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New industry alliance to lobby on behalf of landlords

With almost a quarter of existing buy-to-let landlords thinking about exiting the private rented sector and many more planning to increase rents to cope with recent policy changes, including the existing phasing out of mortgage tax relief and higher stamp duty cost for those acquiring additional properties, more needs to be done to help landlords and offer them better representation.

Thankfully, Nationwide has set up an industry alliance to lobby on behalf of landlords, after a survey of 1,000 landlords commissioned by the lender’s buy-to-let arm, The Mortgage Works, revealed that 44% are now considering increasing rents, while 22% are thinking of selling their properties.

Additional findings from the study, which was carried out by YouGov, found that 14% are planning to manage the property themselves, instead of using an agent, while 10% want to save money by reducing maintenance spending.

The cross-industry partnership board, which will meet for the first time later this month, is designed to support landlords and is backed by the National Landlords Association (NLA), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Shelter, Countrywide and The Nationwide Foundation.

The research also revealed that the mean monthly profit from renting out property, after deducting typical costs, is £610, with 56% making £500 or less a month, a third earn less than £300, 22% less than £200, while 15% said they made £100 or less monthly profit from renting out their property.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society, said: “Being able to find a decent affordable home is one of the most pressing issues many people face today. Landlords play a vital role in providing homes and choice, where they might not otherwise exist.

“Our research suggests most want to manage their property well and look after their tenants. However, because letting one or two properties is often not a landlord’s full-time job, many are left struggling to keep up with the ever-growing list of responsibilities, as well as the personal financial impact the recent changes may bring.

“It’s a tough ask to expect small landlords or their tenants to face these challenges alone – we must work together as an industry to better support and inform those providing housing and their tenants.

“With a Draft Bill on letting agent fees already in progress, and greater powers for local councils beginning to take effect, it is clear that reappraising the private rental sector is already firmly on the government’s agenda and so we look forward to working with the Housing Minister to help influence a future that works for all.

“By coming together we can help deliver somewhere decent for everyone to call home.”

Article courtesy of Landlord Today | Sign up for Landlord Today newsletter | Get this news on YOUR site!

Parliament to debate rent payments being added to tenant’s credit score

Private tenants who pay their rent on time could soon see their credit rating boosted in order to make it easier for them to gain a foot on the housing ladder, after it was announced that parliament will debate the idea of taking rent payments into account when people apply for a mortgage.

The debate will take place after a petition on the issue raised by Plymouth construction worker Jamie Pogson attracted 147,307 signatures, which is significantly more than the 100,000 needed to force a debate in parliament.

Credit rating agencies do not currently routinely include rent payment history when calculating credit scores. This means a tenant can find it difficult to access a mortgage, even if they have a long history of rent being paid in full and on time.

But a recent survey of almost 3,000 buy-to-let landlords carried out by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) found that 61% of landlords would support rental payments being added to tenants’ credit histories in the same way mortgage payments are.

The RLA believes that including rent payment in this way would also make it easier for landlords to make a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history.

The RLA’s chairman, Alan Ward, commented: “With many tenants wanting to buy a house of their own, it is absurd rent payment is not routinely included when undertaking credit checks for mortgage applications.

“Moving to such a scheme would help not just tenants, but also landlords by giving them a clearer sense of whether a prospective tenant has historically paid their rent in full and on time.”

Article courtesy of Landlord Today | Sign up for Landlord Today newsletter | Get this news on YOUR site!

Landlord fined over £200,000 for endangering lives of tenants

A landlord who endangered the lives of his tenants has been successfully prosecuted and fined more than £200,000 for failing to comply with HMO regulations at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Jeffrey Hu aka Weijie Hu, from Hallfield Estate, and company Bewel Property Ltd were successfully prosecuted by Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and fined after being found to have inadequately managed two properties, which were described by council officers as being in a “pretty dreadful state”.

One of the properties, a three-storey, four-bedroom town house in Tenniel Close, Bayswater, was home to at least six young professionals during the council’s investigation, and yet council officers found a dangerous electric cooker hob which had exposed live electrical cable and a charred board underneath. The electric cable had been haphazardly joined together with tape, posing a risk of electrocution.

Officers also found unsafe and rotten bedroom balcony guarding which with further deterioration increased the risk of someone falling, at least 16ft from the second floor.

“I wouldn’t stay there and I doubt you would,” said district Judge Roscoe, during sentencing.

The other property, a three-storey property in Edenham Way, Kensington and Chelsea, which was home to at least six tenants, was found to lack a safe means of escape in the event of a fire and a failure to supply gas and electrical certificates.

Cllr Antonia Cox, cabinet member public protection and licensing, said: “Mr Hu endangered his tenants’ lives through a complete disregard for their health and wellbeing. His tenants paid rent to live in what amounted to a death-trap.

“This case should be a warning to rogue landlords that Westminster City Council will ensure they pay heavily through their pockets for housing people in poor conditions.”


Article courtesy of Landlord Today | Sign up for Landlord Today newsletter | Get this news on YOUR site!