Tag Archives: HMO

Looking to get into property investment or expand your portfolio? Buy to Let Property Hotspots, Latest Articles, Property For Sale, Property Sales & Sourcing, Property Sourcing, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Back in September 2013 I wrote an about an HMO investment opportunity which could be of interest to people wanting a relatively low risk, low hassle investment so far as property goes. It was a sponsored article and every enquiry raised funds to help support the running costs of Property118. Interest levels were reported to be very high and a sufficient numbers of enquirers went on to purchase these investment to prompt the company to ask us to re-run the article. Looking to get into property investment or expand your portfolio?

You should, of course, do your own due diligence before committing to making a purchase though as we do not take any responsibility for any purchase decisions you make. I’ve used the same PR creative for the deal below where you can request a PDF document containing a lot more details. Please note that the PDF document will usually be sent to the email address you provide within two working days although we are not in control of this process.

[display_iframe src=”/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Keystone118-NEW.html” height=”1060″]


Shawbrook Bank – Definitely not for “brand new customers only” Commercial Finance, Latest Articles

Shawbrook Bank are now offering a 0.25% discount on the margin or a 0.25% discount in the arrangement fee for clients who have already been party to a completed loan with them.

This makes a very refreshing change from lenders who have traditionally only chased new customers with deals showing they realise the value in repeat business and loyal customers.

Big advantages they have over many other less specialist commercial lenders is their desire to lend with far less onerous stress testing compared to high street banks, Interest Only for commercial and BTL property and lending directly to Limited companies. I have been told many times by our own preferred brokers that they driven by common sense not bureaucracy looking for ways of saying yes to clients and not the often received “computer says no” answer from many lenders.

Shawbrook Bank lend on single investment units, portfolios, multi-units, HMO’s and student lets. They lend to both individuals and Ltd Co’s and do not limit the amount of properties that the client can own or the business activities of the limited company.

However they are not able to offer any direct customer advice or sales, and only accept business from intermediary brokers registered to their panel.

Along with their residential investment products they offer interest only mortgages up to 75% LTV and have a range of Commercial Mortgages and short term loans.

Shawbrook commercial mortgages:

Cover both commercial investment properties and owner occupier trading businesses. Their products go up to 75% LTV and they also offer interest only loans which improves business Cash flow.

Short Term Finance

Shawbrook offer market leading rates on short term finance from 0.65% pm with no exit fees for between 6 and 18 months. This is ideal for auction purchases or a speedy purchase in order to secure a discount.

Short Term Light Refurbishment Finance

Shawbrook will lend up to 70% of the purchase price at 0.73% pm for between 3 and 12 months. This is suitable for clients looking to purchase, or refinance a residential or mixed use property quickly, undertake light refurbishment and then either sell on or hold for rental.

Medium Term Refurbishment Product

They will lend up to 70% of the after works value on an interest only basis. This product is for clients that are purchasing or refinancing property with the intention of completing minor refurbishment before letting the property out.

Obviously there are many other lenders that may be suitable in terms of criteria or lower costs and it this is not meant to be an advert to only use Shawbrook, but it is great to see a lender valuing its existing customers.

For assistance with any property finance requirements please, call us on 01603 489118 or email info@property118.com

If you would like to add your own requirements and search for the most popular available Buy to Let products please click hereShawbrook Bank


Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Three cases have recently been tested in the Courts whereby Councils have charged more for HMO licensing then was reasonable.

There are rules to prevent Councils using HMO licensing to raise funds for other activities.

Hemming v Westminster City Council: The case outlines the type of costs that councils can recover through locally set licence fees and the processes councils have in place to ensure fee setting is transparent and open to scrutiny. The key issue addressed was whether the fees set by Westminster City Council complied with the requirements of the European Services Directive 2009 and the interpretation of Article 13(2) of the Directive. The Services Directive also makes it clear that licence fees covered by the Directive can only be used to recover costs and should not be used to make a profit or deter service providers from entering a market. Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees

Crompton v Oxford City Council: The power to charge fees in respect of HMO licensing is found in s63 of the Housing Act 2004. Importantly, this power is granted in respect of licence applications only. Oxford City Council has sought to charge a fee for the variation of an HMO licence. The Residential Property Tribunal (RPT) ruled that the fee was unlawful and that it could not be charged.

