Caxtons Property Consultants is delighted to announce the promotion of Bethan Smith to Head of Insurance Services.

Bethan joined Caxtons in 2019 and swiftly became an invaluable member of the insurance team assisting rapid growth and the development of a successful business model. Today Caxtons’ insurance department specialises in providing unique, innovative and exclusive property insurances to more than 600 clients, covering a broad spectrum of over 1000 properties country wide, with a total sum insured in excess of £2 billion and total premium spend of over £2 million. Caxtons are proud that the insurance policies provided through Pi Property Insurance consistently exceed client expectations.

Announcing the promotion, Graham Mitchell, Financial Director and Director of Insurance said: “Bethan has been an invaluable member of our insurance team for the last three years, during which time she has shown her commitment to the highest level of performance and dedication in providing an excellent service to our clients, alongside her colleague, Sandra Strange.  I was delighted to offer Bethan the position of Head of Insurance Services at Caxtons, and feel that she is ideally suited to the role.  I look forward to working closely with her over the coming years to develop the department still further.”

Commenting on her new role, Bethan said: “As Head of Insurance Services, running the department day to day, I will be working closely with our clients, property managers and my team, ensuring that all client needs are met from the outset of our appointment and no matter how small or how large the claim.

“I am particularly looking forward to being able to take the insurance department into a new era, with new ways of working to ensure that we obtain the best possible outcome for our clients and the future of our department.”

Bethan is a keen photographer and can often be found behind the lens, she even has time to help with her families’ photography business and enjoys unwinding with her family, husband and friends over dinner and days out in and around her home town of Herne Bay in Kent.

We hope you will join us in wishing Bethan every success!

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP is trying to do what is right.

His target is second homeowners who abuse the tax system and leave properties empty while declaring they are let as holiday homes. From April 2023 these owners must prove they let their property for 70-days to qualify for business rate status , small business rates relief and exemption from council tax.

Michael Gove said: “The government backs small businesses, including responsible short-term letting, which attracts tourists and brings significant investment to local communities.

However, we will not stand by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax relief and leaving local people counting the cost.”

‘But will some landlords fall foul of the new rules simply because they do not have the knowledge or expertise on how the new regulation will apply?’
We asked Debbie Pennell, Associate Director at Caxtons who heads up their Residential Lettings and Management Department that, and a few other questions.

Debbie: “It is very easy for a residential landlord to miss vital changes to legislation – there are so many rules and regulations applicable to the sector. And there are more in the pipeline. So yes, I think some will be found culpable by accident, rather than design. I see it as my job, and the job of my team here at Caxtons, to keep all our landlords fully informed and compliant. This avoids them inadvertently being in breach of the law when they could incur costly penalties. The recent Levelling Up White Paper – presenting policy preferences before the government introduces legislation – insists that landlords ensure their private rental properties meet the Decent Homes Standard, which was originally designed for social housing. It also plans to end Section 21 repossessions, consult on a national register of landlords and develop plans to tackle rogue landlords more effectively.

‘So, can you reassure new landlords who want property management, that Caxtons is the right firm for them?
“We pride ourselves on the wealth of in-house expertise and knowledge we have. Caxtons is a multi-disciplinary

property firm, so the answer to a difficult question is usually just an internal call away.

“For instance, if you’re looking to enter the buy-to-let market, but have enough deposit to spread the risk and buy two properties rather than one, this would circumvent void periods in the future. If you are a first-time residential

Caxtons Landlords legislation

property investor, we can advise you on the best way forward – student or professional; flat or house.

“Or maybe, you’re an existing landlord and self-management is getting too complicated – not surprising with the plethora of existing and new legislation, rules, regulations and responsibilities. We could provide you with a cost benefit proposal for full management to leave you worry free while Caxtons’ experts take the burden from your shoulders. Many existing landlords – whether individual or multi-property portfolio owners – rely on a full management option because who wants to get a call at 5 a.m. to say that their tenant has a flood and they need a plumber. That is what an agent is for!

“Sometimes landlords need help with how to get the best return on their investment, we can help. While being a landlord should always be viewed as a long term investment, rental income and property in general is far outperforming other investment options at the moment. Where rental is concerned, this is predicted to continue to rise for some time to come. Tenants are finding it harder to save for a deposit to buy so trends are veering to longer rental periods and older tenants.

