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.
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.
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.
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'
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
There were lots of questions for Tyler and Antonia from PCC when they presented to us at our May member meeting. They have been kind enough to answer them and have discovered some of the 'constraints' discussed at the meeting no longer apply.
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….
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.
That was the heading of one of the many articles summarised in this months 'Retrofit Review' (Retrofit being the term for bringing older dwellings up to current energy standards).