Mar
22

HF Academy to run agent workshop – dealing with tenant fees ban

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Fees Ban:

At the end of 2018, Hamilton
Fraser launched HF Academy, a series of half and full day workshops offering property
professionals advice and education covering the full tenancy lifecycle. The
next workshop, due to take place on 14th May at Holiday Inn
Borehamwood, is ‘Future Proofing Your
Lettings Business and How to Deal with The Tenant Fees Ban’
.

Hosted by Susie Crolla
of the Guild of Letting & Management, the workshop will deal with the impending
Tenant Fees Ban due become Law on the 1st June 2019. It will reflect on current
business practices, highlight Unique Selling Points, discuss the details of the
Tenant Fees Ban and provide agents with strategies to help navigate this
change.

Paul Shamplina, founder
of Landlord Action and star of Channel 5’s ‘Bad Tenant’s Rogue Landlords’, will
speak to agents about attracting new landlords and retaining the ones they
already have, alongside Sean Hooker, Head of The Property Redress Scheme (PRS),
who will give an update from Westminster.

Commenting on the
course, Paul Shamplina, says “The idea is
to allow business owners to focus their energy on the important elements of
this transition, which is going to shape the future of lettings.  We want to help take away the sense of panic
and provide letting agents with strategies to streamline their processes, gain
a better understanding of landlords’ mindsets in the current climate and plan
for what’s to come.�

Sean Hooker, head of
PRS, adds “With so much change facing the
industry, your business has to be ahead of the curve.  This course will
signpost the letting agent on how they can replace lost income due to the fee
ban and work more efficiently with their time.�

An attendee of HF
Academy’s previous workshop, Brendan Ryan, Director of Operations at Daniels
Estate Agents, said: “The workshop we
last attended at HF Academy was without doubt one of the best that we have been
to, purely for the fact it was delivered in a very practical way by Susie and
in a letting agent’s language.  The
knowledge Paul Shamplina has of our industry was impressive and he gave us some
great tips on how to find new landlords’.�

To sign up to the HF Academy event for £149 (+VAT), including lunch and networking opportunities with likeminded agents, please click here.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – HF Academy to run agent workshop – dealing with tenant fees ban | LandlordZONE.

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Mar
22

Bankrupt couple take in £7.8 million in property scam

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Investment Scams:

These scams abound and property, it would seem, has more
than its fair share of these frauds. Glossy brochures, slick looking websites
and smooth talking sales people lure unsuspecting investors with tempting high
interest and capital returns.

The usual warnings should always apply: if it looks too good
to be true, it usually is. When most savings accounts are paying no more that 1
to 2% interest, claims of up to 8 or 10% are wildly optimistic, and for a
passive investor, largely unattainable.

Investors should ALWAYS do thorough due diligence checks before investing in any project, or pay a professional to do this for them. Check out companies and their accounts with Companies House, do credit checks with a good reference agency, check out individual directors – bankruptcies, court judgements and criminal convictions will often show up on-line with a quick Google search.

Request detailed accounts to assess potential profits, visit the development and talk to local agents to assess values and seek testimonials from previous investors who have had experience with the company concerned. Always search the Bankruptcy and Individual Insolvency Register and Companies House.

So, in the above case, enter Stroud based declared bankrupts
Matthew and Charlotte Roberts who set up an extremely and exceptionally
complicated investment scam which lured numerous investors to part with their
hard earned savings totalling £7.8 million

The High Court has now wound up thirteen companies set up by
the couple who managed to sustain this highly sophisticated scam over a considerable
period of time. The thirteen companies were wound up by the High Court in the
public interest following investigations by Company Investigations of the
Insolvency Service.

The companies all traded from one address in Stroud and were
all set up by husband and wife team Matthew and Charlotte Roberts, who are both
bankrupt. They had targeted high net worth individuals and ‘sophisticated
investors’ for two projects and succeeded in raising at least £7.8 million.
Insolvency Service investigators are now seeking to track down funds and assets
but have warned a significant amount of the money may not be recoverable.

