Skip to main content

Recent news items of interest to local landlords, use the search option above to find specific topics.

Portsmouth HMO Licensing Update

There has been much angst over the introduction of Licensing in Portsmouth, both Additional and the transition of Mandatory to the same process. Whilst we continue working to encourage PCC to improve their solution there are obvious restrictions on what we can or should publish, but a short update on the current situation does seem appropriate.  

Continue reading
  15 Hits

Landlord Insurance - Why?

We have talked about insurance many times, most recently in September last (Better, Best, Boswells - PDPLA News - Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association)  but an incident this month brought my objectives into clear focus.

Continue reading
  6 Hits

If Only People Understood Section 21 Reforms

We publish here an exchange between Roger Bell the South Hampshire Chair of iHOWZ Landlords Association and someone called Jake responding on behalf of Secretary of State, Michael Gove 

Continue reading
  1 Hits

The Secret Of Property Investing

We all see professionals, experts, gurus and charlatans purporting to be able to help you succeed with property, but do any of them really know the answer or are they all just after your money?  Seven years ago, I saw the perfect answer to how the property market works and what you need to do to profit from it.  Here it is.... 

Continue reading
  146 Hits

Have You Registered For Property Alerts

Since 2015 we have warned members 6 times about the risks of property fraud and the need to register their properties with the Land Registry so that they get alerts of any potentially fraudulent activity - but it still seems that some members have yet to register.  It takes seconds, it gives you peace of mind and it could be the difference between losing a property or not. Do it today!

Continue reading
  130 Hits

Portsmouth City Council Abusing PRS Tenants' Rights

In 2005, my wife Iva and I were renting a house which the landlord was also marketing for sale. When home alone one afternoon, Iva came out of the kitchen and was shocked to find 3 strangers standing in the middle of the lounge. The sales agent had been asked by prospective purchasers for a same-day viewing, he assumed no-one was home, did not call in advance, did not ring the doorbell, but simply entered our home without notice or consent. It was a shocking, traumatic experience for Iva and an unpleasant memory that still gives her the shudders all these years later. That experience informs the way we approach entry when it is needed to our tenanted properties, that is, with great care and consideration for our tenants' privacy and sensibilities.  

Continue reading
  242 Hits

Portsmouth Hates Landlords

Portsmouth has been one of the worst places to operate as a private landlord for many years owing to the anti-landlord policies of Portsmouth City Council, but recent events have taken the problem to new levels - forcing many of the poorest tenants out of the city. 

Gerrymandering? Probably not. But could it be? Yes, definitely.

Read our formal complaint to the council. 

Continue reading
  530 Hits

Licencing Angst

So many landlords see PCC as dark overlords who will hit them with massive fines if they so much as forget to check a fire alarm, they go out of their way to give PCC no cause to admonish them.  And what is the result, the landlords in question experience stress and financial pain and PCC add to their incorrect statistics of how  many rogues they have sorted and how many homes they have improved, when in reality all they have done is wasted the time of local people, pushed up rents and been a drain on the local economy 

Continue reading
  474 Hits

Portsmouth Killed Landlord Business

Portsmouth City Council will no doubt be ecstatic to hear that, having been a student HMO landlord for 20 years (I was one of the first people to join the now defunct PCC Accreditation Scheme) their current policies have killed my business off completely, combined with the increase of mortgage rates, and I am down to my last couple of houses which will also be going on the market. I have also been on StudentPad for all those years who inspected and passed my houses, as did PCC Housing Department when it was run by Bruce Lomax - showing that until recently my properties met all of the standards set by both PCC and the University.

Continue reading
  362 Hits

Portsmouth Landlord Applies For HMO Licence In Less Than 1 Hour!

You would think it was not news – but we have been arguing for 3 months since the new licensing application software was introduced that it is badly written, hard to use and asks for too much information. We have members who have spent 2 weeks trying to get a single application completed. The PCC response has been to largely ignore us and tell us it only takes an hour and then it is done – even when members take all the necessary documentation in and sit and watch while PCC staff perform the task it takes them 2 hours per property.

Well, we need to apologise – after 3 months training and extensive practice, one of our members completed their final application in just 59 minutes and 44 seconds. 

Continue reading
  428 Hits

Propertymark Helps Launch Fairer Renting Group

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.  

