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  • In the Spotlight

    Sell off of council houses - lobby government

    Hello, I have just read the article in the Telegraph about consultation until August about 3 year tenancies and rent controls. The target again are the landlords, giving notice to people at the drop of a hat and hiking up rents.

    To me the big issue here is the conservative policy (under Maggie Thatcher) to sell off council houses. This I believe is still going on and even recently the incentives were increased, I see that Scotland and Wales have had the brain power to stop it.

    This to me, is a factor causing homelessness as councils were able to support council tenants better (ie dealing with rent arrears, unsocial behaviour etc, due to having large departments and money to do this, in comparison to landlords who may have a few properties and have mortgages and tax to pay).

    I would love to go to 3 year tenancies with one year break clause, I have however had terrible tenants in one HMO. I had to deal with drugs, damage, non payment of rent, harrassment of other tenants etc etc.

    Landlords need better laws and support to serve notice on tenants (lets get rid of the eviction word) quickly and efficiently, e.g. I have just read of a judge not allowing a section 21 order, because the landlord did not give the gas certificate to the tenant BEFORE the received their rental agreement.

    I have another house whether the tenants are fantastic and I would be very happy to give them long tenancies.

    I have read about the RLA pushing the government to set up a separate court to deal with landlord/tenants. This is urgently needed, also the individuals heading up these courts need to have an understanding of the landlord/tenant relationships/rules so that they don't make decisions based on tenants lies and deceit (I am referring to some cases).  

    How do we lobby the government over stopping sale of council houses and a new court for landlords and tenants?

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    I offer all my tenants the option of one-year, six-months or rolling periodic tenancies after the initial six month period. My mortgages do not allow anything else. So far only one has ever asked for the one-year tenancy agreement; the rest all opt for rolling tenancies. When the one with the one-year tenancy wanted to leave in the middle of the year, I accepted one month's notice, and in any case the tenant found me a replacement and there was no void.

    Three year tenancies would not affect me as I am in this for the longer term, but I can foresee that many landlords who are already considering selling up would rush to do so before the legislation comes into force, and I predict this will cause a sudden rise in evictions and homelessness.

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    Three year tenancies would not affect me

    They would if you have a mortgage, breach of lender t & c's.

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    Hi Gwen,

    With any organisation, there is strength in numbers needed when it comes to lobbying politicians.

    There are estimated to be 2.5 million landlords in the UK, but only around 60K of them are a member of a trade body like the RLA or the NLA.

    Therefore, landlords do not have any political clout to speak of.

    So the best things you can do are:

    1.  Join a Landlord Association. Property Tribes offers 25% off membership of the RLA as our partner association.

    2.  Write to your MP.

    3.  Write to journalists who comment on the housing market.

    4.  Create awareness on social media - like this post. Smile

    5.  Start a petition to tell the Government to invest more in social housing?

    6.  Share this thread on social media - What causes homelessness in the UK?

    I hope other people share some further ideas ... 

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    "This to me, is a factor causing homelessness as councils were able to support council tenants better (ie dealing with rent arrears, unsocial behaviour etc, due to having large departments and money to do this, in comparison to landlords who may have a few properties and have mortgages and tax to pay)."

    Noteworthy is that in Q4 of 2014 - some 64% of Possession Orders were initiated by Social Landlords - so they are not exactly benign mentors when rent arrears accrue...

    Voids in SRS run at around 365,000 pa and I wonder how many of those are voluntarily vacated by the tenants - and how many are evicted?

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    How do we lobby the government over stopping sale of council houses 

    I won't be lobbying them over that, because I'm not a Socialist and I believe in a Home Owning Democracy where people own a stake in society.

    Mrs Thatcher's motives were spot on with RTB.

    What I WOULD lobby for is the bit where Mrs T messed up, a strict policy that says if they sell one, they have to build a new one to replace it.

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    One for one RTB replacements would mean no discount involved - so nil incentive to buy for most tenants - though Govt could vary discount percentage and/or the monetary cap - which has varied from £35k to £50k in 80s/90s - then in South capped around £16k before RTB Mk 2 came along with far higher nominal cap of £80900/£107870 for Outside/Inside London respectively.

    Nobody in South gets more than around a max 30% discount nowadays as prices are at least 15 x 1980 prices. In London it can be less than 10% discount - with SDLT being more than half that.

    That said RTB sales are still running at around 12,000 pa.

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    One for one RTB replacements would mean no discount involved

    Not sure that's correct, because land and build cost normally equate to 50-70% of market value and the discounts don't go as deep as 30-50%.

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    Fair point on esp land cost - but unless new build social homes can be built on free land - eg via CPO of arable land at arable prices as largely happened post WW2 you still have high replacement cost.

    That ploy is challenging in London/SE - although a number of larger London social estates are being demolished and rebuilt at higher density - though probably with few new units at truly social rent levels.

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    All true, but I think you've answered it by mentioning CPO of Arable - that's exactly what needs to happen.

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    Also, whilst I support RTB as a concept, perhaps some restrictive covenants should be placed at point of sale to prevent abuse of what is a noble motive.

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