Simon Williams

Registered with
Monday 11th July 2016

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 43

Simon Williams

9:43 AM, 8th October 2018
About a month ago

Potential Budget CGT relief and profit split for selling to long term tenants?

Total rubbish policy so far as landlords are concerned. The benefits in lower CGT will be shared 50/50 with tenants, but the costs of the policy (more taxes on landlords in other areas) will be 100% borne by landlords. Overall, if implemented as per think tank suggestion, this is just another tax grab on landlords.
Also, the benefit will fall on very few properties as there will need to be the happy coincidence that (a) your property is saleable to a first time buyer (i.e. not an HMO or larger property (b) you and your tenant can actually agree a price (always difficult in a private sale) (c) the tenant can actually raise a mortgage and afford to buy it (d) you actually want to sell it.
If gov decides to go ahead with this, I hope they won't patronise us with some drivel about it being a "reward" for "good landlords"... Read More

Simon Williams

10:16 AM, 5th October 2018
About a month ago

Extra Stamp Duty for non-residents likely to slow housebuilding

A long time ago now I had a side-line assisting Chinese nationals (some pretty wealthy) to buy property in London. I can't think of a single buyer who purchased with intent to leave the property empty. Invariably the purchasers fell into three camps: 1. Purchase to rent out (most common); 2. Purchase for son or daughter to live in while studying at UK University; 3. Purchase to use a base for when coming to London on business trips and family holidays (usually as prelude to applying for a tier 1 investor visa).

If you tax the overseas market out of existence, fewer developments will get off the ground because overseas investors were the early-birds providing crucial seed finance/cash flow for developers. You'll also get fewer overseas students studying in London and fewer wealthy people wanting to forge links and do business in the UK.

As we face the massive challenges of Brexit and the need to open up to the world, the last thing we need is to be scaring of overseas investment of any kind. Another stupid policy from this government.... Read More

Simon Williams

14:49 PM, 28th September 2018
About 2 months ago

Rental cost and increases at record levels

Reports do indeed contradict. For example, it was reported on the website PropertyWire just 3 days ago that:
"The number of available properties to rent in the private rented sector in the UK is falling at an alarming rate, particularly in Greater London, according to new figures.
The number of available homes to rent in Greater London that have been on the market for 20 weeks or less plummeted by 24% over the last year, from 52,388 in August 2017 to 39,746 in August this year, the latest report from shows.
Indeed, the report points out that the number of homes to rent in the area is at its lowest level since March 2015 at a time when rents have risen by 4% over the last 12 months.
Across mainland UK, the supply of all available homes to rent, including hard to rent properties that have been on the market for more than 20 weeks, has fallen by more than 10,000 since July 2017, from 233,453 to 223,115."
So - there you go!
In my experience as a London and Cambridge landlord, there was a pronounced drop in demand in the aftermath of Brexit (coupled with a general improvement in the EU youth unemployment situation). This roughly coincided with a glut of rentals coming on to the market as landlords brought forward their last purchases to beat the new 3% stamp duty surcharge. By then, most tax changes, particularly as regards mortgage interest, had been announced but had not impacted the market. My rents went flat (except for 1 bed flats!).
In my opinion, the market is now on the turn again. Demand is definitely going up again - albeit slowly - and supply is definitely dropping. I believe this improvement will accelerate as supply continues to drop due to the tax effects starting to kick in; rising interest rates; and new regulations. Assuming a deal is eventually done on EU nationals in the UK, I think demand will continue to pick up.
I personally have no concerns about being able to get bums on seats in the years ahead. Just about everything else about the direction of travel of the PRS and politics generally terrifies me.
And one last (unrelated) point: I read that a recent survey of 15,000 people by the bank ING says that 35% of young Europeans think they will never own their own home. The figures are highest in Germany 45%, Italy 44% and then UK 41%. So, the next time you are made to believe by the media that the UK market is "broken" and it's all so much better on the continent for young people, bear that survey in mind.... Read More

Simon Williams

10:14 AM, 24th September 2018
About 2 months ago

Labour plans government funded Renters' Union

This all sounds quite mild compared to what I thought they would be proposing. Giving cities powers on rent controls instead of just rolling it out across the whole country for example. Renter's Union? Fine with me. Right now a tenant gets advice from CAB or Shelter, in future the Renter's Union perhaps - but I doubt most tenants are going to shell out much money every year just to be a member. Can't see it having a major impact.
That said, all these policies will be just the start if Corbyn gets in. I assume we will also get mandatory licensing for all landlords, the entire removal of all mortgage tax relief and surely also the removal of section 21. Not a happy prospect.... Read More

Simon Williams

19:55 PM, 11th September 2018
About 2 months ago

Having the Rugg pulled out from under - 'MOT Check'!

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 11/09/2018 - 16:50
Hello Mick. Totally share your frustrations with selective licensing, which is spinning out of control. But if there is one thing I learnt as a former senior civil servant - it's that red tape, once introduced, is virtually impossible to cut.

So, I would see this MOT thing morphing into a virtual licence for ALL rented property and requiring a yearly visit from a pen pusher instead of every 5 years under licensing. Even if its backers think it's a possible "light-touch" alternative to licensing, I would wager money that it would quite soon be turned into a bureaucrats' charter, with ever more bells and whistles being added to the checks every year - and rising fees to boot.

To the RLA and others who foolishly back this - I say be careful what you wish for.... Read More