Category Archives: Politics

A very local housing crisis and our crap politicians

In the UK, politicians and hand-wringing professionals from organisations like Shelter are always complaining about ‘Britain’s Housing Crisis’ and that ‘young couples can no longer afford to buy a home’ or ‘greedy buy-to-let landlords are snapping up properties that should go to first-time buyers’ and so on and on and on…

They say that prices have risen so fast that young couples can no longer afford to get on the housing ladder. They say we are in the midst of a ‘HOUSING CRISIS’.

Paxman asked why are our politicians so crap?

Photo of Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman asked why are our politicians so crap?

Well, in my opinion this is a very local housing crisis and one largely the fault of, to quote a recent brilliant Jeremy Paxman programme, our CRAP politicians. To coin a phrase, I agree with Jeremy. All our politicians and think-tanks etc say that we have to build more homes and they use euphemisms like ‘affordable’ and of course the stupid Labour Party always wants more ‘social’ housing and want to get rid of all those evil landlords.

But as usual all of them fail to see the bigger picture. Although in most parts of South East England house prices are indeed beyond the reach of most first-time buyers and young people are forced to pay very high rents to live in even ordinary accommodation, it’s not like that everywhere in Britain.

So in Camden, one of the fastest appreciating areas in terms of house prices, property is more than 3.5 times as expensive as it was 10 years ago. However, in parts of Liverpool prices are actually 44% LESS than they were 10 years ago! And prices are also actually LESS in parts of Bradford, Hartlepool, Middlesborough and Sunderland. And of course where they have risen, they have not risen nearly as much as in London.

Table showing details of negative changes in house prices in some northern cities and towns.

Property prices are driven partly by availability of credit, but also by DEMAND – the demand by people to live in areas of their choice. Part of that choice depends on availability of employment and availability of employment depends on investment, both public and private.

H2O Yes – HS2 No!

The government has totally failed over the years to invest in the North of Britain and to properly incentivise businesses to relocate there. They have failed to build the required infrastructure, particularly railways. Look at the insanity of two current massive government infrastructure projects, HS2 (or H2O as I heard it referred to by an LBC caller) and Heathrow Expansion.

Whilst being wholly in favour of H2O, HS2 on the other hand is an insane project, that even if built will largely benefit the South. And as for Heathrow expansion, that obviously will do nothing at all to boost the economies of northern towns and cities. and everything to make life even more intolerable for those living in and around London. Boris Johnson did promise to lie in front of the bulldozers to stop it but although extremely adept at lying about most things he isn’t going to lie in front of any bulldozers.

If we just continue to try and satisfy the insatiable demand of people to live in London and the South East of England by building more homes we will end up having to build more homes, and then still more homes and so on until the quality of life in the south east becomes intolerable. It’s already impossible to get anywhere easily on our crowded roads and packed trains and no one can get a doctor or hospital appointment within a reasonable space of time.

The sustainable solution

So, instead of bleating on and on about building more affordable homes whilst expanding Heathrow and spending an unimaginable amount of money on HS2, the government should invest properly in the North and offer real financial incentives to industry and business to relocate there. Then employment will increase, young people won’t be forced to relocate to London and the South East to work and the housing crisis will very gradually ease.

LandlordsandLetting – Affordable Landlord Insurances

Brexit – Let’s call the whole thing off!

The Brexit Mess was initially caused by David Cameron

David Cameron – The man that called The Referendum that led to Brexit

Yes, I admit it, I voted in 2016 to leave the EU. And now I bitterly regret being taken in by all the nonsense spoken by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the other jokers.

Reasons to be Cheerless – one, two, three

To be honest I voted leave for three main reasons. One, I was and still am, concerned about the way immigration into south east England is causing great problems – travel, housing, schools, hospitals, GPs, water resources and so on. Two, I loathed David Cameron. And Three – I never dreamed it would actually happen!

Of course, if the ridiculous Boris Johnson hadn’t actually run away after the Referendum result perhaps we wouldn’t have a woman who campaigned to remain, so pusillanimously trying to negotiate our exit. And maybe, just maybe things wouldn’t be quite so bad. But essentially it’s not really hopeless Theresa’s fault.

David Cameron is the primary architect of this mess

The primary culprit is David Cameron, who in order to fend off UKiP, recklessly promised a referendum that, due to inaccurate polls, he never believed he’d have to hold. This man is a bloody disgrace and the second worst PM this country has ever had – I think we all know who the worst one was (clue – he was elected in 1997).

