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Monday, November 30, 2009

How to spot a spiv?

Look for somebody with:

  • Matinee idol looks
  • loves to grow a moustache
  • and most importantly makes a career out of selling dodgy goods

Know anyone?

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Tenancy deposit scheme - weighted in favour of the tenant?

We all know that the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) was set up for tenants not landlords.

It's there to protect the tenants deposits and recent experience from the arbitrators show that their starting point is that the deposit is the tenants unless the landlord can prove conclusively that they are due monies from the deposited sum.

The latest recognition of the custodial scheme where landlords pay the full deposit to the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) is that some tenants either don't believe that they will get their deposit back or have done a bunk leaving 8000 deposits in limbo.

It is possible for a landlord to get the money back but only by way of a landlord having to complete a statutory declaration which will be charged for by the landlords solicitor. The case is then referred to the arbitrators.

This places all the responsibility on the landlord.

Surely more responsibility should be placed on the tenant to ensure that they keep their address details up to date and it should be for the landlord to bare the costs and the hassle of getting what is often money owed to them returned?

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buy-to-let new builds discounts or is there more....

According to the latest headline in the Times landlords are flooding back to new build developments eating up the excess supply. The claim is that lawyers, doctors and accountants are diving in to snap up new build bargains.

Hang on - according to the figures from Lludlow Thompson that claim that landlords are shunning new builds because of the competition to let them.

What is going on here?

Could it be a case of shameless self publicity and a hope that Stuart Law's company might be able to flog a few more unsold new builds to unsuspecting middle class investors?

I wonder..............

Letting a new build rental in Manchester in 5 days? What was the rent - 30 shillings a week and free use of a Porsche for a year ........

landlord insurance - no bull - just good rates

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Don't forget about your tax return

The weather forecast for the weekend ain't great.

So if the inevitable happens and you find yourself stuck inside for a few hours why not get your tax return out of the way.

Remember the Property Manager allows you to calculate your figures relating to your buy-to-let portfolio and the figures needed by the property section in your self assessment return and also email the figures direct to your accountant.

Why not get it done and out of the way before the 31st Jan deadline?

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Buy-to-let mortgages reducing rates

Buy-to-let mortgage rates are very slowly coming down as the money markets free up.

This week a couple of lenders have announced reducing rates.

Godiva have announced a new variable rate through a mortgage broker of 4.59% down from 4.99%. This product is only available through a mortgage broker.

The Coventry has also being busily revamping there range and now offer a variable rate of 4.45% for the term of the buy-to-let mortgage. This is only available to a landlord who goes direct to them


VARIABLE TRACKER RATE MORTGAGE of 4.99% to 31.12.11 & VARIABLE RATE of 4.99% for term withdrawn, w.e.f. 26.11.09.

NEW VARIABLE TRACKER RATE MORTGAGE available to direct business only, for remortgage only: 4.59% to 31.2.11, max 65%, fee £1050, BBR + 4.09% to 31.12.11, with incentives of free valuation (max £670), £200 rebate or free legal fees.

NEW VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGES available to direct business only, for second time buyers & remortgage only, with no penalty payable: 4.45% for term, max 50%, fee £1050; 4.69% for term, max 65%, fee £1050 , both with incentives of free valuation (max £670), and for remortgages free legal fees or £200.

NEW FIXED RATE MORTGAGE for remortgage only, available to direct business only: 4.99% to 30.6.11, max 65%, fee£700, with incentives of free valuation (max £670), £200 rebate or free legal fees. W.e.f. 27.11.09.
27 Nov 2009.


VARIABLE TRACKER RATE MORTGAGE of 4.99% to 31.12.11 & VARIABLE RATE of 4.99% for term withdrawn, w.e.f. 26.11.09.

NEW VARIABLE TRACKER RATE MORTGAGE available via intermediaries only, for remortgage only: 4.59% to 31.2.11, max 65%, fee £1050, BBR + 4.09% to 31.12.11, with incentives of free valuation (max £670), £200 rebate or free legal fees.