Continue reading
  187 Hits

Property Insurance Price Jumps

We are seeing alarming premium increases of around 17 or 18% from Boswells. This appears to be in line with or lower than other providers and is being applied equally to our homes and rental properties. 'Consumer intelligence' data says "Quoted home insurance prices surge a record 25.7% in a year". The increase in the year to July 2023 in the South East was 28.4%.

Continue reading
  199 Hits

PDPLA Launches Commons Petition for Specialist Housing Court

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.

Continue reading
  154 Hits

Right to Rent Landlords' Code of Practice

It is funny, they call it a 'Code of Practice'  but it is actually a newly published draft of the list of things a landlord must do to avoid a civil penalty and a list of exemptions that let everyone else off the hook. 

Continue reading
  204 Hits

Additional Licensing Deadline Looms

Owners of small HMOs and many 257 properties in Portsmouth will need to get their Additional Licence application in by the end of this month. Be warned that the application process is immensely burdensome and is not something you can quickly flash through at the end of the month.

Also, sadly, once you get your draft licence, you will find the licence conditions to be heavily loaded against you – considering any infringement is a criminal offence, that is not good news. We have asked PCC for clarification but sadly, we have been ignored and thus will need to resolve these issues at greater cost to all involved (which ultimately will feed through to rents and impact even more of the most vulnerable in the city). 

Continue reading
  357 Hits

Univ of Portsmouth Re-Opens Langstone Campus

At a Neighbourhood Forum meeting in Milton this month, University of Portsmouth Director of Estates and Campus Services, Tahir Ahmed outlined plans to bring nearly 250 student rooms back into use at their 'Langstone Village' campus at Milton Locks in the city in an attempt to ease the student housing crisis which sees students commuting to Portsmouth from as far as Leeds this year.  

Continue reading
  474 Hits

Disaggregation Dies!

The government has finally seen sense and decided to end the unfair and discriminatory practices of the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) in arbitrarily disaggregating some HMOs into individual units for Council Tax purposes. Congratulations to member and local activist, Daryn Brewer, for championing this issue at the highest levels and achieving this excellent result.  

Continue reading
  229 Hits

Electrical Changes Update

We wrote last year about the need to get EICRs completed before September if we wanted to avoid the high cost of AFDD's. A member asked recently whether this became law and which HMOs it applies to. I also, somewhat foolishly, asked for the latest on plastic consumer units under stairs. Read the response of member and retired electrician, Graham Castellano.  

Continue reading
  279 Hits

Fire Safety – It’s in the detail

At the start of October, new rules on Fire Safety were introduced – post Grenfell, everyone appears to be regulating and regimenting every aspect of fire risk. Obviously, this is good if it saves lives – but how do you know when enough is enough.And who is competent to make that decision?  

Continue reading
  319 Hits

Fire Safety - What You Need To Know

Social housing providers have a lot to answer for – poor practice, inadequate systems and undertrained staff leave families living in damp, mouldy properties, whole estates going without necessary gas safety checks and sadly, disasters like Grenfell. Unfortunately, given that most of these organisations do the minimum they need to comply with the rules, each time one of these events happen, new rules are created and each time, the private rented sector gets painted (tainted?) with the same brush.

Fire safety is no exception and the attempt to 'systemise' solutions has led to some daft interpretations of some well-intentioned rules – so here we run through some of them and hopefully, help explain what you should and should not do. 

Continue reading
  382 Hits

Better, Best, Boswells

What is better than best? Grammatically one would argue that best cannot be bettered, but as landlords, we suggest that the English language be changed to show that the new order has Boswells as better than best!

Why, well apart from all the awards and our longstanding endorsement – PDPLA chairman's wife, Karen, has decided to pay £800 more than competitors to insure the family property portfolio with Boswells. 

Continue reading
  301 Hits

Cost of Licensing in Portsmouth Increases Again

Tuesday, Sept 5th, PCC Cabinet approved the proposed changes to Mandatory Licence Fee Structure and Licence Conditions to be effective December 1st.  We share here the perspective of an existing mandatory licence holder, large HMO landlord, Simon Fletcher who is unhappy that PCC made zero changes as a result of the consultation and, in his view, have implemented a potentially illegal solution.

Continue reading
  367 Hits

Do Single Men Watch Love Island Together?

