Property Hawk the landlord's homepage since 2006
Free Tenancy Agreement FREE tenancy agreement
Free Landlord Software FREE landlord software
Home | Property Manager | Free ASTs | Landlord Forms | Mortgages | Insurance | Inventory | Magazine | Landlords Bible | Directory | Forum | Training | News / Blog |

Saturday, March 30, 2013

East London Investment Opportunity

Do you fancy owning an apartment block in the up and coming area of Bethnal Green?  It's London so it 'ain't' going to be dirt cheap'.  This apartment block comprises of a block of 10* 1bed, 2*2bed & 2*3 bed apartments.  The rents from this lot is £212,591.  This seams a lot but the current asking price is £3,250,000 which makes a projected yield of just over 6.5%.  Some pundits have been arguing that London investment property has reached it's zenith and it destined for a fall. Read my pre - Olympic review of the East London residential property market to get a feel for the area.

The full details of Belgrave Court, 71-73 Temple Street, Bethnal Green, London E2

  • Purpose built block (with lift)
  •  14 self contained flats (10 x one bed, 2 x two bed and 2 x three bed)
  • Ancillary basement office suite
  • Fully let subject to 14 Assured Shorthold Tenancies and a Licence Agreement
  • Total Current Rent Reserved: £212,591 per annum
  • Overall Gross Internal Area: (excluding common parts) 758.78 sqm (8,168 sqft)
  • Within walking distance of Bethnal Green Underground (Central Line) and Cambridge Heath Mainline stations
For more details contact Allsop:

Adam Kerven +44 (0)20 7344 2628
William Shoebotham +44 (0)20 7344 2659
James Hood +44 (0)20 7344 2637

FREE Mortgage Search
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carbon Monoxide Responsibilities

Landlords are required by law to have an annual gas safety check carried out by a gas engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register .  The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.

The threat to tenants is carbon monoxide poisoning, a silent killer.  But how far do landlords go over and above their legal obligation to have the annual gas safety check?

The Health Safety Executive (HSE) does recommend the use of CO alarms as useful precaution to give advance warning of CO in the rental property.  The cost of a CO alarm costs between £20-30.  The HSE also recommends that where the monitor is not provided by the landlord that the tenant purchases one themselves.  The CO alarm should comply with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer's instructions.

However, have a look at these recent comments in our landlord forum from one of our landlords where CO monitors were deployed to protect the tenant.  You can then draw your own conclusion whether they are helpful in ensuring the safety of your tenants.

Landlord insurance - professional rates

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Northern Ireland launches TDS

New legislation to protect tenants in Northern Ireland comes into effect on April 1st, with government-licensed Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS) launched to bring Northern Ireland into line with England, Wales and Scotland.

All landlords and letting agents in Northern Ireland who take a deposit from their tenant must submit it to the scheme within 14 working days from the receipt of money. The law applies to only new deposits.

They must also provide the tenant with important information about where their deposit has been protected (The Regulation 12 prescribed information) within 28 days.

Landlords and agents will have to protect their tenant’s deposits using either a custodial or insurance-based option. In other words, they must decide whether they wish to hold onto their tenant’s deposit money themselves (by using an insurance-based scheme), or hand it over to the scheme to retain for the duration of the tenancy (by using a custodial scheme).

Tenancy deposit protection was introduced in England and Wales in 2006 and in Scotland last year to raise standards in the private-rented sector and it’s hoped its introduction here will do the same for Northern Ireland tenants who until now have had no protection or guarantee over their deposit.
my|deposits Northern Ireland has been formally approved by the Government to operate a scheme in Northern Ireland having run a similar scheme in England and Wales over the past six years and Scotland since last year.

The scheme has protected £1.6billion worth of deposits on behalf of nearly 100 thousand members along the way and has consistently met all targets set by the Government.
There are strict penalties for of up to three times the deposit amount for those who do not protect a tenant’s deposit under the new law or provide the necessary information about how the deposit will be protected to the tenant, meaning it’s important all involved are informed about how the scheme will affect them.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Rejoice - rental voids reduce

The National Landlords Association (NLA) have reported a fall in void periods in private-residential property. 

