We are now closing for the Christmas and New Year break. However, our still free, new quarterly newsletter will go out in the first or second week of January, so look out for this and remember to put our email address, firstname.lastname@example.org in your whitelist to ensure you receive it. If you don’t already get the newsletter but would like to receive it, just send me an email.
The new newsletter will look at a number of issues – in particular the issue of ethics and how “fair dealing” (for tenants and for anyone you buy property or landlords services from) should always be a part of what all landlords do. I also look at how fair dealing and fair contracts should be uppermost in the minds of landlord advisors as well as those public and private organisations who sell products and services to landlords and property investors.
I will look at how what we at LettingFocus.com do for landlords contrasts sharply with the “financial freedom” and “get rich quick” lobby, whose main role in life seems to be to get financially unsophisticated people to pay out for expensive seminars and courses to learn about the latest spammy technique to make money in property, often using unproven techniques and unethical, often illegal practices.
At LettingFocus, at our seminars and one to one sessions with landlord and investor clients, we only use proven techniques that actually work and which are legal and fair to tenants. (Click the links below to find out more).
LettingFocus also works with organisations that provide products and services for landlords or who are otherwise engaged with the private rented sector. Our clients include local authorities, housing associations, property portals, insurers, service provides, investors in private rented stock and others.
However, here too, we will not get involved as a consultant, in any work that we think is not in the public interest. And we are not shy of taking a public position if we feel any large organisation, which should know better, is involved in dealings that are blatantly unfair and wrong.
CROSS BOROUGH LANDLORD LICENSING
For example, we are not convinced that whole borough landlord licensing can ever really be justified as being in the public interest.
Most housing practitioners in the councils themselves are also against these schemes (see a recent blog we did on this following our meeting at “AHAS”) and the only reason some other boroughs want to copy Newham’s scheme seems to be for councillors and some housing directors own political reasons. (There are votes for councillors and mayors in “bashing landlords” and having a big team of staff and a new, big budget at the council office usually leads to higher pay for the housing directors in charge).
We regard such schemes as usually a wasteful, untargeted and wholly ineffective way of finding and dealing with rogue landlords – and they lead to higher rents and a breakdown in the relationship between councils and the majority of local landlords, who are usually trying to do the right thing.
I know that other consultants are happy to take the council shilling to work on mapping out and implementing cross borough schemes. We will not, as in all the cases we have seen thus far, they are unjustified, wasteful and counter-productive. There are far better targeted approaches the councils could use to drive the rogue landlords out for good, whilst as the same time improving what the majority of landlords are already doing.
Recently, we have criticised mortgage lenders attempts to wriggle out of valid base rate tracker mortgage deals. Attempts by some lenders to do this are an outrageous assault on the businesses of landlords and are utterly unjustified by the mortgage contracts the lenders entered into.
BASE RATE TRACKER CHEATING BY SOME MORTGAGE LENDERS
LettingFocus consultancy has actively advised some lenders on their mortgage business in the past. However, I find the moves to try to wriggle out of tracker mortgages by some banks and building societies quite astonishing. And, in recent weeks, I have not shied away from public criticism of this.
What I find especially distasteful is that the lenders case looks so weak that we can only presume that they must have hoped that landlords would be unable to raise the necessary organisational and financial firepower to take them on in what would ultimately be a high court case. (The hopeless regulator seems unable to act, though some political pressure is growing). This rather all smacks of bullying by the lender.
Fortunately, it looks like the lenders may be mistaken on the assumption that landlords will just roll over, because after similar moves by Skipton and Manchester Building Societies and the Bank of Ireland, went unchallenged, landlords are finally fighting back against the latest move (by the West Bromwich Building Society). (Property118 are leading a campaign and will shortly start a class action. I support them, as should any landlord who holds any base rate tracker mortgage with any lender, as they could well be next).
We know that over a thousand of you read these pages every day of the week – and most of you open and read our free newsletters too.
If there is any comment you have on our blogs, or if there is any topic that you would like us to cover, please us know. And please check out the links below.
We would like to wish you a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
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We advise a range of organisations including banks, building societies, local authorities, social housing providers, institutional investors and insurers.
We help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords.
We also write for property portals, speak at property events and we are regularly quoted by the media.
Services for Private Landlords
We help landlords and property investors by showing them how to make money in the private rented sector using ways which are fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk.
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