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

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
  14 Hits

Portsmouth Evictions Easier

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

Continue reading
  13 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
  245 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
  161 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
  218 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
  251 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
  359 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
  186 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
  206 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
  328 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
  194 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
  369 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
  217 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
  360 Hits

Portsmouth Student Housing Crisis

  With a vast influx of new students this month, we are seeing all the signs that the lack of student housing in the city is becoming a problem.

Continue reading
  318 Hits

Making Tax Digital For Landlords Delayed Again

Announced in 2016 for implementation in 2020, landlords have dreaded the arrival of Making Tax Digital (MTD) with the need for quarterly tax returns and automated software. The good news is that it has been delayed once more to at least 2026.  

Continue reading
  181 Hits

Portsmouth Tightens HMO Rules

As expected, Portsmouth Councillors have voted to implement new, stricter HMO standards and enforcement policies applicable to existing licensed HMO's starting today (1st Dec 2022) and to extend this to ALL HMOs in the city by September next year (2023).

Continue reading
  759 Hits

Private Landlords Tarred By Social Housing Failings

In the days after the tragic death of 2 year old, Awaab Ishak, due to extensive damp and mould in his parents rented social housing, everyone seems to be trying to deflect their own shortcomings by bad-mouthing private landlords. This triggered a whole range of responses across the various Landlord Associations we work with.

Continue reading
  290 Hits

Are you CLEUD Up?

No, not a spelling mistake - a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development is what you need if you want to prove that your property is legal and doesn't need Planning Permission. It is commonly asked for by solicitors as part of the conveyancing process to ensure the new owner is not caught out. Sadly, it is increasingly being asked for in relation to HMOs and could well be essential for those running 3-4 bed HMO's from before 2011 who will now need to get an HMO licence

Continue reading
  253 Hits

Less Than 3 Minutes Before You Die

An excellent fire safety video should any of your tenants (or children) need convincing to take more care. 

Continue reading
  197 Hits

Disaggregation – Clarification is coming, but not this year

  Members who attended our September meeting will be fully aware of the level of anger and dismay among landlords as ever more HMOs are disaggregated. (See the discussion from that meeting here and the Q&A here). Two items of good news from Parliament this month, firstly Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dineage proposed an amendment to the Rental Reform Bill that would outlaw disaggregation of HMOs and then Dehenna Davison MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up announced a consultation on the matter.

Continue reading
  339 Hits

Disaggregation: A Glint of Hope

Breaking HMOs into separate dwellings for Council Tax is illogical and hurts those least able to afford - it is a tax on the poor. Full details of what it is and why it is wrong in our earlier article here and at our September meeting (Video here). The good news is that Gosport MP, Dame Caroline Dineage has tabled an amendment to the Levelling Up Bill which will abolish Council Tax on HMO rooms.

Continue reading
  392 Hits

Member Offers and Events - November 2022

 Quite a lot to be aware of this month - a range of events that may be of interest, an extra 10% off at Tradepoint plus other opportunities to take advantage of your membership.

Continue reading
  306 Hits

All Quiet On The Licensing Front

Since the Consultation finished 2 months ago, the stony silence on the subject of Licensing smaller HMO's in Portsmouth has been almost relaxing – no worries about unachievable kitchen widths, whether the alcove by the door is counted as part of the room or not, where the washing machine is in relation to sleeping rooms – the absence of all that nonsense has been bliss.

But it will not last…. 

Continue reading
  263 Hits

Naked Tenants Gas Disconnected After Police Arrive

Some members may avoid our breakfast meetings, assuming we all sit around bemoaning the latest tax or regulatory changes but reality could not be further from the truth. This month we were entertained with the tale of the naked young female tenant, a policeman and as many DIY disasters as you can imagine. Read on for the full story….  

Continue reading
  518 Hits


I find it mildly amusing that over the past decade, as each new regulation made life harder for landlords or increased their costs, there was never any outcry from tenants on behalf of their landlords.

Yet at this months member meeting, we had 70+ attendees incensed at the impact disaggregation would have on their tenants – with calls for us to talk to MP's , start a Judicial Review, appeal and much else. Everyone agreed it is not fair, it does not make sense and it will impact those tenants least able to afford it – it is in effect a poll tax on the poorest in our society.

But when you step back, you can argue it both ways. Which side are you on? 

Continue reading
  437 Hits

Over Occupied Single Room or Property?

 Ever advertised a single room and had someone ask if they can have it for their family of 3? Ever let a room to one person and then found it occupied by 2 or more? What do you do? What if you have an HMO Licence which will be breached? Sadly, what was rare is no longer. 

