One of our members asked for advice using our questions facility on what to do with the belongings of a tenant who had been sent to prison. Read his summary of the responses and his situation...

Hopefully members saw this article when the RLA published it this month, but if you did not, the RLA's biggest ever survey of more than 6,500 landlords revealed more than 46% plan to sell and another 40% are waiting to hear more details of planned changes before they make decisions on their ability to provide homes to rent. We know many of our members participated in this survey, and the results fit with our anecdotal experience  - thank you for participating.

As we move into June, those of us with student tenants know that in the coming days and weeks, exams will finish, leaving drinks will be imbibed and then in the 4-5 hours before moving out, our tenants will attempt to clean the house and to clear their stuff out. Historically this has led to piles of bin bags for the dustmen to collect, often several days before they are due and much complaint to local councillors on the matter from local residents. (OK, most tenants are better than this - but it only takes a few...)

 This year is going to be harder - firstly, we have new black bins, once they are full, that is it, nothing else will be collected. Secondly, local councillors are really keen to avoid the problem rather than hear about it on the doorsteps as they talk to their constituents.  So, what can you do?

Our friends at Havant Borough Council struggle to find homes for some of their more difficult residents, whether due to their history or just their current circumstances and the shortage of accommodation available. They approached us to help them understand what they could do to improve the situation for these families and individuals. Part of our response follows…

A member asked what the pro's and con's of joint contracts were compared to individual contracts when you have multiple tenants in one property, this is what we came up with....

Following on from our article highlighting the fact that a landlord or a tenant could be fined up to £5,000 for leaving bin bags in the street on the wrong day or rubbish in a forecourt, it is imperative that you instruct ALL of your tenants on their obligations and be able to prove you have done so, in order to avoid the prospect of being fined for their misdemeanours. We have drafted a document which we recommend that you get all new tenants to read and to sign to show they have read it.

The PDPLA was invited to a private reception at the House of Commons, hosted by Sir Christopher Chope MP to mark the 20th anniversary of the RLA. The event heard from Housing Minister, James Brokenshire, MP and also Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey MP and was celebrated by the publication of a series of essays on the future of the private rented sector.

RLA Chair, Alan Ward, made a point of highlighting the positive contribution that private landlords make and how they have struggled as a result of recent legislation. The MP"s present, from all parties, sang the praises of private landlords but we obviously have to wait and see if any of this positive support translates into improvements to the environment in which we operate.

A big achievement by the RLA was in bringing together so many diverse voices in the collection of essays, from the RLA to Crisis and Shelter to the British Property Federation - a collection of organisations not always on the same side.

Read on for a summary of what was discussed....

Housebuilder Redrow just announced a record year according to Merryn Somerset Webb in MoneyWeek.  The number of houses sold is up 9%. Revenues are up 16%. Pre-tax profits are up 21%. And the dividend payment to the firms shareholders is up 65%. The chairman and founder, Steve Morgan is pleased and keen for this fabulous run to continue, so he has an idea. He'd like the Help To Buy scheme under which the government underwites 20% of the purchase cost of a new build home to continue forever. "If it aint broke" he says, "Why fix it?".

He has a point, H2B works brilliantly for housebuilders. 30% of Redrows sales last year relied on it which is typical across the industry.  Without it, the sales number would probably be lower. But H2B doesn't just help housebuilders shift stock, it helps them shift it at high prices. After all, anyone effectively getting an extra 20% worth of loan from the state can clearly pay more than someone who isn't. Probably explains why Redrows profits are growing faster than their revenues.  This government driven house price inflation is no different to the 'rent inflation' which has been caused by Housing Benefit.   That to some extent, stopped when LHA was uncoupled from inflation - but it still underpins the market and sustains higher rents than would otherwise be asked (and thus higher house prices as the yield justifies it).  Interesting as H2B was originally setup to solve the problem of high house prices.

PDPLA committee members, Tony Athill and Joannie Goldenberg, attended the RLA Future Renting conference at Imperial Collage, London in September.

The all-day event, hosted by 30-year veteran of radio and presenter of the popular Property Hour on LBC radio, Clive Bull, was attended by more than 200 landlords and letting agents.

Speakers included MP's, senior civil servants and a wealth of experts from across the industry.

If you have properties in Portsmouth you need to be aware of changes in waste collection as falling foul of them could cost you £5,000  (see our earlier article outlining the fines which can be applied).

Residents will be issued small bins which can only hold 3 compressed bin bags and there will be a £2 charge for every additional bin bag (and only then if they have pre-paid stickers on them). Residents in HMO's can get larger bins but you need to take action now to ensure you get the appropriately sized bin for each of your properties.

Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.

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