‘Is Caxtons regulated by any particular organisation?’
“In order to keep apace of advice from sector bodies and best practice, Caxtons is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), the UK Landlord Accreditation Partnership, the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

‘Do you have any final advice for landlords?’
“If you don’t have a full property management service with Caxtons, be aware of updates and changes to legislation governing the private rental sector. One major change that will be upon us before we know it is the 2025 government target to make new domestic tenancies illegal if the property does not meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate ‘C’ rating. We will keep our landlords posted on any information as soon as it is available.

“Our duty of care is to safeguard both the landlord and the tenants; to ensure we protect landlords from unforced errors – because legislation can sometimes be difficult to navigate – while keeping tenants happy and secure.

“I believe one of the greatest benefits of working with Caxtons is that we invest in expertise and continue to educate ourselves. That is one reason that we have sponsored and authored the Kent Property Market Report for the past nine years. 2022 will be the 10th year that we have worked in partnership with Kent County Council and Locate in Kent to bring some of the most interesting property investment and developments of our area into the light and make them available to anyone who is interested. Potential landlords would find the Report useful to uncover which areas are attracting the most inward investment; new commercial expansion; highest rents; where new builds are planned. This is why we command the competitive edge.

“Having said all that, Caxtons is still a people business and, unlike national agents, every one of my residential lettings team has a name and every client knows who their contact is. We are always pleased to hear from clients and it’s in our interest to help each and every one of them.

“It has taken more than 30 years to earn our enviable reputation of being trustworthy and dependable right across the business – and it is not in our interest to change that anytime soon.”

If you are a landlord or owner and are interested in finding out more about the property services and advice Caxtons’ provides please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Debbie Pennell, Associate Director & heads of Residential Lettings and Management Department

Now that working from home (WFH) is no longer recommended by the government, sole traders to large companies may be wondering what their next steps should be with regard to office accommodation. How to keep themselves and their employees happy whilst doing the best for their business.

We consider the options.

Sole traders whilst used to working from home, may want to alleviate day-to day loneliness that can result, and be looking for a cost-effective office base. Somewhere they can interact with others but not be tied into costly long term contracts. Or they may be thinking of taking on staff for the first time. If this is you, consider using a co-working space or a serviced office which offers ‘easy-in easy-out’ options where rent is inclusive and paid for on a rolling month basis. These types of premises are often more friendly, supportive and collaborative than other arrangements too. A recent survey revealed 50 co-working facilities currently operating across the county, boasting more than 60% occupancy for hot desking and 80% for private offices. In 2021 alone new spaces were opened in Maidstone, Dartford, Gravesend (with Thames-side views) and Ashford among others.

In contrast your company may have an established office and now need less space due to continuing WFH. In this

instance, traditionally the company might sell up and purchase a new office, or in the case of renting, especially if you were towards the end of a lease, give up the lease and find a smaller office. This may be what is needed but can be expensive especially by the time legal expenses, the cost of ‘dilapidations’ and moving costs are taken into account, and finding an office in a suitable location can be challenging. An alternative, if you own the property, is to sub-let. This may also be an option if you rent but you will need your landlord’s permission. This has many advantages in addition to lower costs it enables you to expand if you need to in the future.

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Maidstone Innovation Centre

If your company is expanding and you need more space, the only option may be to move unless your landlord can

offer you more space or you own the building or space and can extend, perhaps by adding a mezzanine.

However it is worth considering, with hybrid working, whether you actually need more space? An office fit-out company will be able to help you re-plan your layout to suit modern ways of working and is nearly always more cost-effective than moving.

Recent evidence shows that employees who have to be office based, even if only for part of the week, or need persuading to return to the office, or are seeking a new role with a new company, are looking, as well as for flexibility, for a wider range of staff facilities. Whether that just be better kitchens/staff rooms, more relaxed spaces for working collaboratively or even gyms and exercise equipment. Better facilities, are becoming essential for companies who want to recruit and retain good staff which is fundamental to running a successful business.

In most cases, if you decide on serviced offices, professional advice is probably not needed other than to get a solicitor to look over the lease/contract. In every other case getting the appropriate advice is essential to ensure you are making the best choice and have all legal points covered.

For a no-obligation chat about your office requirements contact please contact Mark This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.