Portsmouth landlords have been represented at a newly launched Housing Coalition at Westminster. The group aims to bring together landlord, letting agent and tenant organisations among others to ensure a smooth transition after the Renters Reform Bill is implemented. The Housing Coalition held its first meeting at Propertymark's headquarters in London in November 2023 to launch the group in person following several online meetings.
The Renters reform bill is now nearing the end of its second reading and will then go to the House of Lords for detailed revision, where there is still time to seek an amendment for a specialist housing court. To find out why this is a good idea follow Alwin's articles on his "substack" (posh blog) account below, but as a spoiler we are asking you to sign a petition, share and write to your MP.
After our August meeting, many members are planning to shut down their HMOs and will need to regain possession of the property. This article outlines some of the implications and costs for all involved – imagine a blancmange hit by a cricket bat. Sadly, tenants form the blancmange... And councillors and their staff are responsible for the mess.
The Commons Levelling Up Committee has responded to the Government's White paper on the PRS, outlining a number of concerns that reflect NRLA, PDPLA and Propertymark's own response, most notably the impact on student housing and the increase in unregulated short term lets, but also in respect of a specialist housing court and improved methods of dealing with rent arrears and anti social behaviour, although they are light on detail in respect of the latter at least. There are signs they are listening to PDPLA proposals in this aspect.
Landlords in Portsmouth are experiencing high volumes of international student applications, many of whom do not understand the process for applying for private accommodation, as a result of very high numbers of international students undertaking MSc courses. As a result, Local landlords are worried there may not be enough accommodation, or that the accommodation available not being suitable, with a worrying trend for couples or even families applying to live in single rooms. This is exacerbated by the appearance of foreign 'agents' trying to source properties and what may be an organised immigration racket.
Given the two current examples in the city, both widely covered in the press, of Windsor House where owner responsibility sits with a defunct development company and the property in The Retreat plagued by squatters, rats and drug use, Alwin Oliver, Vice Chairman of PDPLA said; "Both of these cases, in which none of the parties are members of the PDPLA, illustrate that trying to recover a property on grounds of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is all but hopeless, hence the need for a better procedure".
Martin Silman, chairman of PDPLA added "we have recently published detailed proposals that we would like to see courts adopt in relation to Anti-Social Behaviour cases, neighbours should not have to live with this, and landlords need better support from the authorities than they have now"
As part of our response to the consultation on Additional Licensing, we asked our Vice Chair, local landlord and long established letting agent, Alwin Oliver to outline the economics of HMO's from the perspective of the tenant, the landlord and the city – as we are convinced everyone just assumes we are making huge profits at the expense of all around. We were not surprised to see Alwin's analysis prove this to be untrue – we knew that already – but what did surprise us was the fact that if Additional Licencing drives the smaller HMOs and landlords out of the market, the median renter will now find him or herself in a much more expensive 'Super HMO' which is why we believe the median rents will rise 50%.
Don't believe us? Then read on and Alwin will explain….
Two cases that have come across my desk this month have highlighted the potential pitfalls of rent to rent (or guaranteed rent). They make grim reading for landlords, councillors and enforcement officers. All of us would do well to understand how rent to rent works so that if it goes wrong, the right people are identified for enforcement. For landlords it is also important to make informed and wise decisions about management of our assets. They also serve to highlight the jaw dropping complexity of law, redress and enforcement when or if- the landlord themselves is the victim of sharp practice (or worse).
We have reported a number of times in the past about 'disaggregation' – whereby individual units within a property are each charged council tax separately. So, for example, a 7-bed HMO might be charged a Band D council tax charge as a single dwelling but increasingly, they are being re-banded and billed as 7 individual Band A properties.