Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 22

The property industry moves quickly and so keeping up to date with the latest property news can be difficult for landlords who are busy maintaining their property portfolio. Hamilton Fraser’s landlord news digest brings weekly updates to our landlord readers to help keep you up to date!

In this week’s edition, we take a look at proposed Labour property plans, government issued data on Section 21 notices and a landlord who was fined over £12,000 for ignoring vital safety work in their property. In addition, we explore buy to let mortgage choice for landlords and remind you about the new series of ‘Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords’ back on Channel 5!

 

Labour outlines property plans for next election

The Labour party has announced buy to let plans for a host of new taxes and laws for landlords and property investors if the party wins the next General Election.

A paper commissioned by the Westminster opposition party claims the ‘buy to let frenzy’ must end.

Academics have come up with a list of recommendations to bring stability to the housing market if Jeremy Corbyn and Labour win the next General Election, scheduled to take place before May 2022.

Their wish list is headed by a proposal to offer private renters 36-month tenancies while removing a landlord’s ability to repossess the property during the term, even if they want to sell or need to refurbish the home.

Labour also discussed making changes to landlord profits by increasing capital gains tax rates in line with the income tax basic (18 per cent to 20 per cent) and higher rates (28 per cent to 40 per cent).

The paper Land for the Many says this will encourage landlords to ‘seek more productive and socially beneficial ways to invest their money.’

Other recommendations include:

  • Capping rent rises to inflation-linked annual increases
  • Abolishing council tax in favour of a progressive property tax paid by owners not tenants
  • Tougher buy to let mortgage regulation
  • Laws to encourage investors from treating land and homes as financial assets

A Labour spokesman said: “For too long, people across the country have had little or no say over the decisions that affect their communities and the places in which they live.  Much of this can be traced to the broken system of land ownership. Concentration of land in the hands of a few has led to unwanted developments, unaffordable house prices, financial crises and environmental degradation.

“Labour is committed to tackling these head on and delivering a fundamental shift in wealth and power from the few to the many.”

– Labour spokesman

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Buy to let mortgage choice hits 12-year high

Landlords have almost 2,500 buy to let mortgages to pick from – the highest level since the start of the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

In October 2007, the market offered 3,305 different loans with 409 two-year fixes at an average rate of 6.36 per cent and 181 five-year fixes at 6.39 per cent.

Now – according to mortgage monitor Moneyfacts – landlords and property investors have the choice of 2,396 deals – including 802 two-year fixes at an average 3.05 per cent interest rate and 785 five-year fixes at 3.54 per cent.

“A 21 per cent increase in availability to 2,396 products over the past 12 months indicates that providers are keen to offer potential buy to let investors plenty of choice, despite this increasing competition in terms of the total number of products available over the past year, average rates have unfortunately not fallen.”

– Darren Cook, Moneyfacts finance expert

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Section 21 evictions – the data

The government has issued data about no-fault Section 21 evictions, for what is believed to be the first time, in answer to a written question in the Commons from MP Emma Reynolds (Labour).

She asked if the government had Section 21 eviction statistics and Paul Maynard, Under-Secretary for Justice gave the figures, but explained however that the data did not include the reasons for the evictions taking place.

The data suggests that although the number of evictions has increased, the rate has not kept pace with the rising number of buy to let homes.

 

Private landlord repossessions by county court bailiffs in England and Wales 2005-2018

 
Year Private landlord repossessions   Number of buy to lets
2005 3,979
2006 4,101   2.5 million
2007 4,342
2008 4,435
2009 4,618
2010 5,279
2011 5,852
2012 6,097
2013 6,049
2014 6,321   4.5 million
2015 6,061
2016 6,011   4.7 million
2017 6,260
2018 6,913
Source: Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics Quarterly and English Housing Survey

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£12,400 fine for ignoring safety work

Landlord David Simons was fined more than £12,000 for ignoring an improvement notice issued by Islington Council to improve fire safety for his tenants.

Simons was found guilty of failing to comply with the notice at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court.

The court heard four tenants were sharing a flat that had no smoke detector or fire doors and a window in a poor state of repair.

Council officers ordered Simons to carry out work to make the flat safer, but he failed to do so over several months.

Fire safety in your property is extremely important, find out more about your fire safety obligations as a landlord here. 

“Everyone has the right to a safe, genuinely affordable home and we will not tolerate dodgy operators taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home. Where we find unacceptable conditions we will act to protect tenants.”

– Executive Member for Housing and Development, Cllr Diarmaid Ward