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Landlords urged to act on Gas Safety Week


Landlords are legally bound to arrange a “Gas Safe” test every twelve months and those failing to do so could be putting lives and health at risk and leaving themselves open to prosecution.

The message comes from Balfours letting agent, Charlotte George MARLA, during “gas safety week, (Sept 14)” she is highlighting the perils for both tenants and landlords. “Unsafe gas really does wreck lives, not only can it kill, there were six deaths and 300 injuries in the UK, last year alone, but it can also make people very ill. A poorly maintained gas boiler can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Most landlords would be utterly devastated if something dreadful happened to their tenants which they should have prevented. For most the economic damage would pail into insignificance compared to the guilt of such an occurrence.”  

Charlotte advises landlords to put rented accommodation in the hands of a registered agent, who will ensure the tests are carried out annually.

For tenants the advice is clear: “Rent your property through a reputable agent and be confident that your gas appliances are properly maintained,” she adds. Charlotte can be contacted on 01743 277069.

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Bridge to own home


Perfect for first time buyers, or buy to let, 4 Sutton Bridge is located less than a mile from Shrewsbury town centre, at Belle Vue, a popular residential area, just to the south of the county town.

Launched to the market by Balfours Property Professionals, town sales manager, Alistair Hilton, enthuses: “Sutton Bridge is purpose built apartments, light airy and contemporary offering: Entrance hall access, a good sized living room, with well equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom.”

Number 4 has its own allocated parking space as well as dedicated bicycle and bin storage area. Its proximity to Shrewsbury – is ideal for those seeking a healthy lifestyle, with many amenities just a stroll away including The Quarry Park, Shrewsbury’s individual shops, restaurants and night life too.

For commuting Shrewsbury station is just 1.3 miles on foot, while the Midlands road network is less than two miles away, as is Meole Brace Retail Park.

Number 4 Sutton Bridge is marketed with a guide price of £165,000, for more information call Alistair Hilton on 01743 353511 or visit

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South Shropshire farm on the market


A rare opportunity to purchase a mixed farm extending 337 acres in South Shropshire has been launched to the market by Balfours Property Professionals.

Lower Down Farm, Lydbuy North, is on the market as a whole or in four lots. It briefly comprises of arable land, improved grassland and permanent pasture serviced by traditional and modern farm buildings, five bedroom farmhouse and three cottages.

Head of sales at Balfours, Tim Main says: “The opportunity to buy a working farm has become a relatively rare occurrence, particularly in Shropshire. Lower Down Farm, Lydbury North, is just such a farm – offering an exciting proposition for those seeking to expand or invest; be it the whole, or one of the four lots.”

Each of the four lots includes land and buildings: Lot one comprises the picturesque five bedroom grade II listed farmhouse, with 136 acres. The land mainly down to grass with a small amount of woodland and a pair of cottages, plus the main steading of traditional and modern farm buildings. Lot 2 comprises of the arable land extending 171 acres together with traditional buildings and a Dutch barn. The guide prices are £1.6m and £1.35m respectively.

While lot three, known as Blue Barn, offers 15 acres together with traditional and modern farm buildings. Lot four is a detached three bedroom cottage – presenting that dream combination of location and a refurbishment project. The Stanley Cottage package comes with 15 acres and outbuildings; it has a guide price of £245,000. Lower Down Farm as a whole is on the market with a guide price of £3,325,000.

Lydbury North is south east of Bishops Castle, which offers a livestock market and other services. There are also livestock markets at Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Welshpool.

For more information please call Tim Main on 01743 353511 or visit

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Residential Letting Law Changes


I have a farm cottage already let and a barn we are converting that will be available this autumn. Will the changes in letting legislation just affect the barn or both properties?

This year has seen a significant number of changes to legislation surrounding residential tenancies, with further changes due towards the end of the year. The changes will affect both properties and include:Health and Safety: It is expected that by October 2015, that amongst other important duties, it will be compulsory for a landlord to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, where necessary.

Immigration Act: A Landlord could face up to five years in jail for letting to a tenant with no right to reside in the UK. We therefore have to ensure that all the correct questions are asked and checks are made before agreeing any new let.

Tenants’ Deposits: With a few exceptions these should now be protected by an industry approved tenancy deposit scheme; regardless of when they were taken.

Notices: The procedures for serving notices are expected to change and more protection is to be granted to tenants facing eviction as a result of their complaining. Therefore where relationships with your tenants are deteriorating you need to discuss the best way forward as soon as possible with your letting agent.

All the above changes are intended to protect tenants against unscrupulous landlords, but could leave the most well-meaning property owner open to prosecution for getting it wrong.

The residential letting market is currently strong, with a traditional summer/autumn surge; demand for well-presented farm cottages and character properties in rural or semi-rural locations are no exception.Often these properties are a side-line to a busy farm business with many other demands and timescales, not least imposed by livestock and weather. With these demands and constantly changing legislation in mind, it is likely to pay dividends to take professional advice when it comes to your rental property, be it a single cottage or a portfolio with farmhouses and barns.

If you are unaware of these changes in legislation or would like any further information then please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to discuss them in more detail with you. Charlotte George MARLA, Balfours Property Professionals, Senior Lettings Negotiator.

Charlotte George

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Farming Talk - Tim Main


Land prices remain strong and stable; however two cyclic systems are bringing influence to bear.

Namely, commodity prices which have generally steadied farm incomes over the past two years, despite increases in yields in the cereals sector. Secondly the quietly returning strength of the UK economy and with it the talk of interest rate rises. Combined, these two factors are now taking the froth off land market prices.

Farmers are used to the cyclic nature of their incomes and most businesses are able to weather these vagaries, therefore when the opportunity to expand the business with land in the right location arises, it is usually too good an opportunity to miss and therefore strong prices are still being achieved.

The third factor is supply and demand; Shropshire is experiencing limited supply this year, after a very minor surge in supply last year. As a result of all these considerations, land prices are generally remaining strong.

That said one agent just outside the county recently reported sales of two blocks of land, one either side of the road – quality was on a par. Two parties wanted the same side, but interest was limited on the other side, the outcome was offers of £4,000 per acre difference!

For those considering a sale, it would seem that now could well be a good time, while supply remains so limited, interest rates are not intimidating and the contra nature of the UK economy vis land values has not yet turned.

Another example of the location factor was recently highlighted when a farm we are bringing to market next month (Sept) near Bishop’s Castle, has already achieved a sale of off lying land sold to a keen buyer while preparing the farm for market. Location remains a strong factor.

Development Land

Despite local and regional developers doubling the number of houses they are building this year, compared to 2014, there remains more planning permissions granted than can be absorbed. This is due to councils seeking to meet five year supply targets. Nevertheless the second term of Conservative dominance has given the economic stability these house builders need.

Individual plots in village locations remain popular; not least boosted by the fact that private individuals can register to be zero rated for CIL payment, offering a significant saving on building the dream home, for example on the average four bedroom house, at £80 per square metre, CIL would be in the region of £16,000.

There is no doubt house building is currently being a given strong greenlight, this will not always be the case. Tim Main is Head of sales at Balfours Property Professionals.

Lawley Telford resized2

Pictured:  Land on the market with outline planning permission for a luxury four bedroom house and adjacent two paddock, at Lawley, Telford; guide price £260,000.

IMG 6737

Tim Main - Head of Property Sales

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