150,000 accidental and small landlords to exit the sector, claims rental platform chief

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Accidental and single-property landlords are poised to offload up to 150,000 properties onto the market within the next two years, says the boss of lettings platform MakeUrMove.

MD Alexandra Morris (pictured, above) predicts that those who didn’t choose to enter the sector will be the first people to jump ship if the opportunity comes up.

But Morris says this won’t create an imbalance within the market as short-let Airbnb properties returning, in particular, will fill the gap along with new-build investment properties.

She tells LandlordZONE that this ‘professionalisation’ of the sector  is good for tenants, who will get a better landlord, typically with good tradespeople contacts for speedier repairs and a handle on keeping up with new regulations.

MakeUrMove was the first online letting agent and picked up 920 new clients over the last two years, with most of them – reflecting the overall market – independent landlords owning between one and five properties.

They’re happy to let the firm handle lettings online, such as answering enquiries, arranging and recording viewings and producing compliant tenancy documents. The proptech also arranges property management and rent collection.

Although the majority are 45-55, many older, retired landlords are comfortable using the technology, something Morris expects to grow.

“We won’t see the death of the high street agent as some landlords prefer them, but there’s definitely a move online as that’s how people find agents,” she predicts.

A landlord herself, who’s shortly to take on another four properties, Morris believes the biggest challenge over the next 12 months is rent arrears, particularly as the furlough scheme ends.

She adds: “We hope that landlords have a dialogue with tenants who, if they can afford it, could then decide to let them out of the contract. We won’t be losing these tenants from the market, just moving them through it.”

Picture Credit: PropertyTribes.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – 150,000 accidental and small landlords to exit the sector, claims rental platform chief | LandlordZONE.

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Triple whammy: Covid, tax and red tape subduing landlord activity, says RICS

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The triple whammy of Covid and the government’s tax and regulatory clampdown appears to be depressing the lettings market, as new figures show a drop in landlord activity across the UK.

RICS’s monthly housing report reveals that new instructions continued to dwindle during December, with a net balance of -12% of respondents seeing a decline.

But +15% of chartered surveyors saw tenant demand pick up and, as a result, rental growth expectations for the next three months strengthened slightly, meaning that offices across virtually all parts of the UK believe rents will rise in the near future.

London is the big exception where -47% of those surveyed anticipate rents to fall in the next three months.

Simon Rubinsohn (pictured), RICS chief economist, says that although the housing market remains open for business, there’s a sense that the new restrictions will impact on transaction activity over the coming months.

He adds: “Private rents are envisaged to outprice price gain as supply continues to fall short of demand, with anecdotal reports of landlords exiting the market.”

Richard Balmforth, at Stapleton Long in West Norwood, London, adds that people appear to be sitting out the current uncertainty due to Covid and putting off moving.

Tenancy renewals

He says: “We have seen an increase in the numbers of tenants who have renewed a tenancy rather than move and many landlords have deferred instigating renewals to reduce the risk of a tenant moving out.”

Regionally, tenant demand has been greatest in Wales, the West Midlands and East Anglia over the last three months, according to RICS, but has dropped sharply in London, while it’s also dipped in the South West.

Meanwhile, new landlord instructions have dropped away in every region apart from the South East and North West; Scotland saw the biggest fall in the last three months.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – Triple whammy: Covid, tax and red tape subduing landlord activity, says RICS | LandlordZONE.

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‘Eviction ban rules enable rent-dodging tenants to live in properties for free’

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Every time a government minister extends the evictions ban or modifies the rules, a collective groan of frustration can be heard from many landlords.

While most understand that struggling tenants need to be protected from the economic ravages caused by Covid, and that the eviction bans is needed to stop the most vulnerable losing their homes, it doesn’t help landlords who have tenants using the ban to avoid paying rent.

The blanket nature of the current ban on bailiff evictions, the six-month notice period and severe restrictions on who can be evicted mean many landlords with deliberate rent dodgers whose cases are unconnected to pandemic-induced financial problems face an expensive. frustrating and ever-lengthening wait to get their properties back.

We spoke to one landlord, Andy Emery (pictured, above) from Peterborough to hear his story.

He tells LandlordZONE that he’s had several tenants suffering financial challenges within his multi-property portfolio, and that he’s been flexible, working with them successfully to keep a roof over their heads.

Taking advantage

“But we had one middle-aged male tenant who was already well in arrears before the pandemic and since the evictions ban has clearly been sitting in the property taking advantage of the restrictions,” he says.

Emery says the man moved into the £500-a-month property in 2019 and paid his rent for four months but then, due to heavy drinking, lost his job. The rent payments also then stopped.

All communication from him also ceased so at the end of 2019 Emery served a Section 8 notice and secured a court date for February 5th last year which the tenant didn’t turn up to, at which point he had run up four months’ arrears.

“We were awarded possession and instructed bailiffs to evict on the 18th March, just before lockdown. The bailiffs turned up to find a note on his door saying he was self-isolating.

