Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 37

We bring you the latest industry highlights and talking points in our weekly news digest, from Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance.

This week saw a landmark court ruling as a judge handed out the first landlord banning order for England. And a couple claim they must sell their dream home to pay for bills left with them by letting agents who rented out the property as an HMO instead of a buy to let.

In other news, conflicting research leads specialist lenders to disagree on levels of landlord confidence, and refurbishing a rental home boost rents and property prices.


First rogue landlord is banned under new legislation

Telford landlord, David Beattie, has received a five year letting ban after deliberately misleading tenants over their rights, telling them they could be evicted within 48 hours. He is the first person in England to be banned from being a landlord under new legislation introduced in April 2018.

A tribunal granted the Telford and Wrekin council a banning order and rent repayment order over a seven-bedroom home let by Beattie in Shropshire.

The action followed a case last year when he was found guilty of running a shared house in multiple occupation without a licence in Telford, Shropshire, and misleading tenants over their rights.

He had claimed standard tenancy agreements did not apply to them and they should sign a licence to occupy that included a clause accepting they could be evicted with notice of just 48 hours.

As well as imposing the ban, a £1,925 rent repayment order was granted by the tribunal.

A banning order can only be made if a landlord has been convicted of a serious housing or criminal offence. The order lasts five years and stops a person from taking part in managing or letting property.

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Dream home turns into an HMO nightmare

A couple claim they must sell their dream home because of letting agent mistakes made while they were living abroad.

Jayne and Manuel Sabio asked letting agents Beresford Adams to manage their three-bedroom home in Wrexham while they were teaching in China. Beresford Adams let the house to two brothers, their friend and another man.

But the arrangement fell foul of strict house in multiple occupation rules which meant the property needed a licence and work to upgrade fire and electrical safety costing £21,000.

At Mold Magistrates Court, the Sabios were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,697 and a £170 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to letting an unlicensed HMO.

The agents were fined £22,000 at an earlier hearing after admitting three housing offences and must pay £2,819 costs and a £107 victim surcharge.

The court heard that the couple could not afford to upgrade the home to an HMO and were selling the property at a discount.

Landlord confidence hits a 12-month high

Growing tenant demand is boosting buy to let landlord confidence to the highest level in almost a year, according to the latest research by landlord lender, Paragon.

The number of landlords who feel tenant demand is growing or booming hit 29 per cent in the third quarter – up from 21 per cent in the first three months of the year.

That marks a return to the average 30 per cent, where it has sat since Q2 2017, says landlord lender Paragon.

LandlordZONE provides more analysis on this story and what it means for landlords here.

“A clearer picture is starting to emerge of the impact that multiple government and regulatory interventions are having on the private rented sector. In broad terms, landlords have been buying fewer properties and selling more at a time when there has been a resurgence in tenant demand. It is widely anticipated that this will lead to reduced choice and higher rents for tenants. This is probably not the outcome that policy makers were looking for.”

– John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon