Licensing In Fashion: Enfield & Southwark

October 25, 2014

No London borough is complete without its landlord licensing scheme, it would seem.  Politicians, keen to look like they’re sorting out landlords, are following a fashion.  Get your staff to look at the feasibility of licensing.  Even though the fees can only be used to fund the scheme, the extra millions maintain departments in a time of extensive cuts.
Is selective licensing the best way to improve standards in the PRS?  We have no idea because none of the boroughs have been patient enough to carry out a proper evaluation of Newham’s first borough [...]

Mansion Tax On London

October 18, 2014

Ed Balls announcement of a mansion tax at the Labour party conference in September was widely expected.  Little is known about the detail, only that properties valued over £2 million will face an annual tax with the aim of raising £1.2 billion in revenue to the Exchequer.  Estimates of how many properties will be affected depend on your source: Savills suggest 97,000, Zoopla 108,000 and Knight Frank 110,000. One thing is certain, the vast majority of these properties will be in London – 87% according to BBC London, with 67% in just three [...]

Tax Incentives To Improve Standards

October 15, 2014

Amid the gloom of proposals for landlord registration and licensing, longer tenancies, rent control and most recently  legislation to stop retaliatory eviction – with all the usual media images of feckless landlords and tenants surrounded by mould – came one ray of sunshine this Autumn.  The Resolution Foundation and Chartered Institute of Housing Report  ’More Than A Roof’ makes some refreshing proposals.  Initially it recommends a national framework for landlord accreditation, nothing revolutionary in that.  A fraction of the UK’s 1.4 million landlords are accredited.  In London, it is estimated that [...]

2015 Election Looms – Planning For Change

September 16, 2014

This Autumn sees the usual round of political party conferences and the launch of the 2015 election campaign.  What does this bode for landlords and how should you be adapting your business?  First a quick look at the context.  The regulatory landscape of the private rental sector was transformed by the introduction of Assured Shorthold Tenancies in 1989 and buy to let mortgages in 1997.  It was the 2004 Housing Act that sent out the first ripples of increased regulation with a new definition of HMOs and [...]

London Housing Crisis: Some Causes & Solutions

August 28, 2014

There has been much talk in the press recently about London’s housing crisis and this is set to be a hotly debated issue as the election campaign goes into full swing during the Autumn conference season.  I am always wary of the term ‘crisis’ as it suggests major surgery or state intervention are required.  It is clear to many property professionals that policy makers manipulate the market at their peril, potentially enshrining ideological ideas into law that might be relevant now, but later become entrenched and politically difficult to change.  For example rent [...]