“After speaking to neighbours later that week, it was clear this wasn’t true but he had managed to delay things for two weeks (the period of the isolation) but then five days later England went into lockdown, so that was it.”

New date

Emery says that during the subsequent months, confusion among bailiffs and changing official messaging meant it took until mid-November to secure a new eviction date.

But no sooner had that happened than the Prime Minister announced the second lockdown, followed now by a third lockdown and eviction ban extension.

Emery is resigned to the fact that he will not get the tenant out for many months and is already sitting on 15 months of arrears and a loss of at least £8,000 in unpaid rent and costs.

“I’ve written to my MP about this and got a bog-standard response; I don’t think they or the government understand the fix many landlords are in with tenants like this,” says Emery.

“I realise this is an isolated case and that I can absorb the costs, but if I was a landlord with just one property this would be a financial disaster about which I could do nothing.

“There needs to provision within the evictions guidelines to prevent tenants like this taking the mickey.”

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – ‘Eviction ban rules enable rent-dodging tenants to live in properties for free’ | LandlordZONE.

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Social housing tenants experience the lowest levels of life satisfaction…

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New research by a leading UK letting agency, based on the 2019-20 English Housing Survey (EHS), uncovers these disturbing facts.

Tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) also suffer from a degree of anxiety but not to the same extent as socially housed tenants, despite most of them enjoying a greater degree of security of tenure and subsidised rents.

The survey reveals that around 74% of private rented sector tenants were satisfied with life; 78% felt that life was worthwhile; 73% were happy; but around 29% experienced some level of anxiety.

It compares with socially housed tenants who have the lowest levels of life satisfaction and they experience the greatest levels of anxiety.

Letting agents Apropos, a UK-wide letting firm, has analysed the latest 2019-20 English Housing Survey (EHS) in depth which shows that social renters have the lowest levels of life satisfaction (71%); are least likely to believe that life is worthwhile (74%); and have the lowest levels of happiness (70%) compared to all other housing groups. The survey also states that social renters also experience the highest degree of anxiety (32%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, home owners are the most satisfied group in the property sector 79% satisfied reporting that they are satisfied with their lot; 81% believing that life is worthwhile; 78% were happy, while 25% were anxious.

David Alexander, joint Chief Executive Officer of apropos, commented:

“This survey highlights just how much needs to be done to improve the home lives of many millions of people. Given that this survey predates the coronavirus pandemic it is a sad indictment that so many people in social housing should feel anxiety and have the lowest levels of happiness. Equally it is extraordinary that so many people should feel anxious in their homes when this is the place, they should feel safest.”

“The last year has simply confirmed that for all of us our homes are central to our wellbeing. Having a home where we feel safe, secure and happy is a prerequisite for all in society so to have so many people unhappy in their residence is something that needs to be addressed.”

One of the reasons for the discrepancy in these groups’ levels of satisfaction, which the EHS survey reveals, is the levels of overcrowding in the social sector. Social tenants face the highest levels with 8.7% recorded in this latest survey, an increase of 35.9% (up from 6.4%) over the last five years.

The survey also found that social renting is the most static of the three main housing groups, with 145,000 moves among the 4.0m in 2019-20 in the sector. 23,000 people moved from the social to the private rented sector, with an undisclosed number (because the sample size is so small) moving into owner occupation.

The PRS had 703,000 moves in 2019-20 within its 4.4m renters with 131,000 new households; 192,000 buying a property; and 74,000 moving into social renting. 99,000 people moved from property owning into private renting.

David Alexander continues:

“The issue of increased overcrowding in the social renting sector is clearly concerning and I would urge government to address this immediately. The social housing sector is quite static in that once people are housed, they rarely move and there needs to be greater fluidity so that people feel they have options to move into the PRS or into buying a home at some point in the future. The notion of entering social housing in your 20’s and remaining there for the rest of your life does not seem sensible in the current housing market.”

“Greater flexibility on tenure within social housing is required so that larger properties are redistributed according to need; increased cooperation and liaising with the PRS; and more building projects for the coming decade to cope with the changing demands of renters and the expected growth in population across the country. Housing is a complex and constantly changing issue and governments and local authorities need to be sensitive to the demands of buyers and renters to reflect their fluctuating needs more adequately.”

Mr Alexander concludes his verdict on the research by saying:

“The pandemic has simply highlighted and accelerated changes which were occurring anyway and coming out of this period we need to develop an approach which encompasses more desirable social housing, improved relationships with the private rented sector, and a more unified approach to delivering effective, and appropriate homes for the future.”

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – Social housing tenants experience the lowest levels of life satisfaction… | LandlordZONE.

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National Residential solve any problem to sell buy-to-lets for the best possible price.

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Helping Landlords Sell

Being a private landlord myself, with 100 properties in my portfolio, I first-hand understand the issues and challenges facing landlords today. It’s about overcoming solutions fast, but also in a way that means both the landlord and the tenant are happy. With National Residential, we’ve found the sweet spot when it comes to helping landlords sell, so we’ve become experts in taking away the stress. We know how to solve every barrier that landlords come up against, even for example when they can’t gain access to their own properties.

