Northampton Property Post

TSB adds new range of buy-to-let products

TSB adds new range of buy-to-let products

 

TSB has introduced a new range of buy-to-let mortgages.

Available at up to 60% loan-to-value (LTV) there is a two-year fixed rate deal at 1.69%, along with a 75% LTV product at 1.94%.

In addition, there are two buy-to-let five-year fixed rates, starting from 1.99% up to 60% LTV and a 2.24% up to 75% LTV.

All of the products come with a £995 arrangement fee.

Under-resourced county courts are struggling to cope with the number of possession claims being put forward, ‘causing misery for landlords’

January will be ‘real test of consumer sentiment’ as UK prepares to leave the EU

There are tentative signs that landlords are beginning to return to the buy-to-let market, particularly in London where house price falls and steady rental growth are gradually enticing investors back, according to Knight Frank.

The company reports that during the first 11 months of 2019, landlords acquired 11% of homes sold in Great Britain, the same level as 2018. But in November alone, the proportion of homes bought by investors increased to 12%.

London recorded a bigger rise in landlord purchases. Landlords purchased 13% of homes sold in the capital during the first 11 months of 2019, up from 11% during the same period of 2018. This was the first rise since 2015 but is in part due to fewer owner-occupiers transacting in the market. But will this trend continue?

The latest UK Finance mortgage data published this week suggests that property purchase and remortgage approvals in November held up relatively well given that the country was in full general election mode.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of the UK-wide mortgage broker, Coreco, said: “For a lot of British households, November was a classic case of better the devil you know.

“They chose to get their houses in order and secure a mortgage before a potentially disruptive election result.

“In the week following the general election result we saw a slight uplift in enquiries but the buyer spirit was largely trumped by the Christmas spirit.

“January will be the real test of consumer sentiment as we approach our departure from the EU.

“There is still much uncertainty as to the intricacies of how we leave the EU, but people at least now know it’s coming and that creates confidence.”

The figures also reveal that there were 16,200 remortgages in the buy-to-let sector in October, 2.4% fewer than the same month in 2018.

Montlake added: “While we are expecting an uplift in transactions and remortgages, it would be premature to assume that 2020 will be a boom year for the property and mortgage markets.

“As negotiations with Brussels unfold there is still the potential for volatility.”

Court delays causing ‘extreme stress’ for landlords

Court delays causing ‘extreme stress’ for landlords

Under-resourced county courts are struggling to cope with the number of possession claims being put forward, ‘causing misery for landlords’ not to mention costly delays, according to Landlord Action.

The vast majority of residential possession claims are dealt with in the county courts and enforced by county court bailiffs. But government spending cuts, an increasing number of possession cases, court delays and administrative errors mean evictions are taking longer than ever, pushing many landlords into debt.

In a recent Section 21 case handled by Landlord Action, a tenant claimed she did not receive the ‘How to Rent Guide’ so the court set a hearing date of 27th June 2019. But the court postponed the hearing with just 24 hours notice because the Judge was no longer available.

Several hearing dates have since been set and cancelled, leaving Landlord Action with little choice but to chase for a new date some 12 months after the original Section 21 notice was served back in January 2019, and the landlord no closer to gaining possession.

“We are experiencing cases like this time and time again” said Paul Shamplina. “It’s not only causing extra work for us at Landlord Action, meaning we now have a full-time member of staff whose main responsibility is chasing courts for updates on possession orders, Notice of Issues and bailiff appointments, it is also causing extreme stress for the landlords who are already facing financial hardship as a result of rent arrears.”

Landlord Action is now calling on the government to increase investment in the court system before pressing ahead with plans to scrap Section 21 of the Housing Act, as part of the new Renters’ Reform Bill.

Shamplina continued: “The situation is the worst I have experienced in my 28 years in this industry.  Cases are being overlooked, delayed or thrown out due to administrative errors and there is little we can do to improve matters for landlords when we are at the mercy of the courts.

“Remember, many courts were closed due to cost saving by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).”

