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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zoopla reports wishful thinking

Zoopla research reports that housing confidence has hit a three year high. With the average UK homeowners expecting house prices to rise by 4.5% over the next six months.
Well, heres to wishful thinking, let's all hope so.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers
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Britain most expensive for flat shares

Britain has come out as being the most expensive country in Western Europe to share a flat.

The study of over 35,000 tenants in the  UK, France, Italy and Spain reported that UK tenants pay over £50 more per month than their European neighbours.

UK flatmates reportedly pay out an average of  £390 per month compared with Italy at only £297.

Mortgage fees and rate continue to fall

The Telegraph reports that mortgage fees and rates are continuing to fall.

Read article here
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Exclusive BTL mortgages from Melton Mowbray BS

Property Hawk Mortgages is delighted to offer three excellent exclusive buy-to-let mortgages with Melton Mowbray Building Society. These include a 3.25% 2 year discount, a 3.35% 2 year fixed rate and a 3.99% 2 year discount for HMOs. All three products have a flat completion fee.

Andy Young, at Property Hawk Mortgages, said: “We have been having discussions with Melton Mowbray about designing a selection of highly competitive buy-to-let mortgages and are delighted to launch this new range of exclusives. The 75% LTV bracket is very popular with landlord clients – in fact the average LTV for offers processed by Landlord Centre in Q1 2013 was 74.84% - and these rates really stand out.

“A lot of products currently have high percentage fees which can add a considerable cost to landlords, especially those looking to purchase higher value buy-to-let properties. These new rates from Melton Mowbray have both a highly competitive interest rate together with a low flat fee which should make them very appealing. The HMO product is also keenly priced and could be an excellent solution for landlords looking to invest in this niche segment of the buy-to-let market, which can often generate above average rental yields.”

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.
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Landlord petitions - the best & the rest!

Landlords are a lucky lot if you like petitions; there is no shortage of choice.

Property Hawk is only a supporter of some of the more worthwhile petitions.  We have set up a few ourselves which we felt passionately about:

1. Saving the buy-to-let mortgage

2. Our petition against the landlord licence

There is plenty of opportunity to sign petitions against regulation, legislation on the e-petitions website.

More interesting petitions:

1. Allowing direct payment of the universal credit to landlords

My understanding is that the idea of universal credit is that it includes all benefits not just the former housing benefit which would necessitate the landlord having to give back a fair chunk  maybe highlights that BTLexpert is not as sharp as they think?

2. Compulsory testing of electrical devices in rental homes

Why just rental homes.  Should tenants be afforded greater protection than owner occupiers...interesting?

3. Reintroduce the Fair Rent Act to lower the Housing Benefit Bill.

Interesting a tax payer I'm all for reducing benefit bills but we do know that rental regulation will ultimately force landlords out of the rental business and lower investment into the sector which would then require direct public sector investment into housing in the form of additional social housing.

Do you have a an idea for a petition.  Something that you thing strongly that Property Hawk should campaign for in the rental sector.  Post your ideas below.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Deposit - PHEW just made it!

It's one of the things being a landlord that you often have to juggle a number of balls at the same time.  Property management, a career, family, domestic commitments.

All this makes it very easy to overlook critical things, actions and events.  Take for instance, my own recent example.  I have just let a property to a new tenant.  The check in and property handover was carried out be my letting agent who transferred the rent and deposit straight into my rental account.  Given that all this was automatic I sat back and forgot about the letting and carried on with my very busy life.

Sudden panic

Then a few day ago, just before I was going to bed I suddenly had a horrible thought.  'Did I protect my new tenants deposit?'.  This has been a requirement since April 2007.  However, the legislation has recently been tightened removing the loopholes that existed to allow landlords to avoid prosecution. The answer that came thudding back was NO......  arrrgh!  I rushed to the internet convinced that I had 30 days now to protect the deposit from initial receipt but not so sure when the letting agent had collected my deposit.