Bristol City Council v Digs (Bristol) Ltd: The defendant was the private landlord of a maisonette in multiple occupation. The council brought a prosecution for failure to obtain an HMO licence and for breaches of the HMO regulations. A District Judge at Bristol Magistrates Court tried the preliminary issue of whether the maisonette was a licensable HMO. It extended over two storeys of a building with a further entrance corridor and hallway on a lower storey. The council included the lower storey in deciding that the HMO extended to three storeys. The Judge held that having regard to Article 3 of the HMO (Prescribed Description) (England) (Order) the maisonette was not an HMO. The council had been wrong to include the lower storey. In the light of that ruling, the council offered no evidence and the defendant was acquitted.

In the wake of these rulings the NLA is asking all local authorities in England to contact any affected landlords, informing them of their right to appropriate refunds and providing details of how they may make a claim.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said:

we have asked local authorities to come clean about the level of fees they have charged private-landlords, if they were entitled to make these charges, and when they will refund any money unjustly demanded.

Mr Lambert went on to add:

“In writing to all local authorities in England we’re acknowledging the good working partnership many private landlords have with town halls, but making clear they should not be absorbing the costs of overcharging to support other council functions”.


HMO Question – are basins in bedrooms mandatory? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Is it a legal requirement that every bedroom in a licensable HMO has to have a wash hand basin?

I have been jumping through hoops for a year to try and get a licence on a three storey 6-bed HMO. I had a letter from the council in 2011 saying that as I had three bathrooms and two separate WCs, all with wash hand basins, I didn’t have to put basins in the bedrooms, but would have to when I re-licensed in five years time. HMO - Bedrooms with basins mandatory?

I have now been given a draft of a licence to check which requires me to put basins in within two months.

Thanks

Edna

 


HMO Internal locks ‘deal breaker’? Advice, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’m at the point of exchange on an HMO licensed 5 bed house, currently let to students. I received a letter from the mortgage lender Birmingham Midshires (BM Solutions) saying one of their conditions is that there are ‘no internal door locks’. I checked and there are thumb locks on all the bedrooms. The letting agent who manages the house asked the students about removing them, they refused. BM Solutions logo

I’ve heard stories about BM Solutions withdrawing the offer after exchange, and apparently there will be 5 days between exchange and completion. I can’t risk losing 20% of my deposit if they discover there are still internal locks. What should I do? Is this really a deal breaker?

Apparently it’s only 1 of the students that has a problem with the locks being removed, but as I don’t yet own the house I can’t speak to her directly and can’t change the contract, everything is dealt with by the letting agent.

Has anyone else come up against this one? Should I risk it and tell the mortgage lender that I did request the locks to be removed (if they ask)? Or should I actually pull out now before it’s too late?

Any advice much appreciated.

Regards

Duncan


I Am A Property Developer – Ask Me Anything! Ask Me Anything, Latest Articles, Property Development, Property Investment Strategies, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I run a small property development business in the Reading, Wokingham and South Oxon and Bucks areas.

The company organises planning applications on small sites of up to 4 flats or houses, then secures the financing, oversees the design and specification, and commissions and project-manages sub-contractors to do the actual construction. I also undertake whole-house property renovations and act as landlord when I rent out existing detached houses on sites where I am assembling additional land or sorting out access and planning issues. 

My tenancies are usually graduate houseshares/HMOs as I find these give a more reliable income stream than renting to a family.  I Am A Property Developer - Ask Me Anything

I moved into property development from being a BTL landlord as I felt the returns would be better – perhaps not the wisest of careers moves in 2007!

I am inviting Property118 contributors to “ask me anything” as regards small-scale property development if they are considering this as an additional aspect or future evolution of their rental business.

I don’t claim to be able to answer everything as property development is a very wide-ranging field and can be highly specific as regards local valuations and planning rules, but I will endeavour to help.


