Monthly Archives: October 2019

General election 2019: Housing should be top ‘priority’

Boris Johnson’s call for a snap general election on December 12 to try to settle the issue of Brexit took very few people by surprise. But many buy-to-let landlords and letting agents will be hoping that the poll will prove positive for the private rented sector, as it presents the main political parties with an opportunity to address voters’ concerns about housing, and not just focus on attempts to exit the EU.

Research shows that many landlords have been affected by the introduction of tougher tax treatments and tighter bank lending criteria, with many buy-to-let landlords actively selling and reducing their property holdings as a consequence.

The latest study by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) shows that there has been a further increase in the number of landlords exiting the buy-to-let market in recent months, at a time when demand for private rented property is increasing.

According to the research, over the next 12 months 31% of landlords plan to sell at least one property with just 13% saying they plan to buy at least one.

A shortage of private rented housing together with strong demand from tenants has led to rising rents across most parts of Great Britain, and this is something that politicians must address.

Some parties will propose rent controls, but there is plenty of evidence to show that this could risk hurting tenants as well as landlords by further damping investment in the PRS and in some cases pushing up rents.

With successive governments failing to build enough housing – particularly social housing – the UK is in the grip of a worsening crisis, with homelessness on the rise.

So ahead of the general election, all political parties must make housing a primary political issue and set out clear strategies on how they would tackle the shortage of residential properties across the UK, including in the PRS.

Nick Leeming, chairman at Jackson-Stops, said: “All markets abhor uncertainty and the housing market is no exception. The priority now must be for politicians to provide reassurance by forming a Government, once elected, as quickly as possible.

“Regardless of how the government is formed, it is clear that each of the main political parties’ manifestos need to have housing as a priority and so a clear strategy must be put in place.”

Rogue landlord ordered to pay almost £3,000 for unlicensed HMO

A buy-to-let landlord in Worcester has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 for operating an unlicensed House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) on Canterbury Road, WR5.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that Mohammed Rafiq operated a premises illegally, leaving the council with little option but to take legal action against the landlord.

Rafiq was charged with three offences for breaches of the management of HMO regulations, including failing to supply firefighting equipment and having insufficient fire alarms, failing to install emergency lighting and the failure to display his name, address and contact details at the house.

Cllr James Stanley, chair of Worcester City Council’s communities committee, commented: “The majority of landlords in Worcester abide by the law but as this case demonstrates, the City Council won’t hesitate to act in cases where landlords exploit tenants, provide dangerous or substandard accommodation or flout their legal obligations,” said.

“I would urge any Worcester residents who are facing difficulties with their tenancy or have concerns about an HMO to contact the City Council’s housing team for advice and support.”

Property expert urges BTL landlords to ride out recession

With Britain edging closer to its first recession since the financial crisis, a leading property auctioneer is urging property investors, including buy-to-let landlords, to hold their nerve against the spectre of an economic downturn.

The country’s dominant service sector, which accounts for about 80% of the economy, unexpectedly plunged into contraction last month, in a sign of the increasing stress facing the economy as Brexit looms.

According to IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips), activity in the sector fell as companies reported a fall in sales, job losses, cancelled and postponed projects and weak investment levels.

There has been a recent rise in properties going into receivership, banks unwilling to lend for construction projects and a decline in tenants looking to rent business or residential properties, according to Mark Bailey, managing director of Landwood Group, who says that a rise in auction sales is also evident, largely down to an increase in repossessions.

He said: “Worryingly, at Landwood we are also receiving more instructions over the past few months than we have done for a year or more – instructions for properties that have sadly gone into receivership.

“It is harder for property owners to let business space and for domestic landlords to find tenants  – there’s no doubt that a squeeze is on.

“With each failed building project, banks become more nervous to lend, builders stop building… and we fall headlong into a dreaded recession. Once we do, it’s anyone’s guess how deep it is or how long it lasts.

“The blame for all of this cannot be put at the door of Brexit… well, not entirely. There is no arguing with the fact that this is a period of change – domestically and globally. People err to the negative whenever there is change on the horizon – until events transpire and the scales balance out. The big issue is uncertainty and property is key to all of this. Uncertainty causes negativity, while a solid market has the opposite effect.”

So, if the pointers are all correct and a recession is upon us, what is the advice?

“Sit tight,” said Bailey. “Whether you are a commercial property owner or a domestic landlord, try your best to ride it out, perhaps for six months, before making any business decisions. Look at your borrowings and don’t over-stretch yourself at this time.

“There are always people who benefit from downturns in the market and they tend to be cash buyers. So if you have cash to invest long-term, a ripe time to buy may be about to begin.

“For the rest of us, it’s time to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm – see you on the other side.”

Rogue landlord ordered to pay almost £3,000 for unlicensed HMO

A buy-to-let landlord in Worcester has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 for operating an unlicensed House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) on Canterbury Road, WR5.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that Mohammed Rafiq operated a premises illegally, leaving the council with little option but to take legal action against the landlord.