Also culpable however is Nigel Farage – a man driven by an obsession for over 20 years that the EU is our main enemy. What he fails to understand is that our main enemies are not in Brussels but in The Kremlin. In fact I believe he was offered his own show on RT (Russia Today) in 2016 although he did decline the offer. But it shows that, completely inadvertently, Brexiteers are furthering The Kremlin’s policies.

So should we stay, or should we go?

So all us regular folk, who are usually not even consulted about such pressing questions as whether the power of vacuum cleaners should be regulated, were presented with this one oh so simple question: Do you want to remain in the EU, or do you want to leave the EU? That’s simple isn’t it?

Had YOU ever heard of The Customs Union? Honestly?

However, what The Referendum didn’t ask was, if you want to leave, do you still want to be part of the Customs Union and have access to the single market or not be part of the Customs Union but still have access to the Single Market and would you like a soft, hard or medium soft border for Ireland and what about services do you feel that we should perhaps retain control of services but at the same time be able to strike deals with a deranged nationalist with a bad hair-do in the USA and are you happy that Putin is also firmly behind Brexit and in any case are you happy that Jean Claude Junker is usually drunk and anyway what about the fishing quota?

Who’d ever heard of The Customs Union? And in all that pre-referendum debate did ANYONE ever mention the border with Northern Ireland?

Boris DIDN’T get what he wished for

Of course, like little me, I am sure the Great Boris also never believed the Leave side would actually win – which was why he threw his weight behind it. If Remain had won as expected and predicted (those bloody polls agin) he would then have been able to have mounted a campaign for the leadership against his arch rival, Cameron. Two posh boys slugging it out. When Leave surprisingly won he knew it would be very very difficult – which was why he ran away. My favourite description of Boris Johnson is, just because he appears to be a bungling buffoon, doesn’t mean he isn’t. And he mainly got where he did because he did well on ‘Have I Got News For You’ – they’ve got a lot to answer for!

I still hate the EU – it is an appalling corrupt, wasteful and over-bureaucratic organisation with a Mickey Mouse currency but I realise we are better in it and campaigning aggressively to change it than be outside it. After all, we are not part of the Euro or the Schengen Agreement and we should have been way tougher with them while remaining inside the club.

A New Referendum with Three Options

UPDATE December 9th 2018
Theresa May has just negotiated a ‘Deal’ (I though we had a good one – not in Schengen and with our own currency) so let’s have another Referendum before it’s too late, but with THREE options:
1. Do you want Theresa May’s Deal?
2. Do you want to leave the EU without a deal?
3. Do you simply want to remain in the EU?

I would vote for option 3! But I would demand that our leaders be very awkward and cheat a bit when necessary. After all, that’s what countries like France, Italy and Hungary do quite successfully!

James Stretten – Landlords and Letting

The Americanisation of British Culture

This blog is usually about property, landlord stuff, money and a little bit of politics (as Ben Elton used to say). But I’ve written this because I am so disgusted as the way British people are increasingly becoming enslaved to US culture …and why!?

Hey! Can I get some cookies to go?

Or, translated into proper English this means ‘Have you got any biscuits to take away?’

Yes, this is of course a curmudgeonly attack on the way British Culture is being increasingly usurped by American Culture!  I have never understood why a great people like the British should be so in awe of a country in which millions go without health care and even middle class people can be bankrupted by chronic illness.  A country in which any crazed idiot can buy a machine gun and walk into a school and blow away a group of children and a country of 300 million plus people whose only choice of leader was Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump.

So why does America hold most of the world in its thrall?  Firstly, although America may be full of many stupid people, it’s also home to some of the greatest tech and business minds on the planet.  People like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk and of course Bill Gates and institutions like NASA (which IS rocket science).  Secondly, there’s that institution called Hollywood that spreads the message of American Culture like a virus worldwide.  And Hollywood produces MOVIES not FILMS remember.

But surely it is the British of all the peoples in the world, that seem to swallow American Culture whole.  And it has to be said that young people seem to be the worst offenders.

Here are just a few examples of recent American hegemony over British Culture.

Black Friday

This annoying nonsense suddenly arrived on our shores several years ago.  I think Asda (or Walmart) were to blame.  Of course, rather than having to put up with it for just one day, Black Friday seems to last a month of Sundays, which is an old 19th century English phrase.

