Tag Archives: Local Authority

Freehold Maisonette – why is this a bad thing? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We have just put our freehold maisonette up for sale. It is ex local authority and ground floor, the property above is still local authority, although I believe the adjoining two are private. Buyers will not be able to get a mortgage, because it is freehold. This has never been a problem to us (cash buyers), any more than adjoining any other private property. The council has been kind enough to replace the roof (flat) without contacting us. When I contacted them to discuss the broken gate, this was replace directly. Freehold Maisonette - why is this a bad thing

So why is there this problem about the place being Freehold? Is there any way around it? How could it become leasehold? At the moment we have told the estate agent to market as cash only, but they have stressed that so much it sounds as if the place is falling down.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Celia Burns

Stung by the £500pw Benefit Cap, no rent being paid – Help! Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

This week I have been stung by my first experience of the benefits cap. Stung by the Benefit Cap, no rent being paid - Help

One of my tenants Housing Benefit has gone down to £30pw from £159pw.

This is the cap where the Government are limiting families to £500pw of maximum benefits and all councils will have it by Sept 2013.

My tenant now gets £310 Child Tax Credit, approx £90 Child benefit & £10 Income Support with loans taken off. With Council Tax & the £30HB, we are about £500. A lot of money I know, but when they’ve had if for years, they’re used to it.

My tenant cannot understand at all that she has to pay any rent out her own pocket – so isn’t going to – so she says.

I’ve given her notice in case things get worse, as mortgages don’t grow on trees.

I don’t want her to go and she she doesn’t want to go either!

She rang me up every week for a year to get a house off me, so we are both valued to each other.

I have contacted Shelter, MP’s, Govt, CLG, Advice Centre, the Council Housing benefit and more and none of them seem to know anything whatsoever about direct payment to a Landlord when tenant is in arrears as a result of these circumstances.

The Local Authority is now saying no provision for direct payment to Landlord when in arrears.

As we all know Universal Credit are talking about direct payment to Landlord because of the big arrears they’ve been getting in trial areas. And as we all know, direct payment when LHA was introduced in 2008 was a no no,until we all moaned enough that is. Now getting direct payment is like taking candy from a baby.

However, I’m hitting a brick wall with direct payment under this new benefit cap.

I thought I was a benefit expert until this week. I’m 99% sure they will do something eventually, when enough people get evicted and moan enough, but I and many others need something positive to happen now.

My Local Authority are not interested, they seem to think it’s  funny that supercool Landlord Mick Roberts is now only getting £30pw when he was getting £159pw and in their eyes, lapping it up.

My tenant is still allowed £159pw under 4 bed LHA rate rules, but it is the benefits cap which is limiting her housing benefit payment to £30pw. Clearly this is the first thing tenants lose when going over the £500pw threshold.

Govt needs to wake up because they haven’t got the houses for for these tenants and wherever this tenant ends up she will only get £30pw towards her rent, so will be in the same boat with any Landlord.

The big families are no longer attractive!

Jeez, I wanted this to be a quick post, but if any experts reading this know more than me and can help, it would be very much appreciated.



Tenancy agreements – Why you need one Landlord Law, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Tenancy agreements - Why you need oneDid you know its not actually necessary, legally, to have a tenancy agreement

You can create a perfectly valid tenancy on a handshake, handing over the keys and collecting the rent from your tenant (s54(2) Law of Property Act 1925).

The tenant goes in and, bingo – assured shorthold tenancy created. No problem.

Or is there?

Here are three possible problem scenarios

1. Your tenant hands you a cheque for £500 for the first months rent. You say ‘hang on a minute, the rents £600’. He says “Oh yeah? Who says? We agreed £500 mate” How are you going to prove any different? Without a tenancy agreement with the rent clearly stated?

2. You take a deposit for £600 and duly protect it. At the end of the tenancy, you make a claim for the totally ruined carpet in the front room. Your tenant disputes it. It goes to arbitration. You lose. Why? There is no tenancy agreement clause setting out the circumstances under which you can make deductions from the deposit. Oh dear.

