22 May 24 Labour-controlled Lambeth council in south London is introducing a Selective Licensing Scheme at almost £1,000 per property. A statement from the council says the regime is starting in September in four wards but is likely to spread out to another 19. A report claims the licence – costing £943 – is in line with a council policy that makes Lambeth “a place we can all call home.” Around a third of the

New selective licensing scheme will net council £48 million in licence fees

21 May 24 Just days after suggesting rent controls of any kind were off the table, it now appears Labour may be considering them after all. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has told BBC local radio that there might be a case for controlling rents in certain local areas, though she emphasised there would not be a “blanket approach”.  She says local authorities could prevent landlords from raising rents above a set amount each year. A

Labour Party secret rent control policy leaked

21 May 24 Grainger, the Stock Market listed corporate landlord, has been targeted by protesters over rent levels. A protest outside Grainger’s London HQ marks the start of what the London Renters Union calls its ‘Cut The Rent’ campaign. Grainger PLC owns and manages more than 10,000 properties across the country, with a further 5,000 in the pipeline. It has a portfolio allegedly valued at £3.3 billion. Grainger has positioned itself as offering a solution

Corporate landlords targeted by rent protest

21 May 24 So, another week in landlord land and another slew of stories highlighting how bad landlords are for selling up – but there’s no perspective of WHY landlords are choosing to sell. And there’s a good reason for that. No one, literally no one, cares about the why. They only care about handing control of rented properties to tenants via the Renters (Reform) Bill, without considering the implications. First, we had the National

The landlord exodus explained – what our critics don’t want to hear

21 May 24 The Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction rates for bailiff repossessions in England have reached a six-year high – leading Shelter to question the effectiveness of the Renters (Reform) Bill. Ministry of Justice figures show a 19% year-on-year rise in evictions due to Section 21 notices, with 2,682 possessions taking place between January and March 2024. This follows a 15% increase in landlords initiating Section 21 proceedings during the same period. That’s 7,863 landlords handing

S21 evictions up 20% as Shelter’s campaign backfires massively

20 May 24 The Renters (Reform) Bill has passed its final stage in the House of Commons and is now heading to the Lords. However, Mr Narbeth warns that damage has already been done. Landlords have been frightened by the prospect of the Bill. He emphasises that the Bill is being brought in because of a few bad landlords in the private rental sector. He explains: “The small minority of bad landlords who behave badly

Renters reform bill is the word of all worlds for Landlords and Renters says housing lawyer

20 May 24 The husband-and-wife directors of a Cornish lettings and estate agency have been disqualified from being company directors for a combined 12 years after admitting their role in Covid Bounce Back Loan abuse.  David Elderkin, 56, overstated the annual turnover of Fowey River Limited by more than £180,000 to secure the £50,000 loan which was the maximum amount businesses were entitled to under the scheme.  Money from the loan was then transferred into

Banned – rogue agents disqualified for abusing Covid loan scheme

20 May 24 Propertymark has once again called on thew government to press ahead with the regulation of lettings agents. As the Renters Reform Bill makes its way through the House of Lords, the trade body has advised peers not to miss this opportunity to legislate for the regulation and qualification of property agents. The industry body also warned against discouraging investment in the private rented sector and to provide more certainty for landlords due

Called agent regulation to be added to Renters Reform Bill

20 May 24 New figures from the Ministry of Justice show how hard interest rate rises are hitting landlords. Compared to the same quarter in 2023, landlord possession claims in Q1 2024 increased from 23,389 to 24,874 (up 6%), orders from 17,644 to 18,154 (3%), warrants from 10,503 to 11,407 (9%) and repossessions from 6,501 to 6,864 (6%). Meanwhile owner occupier mortgage possession claims increased from 4,035 to 5,182 (28%), orders from 2,532 to 3,019 (19%), warrants from 2,636

Repossessions rise due to mortgage rates

17 May 24 There’s been another survey of landlord activity in the private rental sector – and this one shows that 50% of tenants vacating a property last year had to do so because their landlord wanted to sell. By contrast, eviction was cited by just 11.3% of those surveyed. The survey – by PropTech company PayProp  – found that more than 54.5% of landlords were in the process of selling properties last year at