Cyber Monday

This comes after Black Friday, after everyone is exhausted buying stuff they neither wanted nor needed and involves lots of people tapping furiously at screens and giving their mice a hard time.

Trick or Treat!

As little as 20 years ago or so this bloody awful American import had yet to reach our shores.  Yes, we always used to mark Halloween but we didn’t have to put up with marauding bands of young teenagers terrorising neighbourhoods and demanding money with menaces.

Hey! You guys coming’ to my Baby Shower?

Yet another ghastly American import, where Moms (note the spelling) To Be, invite their hapless friends to a party to celebrate an expected birth of a new baby and also expect them to be bearing gifts.

Closets instead of Cupboards

Why can’t gay people just ‘come out of the cupboard’?  Why must they always hide ‘in a closet’?

‘Can I get a skinny latte to go’?

I don’t know!  Can you?  If you come round behind the counter and make it yourself then the answer is probably yes.

So now we ‘fill out’ forms instead of filling them in.  We pronounce ‘Privacy’ as Pryvacy.  Many people eat ‘cookies’ instead of biscuits, though I suppose that’s just the way the biscuit crumbles.  I’d love all these expressions to be consigned to the Rubbish Bin of History, except of course they’d just be ‘put out with the trash’

The Great Plague of Uptalking

Some people claim the Aussies are to blame for this but I believe it was the girls in the San Fernando Valley in California.  Of all the recent Americanisations that I hate the most, it must be the horrendous habit of UPTALKING!  Or as I would call it ‘Talking like Valley Girl’.  This arrived like the Great Plague in this country about 15 years ago and was spread mainly by young people. If you’re not sure what I mean?  It’s people going up at the end when they talk?  It’s like every statement ends with question mark?  It’s so annoying?  And it gives the impression that those people are unsure of what they are saying?

But now that plague has spread to older people?  In an effort to be ‘down with the kidz’ they are also increasingly adopting this way of speaking?  In fact, I find it almost impossible to listen to people up-talking, even if what they are saying is interesting?

That’s it – I’ll stop the up-talking now because I’m actually annoying myself and simply conclude thus.  Just because America is indeed the home of some genius people and some great music does not mean that a great nation like Britain should swallow whole every bit of crap culture they offer us.

Thank you and Goodnight!

James Stretten – Mr Angry of Maidenhead

Improving the home buying and selling process

Improving the home buying and selling process. Image of various estate agents' sold and to let signs

Dept of Communities and Local Government wants to improve the process of home buying and selling.

The Department of Communities and Local Government is looking at ways of improving the home buying and selling process in the UK. Except Scotland, where it’s different.

Well, I say Three Cheers for them for finally addressing this problem. For too long, sellers have been able to gazump and buyers to gazunder, just before Exchange of Contracts. This is incredibly stressful and costly for both the gazumpee and the gazunderee – words as ugly as the practice itself!

I believe that the solution to improving the home buying and selling process is relatively simple. At present, when contracts are exchanged, the purchaser is required to deposit up to 10% of the purchase price. Very very rarely do people withdraw after this.

The Mini Deposit – Improving the home buying and selling process

So, all we need is a Mini Exchange of Contracts when an offer in writing is made and formally accepted. This is the point at which an agent typically issues a Memorandum of Sale. At this point both buyer and seller should be required by law to deposit a relatively small sum of, let’s say £1000 in Escrow. If either party choses to withdraw, offer less or demand more then the other party could receive their £1000 as compensation.

Of course, there would be certain circumstances wherein a purchaser could legitimately withdraw without forfeiting the £1000 mini deposit. Such circumstances could include cases where legal searches uncovered poor title.  Or perhaps a road passing through or close to the property in question.  A surveyor’s report  might have uncovered serious subsidence or dry rot. Again, if the seller accepted these findings and agreed voluntarily to reduce their price then the sale could still proceed.

However, where a purchaser, without good reason decides to offer less than the agreed amount then the deposit could be forfeited.  The seller would be at liberty to receive the purchaser’s £1000 and abort the sale. Similarly if the seller suddenly changes their mind or wanted more then the purchaser could elect to receive the seller’s £1000 and abort the purchase.

Concentrating minds at the point of the Memorandum of Sale

Apart from the stress of someone suddenly withdrawing, there’s the considerable legal and surveying costs that accrue. Thus the £1000 would at least go towards defraying these costs, but more importantly would concentrate the minds of both seller and purchaser at the point when an offer is made and accepted.

