Monthly Archives: March 2013

EPCEPC Ratings F & G

From 2018 it will be illegal for landlord to rent out Band F & G rated properties, So should landlords therefore look to sell leasehold flats with a Band F & G EPC rating?

Also, from 2016 landlords will not be able to refuse tenant requests to improve the EPC rating on flats.

Lloyds TSB ScotlandLloyds TSB Scotland’s intermediary brand will not accept new business applications after 31 March 2013.

All current Spearhead customers will be unaffected. The Lloyds Group will continue to operate broker brands Halifax Intermediaries, BM Solutions and Scottish Widows Bank.

This comes after Lloyds announced plans for the intermediary sector this year after Scottish Widows relaunched in mid-February.

The bank said has concluded that Spearhead is no longer aligned to the longer term strategic aims of our business.

A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson said: “This move sets us up for the rest of the year. We have nothing else planned for the three remaining intermediary brands mentioned.”

The group said the closure of Lloyds TSB was unlikely to impact its overall mortgage lending, which represented less than 0.5% of intermediary business. There is also 28 Scottish based positions being placed on risk.

BOEBase rate and QE both maintained in MPC decision

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep base rate on hold yesterday, marking its 48th consecutive month (Four  years), of remaining at its record low of 0.50%.  The Bank of England also announced that the Government’s quantitative easing programme would not increase any further, despite calls for the total amount to be increased by £25 billion to £400 billion.

SFO launches Harlequin probe following FSA warning

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating complaints over the Harlequin property group together with Essex Police, in the latest action against the beleaguered investment group following a Financial Services Authority warning last month.

Harlequin PropertyThe SFO has called for investors in Harlequin to come forward, especially those who have transferred their pension to make investments into overseas property

The launch of the investigation comes hot on the heels of an FSA warning in January over Harlequin self-invested personal pension investments, warning advisers against recommending clients put large sums into products weighted heavily towards the company’s overseas property.

Meetings for Harlequin investors will take place in Manchester on 9 March at noon and 3:00pm.

Specific resorts of particular interest to the SFO include:

• Buccament Bay in St Vincent & the Grenadines;

• Merricks in Barbados;

• Marquis Estate in St Lucia;

• The Hideaway, Las Canas;

• Two Rivers in the Dominican Republic; and

• Garapua Beach Resort in Brazil.

Buccament Bay, Harlequin’s flagship resort, has denied claims that it is in liquidation (23 January).

A spokesperson for Regulatory Legal, which is representing a number of Harlequin investors in claims against Sipp providers, said: “We are advising investors to review the update as a matter for urgency – there are meetings next week for investors.”

custemer feedbackAs first time buyers, we were basically going into the unknown! But Kevin was absolutely brilliant and guided us through the entire process. He answered all emails very quickly and gave us email updates all the time too. All in all, a great service and would definitely come back to you guys in the future!

Thousands face Bank of Ireland UK mortgage rate rise

Thousands of mortgage borrowers with Bank of Ireland and subsidiary Bristol and West will see the cost of their home loan nearly double.

 The bank has announced that it is to raise the rate on its Base Rate Tracker mortgages, despite the Bank rate remaining at 0.5%.

It has the power to charge a top-up level of interest on these home loans, even if the Bank rate does not move.

It blamed the rising cost of providing these mortgages and rules on capital.

Banks must hold a buffer of capital to a certain level in order to keep to European rules.

Rate rises

The bank will raise the mortgage rate for residential customers from, typically, the Bank rate plus 1.75% to the Bank rate plus 2.49% on 1 May.

It will then raise it further, to Bank rate plus 3.99%, on 1 October.

Buy-to-let customers will see their rate increased to Bank rate plus 4.49% on 1 May.

The bank said that 13,500 customers would be affected by the move, with more than half of them buy-to-let customers. The majority also had significant equity in their properties, it said.

The rate increases do not affect customers of the Post Office, which partners with the Bank of Ireland UK.

Borrowers in a position to move should consider switching banks before the full rate hike kicks in.”

If you hold a Bank of Ireland mortgage and would like to see if there is a product available for you to move to, give us a call on 01489 580020 or email us on with the basic details.