Farewell Section 21

April 3, 2015

Most tenancies in the private rented sector can be brought to an end by a section 21 notice provided the contract has come to the end of its fixed term or if it is held over on a month to month periodic basis.  The tenant then has two months to vacate.  Introduced by the 1988 Housing Act, the section 21 notice was intended as a no fault fast track to gaining possession of a property.  It played an important role in increasing flexibility and growth in the private rented sector: landlords could let [...]

An End To Borough Wide Licensing?

March 23, 2015

Some good news at last from the government as they announce that local authority powers to introduce selective licensing schemes will be severely curtailed. The purpose of selective licensing was to deal with anti social behaviour or low housing demand as a last resort in targeted areas. But following Newham’s lead, a number have decided to introduce borough wide schemes requiring all privately rented properties to be licensed.  What exactly are the changes that are being proposed?
Firstly any scheme that aims to license more than 20% of privately rented properties in a borough [...]

Dealing With Tricky Tenants

February 17, 2015

There are some scenarios that can challenge even the most experienced landlord or agent.  I’m not thinking so much about legal matters, more those grey awkward management issues that we may have a clear policy or procedure for, but in the end it’s the way we manage the situation that wins the day.
I was recently asked to talk about dealing with tricky tenants for Greenwich Business club and I put together four classic scenarios: moving extra people in, dealing with noise, untidy tenants and failure to report maintenance issues.  I think the first [...]

Normalising Interest Rates

February 11, 2015

In 2014, I had numerous discussions with fellow landlords and journalists about the perils of rising interest rates. It was also during 2014 that predictions for when base rate would begin to rise shifted from Spring 2014 to the current consensus of Spring 2016.
The historically low Bank Base Rate of 0.5% has kept mortgages relatively low for many householders throughout the latest UK recession and the fragile recovery which we are now experiencing.  There is no doubt that this has kept a lid on repossessions which peak at 0.43% in 2009 [...]

The Mortgage Valuation

January 21, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how something as seemingly benign as a valuation can be the cause of so much frustration.  I’ve come to learn over the years that it is the most critical part of the financing process.  It would seem that all kinds of legal uncertainties can be airbrushed away with an indemnity policy.  But if the valuer says the property is worth less than you would hope or its condition makes it unfit as lending security, then you can kiss goodbye to your loan application – and your application [...]