NEW VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGES available via intermediaries only, for second time buyers & remortgage only, with no penalty payable: 4.45% for term, max 50%, fee £1050; 4.69% for term, max 65%, fee £1050 , both with incentives of free valuation (max £670), and for remortgages free legal fees or £200.

NEW FIXED RATE MORTGAGE for remortgage only, available via intermediaries only: 4.99% to 30.6.11, max 65%, fee£700, with incentives of free valuation (max £670), £200 rebate or free legal fees. W.e.f. 27.11.09.

Ring 01424 205 373 or email to find out more on these products or to discuss other options. ref - PropertyHawk for No Broker Fee Offer

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King of buy-to-let throws down the gauntlet to the Daily Mail

Landords may have seen the latest rumours that even the King of Buy to let, Fergus Wilson was struggling with his mortgage payments.

Well after speaking with Fergus Property Hawk can put you in the picture.

Apparently, it seems to be a case of the Daily Mail not wanting the truth to get in the way of a good story.

Fergus confirms that yes he does pay his mortgages by cheque. This is regular practice by most portfolio landlords. The reason being that many of his tenants are returning retirees who have come back to the UK because of the devaluation of the pound against the Euro. Many of these new tenants are not able to pass a credit check because of the fact the have been living abroad. They therefore pay their rent upfront, some times as much as 6 months in advance. Because of the 3rd party rights act Fergus as the landlord has then a duty to make equal number of mortgage payments. Something I must admit I didn't realise.

The result of this is that Fergus like many large portfolio landlords finds it easier with over 30 million in mortgages with one lender, Mortgage Express to settle up each month with a single cheque.

Fergus is still a little peeved that the DM have not taken him up on his challenge. That is to find a new 3 bedroomed detached property in Ashford in Kent for the £160,000 they quoted in their article. He states this type of property is worth more like £250,000.

He has layed down a wager of 5 grand to the reporters of the Daily Mail to find a three bed detached property for the value quoted quoted in their article. So far no takers. Come on boys - put your money where your mouth is!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

How to spot a snake oil salesman?

It is simple......

You look for somebody who can smile, make you feel good about yourself, whilst all the time selling you a pup.

No anybody who answers that description?

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Beeny's back!

The Sarah Beeny road show marches onwards up the property ladder.

Sarah most famous for her 'told you so' persona in Property Ladder has recently embraced the non bricks and mortar world of the internet with her website my single friends.

Not content with getting all her single friends married off her latest venture is Tepilo which promises to market property for rent and sale for free.

The site is pleasant enough even though it has one of those annoyingly contrived corporate names and does sound to me like a brand of sanitary towels.

Ask Sarah a question

It is even possible to 'ask Sarah a question' if you get stuck about any aspect of renting or selling property.

Now call me cynical but I some how just can't believe that Sarah's waiting around all day waiting to fire off her nuggets of advice.

I'm starting to think that the girl is perhaps spreading the Beeny brand a little too thinly.

Lets face it - she is no longer the blonde babe that she was. For those that don't agree have a look at here video on Lovemoney.

Having checked out the Tepilo site for properties in my area it came up with a pitiful two properties.

I'm afraid Sarah, the web is full of internet shipwreck of sites that were going to 'revolutionize' the way we buy and sell and rent property. I think that with this one she may have mistakenly landed on the snake, not the property ladder.

Landlord insurance - Where do professional landlords go?

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Rental Index report for November 2009 from Findaproperty

  • Rents rise by 0.1 per cent to £831pcm, the seventh consecutive month of stable or rising rents.
  • Rents are still 2.5 per cent (£21pcm) down on last year, but the gap is diminishing.
  • Properties now let within 55 days, 16 days less than at the beginning of the year.
  • Supply of rental properties declines by a further 3.5 per cent in November, following a ten per cent fall last month.
  • Houses for rent are fast recovering to last year's levels. With average rents of £871pcm they are just 1.7 per cent down on November 2008, and have increased by 0.1 per cent in the past month
  • Flats, however, have seen rents remain stable month-on-month in November (£749pcm) and are down 4.1 per cent on the same period last year.
Read the full rental index report for November 2009 here

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who can benefit from property price falls?