Rafiq was charged with three offences for breaches of the management of HMO regulations, including failing to supply firefighting equipment and having insufficient fire alarms, failing to install emergency lighting and the failure to display his name, address and contact details at the house.

Cllr James Stanley, chair of Worcester City Council’s communities committee, commented: “The majority of landlords in Worcester abide by the law but as this case demonstrates, the City Council won’t hesitate to act in cases where landlords exploit tenants, provide dangerous or substandard accommodation or flout their legal obligations,” said.

“I would urge any Worcester residents who are facing difficulties with their tenancy or have concerns about an HMO to contact the City Council’s housing team for advice and support.”

Property expert urges BTL landlords to ride out recession

With Britain edging closer to its first recession since the financial crisis, a leading property auctioneer is urging property investors, including buy-to-let landlords, to hold their nerve against the spectre of an economic downturn.

The country’s dominant service sector, which accounts for about 80% of the economy, unexpectedly plunged into contraction last month, in a sign of the increasing stress facing the economy as Brexit looms.

According to IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips),

activity in the sector fell as companies reported a fall in sales, job losses, cancelled and postponed projects and weak investment levels.

There has been a recent rise in properties going into receivership, banks unwilling to lend for construction projects and a decline in tenants looking to rent business or residential properties, according to Mark Bailey, managing director of Landwood Group, who says that a rise in auction sales is also evident, largely down to an increase in repossessions.

He said: “Worryingly, at Landwood we are also receiving more instructions over the past few months than we have done for a year or more – instructions for properties that have sadly gone into receivership.

“It is harder for property owners to let business space and for domestic landlords to find tenants  – there’s no doubt that a squeeze is on.

“With each failed building project, banks become more nervous to lend, builders stop building… and we fall headlong into a dreaded recession. Once we do, it’s anyone’s guess how deep it is or how long it lasts.

“The blame for all of this cannot be put at the door of Brexit… well, not entirely. There is no arguing with the fact that this is a period of change – domestically and globally. People err to the negative whenever there is change on the horizon – until events transpire and the scales balance out. The big issue is uncertainty and property is key to all of this. Uncertainty causes negativity, while a solid market has the opposite effect.”

So, if the pointers are all correct and a recession is upon us, what is the advice?

“Sit tight,” said Bailey. “Whether you are a commercial property owner or a domestic landlord, try your best to ride it out, perhaps for six months, before making any business decisions. Look at your borrowings and don’t over-stretch yourself at this time.

“There are always people who benefit from downturns in the market and they tend to be cash buyers. So if you have cash to invest long-term, a ripe time to buy may be about to begin.

“For the rest of us, it’s time to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm – see you on the other side.”

Scrapping Section 21 could lead to ‘open-ended tenancies and rent controls’

The government’s plans to scrap Section 21 notices to evict tenants could potentially pave the way for the introduction of open-ended tenancies and rent controls, according to London Assembly member Tom Copley.

The Labour politician is urging the government to press on with plans to outlaw the use of Section 21 eviction notices. 

In a letter to the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, Copley said that with more than a quarter of Londoners now renting, more stringent measures should be put in place to prevent tenants being forced to leave rented homes with two months’ notice, without having to provide a reason for the eviction. In July, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) launched a public consultation on its proposals to scrap the use of section 21 notices.

The MHCLG expects any changes to come into force by late 2020 or early 2021 and have highlighted that this will also be dependent on where other government priorities may take precedence.

But in his letter to the housing secretary, Copley called upon the government to swiftly scrap section 21 now that the consultation has closed. He said this was a “vital first step” towards providing more robust protections for the growing number of private renters.

Copley also wants to see the government take a further step towards sparking wider reform in the PR by following the example of other European countries and introducing open-ended tenancies. Copley said: “The threat of no fault evictions can deter tenants from reporting problems with repairs to their landlords for fear of retaliatory eviction. Abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions is the vital first step in protecting tenants in an often unfair and unforgiving private rented sector.

“There were thousands of no-fault evictions in London last year, but this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. So we need to get on with scrapping section 21 without dither or delay.

“We know that the end of a private tenancy is now the leading cause of homelessness in the capital. It is clear that the sector needs quite radical reform as a matter of urgency.

“Of course, after abolishing section 21, the government have a golden opportunity to go further and follow the lead of many other European countries by introducing open-ended tenancies and rent controls.”

UK rental market looks more attractive for BTL landlords as rents rise further

Rents in the UK’s private rented sector continued to increase in September, the latest figures show. The data from HomeLet reveals that the average rent in the UK hit £697 per calendar month (pcm), up 2.2% on the same period last year.

When London is excluded, the average rent in the UK is now £797pcm, up 2.2% on last year. Average rents in London are now £1,694pcm, up by 3.3% on last year

All 12 of the regions monitored by HomeLet showed an increase in rental values between September 2018 and August 2019.  Five of the regions monitored by HomeLet showed an annual increase of over 3%, the North West, the East Midlands, the South West, Greater London and the North East

The region with the largest year-on-year increase was the North West, showing a 4.4% increase year-on-year.

