Wealth update – 31/08/2021

Another month, another update.

Deposit drama

It seems I posted the court claim and paperwork/evidence to the correct address. Yay!

A few weeks after posting it I was contacted by somebody from the County Court to take payment of £308 to process my claim against my previous landlord. Three weeks later I got something in the post confirming that the case “has been issued under Part 8 of the CPR”. The previous landlord now has 2 weeks to respond (ends next week) and then I suppose I will need to wait until the actual court day.

It’s all taking longer than I thought… but I guess that’s good enough for government work.

Driving license

As I moved house at the beginning of June, I had to renew my driving license – it’s not allowed to have a wrong address on it. I was not able to do the address update online because the identity verification process did not find my brand new UK passport (which I got in April when I became a British citizen).

So, I had to use the paper form and post my original driving license off to Swansea. You may have read in the press about massive delays in processing times at the DVLA. I posted my stuff on the 21st of June and currently – 10 weeks later – they are processing stuff that was received on 18th June.

It may take a few more weeks I suppose…

I got a raise

I had my half-year appraisal and walked out with a £5K raise (9% increase). I didn’t expect a raise and didn’t ask for one. My manager started the meeting with “some good news” and I went along with it. Who am I to argue with a good thing?

They backdated the raise to take effect from 1st July. It’s nice to get paid more. 🙂

Health

This hasn’t been good. We’re both double vaccinated against Covid-19 but we’ve developed flu-like symptoms. Our symptoms are mild and nothing serious. I’ve had two PCR covid tests taken 6 days apart, which came out negative. My girlfriend’s PCR test was also negative. We’re feeling better now but continue to have a cough. We’ve been sick for about 3 weeks already. I think it’s very unlikely that all 3 tests were false negatives…

So, we’re unwell but not with Covid. I guess that’s the glass half full way to look at it.

By the way, it’s now possible to register for the normal flu-jab via Boots, which we’ve done. Our appointments are towards the end of September. I noticed some inflation here, last year the jab cost £13.99, this time it was £14.99 – that’s +7%.

Counting my beans

August was another positive month. My net worth as of 31/08/2021 was £283,810 – it’s an increase of £34,017 or 13.6% from the end of July 2021. This is after me making a £1,620 GIA top-up and £492 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

It’s been a good month.

Wealth update – 31/07/2021

The market has closed for this month and I have counted my beans. Here’s my update for July.

Deposit drama

It seems we are legit taking our previous landlord to court over their failure to protect our tenancy deposit in time. They never responded to our letter before action (other than acknowledging it).

I prepped all the forms and evidence etc and we posted that to the local county court more than a week ago. However, we haven’t heard back. I don’t really know whether we should give the courthouse a chaser? I’d rather avoid that. Let’s wait and see!

Other

The month has been relatively quiet:

  • I’ve been to the office a few times but mostly work from home. I even met a client or two face-to-face.
  • The family (including the puppy) went to Dover and more recently to Broadstairs. Nice little day trips!

Counting my beans

July was a positive month and not too bad. My net worth as of 31/07/2021 was £249,793 (sadly it dipped below £250K) – it’s an increase of £17,203 (more or less my annual expenditure) or 7.4% from the end of June 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up and £411 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

All in all, a decent month!

Wealth update – 30/06/2021

June has been a very good month and I’m very excited to write this post.

Holidays

I took two weeks of annual leave but didn’t go anywhere for my holiday as the puppy makes that quite difficult. So it’s a staycation in London where we make the most of our new home and its garden.

The weather has been mostly summery and I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends face-to-face. That was nice. We’ve also been taking our puppy out to explore the great big new world. His tail never tires from wagging… I hope he never grows up.

Deposit drama

We moved earlier this month to another rental flat. As these things go, we had to do an end-of-tenancy cleaning at the previous flat. I was recommended a cleaner by a trusted friend and to our surprise the end-of-tenancy gig only cost £30.

That sounded very cheap as previously it cost £80 for a small studio flat. This was a one-bedroom flat with two toilets. We didn’t argue with a good thing and agreed to the low-low price.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. We got the end-of-tenancy inventory report, which stated that the flat was cleaned to a professional standard but had a few specific omissions. Several things needed some extra cleaning (e.g. some limescale in sinks and toilets). Well, fair enough, we’re happy to pay for that as that did need further scrubbing.

What came as a surprise was the amount the agency wanted to deduct from our deposit. They came in at a lofty £195 to do the “necessary” cleaning.

Wow! Greedy much?

Almost £200 to scrub limescale off from a few places? I think an end-of-tenancy cleaning for a 1 bedroom flat would cost around £100 (I did a quick Google search) and they wanted to charge us double that to clean a few specific things? No way.

We disagreed with their quote and they magically reduced it to £120. That was still too much as this was a cost of a full end-of-tenancy cleaning, which the flat did not need. We explained that we are happy to pay for a reasonable amount as the flat does in fact need additional cleaning. They then claimed it was their “standard” cost for cleaning – we rejected that justification as well. So they advised us to take it to the deposit dispute resolution service and we responded that we’d be happy to do so.

