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Friday, February 27, 2015

Brits snobs about renting

Legal and General enter PRS

Legal and General Group PLC has jumped into the UK private rental sector with the purchase of a £25m regeneration site in Walthamstow.

The multi-national's investment arm, Legal & General Capital is planning to build 300 flats to let out. 

Laura Mason, director of investments at Legal & General Capital commented -

“The UK has a chronic shortage of housing. Today’s investment and our future plans for the PRS should help address the structural issues which have contributed to the shortage. We view investments over 30 or more years and are using our long term capital to change the way the UK housing market is financed. This will be the first of many PRS deals for LGC”

This is the first investment of  a £1 billion strategy the company is planning for UK build to lets and will be built and managed by Legal & General Property, on behalf of LGC.

Expect to more large corporations to enter PRS soon.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

LBTT affect on Scottish property

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English Housing Survey 2013-14

The latest English Housing Survey has been published by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
  • In brief, the key observations from the English Housing Survey 2013-14 are -
  • For the first time, the proportion of  outright owners was greater than owners with a mortgage.
  • The breakdown of the 22.6 million households in England were 33% owned outright, 31% held a mortgage, 19% were renting privately and 17% were renting social housing. 
  • 48% of 25-34 year old households rented privately, with owner occupation in this age group dropping from 59% to 36% over the course of the past ten years. 
  • Average weekly private rents were £281 in London and £145 outside of London, and average weekly social rents in London were £125 compared to £87 outside London. 
  • Working households receiving housing benefit increased to 14%. 
  • Damp problems were more likely to be found in private rented dwellings than social rented or owner occupied dwellings. 
  • A million homes were estimated to have problems with damp, a drop from 2.6 million homes in 1996. 

London affordable rent hits £1,000

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

South West Landlord Expo

Landlord Expo – 12 March 2015

The Landlord Expo is the largest landlord event in the South West with over 90 exhibitors from letting agents, financial experts, trades people and suppliers and is sponsored by Andrews Letting Agents.
 
The event aims to provide landlords with all they 'need to know’. 

Now in its 15th year, the event provides information stands, seminars and demonstrations and is aimed at anyone who already is a landlord or letting agent, or considering entering the private rental market. 

The rolling programme of free seminars include the topics
  • Deposit protection good practice
  • Tax issues for landlords
  • Funding for energy efficiency measures
  • Using finance to grow your portfolio 
  • Recovering rent arrears
  • Fire safety responsibilities 

All seminars are free to attend and don’t require pre-booking.

The Landlord Expo is taking place on Thursday 12 March in Exhibition and Conference Centre at the University of the West of England, Bristol

Free entry, free parking, and free refreshments

To find out more, visit www.landlordexpo.co.uk or contact the Expo organisers on 0117 352 1853

You can also follow the event on Twitter [@LandlordExpo1]

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Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 4.99% Fixed 2 Years 2% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.19% Fixed 5 Years 2% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.09% Discount 2 Years 2% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
80% 3.79% Fixed 2017-04-30 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 4.25% Fixed 2017-04-30 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 3.5% Discount 2 Years 0% £0.00 No Hanley Economic Exclusive
75% 2.75% Discount 2 Years 0% £0.00 No Hanley Economic Exclusive
75% 4.69% Fixed 2 Years 1.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
75% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2.5% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
75% 2.25% Fixed 2017-04-30 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 3.5% Fixed 2017-04-30 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 4.39% Fixed 2 Years 1.5% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi 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.

New BTL range from Kent Reliance

Kent Reliance has made changes to its buy-to-let mortgage range - available via Property Hawk Mortgages
  • Reduced rates and fees
  • Up to 85% loan-to-value
  • New 5 year fixed rates with 110% rental calculation at pay rate
For full details, please contact the Support Team on 029 2069 5446.

Or use the free buy-to-let mortgage finder


UK cities house price recovery

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Scottish rent rise is off the pace

Scottish rents are up by 1.3% over the last 12 months according to data from Your Move's Scotland Buy to Let Index.

Your Moves figures show that average rent in Scotland grew at half the rate of rents in England and Wales where the average growth was 2.8%.

The average Scottish rent is now £536 per month. 

Brian Moran, director at Your Move commented.

‘Despite snowballing demand for homes to let, the private rented sector has managed to shelter tenants from the worst extremes of rent inflation, and rents have navigated an affordable route broadly trailing inflation.’ 

