LATEST: Scots government considers ‘ill thought-through’ rent controls bill

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The Scottish government is working through hundreds of submissions to its consultation on Labour MSP Pauline McNeill’s Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill, which finished this week.

It received more than 200 responses, which McNeill says shows a real appetite to fight unfair and unaffordable rents.

The Scottish Labour housing spokesperson adds: “The pandemic has made an already bad situation worse in terms of housing affordability. It’s time that the other parties listened to Scottish Labour and the voices of these respondents and back the bill.”

The bill would cap rent rises at 1% above inflation and give renters protection against excessive or unfair rent increases. Private landlords would also be made to enter the monthly rent and other detailed information into the Scottish Landlord Register.


A previous attempt to get it through parliament was halted by the local government and communities committee in August, which blamed its failure on a heavy workload. The process was re-started in October.

The Scottish Association of Landlords believes the proposals could lead to higher and more frequent rent increases as well as a shortage in the supply of homes.

It fears the bill would act as a disincentive to landlords considering reducing the rent below the open market level in order to attract new tenants or help existing tenants who are in financial difficulty.

Chief executive John Blackwood (pictured) tells LandlordZONE it hasn’t been properly thought through. “We dispute the need for a rent increase cap as the majority of landlords don’t currently increase their tenants’ rent mid tenancy.”

He adds: “We are particularly concerned that it proposes preventing a landlord from increasing the rent within 12 months of an order from the rent officer setting the rent. The tenant would simply need to apply to the rent officer once a year for a determination of a fair rent.”

Rural business organisation Scottish Land & Estates has also opposed the bill.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – LATEST: Scots government considers ‘ill thought-through’ rent controls bill | LandlordZONE.

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Landlords, lettings and deposits – expert advice from Hamilton Fraser

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Eddie Hooker, CEO of Hamilton Fraser, Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action. Special guest Daniel Lee, Mortgage Broker at Total Landlord Mortgages.

Hamilton Fraser’s Property Podcast returns for another episode of the popular ‘Landlords, lettings and deposits’ series. Each episode offers expert advice on the key topics impacting landlords and features a special industry guest sharing their unique market insight.

In the latest episode of Hamilton Fraser’s Property Podcast, ‘Landlords, lenders and mortgages – how can you secure the best deal?’, Eddie Hooker, CEO of award winning Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance and Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador at Hamilton Fraser, are joined by special guest Daniel Lee, a Mortgage Broker at Total Landlord Mortgages, Hamilton Fraser’s latest venture.

Total Landlord Mortgages, in partnership with financial advice firm Legacy Financial Consultants, is backed by Openwork, one of the largest financial advice networks in the UK and offers landlords exclusive mortgage rates.

With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Daniel explains the importance of finding the right financial solution for your unique needs and how using a specialist insurance broker can help you to achieve this, as well as how to access the right lenders for you. He also discusses responsible lending and why having a long term, rather than short term, view of the property market can give you the edge.

Eddie, Paul and Daniel also explore the property market buoyancy in the wake of COVID-19 and how, despite some challenges caused by the pandemic in relation to lending, demand is still strong.

Don’t forget to listen out for brand new episodes of Hamilton Fraser’s Property Podcast with new special industry guests every episode!

Missed the previous podcasts in the series? Don’t worry, you can catch up with industry news here!

Previous guests include:
• Steve Bowen, Mediator at the Property Redress Scheme and experienced landlord
• Jonathan Schuman, established portfolio landlord and Owner of Magnet Properties
• Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
• Matt Hooker and Nick Hamatsos, Co-Founders of Ome, a new breed of deposit replacement scheme
• Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme
• Kate Faulkner, market analyst, commentator and co-author of ‘The Landlord’s Friend’
• Tessa Shepperson, residential property lawyer and Managing Director of Landlord Law

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – Landlords, lettings and deposits – expert advice from Hamilton Fraser | LandlordZONE.

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LAUNCH: New app transfers whole renting process to tenants’ smartphones

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Tenants can read their tenancy agreement and request repairs using a trailblazing new app.

Automated lettings platform PlanetRent’s native tenant app aims to simplify the lettings process as well as cut costs and reduce admin time by connecting landlords, tenants, agents, contractors and accountants, and letting them access information.

Tenants can find important documents on it, including their tenancy agreement and inventory checklist, along with the floorplan and utility records.