Although many media officials would like to deny that the property market resembles nothing of the housing crash of the 1990’s, it would be undeniable to say there aren’t many similarities.

According to the Halifax House Price Index, property prices peaked at £70,247 during May 1989 before being hit month on month by losses and stagnation. Within just 6 years, property prices had fallen by 13.2% to just £60,965.

Now compare these figures to the rate at which property prices have fallen between August 2007 and August 2008 and you’ll agree that our housing crash has been much more dramatic.

In under a year average house prices have fallen from £199,612 to £171,178, a 12.7% drop which is only 0.5% less than what took the last recession 6 years to achieve…

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Yes. Simply bypass the events of the last 2 years, and these property price falls actually represent a golden property investment opportunity which can be beneficial to property investors, homeowners and landlords alike.

Who is most likely to benefit?

• First Time Buyers – average property prices grew by an astounding 187% during 1996 and 2006, making it virtually impossible for many first time buyers to climb onto the property ladder and invest in property. However, with recent property prices falls and property funds such as Mills Group offering funds to help first time buyers get onto the property ladder, conditions have definitely turned in their favour.

• Property Investors – property investor with the spare investment capital or the property investment strategies to negotiate further discounts have currently got the opportunity to make a greater return in the long run should they invest now. For instance, if property prices were able to grow in value by 187% after the last housing crash, imagine what could happen in the next 10 years…

• Upsizers – although it may not seem ideal to upsize in the current property market, smaller properties are usually disproportionately priced compared to larger ones. Meaning should you choose to trade up, the house you are selling will lose less value compared to the larger one you are buying, making you instant profits.

Example: You sell your £150,000 property at a loss of 10% (£15,000). Should you invest in a larger property worth £250,000, this would lose £25,000, giving you a £10,000 profit.

• Property Landlords - research by Paragon Mortgages reported rental income increases of 3.8% during the first quarter of this year. Yet as the UK’s economy continues to remain unpredictable and mortgage deposits too high to obtain, many renters will choose to continue renting rather than try to get onto the property ladder.

For information on property courses and property investment advice visit Property Mentor.

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BTL Mortgage FSA Regulation is Inevitable

The FSA regulation on BTL mortgages becomes a case of when, and not if.

Chris Norris,of the National Landlords Association, commented: 'NLA is pleased to see that HM Treasury has recognised that many landlords operate as a business and should not be treated like consumers when seeking finance. However, we still have some concerns about the effect that more regulation could have on the cost and availability of buy-to-let mortgage finance, and on the market’s overall recovery.'

Read more at Citywire

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LHA regulations discriminatory

More problems and bad press for the Local Housing Allowance.

A benefits tribunal has found in favour of a tenant in Walsall who needs 24-hour care. She has a two bedroom property with her second bedroom essential for her carers who make use of it all night and all day on a shift system.

The council said it would only pay LHA to the tenant to cover the rate for a one bedroom property and this decision has left the tenant dependant on discretionary housing payments from the council to cover the rent of her property.

The tribunal found that the regulations on the LHA issued to councils contravened the European Convention on Human Rights, discriminating against the tenant as a severely disabled person. If Walsall Council appeal against this decision it will be heard by the upper tribunal and a favourable outcome for the tenant would set a precedent for similar claims. See an article about this here.

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Dubai investments shown to be built on sand

Landlords who have been watching the property miracle in Dubai unfold with amazement and bewilderment as I have may be unsurprised at the latest developments in the tiny Gulf state.

I know I'm only a simple landlord, but I do understand that to have a successful property investment you need tenants. This was the bit I never quite understood from the Dubai proposition. It seemed to me that the only occupants to the shiny new builds were the workers building the buildings that would then one day find occupants.

Unfortunately, when the building stops and the builders and tenant go home- it's the emperors new clothes syndrome. Actually there are no tenants and no occupiers - just lots of lovely shiny buildings in a desert!

I'm glad that I stuck with my gut instincts on this one!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HIPS to be scrapped by Conservatives

The Conservative Party would scrap home information packs (Hips) “in a matter of weeks” after coming to power, the Shadow Housing Minister said yesterday.

