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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Million landlords face a tax investigation

According to the latest report in the Mail almost a million landlords could face a tax investigation because the have failed to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Landlords  are not registering for tax
This is based on the fact that  the number of landlords now equals 1.4 million whilst only 500,000 have registered with HMRC.  In theory there are over 900,000 landlords that could be quizzed by the HMRC about their buy-to-let property and tax affairs.   For many landlords historically there appeared no need to register with HMRC because not making rental profits.  The difficulty for many landlords is that since interest rates have fallen to the floor is that they are now making significant rental profits.  HMRC are aware of this and could now be pressing to find un paid taxes.  Accountancy, firms have estimated that unpaid taxes could equal in the order of £550 million.

Tax advice
Landlords need to be aware that where they do make a rental loss that they can off set this against future rental profits.  Whilst clearly HMRC have limited resources and will not be able to launch investigations against every unregistered landlord.  At the same time there is an increasing risk that landlords who do not declare their rental income will be targeted & investigated.  Chris Horne a serial landlord and Editor of Property Hawk a leading website for landlords comments:

"The nature of many landlords is that start off with one property which makes no money so they don't feel they need to notify HMRC.  Over the years that 1 property perhaps builds into a portfolio of 5 or maybe 10 properties.  Perhaps they have sold a property along the way to allow them to build up their rental business and purchase more investment properties.  Over time they have a significant rental business but have not declared it to the tax authorities.  Landlords in this situation, feel trapped because they are worried about the fact they have not registered and how the tax authorities will deal with them.  I know this because it is exactly what happened to me.

Landlords are therefore always best to disclose their income from the outset to avoid this happening.  If this situation has arisen then they should seek professional tax advice but a full disclosure to the tax authorities will often be treated more leniently than been discouvered as part of an investigation."

Calculate my rental tax return

Monday, July 21, 2014

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesLender
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
85%5.99% Discount2 Years3%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
85%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
80%4.99% Fixed2016-10-310%£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
80%3.99% Fixed2016-10-31£2495£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
80%4.87% Fixed2019-08-31£995£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
80%4.47% Fixed2017-03-312%£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
75%4.69% Discount3 Years2%£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
75%3.79% Fixed2016-10-310%£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
75%2.75% Fixed2016-10-31£2495£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
65%5.27% Fixed2017-03-312.5%£0.00NoSaffron BS Ex-Pat Semi Exclusive
60%2.45% Discount2 Years£1950£250.00One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive

IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.  Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available.

 
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk


Tel: 029 2069 5446



Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

Who is the new housing minister?

Anybody in a pub quiz would be forgiven for not knowing who the current Housing minister is.

This is because there have now been 4 housing minister in 3 years under the current coalition government.  This actually makes a phenomenal 15 in 17 years meaning that a Minister can expect to stay in post for no more than a year.

Brandon Lewis takes over from Kris Hopkins who was Minister for just 10 months.  Brandon Lewis will be responsible for housing and planning and reports indicate that he has the advantage of being a landlord himself hopefully giving him some useful insights on what it's like.

Property Hawks advice to Brandon is not to get too comfortable and it's probably not worth getting his decorating gear out to redecorate the office.  Ironically, the average Housing Minister is in post less time than the average tenant stays in their rental property which has now reached a record 20 months in length.  Surely, this is not a good basis for long-term housing policy?

Landlord insurance - professional rates - online brokers

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lenders rule out mortgage income cap

I've spoken before about RBS move to cap lending on their buy-to-let mortgages to a maximum income multiple of 4.99 being a political rather than a business decision.

I also proffered the view that I thought it unlikely that other lenders would follow RBS' lead.

Reports in the FTAdviser indicate that this is the case.

The worry remains however, that the Bank of England could act to limit lending if they perceive that the housing market runs out of control.  In the past monetary policy through the use of interest rates would be the go to mechanism.  The current Governor Mark Carney seems reluctant to raise interest rates for fear of choking of economic recovery in the rest of the economy.

Landlord should keep a careful eye on the mortgage market for signs that policy makers may be prepared to act.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Basic navigation of our new free landlord software

We've set the new version of our free property management software live today.

Property Manager 3s has an updated interface, that places key data onto Summary Screens, for portfolio, individual property addresses and specific tenancies.


