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  • Property-a-holics

    3 things: Steve Bolton, Landlord & Franchisor

    Welcome to the final day of our "3 things" landlord navigation campaign.

    All this month, Property Tribes has been presenting content to help landlords get 2018 off to a flying start!

    To close out the campaign, we are going out on a real high. We are delighted to present a contribution by Steve Bolton.

    Steve Bolton is the Founder of Platinum Property Partners, which is a network of professional HMO landlords that provide high-quality affordable shared homes (HMOs) to more than 6,000 key workers and working people across the UK.  Steve and his partners also own hotels, serviced offices and retail properties in Bournemouth, Dorset, where he lives.

    He is also the Co-Founder of the Axe the Tenant Tax coalition (Section 24).  This umbrella organisation, through its key stakeholder partners (RLA, NLA, ARLA and SAL), represent over 150,000 landlords and letting agents and provide homes to more than 1 million tenants.  Steve and the Axe the Tenant team continue to fight tirelessly for the abolishment of Section 24 and they won’t stop until they succeed, or die trying (Steve’s words!)

    Here are Steve’s thoughts regarding things that will be significant in 2018 in relation to housing.

    Three Things... 

    A belated happy new year to you.

    1.  Housing Crisis or Humanitarian Crisis!

    When Chris Cooper and I decided to take the government to the High Court in 2016, to see if we could legally overturn Section 24, we did so because we felt that it was the most deceptive, destructive and disgusting taxation policy for tenants, landlords and the housing market in general. It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

    Personally I don’t think that we will see the full force of the damage that Section 24 and other anti-landlord taxation policies will bring to bear until 2019 and beyond.  

    However, in the meantime, with the work I am involved within the homelessness sector, we are seeing growing numbers of people going into temporary accommodation.  

    Rough sleeping is at a seven year high and the ‘hidden homeless’ (people who are living in vans, sofa-surfing and B&B type accommodation) is also increasing.  I expect this situation is only going to get worse through 2018.

    When the politicians talk of a housing crisis they are severely misguided.  This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions and one that is only going to get worse.  

    Families with young children are living in single rooms in bed and breakfast type accommodation and more and more people don’t have access to have a place to call home.  

    I was told recently that the YMCA in one area were charging £1,500 per month to provide shared accommodation and the local council were having to fund £1,000 a month of the bill!   The £1.5 million paid by a single council to Travel Lodge in the Midlands to house tenants in temporary accommodation is another figure that sticks in my mind.  More and more examples like this come to light every day.

    George Osborne and those that have followed have no real understanding of the issues on the coal-face.  

    A few politicians I met personally, like my local MP Connor Burns and Gavin Barwell (the former housing minister), did understand the issues and were supportive of our plight, but party rules restricted them from speaking out against these policies.

    Others that I have consulted with, like a number of people I spoke with at the Bank of England, Philip Hammond, and a number of other politicians, had virtually no understanding of the issues at a grass roots level.  

    It wouldn’t be quite as bad if there was a sensible plan b, to make up for the governments drive to reduce the numbers of private landlords, but the much heralded “build to rent” initiatives were never going to gain traction on a national scale and never will IMO.  I can count on one hand the number of these developments in my area, which has a total population of around 400,000.  

    If an area of this size is seeing virtually no growth from build to rent (after big talk on the subject from the powers that be for more than 6 years now), what chance does a village outside Derby stand (or any other town or city for that matter)?

    The good news, if I even dare call it that, is that I do feel the pendulum has started to swing back from its most negative anti-landlord position and, I hope, will continue in this direction.  Millions of lives are at stake if it doesn’t.

    All of the amazing supporters and organisations involved with  Axe the Tenant Tax coalition are dedicated to continuing to fight and lobby against Section 24, until we see this ludicrous legislation reversed.  

    Sadly, I think much of the damage will have been done by that point, if/when the day comes.  Landlords most affected will have sold up, more tenants will be faced with higher rents and less accommodation to choose from and increasing interest rate rises will just negatively compound the issue.

    The lack of accountability to those in power who dream up these devastating policies makes me very angry but rather than getting upside, I aim to channel that anger and motivation to bring about change in any way I can.  I’d encourage you to do the same if you feel as I do and are not doing that already.

    2.  Accept what you cannot change, change what you cannot accept, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

    My second point is a more personal one and relates to what is within your control.  I have three core principles that have served me and those we mentor very well over the last decade.  I will share them with you here...

    A) Stand on the shoulders of GIANTS.  

    I am passionate about the power of effective mentoring.  Learning from others that have been there and done it is for sure a fast-track way of accelerating your progress.  

    I believe that ‘everyone needs a mentor’ and I would encourage you to find people that you can learn from who have overcome the challenges you are facing.  It’s also a useful belief to think that “you are only ever one person away from solving any challenge you have.”  So it’s just a question of finding that person and Property Tribes and other forums of this nature is a great place to start.