Sounds like a Philip K Dick story but this was one of the big questions answered by local Chartered Surveyor and landlord, Josette Knight, at our August meeting when she passionately exposed PCC policy on communal space and lounges as unrealistic and unnecessary and pleaded for help for her 'boys' who had been homeless when PCC placed them with her, but who she now must evict because of PCC policy.

Continue reading
  458 Hits

Repossessing Shared Housing?

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.

Continue reading
  1309 Hits

PCC Plan Licensing Increases

Landlords of 'Mandatory HMOs' in Portsmouth received a nice questionnaire asking if they thought it was a good idea that good landlords were charged less for their licence than bad landlords.

We were surprised at the number of members who complained to us about the 'loaded question'  

Continue reading
  327 Hits

Portsmouth Rents Rise

Across the country the cost of a single room has jumped significantly – Portsmouth has seen a below average 12% increase with median rents rising to £576 per month. We predicted Additional Licensing would be the final straw after tax changes, mortgage increases and utility bills which would drive small HMOs out of the market, leaving them to be replaced by the much more expensive 'Super HMOs' and student halls.  Sadly, this does appear to be the case.

The national average jumped 17% in the 2nd quarter to over £700 per month – so there is no doubt of the direction of travel locally.  

Continue reading
  260 Hits

You don't have to be mad to work here...

But on Portsmouth's Planning Committee, sanity is definitely not required. In fact, imagine a pack of wild dogs with the scent of blood and that is much like what happens when they hear the word 'HMO'. 

Continue reading
  417 Hits

Small HMO Licensing: Nearly But Not Yet...

If you are one of the few landlords who still has 3 or 4 bed HMOs in Portsmouth, you will need to get an Additional Licence if you wish to continue to do so. The scheme starts in September but our advice is not to apply now, but to wait until later in the year - you have until December to apply without penalty and it could save you thousands. 

Continue reading
  599 Hits

House Inspection Hints & Tips

Our relationship with at least one of our local authorities is very poor and we do not want to make it worse, but conversely, if members are being hit with unnecessary expenses, we have a duty to help them avoid those costs. Thus, in this article several members give their views on recent examples of overly keen house inspections and, if it should happen to you, what the legal position is should you wish to challenge them. 

(Note views shared here are those of individual members and form a small subset of those who responded - specifics have not been checked with qualified EHO's)

Continue reading
  600 Hits

Crystal Ball: Student Letting after the Renters Reform

Removal of Section 21 & fixed term tenancies is widely perceived as having the most detrimental impact in the student HMO sector. Simon Fletcher shares his view on how it will impact the local marketplace.

Continue reading
  498 Hits

Government Ends University Visa Scam

The government has announced that foreign post-graduate students on non-research courses will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK. Regardless of your views on whether politically this is good or bad news - locally it will take a lot of pain, administrative workload and unnecessary hassle away from landlords and will reduce the pressure on local accommodation. 

Continue reading
  404 Hits

Incorporation – What Is It and Should I?

As an association, we are often asked to find a speaker to talk about 'Incorporation' and whether it is a good thing or not. Over the years we have had various speakers selling their specific solution but never managed to get a good discussion on the subject, until this month, when PDPLA member Richard Hemingway shared his experience of the process.

Unfortunately, we were unable to film at this meeting and several members have asked if any notes are available so, hopefully, this article will help…. 

Continue reading
  357 Hits

St George, The Dragon, Portsmouth Planning and HMOs

Two events in April surprisingly had much in common – the St Georges Day celebration of a Roman soldier from Turkey who died in Palestine and who apparently killed a dragon and the Portsmouth Planning Committee reprimand for their behaviours toward HMOs.  

Continue reading
  606 Hits

Charles Burns RIP

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Charles passing. A stalwart of so many organisations and institutions in Portsmouth - he provided the grease that made things happen, if the city stops working as a result, it will not surprise many of us. 

Charles - you will be greatly missed.

Continue reading
  611 Hits

Reasons To Stop Aquind

As local landlords and possibly residents too, you may have seen all the commotion about plans for the Aquind interconnector and wondered what all the fuss is about, We know someone who can answer that question...

Continue reading
  1019 Hits

Portsmouth Among Worst Performing Local Authorities

Portsmouth City Council has been ranked the eighth worst in the country for its enforcement of private sector housing, according to a recent report compiled by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). They evaluated all 326 local authorities in England based on the number of hazards in private rented accommodation and the enforcement action taken by the council to address these issues.  

