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.
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.
Heatio has partnered with E.ON and Energy Systems Catapult to provide its Energy-as-a-Service solution (EaaS).
As part of the Green Home Finance Accelerator (GHFA) announced last week, the initiative will eliminate upfront costs for consumers considering heat pumps, solar PV, or battery storage via a 20-year subscription service, with monthly payments expected to be around £150 per month. The solution will also integrate a bespoke E.ON Next energy tariff, further reducing home energy costs by up to £70 per month.
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....
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.