The NLA report data showing that only 33 per cent of landlords experiencing vacant periods in the last three months, down 13 per cent from a year ago. 

Their data shows that the North East struggled the most with voids, with 54 per cent of landlords have experienced empty periods in the last three months. London, unsurprisingly reported the lowest rate, with just 20 per cent. 

The average length of a rental void also fell. Down from 69 days from Q1 2012 to 60 days.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for ComparisonLender
85%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.8% APRKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No7% APRKent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80%4.59% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.7% APRKent Reliance Semi Exclusive
80%4.99% FixedFeb 28 2015 £1800£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6.1% APRLeeds Exclusive
75%4.09% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APRSkipton Semi Exclusive
70%4.25% Discount2 Years0%£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APRLeeds Exclusive
65%3.79% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APRSkipton Semi Exclusive
60%2.72% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00Free valuation for properties under £1 million and £250 cashback5.1% APRHinckley & Rugby Exclusive
60%2.85% Fixed2 Years£1950£250.00Free valuation for properties under £1 million and £250 cashback5.1% APRHinckley & Rugby Exclusive
Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446

Bookmark and Share

'Help to Buy' BTL?

There still seems to be a little head scratching as to what the Help to Buy scheme will do.

The chances that dastardly landlords might opportune from the scheme was thrown around on its initial announcement, but unsurprisingly that seemed a bit of Labour scaremongering.

BTL is not covered by the scheme.

There has been talk of using the scheme to invest in holiday homes -

Arnaud Bertrand, of HouseTrip, said: “Investors may want to examine the Help to Buy scheme as an option if they are looking to purchase a holiday home and secure a good return on investment. Short-term letting secures more income for a property owner than renting out long term, so the fact that a buy-to-let option is not permissible should not prevent anyone from considering this opportunity.”

But whether this is an opportunity, I'm not sure.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hole in the floor

A Glasgow tenant was forced to report her landlord after he failed to address the emergence of a hole in the floor of her flat.

The tenant, Amanda Cairns contacted Glasgow City Council's Building Control after she began to fear for her safety.

She has accused the landlord, Sanjay Cauleechurn, of not dealing with her concern that the floor is falling away in the £465-a-month rental flat, saying - "There was water underneath and dampness. That is why the whole flooring has fallen in because it was wet all round it. The crack has got bigger and made the hole in the floor bigger."

Mr Cauleechurn did not respond to the council's calls to address the situation, so are now in the middle of assessing the full impact of the disrepair, having put in eight wall props to stabilise the rental property. They are considering issuing a Dangerous Buildings Notice to have the matter rectified.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Letting agent or not?

An article on the general costs against benefits for landlords using / or not using a letting agent here in the Telegraph this week.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rents Keep Rising

Growth prospects and economic confidence may be DOWN according to the latest budget.  However, despite all this rents keep rising according to the Rentindex.

The latest figures indicate that monthly rents have risen by 0.145% over the last 3 months.

Over the last year rents are up by over 3% at over £620 pcm just shy of the all time high.

To view the inexorable rise in rents have a look at the latest rental graph.
Landlord insurance - expert brokers

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chancellor Engineering A Housing Boom

The centre point of the Budget were schemes to reflate the flagging UK housing market.

There are several pragmatic steps the Chancellor is using to stimulate the housing market.  Firstly, they are offering 20% towards the deposit for buyers looking to purchase a new house.  Secondly, they will look to provide £12 bn in mortgage guarantees.

Why all this effort

All this money is being pumped in because the government are keen to prevent the housing market falling backwards risking a Japanese long term slump in property prices.  Deflating housing prices would have a catastrophic impact on the balance sheet of our British banks of which we the tax payer largely own.