Grant Shapps, housing spokesman for the Conservatives, told The Times that it would be his first task, should his party win the next general election.

Gordon presumably stills thinks they were a good idea. Who knows?

Read full article here

See all the landlord comic strips here

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Deposit Protection Scheme report dozy tenants

Tenants can be very dozy.

According to the Deposit Protection Service many tenants forget to update their contact details with the DPS after moving out of the rental property.

This means the Deposit Protection Service is unable to trace them to pay back their deposits.

The DPS reports that 8,000 tenants have failed to update their details and therefore are unable to have their deposits returned.

However, as someone who is moving house on Friday I do have my sympathies, the problems I've had trying to sort out all my changes of address and utilities has been a nightmare, especially my new telephone and broadband.

If my experience of TalkTalk and BT are anything to go by the Ofcom complaints line must be at melt down.

Does anyone know where they recruit the rottweilers on the BT cancellation desk from? Is it Battersea dogs home? What an incredibly nasty bunch!

Download the full report here

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Landlord Forms Forms Forms

Landlord we love forms, don't we....

No - actually we don't, most of us hate them. I certainly do!

Unfortunately they are a fact of life. We have been providing our Free Tenancy Agreement for several years which I know many of you use. We are in the future looking at improving it, but if you have any suggestions please let us know.

However, many landlords new to Property Hawk may have not known that we also provide many other Free landlord forms. These are:

Section 21 notice for possession
Section 8 notice for possession
Section 13 notice to increase the rent
Section 213 notice (prescribed information) TDS
Guarantor forms

They can all be found in the new section on landlord forms. Remember if you do have a Property Hawk account you don't need to go through the process of re-registering. Just login and go to the Property Manager and then Forms. You can then download them from there.

Right, where was I... yep back to my form filling!

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Landlord's address in the Tenancy Agreement

I've recently had correspondence from several landlords who manage their own property.

They have expressed concern over their their tenants knowing their home address and have asked if there is any way that this can be hidden from the tenant.

Well it is possible for a landlord to use a CO ( care of) address or even a PO BOX on the tenancy agreement to avoid revealing their home address to a tenant. However, if they do this then a landlord will need to ensure that the address given is in England or Wales.

If they don't, according to S.48 of the Housing Act the rent is not legally due to the landlord.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Student Property Review 2010

The Frank Knight Review for Student Property in 2010 has been published.

  • Rental growth in the student accommodation sector remains robust, recording growth of 5% per annum over the last six years.
  • Demand for university places continues to rise.

Read the full report here

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BTL Mortgage Product Pick

85% Buy To Let (for those lucky enough to purchase below market value)

Tiuta has launched a three-year fixed rate buy-to-let deal with a headline rate of 6.99%, and crucially up to 85% LTV.

Sounds painful? Well, here are some unique selling points:

1. The product allows for borrowing on 70% of open market value but not to exceed 85% of the purchase price.

2. Remortgage allowed within 6 months of ownership.

3. Rental criteria is 110% at payrate.

Note: Where ownership is less than 6 months they will fund at the lower of 70% of current OMV or 85% of original PP. If works have been undertaken during this ownership, IN ADDITION to this they will fund up to 85% of the costs of the works undertaken. This will have to be supported by invoices and bank statements to demonstrate genuine investment costs.

Call us now for full details and costs (They also have a HMO product).

Here are some other popular current buy to let deals:

Interest rate: 3.99%
LTV: 60%
Product Detail: Barclays bank base rate + 3.49
Arrangement Fee: 1.75%
Early Redemption Penalties: 6 months within first 32 months.
Our thoughts: Watch out for the base rate - it's Barclays bank base rate not Bank of England base rate, so won't necessarily move together.
And of course, our old favourite for 75% LTV.

BM Solutions
Interest rate: 4.35%
LTV: 75%
Product Detail: 1 year tracker
Arrangement Fee: 3%
Early Redemption Penalties: 3% in first year.
Our thoughts: The lowest rental cover for 75% loan to value mortgages but watch the reversionary rate after the first year.