Continue reading
  270 Hits

Mortgage Chaos - Just What We Needed

Since the Tories (rather strange) non-budget last week landlords have been worrying about affordability of mortgages as many existing products are pulled from the market. 

Continue reading
  214 Hits

Landlords Brief Housing Minister

The PDPLA as members of the policy advisory board to the NRLA, have jointly signed a letter to the new Housing Secretary calling out concerns with the current proposals to reform the private rental sector. With the typical tenure for a housing minister being 10 months, it is not surprising the sector is in chaos and policies are constantly changing.

This is our attempt (one of many) to make things better for landlords in the private sector.

Continue reading
  173 Hits

HMO Is Where The Heart Is...

People tend to forget the H in HMO may stand for house but it is also a home for thousands in the city – Harry is one of those people. Approaching retirement, he had worked hard and had a good life but was watching his outgoings as you do at that age, determined to cut his cloth accordingly. He found himself in Alwin's office discussing what was available in his price range and reluctantly agreed to take a room in an HMO until something better came up.

That was over 30 years ago. Harry is still there and sadly, is dying, but with the help of his housemates – he wants to die in his HMO home. 

Continue reading
  341 Hits

Proof: Licensing Increases Portsmouth Rents

We have long said that licensing schemes drive up rents and councillors and council staff have always refused to accept it. The challenge has been to prove a direct correlation between licensing schemes and rent levels given there are so many variables, and also, the effect of a change is not always immediate, so causality is always an issue.

Finally, we have a specific change which can be shown to have had a direct impact on rents – licensing in Portsmouth has increased rents 3x faster than elsewhere, and we can prove it!  What is worse, it directly and negatively affects those most in need. 

Continue reading
  261 Hits

Couple renting + 1 lodger = HMO

One perhaps unforeseen consequence of licensing all HMOs is that many landlords and tenants will require licenses but will be totally oblivious of this requirement. They will be committing an offence in ignorance.

Continue reading
  673 Hits

Labour Leader Argues For Licensing For All In Portsmouth

In a letter to the Portsmouth daily paper, The News, Councillor Cal Corkery argued for city-wide licensing for every property rented in the private sector.

Read on to see our response 

Continue reading
  262 Hits

Portsmouth Student Halls Fail

We always said that the 'Build them and they will come' mentality of the REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) could not work – given the stratospheric rents these places need to charge to make money. Now it seems, the owners are looking for new ways to fill these buildings as they cannot find enough students able to afford £700 a month for a tiny room unsuited to anything else.  

Continue reading
  501 Hits

PDPLA Rejects Additional Licensing

Well it is obvious we would not vote for it - but it is not the extra regulation, cost or bureaucracy that we are objecting to, it is the fact that the current proposals will make 1,000-1,500 people homeless and the impact on the city and across the council, in terms of rehousing the most vulnerable, the burden on Adult Social Care and many other groups, as well as the impact on local rents and house prices cannot be justified by this action.

Continue reading
  326 Hits

How Many HMOs In Portsmouth?

2,600 - of which over 1,200 are already licensed and the remainder are small ones. Not 6,000 as estimated by the council, or 4,271 as reported by the council, or 2,801 as licensed by the council last time they did Licensing. No, just 2,600 - so what is all the fuss about (that is about 1 property in every 40).

Continue reading
  331 Hits

Licensing Deja Vue

Exactly 10 years ago, we sent a letter to the then leader of Portsmouth Council, copying the Cabinet Member responsible for Housing, outlining our doubts about the need to introduce Additional Licensing and why we did not think it would work.

Here we are, same council leader, same Housing Cabinet Member (in their defence there have been others in between), same concerns about the proposal to introduce Additional Licensing.  Read what we said then and judge whether we were right.... 

Continue reading
  187 Hits

HMO Rents Set To Rise 50%

 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….

Continue reading
  649 Hits

Renters Reform Hits Students

The long-awaited renters reform bill was finally published this month with much discussion of the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the Private Rental Sector, the banning of Section 21 'No fault' evictions and the much needed tightening of rules for social housing landlords.

The content of the bill will change as it makes its way through the Parliamentary process, but the wording relating to the removal of Section 21 and related items will cause chaos in the student rental market unless it is radically changed. In its current form, landlords will not be able to let for a fixed period, so come February when normally students choose their accommodation for the next year, landlords will have no certainty that current tenants will leave when the summer term ends and as a result, will not be able to advertise their properties.