Protected deposit at midnight & slept a lot easier

This incident just highlights that when you are running a rental business whether small or large you have to keep your witts about you.  Having found the DPS website I sat about protecting my tenants deposit. I was still also required to send the tenant the prescribed information on how I decided to protect their deposit.  Luckily now Property Hawk's PM 3.0 allows you to create the correct section 213 notice and then email them directly.  I managed to both protect my new tenants deposit and send him the new 213 notice all before midnight.  Then bed!  I slept well.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

My first council tax micro payment

I've just made my first council tax payment for an empty rental property.  A payment of £14.52 has just been made for the two week period the property was empty between tenants. During the period that the property was empty, the bins weren't filled nor emptied, no person used the local services supplied by the council, nor trod on its pavements.

However, the information for the payment has to be processed, three letters have been sent out, my payment call had to be answered, not to mention my own time.

Roll on the stream of £7.56, £12.22, £3.68 payments that will follow for each of my properties rental voids.

Let's hope this change brings the added boost our economy requires. Who needs a manufacturing industry when we can achieve recovery through micro-payments.

Don't we all just love being landlords.

Landlord insurance - professional rates
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Croydon landlords grants for empty property

A social enterprise project, OUR Croydon are currently looking for landlords who own empty, unused property in the area. Landlords must be willing to rent out their properties on a long term lease at affordable rent, but in exchange they will receive up to £22,000 worth of renovation work on their property.


The funding for this project is DCLG funding, and is part of the Empty Homes Community Grant Programme, Round 1 allocation. 

For more information of the Croydon project go here

Landlord insurance - professional rates

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Fire tragedy highlights landlords responsibilities

A recent tragedy in Rydale highlights a landlords responsibilities towards ensuring that their tenants are safe from the threat of fire.  Two young jockeys died in a blaze in Morton North Yorkshire.  The landlord was subsequently charged in a case brought against him by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority.  This case highlights the need in particular for landlords of HMO properties to take fire safety seriously and demonstrate through a risk assessment that they have not only installed the appropriate fire prevention measures but that they have thought through the risks as well.

Landlord not directly responsible

The fire was started by another tenant in the block who was subsequently convicted of manslaughter because he was refused entry to a party.  It does highlight that despite the fact that the fire was not the landlords direct fault that they have a duty of care to their tenants and are ultimately responsible for demonstrating that they have taken reasonable fire safety precautions to meet the Fire Safety Order 2005.

To read more details on the case view the article.

Landlord insurance - expert brokers
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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
75%4.75% FixedJun 30 2015 0%£150.00Free valuation5.4% APRMortgage Trust ltd Edition 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

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.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Straight from the horses mouth

Housing Minsters come and go. Under New Labour we had ten in ten years. So largely by the time they'd been shown where the tea making facilities and fire exits were they were moving on to another post. 

"Shall I just use the fire exit?"
"Might as well."

Well, there's a new Housing Minister in town - and you'll never going to believe it, but he's actually a qualified surveyor. So maybe he might actually know something about it. Now, this goes completely against the grain of politics. Someone with relevant experience, seriously what will they think of next? You never know he might even stay in post for more than a year.

Anyway here's what Mark Prisk has to say on his vision for the private rented sector, in his own words - and for those who want to follow Mr Prisk's blog, it's here.

The private rented sector has been growing in size and popularity for many years – a testament to its vital importance for the housing market.

We’re now building on this success with a major Budget package to expand the supply of new homes. But we’re also determined to ensure that people get a fair deal throughout their tenancy, and particularly from their lettings agent.

So this Government is taking steps to protect landlords and tenants from unscrupulous letting agents.

For too long a small minority of dodgy letting agents have delivered an unacceptably poor service to tenants and landlords, damaging the reputation of an entire industry.

There are already consumer protection laws for tenants, but there’s also growing evidence that concerns and complaints about letting agents are not being properly addressed.

This includes a recent report from the OfT about the performance of letting agents, and a survey by Which? that found one in five tenants and one in six landlords were dissatisfied with the service they received.

New redress scheme for tenants and landlords

That’s why on Tuesday we revealed plans to require anyone wanting to operate as a letting agent to belong to an approved redress scheme.

Belonging to a redress scheme, a central recommendation from the OfT, will give a clear route for landlords and tenants to pursue complaints if they don’t get the service they deserve, and weed out the cowboys and rogue operators that give letting agents a bad name.