Ring 01424 205 373 or email to find out more on these products or to discuss other options. ref - PropertyHawk for No Broker Fee Offer



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BTL Mortgage News

I wouldn't exactly say the buy to let mortgage market is overheating at the moment, but there definitely seems to have been some more changes for the positive. In the last couple of weeks we've seen a couple of new products come to the market - the 85% buy to let product detailed below (and also a new BTL refurbishment mortgage product).

Best quote of the last couple of weeks is definitely from Matthew Wyles chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders. He said the Financial Services Authority sees mortgage lenders and mortgage intermediaries as the drug-dealers at the "school gates" of the mortgage market.

He muses, "Regulators see lenders and intermediaries as the sweetshop owners - or worse, the drug-dealers at the school gates of the mortgage market, enticing innocent consumers in and then getting them hooked, for their own evil profit-driven purposes."

I just wanted to assure you that in no way, shape or form do I see myself as a sweetshop owner.

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DPS changes - taking a tenant deposit then you need to know this.

Landlords that are considering or do use the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) to protect their tenants deposits should be aware of important changes to the scheme.

Apparently over 8,000 deposit repayments valuing almost £5 million are waiting for the response of the lead tenant before the deposit can be repaid.

In order to make a deposit repayment DPS need agreement from both the landlord / letting agent and the lead tenant, along with details of the correct payment method.

Following a review of the way the current scheme operates the DPS has concluded that to avoid deposits being held in limbo through tenants not responding to the scheme. They concluded that if the Deposit Protection Scheme held a mobile number of valid email address for the lead tenant the number of deposits held in limbo would be dramatically reduced. This obviously would provide a better service for both landlords and tenants.

The Changes to the Deposit Protection Scheme.

From the 26 th November the DPS will require that in order for a landlord to submit a deposit to us online the landlord will have to provide either a UK mobile phone number or a valid email address for the lead tenant.

If this is not possible then it will be still possible for the landlord to apply for a paper deposit submission form.

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Private sector leasing - hassle free buy-to-let?

Landlords looking for a guarantee rent and looking at investing in property in London and the South East such check out the concept of private sector leasing.

This is a concept pioneered by companies such as Orchard and Shipman and that offer a landlord guaranteed rents payed by the local authority, no voids and the property itself managed by the company but without the management fees. Sounds too good to be true?

The downside of this is that a landlord may not get the full amount of rent that they would in the open market. However many landlords may feel like this is a small sacrifice for the fact that rents are guaranteed for up to 5 years.

Orchard and Shipman run a number of schemes for local authorities. Currently in England there are looking for 1-5 bedroom properties in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

They also offer opportunities to invest residential property in Scotland, to find out more landlords should inquire direct.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Is it time to reference your tenants pets as well?

In the past we have asked the question is it worth considering letting to tenants with pets?

We have suggested that landords have a heart when it comes to letting our furry friends occupy our precious real estate.

Landlords that are still unsure about letting to tenants with pets may want to consider getting their tenants to take out insurance.

Pet reference

Landlords know that we always advise them to thoroughly reference their tenants .

However, referencing your tenants pets is a new one on us. Apparently when considering letting to a tenant with a pet it's also possible to get a reference on the tenants pet.

The website Letswithpets advises landlords that:

It's a good idea to ask prospective tenants to provide you with a reference for their pet from a previous landlord. If they have not rented with their pets before, you could ask for a reference from their veterinary surgeon but please bear in mind that there may be some circumstances in which tenants cannot provide a reference.

The keys points that you should ask to be covered in a pet reference from a previous landlord are:

How long did the tenant live in the previous property with their pets?
Which pets did they own at that time?
Does the referee consider the tenant to be a responsible pet owner?
Were the tenant's pets well behaved?
Did their pets cause any damage to the property?
Did their pets cause a nuisance to neighbours or visitors?
If the reference is to be provided by a veterinary surgeon, it should cover the following points:

Are the tenant's pets generally well behaved?
Does the veterinary surgeon consider the tenant to be a responsible pet owner?
Does the tenant provide routine preventive health care, such as vaccinations and flea treatments, for their pets (when appropriate)?