David Hill, chief investigator with the Insolvency Service,
said,

I am very pleased to see that the Court has called a halt to
the unscrupulous activities of these companies. The Insolvency Service will
continue to investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies harming
or about to harm the public by operating in this way.

The companies have shown no regard for the law.

The 13 companies purported to be involved in two projects.
11 were concerned with a project to acquire and convert a former convent in
Woodchester, near Stroud in Gloucester, into a hotel and music venue. The
remaining two companies were involved in a second project to acquire and develop
a property in Norway to create an ‘eco resort’.

The Matthews raised at least £7.8 million from private
investors who were told their investments would be fully asset backed with the
companies in which they purchased shares acquiring ownership of various land
and buildings at the two sites. In fact none of the land, or buildings was
found to be owned by the companies in which investors had invested.

Investors were invited to buy preference shares in a number
of companies with a particular purpose in defined project on the promise of
annual returns from 10% and guaranteed buybacks up to 150% depending on the
length of the investment term which could be between one, three or five years.
They were then told that their investment was high risk and having certified
themselves as either ‘high net worth individuals’ or ‘sophisticated investors’,
they would have no access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Both Matthew Roberts and Charlotte Roberts are bankrupt. The
former has been bankrupt since 3 September 2014 and his discharge has been
suspended. The latter was made bankrupt on 25 August 2016 and her discharge is
also currently suspended

In respect of the UK project (“The Convent Hotel & Spa�)
the Court heard that the site of the former convent had been acquired by the
Roberts and/or HH Property 4 Limited, a company under their control, in May and
June 2013, through the use of bridging loans secured against the properties.

In the first phase of fund raising investors were encouraged
to buy shares in Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV�) companies, again controlled by
the Roberts and which each owned a single share in BBH Property 1 Limited. In
subsequent fund raising phases investors purchased shares directly in BBH
Property 2 Limited, Crowdseed3 Limited and Crowdseed4 Limited. In total some
£5.8 million was raised from investors in the UK project.

Investors were told their funds would be used to enable the
purchase by those four companies of various buildings at the Convent site thus
providing security for investors by shared ownership of the companies that
owned the buildings free from debt. The investment companies would then lease
the buildings to hotel operating companies and receive a dividend based on the
rent received by the companies plus a guaranteed buy back of their shares at
125% of investment after 3 years or 150% after five years.

Investors were given comfort that their monies would be paid
into solicitor client accounts and held in escrow and only released when
adequate security was in place. This did not happen and funds were released by
solicitors on the directions of the Roberts and large sums were applied for
other purposes, or purposes that the investigators could not identify.

The Court saw evidence that, save for one set of buildings
known as The Barns, none of the properties were ever transferred to the
investment companies as purported would happen in the brochures and other
documents provided to investors. The Barns, which the investigators found to be
derelict outbuildings, were subsequently transferred by BBH Property 1 Limited
to Thornley Property Stroud Limited without the investors’ knowledge leaving
the investors without any security at all.

Thornley Property Stroud, which was used by Mrs Roberts as a
personal management company and latterly as the hotel operating company, is
recorded as having paid £300,000 for the purchase of the Barns from BBH
Property 1. However; the investigators found no evidence that any such
consideration was ever paid by Thornley Property Stroud for The Barns.

BBH Property 1 Limited was incorporated on 11 December 2014,
registration number 08675992. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

BBH Property 1 Limited was incorporated on 11 December 2014,
registration number 09012571. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Crowdseed3 Limited was incorporated on 15 September 2014,
registration number 09217756. The registered office of the company is at 54
Mallorie Park Drive, Ripon, N Yorkshire, HG4 2QF.

Crowdseed4 Limited was incorporated on 30 January 2015,
registration number 09415203. The registered office of the company is at 54
Mallorie Park Drive, Ripon, N Yorkshire, HG4 2QF.