Half of tenant moves now due to landlord sales – survey

17 May 24 Newly re-elected Greater Manchester Labour Mayor Andy Burnham is to spend £600,000 of council tax payers’ cash on a clampdown on landlords. This includes a Good Landlord Charter, set to be rolled out later this year, to set out “clear, practical, and accessible standards to drive up the quality of renting in Greater Manchester.” And there will be a Property Check scheme “to help those who feel trapped by their housing situation

Manchester and Salford to spend millions on more landlord enforcement

17 May 24 Rising rents and lack of supply in the privately rented sector (PRS) are the result of long-term failure in government housing policy and is not landlords’ fault, peers were told during the Renters Reform Bill second reading last night. Lord Truscott who has been a landlord for 30 years, said it was unfair to blame the current housing crisis on landlords when the government had repeatedly failed to meet their housing targets

Blame the Government for state of PRE says Peer in House of Lords calling for elective licensing to be scrapped

15 May 24 Two London agents who traded fraudulently through their lettings business and scammed victims out of over £24,000 have been sentenced. After a lengthy and protracted investigation into the activities of a number of letting agencies, the two defendants – Akther of Rainham and Noor Rashid of Beckton – pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading. This was following numerous complaints linked to Signature London Ltd and Signature London Group Ltd for duping prospective tenants, landlords and existing

Guilty! – Fraudster letting agents duped landlords and tenants

14 May 24 Over 40% of council houses and flats sold under the long-standing Right To Buy scheme are now owned by private landlords. That’s the claim from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which found that some 109,000 former council homes have started being let privately in the last 10 years alone.  The think-tank says the RTB policy effectively forces many households into private renting, when the properties were built originally to reduce pressure on

(Hardly a) Shock as figures show now many Right-to buy properties now rented out

14 May 24 A woman who faked documents and posed as a private landlord in an elaborate tenancy scam has been jailed. Chamberlain, aged 40, admitted to nine charges related to tenancy fraud and faking documents in Sheringham last year, and one count of possessing an article for use in fraud in Pagham, West Sussex. She appeared at Hendon Crown Court where she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for the Norfolk frauds and

Rogue tenant jailed after duping landlord 

14 May 24 An independent review ordered by Housing Ombudsman into how Orbit Group has handled damp and mould has made 15 recommendations to the landlord. Independent of both the Ombudsman and Orbit Group, the review is one of the first uses of the Ombudsman’s new powers under the Social Housing Regulation Act to order wider reviews into a landlord’s policy, practice and root causes of complaints. The review involved seven cases of damp and

Yet another social landlord hauled over coals for damp and mould

14 May 24 Liverpool City Council has secured a four-year banning order against a letting agent for operating unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). However, the letting agent, Trophy Homes, vowed to appeal, saying it had only committed minor administrative errors. The order against the company was secured following convictions in February 2023, including the failure to license two HMO properties. It was granted by the First-Tier Tribunal on 25 April 2024 under the Housing

City council secures four-year banning order but letting agent vows to appeal

13 May 24 The National Union of Students claims the government has “folded to landlord’s lobbying” and watering down the Renters Reform Bill so that it will no longer include student renters. It claims that “from the get-go landlords who let properties to students lobbied to have them excluded from the protections offered to other tenants” but that as the Bill progressed through the House of Commons “we became aware of a continuing, and concerted

Renters Reform Bill – Students accuse government of ‘folding’

13 May 24 Buy to let landlords with properties inside controversial ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ or LTNs may be in for a windfall. That’s because new research suggests that in London at least, LTNs add value to properties. But lettings agency Benham and Reeves, which conducted the research, says that while LTNs may be bringing a boost to house prices within them, the additional strain on surrounding roads is a deterrent to many homebuyers.  House prices

Hated low traffic networks may increase house values inside (and make them worse outside)

13 May 24 A council has fined a landlord £17,500 for failing to license two of his properties in the area. However, the identify of the landlord is not known because anonymity was a condition of them accepting the penalty. The properties are in Sutton, in Ashfield council’s Selective Licensing Scheme which means that all landlords with any privately rented properties in the selected area will need a licence for these properties. Selective licensing was extended

