Browsing all articles from July, 2016

Editorial – July 2016

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Having recovered from the shock of the Brexit result, and the change at the top of the UK Government, we seem to be going thought some sort of malaise, wondering what will happen next and more to the point, how we will be affected as landlords.

There’s lots of speculation, doom and gloom as well as great optimism for the country, but we all know the next few months will be a revelation and a crucial time for the UK. Our lead article this month perhaps adds to the speculation, but it also digs up some interesting material which hopefully gives some investing insights, but ultimately, none of us know for certain what comes next after Brexit…

In this issue:

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have announced their strategy to ‘make renting better’ by undertaking a new quarterly review of the private rented sector (PRS). They will be conducting quarterly surveys to assess the state of the PRS and the purpose of the survey is to understand the tax and finance issues affecting landlords.

As part of this the RLA are appealing for help from landlords in completing a short survey. Involvement in the research project is entirely voluntary, anonymous and you are free to withdraw at any point. See the article for more details.

David Lawrenson has provided his latest book for review – “Tenants’ Guide to Successful Renting” which may seem a bit of an odd choice, reviewing a book advising tenant’s on how to be successful at renting, not at first sight a perfect match for a landlord site like this. But if you think about it, renting is just the opposite side of the coin, a mirror image, to letting, which gives insights into the thinking on both sides – not that we should be taking sides or seeing this as a, “us and them” game.

Belvior have provided an interesting article on how to stop tenant trouble before it starts, with six simple steps suggested from the experts at Belvoir. From sub-letting and malicious damage to benefit fraud and rent arrears, the problematic pitfalls of a troublesome tenancy can be many-fold for an unsuspecting landlord, as they say.

There are several articles on managing rentals, investing and up-coming notices on property shows and events and our regular contributor on commercial property issues, Michael Level, gives his take on Brexit.

We live in interesting times as the saying goes, so we will see how things develop over the coming months, but I’m hopeful that the buy-to-let landlord will rise to the challenge and continue to provide the valuable community service that we all do.

Tom Entwistle, Editor.


View Full Article: Editorial – July 2016


What impact will Brexit have?

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What impact will Brexit have on the UK rental market? That’s the big question right now and one which will probably dominate our thinking over the rest of this year and maybe beyond that.

Will the economic doomsday scenario promulgated prior to the vote by George Osborne and the Bank of England play out, or will the “blue sky” view, the free trade bonanza favoured by the Brexiteers shine through?

There is already speculation on both sides, but the rational research so far is confusing: on the one hand you have reports of the “Brexit Bounce”, where the stock market made a quick recovery; the banks say they are experiencing business as usual, and the economy grew by 0.6 per cent three months to end of June. On the other hand we have GfK’s consumer confidence barometer out this week showing households are pessimistic about their personal finances, and the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), regarded as the bellwether of industrial activity, showing a sharp decline.

On the positive side of the equation banks and retailers are reporting activity as normal, ARLA have come out with an optimistic survey of lettings business, largely as usual, and there have been numerous reports of new investment projects, public and private, and foreign inward investment, going ahead.

It’s therefore really hard to know what’s happening at the moment and I’ve no doubt there will be lots of conflicting reports along this binary theme for the rest of this year.  The other big questions which will have an effect on this are: what economic and taxation decisions will be made by the Treasury coming up to the new Chancellor’s Autumn statement, and what progress will be made on the negotiations with Europe.

For now the Scottish question seems to have abated a little, though that might not be the way the SNP see it, and all’s quiet on the Western Front while the new prime minister and her team get their act together for the crucial negotiations with Europe. But all hell is likely to break loose if it appears we are going for access to the EU market without the restriction on freedom of movement.

As far as buy-to-let is concerned, it was already reeling from a three pronged attack on its viability: (1) George Osborne’s shock tax hikes following the Conservatives successful re-election last May, (2) on-going legislative changes bringing more regulations and red-tape for landlords and agents to deal with, and (3) a clampdown on mortgage lending, again inspired by George Osborne and his view that buy-to-let landlords compete with first-time buyers. I suppose you could add to the catalogue the many local authorities bringing in selective licensing schemes, much discredited as an effective tool for dealing with rogue landlords, but nevertheless affecting many responsible landlords trying to offer a good consumer service at a reasonable price.

