What About Pets?

I was asked by a landlord recently what my views were on allowing tenants to keep pets in rented accommodation. My answer? It depends… If you say “definitely no pets allowed” then you will be drastically restricting your market. A gerbil or hamster in a cage is still a pet but unlikely to cause any damage, for example. My general rule is to say ‘pets considered’. This covers you nicely but it does mean there is a judgement call to make. Providing one of the tenants is at home at least part time then I usually have no problem with a cat or dog Read More

The Case of the Mystery Tenant!

I heard recently about a landlord who had let a property to three students. He had reason to believe that a fourth person had moved in and wondered whether it would cause problems for him. My most immediate concern would be that it could invalidate the landlord’s insurance policy. If the insurer has been told that there are three students in residence then that is what they expect. The fourth person might be claiming benefits, for instance, and that could create issues. If it happened in one of my properties I would call on the tenants and have a friendly chat. If there is Read More

The Value of Renting – What we can learn from Europe

Many things distinguish us Brits from Continental Europe but one of the biggest is our obsession with home ownership. This obsession was fuelled throughout the 20th Century.  When it began, only 23% of the population owned their own homes.  By its end that figure had been turned on its head with just 35% living in rented property. Today, however, home ownership in the UK is falling for the first time in a century.  We find ourselves crammed into the smallest homes in Europe.  Should renting really be so undesirable? The Europeans certainly don’t think so as many nations consider it a vital Read More

Council Praises Landlords for a Change!

Far too often I hear of local authorities criticising letting agents or landlords and even prosecuting them so it was a pleasant surprise to hear of a council actually praising them. Burnley Council has been quick to laud the professional approach of some agents and landlords in their district when organising the letting and management of residential properties.  The council prides itself on actively working with private landlords and encouraging them to raise their standards. They have been running an accreditation scheme since the 1990s and drew up a new code of practice this summer to reflect the changes in legislation and best practice in Read More

Landlords Confidence Returns!

I was pleased to learn recently that, despite the punitive tax changes imposed by the government, landlords confidence in the private rental sector is on the up. Savings specialists Kent Reliance have published their latest Buy to Let Britain report and it concludes that residential landlords are predicting a bright future. The report covers the third quarter of the year and was carried out via a survey of 900 investors.  No less than 54% of landlords are confident regarding the prospects of their property portfolios.  This compares favourably with the figures for the second quarter which reported a record low of just Read More

UK Lettings to Outstrip Sales for the First Time since 1930s!

As house buyers struggle to find affordable properties to buy, rentals look set to outstrip the sales market for the first time since before the Second World War. I read recently that the UK’s largest estate agency chain, Countrywide, has acknowledged that the sales market cooled dramatically at the end of 2016.  There was a boom in March as landlords attempted to snap up properties before the changes in Stamp Duty. Since then, though, the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, lack of properties coming onto the market for sale and general rising prices has led to a boom in lettings. Countrywide Research Director Johnny Morris Read More

UK Rents to Rise Faster than House Prices!

In the next five years rents are expected to rise faster than house prices in the UK. I read that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are predicting rents will rise by 25% over that period compared with property price rises of 20%.  They also reported increased tenant demand for rental properties in the three months prior to January. The stamp duty changes and tougher mortgage rules may be deterring some landlords from purchasing new properties.  Indeed, RICS reported a drop in new properties being offered to let for the fourth quarter in a row.  Fewer properties coming onto the market will inevitably lead Read More

Should You Put Your Buy to Let Into a Company?

I have heard a lot of talk recently about the benefits of transferring Buy to Let properties to a company.  While there are certain tax advantages there are other factors which may make such an option less attractive. New rules come into effect next month which will restrict the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted when calculating profits from rented properties for tax purposes.  In addition companies also pay Corporation Tax of 20%, reducing to 17% by 2020, as opposed to personal taxation levels of 20%, 40% or 45%, depending on personal circumstances. Clearly there are tax advantages to transferring Read More

Building a Property Portfolio with Loans to Value

I am often asked by landlords which type of mortgage they should go for.  My answer is that it depends what you want to achieve. In effect there are two ways of using mortgage, a traditional repayment mortgage where you pay down the amount of the loan over time or where you use the value of the property to raise money, known as leverage. With a traditional interest only mortgage you have the choice of what you do with the rental profits after deducting expenses.  One option is to save money in order to pay off a part of the Read More

Bristol Charity for Vulnerable Tenants tops list of UK’s Most Prosecuted Landlords!

Bristol Charity for Vulnerable Tenants tops list of UK’s Most Prosecuted Landlords! I spotted a recent article in The Guardian that reported a Bristol-based charity has topped a list of the most prosecuted landlords in the country. Alternative Housing was set up to provide accommodation for homeless people in Bristol and has received thousands of pounds in housing benefits.  It has been convicted of housing offences on six separate occasions in the past two years. The prosecutions have included providing bedsits with broken cookers and drains and having no supply of hot water or heating.  In 2015 housing officers raided a string Read More