Read Your Move's Scotland Buy to Let Index for January 2015

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Resposibility for repair & maintenance

Who is responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the buy-to-let property?

We look at the primacy of the tenancy agreement in setting out the responsibility for repairs and distinguish between the repair and improvement of a rental property.

We look at what the term repair covers in the terms of the tenancy agreement and what standards of repair are required under section 11 of the Landlord and tenant act.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers - online quotes

Ask the Property Ombudsman Q & A

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Universal Credit latest progress report

Despite Ian Duncan Smith's best efforts, just 18,000 claimants were paid using Universal Credit prior to October 2014 according to a damning report from the Public Accounts Committee.

The Public Accounts Committee chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, commented 

"The Department for Work and Pensions has spent £700 million on Universal Credit since the programme began in 2010. However, very little progress has been achieved on the front line. Fewer than 18,000 people were claiming Universal Credit by October 2014, out of around seven million expected in the longer term – just 0.3% of the eligible population.

We hope the Department’s expectation that this number will rise significantly by February 2016 proves to be accurate."

Read the Public Accounts - Universal Credit Progress Report Feb 2015

Unsurprisingly, the government still insists the roll out of Universal Credit was 'making good progress'...


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rent - why it pays not to be greedy

How much rent should you charge? The latest figures from the rent-index indicate that the average rent in the UK is £637.

We always want to get top dollar....of course we do. We work hard to bring our buy-to-let to the rental market and then maintain it in a lettable condition.

Here's an article though that puts the case that it also pays sometimes, not to be greedy on the rent.

Landlord insurance - professional rates -  online cover

Monday, February 23, 2015

Judicial review asked for Rotherham licensing

The National Landlords Association has confirmed they have written to the government asking for a judicial review of Rotherham Council's plans to introduce a selective landlord licensing scheme


The landlord licensing scheme was set to begin in May inin four areas of the town -Eastwood, Masbrough, Dinnington and Maltby South East.

Dave Richmond, Rotherham Borough Council's director of housing and neighbourhoods commented 

"The authority has received the initial documentation notifying us of a potential legal challenge from the Rotherham Action Group and this is now being considered by our legal department."

Read more on the council's website - Rotherham Councils Selective Licensing Scheme

Shift to private rentals

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Landlord task force has never met

A Government task force to help councils with problem landlords has not met once according to reports in the Independent over the weekend.  

The task force had been initiated to build on the work of a previous task force to tackle so called beds in sheds rentals where 'dodgy' landlords were renting out illegally garages and outbuildings often to migrant workers.

When questioned in Parliament Housing Minister Brandon Lewis admitted that the new task force had not met once since being established in 2012.

Landlord insurance - professional rates - online cover

Liverpool's licensing scheme hits town

Liverpool's city-wide compulsory landlord licence scheme has been introduced.

Starting from the 1st of April ( not a joke ) all of Liverpool's private residential landlords will be required to obtain a licence to legally rent out a property.

Licences will cost £400 for a landlord with a single rental property, and then an additional £350 for each property a landlord owns after that. Licences are valid for a period of five years.

Before a landlord is awarded a licence they must first prove they are a 'fit a proper' person. A landlords will  have any past convictions checked through before a licence is granted. The council have not yet explained if any other tests will be done. (possibly a landlord will be required to remain polite and courteous whilst a council officer leads them on a short jog followed by a set of press ups...)
Rental properties will be inspected to check they meet  health and safety guidelines and the exterior of a property needs to be kept in a 'good state of repair' and the landlords need to help deal with any incidents of  anti-social behaviour made by their tenants.

Any Liverpool landlords who do not register for the licensing scheme by April 1st 2015 will face additional administration fee and possible prosecution.



Read the list of exemptions from the Liverpool landlord licensing scheme.


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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Landlords to lose tax break in April

Landlords are to lose the £1500 in tax breaks in by 6th April when the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) comes to an end in the current tax year. The allowance allows landlords to make a number of deductions for expenditure for the following items of expenditure:
  • cavity wall and loft insulation
  • solid wall insulation
  • draught-proofing
  • hot water system insulation
  • floor insulation
The tax breaks are available through your self assessment return but obviously will have to be at least invoiced by the start of the tax year so landlords get insulating before it's too late.

Landlord insurance - cover options - professional rates

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The London new build property crash

Fair wear and tear on a rental property

Our guide for landlords calculating the Fair Wear and Tear on a rental property.
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Savills property growth forecast for 2015

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Universal Credit roll out gathers pace

The roll out of Universal Credit continues. 