Rogue landlord fined £27k for unsafe HMO

Rogue landlord fined £27k for unsafe HMO An unscrupulous landlord has been fined £27,000 over an unlicensed HMO in Luton with multiple fire and safety breaches. ​

Luton Magistrates Court heard that the unlicensed property at 14 Kenneth Road, Luton, LU2, had poor fire alarm systems and blocked fire exits, missing and broken tiles on the roof, and evidence of rat infestation.

Marco Caruso of Verulam Court, Hendon, pleaded guilty to illegally managing a HMO and seven breaches of HMO regulation.

He was fined £27,000, which included a £170 victim surcharge and costs of £848.70.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, commented: “This is a great result for the rogue landlord project [being operated by the council] and an excellent example of how we are working together to ensure that private housing in Luton is of a good standard.

“If an HMO is poorly managed, the tenant’s safety could be at risk.

“We are committed to identifying rogue landlords and making sure the properties they manage are in a good condition and adhere to safety regulations, or face prosecution.”

Help and support available for landlords paying tax and keeping records

Help and support available for landlords paying tax and keeping records The tax return deadline when filing your online Self Assessment for the tax year ending 5 April 2019 is less than a month away.

Filing an annual tax return is a necessary task for every self-employed person, including buy-to-let landlords, with the 31 January deadline for the 2018/19 Self Assessment tax return at midnight on 31 January 2020.

Whether you have just started out as a buy-to-let landlord or you are an established property investor, there is much to consider from a financial point of view.

Around 10 million people must complete a self-assessment tax form every year, typically because they are self-employed, run their own business or have untaxed income or capital gains, such as from a buy-to-let property, a trust or investment portfolio.

There is no need to fret over filing your tax returns, as it does not even require an accountant.

However, if you are concerned about going it alone and doing your own tax return, you may wish to check out HMRC’s ‘help and support for landlords’.

For more information, click here.

HMRC also offers online tax return help for landlords to their online series of help and support webinars.

View all HMRC webinars.

New trade body launches for BTL landlords

New trade body launches for BTL landlords A new landlord organisation, which is the largest ever trade body in the letting sector, has been officially launched.

The National Residential Landlords Association, which came into force yesterday, has a membership of more than 80,000 landlords.

The new organisation has come about after the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) agreed to merge in autumn, with a view to delivering a stronger voice for landlords in the private rented sector.

Ben Beadle is the NRLA’s new chief executive, having joined from Touchstone, part of the Places for People housing group. He was previously managing director of TDS Northern Ireland and director of customer service with the TDS.

The two previous chairs, Alan Ward of the RLA and Adrian Jeakings of the NLA, said in a joint statement: “After more than 20 years of friendly competition the time is right to create a single organisation to represent and campaign for landlords.

“With so much of our work done in parallel there are major benefits to be gained for our landlord members.

“We will be stronger together when presenting a unified voice to government both nationally and locally about the importance of supporting the majority of landlords who do a good job providing the homes to rent the country needs.”

Scrapping Section 21 is ‘another attack’ against BTL landlords

Scrapping Section 21 is ‘another attack’ against BTL landlords The Queen has announced the new government’s priorities for its coming term, and it includes a proposal to abolish Section 21 of the Housing Act and reforming the grounds for possession, as part of a new Renters’ Reform Bill, designed to “introduce a package of reforms to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market”.

But in the absence of any meaningful plan to boost the level of social housing in this country, the announcement confirming the abolition of Section 21 in yesterday’s Queens speech has been described by ARLA Propertymark as “another attack against the landlords who actually house the nation”.

The trade body’s chief executive, David Cox, said: “If Section 21 is scrapped, Section 8 must be reformed and a new specialist housing tribunal created. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.

“ARLA Propertymark will be engaging with the government to ensure they fully understand the consequences of any changes, and we will be scrutinising the legislation, to ensure landlords have the ability to regain their properties if needed.”

The government also plans to introduce a new scheme to permit tenants to transfer their tenancy deposits when they move properties.

The new Lifetime Deposit scheme will permit renters to transfer their deposit from one property to another instead of being left out of pocket for weeks while they wait to be reimbursed from their old landlord but have to spend money securing their new property.