And of course this change in property law would not only benefit owner occupier sales and purchases but investment ones involving landlords and buy-to-let as well.

So, I think that’s a good way of improving the home buying and selling process in the UK. What do YOU think?

 

Landlords and Letting – Affordable landlord insurance

 

 

Time to restrict the Pollsters?

Image of ballot box, Corbyn, Trump, May, Clinton, and Cameron

How the polls distorted recent elections

I think that the experience of the last few years clearly shows that it’s high time we addressed the problem of polling. I would go so far as to say that it is regularly distorting the democratic process.

Let’s take a look at a few recent prominent examples:

The 2015 UK General Election

David Cameron was facing a Labour Party lead by Ed Miliband (remember them?) with an ascendent SNP. The talk was that the Tories were unlikely to win and the best they could expect was a minority government. At this time UKIP were riding high and and were snapping at Cameron’s heals.

All the polls were pointing to a hung parliament at best. So, believing he’d never have to actually do it, David Cameron promised a Referendum on our membership of the EU to buy off UKIP.

And then he won. Having won, he was forced to honour that reckless pledge to hold a referendum.

The EU Referendum

The pollsters assured us that the vote would go fairly comfortably to remain. In fact even on poll night, Cameron and Osborne (remember him?) were very confident of victory and in the early hours were actually seen celebrating.

And then they lost and the vote was to leave the EU.

The 2016 US Presidential Election

The polls pointed to a win by Hilary Clinton. And then the idiot Trump became president. Admittedly it was a choice between Dumb and Dumber, but Dumber did clearly win.

The 2017 UK General Election

Buoyed up by the polls, Theresa May felt confident of victory over a Labour Party lead by Jeremy Corbyn and went ahead and called a general election. Being so confident she ran a very poor campaign that took her voters for granted, but as we know although she won, her majority was drastically reduced and she now heads a weak government incapable of negotiating toughly with the EU over Brexit.

The culpability of Pollsters

The pollsters constantly publish the results of their polls, right up to the actual vote itself. But as all scientists know, by measuring anything you are going to change that thing in some way. People hear the results and react accordingly. In any election, a significant proportion of the voters are somewhat apathetic and lukewarm at best. They hear that the result they favour is going to happen anyway and thus they don’t bother to go out and vote.

So, taking the above recent examples, Cameron recklessly promised a referendum, partly on the totally inaccurate polls – result: The EU Referendum.

Listening to the polls, many relaxed supporters of ‘Remain’ probably didn’t bother to vote – result: we voted to Leave.

Listening to the pollsters, in the 2016 Presidential Election many half-hearted Democratic supporters probably didn’t bother to vote (admittedly the US electoral system also played a part) – result: the idiot Trump became President.

Finally, listening to the polls, the Tories came up with policies that took their voters for granted – result: a weak and wounded government, unable to even properly negotiate with the likes of Jean Claude Juncker, the ex-president of an apology for a country that most people only ever associate with being a pop radio station.

So, to sum up, partly thanks to the pollsters we have an idiot in the White House, a ruined and weak government under Theresa May and Britain facing Brexit that’s being negotiated by a divided and weak Tory Party. 

Time to restrict the Pollsters

Over the past few years they have been proved wrong time and time again. So, I say let’s make it illegal to publish the results of any poll within one month of an election. 

 

Landlords and Letting – Affordable Landlord Insurance

 

10 years of anti-landlord legislation from Tony Blair to Theresa May

10 years of anti-landlord legislation. Why?

What a difference a decade makes!

At the time of writing (2017) over 100 new pieces of landlord legislation have been introduced since 2007 to make life more difficult for the small private residential landlord, whilst favouring major corporate ones like insurance companies. Why have there been 10 years of anti-landlord legislation?

It used to be The Bankers (and rightly) but increasingly since 2007, private residential landlords have been the target for a relentless onslaught of legislation by central and local government. I think that no other group in society has been attacked so relentlessly and unjustly and there is a reason for this.

Tories join in the landlord bashing

Labour politicians have always hated private landlords and have passed legislation to control rents and other aspects of letting ever since the 1960s. It’s in their DNA. But in recent years, the so-called Conservative Party has enthusiastically joined in the game. They have proclaimed that evil greedy private landlords are preventing ‘young first-time buyers’ from getting on the proverbial property ladder by snapping up available property.

