Simon Williams

Registered with
Monday 11th July 2016

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 65

Simon Williams

15:13 PM, 7th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Land for the Many but Rentals for the Few

The underlying thesis of the report is that buy to let demand has caused rampant house price inflation. Furthermore, the extraordinary assertion is made that the problem in the UK isn't really about lack of supply, thus confounding a whole generation of economists and flying in the face of all international evidence. Take Japan for example - a very densely populated country with inherently high land prices. But because they have built roughly 3 times as many new properties per year as we do in the UK, property prices have been far more stable than in the UK.
As for inflated demand, our PRS is actually quite small by international standards, despite attempts to portray it as an over-inflated monster. In Germany, the PRS is more than twice the size, but property prices are cheaper than the UK.
Encouraging landlords to get out of the market will lead to the PRS shrinking to even smaller levels by international standards. That will mean less competition, less quality and higher prices for tenants. It will also reduce the supply of new build (see for example Berkeley Group's statement that they will build less property because of less demand from buy to let.) Right now, help-to-buy is helping to prop up a lot of developers, but it won't last forever.
What is offered in the report is a worn-out analysis of which Marx would be proud - the state must control the market to make it all better.
In my view, the state must get out of the way of restricting supply. It must positively encourage buy to let if we want competitive forces to drive up quality and keep a lid on rents. If tenants have a decent choice, they won't fear eviction; they won't stay in rubbish property and they won't need to put up with bad landlords. They'll just take their business elsewhere. The problem at the moment is that right now they often can't because supply - and therefore choice - is dwindling by the day. This report would obviously like that trend to continue.... Read More

Simon Williams

21:10 PM, 7th May 2019
About 3 months ago

IEA paper - Tax measures that discriminate against private rented housing

It's also crucial to remember that the ability of a landlord to deduct all interest costs against tax is very standard in other countries. It's not some whacky idea dreamt up in the UK and now abandoned. In most other European countries it's just standard practice.... Read More

Simon Williams

12:40 PM, 15th April 2019
About 3 months ago

Theresa May announces she will ban section 21

Reply to the comment left by Rod at 15/04/2019 - 12:13
As I understand it, fixed terms are going to be abolished entirely as they have been in Scotland. Tenancies will be open-ended from the very start. This change is therefore far more radical than what the government originally talked about in its consultation (3 year fixed tenancies with a 6 month each-way break clause).

Of course, it's possible there may be a partial climb-down by the time legislation gets on the statute book, but I somehow doubt it, since no-one gives a s###t about what landlords think.... Read More

Simon Williams

11:20 AM, 15th April 2019
About 3 months ago

Theresa May announces she will ban section 21

Where open ended tenancies are the norm, for example in Germany, landlords are much more demanding about requiring references from a prospective tenant. I'm told many tenants keep a detailed rental life history profile to prove their credentials.
In the UK, landlords will need to get much better at weeding out potential problem tenants during the selection process and be much more choosy about who they let in. This will be burdensome, but it must be done.
The good news is that if investment falters further, many landlords will have plenty of choice as to who they take on because of under-supply.
And let's remind ourselves that in Germany and pretty much every other major European country, landlords can fully deduct mortgage interest against tax and in Germany, they can sell up after 10 years free of CGT. So you can keep supply levels up even in the teeth of changes like ending section 21, if continental style incentives were on offer to landlords. Trouble is they won't be.
It's worth having a look at the 18 grounds for possession under the Scottish system. It may be a clue to how things might shape up here. Most things are covered, but what is most striking is that where a tenant raises arrears issues being due to benefit delays, the judge must take that into consideration. Put simply, if you have benefit tenants and they can raise even a vague case that the arrears aren't "their fault", then you won't be able to evict.
Under the proposed open ended tenancy system, I cannot see how I can rent either to families or benefits claimants as the risks would be just too high. Judges virtually never evict families and benefits claimants will always have a higher arrears rate and then a cast iron legal defence if the arrears is due to delay by the paying authority.... Read More

Simon Williams

10:30 AM, 11th April 2019
About 3 months ago

Rents rise as tenant fees ban looms

If rents rise fast over the next few years, it will largely be down to George Osborne screwing up the market leading to cuts in landlord investment. But it will be "greedy" landlords who will get the blame and for sure it will be used as an excuse for rent controls.

The only question is whether these will be soft controls where landlords are still free to set a market rent but restricted on rises during the tenancy or hard controls favoured by Corbyn where there will be an absolute cap on what can be charged.

The one ace in the pack that landlords will always hold and which no politician can ever remove is that there will always be demand for what we supply - and once political rhetoric gives way to the hard reality of under-supply, there is a glimmer of hope that changes will be manageable.... Read More