A Title bar at the top of the screen displays the selected property address and selected tenancy.

Title bar
Function menu and click-able counters
We have also installed a pair of permanent menus.

Firstly, a left hand Function menu, containing category headings. These headings are click-able, to reveal their sub-category of options.

The Function menu also contains click-able blue counters, showing number of tenancies, forms, properties, rent demands, file uploads and tasks in your portfolio.










Alongside the Function Menu, a permanent horizontal Button bar, runs just beneath the Title bar.
This Button bar contains additional options buttons and action buttons. We hope you like the PM3s upgrade.

Button bar

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Average rents for Central London

London property twice the price of UK

The average London property now costs more than twice that of the UK average according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. A London property is a record 2.2 times that of an average UK home.

It reports a London boom saw prices up by 20.1 in the 12 months to May was nearly three times the rest of the UK's growth rate of 7.3percent.

Most popular BTL mortgage

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesLender
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
85%5.99% Discount2 Years3%£130.00NoKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
85%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00NoKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
80%4.99% Fixed2016-10-310%£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
80%3.99% Fixed2016-10-31£2495£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
80%4.87% Fixed2019-08-31£995£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
80%4.47% Fixed2017-03-312%£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
75%4.69% Discount3 Years2%£0.00NoSaffron BS Semi Exclusive
75%3.79% Fixed2016-10-310%£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
75%2.75% Fixed2016-10-31£2495£150.00Free valuationMortgage Trust Exclusive
65%5.27% Fixed2017-03-312.5%£0.00NoSaffron BS Ex-Pat Semi Exclusive
60%2.45% Discount2 Years£1950£250.00One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive

IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.  Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available.
 
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk
Tel: 029 2069 5446

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.  
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

Agents are gunning for big portals

The agents are attempting another fight back against the market strangle-hold of the two key online property portals, Rightmove.com and Zoopla.co.uk .

They've tried and failed before,( remember Propertylive and other botched agent backed portals), but fed up with the high ransoms, another maverick consortium of agents have saddled up and formed a new company - Agents Mutual. The company has announced that it already has 1000 agents signed up to join its new portal, 'Onthemarket', when it launches in early 2015.

Where this new launch differs from the previous attempts to break free of Rightmove high ransoms, is the agreed requirement, that those agents who sign up must then drop from one of the two major portals.

This disruption in the market could unsettle Rightmove and Zoopla from their perch. 

With 1000 agents already reportedly signed up equating to 3000 branches - about a quarter of the 12,000 branches estimated to exist in the UK this time the agents might just do it.

Agents Mutual are aiming to reach 5,000 branches prior to the launch of Onthemarket next year. 

Giddy up!

Landlord cleaning goes high tech

My latest encounters with a house clean have been a million miles away from Mrs Mop.

Louise has just gone in and done a thorough house clean.  Her first question was do you use whatsapp.  Well I know that I downloaded the app onto my iphone some months ago and that's about as far as I got.  

"I'll do the clean and then send you the images across to you with Whatsapp.  You can then use them to either advertise the property or in your inventory". She profferred.

So the clean was completed yesterday and true to her word I received a text from her to say that the pictures showing my freshly cleaned property are on their way.  I then spend 5 minutes twiddling about with my bloomin app & iphone.  Sure enough some how the images appear in glorious technicolour showing my now gleaming buy to let.

The wonders of technology and landlording come together in perfect harmony.  Just witness the results.  Sweet!

Landlord insurance - expert brokers - professional rates

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Landlording is a young persons game

Being a landlord wears most of us down over time. I'm not talking about a year or two, but over decades renting out property takes its toll on even the best of us. There is always that nagging feeling that some tenant is going to make a complaint, some terrible accident is about to happen, or the economy is going to crash ...again.
It seems that 'landlord burn-out' is the reason that the Wilsons are selling. The King and Queen of BTL, have put their entire property portfolio up for sale. In an interview with the Daily Mail, the Wilson's sounded fatigued by the whole lettings business. The pair are clearly burnt-out and thoroughly fed up with the inevitable hassle that letting property brings.