Meddling in the housing market

I don't agree with meddling in the housing market.  Who remembers MIRAS?  A subsidy for buying your own home which distorted the market and meant that landlords were at a significant disadvantage against home buyers receiving a large subsidy on their mortgage payments.  Again the proposed subsidies are not available to landlords putting us at an immediate disadvantage.  How many of us would appreciate being able to borrow 95% of the value of an investment property?

Landlord benefit

If the Chancellor is successful in engineering a mini boom in UK house prices then landlords certainly stand to gain in terms of inflating portfolio values.  However, the budget does indicate one thing about politicians views on landlords.  We are still very much second class citizens and yet again have been left out when the begging bowl marked 'incentives' was passed round after the Budget party.

Landlord insurance - trusted brokers
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A property ownership budget

“A Budget for people who aspire to own their own homes” that's how George described it, and a boost for the housing market is never usually a bad thing for us landlords.

The only downside is if we see a fall in rental demand because of a mass exodus from the rental sector with all these new 'FTB's' who might benefit from the 3.5 billion Help to Buy Scheme.

Personally I think any slight fall in rents will be more than compensated by a  reactivated property sales market.

Moneyweek question the logic

Other industry appraisal in the Telegraph

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates
Bookmark and Share

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTV Initial Rate Term Completion fee Booking fee Incentives Overall Cost for Comparison Lender
85% 4.99% Fixed 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No 6.8% APR Kent Reliance Semi Exclusive
85% 5.99% Discount 2 Years 2.5% £130.00 No 7% APR Kent Reliance Multi Let & Ltd Co. Semi Exclusive
80% 4.99% Fixed Feb 28 2015 £1800 £199.00 Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only. 6.1% APR Leeds Exclusive
75% 4.19% Fixed May 31 2015 2.5% £0.00 £500 cashback on completion 5.1% APR BM Solutions
75% 2.99% Tracker 2 Years 2.5% £150.00 Free valuation 5.3% APR Mortgage Trust limited edition
75% 4.85% Tracker 5 Years 1.75% £150.00 No 5.5% APR Paragon
65% 4.29% Fixed Apr 30 2015 £995 £150.00 Free valuation and free standard legals for properties valued up to £500,000. (Free legal’s do not include any searches, reports or payments to third parties which are required) 5.1% APR The Mortgage Works
65% 3.79% Fixed May 31 2016 £995 £0.00 Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000). 5.6% APR Skipton Semi Exclusive
60% 3.39% Tracker May 31 2015 £1495 £0.00 Free valuation and free standard legals. 4.6% APR NatWest BTL
60% 2.74% Tracker Apr 30 2015 2.5% £99.00 Free valuation for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only. £99 Cashback 5% APR Principality BTL

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FTB's finding it easier to get mortgages

Access to mortgages for first time buyers appears to be less of a problem.

Around a third of first-time buyers reported that accessing mortgage finance was a major hurdle to purchasing a property according to the BSA Property Tracker survey.

The figure was closer to half in the same similar survey a year ago.

Bookmark and Share

Tenants upset by stereotyping

A housing association was  in a dispute over political correctness last night after questioning whether its tenants could afford ‘Sky TV, fags, booze and bingo’.

It's got to be in the Daily Mail
Bookmark and Share

Budget Help For Landlords

The Budget is once more up us and as ever landlords are optimistic that there may be some giveaways for us.  I've called in the past for tax breaks for landlords that would mean that we are treated the same as other small businesses.  Successive Government however only seem interested in giving large institutional investors tax breaks to try and encourage them to invest more money in the residential rental sector.

So what are the chances of tax breaks for landlords?

I'm afraid that I'm not optimistic about any additional help for landlords in this budget.  The general perception remains that UK landlords are doing OK and don't need any help.  This view is rather short termist and what is needed is a more positive, comprehensive and long-term approach to the private rental sector.  This could involve tax reform in return for meaningful comprehensive regulation of the private rental sector whilst also introducing a flexible longer term tenancy to run alongside the existing Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements.  This would provide a long-term growing private rental sector which has at it's core business principles more aligned to the longer term letting requirements of the growing 'generation rent'.