But I suspect that these crocodile tears for dispossessed first-time buyers are really there to hide their true aim. And that is to corporatise the private rented sector. For years, City institutions have looked on enviously at the returns private landlords were achieving and have been upset that such investors have shied away from their rip-off pension funds. Add to this the derisory interest rates of recent years and you can see why so many people have felt that investing in buy-to-let was their only viable option.

Now, whilst I totally support legislation that genuinely tackles rogue landlords, the problem is that much of the new legislation and regulations actually hit the decent law-abiding landlord. Rogue landlords don’t give a damn about HMO rules and registration etc. And if they want to get a tenant out they don’t bother with Repossession Orders etc they just go round there and intimidate them until they leave.

List of 10 Years of Anti-Landlord Legislation

Here is a list (not in chronological order) of only the most prominent anti-landlord legislation of the past 10 years.

  • In 2007 the government introduced the law requiring landlords to deal with security deposits in a prescribed manner. Generally I believe this was good thing but it does add to the bureaucracy involved in starting a tenancy. And if you don’t comply it can lead to the landlord having to compensate the tenant with up to three times the deposit amount and also forfeit the right to issue a Section 21 Notice.
  • Recently the government made it a legal responsibility for all landlords to issue tenants with their How To Rent booklet.
  • Landlords also now have to check on a prospective tenant’s RIGHT to rent. The landlord is supposed to act as an unpaid immigration official and check that the tenant has the right to live in the UK. Saves on immigration officers though I suppose.
  • Since October 2015 all landlords have a statutory obligation from day one to supply and install working smoke an carbon monoxide alarms on every floor that may be used wholly or partly for accommodation. They have to demonstrate how to use them and then get the tenant to sign to say that they have been shown how to use them!
  • Any property of 3 or more floors and/or housing five or more people not living as one household is classed as an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation). And every HMO (unless you’re a rogue landlord of course) requires guess what? A Licence from the local authority.
  • And talking of licences and ways local authorities can prey on landlords, many local authorities now require EVERY let property to be licensed and of course that costs more money. They don’t actually DO anything except take the money off the landlord and eventually email him or her a certificate – a nice little earner indeed.
  • By Law, all tenants have to be supplied with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Who the hell reads those things anyway?
  • From April 1st 2016 Boy George introduced some draconian disincentives to landlords before he was finally sent packing by Mother Theresa. It is very complex but the first tax change was a gradual lessening of the allowable mortgage interest expenses on buy-to-let mortgages. This will eventually drive many landlords away from buy-to-let completely – depending on how heavily leveraged they are.
  • Osborne also introduce legislation that means that anyone buying a buy-to-let property has to pay 3% more Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) than if they were buying for owner occupation. However, if you – or should I say, a large company, buys six properties or more simultaneously then the SDLT is significantly LESS than even an owner occupier would pay. It’s classed as a ‘commercial purchase’ for tax purposes. Guess who that benefits?
  • He also made changes to WHEN a landlord has to pay capital gains tax on a property he or she sells. Originally you had until the next tax year but now I think it has to be paid within three months of completion. You will need to check on the precise period as I am not sure.

Complexity of Anti-Landlord Legislation

You see, the main reason that these 10 years of anti-landlord legislation favours corporate landlords is the fact that it is so labrythine! It’s so complex that even small professional landlords find it hard to navigate. However, if you are The Prudential or similar then you just employ a specialist landlord and tenant lawyer full-time – easy!

So how long before landlords decide enough’s enough?

The only reason that so many small private landlords are continuing is that there nowhere else for them to invest. Stocks and shares are doing well at the moment but they are risky. Pension schemes are notorious for ripping-off people and who is going to invest their money in a so-called safe bank and get 1% interest if they’re lucky?

I predict though that if interest rates do eventually move upward by even a relatively small amount it will cause a massive earthquake in the UK property market because there are many older reluctant landlords who would much rather get at least a modest return on their savings than endure these increasing attacks from government.

More than ever Landlord Rent Guarantee Insurance matters

Given the mounting anti-landlord legislation it makes more sense than ever to have Landlord Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses Insurance. It costs just over £100 for 12 months cover per property from LandlordsandLetting – this covers up to five named tenants in that property.

