Simon Williams

Registered with
Monday 11th July 2016

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 105

Simon Williams

10:12 AM, 25th March 2020
About A week ago

Empty Property, empty rental income and still face costs?

If someone is moving property during the lock down, they are breaking the lock down rules as far as I can see. So, even if it's an empty flat and you've found a tenant through virtual viewings, they ought not to be moving in until the lock down is eased (or the government grants a specific exemption - I assume they have not already?).
That said, the landlord may well say that it is not his/her problem and leave the newly arriving tenant to blag their way out of things if the neighbours call the police and say it shouldn't be happening. The police would likely say: just get on with it and move in.
The problem is even harder in multi-share accommodation where existing tenants would likely kick up a stink at the idea of new tenants moving in who may be infectious (even if not showing symptoms).
Good luck to all those who try to fill a property in the midst of the lock-down. I'm not sure if it's entirely legal but I completely understand the desperation.... Read More

Simon Williams

9:47 AM, 24th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Repairs during Covid-19?

Necessity is the mother of invention I think. Ways and means must be found to muddle through. Sometimes that means leaving things, sometimes finding unusual ways to solve a problem.
Yesterday my tenants' oven door "fell off" (heaven knows what they were doing) and I managed to get the pest control man to sort it out! He's comfortable going into homes because he's got lots of protective equipment (normally used to deal with wasps etc).... Read More

Simon Williams

9:35 AM, 24th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

London Renters Union Covid-19 template letter

I love that term "mortgage holiday". Sounds nice. Gets me thinking of palm trees and white sandy beaches.

All it means is you rack up more debt because the payments due are deferred with interest. Whereas I presume this letter is asking for rent payments simply to be cancelled "until the situation improves" - and God knows when that will be.

The government's support measures should go a long way to ensuring that the great majority of tenants can continue to pay either all or at least a reasonable portion of the rent.

At the heart of all this is the myth that all landlords are rolling in cash and can just take the hit. "You've got an asset!" they say. Fat lot of good that does when it's either unsaleable and/or it's value has crashed through the floor.

Meanwhile, many of us also pay bills on rental properties, be it service charge, council tax, utilities, income tax etc. Shall we service those liabilities out of thin air?

Compassion yes. But common sense also.... Read More

Simon Williams

9:52 AM, 18th March 2020
About 2 weeks ago

He's absolutely crackers!

The way to help tenants during the epidemic is to ensure that housing benefit can quickly be paid to those who see their income falling off a cliff. Otherwise landlords can't pay their bills either.
I also believe the eviction threat is exaggerated. Two big sources of tenant supply - people from overseas and students - will shrink as people are stuck in their home countries or choose to leave UK because no job here so why stay. And Universities could be closed for months, so students then not looking for accommodation. And then you wouldn't want a new tenant who was equally insecure financially as your current one, so you'd want to be very choosy. Put simply, the tenant supply pool will dwindle.
So, even if you are completely lacking in sympathy for your tenants - and the great majority of landlords will be sympathetic in genuine and verifiable cases - then cold commercial logic suggests it will generally be much better to work with existing tenants to ride out the storm than trying to evict.
My problem with any law trying to curtail eviction during the crisis is that it will be very hard to separate legitimate and illegitimate cases. Many entirely appropriate evictions which are completely unrelated to Covid would also stop.
At the heart of this is the usual lie that landlords are all rolling in cash and can afford to keep a roof over people's heads for free while still repairing, maintaining, paying tax, bills, electrical certificates etc etc.... Read More

Simon Williams

11:02 AM, 15th March 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Coronavirus - How it affects HMO Landlords

In my HMOs I am largely leaving it to the tenants to decide how to manage the situation as regards infection control. They have sensibly decided that if someone becomes infected, the nearest bathroom will be designated exclusively for that person (and any other infected persons) and that the infected person shall not use the kitchen. Others will ensure they have food and supplies while isolating in their rooms and we will give them a microwave in their room to heat soup etc. All my tenants are young and face little serious risk and they seem quite relaxed on the whole. (For now).
But, economically, it is already starting to bite. One room is vacant and would normally be filled very quickly but it's proving very difficult (partly because I will only take someone who has a "virus-proof" income source). Another tenant has to return to Spain as their zero hours contract in the catering industry has gone from 40-50 hours per week to, well, zero.
Still - chin up - it's far worse if you have a hotel and I am told even holiday lets are seeing mass cancellations.... Read More