3. You decide you want your tenant to go. However, because she wants to be re-housed by the local authority you are told you have to evict her through the courts. You say ‘no problem’ and serve a section 21 notice. Your lawyer points out that you can’t use the accelerated procedure as you do not have a tenancy agreement and so you have to use the other procedure where there is a court hearing. The lawyers bill goes up. Ooops!

It will never happen to me

Now you may be saying “I ALWAYS give my tenants tenancy agreements“.

Good. I’m glad to hear it.

However, it’s something you need to be really careful about because if you let the tenants into occupation before they have signed the tenancy agreement, they can turn around and refuse. You can’t make them sign and as they are already in the property, there is not a lot you can do about it other than evict them, which will take a long time.

So to prevent problems occurring, make it a rule that you will never allow tenants to have the keys and move in until AFTER the tenancy agreement has been signed, by ALL the tenants.

The “letting tenants in on approval” myth

Sometimes people think, mistakenly, that it is possible to allow tenants to move in ‘on approval’ on the basis that if they behave themselves they can be given a ‘proper’ tenancy agreement later. However, this is a myth. As soon as the tenant moves into the property and pays his first rent he is a proper assured shorthold tenant. The only difference is that he is a proper assured shorthold tenant without a tenancy agreement. See the disadvantages listed above.

The situation if there is no signed agreement

So what is the legal situation if, by accident, a tenant does end up in your property without a signed tenancy agreement – and he then refuses to regularise the situation by signing one after he has moved in?

Here are some of the main points:

  • In most cases he will have an assured shorthold tenancy.
  • If rent is payable monthly, he will in most cases have a monthly periodic tenancy
  • You will be bound by the repairing covenants in s11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
  • You will not be able to evict him from the property other than via a court bailiff after obtaining an order for possession (Protection from Eviction Act 1977)
  • You will be bound by the various regulations such as the gas regulations, as well as the powers exercised by Local Authorities, for example under the Housing Act 2004 relating to the condition of the property

However the tenant will also be subject to various rules and regulations:

  • He will not be able to assign or sublet the property without the landlord’s consent (s15 Housing Act 1988)
  • He will not be entitled to carry out any improvements or alterations to the property without the landlord’s written consent (s81 Housing Act 1980), and
  • He will be under a duty to act in a ‘tenant like manner’ further to the Lord Denning decision in the 1954 case of Warren v. Keen.

None of this can really compensate for the lack of a properly drafted tenancy agreement.

So make sure you have one signed before the tenant goes in!

Should I start eviction process? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, Tenant Eviction, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Should I start eviction processI have a lady tenant in one of my flats who has been there for many years, up to now a model tenant. Over the winter she became ill and had to quit her job. She has tried to get housing benefit and I believe that eventually the local authority will meet its obligation.

The problem is that I have had no rent for five months now whilst the housing office procrastinates. Financially I cannot go without this income any longer being owed about three thousand pounds by now. My letting agents with the tenants permission have chased the council to no avail. I am reluctant to start eviction proceedings but am beginning to think this may be the only way forward. Continue reading Should I start eviction process?

Are Private Landlords Soft Targets? Guest Articles, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?In this time of austerity, we must all put our shoulder to the wheel, do our bit, and pay our fair share. However, over the last few years with all the new requirements for Landlords and the resulting costs and additional work and some of the more recent developments, I wonder if Landlords are seen as soft targets for income generation?

It is well publicised that in addition to Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) certain Local Authorities (LA) are now requiring private landlords to be licensed before they can rent their property for which they are charge a fee. To add to this Lewisham Council, for example, intends to not only fine any property owners found to be committing an offence under the Housing Health and Safety Regulation System but also charged an administration fee for doing so. The LA sees both of these situations as a new source of revenue. Continue reading Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?