Landlord insurance - expert specialist brokers
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

East Midland Landlord Expo Today

The East Midlands Landlord and Letting Agent Expo is on Today (Tuesday 19th)  at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. NG7 2RJ. 

Its free entry and parking if you fancy it. It finishes at 6.00pm.

You might even get a free cup of tea.

Bookmark and Share

Bank Of Ireland Tracker Increases

I have just discovered that the Bank of Ireland are  altering the tracker mortgage rates with some of their landlord borrowers & 'flying in the face' of the terms of the original mortgage agreement.  This has made me very nervous as I currently have 3 buy-to-let mortgages on tracker rates that were originally taken out with the Bristol & West.  These mortgages have recently been transferred to another company ITL and I was under the impression that this will not affect the original terms of the mortgage agreement.

The story in the Telegraph is that some 13,500 Bank of Ireland customers have had notification that their tracker mortgages will increase irrespective of rate changes from the 1st of May.  Industry experts have commented that this move is contrary to the regulations supposedly in place to "treat customers fairly".  From May 1st the tracker rate of buy-to-let mortgages are due to rise to Bank Rate plus 4.49%.

Mortgage Moves Sanctioned By Regulators

This seems outrageous given that regulators have had to first rubber stamp the changes.  Some experts have highlighted the fact that borrowers may be able to challenge this decision on the basis that the key term and conditions of the mortgage should be highlighted and not buried in the small print.  Other mortgage holders of similar mortgages were unsuccessful when they tried to challenge increases by Skipton Building Society and the Halifax last year.  If you are a landlord that have been affected by the Bank of Ireland's moves please let us know by posting a comment below.

Mortgage Search - expert advice
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tenancy Agreement Essentials

The Tenancy Agreement is always the starting point for landlords and tenants in setting out the terms of the tenancy.

Landlords are free to download Property Hawk's universal Tenancy Agreement prepared by legal experts Fidler & Pepper Solicitors.

Over 200,000 tenancy agreements have now been downloaded from the Property Hawk website over the last 7 years making it one of the most widely used tenancy agreements in the UK.

To check out the essentials on the tenancy agreement have a look at the details on the terms of the tenancy.
Free property management software, Free tenancy agreements
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One million landlords accused of not paying tax

According to the Metro about 1million private landlords did not declare any revenue in the past tax year, compared with 1.9 million who did. The paper accuse landlords of defrauding taxpayers out of £550 million a year.
However the HMRC sprang to our defence saying ‘The majority of buy-to-let landlords pay what the law requires and evasion is far from endemic."

Now come on - whose of you haven't coughed up yet?

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hull is the best place for landlords

Hull has come out as the most expensive place to rent compared with property values. According to figures from the website Zoopla it achieves an average of 62 percent rental premium over the costs of the average property purchase in the area.

The next best place surprisingly comes out as picturesque York, followed by Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Derby.

I can feel a train journey coming on.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Trial of direct HA payments shows arrears

The trailing in Southwark of having housing benefit paid directly to tenants, rather than their landlords is finding an alarming increase in tenants falling into rental arrears.
The pilot scheme, one of six across the country, reports 'soaring arrears' since the beginning of the trial and is telling ministers that the idea could leave landlords trying to recover millions in debt.

Southwark Councils cabinet member for finance, Cllr Richard Livingstone, told the Guardian:

"My message to Iain Duncan Smith is that the demonstration pilots are clearly showing that direct payments need a rethink. It does not appear to be working. The DWP needs to go back to the drawing board or it will have devastating consequences for vulnerable tenants and landlords alike. I can understand some of the thinking behind why direct payments have been put forward, but it seems that when it is tested it doesn't really work."

Now you don't say ...... sometimes you've just gotta wonder.

Bookmark and Share

Lords back letting agent regulation

The amendment to regulate letting agents under the  Estate Agents Act has just been voted through the House of Lords with a five vote majority.

