Possession Increasingly Obtained Without Money Orders

by Property118.com News Team

15:59 PM, 6th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Possession Increasingly Obtained Without Money Orders

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Possession Increasingly Obtained Without Money Orders

Landlords across the country appear to be changing tack as the amount of successful possession orders appears to be on the rise.

Let Insurance Services have found the amount of possession orders without a money judgement is up a third on 2010 as landlords appear to be cutting their losses.

“Landlords and agents are facing mounting rent arrears and with no alternative, but to seek a quick resolution in the courts. Tenants have become more savvy with rental law and much more conversant with the legal detail. This trend, combined with the fact that many tenants have fallen on bad times and have no financial resources to clear arrears debt has led many agents and landlords to pursue possession only, foregoing any attempts to secure rent arrears through the courts. Landlords and agents often face better odds securing new tenant rental income than they do securing rent arrears from an existing tenant.” said Michael Portman, Managing Director of Let Insurance Services.

They also expect rent arrears to continue to increase and they themselves have seen a rise in rental arrears notifications, plus a 24% increase in rent guarantee insurance taken out by landlords in the first nine months of this year.

Michael Portman explained why, “We have seen a sharp rise in demand for rent guarantee insurance as landlords and agents look to find ways to protect their rental income. It is clear that this problem is not going to go away. The labour market is starting to feel the strain of public sector job losses and the economy is far from healthy. Ever increasing fuel and food prices could place more tenants in difficulty and the labour market has much ground to make up as the private sector struggles to compensate for public service job losses.

“Against this backdrop, as rents rise over the medium-term, a growing number of tenants will see their finances come under mounting pressure – and we expect tenant arrears cases to climb over the next 12 months.

“The message to landlords and agents is make sure that they consider the strength of the tenant when letting the property by taking out full references and to consider specific insurance through a specialist company for loss of rent if the tenant defaults and the cost of legal expenses to obtain possession.”

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Ian Ringrose

16:18 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

“I would love to carry on living in my place at the end of my agreement in March but I am sure my landlord will simply jack the rent up another £200 a month (which happened to the flat above mine 2 months ago) and me and Frazzy will be forced into a 3rd expensive move in 18 months. If even 2 decent wage earning middle aged professionals cant afford to even pay rent where does that leave so many others?”

It does not help that a lot of London agents charge landlords nearly as much to renew an AST then they do to find a new tenant, I also don’t know how much profit the agents make on reference checking fees etc. they charge the new tenant. I get a feeling that most of the rent increase goes into the agent’s pocket with their charges to find new tenants and that the landlord does not take home much more over the first 6 months with the new tenant then they would have done with the old tenant on a lower rent.

My view is to charge market rents at the start, then put rents up a bit less than the market, as voids are such a large cost, but we are not in the fast moving London market.

We have one of our two tenants paying about 30% less than other people in the same block, but as the market is still very slow in the midlands, it is hard to get the tenants to agree to a rent increase (our agent also seems a bit unwilling to push the tenant hard enough) . (It is a very nice block, with secure parking and gardens etc., however it can take a long time to find tenants that value a very nice, large, light, 2 bedroom flat more than a 3 bedroom ex council flat. So the risk of a long void may stop the tenant being made homeless. The tenant got it cheep a few years ago, as it was a very poor market with no one moving - normally they would have had no hope in affording that block, but that has not stopped them demanding new carpets etc.)

I think most landlords rent out homes they originally bought to live in, but most rentals are owned by landlords with more than 1 property – so you are more likely to come across “professional” landlords just because they have many more properties each and will tend to be going more for the low end where yields are better.

Both properties we rented ourselves where owned by accidental landlords that were letting their former parents homes, in both cases we were not paying enough rent to cover the costs of a 75% BTL mortgage, so no-one would have chosen then as BTL .

Be very carefully with all the surveys off landlords, as most of them tent to over represent large landlords, partly due to the fact that large landlords are more likely to be a member of a landlord’s organization or read a website.

Mark Alexander

16:21 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

I agree with you about communities etc. but I don't follow your logic about first time buyers. If finance is easier for them to get and no more properties are built the problem simply shifts around. A lucky few FTB's will get into new homes but as a result of even further increased competition to buy, values will rise too. If FTB's buy the properties that landlords would have purchased then that will put even more pressure on rents to rise as the availability of quality rental units will reduce. as I said, lack of creation of homes is the issue here, not who owns them.

Mark Alexander

16:59 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Further point Ben, the phenomena you are experiencing in London right now is not alien to many areas of the UK. I remember the news of the Welsh burning down cottages at one time because the locals could no longer afford them as a result of people buying them as holiday homes and leaving the villages like ghost towns in the Winter months. We have areas here in Norfolk which is much the same. One village was known pre-credit crunch as Chelsea on Sea because the number of Coutts & Co World cards out numbered all others used in the local hostelries. This was due to wealthy Londoners buying up all the cute little cottages as retirement homes or weekend getaways. Once the trend had started it seemed it would never stop as it fed on its own hype for many years. The locals moved out, the celebrity chefs and their posh restaurants moved in. Eventually it all settled down and we now have some lovely eateries go go to on our wedding anniversary 🙂 The crazy thing is, some Norfolk villages out-price similar properties in neighbouring villages by 300% even today.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

18:17 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Mark you have lost me here mate haha. I dont want to respond if I have got the wrong end of the stick. Are you saying that shit happens but it all rights itself in the end?