 

LandlordsandLetting

Affordable landlord insurances

Theresa May to meet Arlene Phillips at No 10?

image of Theresa May dancing with Nick Timothy

Could Theresa and Nick be a hit on Strictly Come Dancing?

I was watching Sky News a couple of days ago and one of their reporters was doing a live report to camera outside No 10 Downing Street.  She actually announced that Theresa May was due to meet Arlene Phillips at No 10 on Tuesday.

Was this a mis-speak, as I assumed at the time…or was it actually true?

I know that Arlene Phillips is not the leader of the DUP, and is probably not a creationist or anti-gay in any way, but there were rumours last year of Arlene returning to Strictly Come Dancing.

Ed Balls does Gangnam Style

Here’s the thing. There’s quite a glittering record of failed politicians getting on Strictly.  The blonde Anne Widdecombe did it, although admittedly she showed she was no Ginger Rodgers. And we all know how ex-shadow Chancellor Ed Balls turned a political disaster of a career into a huge success on Strictly Come Dancing. I was particularly impressed with his Gangnam Style dance with his glamorous partner Katya Jones.

image of Arlene Phillips endorsing Charles Darwin

Arlene Phillips (NOT Arlene Foster)

Could Strictly save Theresa May and Nick Timothy?

So could Theresa be thinking the same way?  Will she follow in the nimble footsteps of Ed Balls? Could Strictly Come Dancing be her saviour too? She is going to need some pretty nimble political footwork to get herself out of the mess she’s got herself and us into, so maybe she could imitate Ed and also be a great success in sequins on the dance floor?

And of course, now her equally useless advisor, Nick Timothy has lost his job, maybe he could also join Strictly Come Dancing?

Evidence mounts

There are various other pieces of evidence that she may be planning an eventual move into ballroom dancing.  Politically she has always been very good at dancing on the head of a pin and she has done some very nifty about-turns in her career as Home Secretary and latterly PM. Her love of shoes is legendary – apparently she wore 17 different pairs during the campaign, whilst dowdy Corbyn only wore one pair.  And Theresa May certainly likes her clothes – surely one of our most stylish PMs?

Vote – not ANOTHER election!

So, should Theresa meet Arlene Phillips and give Strictly a go? Yes or No (this question is NOT suitable for the politicians amongst you). See our Poll below…

James Stretten

 

Landlords and Letting

Affordable Landlord Insurances

[yop_poll id=”3″]

What sort of Brexit do YOU want?

photo of Theresa May

Theresa May

photo of Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

 

So, what sort of Brexit do YOU want? Do you want a Hard Brexit? Do you want a Soft Brexit? What about a Soft and Cuddly Brexit, or perhaps a Thin and Crispy Brexit?

A Warm and Soothing Brexit

We now have a situation where even prominent politicians are talking non-stop nonsense about what sort of Brexit we should have.  Usually on the left they seem to be demanding a Warm and Soothing Brexit – rather like a nice cup of Horlicks that Jeremy Corbyn would have to help him wind down after a hard day’s politicking about how he intends to spend other people’s money.

Any Answers Bleaters

Certainly if you listen to irrepressibly middle class middle-Englanders on Radio 4’s Any Answers, most of them seem to be calling for a Kind and Soothing Brexit where a Lovely European Brexit Omelette gets made without cracking anybody’s free-range eggs.  Wouldn’t it be luverly?

Hard or Soft Brexit? – it’s all nonsense

On the right we often hear demands for a Hard Brexit or maybe even a Vindictive and Vicious one.  Or even a Sod Off Johnny Foreigner Brexit.

But it’s all puerile nonsense!  The reality is less exciting.

We are going into a NEGOTIATION.  And in a negotiation each side seeks to get the best deal they can wring out of the other side.  All I can say is that I’d love to sell my car to one of these people bleating about ‘Soft Brexit’.  They say that under no circumstances should we go into the negotiations saying things like ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. I know that’s a phrase made famous by that massive Looser May, but I still think it’s the right thing to SAY.

Selling a used car to the ‘Soft Brexiteers’

So I would advertise my car for way over its market value for say £14000.  These kinds of people would turn up, start kicking the tyres and, having told me ‘a bad deal IS better than no deal’, would offer me £10500.  I’d say NO, I want £14000.  They’d then perhaps offer £12900 and I’d still say NO, I want £14000.  And eventually I’d get £14000.

A great deal for me but a shitty one for them!