However, landlords will also be given strengthened powers to regain possession of their property under the new proposed Bill, while the expansion of the database of rogue landlords is also included in the legislation to be introduced in Parliament.

But the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has also warned of a rental crisis that could lead to a mass sell-off of properties following the announcement Section 21 will be scrapped.

The organisation is calling on the government to develop a dedicated housing court to ensure that there is easily accessible and swift justice available where there are conflicts between landlords and tenants.

David Smith, RLA policy director, commented: “We accept the need to protect tenants from abuse, but it is crucial that plans to reform the way repossessions can take place are got right if the government is to avoid a rental housing crisis.

“Unless the new system is fair to good landlords as well as tenants, those same landlords who we need to support simply will not have the confidence to provide the rented homes that are needed to meet the demand.”

Top UK regeneration hotspots unveiled

Top UK regeneration hotspots unveiledWhen it comes to investing in property, it pays to know about the latest property hotspots and up-and-coming areas whether you are buying-to-let or simply looking for capital growth.

Buying at the early stages of a long-term plan offers good potential for an increase in property values and solid rental returns. So where potentially are the best spots to invest for the long-term?

Research by Glide, broadband and utilities provider , has identified 10 areas where properties offer the potential for a regeneration price growth premium in addition to average values in the local area.

The company made a series of FOI requests to local councils in order to find the number of empty dwellings and commercial properties across the UK.

Collectively, across both categories of building, in the month of September 2019 there were 617,527 empty buildings across the UK.

Of those councils which held the information, Birmingham was revealed as the leading council area for the most potential space, with 8,086 residential properties and 7,622 commercial buildings in the city and its suburbs being empty.

Second is Liverpool, where 15,339 buildings are currently not occupied, while regions across the North dominate the top five, with Manchester, Leeds and Bradford also ranking highly.

Empty residential properties Empty commercial properties  Total
1 Birmingham City Council 8086 7622 15,708
2 Liverpool City Council 11073 4266 15,339
3 Manchester City Council 10531 4003 14,534
4 Leeds City Council 8331 4528 12,859
5 Bradford Metropolitan Council 2610 7908 10,518
6 Durham County Council 7330 1573 8,903
7 Bristol City Council 6403 1742 8,145
8 Cheshire West and Chester 5860 1897 7,757
9 Sheffield City Council 5063 2610 7,673
10 Cornwall Council 5795 1662 7,457

Jason Lloyd, head of residential at Glide, said: “The research has revealed the high number of empty properties and businesses across the UK, particularly across some of the major northern Council areas.

“But whilst it is troubling to see so much wasted residential and commercial space, it does represent a clear opportunity for developers, and hopefully this study will help prospective investors pinpoint where there is the most potential for growth.”

A Complete Guide to Section 21

Image result for section 21What is a Section 21 notice?

In England and Wales, landlords must serve tenants a Section 21 notice (also known as notice to quit) to regain possession of a property. A Section 21 notice is used if they are unable to use Section 8, or do not want to (see below for more information). A Section 21 notice can only be issued on a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. When issuing a Section 21 notice, the landlord does not need to provide a reason for wishing to take possession.

A Section 21 notice must give tenants at least two months’ notice to vacate a property. A Section 21 notice cannot be used during a fixed term. However, landlords can use a Section 21 notice to conclude a tenancy at the end of an agreed fixed term, or during a periodic tenancy.

 

Recent updates to Section 21

The government have recently proposed the abolition of Section 21 and will be consulting on this with the stated view of bringing in new legislation as soon as possible. With the proposed Government changes, landlords will need to use the Section 8 process in order to regain possession of their own properties. This means that landlords can pursue possession but only under specific conditions, such as where the tenant has breached the tenancy. This can include situations such as damage to the property, antisocial behaviour and several months of rent arrears.

The Government has stated that they are looking to make changes to the Section 8 process, including speeding up the process as well as introducing new grounds, such as when a landlord wants to sell or use the property as their primary residence.

At the moment, it is unclear what reforms will take place, what the fine details may be and when this will happen. There is also no guarantee that the proposed changes Section 8 will have the intended effect. The Government will need to introduce and pass legislation in Parliament in order to make these changes. Furthermore, these amendments are not expected to be retrospective and therefore existing tenancies should not be affected.

