Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?

Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?

20:14 PM, 18th March 2013, About 10 years ago 10

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Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?In this time of austerity, we must all put our shoulder to the wheel, do our bit, and pay our fair share. However, over the last few years with all the new requirements for Landlords and the resulting costs and additional work and some of the more recent developments, I wonder if Landlords are seen as soft targets for income generation?

It is well publicised that in addition to Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) certain Local Authorities (LA) are now requiring private landlords to be licensed before they can rent their property for which they are charge a fee. To add to this Lewisham Council, for example, intends to not only fine any property owners found to be committing an offence under the Housing Health and Safety Regulation System but also charged an administration fee for doing so. The LA sees both of these situations as a new source of revenue.
Some months ago, I heard on the News that Central Government was going to devolve the setting of Council Tax (CT) charges and allow Local Authorities greater control over its implementation. What I and perhaps other Landlords had not realised is once again private rental properties would be targeted by Local Authorities as a potential to increase revenue. For example, until now when unfurnished rental properties become vacant, the Landlord was entitled to claim six months Council Tax exemption. However, as from April 2013 in Richmond the Local Authority will only allow a Landlord to apply for a 25% discount on the Council Tax payable during vacant periods.

Water Authorities have been granted extra powers, they can now charge Landlords for water bills that should have been paid by their tenants and for vacant periods.

As from April 2013 the rules regarding the claiming of items such as white goods in unfurnished and part furnished properties can no longer be claimed back in the same tax year, but have to be depreciated over time at 10% per year in an effort to increase HMRC revenue.

If Landlords don’t take advantage of the Green Deal Scheme now, then in 2016 if a tenants ask for a reasonable improvement of their rental property, which could have been done under the scheme, the landlord will have to foot the bill. Further, once improvements have been carried out any new tenant must be made aware of the improvements and agree to the extra charges on their energy bill for such improvements.

I think the pattern is clear.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

20:22 PM, 18th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Too true Syd, this constant barrage of "Stealth Taxes" appears to be never ending!

When interest rates do eventually rise the effects will be crippling unless the provinces start to see the same levels of rent appreciation as London well before the interest rate levels climb back towards 5%.

Keith Wilkinson

9:54 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Calderdale MBC (Halifax - West Yorkshire)have just written to us to say the FULL rates on empty property will be payable from 1st April. NO DISCOUNTS !!!!!! That's £962 for a band A property...nearly £20 pw.Another nail in the coffin.
The house has been on the market at below the established rent for the area (£400 pcm as oppposed to £450) for over 6 months but because of it's size( small double and single bedroom, kitchenette etc)has not attracted a tenant, partly due to the fact we won't take on benefit claimants until we see what happens with the Universal Credit.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:17 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

@Keith Wilkinson - perhaps you should lower the price instead of having this void? Have you considered advertising that you will accept benefits tenants subject to them having a suitable guarantor?

Keith Wilkinson

10:38 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

The problem with the house isn't the price as we have 4 other tenants, 2 established for over 4 years paying a rent of £450 but all applicants of late have wanted 'family homes'. We would consider a guarantor, if suitable, but again none has been offered by anyone.The price has been rduced but I cannot drop it further without existing tenants feeling agrieved and asking for a reduction.A bit of a catch 22 situation.I have the house with a letting agent and it is on various web sites so am confident that eventually the 'right' tenant will appear (single or couple without grown up child) but being hit with an increased rates bill will hurt.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:57 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Fair point, have you considered offering your existing tenants a £100 finders fee if they can help you fill the room? That's 75% cheaper than a months void 🙂

Keith Wilkinson

11:26 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Good idea...will try it out

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:33 AM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Cheers Keith, please let me know how you get on. I find a lot of tenants via existing tenants as a result of incentivising them in this way.

Austin Langtree

12:21 PM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

Please send this to ARLA. The NFOPP the umbrella over ARLA, the NAEA and others have meetings with government deoartments and ministers from time to time so perhaps it would be a good idea to send your article to them with the request they do apprpriate lobbying of the Govt or better still get your friendly estate agent who hopefully is a member, to send it to ARLA. with the same request.

Roy B

14:40 PM, 20th March 2013, About 10 years ago

I have 2 old properties, one of which has just become vacant. Due to stealth charges and the Green deal regulations ( both are band F EPC) it is now on the market for sale rather than re-let - I could get higher rental yeilds but with all these new regulations and charges coming out I shall gladly get rid of both properties and no longer subsidise tenants on benefits. Own goal in a way for the local council.

17:38 PM, 25th March 2013, About 10 years ago

I couldn't agree more witht he comments above however who ultimately pays. We keep being told more people will have to rent because of the lack of affordable homes however these added costs will ultimately be passed on in higher rents so even tenants will lose out. I currently have a property that has just gone vacant and it will be a real struggle to fill it within 4 weeks so i have resigned myself to paying council tax for a property that consumes no local services !!
Perhaps trade bodies should be doing more to lobby government and councils ?

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