I looked into the dispute resolution service and among other things found out that:

Many landlords don’t realise that the onus is on them to prove they have a legitimate claim to a share of the deposit, whilst the tenant has no obligation to prove their position. This is because the deposit remains the tenant’s money until the landlord has successfully proven their claim. It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove damage etc

depositprotection.com

We sort of left it there as I never got around to doing the actual dispute stuff. Luckily, a few days later the agency emailed to say they are happy to reduce their cleaning charges to £80, which we accepted. I thought this will bring our cost to £110, which is what the end-of-tenancy cleaning should’ve cost us anyway.

We then got the majority of our deposit back in the next couple of days. So, that was good for our finances.

The above exchange about the cleaning costs was quite unpleasant. It wasn’t so much about the money as we can afford the initial £195 they wanted but it’s the principle that is important. You can’t charge people inflated “standard” rates plucked out of thin air and greed. We were quite angry about this.

Once our deposit was safely in our bank accounts we pounced on the agency with a letter before action due to them failing to protect our deposit within the statutory time limit of 30 days. In part it’s revenge for all the failures and negative experiences we had renting from them but it’s also an opportunity to make some tax free gains 🙂 .

Taxes

I also did my 2020/21 tax return and got £63.40 back – most of it was a refund due to me claiming the £6 p.w. allowance for working from home all of last tax year. I was planning on claiming loss relief on an EIS investment that went to zero but it turns out that the company is still in business… so I will need to try that again in the future.

However, £63.40 for an hour of work ain’t too bad.

Counting my beans

June was my biggest positive month for my portfolio so far. My net worth as of 30/06/2021 was £232,590 – an increase of £41,087 or 21.5% from the end of May 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up, £411 pension top-up, and £175 was added to my emergency cash pot. I also received my £1,000 LISA bonus in June.

June has been a fantastic month. My gains this month were more than my annual net salary. In just a MONTH! I’m now also solidly above the £200K net wealth figure. In fact I’m now above the average wealth of a UK adult (£210,529 or USD 290,724).

I am very happy.

Wealth update – 31/05/2021

New home and a new friend

We are moving to our new rental flat next week and we also got a puppy. This has meant that we had an expensive May (as can be seen by my cash levels reducing a bit). We paid for

  • one month’s rent in advance – £1,150
  • 5 week’s rent as a security deposit – £1,325
  • moving van – £164

We will also have to pay another £100+ for the end-of-tenancy cleaning in the old flat but that’s yet to happen as we haven’t moved yet.

The puppy cost us £2,300 + a few hundred for toys, a crate, leash/harness, food, vet visits, poop bags etc. This was worth every penny as he is adorable!!!

June should be better from a cash flow point of view as we are due to get our old security deposit back. I’m expecting to get the full thing back but we shall see if any deductions need to be made. We will also claim for the 1-3x security deposit penalty from the current landlord as they failed to protect our security deposit within 30 days of us paying it. This will be the second time we’re doing it – so I’m confident this will be a “productive endeavor”.

Counting my beans

May was a negative month for my portfolio. My net worth as of 31/05/2021 was £191,503 – a decrease of £6,604 or 3.33% from the end of April 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up, £411 pension top-up, and £50 was paid into Premium Bonds.

I didn’t get my £1,000 LISA bonus in May. Instead it was paid on 1st June… so it will be reflected in the value of my portfolio in next month’s wealth update.

Upcoming actions

I need to do my 2020/21 self-assessment tax return as I now have all the information to put it together. This should lead to a tax refund of circa £100.

Enjoy the summer as it looks like it’s finally arrived!

Wealth update – 30/04/2021

It seems that my blog is becoming a collection of my monthly wealth updates. Here goes April 2021:

New skills/studying

I have made little to no progress with my software development course in April as I had a two-week training course at work and needed to finalize a lot of work before going onto said course. I’m sure I will be more productive in May.

Looking for a new home

We have given notice to our landlord and are now looking for a new home to rent. Reasons why:

  1. We do not like the area – too many homeless people and anti-social behavior
  2. We have pests living in the flat – a family of mice and a small army of ants
  3. The bins aren’t collected/emptied often enough and as a result, the front of the building often looks like a tip
  4. no physical separation between the living room and bedroom – not great when both of us work from home and have many video conferences

Counting my beans

April was a positive month for my portfolio. My net worth crossed over the £200,000 mark several times and then dipped down again over the last 1-2 weeks. It’s a bit disappointing that I ended up below £200K this month.

My net worth as of 30/04/2021 was £198,107 – an increase of £24,528 or 14.13% from the end of March 2021. This increase includes a £1,600 GIA top-up (left in cash until 4th May 2021), £411 pension top-up, and £50 was paid into Premium Bonds. I also found an old investment policy worth circa £994, which I added in as a contribution of £994 (as otherwise, I would’ve needed to update the entire time series of my net worth, which is a lot of work and not worth doing).

New tax year actions

On Tuesday 4th May 2021 I will sell my GIA holdings and re-invest them into my “normal” portfolio (this is due to the 30 day CGT rule where sales and purchases within 30 days are matched for the purposes of CGT calculation). The current GIA is in a “similar” portfolio to the one I want to be invested in – the plan was to hold this for about 30 days and then switch back to normal.

I also expect to receive my £1,000 LISA bonus, which needs to be invested, some time in May.

OK, have a good Bank Holiday weekend!