Thought provoking HMO and selective licensing question HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, Question of the Week, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The importance of my question is that, depending on the answer, it may be a way for landlords to bypass requirements for HMO licensing,  selective licensing and the problems associated with article 4 restrictions.

Yes it’s a simple question but with enormous consequences and to my knowledge the question has never previously been asked.

Just suppose a landlord rents a 5 bed three story town house to Mr X and gives him permission to take in up to 4 lodgers.

Does the property require an HMO licence?

Please bear in mind the landlord will never actually know how many lodgers the tenant has taken in and the number will change frequently.

To my knowledge there is no legislation to suggest that a tenant can’t also be a resident landlord.

I have checked the legislation and whilst I accept I might have missed something I can see nothing to answer this question.

Thought provoking HMO and selective licensing question

I raised this question on the HMO Facebook Group and so far I’ve not got a clear cut answer there despite several responses and comments

I look forward to reading your comments below.


Annual Inspection Certificates for HMOs – Am I on the right Track? HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles

I have a 6-bed HMO (2 storeys and unlicenced). I was inspected recently by the local authority and all was found to be pretty much in order, however I was unaware that I needed to produce annual inspection certificates for the smoke alarms, emergency lighting as well as an annual PAT cert.

1. Annual PAT Certificate – unlike the legal requirement for a 5 year certificate for the electrics (and annually for the gas), I understand that there is no legal requirement for an annual PAT cert though of course it would be good practice. I check the appliances visually on a monthly basis. I have thought about buying a PAT tester and using it myself, but the authority won’t accept my findings unless I’ve been on a course to make me ‘a competent person’ notwithstanding my degree in engineering. I’m prepared to accept this opinion and produce a cert myself annually after I’ve been on the course. Thoughts?

2. Annual Smoke Alarm Test – I test these monthly myself with the test buttons (logging it). Apparently I need a ‘competent person’ to inspect them and blow some smoke into them once a year to check that they perform. I’d prefer to have a third party do it rather than do this myself considering that the consequences of culpability in the event of failure could be quite serious (though not really wishing to imply that the PAT could give rise to anything less serious!). My electrician has agreed to do this and he’ll confirm his findings in a letter as he has no formal cert (as he has for the PAT). Thoughts?

3. Annual Emergency Lighting Test – once again I check it monthly (logging it) simply by tripping out the mains lighting circuit and checking each light fitting comes on. But apparently I need to have the mains power out for 3 hours once a year and have it certified by a competent person. Again my electrician will do it. He doesn’t have a cert as such to issue, but will confirm it in a letter. Thoughts?

I would be most grateful for feedback from readers

Regards

BruceTrack


Enforcement not legislation – PRS Hit Squads Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

There is already more than enough funding and legislation to police the Private Rented Sector.

The last thing we need is more legislation, what everybody wants is enforcement and word on the street is that we could begin to see it before the end of 2013. Ben-Reeve-Lewis

PRS Hit Squads

The authorities all know who the real criminals are and the only reason the criminals are still in business is because those holding power don’t combine resources, in fact they rarely talk to each other. Until now they have all run scared of “data sharing protocols” but when that’s put to one side expect to see some very big cases of criminal landlords being taken to task.

I have heard that PRS Hit Squads will target known criminal landlords between now and Christmas and are supported “in principle” by the likes of Mark Prisk, Boris Johnson and others who openly admit to not being fans of the licensing model being operated in Newham. I’ve also heard that six figure funding for a trial has been agreed at ministerial level.

These “PRS Hit Squads” as I’ve labelled them will comprise of:-

  • Environmental heath
  • HMO licensing
  • Planning
  • Anti social behaviour teams
  • EDF revenue
  • Building contol
  • UKBA
  • Police

The plan is that they will share intelligence and converge on criminal landlords in a military style operation, focussing on the worst operators first of course. With their combined resources the criminals will not stand a chance. It will be like a man with a pea shooter trying to fend off the SAS 🙂

Beware the Spin Doctors!