HH Property 4 Limited was incorporated on 02 April 2012,
registration number 08016267. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Convent (Stroud) Limited was incorporated on 15 September
2015, registration number 09778052. The registered office of the company is at
The Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Roomco Limited was incorporated on 03 September 2014,
registration number 09200891. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Convent Live Limited was incorporated on 15 September 2014,
registration number 09218722. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Thornley Property (Stroud) Limited was incorporated on 25
April 2014, registration number 09011046. The registered office of the company
is at The Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire,
GL5 5HS.

Netgiglive Limited was incorporated on 20 November 2012,
registration number 08300688. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

Music Show Limited was incorporated on 21 November 2016,
registration number 10489610. The registered office of the company is at The
Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

In respect of the Norway Project (“The Convent in the Hills
Investment�):

Convent in the Hills Limited and Covent in the Hills 2
Limited were companies used to raise investment to purchase and develop land in
Norway to create an eco resort.

There were two elements to the development the first was a
proposal to build a central hotel and 224 houses on a plot of land. Funds were
raised by The Convent in the Hills Limited and were used to purchase five plots
of land in Mr and Mrs Roberts’s names, only one of which had planning
permission and was subsequently transferred into the ownership of a subsidiary
company of The Convent in the Hills being Convent in the Hills AS

Convent in the Hills AS is a Norwegian company and is
currently subject to an insolvency process in that country.

The plot was purchased from Mr and Mrs Roberts for NOK 5
million (Norwegian Krona), being the same price that they had paid for all five
plots in the previous year. The Court accepted the evidence that a significant
proportion of the monies raised was paid to Mrs Roberts, or to companies, or
individuals with whom she was connected, including paying expenditure
apparently unconnected with the Norwegian Project.

The Convent In The Hills Limited was incorporated on 3 June
2014, registration number 09068955. The registered office of the company is at
The Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.

The Convent In The Hills2 Limited was incorporated on 23
July 2014, registration number 09144068. The registered office of the company
is at The Convent, Convent Lane, South Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire,
GL5 5HS.

The winding-up petitions were presented under s124A of the
Insolvency Act 1986. The Official Receiver was appointed as provisional liquidator
of the companies on 10 August 2017 by Mr Justice Roth, a Judge of the Chancery
Division of the High Court.

Company
Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies
Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the
activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of
State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Insolvency
Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy
and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to
deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both
civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by
effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining
public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of
fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the
disqualification of directors in corporate failures.

Bankruptcy and Individual Insolvency Register

Companies House – Company Information

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – Bankrupt couple take in £7.8 million in property scam | LandlordZONE.

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Mar
21

The Doves have it the Doves have it

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The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee have voted unanimously to hold the Bank Base Rate at 0.75% for another month.

From the meeting notes below this seems to be a holding pattern due to uncertainty around how

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Mar
21

Reasons for rent rise above normal this year?

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I am looking for help please with suggestions for best wording to explain a larger rent rise than normal for my tenants this year.

I have 2 properties, a house that I rent for £998 and a 2 bed flat for £650.

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Mar
21

Emotive and meaningless words ‘no fault’ referring to s.21 notices

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Last year, Property118 contributor Dr Ros Beck wrote a critique, under the banner of The Landlords Union, of a Richard Bilton/BBC Panorama programme in which he was calling for the removal of S.21 altogether, that questioned and strongly criticised the use of the term ‘no fault’ when describing S.21 Notices.

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Mar
21

Fergus Wilson’s response to BBC Panorama

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The Remit of the Programme was:

What happens to the Tenants when the Landlord Retires or Dies!

Why are Private Sector Landlords (PSL) leaving in droves, because of the punitive tax regime!

Unfortunately Panorama sacrificed an informative explanation of the reasons for the PSL exit in favour of two “non stories� from tenants and thereby bringing Panorama into disrepute.

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Mar
21

Dividends And Other Tax Perks For Landlords Who Incorporate

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I hear a lot of talk about double taxation for private landlords who decide to incorporate. However, when I explain that a husband and wife could withdraw £100,000 a year between them from their company and pay less than half the amount of tax as individual landlords that tends to get people thinking a bit more.