If it gets passed in the House of Commons, it would force all letting agents to join an ombudsman scheme. However this is not looking likely, with the Government continuing to oppose the amendment in fear that additional regulation of the Private Rented Sector could suppress supply.

Read more in the Financial Times

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

Savills Q1 2013 property report

Savills Q1 2013 property report headlines 'a polarised property market'.

Many affluent older home owners who first bought in the 70s, 80s and even 90s are sitting in mortgage less high value property. With mortgage free property now accounting for more than a third of the total value of the UK residential property market.

The lower end of the housing market is no longer powered by first time buyers, but by property investors / landlords. With FTB's frustrated by high deposits and difficult lending criteria they are kept renting for longer, pushing demand back to property investors in an upward spiralling cycle.

Geographical split, London housing stock value now holds twenty percent of the total value of UK property, the highest share since 2000.

Download the full Savills property report Q1 2013 here

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Landlord survey

ThisisMoney are running a landlord survey.

So if you like filling out forms go here
Bookmark and Share

Landlords ethics questionned

A landlord is accused of being unethical for taking the inheritance money of a murdered woman as compensation for the damage caused by her blood stains.

The tenant Sally Sinclair was stabbed to death by her husband. The woman's inheritance of £13,000 has been paid to the landlord Patrick and Maureen Langdown  to pay for the replacement of carpets, furnishings and re-decoration.

The money was hoped to of been an inheritance for her twin boys.

I think the ethics are open to debate, however I do think it should be remembered that these landlords are not a large corporation that can write off those kinds of costs.

Read full story in the Daily Mail
Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Dangers Of Buying A Dream

Clarence Dock in Leeds was destined to be one of those transformational urban regeneration scheme that get developers, councils and investors ultimately chomping on the bit to part with their cash.  However, time and time again it can all go wrong.

Just a brief look on Nestoria shows that currently there are 100 apartments for rent in the area.  Great for tenants looking to drive down rents and getting a good deal.  Not so good for landlords trying to bag a tenant amongst all the competition.  What went wrong?

Clarance Dock is by no means unique.  An isolated block of land near the City centre (so it must be desirable!)  It was going to be a mixed use scheme with shops, bars even a casino all based around water.  If I had a pound for every time I heard this vision I'd be a rich man.  The problem is that wholesale regeneration with identikit apartments very rarely generates the kind of organic communities that most of us choose to live in.  Great blocks of rabbit hutch apartments with no local shops and a massive casino is hardly a place full of local services.  These place less, soulless developments are all about the dream, fueled on optimism and easy money for developers and investors.  How many of the former and latter were burned in the process?

Don't chase somebody else's dream
My advice to landlords.  Is don't chase somebody else's dream.  Buy, what is real, tangible, quantifiable and probably quite boring.  That way you won't be left with a pot of fools gold at the end of the rainbow!

Landlord Insurance - professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Student Numbers Could Impact On Landlords

One of the few areas of growth and stability in the property market over the last few years has been the student rental market.  Every week I get bombarded with details about purpose built specialist student accommodation for sale promising high yields and steady growth.  Generally growth in student numbers and it's cash generative abilities has kept values resilient. The big driver for demand for purpose built accommodation has been the influx of affluent foreign students.  However, I'm thinking this may not continue.

Student numbers
With average student debts getting close to £60,000 surely more prospective graduates are going to ask the question... why?  Will I ever really get this money back and do I really want to be saddled with this huge debt.  Immigration controls may impact on the number of foreign students able to study in the UK as was the case recently with Indian Students.

The confidence in the student rental market has drawn considerable amount of investment into the market resulting in supply in specialist accommodation increasingly significantly.  At which point will the fall in student numbers impact on the value of student accommodation?  I'm not sure, but I just have the feeling that student accommodation may not be the risk free investment that is often portrayed.