Here's a batch of new JobCentres joining the list.
  • Clevedon 
  • Dingwall
  • Fort William
  • Fulham
  • Hartlepool
  • Invergordon
  • Northallerton 
  • Portree
  • Ryedale 
  • Shepherds Bush
  • Skipton 
  • Swindon
  • Weston Super Mare 
  • Wick 
  • York Monkgate
  • York Stonebow

ONS December 2014 House Price Data

The ONS have published their house price data for December 2014.

They observed these key points -
  • UK house prices increased by 9.8% during 2014.
  • With 2014 growth rates of 10.2% in England, 4.0% in Wales, 5.5% in Scotland and 4.9% in Northern Ireland. 
  • Best performing English regions were London with 13.3%,  South East (11.5%) and the East (11.4%).
  • Excluding the South East, UK house prices increased by 7.4% in the 12 months to December 2014.
If you want every microscopic detail at the ONS December 2014 House Price Index to download the pdf report and the full data sheets.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February House Price up 2.1%

Rightmove report a 2.1% in average UK asking prices in February.

The portal makes these key points about the market data -
  • Decades of inadequate provision of homes to satisfy demand are having an increasing effect, with a tight-stock market resulting in a shortage of quality property to trade up to:
  • Average price of property coming to market up by over £5,000 this month (+£5,729/+2.1%), with all regions reporting uplifts
  • Increase in demand for property continues with busiest ever January site traffic on Rightmove
  • 31% increase in housing transactions in last two years in England and Wales, outstripping 11% rise in number of properties coming to market in same period
  • Some agents reporting lowest ever stock of quality property for sale, as lower owner-occupation, buy-to-let investors not selling, and owners’ reluctance to ‘sell before you find’ contribute to a 4% fall in new seller numbers compared to same period in 2014
  • Different tactics required for a successful move in a tight-stock market
Rightmove's February 2015 House Price Index 

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CML record a strong December for BTL

The latest Council of Mortgage Lending data for December 2014 show that BTL is still on the up.

The CML recorded 17,300 BTL mortgage advances in December 2014.

The total value of BTL loans in December 2014 were £2.5billion. 

An increase of 20% on volume and 32% on values compared with December 2013's numbers.

BTL lending total for 2014
 
December figures bring the years totals for BTL lending to 197,700 loans, valued at £27.4 billion of lending.  BTL purchases totalled 100,100 loans and remortgages totalled 96,020. 

Compared to 2013's BTL lending total this is an increase of 23% by volume and 32% by value. 

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Claimants doubt universal credit's simplicity

This weeks popular BTL mortgages


Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Lender
85% 4.99% Fixed 2 Years 3% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.49% Discount 2 Years 3% £130.00 No Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
80% 3.79% Fixed 2017-04-30 £2495 £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 4.25% Fixed 2017-04-30 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
80% 3.5% Discount 2 Years 0% £0.00 No Hanley Economic Exclusive
75% 2.75% Discount 2 Years 0% £0.00 No Hanley Economic Exclusive
75% 2.5% Discount 2 Years £1995 £250.00 One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000 Hinckley & Rugby Exclusive
75% 5.39% Variable 0 Years 2.5% £0.00 No Saffron Light Refurbishment
75% 2.25% Fixed 2017-04-30 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
75% 3.5% Fixed 2017-04-30 0% £150.00 Free valuation Mortgage Trust Exclusive
60% 2.45% Discount 2 Years £1950 £250.00 One free Valuation on properties valued up to £1,000,000 Hinckley & 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


5 tips to avoid bad tenants

Here are a few top tips for avoiding tenants from hell.  Once you have a bad tenant then non-payment of rent becomes a huge issue so you need to avoid these bad tenants in the first place. So this is what you need to do:

1. Always do extensive tenant referencing by thoroughly vetting your tenants
2. Watched out for forged and fake tenant references and faked tenant ID such as passports or driving licences. Are the tenants really who they say they are.  Make sure you cross check the information.
3. Double check the tenants ID phone work and go through the switchboard rather than using a direct line this way you have the certainty of matching up the person to the name and ensuring that they really do work where the tenant says they do.  It may be you will get the switchboard saying 'oh no they have left the company' or 'we have nobody of this name working here'.
4. Always make sure you insist on seeing the tenants last 6 months of bank statements.  This will give you a unique insight into how they conduct their finances including whether they really have been paying the rent on their last rental property.  Despite what the last landlord might have said in his tenant reference (could they possibly be trying to get rid of their nightmare tenant to some other poor unsuspecting landlord).
5. When you meet the tenants are they on time for their appointment, do they seem organised and responsible.  If they are late for the viewing do they apologise.  I'm a great believer in the 'face to face'.  I think you can tell a lot about the character of tenant my meeting the tenant personally and don't ignore your landlord senses!