Continue reading
  575 Hits

Where you can stick your smoke alarms!

We had a query from a member with a 5-bed HMO asking about fire safety requirements after a Licensing inspection. Do you know what your property needs, even if it is not an HMO?  

Continue reading
  437 Hits

Portsmouth Evictions Easier

A glimmer of hope on several fronts for landlords who sadly need to end tenancies.  

Continue reading
  478 Hits

HMO Council Tax Consultation Now Live

In October we talked about 'a glint of hope' for HMO landlords who have had their properties disaggregated. The good news is that there has been significant progress over the last few weeks.

The Government have finally released the consultation which is now live and ready for us all to participate in. We have until the 31st March 2023 and it is important that you and your tenants respond to this consultation. 

Continue reading
  678 Hits

Rent Reform Bill - To Have A Housing Court Or Not?

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.  

Continue reading
  453 Hits

Portsmouth Planning Horror Show

There is little debate about whether local councillors like HMOs or HMO landlords, but the Portsmouth Planning Committee excelled themselves this month strongly implying one of our members, who has spent millions improving local property, was a rogue and rejecting other properties due to the lack of a downstairs toilet (nowhere does it state a property must have a downstairs toilet and in both cases, they had only been removed to meet the excessive local space requirements).

Read our complaint to the chair of the Planning Committee.. 

Continue reading
  503 Hits

Great Landlord Cleans Up Dirty Tenants

PDPLA member, Warren Somerset had an HMO with a serious bin problem and a bunch of tenants who all denied responsibility for the mess in the forecourt. After investing in CCTV and doing a bit of conscientious landlording, problem solved. 

Continue reading
  517 Hits

Hundreds of Portsmouth Residents Face Eviction

When the details of the LibDem inspired Additional HMO Licensing Scheme in Portsmouth were announced we surveyed our members. 2 out of 3 respondents plan to leave the Portsmouth HMO market this year, reducing their portfolios by 348 rooms – extrapolated to the whole Portsmouth market, that could easily see 1,000 less homes in the city by year end.  

Many landlords are deciding to leave the shared housing market, but barriers to entry likely mean they can never be replaced. Once lost, rooms in shared housing are gone forever.

Continue reading
  762 Hits

Private Rented Sector Vital Economically & Socially

The private rented sector (PRS) has an important economic and social role to play across the country, according to a new report published today.

The report, commissioned by the National Residential Landlords Association, is based on a survey of 2,000 private renters in England and Wales by the polling agency Opinium. The results suggest it is wrong to conclude that private renters are trapped in the sector. It finds that fewer than one in ten (six per cent) of private renters want to switch to social rented housing. In addition, whilst three quarters (76 per cent) said they want to buy a home of their own at some point in the future, less than one in five (17 per cent) would have done so already if they could. 

Continue reading
  381 Hits

Portsmouth Cheapest Place To Live In The South

Contrary to popular opinion, Portsmouth is the cheapest place to live in the south – whether it be other south coast towns, or further afield in places like Bristol, Birmingham, Stratford or Nottingham – Portsmouth is cheaper. This is why so many students flock to the city (coupled with the 10-month contracts whereas other Uni's insist upon 11 or 12 month contracts). This is also why so many people who work outside the city, decide to live in the city.  

Continue reading
  2218 Hits

Digital Home / Zybre Now In Havant

Our 'preferred partner' for broadband, Digital Home (now part of and renamed to Zybre) are now providing broadband in Havant. 

Continue reading
  667 Hits

The Landlord Exploitation Game

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.

Continue reading
  453 Hits

Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour under the Renters Reform Bill

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" 

Continue reading
  678 Hits

How To Fix Planning

A guest article from our friend and planning expert, Jonathan McDermott on why planning processes across the country are so slow and what needs to be done. 

Continue reading
  399 Hits

C3/C4 Confusion

Many landlords with HMOs (C4's in planning terms) applied to Portsmouth Planning dept 10 years ago to get C3/C4 status – meaning they could freely switch between family use (C3) and HMO (C4) without needing planning permission.

At the time, they were not told that the C3/C4 flexibility only lasted 10 years and none realised the implications at the end of the period – but based on comments from Portsmouth Planning this month, many long-term HMO (C4) landlords risk losing their C4 status at the end of the period with no chance of getting it back. 

Continue reading
  738 Hits