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A Landlords Christmas List

I was thinking today, what would be the top 5 things I would wish for next year as a landlord. See how it compares to yours:

1. My new tenant pays her rent

I have recently had a very stressful time letting one of my properties. It coincided with a house move and setting up a new business, and I was caught in a pincer movement between two competing letting agents both pushing their somewhat less then straight forward tenants. In the end I think…I hope I made the right decision with very limited time and information. As time as gone on I feel slightly more comfortable in that the letting agent has righted their wrong by convincing the tenant to replace their 12 month tenancy agreement with one for 6 months (this means using a section 21 notice I should be able to get my property back by May). It also transpires that the tenant guarantor is a homeowner of 20 years standing (there must be some equity there if the tenancy goes ‘belly up’). So I’m preying that come 1st of January that the new tenant pays the rent. That will set the scene for the rest of the tenancy and the first part of my landlording New Year.

2. Interest rates stay low

I don’t know about you but I’m minting it with rental profits. What started back in 2008 as being a windfall (and a compensation for falling property values) has turned into a rental profit tsunami. The downside is that I’ve never paid so much tax on my rental business. It looks on the face of things that interest rates will stay low again in 2013…like many landlords on interest rate based mortgages I’m hoping they do.

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3. Planning permission

I’m hoping that the planners (of which I was one) finally are beaten and that I get the planning permission I need for my redevelopment of one of my properties viable. In so doing I will increase the amount of residential accommodation in an area of high rental demand. I get sick of reading the protestations of politicians talking about improving the supply of housing whilst continuously increasing the degree of control and regulation within the planning system. You really can’t have both! We can have more affordable housing but that means that we all need to accept that this housing will be coming to somewhere near YOU! What irritates me more than anything is the mentality of town planners in small towns on roof heights and a conflation that if we have a neighbourhood of identical roof height this some how equates to good design. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Some of the best urban landscapes consist of a variety of heights and design.

I hope the Planners & the Planning Inspector sees sense!

4. No boiler failures

It’s a landlord curse at this time of year. The last thing you need is a call from one of your tenants informing you that they are freezing and have no hot water just as you are about to tuck into your turkey. You really don’t want to be trying to find a working heating engineer at this time of year. Funny enough, they are all busy! So I’m praying quietly that all my boilers, which are just undergoing their annual gas safety check hold out this year.

5. Rents keep rising

Rents keep on rising, apparently. I have to say my own experience has not necessarily verified this. A recent letting I made ended up way below the rental amount I would have expected. I do think that much of the increase in rents is occurring south of the Wash and in particular in Central London. Our Rentindex does show that rents have been on an upward curve since 2010 and long may it continue!

Bring back PIP!

Most will be aware of the Dickens character Pip in Great Expectations. I would ask politicians from all political parties to bring back PIP in the new year. Just like the Dickens character this scheme was undeservingly sacrificed to fulfil the twisted ambitions of another. If we want to kick start development in our towns and cities and provide more rental accommodation for all of us with limited funds then this is a brilliant solution. In 6 years of operation up to 1999 this scheme levered in £2.5bn of investment with only £1.1bn of public funds. Why did it end if it was so good? In a word EUROPE. They didn’t understand the idea that the power of the private sector could be harnessed by a genuine partnership with the public sector. So the Labour government gave in and closed the scheme. We know how good ‘Europe’ is at managing their finances and the rest is history. I’d like to see the politicians revisit this innovative approach and this time have the courage to stand up for a truly innovative and successful scheme. I hope our politicians show more of a bulldog spirit when it comes to standing up for the Buy-to-let mortgage which is currently also under threat from Europe.

Festive Greetings

All it remains for me to say is have a great Christmas and prosperous New Year and remember – there has never been a better time to be a landlord!

The Property Hawk Team

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