original rationale for the cut last year - that the economy would perform poorly after the vote and thus hold inflation down - turned out to be incorrect. Some would have taken out the buy-to-let mortgage in the expectation that 0.25 percent would be a longer-term 'normal' in the way that 0.5 percent had been.

Of course, higher rates also means mortgages for owner-occupiers will be more expensive, and that may just deter some first-time buyers, ensuring they either remain in the rental properties they are already living on or choose to rent. 

What will the future hold?

Looking forwards, landlords and potential homebuyers alike will want to plan for the future with some idea of how the situation might unfold. The lesson of recent history has been that two very different scenarios are possible - either rapid change as happened when rates plunged in the crisis of 2007-08 or a long period of status quo, as with the seven-year spell of 0.5 percent. 

However, neither of these extremes is likely to characterise the near future. In its statement, the MPC said: "All members agree that any future increases in Bank Rate would be expected to be at a gradual pace and to a limited extent." for landlords, this does suggest there will still be future rises in the cost of buy-to-let mortgages, and they should plan accordingly. Equally, this is unlikely to happen at any rapid rate. 

Morecambe's business leaders say it's no coincidence that the town has been busier this year than it has been for "a long time".

Morecambe is getting busier and the once troublesome traffic has now eased with the opening of the new M6 link.  The Bay Gateway is now fully open and presenting a lot of opportunities in the local area.

The town's Business Improvement District team says since the Bay Gateway opened, Morecambe is the quickest seaside town to reach from the M6 in the whole of the north west region - taking around ten minutes.

John O’Neill, Morecambe BID manager, said: "According to my rather non-scientific analysis, by looking at Google Maps, Morecambe is closest and most easily accessible seaside resort to any motorway in UK, let alone the North West. 

"We have had more festivals and events this year than a long time, and still more to come. 

"The new Morecambe Music Festival packed the town for the weekend, the One Man Band Shebang was very quirky and lots of fun, and Vintage Festival and the new Morecambe Fringe is still to come. 

"Of course, we recently saw the Morecambe Carnival bring record numbers of visitors to the town and a great injection to the local economy.

"I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Morecambe has been busier this year than for a long time."

Meanwhile, the team says it's working on a secret event for the end of the year - something that's been missing from the town's calendar in recent years. 

More details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The town's BID has also welcomed Lancaster City Council’s new 'Welcome to Morecambe' signs on the Shrimp Roundabout and the Venus and Cupid sculpture.

The signs are part of ongoing work to help promote Morecambe Bay as a unique tourist destination and have been designed to reflect the "many healthy and low-cost activities" that are available in the area.

Mr O’Neill continued: “Whilst signage might not seem an important investment to some, it is vital to the economic and cultural growth of a town. 

 

 

 

                                

 

 

 

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