Landlord insurance - specialist brokers
Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 08, 2013

PM3 Tick all rents

A landlord asked for a way of ticking all a tenancy's outstanding rents at once - one of those little details that makes a system more pleasant to use. So we updated the Tick Receipts screen:

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Most popular BTL mortgages

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.8% APR
85%5.99% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No7% APR
80%4.59% Discount2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.7% APR
80%4.99% FixedFeb 28 2015 £1800£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6.1% APR
75%2.99% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00No5.2% APR
75%3.49% Fixed2 Years£995£250.00No5.3% APR
75%4.09% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
70%4.25% Discount2 Years0%£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APR
65%3.79% FixedMay 31 2016 £995£0.00Free valuation and free legals for remortgages (properties valued up to £500,000).5.6% APR
60%2.72% Discount2 Years£2495£250.00Free valuation for properties under £1 million and £250 cashback5.1% APR
60%2.85% Fixed2 Years£1950£250.00Free valuation for properties under £1 million and £250 cashback5.1% APR

Search the whole BTL mortgage market free

Tel: 029 2069 5446
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

CEBR predict London property to hit £500k

The CEBR are forecasting that the typical London home will hit half a million pounds by 2020.
It predicts it to rise to £383,000 by the end of this year. 

‘House price rises will be driven by London’s comparatively rosy economic growth prospects, buoyed by IT, business and professional services.’

Their predictions for the rest of the UK are variable, with a clear “North-South Divide”. 

Between 2013 and 2018, they predict  a rise of 24.8%  in the South East, and 25.7%in the East of England. Whereas over this same period the only predict growth of 6.0% in Northern Ireland, 2.3% in the North East.

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates
Bookmark and Share

Young home owner statistics from CIH

Increased demand in the Private Rented Sector are reflected with by the latest data from the from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH). It shows that property ownership by the young has dropped by a third over the past twenty years. Just 43 per cent of people aged 25-34 in 2012  owned their own home compared to 67 per cent in 1992.

In the younger age bracket of 16-24, it has dropped, from 39 per cent to 14 per cent.

CIH chief executive Grainia Long said: “For millions of young people, the dream of home ownership remains just that – an unachievable dream. The country’s chronic shortage of affordable homes to buy means they are being denied the same opportunities enjoyed by their parents and grandparents.”

The decline in home ownership is putting increasing pressure on private rented housing, which accounted for 4.1 million homes in England in 2011, up from 1.7 million two decades earlier.

Grainia Long said: “In many parts of the country rising demand in the private rented sector is pushing both rent and house prices ever higher, making it even harder for young people to save for a deposit – while the deposit they need to get a mortgage becomes even larger.”

Overall home ownership dipped from 68 per cent in 1992 to 64 per cent last year. Among the 35-44 age group it has dropped from 79 per cent to 63 per cent, while for those aged 45-54 it was down from 79 per cent to 71 per cent.

For older people however home ownership is on the rise – among the over 65s it jumped from 60 per cent to 76 per cent while among those aged 55-64 it rose from 73 per cent to 77 per cent.

Read full report by Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates
Bookmark and Share

Figures show boost to housing market

House prices have seen their biggest annual growth in over two years.

The Halifax figures showed that the 12 month period from February to February saw the average house price increase by 1.9% to £163,000.

The housing market has been boosted by the Government's Funding for Lending Scheme.

Read more angles -

In the Telegraph
In the BBC
On Bloomberg
In the Guardian

Landlord insurance here - discounted portfolio rates

Bookmark and Share

An Agents View On Regulation

Has the time come for the compulsory regulation of Letting Agents?

The recently published 2012 Property Ombudsman report has re-raised the issue of introducing the
compulsory regulation of Letting Agents. Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman points out
that only 60% of Letting Agents are registered with his organisation leaving a significant percentage
of Letting Agencies unable to offer their customers even the most basic form of redress should
something go wrong.