I remember back to when I first started investing, back in the mid-nineties. I bought a small portfolio from a landlord who echoed the very same sentiments of the Wilsons, as he gleefully handed me the keys,  he pronounced "landlording was a young man's game" then headed off to spend more time on his cruiser moored in Plymouth. 

For the purposes of gender equality, let's just update his sentiment, to "a young person's game", but whichever. The older I get, the more I appreciate his gleeful exit. 

I'm not quite sure why it is - whether knowledge and experience outlines all the things that can go wrong, or whether my decreasing energy makes dealing with things feel increasingly like hard work, or whether overtime, you just get bored with the repetitive letting cycle, but for whatever reason, landlording does seem to get harder the older and the longer you do it.

I do wonder, whether the recent influx of older landlords entering the BTL market with their newly available pension pots know quite what they are getting themselves into.

Let's just hope it brings them the happy and relaxing retirement they'd hoped for.

Personally, I'm coming around to the Wilson's way of thinking. Old age might be better kept for gardening, walking the dog and clearing your mind to focus on what is important - family, friends and ashtanga yoga. 

Live long and prosper.

Landlords paid to cap rents

Camden Council are shelling out taxpayer pounds to try and come up with an answer to the issue of rising rents.  Christine Whitehead an academic from the LSE will no doubt be paid 'shed loads' to suggest ideas of how rents can be stopped from rising.

The nub of the problem
Firstly, isn't rising rents a symptom of spiralling London house prices.  If the cost of a productive asset increase 25% in a year, then it follows that the returns required from that asset will also need to rise by the equivalent amount or else the rental yield and  investment returns fall massively.  That level of rising house price also indicate to me that tenants want to live in the area.  Surely, a positive thing.

Half baked political sop
The Cllr cabinet member for housing Cllr Julian Fulbrook (and ex colleague of Christine Whitehead) is looking at offering loans to landlords for capital repairs in return for signing up for the councils rent stabilisation scheme.  Apparently, the big benefit for landlords would then be to have a kitemark saying Camden Council Approved.  Oh yipperdee do!

The real problem
The real problem is that not enough housing is being built in the area for people to rent or buy.  One resident of Camden a Mr Ed Milliband if he gets into power will make thinks a hell of a lot worse by instigating rent controls and mandatory 3 year tenancies.  Plans like this or even the threat of it will kill any build to rent development schemes dead in the water.  What we need in the capital is a long-term vision to build more housing.  But politicians don't like to do long-term and especially when a general election looms next year.

 Landlord insurance - professional rates - expert brokers

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tenant threatens landlord with gun

An disgruntled tenant has been accused of threatening his landlord with a gun.
The incident is still being investigated by Lancashire Police.

The angry tenant, a Mr Darryl James Riding, 28 from Preston allegedly travelled by taxi to threaten his landlord, a Doctor Khumar. 

Armed with a silver handgun, the accused is also being charged with threatening the taxi driver and not paying his taxi fare. 

The incidents occurred on June 29th in Chorley, Lancarshire.

A preliminary hearing will be held at Preston Crown Court on July 15 and Riding is remanded in custody until then.

BTL mortgages for expats

Skipton International have introduced a range of BTL mortgages for expats wanting to invest in the UK property market. 

Their Director of Lending, Nigel Pascoe, said : “Last year we launched a portfolio of buy-to-let mortgages for Channel Islands’ residents which attracted a lot of interest. UK housing has demonstrated long-term price inflation and purchasing a property, as an investment, whilst living abroad often makes financial sense. Many people are seeking an alternative pension plan and so we’ve listened to our customers in coming up with this new range.”

The products have a max LTV of 75 per cent and are only available on properties England and Wales. Any applicants will need to be UK expats working in an approved list of countries.

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

 

Email:info@propertyhawkbtlmortgages.co.uk 


Tel: 029 2069 5446




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Income caps on BTL mortgages

The latest news is that Government owned RBS is acting to put an income cap on new mortgages limiting loans to 4.99 times the applicants income from effect from Monday (14 July).

This policy is inline with attempts from the European Union to exert greater control over residential investment mortgages.  We have said in the past that income based control of lending does not help landlords or greater investment in the private rental sector.  In Property Hawk's view it is not a good measure on it's own of affordability of a mortgage.