Happy with the decent restaurant analogy though, my empathy with other humans in difficulty could be sidelined by a decent portion of pan fried scallops and Monkfish tartare

Mary Latham

19:39 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

I have learned over almost 40 years that a good tenant is worth far more than a few pounds extra rent. When I say worth more I mean in terms of being nice to work with and being more profitable.

A good tenant who does not drive you mad every time a light bulb goes saves you money. A good tenant who pays in full and on time saves you money. A good tenant who stays for a long time saves you money.
I spend money every time I turn a tenancy - there will always be something I upgrade or replace quite apart from the mattress protectors, pots & pans, cutlery, crockery etc which through normal wear and tear must be replaced constantly.

I have not increased my rents with exsisting tenants this year because interests rates are low and I am sharing that saving - they stay so I must be doing something right. I have made increases on properties which I have relet this year but not enormous amounts just enough to catch up where I have had no rent increases for a while.

Pushing a good tenant into rent arrears is crazy and putting more pressure on a tight budget is likely to do just that.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

20:35 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Yeah this echoes my own thoughts on this Mary.

Landlords and tenants are in a mutually reciprocal relationship together, and as I said above their finances are also intertwined for the same reason.

Especially the small landlord with 1 property. If their tenant fails to pay the rent the landlord goes down the swanny.

What touches me about many lanldords I meet who have tenants facing a hard time is that they will change payment dates, accept short payments and work with them, because they understand that neither party stands alone. I see many tenants taking advantage of their landlord's good will in this respect and when I encounter these people I step back immediately and refuse to help anymore.

Tenants should cherish decent landlords and vis versa.

Being a landlord isnt just about bottom line percentages, or rather , when ot becomes so, landlords shouldnt be surprised if tenants also look simply to their bank balance in making decisions about whether or not to pay rent or treat their kids to a decent Xmas in a cold, wintery financial climate.

Landlords and tenants are locked into this together, it should be based on a give and take relationship. If everything is simply doen to market forces, the bottom line then you cant be surprised when compassion and human consideration goes out the window on both sides.

Mary Latham

23:39 PM, 8th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Many people only feel their own pain Ben. I remember asking a friend to donate to something once and her reply will stay with me forever
"I am broke so I cant help - have you any idea what it costs to get skis sharpend these days"

Many landlords simply cannot take a loss of rent because they are strugglng to meet their costs while others are in a better position to be able to me kind to tenants who are short of money.

As you said Ben, we are all in this boat together - sadly I think the storm will worsen before it abates

13:45 PM, 12th December 2011
About 9 years ago

This blog is interesting to me as the important thing it highlights is that every BTL landlord needs to be very mindful that the current economic climate is hurting everyone. Don’t get involved in BTL unless you can afford the voids.

Let me outline my recent experience; I have been a “social” landlord with two properties of quite a high standard for over 12 years and up until this summer have never experienced any issues with my lettings. I place emphasis on the word “social” in my letting arrangements with tenants as I try to be fair and do everything above board and legal using a respected agent and documenting everything in writing which in the analysis has proved to be a god-send.

My new tenant after six months of his 12 month tenancy suddenly decided not to pay me any rent. The problem from then on I experienced was him not talking to either my agent or myself, I do understand people go through bad times and was fully prepared to assist where I could. The time scale when this happens is horrendous by the time you realise it’s a problem a couple of months rent (or lack of it) have passed then there is the issuing a notice of possession which you have to allow another couple of months then the taking out of a court order for possession another six to eight weeks for a hearing, if you are lucky all in all its about six months loss of rent plus court costs and then its no cast Iron guarantee you can just go in and grab your property back without resorting to bailiff entry.

The lesson learnt for me was to make sure as soon as anything happens get on top of it and stay on top, make sure that all your agreements, records and paperwork are up to date ready for when you need to go to court. I applied to the court myself and once I got into it, it was quite easy everything was on line to complete with the cost of £175 to lodge the claim with of course my time. What I found quite interesting was a conversation with the Judge afterwards saying that these Guys know their way round the system taking out a tenancy, stop paying the rent and eventually when you get them out the local council has to re-house them as homeless.

Cash; its cost me a couple of thousand pounds in lost rent after deducting the deposit held plus the court fee, but the biggest loss for me is the disappointment in people and how they can act. It makes you harder and my next tenant will defiantly be paying an increased rent this time covering the cost of a loss of rent Insurance policy and oh yes if you come across a **persons name removed by moderator** wanting to rent your place avoid him like the plague!

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