As the owner of a Letting Agency myself I understand the costs in terms of both time and money
in subscribing and adhering to the codes of conduct that come with membership of ARLA, Safe
Agent and the Property Ombudsman. Our membership of ARLA in particular means that we have
to hold client money protection insurance, have our clients account audited each year, undertake a
minimum of 12 hours professional development per year and adhere to their code of conduct. This
ensures that our customer’s money is safe, that they are dealing with qualified professionals and
have someone independent they can complain to in the event of a problem.

The growth in the Lettings Market means there are now many more tenants reliant on it and it is
estimated that Letting Agents handle around £14 billion of their client’s money each year. In the
context of this it is difficult to disagree with the Ombudsman’s call for legislation to ensure the
compulsory regulation of Letting Agents.

It is always frustrating for those of us who work hard to do a good job for our clients to see the
stories about the rogue agents who flout the rules and misuse customers money. This reflects badly
on all of us and means that the Industry is often seen by many people in a negative light. Introducing
licensing of all Letting Agencies would clean up the Industry and go a long way to helping to ensure
that Landlords and Tenants alike receive a professional and fair service.

In the current climate it looks unlikely that these calls will be answered in the near future as the
Government have not shown any interest in taking this forward. With the continued growth of the
Lettings market, and the frequent stories of Agency miss-practice, it can only be a matter of time
before some compulsory regulation is introduced. In the meantime professional companies in the
industry will need to do all they can to keep selling the benefits to Landlords of using a regulated

Andrew Sanderson MARLA,MNAEA

See Property Hawks views on the regulation of Letting Agents. 

Landlord Insurance - professional rates
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Property Investment For Sale - Cheltenham

Landlords looking for an opportunity to buy a city centre residential investment in the centre of Cheltenham should have a look at this property for sale with Allsop.  The fact it is Grade II listed would limit the extent that the property can be altered which may put off some landlords; however the property is located close to the University of Gloucestershire making it potentially attractive as a student let. Details of the property:
  • Grade II Listed Freehold Building
  • Desirable town centre location, close to the University of Gloucestershire
  • Comprises 10 self-contained one bedroom flats and maisonettes
  • Subject to nine Assured Shorthold Tenancies
  • One flat currently Vacant
  • Private parking for eight cars
  • Total Current Rent Reserved:  £47,760 per annum
  • Estimated Rental Value (Fully Let):  £53,000 per annum
For more details:

James Hood
+44 (0) 207 344 2637
James Stewart-Lockhart
+44 (0)207 344 2682

MORTGAGE SEARCH - auction finance

Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 04, 2013

Nationwide Climb Down On LHA Lending

The Mortgage Works subsidiary of the Nationwide Building Society has recently announced a climb down on it's change of conditions on lending to landlords looking to rent to tenants on the Local Housing Allowance.  This was apparently after concerns expressed by customers.

Originally Nationwide's The Mortgage Works subsidiary had changed its terms and conditions to exclude lenders who wanted to offer properties to tenants on benefits and Local Authority tenants.

Richard Napier, the group’s mortgage director commented:

 “We have listened to concerns that have been expressed by some of our customers, over the last few days, and believe this is the right way forward for The Mortgage Works, for landlords and for their tenants.”

There are still a number of buy-to-let mortgage lenders that are prepared to lend to landlords letting to tenants on benefits.  For more details contact Property Hawk Mortgages for advice.

Mortgage Search - whole market
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Landlords Trust Gut Instincts

Being a landlord is a people business.  You need to be able to work with tenants, letting agents, contractors to get the job done.  So many of us make important decisions based on our gut feelings about them.

It comes as no surprise that a recent survey by BDRC reveals that almost three quarters of landlords still choose a tenant based on gut instinct.  Is this good practice?  With any decision involving people you will often need to make snap decisions based on initial impressions.  However, you should always back up initial impressions with referencing your tenant and possibly their guarantor fully.  Initial impressions can say a lot about a tenant but they can also be misleading.  Not all squeaky clean looking professionals will make the perfect tenant.  Some are very plausible looking scammers, so make sure that you reference them fully!

Landlord insurance - trusted brokers
Bookmark and Share