Landlord fined nearly £20,000k for failure to get selective licence

13 May 24 Figures from the Department for Energy and Net Zero indicate that only 4,648 households so far have taken advantage of the government’s ongoing Great British Housing Insulation Scheme. This is less than 2% of the target of 300,000 households by March 2026. Katharine Allison of Independent Advisor Windows – the company which has analysed the government data – says: “Improving the energy efficiency of your home is a surefire way to lower

SNAFU as government insulation grant scheme fails miserably

10 May 24 A coroner has issued a warning to the housing secretary about the use of fixed window restrictors after a resident fell from the open window of his 16th floor flat. Alison Mutch, senior coroner for Manchester South, sent a prevention of future deaths report to Michael Gove at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in April. It came after the coroner opened an inquest into the death of an

Man falls to death because of wrong window restrictors 

10 May 24 Please make your feeling known to stop this nonsense by objecting here Blackburn with Darwen council in Lancashire is consulting on a new selective licensing regime covering 1,266 properties on 42 streets.  Running to July 26 the consultation seeks views on the proposals which will affect landlords who rent private properties to tenants in the designated area. The proposed area is just outside of the town centre. The proposed cost of the

Yet another selective licensing scheme being ‘consulted’ on – i.e it’s going to happen

10 May 24 A landmark ruling on the affect of Japanese knotweed on property values has been overturned, which could have implications for home buyers and sellers affected by the invasive plan. In February 2023, homeowner Marc Christopher Davies won a Court of Appeal cases against Bridgend Council after Japanese knotweed encroached into his property from council land. He was awarded £4,900 for the diminution in value of his home in Bridgend, Wales, due to the stigma

Supreme Court overturns Japanese Knotweed redress ruling

10 May 24 A new analysis suggests that despite a fall in inflation, the stuttering housing market means that just 56 areas of the UK have seen inflation-busting rates of house price growth over the last year, down from 75 in the previous year. Octane Capital analysed current housing market data to reveal how many local authorities have seen house prices outperform the current rate of inflation (3.2%) over the last year and how this

Struggling market means capital appreciation rarely beats inflation rate

01 May 24 A coalition of organisations representing consumers, financial institutions and energy suppliers has written to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero urging a complete review of consumer protections for those carrying out green upgrades to their home.  In February, the Competition and Markets Authority strongly recommended that the government take a more active role in improving the quality of protections afforded to consumers.  The organisations – including the Nationwide, Which? and

Eco retrofitting? Landlords not consumer protected

01 May 24 A specialist lender is reintroducing a suite of mortgage products aimed at what it call “overlooked customers”. It turns out these are buyers who have credit histories including County Court Judgements (CCJs) and payment defaults. Aldermore says these mortgages are specifically designed to do three things: help get first time buyers onto the property ladder, provide greater mortgage choice for the self-employed, and offer mortgages to customers with historic credit issues who

New mortgages target buyers with defaults and County Court Judgements

01 May 24 There’s been a significant rise in the number of so-called Suspicious Activity Reports concerning money laundering and the agency industry. Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) alert law enforcement to potential instances of money laundering or terrorist financing, and are submitted by financial institutions and other professionals such as agents, solicitors and accountants.   A statement from the National Crime Agency (NCA) says SARs “provide information and intelligence from the private sector that would

Surge in agents’ Suspicious Activity reports to national crime agency

01 May 24 The Generation Rent activist group has once again repeated its demand for a series of reforms surrounding the scrapping of Section 21 evictions grounds. One of them is expecting landlords to pay towards moving costs for tenants. In its latest statement the group claims: “If Section 21 had been abolished this time last year, 10,000 households who were evicted by their landlord seeking to re-let the property between April and December 2023

Bonkers Generation Rent now wants Landlords to pay tenants’ removal costs!

