At our last member meeting Jon McDermott talked about planning and several times, mentioned CIL payments and each time, someone asked what a CIL payment was….
This short article attempts to explain what they are and why they are so important.
In response to the campaign by certain councillors to reduce the spread or update of HMO's, we raised the following key points:
Last month we included the PDPLA response to the consulation on the Local Plan 'Issues and Options' document (see it here). In clarification, Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of PCC, responded: "Just a quick comment on the local plan and infrastructure. Much of what most people would include as infrastructure is outside of the control of local government (hospitals, doctors, new schools (although not the expansion of existing ones), the A27, railways) and so unless central government departments are willing to make commitments - and they're not - this cannot be considered in the local plan."
He went on to add,
Long standing PDPLA Committee Member Joan Goldenberg had this published in 'The News' (Portsmouth local paper) this month:
I am fed up listening to what awful people we landlords are and in particular the current campaign denigrating student landlords. How landlords have ruined Portsmouth bringing in students to the private residential areas, taken cheap housing away, overcharge and are the cause of traffic problems.
What landlords have actually done is buy dilapidated Victorian Houses, where the original residents made a jolly good profit, updated and improved them, from their own resources, and provided jobs for local businesses and business people and provided housing for students where there was none as the university numbers grew. Local builders, plasterers, painters, electricians, gas and central heating engineers, roofers were all kept busy and owe their living to the influx of landlords improving and providing much needed - but not only student - accommodation. Various industrial units have popped up, servicing the needs of these building trades.
The Upper Tribunal (UT) has held that insurance charges made by a landlord of a block of flats (the flats) were not payable by the tenants, as they were not "reasonably incurred". (This item shared with us by John Saulet of Saulet Townshend LLP)
A letter to The News from the PDPLA about the current debate over student and HMO densities in the city.
There have been several letters recently about HMO’s in the city. On one side, we appear to have LibDem councillors trying to rally residents behind their ‘anti-student/anti-student housing’ war cry and on the other, there have been some very good factual letters such as the one from George Langton pointing out that most houses in the city have always been shared and the other from Joan Goldenberg which succinctly summarised both the benefit to the city that we gain from the student population and also, the pressures and costs faced by the typical landlord without yet more regulation.
The average landlord has 4 houses and keeps them for 15 years. House prices historically, have doubled (before adjusting for inflation) every 10 years and today, the average house in the city costs £225,000.
That means an average landlord who decides to sell his portfolio today, probably bought the houses just after the millennium and paid just under £100,000 each. So, for an outlay of say, £400,000, today he has a Capital Gains liability of half a million pounds.
Running a property portfolio comes to us for many reasons, sometimes, it is inherited, some have fought for it and some have built it slowly and steadily. There came a point for me where I lost my reason ‘why?’
The Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association represents nearly 500 residential landlords in Portsmouth and residential landlords (the ‘PRS’) provide approaching 30% of all housing in the city.
What is often overlooked is that the PRS gives the city and the businesses within it the flexibility to develop and grow. As IBM and Zurich and others moved from the city and the University started to grow, there were inadequate student halls to accommodate the demand. The PRS stepped in and met the need which allowed the University to grow unhindered from around 10,000 students to its current 23,000.
At every public meeting attended recently where housing has been discussed, a classic example of political double speak has reared its head. There is always someone in the audience who demands more affordable housing and there is always a politician on the platform (and this applies to all parties) who promises more affordable housing. Why is that of interest - well, more often than not local landlords are blamed for 'pushing up prices' which have made houses unaffordable and also, it is time someone told both sides of this debate the truth.
When we last reported on local planning decisions in June (http://pdpla.com/pdpla-news/news-articles/item/337-portsmouth-planning-policy-encourages-unplanned-behaviours) we highlighted the fact that current planning rules encouraged increased density in existing HMO’s due to the lack of opportunity to provide this much needed accommodation anywhere else. PCC have acted swiftly to change the rules and stop such developments. Unfortunately, if some of the proposed changes were applied to current HMO’s we believe that many HMO’s in the city would no longer be legal.
This month PDPLA chair, Martin Silman and vice-chair, Alwin Oliver met with Fiona Bell, Head of Estates at the University of Portsmouth to discuss the outlook for the student housing sector, the number and quality of halls being built, the role of private sector landlords and some of the concerns our members have raised.
Portsmouth have started a consultation to update the local plan which is the basis upon which all of their detail strategies and plans are formed. So if the local plan states, just for example, that there will be no zoos in the city, then anyone wanting to open a zoo will find it almost impossible to do so. Zoos may be a banal example, but the plan does state how many new houses could be built, where and of what type. It will update current plans and strategies on HMO's and student halls - so if you are a student landlord particularly, you do need to respond or ask us to include your views in our response. The consultation runs until late September, so do take the time to let us know your view please.
In the 1830's most people had a landlord and most people lived in squalid, overcrowded conditions - so not surprising that landlords were not seen as 'good people' by the masses. But why has that not changed? With all of the regulations in place to ensure that good standards are maintained and management is professional and with so many people investing in 1 or 2 properties to supplement or support their retirement, you would have thought attitudes would have changed by now.
It is believed that, for the first time in the UK, a letting agency has been successfully prosecuted under consumer protection legislation for granting "sham licences" to tenants. Our friend and supporter, John Saulet of Saulet Townsend sent us the following details of this story...