The question for landlords is: will the new Chancellor look again at Osborne’s “landlord taxes”; will he have a rethink and make some changes? Landlords are hopeful that some concessions may be in the offing, especially if a slow-down in construction and hesitation by landlords to invest becomes apparent.

London and the south east, where by far the biggest concentration of private residential landlords operate, and now representing 37% of London housing stock, is likely to feel the pinch worst. A new London property market report from Deutsche Bank concludes that there will be a “substantial fall in BTL purchases and some selling”.  While the report sees the demographics in London as favourable it stresses the already overstretched affordability levels as a problem.  The tax changes in particular will have an impact on buy-to-let profitably in London going forward, and unless there is a change, some think unlikely, there is likely to be some selling off of London rental property.

The picture is different outside of London where rental yields are much stronger in northern cities. A LendInvest survey found Manchester and Liverpool to be “strongholds of high rental yield”. CEO Christian Faes says: “It’s very interesting that the top districts for rental yield, which are often found in the North East and North West, voted so overwhelmingly for Brexit.”

“Brexit may create opportunities for property investors, particularly professional and experienced ones. House prices are expected to soften, so some would-be buyers may put off buying. But they still need somewhere to live, which is good news for landlords. What’s more, if house prices do cool as predicted, then investing in property will become even more enticing., says Faes”

You might say, he would say that wouldn’t he, he would take an optimistic view when he’s selling finance, but their research comes up with some interesting statistics: Burnley had the highest rental yield with 7.14%, followed by Blackpool with 6.62%, but London comes out top on capital gains with 14% average gain over the period 2010-2016, followed by Waltham Forest with 13% – will these gains continue, probably unlikely?

Manchester came top as an area for high rental yield with 6.8%. Coventry, Luton and Outer London moved up to joint second place, with a rental yield of 5.8%, followed by Blackburn, which yielded 5.7% on average.

While it looks like the numbers may not stack-up in London and the South East, at least for a while, if you can purchase cheaper properties with better yields, then you will have the opportunity to protect and boost your profits long term. Making money in buy-to-let is likely to be tougher in the coming years, and those most at risk here are those with smaller deposits, highly geared investments where their properties are in arrears, and where rents are low compared with house prices.

But, it’s an ill wind that blows no good: savvy landlord investors can live with the changes and buy cheaper property with higher yields, and that probably means avoiding acquiring property in the Capital – London and the South East, for now, where the average returns between 2010 and 2015, was just 4.86% per annum in outer London and 4.71% per annum in the City, that’s according to LendInvest’s figures.

Landlord property investors, say LendInvest, should be looking to invest in the buy-to-let market in university towns in the North and Midlands: Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham, to find the best returns. House prices in these cities can be just one-fifth of those in London, but salaries are on average 70 per cent of London earnings.

My gut feeling is that this post Brexit malaise is no Lehman Brothers moment. The stock market has held up well and is moving ahead nicely, there will probably be a dip in the housing market as there was at the time, but as then the rental market will probably thrive, given the demand for renting. As indicated above, there will be some regional differences, some rebalancing and adjustment to come, but as always, there will be opportunities for those that can see through the fog and act accordingly.

Tom Entwistle


View Full Article: What impact will Brexit have?


DWP rejects Universal Credit APA applications

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Hundreds of landlords’ applications for Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) under Universal Credit are being deleted by the Department for Work & Pensions. (DWP)
Universal Credit expert Bill Irvine said he has been contacted by members complaining the DWP is refusing to deal with their applications claiming they ‘could not open attachments’ and as a result is entitled to delete them.
View Full Article: DWP rejects Universal Credit APA applications


Council releases 12,000 landlord names online

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The details of thousands of buy to let landlords were posted online Friday 22nd July by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council seemingly following a Freedom of Information request. The information has now been removed following an intervention by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The FOI request had asked the council for details on landlords so […]


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Book Review – "Tenants’ Guide to Successful Renting" by David Lawrenson

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It might seem a bit odd, reviewing a book advising tenant’s on how to be successful at renting, not at first sight a perfect match for a landlord site like this. But if you think about it, renting is just the opposite side of the coin, a mirror image, sorry to mix metaphors, to letting, which gives insights into the thinking on both sides – not that we should be taking sides or seeing this as a, “us and them” game.