How do I get the best price for my buy-to-let?

This is where I and my team at National Residential go above and beyond to get you the highest price for your buy-to-let, no matter what challenges you need to overcome. Be that negotiating with your tenants, sorting out repairs, and even helping tenants relocate, we have the best team to do it all and have the track record to prove it.

The result? We deliver you the best price possible, fast, no problems.

Recently, one of our landlords based in London gave us a small portfolio of 7 properties in the North-East to sell. She was already with a great letting agent who did sales, but she came to us because she’d heard about how proactive we were at solving landlord issues.

We did what we do best:

  1. We marketed the properties to both landlords and to first-time buyers in order to get as many buyers as possible in competition with each other to drive up the price through our 28-day auction. Rather than just targeting other landlords who want to buy, we know how to negotiate with tenants to leave for first-time buyers to move in, which also means this added competition leads to investors paying a little more than otherwise.
  2. To keep the tenants on board to do the viewings, and market the property to its maximum, we paid them to help us with getting photos and video tours and to allows us access for viewings. For that extra £100 or £200 all in this money ensures the cooperation of the tenant. No other agents will pay this and landlords are unlikely to propose this, which is why we get access to sell properties quickly and for the best prices, like we did in this case.
  3. In this case we sold 4 from the 7 properties for this landlord to a mix of investors and first-time buyers. She decided to keep the remaining 3, but it cost her nothing to list them with us as it’s no-sale-no-fee. It was a win-win, and she was happy with 60% of her portfolio sold, fast and for the best price.
  4. Of the 4 we sold; one we sold to a landlord who kept the existing tenant. Another we sold to the current tenants who paid a higher price due to other interested buyers driving up the price/bids. The other two we assisted the tenants to leave as the buyers required vacant possession. We found one of the tenants a new council house, and the other tenant was happy to accept a £2K payment paid by ourselves to help move into a new private let. Solving the tenant issue meant the property sold for a higher price and the tenant was over the moon to get assistance to move to the new property they wanted.

Throughout the sale, our in-house conveyancing team helped the landlord complete all their property forms (protocol documents) and we paid to obtain copy Fens certs, gas safe certs and reply to enquiries asap rather than wait for solicitors. We also paid all the fees to the tenants for their assistance, and we paid the sellers legal fees to our panel solicitor.

The landlord was provided with a stress-free armchair service as we took care of the costs and drove the sales to completion.

On top of this, as with every case, all our buyers are chain free and pay 1% (min £2500) deposits, ensuring that buyers, regardless of whether they’re first time buyers or landlords, are financially committed to the sale from the start and are able to complete quickly.

All these properties sold within 28 days and completed in 2 – 3 months.

Another landlord approached us earlier in the year with tenants that had stopped paying rent and tenants that were in arrears and not paying top-up, even refusing access for valuations.

For this, we simply secured buyers who were happy to buy regardless and take on the issue. Then we connected the new buyers with Landlord Action to pursue the eviction and/or mediation service throughout and post-completion.

It’s simple. We solve all problems and go the extra mile to get tenanted properties sold and to get the best prices and complete quickly. We assist landlords, sellers and tenants all the way through the process.

It’s clear our solutions are working, with well-known trusted figures such as Paul Shamplina joining forces with myself, and the expert panel at National Residential, in a recent webinar.

Is Covid really a problem for Landlords trying to sell?

Despite what you may have heard or experienced, the answer is no, it doesn’t have to be.

During Covid we’ve decided to go all-out to help landlords who are hit by section 24 taxes, by the pandemic, and by the evictions ban – as we have investors who want to get into the buy-to-let market, so we’re acting as a consultancy/sales machine in the middle.

We do a far better job at getting the best prices for tenanted properties and getting deals over the line than traditional estate agents do. We hand-hold tenants whose landlords are selling up and we also have national reach unlike most local agents helping landlords sell their portfolios in different locations. Not only that we have landlords who will buy properties where tenants totally refuse to cooperate and allow access for viewings or surveys. We have even sold properties recently for amazing prices where the tenants are not paying the rent.

You only have to read our reviews on Google and Trustpilot to see that we’re a company who absolutely delivers what we say.

Other Landlord services

If you’re a Landlord who’s looking for help with selling a tenanted property, or if you are an active investor looking to buy great deals, myself and my team at National Residential know exactly what to do and how to help you. We also have a great Membership site which has access to experts, webinar recordings from our panel of trusted property experts like Paul Shamplina and most importantly great deals (HMO’s and tenanted sales being hot to trot!). I and my expert panel also offer Mentorship and portfolio building, and it’s completely FREE to sign up.

So if you’re a Landlord having problems, or want us to help you buying or selling a portfolio, or even just want to reach out to experts who know exactly what you need, just get in touch on 01244 341066 or use the call back form here and see for yourself what we can do for you.

©1999 – Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® – National Residential solve any problem to sell buy-to-lets for the best possible price. | LandlordZONE.

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