Here is more advice on getting great tenants.
If in doubt make sure you get a tenant guarantor

Landlord insurance - professional rates - online quotes

New BTL mortgage range from Fleet

We have a new range of buy-to-let mortgages with Fleet Mortgages.

Fleet Mortgages is a specialist buy-to-let lender offering mortgages designed to fit the needs of landlords. With three separate product ranges for Individuals, HMOs and Limited Companies these could be an excellent choice for your landlord clients.

Product range highlights include:
  • Individual 2.69% 2 year fixed rate up to 65% LTV
  • Individual 3.09% 2 year fixed rate up to 75% LTV
  • Limited company 4.19% 2 year fixed rate up to 75% LTV
  • Limited company 3.81% lifetime LIBOR tracker up to 65% LTV
  • HMO 5.29% 5 year fixed rate up to 75% LTV
  • HMO 4.56% lifetime LIBOR tracker up to 75% LTV 
Criteria highlights include:
  • Up to 80% LTV available
  • Limited company
  • Portfolio landlords
  • HMOs
  • Freehold blocks
  • Multiple tenancies
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.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Smoke alarms in rental properties

Fire Chiefs have again called for all landlords to install smoke alarms in all rental properties.

Currently they are only legally required in HMO properties. The current guidelines on fire safety in rental properties make no requirement for the general provision of a fire alarm. However, a law was proposed last year by Shadow Environment Minister Nick Raynsford calling for the mandatory installation of a fire alarm in all privately rented properties.

Chair of the LGA's fire services management committee, Cllr Jeremy Hilton, said:

 ‘Many people will be shocked that most landlords are not obliged to install smoke alarms. The current laws are outdated and inadequate - and without question lives are being put at risk.' 
'While the majority of private landlords are reputable and voluntarily install alarms, there are a small minority who don't, needlessly putting lives at risk. They have a duty of care to ensure their tenants are safe. This is why we are calling on the Government to enact the law and ensure all private landlords install smoke alarms - and save hundreds of lives every year. '

Property Hawks view 

In our view smoke alarms are a good thing but their are two flaws in making this requirement mandatory.

1. Home owners are not legally responsible for having a fire alarm in their property. There are far more home owners than landlords and any government that is serious about reducing fatalities through fire should act equally for both sets of home owners.
2. Tenants are quite able to install their own fire alarms if they require them. A battery operated fire alarm costs a few pounds and take moments to put up. Why should it fall to a buy-to-let landlord to carry out the work and then have the added legal responsibility of ensuring that they are maintained.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers - online rates

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Landlords forced to go green

Landlords are soon to be projected into the vanguard of saving the environment as proposals from the Energy Act 2011 come into force. 

The Energy Act introduced the much maligned Green Deal for landlords which most commentators have hailed to be a disappointing failure.

Landlords face a legal requirement by 2018

From April 2018, landlords will be legally required to raise the energy efficiency of rental properties to at least "Band E" levels of energy efficiency. Estimates are that this will involve significant work to over 450,000 properties which currently fall into bands F & G to bring them up to the higher standards.

A DECC spokesman said: "There will be no upfront costs to landlords so it’s not going to cost them thousands. Landlords can obtain money through the Green deal, eco or other subsidies so they don’t lay out money upfront. Depending on what improvements the property needs would also determine how much it will cost."

Landlord Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) ends 2015 

Will extra costs stack up for landlords?

The reality is that these works could cost landlords thousands of pounds for additional insulation and new boilers amongst other measures.  Many landlords remain unconvinced that the thousands of pounds of investment will ever be recouped in the capital value of their buy-to-let property. 

These expensive works will generally only result in small efficiency savings and reduction of energy bills by tens of pounds and therefore are uneconomic in all but the very long-term.  Tenant groups argue that tenants foot the cost of higher bills and are unable to act because the insulation and the energy efficiency of the boiler is a landlords responsibility. 

Who's right?