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Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 372


2 months ago
Review of Selective Licensing announced

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 27/06/2018 - 13:33
£50? You're being very optimistic about the likely costs. Look at how expensive it is just to obtain something as simple as a passport. The cost will be £300+, because they will expect landlords to pay for the IT system to set up the database, on top of ongoing staff costs, planned "improvements", and future expansion as once you go down this road, there is no end to it. The database will be tied into HMRC, we will be expected to submit accounts and pay income tax on a monthly basis, any expenditure will need to be justified with scanned and uploaded invoices: it will be remorseless.

But if you have to have a register of landlords, how about a national register of tenants too? Surely tenants need to take a training course and demonstrate they are "fit and proper" licensed persons too, to take on the responsibility of living in someone else's property? This would help reassure landlords, neighbours and co-tenants in houseshares/HMOs, and reassure insurance companies that the tenant doesn't have a prior conviction for arson . . .

However, I object to a criminal records check: there are millions of people with some kind of conviction, most of them minor, and once you start going down the road of requiring everyone to be registered for everything, there will be national ID cards and anyone who ever does anything remotely naughty will be tagged with that millstone for the rest of their life. A world of ever-proliferating and permanent data is being built, and alongside it, more and more surveillance, monitoring, identity-checking (and identity theft); I see few reasons why we should seek to encourage these trends, and plenty of reasons to resist them.... Read More


2 months ago
ARLA - "Selective Licensing doesn't and has never worked"

Reply to the comment left by Paul Cunningham at 22/06/2018 - 22:17
I'm afraid the NLA is so anxious to legitimise itself and make sure it gets invited to meetings in Whitehall, it very rarely says anything critical of anyone. I left the NLA three years ago and joined the RLA, which is (relatively) much more pugnacious and a genuinely campaigning organisation. You just have to compare their respective bi-monthly magazines: the RLA one is frequently interesting, but the NLA one is about as opinionated as dishwater.

I think it's a mistake however not to be a member of the NLA or RLA: never mind the genuinely useful services they provide, it is important that there is at least some kind of organisation that speaks for landlords. We are already atomised and non-communicative enough, and so-called charities like Shelter should not be allowed to dominate the news agenda with their frequent falsehoods and outright lies.... Read More


2 months ago
Review of Selective Licensing announced

Would Property118 count as a body representing landlords?

Does anyone feel qualified to write a report based on the reported experience and opinions of contributors to this site?

It would be a lot of work to wade through all the threads that have discussed licensing over the last few years, so perhaps the best approach would be a summary report with recommendations, with an Appendix listing reported problems with licensing, ideally with documentary evidence. The latter could be assembled by the wider contributing community, to reduce the workload for the report writer.

The level of detail people go into on this site would arguably offer stronger evidence than the views of researchers or policy officers at the RLA or NLA who oversee the entire country. Obviously the fruitier comments would need to be toned down, to support landlords' case that licensing is an extremely expensive, bureaucratic and time-consuming way of achieving the stated aims of these schemes: it penalises good landlords, who are the vast majority, and their tenants; obliges the council to employ loads of administrators and EHOs to waste their time checking what are, ultimately, perfectly good rental properties; and it remains to be seen how many "rogue" landlords or tenants are being caught out by licensing, and whether this is cost-effective.

I sincerely hope that the Government will take any evidence from Councils with a large pinch of salt. Councils are bound to do everything they can to make their licensing schemes sound successful, for example by swamping their reports with statistics to show that hundreds of properties have been "improved" by licensing (for example through major achievements like obliging landlords to display their LGCs and HMO licenses in framed notices), whilst disguising the fact there's been a tiny number of prosecutions that could have been done anyway using existing legislation. Once established, bureaucracies like these licensing schemes will fight like the devil to justify their existence.... Read More


3 months ago
Shelter - Social housing survey!

I replied too, hopefully without being too biased because I'm a private landlord. I feel the social sector needs to:
1) Sweat its assets much harder. It should be working with private developers to redevelop many of its estates, dramatically improving the housing quality and density, whilst also improving transport links and local facilities. The funding would be mainly raised "internally" through better use of land, selling some of it to developers who will co-build the redevelopment. This will be especially attractive to developers if such partnerships also relieves them of S106 social housing taxes on their other new-builds: it is crazy that almost all of the Government's social housing policy and funding has been laid on the backs of the private housebuilders, as an incredibly harsh extra tax that goes a long way to explain the low housebuilding rates in this country.
2) End all tenancies longer than 1-3 years. People who can easily afford the rent should be asked to move on, or pay a full market rent. Under-occupied houses should be given to families, with the original residents moved to new flats or older houses that have been sub-divided.
3) build or convert many more HMOs, to provide some competition for the private sector, especially at the cheaper end where standards are lowest. It is ridiculous that single people under the age of 35 on benefits are restricted to just a room if they receive housing benefit, but the only people who provide rooms are HMO landlords in the PRS. More Social HMOs, with support services, would also help greatly with downsizing, and helping people who are progressing from homeless shelters into their own accommodation.... Read More


4 months ago
House Price Inflation - Government assessment of pressures

So, average house prices increase by 130% in real terms over the 25 year period. Of this, on their figures 32% was due to population growth, 75% to income growth, less 40% due to increase in housing supply, leaving a net contribution of 67% to identified factors. That leaves half the increase in prices unaccounted for!

Off the top of my head, there are three obvious missing factors: i) the impact of BTL investment, ii) the impact of increasing levels of inheritance and capital wealth, and iii) ever-more dual-earner families as women enter the labour market, minus some drop in male participation rates.

For i) new money is entering the housing market in the form of landlord's capital and their mortgages. Rents help drive affordability for landlords and rents are generally tied to wage levels, so there is a continued income association there, but landlords may be driving prices higher because they will accept a lower return on capital than before, as renting still offers better returns than, say, government bonds, where the yield has collapsed since 2008. And broadbrush, surely the huge growth in the PRS must have had *some* effect on prices.

For ii), the major real growth in house prices has been going on since the mid-1960s, when owner-occupiers were given tax-free capital gains. People who bought a family house in their 20s and 30s in 1965, for example, will be dying off now, and their inheritances will often be used to pay down mortgage debt or buy BTL investments, both affecting affordability and HPI. A recent milestone was that there are more owner-occupied properties owned outright than there are properties with mortgages. If you have no mortgage, income ceases to be a factor in home ownership, except to pay maintenance costs and utility and council tax bills, so surely income is becoming less of a factor in driving HPI?

iii) a husband may have seen 75% increase in his real income from 1991-2016, but if his wife starts working and adds her growing income, total family income and mortgage affordability will increase substantially greater than 75%.... Read More