Mary Latham’s articles are always worth reading. She has been a landlady for decades and is an NLA representative in the Midlands.

https://www.lettingaproperty.com/landlord/blog/2015/06/queens-speech-highlights-new-legislation-for-landlords/?utm_source=Landlord&utm_campaign=c7201641ea-RSS_LIVE_LANDLORD_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2eb79d9d85-c7201641ea-409686237

No surprise. What politicians don’t seem to understand is that Agency is a VERY time-consuming business, irrespective of our understandably low opinion of Agents. If we stop them making money by banning fees, then it will only result in higher rents. The media will complain about increasing rents, and how much tenants are being ripped off. More legislation will result because politicians just don’t understand market forces. This will probably mean rent controls (Labour already stupidly wanting to introduce these), and then Landlords will simply say there’s no profit & more financial risk so will sell up. What then happens to the Private Rented Sector, which the Gvmt relies on to provide housing?

http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/scottish-agents-lost-9000-a-year-per-branch-after-fees-ban/

Surprisingly, my mainly political/economic postings on the high profile Property Tribes website have propelled me to #18 in their Top Contributors list, despite the fact that I don’t post too frequently or read all their threads (as I don’t have the time). Presumably my posts have attracted “likes”.

http://www.propertytribes.com/property-tribes-top-20-contributors-first-quarter-2015-t-13981.html

Interesting statistics, but not surprising ones.

http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/nearly-a-quarter-of-all-landlords-are-accidental.html?utm_source=Sign-Up.to&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-101383-Campaign+-+09%2F04%2F2015

Do politicians realise the fact stated here by the NLA that three in 10 landlords with a single property only breakeven or make a loss? Seemingly from their electoral promises it appears not, as there’s easy votes to be won portraying Landlords as villains.

Again, this is a point that I’ve been making to investors for some time. Being a Landlord is not only hard work but the net profit is substantially less than people imagine, and if Landlords took out repayment mortgages instead of interest-only, and costed out their own labour in £’s per hour, how many would then be making a profit?

They are relying on capital growth, which is at the mercy of capricious markets.VERY risky.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-32150945

This is excellent news and I would hope has the potential to greatly speed up the conveyancing process.
Admittedly the process in Scotland is MUCH better than here in England (and I wish we would replicate it as it would protect sellers from unscrupulous purchasers), but if they can get it working then it could make a positive impact in England.

My concern would be self-interested solicitors de-railing it in order to justify slow processing of documentation and larger fees in order to continue with the current, more labour-intensive process.

Well done to the Law Society of Scotland. I hope they can get it up and running quickly.

Government is introducing a restriction on landlords to stop them from preventing sub-letting.

http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/sub-letting-clause-could-spell-trouble-for-landlords.html?utm_source=Sign-Up.to&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-99028-Campaign+-+20%2F03%2F2015

This is so unbelievably stupid that it could have been Milliband introducing it. They have not consulted the industry on this. Gvmt patently do not understand the problems that Landlords already have around the country with dishonest tenants.

You cant allow tenants to sub-let someone else’s property. There are all sorts of liability issues, fire risks, illegalities, massive damages and no control of behaviour. There’s enough bad landlords out there already, but having tenants sub-letting when they know nothing will cause immense problems and the added risk along with all the additional legislation and compliance for landlords will ensure that more landlords will pack up. Result = fewer properties available for rent = the opposite of what the country needs.

I just despair at politicians. How can they be so educated yet so stupid?

Rent control has apparently failed in every instance it has been introduced in the past, not just in the UK but in other countries too.

We know that politicians don’t learn from past mistakes and are opportunists. Currently rent control is again being talked about as being introduced should we have a disastrous election result, and the economically illiterate Milliband gets elected. Its an easy vote-winning statement to make that will appeal to the “victims” within the electorate (Labour’s core voters).

However it doesnt take a lot of questioning and understanding of the market forces of supply & demand to realise that the idea is wrong-headed and will have the opposite effect to that which was intended.

The following article that I have copied from the National Landlords Association’s website also highlights another reason why rent control will cause problems across the housing industry; the effects on housebuilders’ finances.

Article Posted – 18 Feb 2015
Rent control is understandably considered part of an unholy trinity of public policy by private landlords, along with indefinite security of tenure and unwarranted licensing schemes.

There is good reason for landlords to fear the re-introduction of price intervention policies. They have a long history of market damage in the UK and abroad, never less than when private rents are concerned. However, little focus is given to the implications price control can have on other facets of the housing supply chain.

Delegates attending a recent housing conference in the City of London spent some time discussing the topic with a number of (very) large investors and building firms – and the conclusions were stark to say the least.