30 Apr 24 A landlord from South Gloucestershire that has repeatedly flouted housing rules has been ordered to pay more than £80,000 in fines. Earlier this month Giuseppe xxx, also known as Joe xxx, was fined a further £36,000 after being found guilty of housing offences relating to two properties in Patchway. xxx appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday, April 15, for a second prosecution which was pursued by South Gloucestershire Council’s Private Sector Housing Team (PSHT). He was also ordered to pay

80 thousand in fines for landlord who refused to licence

29 Apr 24 New changes to planning rules mean rogue landlords who illegally convert HMOs could face an unlimited fine. As part of the government’s Levelling-up and Regeneration Act, local councils will be better able to hold property developers who repeatedly fail to comply with planning permission to account, as well as those who refuse to deal with run-down properties. Anyone failing to build in the right place will also face unlimited fines, while the rules

Landlords to face unlimited fines if they illegally convert homes into HMOs

24 Apr 24 Political parties should stop bickering and instead work together to boost enforcement of rental standards in the private sector. That’s the view of the Lettings industry Council, a group including lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards and consumer groups.  The council has published a briefing demanding an overarching policy that addresses all rental tenures and operating across political parties.  Specifically it’s calling for five things:  1. A

Stricter council enforcement of landlords demanded by agents

23 Apr 24 The government’s failure to act on the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working party – chaired by Lord Richard Best and published five years ago – has received sharp criticism from all parties in the House of Lords. Junior levelling up minister Baroness Swinburne was on the receiving end of strong condemnation from the Lords in a debate at the end of last week, when she suggested there was simply no Parliamentary

Regulation of Property Agents – government slammed by Lords

23 Apr 24 The British Property Federation is among those that have welcomed Labour’s “golden rules” for so-called grey belt development as a step in the right direction in the effort to build more homes and infrastructure. The leader of the Opposition party Sir Kier Starmer has set out five “golden rules” for building on the green belt in an effort to boost housebuilding while improving “genuine green spaces”. The proposed rules, announced on Friday,

‘Labour’s ‘golden rules’ could remove some of the hurdles in the planning system’

23 Apr 24 There’s been a bevvy of buy to let mortgage deal changes this week. Shawbrook has made a series of reductions across its complex and limited edition BTL products, with some reduced by as much as 30 bps. As part of the repricing, loans between £1m and £5m now feature a reduced rate of 6.34% for both five and 10-year fixed loans at 65% loan to value, and a 30 bps reduction to

Buy to let mortgage changes across wide range of products

22 Apr 24 Large gaps remain between Mortgage Approval Prices and Asking Prices – even though there is some evidence of vendors and agents adopting a more realistic tone when it comes to selling. Estate agency Benham and Reeves, having analysed a series of property industry and government figures, says that in Q4 2023, the market gap between the average mortgage approved price of a buyer (£271,172)) and the asking price expectation of a seller

Gap between asking prices and mortgage valuations now over 30 per cent

22 Apr 24 A single 10-year time limit for bringing enforcement action over planning breaches is set to come into force this week (25 April) as part of enforcement reforms set out in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023. The reforms have been introduced via the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 8) and Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2024, which were made earlier this month. The updated regulations remove the current four-year time limit for

The end of 4-year Planning enforcement window – they now have 10 years to get you

22 Apr 24 Liverpool City Council’s Private Sector Housing team has successfully prosecuted four interlinked companies for illegally renting out properties without HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) licences. The prosecutions follow an investigation during which it was discovered the properties were being let without the appropriate HMO licence. The fines were issued at a sentencing hearing at Liverpool Magistrates Court on 15 April, and relate to several properties across the Everton West (L3), Toxteth (L8)

Rogue letting agents hit with £250k in fines

17 Apr 24 Developer Beech Holdings has secured planning permission for its luxury development of Build To Rent apartments in Sheffield. Sheffield Gardens will include 158 units of one, two and three bedroomed apartments.   The development will begin in Q4 2024 with the demolition of the current dilapidated and unused commercial buildings on site. The scheme will remain in the long-term control of the Beech Holdings’ Group with full property management and a commitment

Two new build-to-rent schemes get go-ahead

17 Apr 24 Political parties should stop bickering and instead work together to improve the private rental sector. That’s the view of the Lettings industry Council, a group including lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards and consumer groups.  The council has published a briefing demanding an overarching policy that addresses all rental tenures and operating across political parties.  Specifically it’s calling for five things:  A completely new mandatory approach to

Lettings industry tells politicians cross party repair of PRs needed before it’s too late