    B) Expand Your Network.  

    The old saying goes that we become the average of the people we spend most time with.  Whilst I believe that other factors like your history, motivation, experience, skills, etc also have an impact on your results and who you become, studies show that you are 67% likely to replicate the behaviours of those you spend time with.  

    Again PT is a great place to expand your network.  I’d encourage you to reach out to people on PT and within other networks and meet them in the real world to learn from and support each other.  None of us is smarter than all of us as the team at PT like to say and I agree 100%.

    C)  Invest in Yourself.  

    Warren Buffett says it’s the best investment you can ever make.  Jim Rohn said “work hard at your job and you’ll make a living, but work hard on yourself and you’ll make a fortune”.  

    An ongoing commitment to professional and personal development is a trait of all successful people.  But don’t take my word for it. I highly recommend the movie “Becoming Warren Buffett”.

    3.  Focus on yield

    When I first started investing into high quality professional HMOs back in 2004 I was one of the first people to start doing it.  

    My decision was based on the fact I had to close down a business and sell my family home in 2001 to save me from going bankrupt.  

    Events like that scar you deeply.  

    Never again did I want to have to put myself and my family through something like that again.  

    So I spent two years deeply researching the property and HMO market.  My number one goal was maximum yield in a market where I could only see demand from tenants going one way - up.  Over the last 13 years that’s what we’ve seen.  

    With gross yields consistently between 10% and 15% in over 200 towns, cities and London boroughs, across more than 1,000 Platinum properties, the demand and growth shows no signs of abating.

    So from a position of deep experience I can say with confidence that HMOs in the right location, operated in the right way, by the right kind of people, is still a blue-chip investment within the residential property market.  This risk/reward ratio is definitely in the investor's favour and I believe will be for the long term.

    However, that’s should not be taken as a call to arms for all investors.  

    It’s a cash-hungry and professional investment strategy that should not be taken on lightly.  Refer to my three points above as a framework to follow for those interested in moving into this sector for the first time.

    I hope that my three things will have been of interest to you.  Thank you if you have and/or continue to support the Axe the Tenant Tax campaign.

    If you would like to find out more, please join my free “Giants Network” virtual mentoring community, you can apply to join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/steveboltonmentoring/

    I wish you the very best of wealth, health and happiness for 2018 and beyond.


    Don't forget, you can download the PPP 7 steps to a successful HMO >>> here.

    You can find out more about Steve's personal business journey >>> here.

    Nick and I would like to add a personal thank you and express our gratitude to Steve, not only for his unstinting support of landlords and the PRS, but also for his support of Property Tribes and ourselves as individuals.  He has provided us with wise words of encouragement, guidance and support over many years, and we regard it as a privilege to know him.

    If you are committed to learning and growing in 2018, get your FREE tickets to the Landlord and Investment Shows:

    Landlord Investment Shows for 2018 announced

    Catch up:

    1st January -   Launch of 3 things campaign: John Rae lessons

    2nd January -  3 things: Stephen Johnson of Shawbrook Bank

    3rd January -   3 things: Michael Dent of PropertyData

    4th January -   3 things: Neil Cobbold of PayProp

    5th January - 3 things: 3 ways to save money in 2018 

    8th January - 3 things: Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action

    9th January - 3 things: Frank Webster of Finders Keepers 

    10th January - 3 things: James Davis of Upad 

    11th January - 3 things: Martin Skinner of Inspired Assets 

    12th January - 3 things: Sean Hooker, Prop. Redress Scheme 

    15th January - 3 things: Phil Stewardson, Developer

    16th January - 3 things: Tom Evans, new LL/Meditation Guide 

    17th January - Denise Naylor, Landlord of 30 years 

    18th January - 3 tips for 2018 from the Residential Landlords Association

    19th January - 3 things: 3 landlord insurance tips for 2018

    22nd January - 3 things: Jason Harris-Cohen, Landlord/Buyer 

    23rd January -  3 things: Deserving of landlord gratitude ...

    24th January -  3 things: 3 must attend events - Spring 2018

    25th January - 3 things: 3 threads that deserve a reprise 

    We hope you have enjoyed all the content shared, and we take this opportunity to thank all our fantastic contributors.

    SEE ALSO  -       Creating a Property Business Plan - with Steve Bolton of Platinum Property Partners

    UP NEXT -          My Essential Property Book List - #7 Steve Bolton  

    DON'T MISS -     Rise of the "mega" landlord! Steve Bolton and Phil Stewardson in the spotlight.



    Thanks Steve, True success is getting up after failure. Your success is true.

    Maybe we can get back up too after the aftershocks of s.24 being implemented settle. That's if we don't give in. 


    Really enjoyed reading this Steve and thanks for the tip about the Warren Buffet movie.

    Thank you for all your have done with regards to the Tenant Tax campaign and your commitment to supporting landlords through the challenges we are facing.