Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 24

Keep up to date with the fast moving property industry with Hamilton Fraser’s latest landlord news digest.

In this week’s edition, we take a look at landlords looking forward to a buy to let boom, the government’s tenancy deposit reform consultation, rents on the rise across the UK and a landlord fined nearly £60,000 for dangerous living conditions and lack of licensing.

 

Landlords look forward to a buy to let boom

Landlords appear optimistic about the future of buy to let and are looking to expand their portfolios despite tighter regulation and Brexit uncertainty.

Although one in five landlords are looking to quit the market place, others are looking for more investments, says research by specialist lender Cambridge & Counties Bank.

Over the next three years, another one in five are seeking to triple their portfolios, while 11 per cent want to double the number of properties they own.

Concerns for landlords include Brexit (40 per cent); increasing borrowing costs (32 per cent); uncertainty over lenders (32 per cent) and rising tax (32 per cent).

Providing homes for students is considered the buy to let growth area – with 61 per cent optimistic about the sector and 16 per cent ‘very optimistic’. Read more about letting to students in: Renting rooms to students – everything you need to know.

“In spite of Brexit worries, it is great to see that the overall outlook for the commercial property sector is one of optimism.”

Simon Lindley, chief commercial director at Cambridge & Counties Bank

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Government tenancy deposit reform consultation launched after proposals for deposit transfers between landlords

As proposed by housing secretary, James Brokenshire, at the housing conference in Manchester, tenants may be able to transfer their rental deposit, rather than being required to pay the deposit for their next property while still waiting for their previous deposit to be returned, if the proposal is accepted.

This would mean tenants could transfer their deposits directly between landlords, also known as deposit “passporting”,  to help save them from additional upfront rental costs, while landlords would still be able take deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy should they be required to do so.

The housing secretary commented, “More than 4 million people live in the private rented sector, yet when moving home, some tenants can find it a struggle to provide a second deposit to their new landlord – risking falling into debt or becoming trapped in their current home. Ministers are inviting proposals to make it easier for renters to transfer deposits directly between landlords when moving from one property to the next.”

“Freeing up deposits and allowing a renter’s hard-earned cash to follow them from property to property – as they move to take that perfect job, to move nearer to family, or find a place that suits their changing needs – will create a fairer housing market that works for all.”

– James Brokenshire, housing secretary

 

The government are calling for evidence on the barriers that tenants face when providing a second deposit when moving from one tenancy to the next in their consultation, Tenancy deposit reform: a call for evidence.

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Rents on the rise

Buy to let rents across the UK rose by 1.3 per cent in the year to May, reports the Office for National Statistics.

Although rents in England were up 1.3 per cent, they varied regionally from a 2.1 per cent rise in the East Midlands to a 0.5 per cent increase in the North East.

The London effect is holding rents in England back – stripping the capital’s 0.9 per cent increase out of the data saw them grow 1.5 per cent for the rest of the country.

In Wales, rents increased 1.1 per cent year on year, but just 0.8 per cent in Scotland.

 

Landlord fined nearly £60,000 for dangerous living conditions and lack of licensing

Landlord Heather Jackson was fined nearly £60,000 for letting out a property, putting tenants in danger.

She pleaded guilty to 12 house in multiple occupation housing standards offences at South Sefton Magistrates Court, Merseyside.

The court heard she had bought a property in Southport to run as a care home in 2006, but by 2013 this was closed after care failure warnings from official watchdogs.

Jackson then let the home as 16 bedsits and lived there herself.

Housing officers inspected the property and found locked fire doors, rubbish and furniture blocking fire escape routes, no gas safety records and a string of other health, safety and management offences.

The court heard that Jackson could not afford to maintain the home at the required standard.

She was fined £55,000 and ordered to pay £3,159 costs.

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