My hope is that the PR outcome of the PRS Hit Squad successes will be positive and support the need for the model to be extended nationally. It is a very low cost model and the results should save the tax payer money as well as improving peoples lives (unless you are one of the targeted criminals of course!). The last thing the PRS needs is for the successes to be used as justification for more regulation. The spin doctors will see this as an opportunity to justify schemes such as Newham but this must not be allowed to happen.

Landlords can be victims too

Landlords are also the victims of criminals and I have seen some very sad examples of that. A recent case in the Fens involved a landlord who let his former home to a Gang-master. Unbeknown to him the unregulated Gang-master then allowed 20 immigrant farm workers to live in the property, all sleeping on mattresses on the floor. When the landlord found out he obviously wanted them out ASAP, as did the neighbours of pretty culdesac in which the landlords 4 bad detached property was located but the law stood in the way. Had the landlord been able to go to the authorities, secure in the knowledge they would fight for him, it would have been a Godsend to him. Instead, the authorities are threatening the landlord and not the Gangmaster! Clearly common sense isn’t that common.

Let’s hope the PRS Hit Squads are successful in taking down criminals and then lend a much needed helping hand to landlords who are also targeted by criminals. If common sense prevails we might just see more action and less talk. When all is said and done, more is said than done, but fingers crossed let’s hope that not the case here.

The Highland Fling

Earlier this year the Scottish Association of Landlords reported that landlord registration in Scotland has cost landlords £11.2 million in fees while the start-up Scottish Government grant for the scheme was £5.2 million. According to the results, since 2006 there have only been 40 rogue landlords identified as operating in Scotland, that’s the number of rejected applications. The cost equates to £400,000 per rogue identified!

Summary

The schemes in Newham and its copycats also show signs of being similar “White Elephants”, therefore I’m pinning my hopes on the PRS Hit Squads taking down as many criminals as possible, proving once and for all that it’s more enforcement not legislation we need. Enforcement not legislation - PRS Hit Squads


Subletting Scams – why landlords are afraid to report them Cautionary Tales, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Many landlords are fearful to seek help from their local authorities in terms of dealing with subletting scams.

Just imagine this, you’ve jst let your nice little three bed house to Mr & Mrs Lovely and their two perfect children, only to find out that 10 of their family have also moved in. How would you feel?

Subletting scams can also go a stage further. Mr & Mrs Lovely may never actually move into the property, they simply cram as many immigrants in as possible (sometimes illegal immigrants) and charge them all a rent and make a huge profit.

The landlord then has numerous concerns including:-

  • Mr and Mrs Lovely fail to live up to their name and stop paying rent, but they continue to collect it
  • wear and tear on the property
  • noise related issues affecting neighbours
  • will their landlords insurance still be valid
  • fire safety
  • HMO licensing
  • and so the list goes on.

You would think that a quick call to the local EHO (Environmental heath Officer) should sort the problem wouldn’t you? So far as I’m aware, EHO’s have every right to close the property down if they consider it to be a danger to human life, through overcrowding for example. In such circumstances, that’s exactly what many landlords actually want to happen. What they don’t want is to spend several months going through the Courts to obtain possession order, which under the circumstances they will inevitably obtain but at what cost to themselves and at what risk to human life in the meantime?

Whilst any legal action is ongoing the landlords property is probably getting ruined, they may not receive rent, the neighbours get very upset and the landlords ends up with a huge bill.

The fear of reporting such problems runs deep. Will the local authorities use the problem against the landlord? Will they take pictures of the property and use them in their anti-landlord propaganda to justify licensing schemes? Will the local authority press charges against the landlord for the state of the property, which may well have been perfect when they first rented it to Mr & Mrs Lovely?

In many cases, inventories prepared by landlords are not up to scratch so the fear of reporting problems is that tenants will claim the property was a death trap from day one and the landlord becomes a victim twice over!

I am hoping that any TRO’s (Tenancy Relations Officers), EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) and others with the powers to actually do something about this will comment on the problem as well as landlords and letting agents. Subletting Scams - why landlords are afraid to report them

 


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