Reasons to serve a Section 21 notice?

There are many reasons to serve a Section 21 notice. Some of these can include the landlord wanting to move back into the property, or to refurbish the house. A Section 21 notice is often referred to as a no-fault eviction which means that the landlord does not need to prove the tenancy terms have been breached. It also allows the landlord to regain possession of their property without giving the tenant a reason why.

You can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy using a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, or both. You can use a Section 8 notice if your tenants have breached the terms of the tenancy. You can use a Section 21 notice to evict your tenants either at the end of the fixed term tenancy if there’s a contract or during a tenancy with no fixed end date, known as the periodic tenancy.

Serving a Section 21 notice correctly

You must always give your tenants at least two months’ notice to leave a property.

When serving a Section 21 notice landlords must use the correct version of the form. For a tenancy agreed from 1 October 2015 in England, landlords must use Section 21 Form 6a. For other ASTs in England and Wales, there are different forms. All versions are downloadable for NLA members at NLA Forms.

Furthermore, landlords in England cannot use a Section 21 notice if they have not provided the tenants copies of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, a gas safety certificate and a ‘How to Rent’ guide (only for tenancies agreed from 1 October 2015).

Landlords also must make sure that tenants have been given the prescribed information around tenancy deposit protection. All security deposits must be protected with a deposit protection service in line with regulations.

It is suggested that when a landlord issues documents, they should ask the tenants to sign and confirm receipt or to send an acknowledgement email if the documents are sent digitally. This is helpful for if an eviction is challenged and goes to court.

When a landlord can’t use a Section 21 notice?

A landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:

  • It is less than four months since the tenancy started (in England)
  • A tenant is asked to leave before the end of a fixed term, unless there is a clause in the contract that allows the landlord to do this
  • The property is a licensable HMO or requires a selective licence and does not have a licence from the council
  • The council has issued an Improvement Notice or Notice of Emergency Remedial Action for the property in the last 6 months (in England)
  • The tenancy started after April 2007 and the landlord has not put the tenant’s deposit in a deposit protection scheme
  • he landlord has not repaid any unlawful fees or deposits that they have charged the tenant
  • The property is not registered with Rent Smart Wales and the landlord or managing agent does not have a licence (Wales only)

For further information and advice visit the National Landlords Association

General election 2019: Key housing policies, at a glance

General election 2019: Key housing policies, at a glance With just one day until voting day, each of the main political parties has outlined its plans for the country, including for the housing market, with various measures aimed at correcting the imbalance between property supply and demand.

From rental reforms to big numbers around housebuilding, they have each set out rival plans to address the existing housing crisis.

So what are the main political parties proposing when it comes to housing?

Conservatives

The Tories have pledged to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, review new ways to support home ownership following Help to Buy’s completion in 2023, scrap Section 21 notices for landlords, introduce a ‘lifetime’ deposit that moves with a tenant, ban the sale of new leasehold homes and restricting ground rents to a peppercorn rent.

Labour

The Labour Party has set a target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year, including an extra 150,000 council and social homes annually, introduce a new range of tenants’ rights, including open-ended tenancies, government-funded renters’ unions, and the scrapping Right to Rent checks, give councils powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords, and mooted the idea of introducing rent controls.

Lib Dems

The Lib Dems also want to deliver 300,000 new homes annually, a third of which will be homes social rent, devolve Right to Buy powers to local councils, introduce a new Rent to Own scheme for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years, and increase council tax by up to 500% on second homes.

Green Party

The Green Party wants to ensure s focused every home in the country is well insulated, as well as deliver at least 100,000 new council homes a year.

SNP

The SNP wants to incentives councils and individuals to bring empty properties into use, making them available to rent or buy, as well as restore housing support for 18 to 21 year olds across Britain.

Brexit Party

The party aims to increase the number of homes built through market mechanisms, such as easier planning for brownfield sites, and allowing flexibility on other planning areas and the number of affordable homes. But the policy also states it should be made easier for councils to borrow to build social housing.


 

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