They can also log repairs and maintenance requests directly through the app rather than contacting their agent or landlord, who can then use it to notify the tenant when they’ve finished any work.

The app was developed by residential property consultancy, Ringley Group, which believes it’s the first of its kind. The firm has invested more than £2m in creating tech products for the property market and aimed to help agents and landlords meet social distancing requirements when it launched PlanetRent in March.

The platform allows documents to be accessed virtually and enables contracts to be generated in seconds so they can be e-signed by landlords, tenants and agents.

bowring planet rent

Mary-Anne Bowring, Ringley Group MD (pictured), says this new tenant app helps renters do everything on the move.

She adds: “With another lockdown or further social distancing restrictions imminent, the ability to work remotely and seamlessly while minimising human contact will be crucial and PlanetRent will help landlords, agents, contractors and tenants do exactly that.”

Read about other property management smartphone apps.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – LAUNCH: New app transfers whole renting process to tenants’ smartphones | LandlordZONE.

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The Christmas hazards for landlords…

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Especially this year, when people are confirmed to their homes, there is less chance to socialise and “let off steam” in pubs and restaurants, families are confined, and coming together over Christmas can easily degenerate in to family arguments.

The best case means that these are soon patched up, and all is forgotten, but in the worst case it means family break-ups, separation and divorces.

Any experienced landlord will tell you that January means couples split up, which brings with it complications with their tenancies. Either both parties leaving, or one leaving and one staying. If it’s a joint tenancy, then it ends when one party leaves. The landlord must decide whether to grant a new tenancy to the one remaining party – can that party afford the rent on it’s own is the big question?

Where the tenancy is in the name of one party, then further complications arise when a remaining tenant is not on the tenancy agreement. Again the landlord is faced with a similar decision; does the landlord issue a new tenancy and can that party afford the rent?

On the other hand, when families split opportunities arise for landlords, as a single household now becomes two, and twice as many properties are needed. I have rented out many a flat after Christmas to a single splitter, even had one case where a tenancy was signed and it was never fulfilled or the property occupied throughout the six month term, because the couple got reconciled and moved back in together.

The second concerning issue with Christmas, for landlords, is money. People get carried away with their spending, they simply throw caution to the wind to buy what they think family deserve in terms of presents or booze. It’s not until those credit card bills start hitting the mat in January that the real hangover begins, the pain of realising just how much has to be paid back.

It’s then that rent arrears can start to rack-up. The first the landlord knows about it is when that rent payment does not appear on their bank statement, or the cheque fails to arrive, but as Neil Cobbold, Chief Sales Officer at automated payments provider PayProp, says:

“Since March, increasing limitations on property possession claims through the courts have made 2020 a difficult year for landlords and letting agencies to deal effectively with serious issues such as rent arrears.

“The scant supply of repossession options will continue over the coming weeks due to an extended Christmas evictions truce between December 11 and January 11 2021, with no enforcement action allowed in England until January 25.”

The tendency during the festive period for rent arrears to build-up pushes many landlords into pursuing eviction through the courts, but this year their options are more limited than usual.

Landlords need to look to alternatives to eviction. Communication is the key wherever possible, and though there is a distinct tendency for tenants to “go to ground” when in arrears, a big effort should be made by landlords to offer help and reassure, after first investigating and perhaps using an independent intermediary resource, such a professional letting agent or mediation.

Letting agents can help by effectively and proactively managing communication between landlords and tenants, either preventing or reducing arrears through effective reminders or organising affordable repayment plans.

By digitally recording all payments and automating arrears chasing and employing the services of a dedicated eviction expert, agents and landlords can better navigate the changing rules during this trying period.

Next year, the prospect of a successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the financial support provided by an extension to the furlough scheme could improve the situation and pave the way for more normal eviction avenues to resume, says PayProp.

“However, there will still be challenges ahead as the minimum notice period for evictions (except for the most serious cases) remains at six months until March at the earliest. Meanwhile, there will also be the renewed prospect of Section 21 being scrapped as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, further curtailing options.”

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – The Christmas hazards for landlords… | LandlordZONE.

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New How to Rent Guide for Landlords and Tenants

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Thursday 10 December 2020 MHCLG has published an updated version of the How to Rent Guide (England). This guide sets outs the rights and responsibilities of both Landlords and Tenants within the private rented sector.


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