Clearly, this move is politically led.  A bank 81% owned by the Government is being used as an instrument to calm a perceived overheating housing market.  Whilst the market might be white hot in the market surrounding the 'Westminster Bubble.' This is clearly not so in the rest of mainstream UK. It does however illustrate why business does not belong in the hands of the public sector and the politicians.  These arbitrary mortgage income limits on buy-to-let mortgages will only drive landlords into the arms of other lenders reducing the profitability of a bank that will clearly end up being sold in the coming years at less than it should be if allowed to operate on a purely commercial basis.  With buy-to-let mortgage repossession rates being below that of owner occupation and with many of the buy-to-let mortgages being secured based on the rental levels of the proposed investment, not on the landlords income.  The rational for this income link is not clear.  But there again, this is not a rational commercial move it's political, which for us simple landlord folk explains everything.

Mortgage Search - whole of market - expert advice

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Corporate landlords will beat the individual

Asparagus and r-r-red peppers?
History has shown us the future. Fifty years ago we were a nation of shopkeepers. My grandad was one. Thousands of little grocers perched at the corner of residential streets, supplying loo roll, beans and potatoes. These were businesses owned and ran by individuals. Looking back it was clearly a very inefficient way to do business.

The big boys moved in and showed us how it should be done properly, offering greater choice cheaper. Big did it better.

One can only predict that the same will happen to landlords. Certainly the student rental sector is rapidly moving that way. Increasing numbers of purpose built student residential blocks are sucking demand away from the traditional terraces and semis.

Unite Group are the countries biggest provider of purpose-built student housing and they are growing fast. It has just been announced that they have bought a 2,904-unit student accommodation portfolio from Cordea Savills’ for £137million.

This acquisition brings the value of Unite's total student portfolio to £1.5 billion

The deal is part of booming student property investment market, boosted by the surprise announcement in George Osborne's Autumn Statement, lifting the cap on the number of students a university can take in.

The Financial Times has listed some of the recent activity in the student residential investment sector.

Fifty years from now the small, independent landlord will be a far rarer beast.

Landlords will be looked back upon with the same nostalgic whimsy as the corner grocer.

"Remember how he'd turn up in Audi estate, a mastic gun in one hand and a rent book in the other ..."



Debate on landlords allowable expenses

The Telegraph have published an article with a list of a landlord's allowable expense whilst in another piece, a columnist, Dan Hyde argues that these tax concessions for landlords are overly generous, and will only continue to maintain the imbalance in wealth between the old and the young.

Last year private residential landlords claimed £13 billion in allowable expenses
 

Deposit Protection Service - repayment id tip

I've written recently about some general advice on repaying a tenants deposit.

I personally use the Deposit Protection Service custodial scheme. I've just had a repayment request from my tenant who has just moved out.  A landlord will need their repayment ID in order to complete the process.  I've found that frequently the repayment ID email will get filtered into you spam folder and then get deleted after 90 days or so.  This means that often landlords are left without the details.

After chatting to a very helpful guy at the Deposit Protection Service he talked me through the screens needed.  You need to go to the Deposit tab and then view deposits.  Click on the relevant deposit and then at the bottom right of the screen is the link highlighted Request a repayment ID Reminder.  Click this and within a couple of seconds you will get sent your repayment ID.  You can then add the number in to allow you to respond to your tenants request and repay their deposit in my case in full.

Landlord Insurance - professional rates - online quotes

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

House cleans - are they worth it?

I'm in the process of re-letting one of my properties.  It's been a relatively straightforward check out and no damage to report.  I will be paying my tenant their full rental deposit back.

The property is in a reasonable state.  It's not perfect.  There are dirty kick boards in the kitchen, dust, marks on the wall and the oven as always has taken a hammering.

In an ideal world I probably would get the decorators round, after all it's been 3 years since the tenant moved in and the place is looking a little tired.  A good compromise in my mind is a thorough clean.  I'm not around so I'm toying with paying for a thorough house clean.  It may be a £100+ but it's often amazing how a little bit of buffing transforms the look and feel of a place.  What are other landlords views on their cleaning regime following a tenant check out?  To clean or not to clean that is the question.

Landlord insurance - online quotes - professional rates