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

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 

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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.  

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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.

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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).

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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.... 

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 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….

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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.
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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.

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 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.

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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...

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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. 

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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
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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). 

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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. 

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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. 

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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 

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 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?

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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.

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Matt Hinks, PDPLA member and local landlord is going for a walk and wants payment for doing it!

But the good news is that it is all for a good cause - he is walking around Portsea Island on 30th May to raise money for the critical care unit at QA where he was in a coma last year... 

Update: Walk successfully completed, over £1,900 raised,  not too late to give, lets get Matt past £2,000...

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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.  

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Prior to the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 Local Authorities (LAs) would routinely say that a tenant who left a property before the bailiff arrived had made themselves homeless and thus they would be relieved of their statutory duty to assist. That should no longer happen and the LA should step in as soon as the Section 21 is served, but does it happen?

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The PDPLA list of recommended suppliers is one of our most popular member benefits – only local landlords can recommend suppliers and members rate and recommend individuals and companies, so when looking for a trader or supplier you know that if they are on the list, it is not because we make money from them or they pay to be there – a PDPLA recommended supplier is only recommended if a PDPLA member has had a good experience using them.

This month we have a new supplier for solar PV installations, for EV (electric vehicle) charging points and for battery storage solutions plus we have added Digital Home (an omission on our part) and highlight several others.

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The March Housing Cabinet saw the price of an HMO licence hiked by 30% to £1,150 – the highest in the south of England.  

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Views within the PDPLA have been split – there are those who argue vehemently that we need a mediation option to avoid the high cost associated with obtaining an eviction and those who say it is a nice idea, but how could it work when the relationship has reached a stage where eviction is inevitable and anyway, it can never be a relationship between equals, so how could it work?

Well – the good news is that the proof is in the pudding and so far, it does appear to be working. The pilot, initiated by our own Alwin Oliver working with Portsmouth Mediation Service and latterly, PCC, appears to be bearing fruit.

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 When the Article 4 Direction was introduced in Portsmouth 12 years ago, we recommended that members with smaller HMOs change the planning status of their properties to mixed use (known as C3/C4) so that they could switch between family lets and HMO letting without breaking the rules. Those C3/C4 approvals were only for 10 years (though many were not told so at the time) – but now, when owners come to renew, many are getting confused as you need to apply for planning permission to change from 'mixed use C3/C4' to 'mixed use C3/C4' which appears illogical.

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Many new PDPLA properties have signed up for the exclusive Digital Home 'landlord deal' in the past few weeks - do consider it if the network is now available at any of your properties, we only need a few more to reach our target.  

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Rents for family let small houses are at record highs, demand for student accommodation is hitting a cyclical low, costs are going through the roof  and the process to introduce Additional Licensing for small HMO's has started – our recommendation is to sell up or switch to family lets.
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You pay stamp duty when you buy a house - so we were really surprised when PDPLA member, Debra Chappelow, pointed out a little known rule which means long term tenants may be liable to pay stamp duty. 

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Members have long bemoaned the fact they feel like criminals when they receive a letter from the housing team at PCC and this is something we have raised on their behalf regularly since at least 2012.

Well, the new team at Private Sector Housing appear to be listening and have started a process of updating the standard communications to ensure that whilst they still convey the appropriate legal warnings, they are worded in a less threatening style. Well done PCC. 

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The Government has given local authorities special funding to keep tenants in their homes where their circumstances have changed and they are struggling to pay the rent. Portsmouth City Council still has some of this funding available for this financial year. The application for assistance needs to be made by the tenant but can be supported by their landlord.

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 Following on from the 'Heads For Tails' briefing paper we shared last August (see it here), members are asked to complete a short survey. Read more for full details.

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We were recently asked by a student why a landlord may not have provided an invoice/receipt for a deposit deduction, in order to justify that deduction

It is a good question and the answer deserves some consideration. 

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There were positive signs at the January Committee meeting. Two applications for new HMOs were granted permission without the usual hunt for excuses to refuse. Sadly, there is no change of heart, we do not know of any Councillors happy to see new HMOs being created. With so much anti HMO feeling amongst the electorate this is perhaps understandable though very frustrating for us, whilst leaving usable rooms empty and pushing up rents and property prices for all.  