Lending Criteria to Consider when Purchasing a Buy to Let Flat Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Mortgage News, Property News

I had a question concerning this from our reader Dan today, but many Buy to Let investors I talk to are unprepared when looking to purchase a flat about considering what lenders will take as suitable security. Banks often have a surprisingly vast array of criteria that needs to be considered when lending.

I have compiled a list of questions a lender will ask and factors to consider when purchasing a flat. Although fairly in depth, I would not consider this exhaustive as after 15 years I know it is still possible to run across circumstances not seen before. Continue reading Lending Criteria to Consider when Purchasing a Buy to Let Flat

Alastair Lygate of Irvine GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The GOOD Landlords CampaignAlastair Lygate of Irvine

I am a Surveyor with a small portfolio of around 20 properties.

My philosophy is that my tenants are my customers and that as they pay my income in return I provide a service to them. I try to keep issues arising within a 9 till 5 time frame and to pre-empt this I contact them on a regular basis,but recognise and accept that issues may arise outside those times.

I find that this approach develops a relationship with my tenants and they begin to see me as more than just a ‘money grabber’, which can often be their pre-conception and experience they have of previous Landlords and I welcome tenants from all backgrounds and financial situations.

I am proactive in developing professional characteristics of Landlords in North Ayrshire by being involved in a working group forum with the Local Authority and advise on their private sector development and strategy team.
I also am a qualified to carry out Domestic EPCs which I carry out on a regular basis within Ayrshire which brings me into direct contact with Agents, Landlords and tenants, and enjoy meeting with them and listening to and discussing pertinent issues concerning property related matters.

In a previous life (1980 to 2000) I carried out mortgage valuation reports, constructed, repaired and extended residential, retail and commercial property so I have reasonable knowledge of the property market, including having run a local estate agency all within a partnership of surveyors.

In my spare time!! I enjoy eating out,cinema,skiing, golf ,church and holidays with my wife and family.

Continue reading Alastair Lygate of Irvine

Smart investors go to Oxford Buy to Let Property Hotspots, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Guest article from one of Oxford’s leading letting agents

Oxford Property InvestmentI am often asked why Oxford represents such an attractive option for buy to let property investors. 

The answer is, like much treasure, not blatantly obvious, but if you are prepared to dig a little, the clarity of the jewels you may find are particularly alluring.

The city has been home to a transient population since the Middle Ages.  The intellectual elite continue to arrive here in droves from all over the world; a stint at Oxford, either for study, research or employment adds value to any CV.  During the early years, Oxford was a walled city, nothing much has changed, the new wall is the ring road, and represents an immovable barrier to the physical growth of housing provision, which places extra-ordinary strain on the supply and demand dynamic, resulting in a permanent state of insufficient supply. Continue reading Smart investors go to Oxford

London Central Portfolio Ltd report Empty Homes Crisis Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Central London Landlords are not the villains as thousands are owned and unused by poorest boroughs in an empty homes crises.

“The lights are out in London” seems to be politicians’ pet mantra. It was used by Lib-Dem MP Simon Hughes in his motion to make parts of the capital ‘off-limits’ to wealthy people purchasing second homes and ‘leaving them sitting empty’. It was used as a catalyst for the Stamp Duty rises for high end property in the last budget. And most recently, it was used by Camden Council in their efforts to increase council tax on empty homes. Continue reading London Central Portfolio Ltd report Empty Homes Crisis

Rent Guarantee Insurance for LHA Tenants Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property Market News, Property News

Rent Guarantee Insurance for LHA TenantsI suspect very few of our readers expected to see the words Rent Guarantee Insurance and LHA Tenants in the same headline!

Following headlines that only 1.5% of landlords will now let their properties to tenants in receipt of housing benefits is alarming, particularly if you are a landlord whose entire property portfolio is only attractive to this demographic due to location. Fortunately we think we have come across an interesting and incredibly innovative solution for landlords in this predicament. Continue reading Rent Guarantee Insurance for LHA Tenants

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