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Wednesday 3rd July 2013

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 380


9:34 AM, 21st November 2020, About A year ago

DIY Housing Association?

On the face of it, a good idea, but how onerous is the work involved in setting up a HA and how does an asset/shareholder get her money out, both income and capital?

Would setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) be a better idea, with small landlords pooling their assets in exchange for shares in a collective vehicle? This might however generate unaffordable individual capital gains and cause problems with existing mortgage providers, unless the REIT could raise capital on its own to buy off the mortgages. The costs of running such a geographically-dispersed operation might also outweigh any tax gains, unless shareholders commited to keep running "their"properties to an agreed standard, using their existing contacts and unpaid labour. Just floating ideas here . . .... Read More


10:17 AM, 11th July 2020, About 2 years ago

Best way of Developing?

Reply to the comment left by Christopher Marsden at 08/07/2020 - 09:57
Yeah Graham, a few people are trying it on. We were quoted £280 + £50 delivery for a shower tray in late May, normal cost £130. We told them where to go and will wait for things to settle down on certain items. Buy in bulk and the big firms are coming in OK plus a bit. Trade labour is more expensive but demand is very high and Covid-19 procedures can slow then down, which is not their fault. We are working like mad to catch up and have four new planning permissions to work through. We are very optimistic!

And we're finally not getting the "I'm not sick, I don't know anyone who is, but the missus says I should stay home" line any more. Hopefully the nation's extended 2020 'sickie" is over. And I don't mean to sound flippant: of course it's been horrible and still is for a good number of people.... Read More


9:38 AM, 11th July 2020, About 2 years ago

Best way of Developing?

1. One word: Planning. Be very cautious over choice of sites as officers can get funny over 'sensitive' corner plots and 'walling' when you start infilling side land, especially if your "2 up 2 down" comment means it's in an historic Victorian-era part of town. Crappy post-war suburbs will be less of a problem. Read the Officer reports on the sites you say already have planning - where are the sticking points? Ask local building-cost aware architects or arch technicians for their views. Use the ones who did your model sites, if they seem good.

2. Find out via Building Control who built the existing developments you've spotted. Ask the builders how it went + real-world building costs. If they're good, offer them work (experience pays). £150K per unit sounds v. optimistic but you haven't said how big they are.

3. Do your figures include stamp duty + 3% and CIL? CIL is £350 per M2 in my area, so hefty.

4. Splitting title - why? Is this to create a new mortgage-able entity? Won't your mortgage provider on the original house want to know and object? Or are you buying existing for cash?

5. Any estate agent I know will seek premium prices on plots with side land, especially when they see you or others building a rash of them. Word gets out. If you get the land for near-free you are doing very well and it won't necessarily last. Perhaps spread out your area of operations so what you're doing isn't so obvious.

6. Capital financing sounds sensible, but income? £350K X 75% BTL loan X 6% interest rate means you are making nothing on £1200 a month Why bother holding? I reckon house prices, what with low wage growth, Brexit and Covid-19 Depression, aren't going to go anywhere for at least 10 years, guaranteeing low ROCE. Better to sell most units and move on?

Or are you expecting big increases in inflation because of central bank QE? This will sweal away your 75% debts nicely, so there's an argument there in favour of holding high debts despite very low net income. I'm not sure it's something to bet your whole portfolio on though. Better to keep your capital moving until you can finance everything with cash, and perhaps consider larger or alternative new-build projects

e.g. small supported-living houses and flats for adults receiving state-funded care services. Councils are desperate for new units, and they are no more complex to build than normal houses. Third-party care providers and property management and maintenance costs are funded separately by the Councils' care commissioners and you get guaranteed rental income at normal market rates. No tenants to find or deal with, no repairs, few voids.... Read More


8:43 AM, 11th July 2020, About 2 years ago

NRLA welcomes Chancellor's support for Green improvements

Hm, it looks like one had to use the same 'approved contractor' method as in the
failed Green Deal. The training fees to become 'approved' were expensive, which was passed onto customers, and the lack of approved contractors meant they could charge high prices. I was not impressed when I got a Green Deal quote to externally-insulate my Edwardian-era house, so I passed. Better to specify it yourself and get a normal quote from a normal competent builder, otherwise you're just acting as an intermediary to transfer money from the Government to the builder in the form of inflated prices.

A max £5000 grant is not much towards big jobs like external insulation, which ultimately the Government is going to have to force andlords to do if Zero Carbon means anything. I predict all rental properties will be required to meet EPC level B by 2030. Mass external render will be a catastrophe for the appearance of our beautiful historical housing stock.... Read More


1:05 AM, 13th November 2019, About 2 years ago

As a Landlord in the General Election I intend to vote for:

Like so many, I will vote Tory because they are the least worst. They have been shafted over Brexit by the EU, which refused for no coherent reason to negotiate a free trade deal at the same time as reaching a withdrawal agreement. This "sequencing" has led to everything we've seen in the fiasco of the last Parliament. The Tories' general management of the economy and mild "austerity" (a.k.a. trying to live within your means) has been moderately competent and got us down to "only" a 2% deficit, whilst substantially increasing income tax thresholds and minimum wages and providing an environment in which businesses have created millions of new jobs, so they ought to be given credit for that..

The Tory's handling of the PRS had been very poor, but what's the alternative? Old Labour are far worse and are utterly clueless about valuing and trying to promote private businesses. Corbyn's reply in 2017 to a woman who asked him what Labour offered her as the owner of a small business was "you should be grateful for knowing the good your taxes are doing", or words to that effect. Typical sanctimonious claptrap. And the Lib Dems? I used to vote for them, but they've swung wildly to the left and are trying to out-bid Labour and even the Greens, pandering to the usual motley special-interest members of the Client State. Where are the business-friendly policies from the Lib Dems? Hopeless! They are really just an offshoot of Labour now, which has all but abandoned southern England outside the city state that is London.

Boris Johnson is a One Nation Tory who's been forced to act more ruthlessly than his natural inclination, just to get Brexit done. He was a great success as London Mayor, with policies to match and the ability simply to cheer people up. If he can get a good majority, I think he will make a fine and popular PM.... Read More