Tenants' Guide To Successful Renting

In letting property there’s no substitute for experience; letting to multiple tenants over many years gives this in spades, so an experienced landlord and author like David Lawrenson has a mine of information and insights to share, and his ideas of what makes a perfect tenant is something worth learning about, especially if you are prospective tenant, seeking to secure a tenancy against a lot of competition, plus the book gives some useful insights for landlords as well.

In a landlords’ market, just like an employers’ market, tenants just like employees must shine through if they are to be successful in securing that desirable well located tenancy. Tenants should approach getting a tenancy just like a job interview, doing some research, putting themselves in the landlord’s shoes, and thinking carefully about how to present themselves to respectable landlords and letting agents.

Most tenants are totally unaware of what’s involved in being a landlord, the effort that goes into preparing the property, the documentation and the marketing of a rental each time there’s a change of tenancy. They are also usually unfamiliar with the concept of what a tenancy actually means in law, their rights and responsibilities under it, and those of their landlord.

The ideal tenant is one that looks after the property, pays rent on time, and has a good relationship with the landlord: this mean being courteous and only reporting genuine repairs. The ideal landlord presents the property in excellent condition, provides good facilities, leaves the tenant alone to enjoy the property, deals with repairs requests promptly and is courteous at all times.

Mr Lawrenson starts his book with a nice summary of the history of the private rented sector in the UK, “…so you can appreciate why things are perhaps as they are”. The book continues with a section on selecting the right type of property, spelling out the characteristics of different types of rentals, the need for careful financial planning and making sure the running costs such as heating and energy efficiency meet the budget.

An important section on credit checks gives the lowdown on what these mean, and how tenants can manage their finances so that they keep a good score. This is followed by important sections on viewing etiquette and the important things to look for when viewing, even down to tips on taking care of your personal safety on viewings.

Most important of all, for a tenant, is getting “under the skin” of landlords and letting agents, understanding perfectly what they are looking for and what attracts them to a particular tenant. Just as important perhaps, is knowing how to avoid the “fakes and flakes” as Lawrenson puts it. Scams are common these days in lettings, especially on the Internet, so knowing about these in advance is a bonus.

Important information on Letting Fees, Inventories, Deposit Schemes, a good summary of the ins and outs of tenancy laws and Letting Agreements, plus details about Housing Benefit, all important points of information essential to a smooth letting experience are provided in easy to follow and understandable – to the layperson – language.

Lots more information is provided on the important points to be aware of about the management aspects of the property; safety checks, the tenant’s responsibilities in looking after the property, plus how to deal with the end of a tenancy. A section dealing specifically with multiple housing and student tenant’s needs will be especially appreciated by new students and their parents.

All-in-all this book covers a surprising amount of material, all very relevant to tenants of all stripes, in an easily digested 250 pages, and accompanied by its own website:

Tom Entwistle


View Full Article: Book Review – "Tenants’ Guide to Successful Renting" by David Lawrenson


National Show: Midlands

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Date: Wednesday 21st September 2016

Doors Open – 9am – Close – 3.30pm – FREE ENTRY – FREE PARKING!

Location: West Bromwich Albion Football Club, The Hawthorns, Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, B71 4LF

Register and attend the show to receive a maximum of 5 CPD points towards your landlord accreditation

Book your Free Tickets

Due to the massive success The National Landlord Investment Shows in London and Manchester we are delighted to announce that we are heading to the Midlands.

The show will attract Landlords, Investors, Developers & Property Professionals.

If you are Interested in Investment Opportunities, Landlord TAX, Buying at Auction, Finance/Mortgages, Landlord Insurance plus much more…..then this is the show for you.

Seminars delivered by industry experts.

Come and meet exhibitors within buy-to-let.

Industries exhibiting include:

• Legal Services

• Buy-to-let mortgages

• Landlord Insurance

• Referencing

• Letting Agents

• Online Agents

• Property Management

• Local Council

• Tenancy Deposit Scheme

• Landlord Tax Advice

• Landlord Associations

• Buy to let opportunities

• Local Tradesman

Register and attend the show to receive a maximum of 5 CPD points towards your landlord accreditation.