Redress, not red tape

Our plans overturned an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which would have made letting and managing agents subject to the Estate Agents Act 1979.

We believe that this proposal for full regulation, by Baroness Hayter, was unclear and would have created an imprecise and clumsy tool that created problems rather than solving them.

Tenants and landlords would not have a straightforward route to address poor service, and it would impose a significant regulatory burden that would be passed across to tenants and leaseholders, and reduce innovation and competition within the industry.

With around 60 per cent of all letting agents already belonging to a redress scheme, our proposals should be a simple requirement for the industry to meet.

Busting myths about the private rented sector

So we’re bringing in new rules, but I also want tenants to be aware of existing legal protections they can use to get the service they deserve.

A common myth is that there are currently no laws protecting tenants from unscrupulous letting agents

There are, and they’re working.

Take for example the recent case in Oxford where a letting agent faced a bill of over £300,000 in fines and legal costs after failing to return tenants’ deposits, letting out properties without consent and not passing on rent to landlords.

Our new plans will bolster these protections, ensuring tenants receive a good service but without strangling the private rented sector in red tape.

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Places with the highest rental yields

Rental yields of 7.82% and private rental accommodation making up almost a quarter of its housing stock make Southampton the best place in England and Wales for buy to let (BTL) investors according to research from HSBC.
Of the fifty towns and cities with the highest concentration of private rental housing stock, Southampton topped the list for rental yield due to relatively affordable housing and an average rent of £901 per month. The relatively inexpensive  property prices in Blackpool, Hull Manchester and Nottingham mean that these four Northern areas make up the rest of the top 5, offering strong returns for BTL investors with yields of 7.81%, 7.77%, 7.60% and 7.55% respectively. In sixth place, Coventry is the only other city offering returns above seven per cent with a yield of 7.13%.
Despite the high proportion of private rentals in the capital, London does not score highly in terms of rental yields due to the comparably high property prices. The top performing borough in the capital, Southwark, is 13th overall while the affluent London boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea are ranked in the bottom two places in the top 50 due to the high initial outlay to purchase a property, generating returns of just 3.42% and 3.34% respectively.
Table 1: Top 10 BTL Hotspots by Rental Yield
Average Property Price
Average Rent (Monthly)
Rental Yield (gross)
  • 1. Southampton
  • 2. Blackpool
  • 3. Kingston upon Hull
  • 4. Manchester
  • 5. Nottingham
  • 6. Coventry
  • 7. Slough
  • 8. Oxford
  • 9. Liverpool
  • 10. Portsmouth
Seaside Towns
Due to holiday rentals and seasonal work, many seaside towns are BTL hotspots with 17 of the top 50 areas found on the coast. Blackpool tops the seaside town list with a yield of 7.81%. The rest of the top ten is made up of southern seaside areas, including holiday destinations such as Brighton, Bournemouth and Eastbourne. While property prices tend to be higher in these areas, rents are also above average, meaning yields are strong for investors.
Table 2: Top 10 Seaside BTL Hotspots by Rental Yield
Average Property Price
Average Rent (Monthly)
Rental Yield (gross)
  • 1. Blackpool
  • 2. Bournemouth
  • 3. Brighton and Hove
  • 4. Torbay
  • 5. Southend-on-Sea
  • 6. Shepway
  • 7. Eastbourne
  • 8. Isles of Scilly
  • 9. Hastings
  • 10. Thanet
Due to London's high property prices, its rental yields are relatively modest on the whole. Southwark tops the list of boroughs with a yield of 6.15%. Areas in Outer London offer some of the strongest yields in the capital including Newham, Enfield, Brent and Kingston upon Thames. Just three of the top ten areas are in inner London and each of these is in the East of the city, traditionally the more affordable end of the capital.
Table 3: Top 10 London BTL Hotspots by Rental Yield
Average Property Price
Average Rent (Monthly)
Rental Yield (gross)
  • 1. Southwark
  • 2. Newham
  • 3. Enfield
  • 4. Brent
  • 5. Kingston upon Thames
  • 6. Hounslow
  • 7. Wandsworth
  • 8. Lewisham
  • 9. Tower Hamlets
  • 10. Harrow

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