It is possible to download a sample pet reference from their website.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

RICS - disappointed about the Governments failure to address Private Rental Sector

The RICS have voiced their disappointment on the lack of specific provisions in the Queen's Speech covering the private rented sector.

Specifically it is not happy that no legislation was put forward to regulate the letting agent sector.

Currently only 50 per cent of letting agents belong to a voluntary regulatory scheme and many landlords do not use an agent, meaning less than half of all rental transactions are regulated, with the attendant risks to tenants' deposits and landlord rents. Industry estimates are that up to £12bn - much of it unprotected - is in the hands of landlords and agents in this sector.

Property Hawk supports tighter controls over letting agents especially where they hold tenancy deposits as there have been frequent cases of unregulated letting agents going bust or disappearing with rental deposits leaving landlords responsible to foot the shortfall.

We remain completely unconvinced and against a compulsory landlord register.

To read more

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Place in the sun -going cheap?!?

Property Hawk remains focused on investing in property here in the UK.

However, I could help but notice an item in this weeks edition of Property Week.

Apparently Barnett Ross the auction house has teamed up with the channel 4 television "A Place In the Sun" to hold a sale of distressed spanish flats located in the Costas. Discounts are alleged to be up to 50% and in six cases there are no reserve prices.

There may be a bargain here. I wouldn't know. One thing that i do know that a lot of people have been caught out by buying Spanish property on the wrong type of land so make sure you do your homework.


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Housing shortage could top 2.7m by 2031

According to residential property services company LSL Property Services the housing shortage could top 2.7m by 2031. This can only be good news for landlords.

Shortages push up prices and this could mean that house prices continue to increase above the rate of inflation. The Barker Report on housing showed that long-term real (after inflation) increases in housing value over the last 30 years was 2.4%. The reality of shortfall in this magnitude if it were to materialise would mean that real house prices could easily exceed this. Shortfalls in housing supply would also put upward pressures on rents which have rebounded sharply this year.

How do we get to the figure of 2.7m shortfall?

Government projections indicate the population will top 70 million by 2031, as a result of increased fertility, life expectancy, and net migration. The number of households is projected to grow by 252,000 every year up to 27.8 million by 2031 (an increase of 6.3 million or 29%). This is not solely the result of increases in population – even without those, the number of households could be projected to grow by 36,000 households per annum due to changes in marital status and household formation. For instance, one-person households are projected to increase by 163,000 per year, equating to two-thirds of the increase in households. By 2031, 18 per cent of the total population of England is projected to live alone (compared with 13 per cent in 2006).

But over the last two years, there has been a sharp decline in the number of homes being built and demand for new properties has plunged. On an annual basis, an estimated 87,190 new homes were started in the 12 months to June 2009 - down 41 per cent compared with the 12 months to June 2008. The figure is also little more than a third of the government's target of 240,000 new homes a year.

If house building continues at current pace (87,190 a year), in a worst-case scenario the UK will be short 4.2m homes by 2031. Even anticipating a recovery in house building to 149,200 a year, (the average number of new homes started since 1990) the country will be short of a staggering 2.7m homes.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

No legislation for licence yet - phew!

It looks like the government have forgotten about the landlord licence for the time being.

The latest Queen speech had no specific provisions covering the private rented sector. Because any licence will need primary legislation and that no dedicated parliamentary time has been set a side it is highly unlikely that the licence will be brought in before the election.

Looks like landlords will get an opportunity to put their opposition to any compulsory register to the vote after all.

We like to think that our No.10 petition now signed by almost a thousand landlords might have played some part in putting off the government from following this ludicrous route.

I suspect it's more likely to be down to the fact that they have more urgent problems, like bailing out the bankrupt economy!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Landlords life is rubbish

Managing property is a constant battle.

Landlords often start off with all the best intentions, aiming to provide good, clean, quality properties and a good service, but it can all get you down.

Waste management can be a nightmare!

Tenants, often just don't care! Domestic waste management is often way down on their priorty list ( especially student tenants), not putting our dustbins, letting rubbish pile up, not taking unwanted junk to tips etc.

Sometimes the neighbours like to join in trashing the place, and take advantage of the fact that the tenants aren't bothered who starts using their backyard as a community tipping ground.