It seems the principal concern of institutional investors and their financial backers was not necessarily the impact on individual tenancy terms, or even their long-term income. They were far more interested in the impact the uncertainty and potential negative consequences of such a change would have on banks and builders’ ability to ‘de-risk’ new developments and in the worst instances break ground on new sites.

Few people, it would seem, realize that many house builders are only able to finance builds by the release of a primary phase to off-plan purchasers. i.e. those prepared to invest in a property before construction on the basis of developers’ ‘literature and architects’ plans.

Understandably, this tends to be landlords making business decisions, rather than households buying a home.

In the uncertainty that would undoubtedly follow proposals to introduce rent limits, both landlords and risk-averse lenders will almost certainly focus their intentions on lower risk investments and decimating new-build demand. The consequence of which will be stalled sites and a further reduction in house building.

A far cry from the quarter of a million units many agree the UK needs to build year on year.

– See more at: http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/why-rent-control-will-halt-house-building#sthash.QOmY6mYP.dpuf

This article written by the NLA explains more lucidly than I have time to write, the effects of rent control, which is currently being promoted by socialist politicians in order to win cheap votes.

As ever with politics, the results will achieve the opposite of what was intended, to the detriment of EVERYONE.

https://nlauk.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/rent-risk-resolve-part-four-rent-control/?dm_i=11G,36LDQ,CADIQ4,BEHIL,1

Assinine politicians (Milliband & Balls immediately come to mind as they appear to utterly fail to comprehend how markets work) need to be questioned by the media and by voters around the country to explain the long-term consequences on the property market of rent controls, and what happens if they introduce 3 year minimum rent periods, but interest rates rise.

Whilst I am a menber of the NLA (National Landlords Association), I am not a member of the RLA (Residential Landlords Association)

I have today seen this article on the RLA website that explains why rent controls will have the opposite effect to that planned by socialists, notably the buffoons in Labour & Generation Rent. This is not self-interest, but as I have said before, it is a result of market forces, supply & demand.

So, I have provided the link and copied the content of the article below, because it is important.

http://news.rla.org.uk/fears-that-landlords-will-leave-the-market-if-rent-controls-are-introduced/

Three out of five landlords would leave, or consider leaving, the private rented market if rent controls were introduced. New figures also reveal that the majority of landlords plan to freeze their rents in 2015.

The findings come as RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, will warn that proposals for rent controls will leave tenants worse off.

According to the results of a survey of over 1,000 members of the Residential Landlords Association, over 75% of landlords either froze or cut their rents in 2014.

In the current year, over 65% intend to do so again.

Speaking ahead of a debate on rent controls tomorrow, Alan Ward said:

“These results blow a hole through the myth that rent controls would be good for tenants.

“At a time when tenants need more choice over where they live, state-controlled rents would choke off supply, increase rents and reduce quality. It would be history repeating itself.”

Alan Ward will point to official figures showing that in the social rented sector, rent controls have seen rents massively outstrip inflation.

Data in the most recent English Housing Survey show that between 2008/09 and 2012/13 social sector rents increased by over 25%. In comparison, private sector rents increased over the same period by 6.5%. Inflation as measured by both CPI and RPI over this period was around 16%.

Mr Ward continued:

“The reality is that rent controls would leave many tenants paying more than they do at the moment.

“Rather than coming up with ideologically-driven ideas, proponents of rent controls need to address the root issues, namely the need to boost the supply of homes to rent.”

Property “Staging” is popular in the US and we have been seeing this sort of advice being given on TV here in the UK. It is where a business is called in to give advice to a home owner on how to achieve a higher selling price for their home. It can involve decoration, de-cluttering, cleaning (you may be surprised at how filthy some people are!), keeping pets hidden & that sort of thing.

When I refurbish properties and put them up for sale, I furnish them so that they look like a home rather than a clean property. This way it makes the property more desirable & aspirational, and can solve problems eg storage.

However, most refurbishers dont do this. In fact, along with my business partner I have just taken on 5 flats, buying them from a builder who was getting little interest in them. Our belief is that this was because he was selling them as plain white empty but carpeted boxes. Time will tell whether we are right about these.

Anyway, because I see so many properties that are badly presented, and badly photographed by Agents, I wanted to get some feedback as to why Agents don’t use Staging companies, because for a small investment they could achieve a higher selling price for their clients. I know its not an easy conversation to have with a seller because they are proud of their home, and its easy to take offence at what is tantamount to personal criticism!

So, I’ve asked this question in an Estate Agents forum in LinkedIn.

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Why-dont-Estate-Agents-use-3073629.S.5967034921070395393?trk=groups_most_recent-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmr_3073629