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Mar
21

BBC Panorama spotlights Fergus Wilson sell-off

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Private Landlords:

A BBC panorama programme aired on Monday (18th
March) and available on BBC iPlayer shows a less than flattering picture of the
methods used by of Britain’s most controversial private landlord.

The programme states that hundreds Mr Wilson’s tenants face
eviction as one of Britain’s biggest landlords decides to liquidate his property
empire.

The Wilsons, husband and wife, both former teachers, built-up
one of Britain’s biggest private landlord portfolios throughout the 1990s and naughtiest,
until they eventually owned around 1,000 houses in Kent.

Having sold a large proportion of their portfolio a couple
of years ago to foreign investors, they were still left with a large chunk to
manage, often finding themselves in deep controversy when they were taken to
court for various matters, including discrimination.

Using the section 21 “no-fault� eviction process on such a large
scale to evict tenants en-masss, it is argued, is bringing the procedure, and
private landlording into disrepute. This is especially so when currently this
right for landlords to be able to evict tenants without giving a reason is
being questioned in many quarters.

True to form, and highly controversially, Fergus Wilson says
in the programme there are two types of tenant: “those who agree with me
and ex-tenants”

Hundreds of his tenants now face eviction after Wilson decided
to sell his entire property portfolio, looking to retire from the business after
the series of court battles over the way he has treated his tenants.

Mr Wilson and wife Judith still own around 300 properties in
Kent, having made millions from their buy-to-let empire over a 20 year period
or so, and they became infamous for their Draconian letting rules. Mr Wilson
appears to have developed a particular disdain for plumbers.

A total of 90 Section 21 notices are reputedly being
delivered to tenants, allowing two months to vacate, and Mr Wilson commented on
their plight by saying:

“I do feel sad for people who are going to be homeless, it
will be hardest for parents with young children, because most landlords won’t
accept them.

“I also feel sad selling the houses. We have built them up
over the years but we can’t take them to the grave with us.

“We haven’t thought about what we will do with the money
yet, I’m not going to buy a Rolls-Royce or anything like that.

“I could do that now – it is money down the drain,â€� he told Kentonline.co.uk.

Mr Wilson had indicated that he is in sale discussions with several
investors and some from India and Nigeria.

Councillor Gerald White of Ashford Borough Council said that
the authority would be helping evicted tenants “as much as we can�, and that “Mr
Wilson is a landlord, he is well within his legal rights to do what he wants
with his properties whether that’s to sell or rent them.�

Previously, under their strict guidelines, the Wilson’s have
refused to take people on zero-hours contracts, single parents, some ethnic
minorities and those on benefits.

Wilson, who had spent weeks filming with Panorama, said he
wanted to give a landlord’s perspective on the UK’s housing market and believes
there is an urgent need to build more housing.

There are now more than 10 million people living in private
rented accommodation according to the programme, but Mr Wilson said private
landlords cannot cater for all of them.

Mr Wilson thought that housing benefit tenants were not getting
paid enough to keep up with their rent payments and therefore were going into arrears.

Having purchased their first rental property in 1991 the
Wilsons estimate that they have provided housing for around 10,000 tenants.

Although the couple expect to sell many of their properties
to large-scale investors, hoping the tenants will be retained, he is
unapologetic for issuing 90 eviction notices with some more to follow.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – BBC Panorama spotlights Fergus Wilson sell-off | LandlordZONE.

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Mar
20

Newly launched luxury Manchester apartments

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We are delighted to launch a brand new, off plan investment opportunity in Manchester called Greenwood Place.  Prices for a 2 bed apartment with parking start from only £135,000.

Greenwood Place is ideally situated on the outskirts of Manchester and is only a 20 minute drive to the city centre. 

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Mar
20

Bank managers are a virtually extinct species

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Many years ago, property investors and developers knew their local bank manager and would simply arrange a meeting with them to discuss the various finance options. However, today, bank managers are a virtually extinct species and where they do exist

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