17 Apr 24 Average rent arrears claims climbed to £1,816 in the first quarter of this year. That’s a rise of 27% from £1,435 in the same period last year, data from deposit alternative provider Reposit has revealed. The company analysed its data from January 2021 through to the end of Q1 2024 and found this was the highest figure yet. It is also a sign of the unrelenting pressures within the rental sector on

Average rent arrears climb year on year

15 Apr 24 A large-scale landlord in Kent, Fergus Wilson, has been found in contempt of court after breaching a final injunction order that sought to stop him from harassing staff at Ashford Borough Council. In Ashford Borough Council & Ors v Wilson [2024] EWHC 781 (KB) (10 April 2024), Mr Justice Antony Dunne considered more than 40 separate instances in which the council alleged Wilson had breached the injunction. The final injunction order was made in

Notorious landlord Fergus Wilson found in contempt of court

15 Apr 24 Note this is the council press release verbatim so read it with caution. Watford Borough Council has successfully prosecuted Mr xxxx, owner of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) located at Vicarage Road, for numerous breaches that posed significant risks to the health and safety of tenants and was ordered to pay a total of £26,535.41 for his offences. The case arose from concerns raised by two tenants residing at Vicarage Road,

Council secures conviction against HMO owner for health and safety breaches

08 Apr 24 A housing management company has been fined £30,000 after an inspection by Liverpool City Council found an escape route at a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) was padlocked shut and blocked by a shipping container. Newsham Park Estates Ltd has pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Management of House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Regulations 2006 due to serious issues with tenant safety. The Council’s Private Sector Housing Service visited the property

£30k fine for HMO management company

04 Apr 24 Burnley council says it’s considered the findings of a six-week public consultation and is set to increase planning controls over the conversion of properties into HMOs. The council’s executive is recommended to agree the removal of what are known as permitted development rights which currently allow a single dwelling house to be changed into a small HMO without planning permission. Currently a single dwelling can be converted into an HMO for between

Burnley next to have Article 4 Direction to stop new HMOs

04 Apr 24 A think tank based in central London says landlords would not quit the sector if much tougher – and more expensive – reforms were made to the private rental sector. The Social Market Foundation think tank claims that fears that stricter regulations will reduce the supply of rental properties are “overblown.” The SMF says that compared to similar countries, English rental contracts tend to be relatively short and most comparable countries have

More doom as think-tank says landlords can afford much tougher regulation

04 Apr 24 There’s been a huge rise in the number of buy to let property repossessions in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period 2023. A report from lenders’ trade body UK Mortgage says there were 500 BTL mortgage possessions taken in Q4 2023, up 56.3 per cent on the same quarter a year previously. And the same report reveals that at the end of Q4 2023 there were 13,570 BTL

Shocking rise in PRS repossessions and mortgage arrears

02 Apr 24 The government has committed to returning the amended Renters Reform Bill to the House of Commons in mid-April. MPs return from their Easter recess on April 15 and the Bill will resume its passage through Parliament within days of the recess ending. There’s been angry reaction from activists and charities following changes made to address concerns about out the anti-landlord bias of the Bill in its original form. Ben Twomey, chief executive

Gove bringing Renters Reform Bill back to Commons in mid-April

22 Mar 24 Today its Hammersmith and Fulham but the more landlords from around the county that battle against this the more chance Hammersmith and Fulham landlords stand of overturning it.   Hammersmith and Fulham is intending to bring in further selective licensing for another five years.  And they want to makeover single 3 or 4 person shared house and small HMOs require an Additional HMO licence.   Presumably another council desperate to tax and fine landlords. 

Your chance to try to stop more selective and additional licensing 

18 Mar 24 A Conservative commentator says that the Renters (Reform) Bill can best be described as a ‘wholesale and fundamental invasion’ into the principle of private property. Tim Briggs goes on to say that the Bill ‘will demonise landlords – and bankrupt councils’. Writing on Conservative Woman, he says that the Bill ‘insinuates that all tenants are victims, and all landlords are villains’. He adds: “It forces the cold, dead hand of the State into

Renters (Reform) Bill will ‘demonise landlords and bankrupt councils’