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 Do you struggle getting the correct student exemptions from council tax for your Portsmouth properties? This has been a perennial issue for many members but now PCC have a new system which may help. We did invite them to come and explain it, but they declined so PDPLA member, Karen Silman has drafted this simple guide and PCC also sent some guidance on entitlement to discount and exemption.

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  Most people will have seen the TV and news coverage of the problems at Windsor House. Water running down walls, damp, mould and other conditions which no one should have to live with. Portsmouth Labour Housing lead Councillor Cal Corkery wrote to The News suggesting that the solution would be to introduce landlord licences for all rented properties in the city and as a result avoid problems such as this.

In subsequent days, there were a flurry of letters in response on both sides of the argument – read on for a summary.

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  Local rents are rising much faster than official figures would suggest. Read on to find out how much they are rising and for whom exactly.

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As a local landlord association, our primary aim is to educate and inform local landlords to help them ensure they meet all of the necessary regulations and offer homes that are safe and comfortable for those who live in them.

However, many of us occasionally come across properties that we would be ashamed to let if they were ours.  If it were to belong to a fellow member, we would hope to be able to help them understand what they need to do - but typically it is not. What can you do about those landlords who have no regard for their tenants, spend no money on their properties and get us all a bad name and also, who would never consider joining a local or national association? We finally have an answer...

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If you are of a mind to respond, amongst the plethora of requests for your input, there are a number of surveys this month which you probably need to be aware of…..

One which we believe is a wasted opportunity and which will not produce any usable results comes from Portsmouth City Council and one which we recommend you do complete from the Department of Levelling UP, Housing and Communities which is probably worth the effort but it is a little lengthy. Then there is the PCC 'Health & Wellbeing Strategy' and of course, the quarterly NRLA one which is always worth completing as it helps build a comparative dataset over a period of years.

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Members will be pleased to hear that we have bought an infrared camera which any member can borrow to check the energy (thermal) efficiency of their properties. We will operate the scheme using the same format as our PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) equipment.

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Back in 2015 when the anti-landlord tax changes introduced by Tory ex-chancellor, George Osborne started to be introduced - we produced a simple calculator for landlords to help them understand the step by step introduction of income taxes on their expenses as well as their income.

Now those changes are complete and ALL of your finance charges are taxable, we have simplified and updated the calculator so it works in todays taxation environment.

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Lots of items at 20% off this month. Use your Tradepoint card and the extra 10% gives you a net 28% saving.  If you have lost, mislaid or need a new card, click here.  (The brochure is also available under 'Useful Documents' in the PDPLA members area)

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The rollout of coverage of ultrafast internet by Digital Home is accelerating with fourteen thousand homes to be added in the next couple of months as the rollout in the north of Portsmouth gains pace. Members can benefit from 2 months free subscription if they install 3 properties in January 2022.

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) For Healthy Homes and Buildings met this month, primarily to discuss updating the Decent Homes standard for the Social Rented Sector but one of the outcomes could be greater regulation of the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

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Fortunately, rogue tenants are uncommon but, like bad landlords, it only takes one to affect everyone's perception. This month we have seen 2 – one was jailed for the damage he caused and the other, just left the landlord with a huge mess to clear up and moved on to blight the life of another landlord and their new neighbours.
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Apart from not getting clobbered again in the budget (well, not so obviously as usual of late), more good news in that the renters reform bill and the removal of Section 21 has been delayed again. 

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Our friends at Portsmouth Mediation Service have a new 'restorative' service for landlords and tenants caught up in disputes. Read on for more detail. 

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If you rent a single-family home, flat, room or any other type of rental, you may be looking for some guidance that will help you to cope physically, mentally, and financially during the coronavirus lockdown. Whether you've lost your job and you're in need of financial assistance or you're looking for ways to stay happy, healthy, and productive, we've assembled the following resources to assist you throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.  

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PCC periodically produce an email newsletter for local landlords. This goes direct to the few landlords registered with their 'Rent It Right' scheme but if you want to receive it directly  then drop an email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. asking to be added to the distribution.

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Remember as a landlord, you can offer 900Mb broadband with industry leading whole home WiFi in your properties at discounted prices using our solution agreed with Digital Home. This month lots of new roads in the Somerstown area and the 'ladders'

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