The impact for students is that they will have to fight for whatever becomes available in July / August, rents will be higher as a landlord stuck with 1 tenant or worse an empty house will recover those now unavoidable void periods with higher rents when he or she is able to find tenants and there will be a lot less property available as landlords inevitably move to more reliable income sources.
Continue reading
  486 Hits

Portsmouth HMO Proposals Threaten 1,000 Evictions

Portsmouth's stringent standards for HMO's have already caused a local affordable housing shortage – shown both by rents increasing faster locally than elsewhere and the slower rate of population growth. 

This trend looks to be taking a turn for the worse as, based on our estimates and initial feedback from members, we expect proposed increases in the standards expected of HMOs to take at least 1,000 rooms out of circulation in the city – further pushing up rents and increasing homelessness for those at the very bottom of the ladder.

Continue reading
  399 Hits

How To Create A Portsmouth HMO

 With Portsmouth creating a self-induced homelessness crisis and threatening to remove over 1,000 HMO rooms (see our HMO Standards article) and demand for shared accommodation higher than it has ever been, we are predicting HMO median rents to rise 45%. (See our 'Economics of HMO's' paper for full explanation).

The trouble is, if you want to cash in on this you will find it hard to create an HMO which meets the city's rules – so this article explains 4 simple ways to completely legally create an HMO to ensure you can benefit from this growing market.

Continue reading
  567 Hits

Electrical Reg Changes Increase Landlord Costs

Former electrician and local landlord, Graham Castellano has highlighted a change in electrical regulations which will hit HMO landlords initially and all landlords eventually. 

If you are an HMO landlord with an EICR due in the next 6-9 months, it is worth getting it done before the end of September.   If you are a Social Housing landlord - no need to worry - there is no legal requirement for you to check electrical installations in your property...

Continue reading
  1612 Hits

Matt to 2k

Many of you will be familiar with the 'Couch to 5k' apps and training schedules which get you from 'couch potato' to competent runner able to complete a 5k run, well our own Matt Hinks has a variation on that having progressed from an ICU bed in the Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth to having raised £2,000 to help with critical care funding. 

Continue reading
  232 Hits

Digital Home Reach 30,000 Homes

There are now nearly 30k homes connected to the ultrafast broadband network and another 20k a year are planned for the next two years at least.

In the last ten weeks approximately 3k additional homes have been added to the network. Members are entitled to a special price as landlords which includes landlord specific support - more details here: PDPLA Announces Broadband Deal With Digital Home - PDPLA News - Portsmouth and District Private Landlords Association
Continue reading
  288 Hits

Bad Rent To Rent

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). 

Continue reading
  353 Hits

Good Rent To Rent

Rent to Rent feels like a very dirty word in the world of property investing.

Unfortunately, it is seen by many as an easy low cost or "No Money Down" entry point into property investment. This is certainly not the case.

I have been running a Successful Rent to Rent portfolio in Southsea for coming up to four years now and I wanted to give an insight into how it works for both myself and the landlords that I work with. I am very pleased to say that every landlord that I have worked with so far at the end of the initial three year term has been happy renew onto another long term agreement. 

Continue reading
  289 Hits

NRLA Looks At Additional Licensing In Greenwich

Reproducing this NRLA blog item here from 'London Property Licensing' as it clearly describes the processes to be followed and the hurdles passed when introducing Additional Licensing. 

Continue reading
  377 Hits

Portsmouth Additional Licensing Consultation Starts

Portsmouth have announced their consultation on Additional Licensing which runs until the end of July. If you have properties in the city, we recommend you respond and over the next few weeks we will be sharing full details on what is proposed and what we believe are the implications. Read on for details of Council organised 'drop-in' sessions 

Continue reading
  226 Hits

To Be Or Not To Be (An HMO)

 After this months Portsmouth Council Planning Committee meeting, the answer to that question is easy – but whether to be a local councillor is a much harder one to answer.

Should we praise our public spirited citizens who put themselves forward to represent the people they live among and who endured 6 hours of debate on whether 12 HMO applications were to be approved or not, or should we be asking why they chose to start this process and override the advice of planning officials and ignore the view of planning inspectors in the first place?

Continue reading
  267 Hits

Big Change In Gas Safety Rules

Unlike your MoT, gas safety certificates last 1 year from when they are issued - so if you get the checks done a week before they are due (always wise in case there is an issue or delay), then your renewal date will come forward by 1 week each year. Annoying for student landlords who try to get it all done during the void period of August and more expensive than it needs to be if you need to renew every 51 weeks instead of 52.

The good news is  the HSE has seen sense and brought it into line with other testing - you can now renew ahead of your renewal date while preserving that date, so you get 52 weeks usage for your money.

Continue reading
  222 Hits