Northampton Postcode Profile NN3

 

The Northampton NN3 postcode district is a very buoyant property market place,  with a steady price trend and uninterrupted growth. although it is slightly below the NN4 area on price, the sales pattern holds firm with property selling just was well, if not better.

The most expensive street is still Standing Stones, followed by Park Avenue south and closely behind is Thorburn Road. the streets with the highest turnover of property are, Alvis court (Rectory Farm, followed by Gregory Gardens, on Eastfields and then Chater Street, in Moulton.

 

 

HMO landlord hit with £40k fine

City of Lincoln Council has taken action against a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlord in Lincoln for failing to comply with a number of safety breaches under the Housing Act 2004.

Julie Churchill who was responsible for an unlicensed HMO at 135 Monks Road, LN2, has been fined £40,000 for letting out a dangerous HMO that was also unlicensed.

Lincoln Magistrates Court heard that the property had no fire doors to the bedrooms, ground floor lounge or kitchen, no working fire alarms on the ground floor, while one of the three bedrooms had a door with a large gap to the top which would allow smoke to escape in the event of a fire. In addition, all the bedroom doors could be locked by a padlock which if in use, would not allow for a swift escape in the event of a fire.

It also transpired that the stairs were painted gloss black and had no slip resistance, while the kitchen did not have adequate facilities for occupants.  The court was also told that the seven unrelated immigrants occupying the property were unaware of their rights.

They had no tenancy agreement, rent book or rent receipt during their tenancy. Cllr Donald Nannestad, portfolio holder for Quality Housing at City of Lincoln Council, commented: “We’re extremely pleased to bring another case to justice as part of our ongoing battle to crack down on rogue landlords in Lincoln.

“This property was dangerous and as a council, we will not allow landlords to ignore their legal responsibilities, even if they refuse to engage with us. “We have a statutory duty to ensure HMO properties are compliant with standards, and this is with good reason.

“Most landlords have proactively applied for HMO licences or responded to reminders when the regulations changed in October last year, so it’s not fair to those who comply with the law and pay their licence fees.

“A big thank you to the council’s private housing and legal teams for bringing this case to justice.

“We want to ensure Lincoln is a safe place for everyone to call home.”

4 Bedroom Cottage Denton Northampton

The Old Dairy is a beautifully presented mid terraced traditional cottage overlooking the village green in Denton. This superb home extending over 2000sqft retains many original features including beams and an inglenook, it has also been substantially extended creating a superb bright and spacious family home.
A stone flagged entrance opens to the very welcoming reception room which has a beamed ceiling and large inglenook with wood burner, to the far end of this room is a ground floor double bedroom or if preferred study/snug. To the rear is a superb kitchen/dining room with a central preparation island and a large dining area, the whole room is flooded with natural light from a conservatory style roof. There is also a guest cloakroom on the ground floor.
On the first floor are three good size double bedrooms one of which has a large en-suite shower room, there is also a family bathroom with a roll top bath. To the rear of this floor is the master bedroom with en-suite shower room and separate dressing room with utility area, the bedroom opens onto the rear garden so could if wanted be used as a further family room.
The gardens to the rear are a delight and a lovely sun trap, there are brick paved terraces and barbeque area leading to a lawn and stocked flower borders. Beyond the freehold title is a further area which the property has sole enjoyment of but is held on a lease for a nominal annual rental. This area can be used as a garden only and is approximately 1/4 acre with two brick outhouses and rear lane access, it’s a very private garden with mature trees and would be ideal as extra entertaining space or if green fingered a superb vegetable garden!
Denton is a village located approximately six mile south east of Northampton. It is a traditional village with a good primary school, village pub, church and village hall. It is well located for access to Northampton, Bedford, the M1 motorway and A45 and the mainline railway station at Northampton for London

Entrance Lobby –

Reception Room – 7.80m x 4.98m (25’7 x 16’4) –

Bedroom 4/Snug – 5.13m x 2.67m (16’10 x 8’9) –

Cloakroom –

Kitchen/Dining Room – 7.75m x 3.53m (25’5 x 11’7) –

Master Bedroom – 4.98m x 3.07m (16’4 x 10’1) –

En-Suite Shower Room –

Double Bedroom – 3.18m x 3.15m (10’5 x 10’4) –

Family Bathroom –

Bedroom – 2.87m x 2.72m (9’5 x 8’11) –

Dressing/Study Area –

Shower Room And Utility Area –

Bedroom/Family Room – 4.72m x 3.35m (15’6 x 11) –

Property Features

  • Mid Terraced Extended Village House
  • Four Bedrooms
  • Reception Room With Inglenook
  • Kitchen/Dining Room
  • Family Bathroom And Two Shower Rooms
  • Family Room/Bedroom 5
  • Delightful Garden
  • Further 1/4 Acre Garden With Outbuildings Available For Nominal Rent
  • Original Features
  • No Chain

Fine & Country Northampton
9 George Row
Northampton
NN1 1DF
Tel: 01604 309030