Landlords and Letting
Affordable Landlord Insurances

 

Will you be forced to repay rent to your tenants?

view to let and for sale signs, typical of signs landlords would look for

Yet more anti-landlord legislation starts to become operative this April (2017). This one is unimaginatively called The Housing & Planning Act 2016.

How does it affect landlords? Will YOU be forced to repay rent to your tenants?

If you are found guilty by a tribunal of any of the following offences you can be ordered to pay back up to 12 months’ rent…

  • Failing to comply with an Improvement Notice under section 30 of The Housing Act 2004.
  • Failing to comply with a Prohibition Order under section 32 of The Housing Act 2004.
  • Any breach of a banning order made under section 21 of the Housing & Planning Act 2016 (this act)
  • If you use violence to gain entry to a property under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
  • If you illegally evict or harass the occupiers of a property under section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Making an example of transgressing landlords

The above applies whether you are receiving rent direct from a tenant or wholly or partly from the local authority. The act also states that tribunals need to take deterrence into account when fining landlords and urges making examples of transgressors to dissuade others.

Either your tenant(s) or the local authority can apply for Rent Repayment Orders.

These powers come into effect on 6th April 2017.

The main points of the new laws are…

• Civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for certain specified offences.
• Extension of rent repayment orders of up to 12 MONTHS’ rent, to cover illegal eviction, a breach of a banning order and certain other specified offences (coming into force on 6 April 2017);
• There’ll be a database of rogue landlords and property agents who have been convicted of certain offences or received multiple civil penalties (scheduled to come into force on 1 October 2017);
• Banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders (scheduled to come into force on 1 October 2017).

The full dreary details are here.

Landlords and Letting – Affordable Landlord Insurance

 

Landlord Taxes – Is this REALLY a Conservative Government?

image of George Osborne as Boy George

Boy George and landlord taxes

When Boy George was Chancellor under the Cameron government, he introduced a whole new raft of landlord taxes aimed at ‘helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder’. But did he really want to help them? The PR theme was that demand from landlords was making it difficult for first-time-buyers to enter the property market. And as usual it had a nice ring to it.

However, I would assert, as I have before, that George was more interested in letting the City have a bigger piece of the Buy To Let Pie as the new rules did not hit large corporate bodies in the same way as small private landlords – Prudential has bought into it in a big way.

Mother Theresa dismisses Boy George

Then we all breathed a sigh of relief when Boy George was sent packing by Mother Theresa and welcomed the somewhat less boyish Phillip Hammond, assuming he would actually start acting like a Conservative chancellor. Well it seems we rejoiced too soon, because so far he still seems keen on more landlord taxes and is continuing with the policies of scrapping of tax relief for interest on buy-to let mortgages and the increased Stamp Duty for buy to let properties.

They now talk about ‘level playing fields’ – don’t politicians love metaphors? They say that mortgage tax relief for landlords gives them an unfair advantage over first-time buyers. They forget that the incredibly low interest rate environment and mass immigration has meant that buying to let is just about the only game in town that’s left for individual investors. Also, they forget that when you sell a buy-to-let property, unlike permanent private residence, you have top pay a shed-load, or rather a house-load of Capital Gains Tax. But then again, the MPs Expenses’ Scandal showed they knew only too well about the importance of flipping a property to avoid CGT.

No Opposition at All

The thing is that Mother Theresa and her chums are no longer faced with any opposition at all. Jeremy Corbyn has managed to effectively reduce Labour to a student debating society in which Diane Abbott seems to be an all purpose minister for just about anything and probably even handles any small plumbing emergencies at Labour HQ. By claiming he was present at many events he wasn’t and knew people he didn’t, Paul Nuttall managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for UKIP in the Stoke by-election. And the Liberal Democrats…well they’re still very Liberal and Democratic and that’s about it.

So, the Conservatives realise that Landlords represent a very small section of their natural constituency, have become folk villains, have nowhere else to turn and as such their wishes can be safely ignored.  They are now going for the ‘middle-ground’ to further increase their majority by tempting soft Labour voters away from Jeremy.

Residential Landlords Association

As I write this, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have mounted a last ditch attempt before The Budget to persuade Chancellor Phillip Hammond to scrap Boy George’s tax changes that stop landlords being able to offset mortgage interest against income from buy to let properties.

Let’s wish the RLA luck.

 

Landlords and Letting – Affordable Landlord Insurance