This is a MUST attend event!


View Full Article: National Show: Midlands


Next Stop: #landlordshow comes to The Barbican

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The first Landlord & Letting Show of the Autumn will be our second visit of the year to the Capital.

On Wednesday 7th (from 11am-6pm) and Thursday 8th September (from 10am to 4pm), the event will take place in Hall 2 of The Barbican, located off Golden Lane, London EC2Y 8DL.

This is perhaps the most popular event in our annual calendar, as people come along to find out what’s in store for the private rented sector throughout the remainder of the year, as well as gain insights into what the new year will hold for property professionals.

So visit the website at to book your free tickets and make sure you keep yourself up-to-date on all the latest private rented sector developments.

There will be a wide range of seminars, workshops and panel discussions on offer, as well as one to one advice sessions, so you will certainly find the answers to any industry-related questions you may have! What’s more, the show is a great place to pick up some fantastic product and service deals in the exhibition.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to chat to and network with fellow property professionals and pick up CPD points for attendance if you are accredited!

We look forward to welcoming you to the London #landlordshow


View Full Article: Next Stop: #landlordshow comes to The Barbican


Wavering landlords will push up rents

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Lack of supply of available rentals will increase the cost of renting accommodation. That’s the warning from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) as they report that landlords are hesitating due to lack of government commitment to the PRS. Figures collected by ARLA from their letting agent members show that almost half are witnessing […]


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Low Risk Investment Strategies for Landlords

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There was a time when being a buy to let landlord was a licence to print money. Well, maybe not quite, but it was certainly easier a few years ago to make a good profit than it is these days. With recent tax changes and the government’s determination to make life difficult for landlords, it […]


View Full Article: Low Risk Investment Strategies for Landlords


Driving revenue from unused land

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Turn your vacant plot into a pop-up car park and earn extra revenue.

Effective revenue management means driving maximum yield from your assets – and that includes any unused space you may have. Unfortunately, real estate can often remain empty for long periods due to various delays – and this represents a missed opportunity for landowners.

The JustPark system extends its pioneering car park technology to focus on unused real estate with parking potential.

Whether your site is awaiting planning permission, development or simply lying dormant, parking company JustPark is now offering an array of tech-driven solutions which will allow you to rapidly generate revenue from your unused land – by renting it out as a car park for as long as it remains empty, whether that’s weeks or years.

JustPark have created a pioneering pop-up car park service which can be mobilised in a matter of days. Regardless of the amount of spare space you have or the length of time it’s available, it’s now very easy to transform any site into a commercial car park – and just as easy to reverse the process when development needs to begin.

Leveraging the same cutting-edge technology which has helped them reshape parking for the digital age, JustPark’s set-up for unused land is remarkably labour non-intensive. Their online platform provides access to over one million drivers who use the website and app to book parking; and their pioneering on-site hardware facilitates on-the-spot cashless sales – and also enables automated enforcement at the car park.

JustPark’s pricing software will also recommend tariff changes based on occupancy data and projected driver demand – suggesting low rates during off-peak periods and higher rates when spaces are limited. The electronic tariff display will update in real-time – helping to drive more customers to your site and allowing you to maximise the yield from your spaces.

The end result is a quick and cheap way to generate revenue from empty space, one which doesn’t require lengthy contracts or large up-front investment – and an increasing number of landowners are now using JustPark to tap into this revenue stream. The company already helps hundreds of hotels, landlords, restaurants, schools and churches make the most of their assets – and each parking space can generate £1,000s per year for these businesses.

If you already have a car park at your property, you can rent out your spare spaces right away via the JustPark website and app. Any bookings you receive will be paid for online, with all transactions processed automatically – you simply get paid straight into your account.

If it’s unused land that you’re looking to monetise, you may require additional permissions before you can rent it out as a car park (which JustPark can easily acquire for you). If it’s a large urban plot with space for lots of cars, you may want to consider JustPark’s hardware options too – which will help you capture passing customers as well as those booking online.

With this new technology, it’s now easier than ever to turn your empty land into a lucrative revenue source – temporarily or semi-permanently. To find out your site’s parking potential, head to – you may be surprised how much your spaces could be generating.

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View Full Article: Driving revenue from unused land




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