I remember having endless issues with neighbours dumping their excess rubbish in the bins of a block of flats I owned, causing me hundreds of pounds in costs each year to get cleared up.

A landlord has just been prosecuted by Burnley Council over the filthy state outside his homes across the borough.

The landlord Mr Paul Higgins-Drysdale who lives in Hampshire, complained that the rubbish was the fault of nearby residents and claimed he had spent hundreds of pounds having dumped items removed from the yards of his Burnley properties, only to find the problem repeated within days, the court heard.

However the council still found him guilty under the Environmental Protection Act and forced him to pay out a total of £1800 in costs and fines for ignoring warning notices.

I have sympathy for the landlord, but rules are rules and the case goes to underline the difficulties of managing rental properties at a distance.

If your rental property is not in the area you live in make sure you have a good quality letting agent to manage them for you.

What a load of rubbish life is for poor old landlords!

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Struggling to get short/ medium term finance?

Are you struggling to get finance?

Following the withdrawal of many Buy to Let Lenders and the tightening of Buy to Let mortgages criteria, many property investors have found it hard to find finance. Those looking to purchase properties with cash and raise finance straight away have found it particularly hard to get over the "6 month ownership" rule.

Developers have also found that options are limited when looking to hold on to stock and arrange medium term finance to either release cash and / or repay development finance.

Have you recently purchased a property with cash and need to raise a mortgage urgently?

Have you recently developed or refurbished a property and want to now raise finance within 6 months?

Are you being declined by lenders because of the type of property you are looking to purchase or refinance?

Are you being restricted by the amount of rental income generated from your property?

If so, mortgage broker Mortgages for Business may be able to help. They now have access to a new Buy to Let mortgage product which will address the above issues and help many property investors and developers who are currently looking and struggling to find finance.

The Interest Rate is fixed at 6.99% for 3 years with no redemption penalties in the third year. Maximum Loan to Value is 70% and with rent to interest cover at 110% at the pay-rate, you should be able to achieve the maximum gearing if required.

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The Tenancy Agreement- what do you want?

The tenancy agreement is fundamental for many landlords letting their property.

We have just one tenancy agreement. It's multi purpose, so it's suitable for letting houses, flats, single rooms in shared houses.

However, we know it's not perfect. The question is.

Can we improve it? Do we need different types of tenancy agreements. Do you want to edit the agreement and if so what sort of clauses would be useful.

Tell us what you want by posting your views below.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The world of BTL Mortgages shrivels

The world of buy-to-let mortgages is but a dried raisin, shriveled on the vine. reports that 93% of buy-to-let mortgages have been lost over the past two years.

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Commercial property sees signs of recovery

The commercial property sector a year ago was on its knees. Nobody was looking to take on an new office or retail space, expansion was the last thing on anyones mind.

However their are a few signs that the commercial property sector is starting to recover.

British Land says its portfolio of offices and retail space is rising in value for the first time in two years.

Is now the time for property investors to start looking to acquire commercial property investments?

Read more in the Independent

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little statistic

28% of landlords have seen an increase in rent arrears during the last year. Or, it's roughly a quarter; Property Sparrow cannot remember the precise numbers but it's something like that.

Ever the little statistic, Property Sparrow has one of her four tenants in arrears, that's definitely a quarter. The tenant's about 3 months behind.

The Lettings Agent rang to say that the tenant had been to the Citizens Advice Bureau with his section 8 notice and they had told him to talk to his landlord.

Property Sparrow has never spoken to this tenant before as everything has always been handled by the Lettings Agent but, realising that the tenant is no ostrich, she was straight on the phone to him. She wants the rent money and not a void, not at this time of year and with so many similar flats vacant.

She had a long conversation with her tenant: she heard all about his wife looking for a job, how he is trying to pay off the loan on his car and how the lack of overtime has reduced his income. Property Sparrow tried to put him right on his priorities: rent comes first, please. He agreed to pay an extra £100 per month.

Property Sparrow checked her monthly statement today and the extra £100 has been paid in. One statistic going down, at least for now.

Free property management software, Free tenancy agreements

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