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Wed 11 Dec 2019

Market update

Pilgrims International Lettings – Welcome to our December 2019 – our last quarter of 2019 over view.

Celebrate the PILGRIMS Property Management Team!

Director - Simon Silby

Property Manager  - Jo Griffiths

 

Winter brings with it a whole range of issues that Property Managers need to navigate, from the left over pesky pests from a relatively warm summer to the obvious boiler breakdowns that result in no heating and no hot water. The rain and wind also trigger a whole raft of “damage”, which include leaky roofs, blown down fences and other weather related matters. Whilst the valuers and negotiators land new business, in the background property managers oversee the resolution of issues that come to light daily - 24/7, 365 days a year!

The Property Managers (PMs) are not often involved in negotiations with the landlords, yet they oversee and manage the day to day running of the portfolios. They have an in-depth understanding of the way that properties, whilst providing an income for the landlord, must also be looked after and not allowed to deteriorate. The PMs are pivotal to the smooth running of a letting agency often dealing with the more challenging aspects of lettings and management.

Navigating key pieces of legislation to ensure that the landlord must adhere to - the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, the Housing Act 1988 (1996), the Housing Act 2004 - HHSRS, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, Deregulation Act 2019,  the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2010, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014… and so so much more. Our Property Managers are aware of the penalties that landlords could face, so at the core of what they do is ensuring that risk is at a minimum. Our property managers are often unsung heroes, spending countless hours tracking and verifying contractors, running reports for EPCs, HMOs, Gas Safety Certificates, Electrical Certificates, Property Inspections. Behind the scenes Simon and Jo are juggling many balls!

The regulatory environment in the Private Rental Sector is dynamic and complex, especially with so much change over the last few years and whilst landlords find staying ahead of the constant shift in national laws and regulations a challenge, excellent property managers stay ahead of the curve. The consequences of non-compliance can compromise the reputation of an agency’s brand, the wellbeing of its properties, its bottom line and most importantly, the safety of its tenants. And so by focusing on their core responsibilities the result is happy tenants, stress-free investors and extremely well- managed properties.

 

Ministry of Housing closes Consultation re: the Abolition of the Section 21 Notice

On 15 April 2019, the government announced that it will put an end to so called ‘no-fault’ evictions by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Under the new framework, a tenant cannot be evicted from their home without good reason. This will provide tenants with more stability, protecting them from having to make frequent moves at short notice, and enabling them to put down roots and plan for the future.

The government also proposed to strengthen the section 8 eviction process, so landlords are able to regain their property should they wish to sell it or move into it themselves. This will provide a more secure legal framework and a more stable rental market for landlords to remain and invest in.

This consultation sought views on how section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has been used in the past, and the circumstances in which landlords should be able to regain possession once it has been abolished, including what changes may be necessary to the existing grounds for possession in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.

The Ministry is also invited views on the implications of removing the ability of landlords to grant assured shorthold tenancies in the future, how the processing of repossession orders through the courts could be improved, and whether the reforms should be extended to other types of landlords, most notably, to housing associations.

The consultation closed on October 12th and the Government are currently analysing the feedback. One things seems certain – there is more new regulation and compliance on the way!

 

Welcome Harry!

Pilgrims are delighted to welcome Harry Chew, who joins James Griffin, Elliot Griffin and Jenni Cooper as part of our growing Lettings team. Born and bred in the Woking, Harry brings a wealth of knowledge of the area, as well as 4 years’ experience in lettings and client management.  

 

The General Election - So which Manifesto for Housing is the most Realistic?

By the time you read this the result of the General election will be known, with a new Housing Policy to follow. Housing features high on the agenda of all the political parties vying for pole position.  Labour has gone big with its housing promises. The Labour Party pledges to spend £75 billion on building 150,000 new social homes a year within 5 years.  The party intends to scrap the Right to Buy, as well as give local authorities “the powers and funding” to buy back homes sold through the policy and owned by private landlords. There is reform planned for Help to Buy “to focus on first-time buyers on ordinary incomes” and introduce a new income-linked discount homeownership product. There is also a great deal of emphasis on homelessness and building safety.

The Liberal Democrats' manifesto is full of housing pledges. They plan to build 300,000 homes a year with 100,000 for social rent, funded from a £130bn capital. The Lib Dems also promise to introduce a new ‘rent to own’ model for social housing, whereby tenants gain increasing levels of equity through renting. Like her competitors, party leader Jo Swinson has promised to put an end to rough sleeping by 2025.

The Conservatives would renew the Affordable Homes Programme, commit to extend the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot scheme, introduce long-term fixed mortgages with deposits of only 5% when buying would also be introduced to encourage homebuying, while developer contributions would be used to discount homes by up to a third for local purchasers.  Again homelessness and building safety feature heavily in the Conservative manifesto.

But it is the tenure of the Private Rented Sector and the abolition of the Section 21 notice that are key factors that sit in some shape or form in all manifestos. The PRS has been a target to encourage voters to think about home ownership and renting. Remember the Tenant fee Ban? Vote winner or not?

Now, more than ever, the political parties are putting their force behind their promises "to improve" the housing sector. I would strongly advise Landlords to lobby their MP’s to take their time and not to legislate on a populist whim. Ill thought out legislation could well see the Private Rental Sector abandon its support for social housing….and that would be a catastrophic outcome for the most vulnerable in society.

Finally as the festive period approaches the staff at Pilgrims would like to wish our clients; past, present and future….a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2020!