Private Rented Sector Schemes, Local Letting Agencies and Private Landlords
In the housing strategy papers of many a local authority the private rented sector can still be something of an afterthought – often tucked away on page 94 along with Dave Spart and ColemanBalls. (Private Eye Joke)
This is quite curious and may reflect either the previous small size of the private rented sector or a genuine lack of understanding at some town halls about the private rented sector in general and what the sector can do to solve many housing problems. But the great thing about business is that it abhors a vacuum and in recent years lots of clever private companies and entrepreneurs have sprung up offering solutions to local authorities in the private rented sector arena.
In particular private companies offer to help town halls by recruiting private landlords willing to let to pre-screened Housing Benefit dependent tenants and then dealing with all the admin for the landlord and council. Sometimes additional services like rent guarantee insurance are thrown in too.
This is all to the good and many local authorities are only too pleased to hand someone else the job of finding local landlords for them and dealing with the management of tenants.
Where’s the Value for Money?
In our view, however, quite a lot of these Local Letting Agency Schemes are expensive and inefficient – involving high set up costs (which the local authority ultimately has to pay for) and too many “hand offs.”
We think local authorities should look very closely at what’s on offer and whether it is good value for money for the ratepayer. At LettingFocus we cast an independent eye over such proposals for councils as part of our consultancy work and we can suggest alternative, usually cheaper solutions.
Some local authorities are also fond of offering incentives for private landlords to take on tenants who used to be housed in the social sector and who are usually on benefits or low incomes. We are not sure these incentives are really needed.
Shappsy the Landlord’s Friend
The good news for private landlords keeps on coming. Last week, Housing Minister Grant Shapps announced new regulations on shared houses which will mean landlords will no longer have to submit a planning application to rent their properties to unrelated tenants – known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Councils will now only have to use this power where they know high concentrations of shared homes are a problem.
I’m in favour of this move though I’d like to see local authorities given the money and scope to do more to clean up areas that are blighted by poor maintenance and antisocial activity emanating from HMO properties. I also think Mr Shapps made a huge error in not imposing mandatory regulation on letting agents. Tenants and landlords were let down by this move.
Pity the First Time Buyer… But Not This One
In the news last week, the plight of one would be first time buyer (salary £50K) who could not afford to buy his first home made me smile. Living in Central Richmond in a one bed privately rented flat, his rent of £1,200 a month was eating up all his cash and he could not save for a deposit. Erm, ever thought about slumming it and renting somewhere cheaper?
MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO
LettingFocus.com is the home of Private Rented Sector and Landlord Information.
I’m David Lawrenson, a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and author of “Successful Property Letting” – the UK’s top selling commercially published property book for the last 3 years. 25,000 copies sold.
Services to Businesses and the Public Sector
Primarily I am a consultant to a range of organisations including banks, building societies, local authorities, social housing providers, institutional investors and insurers – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies and services.
For example, I help banks improve their buy to let mortgage lending order viagra pills online practices and I help housing associations / local authorities find private landlords (private rented access schemes, local letting agency models etc.)
I also write for property websites and am regularly quoted by the media.
Services for Private Landlords
We also find a limited amount of time to help landlords and property investors by coaching them in how to make money in the private rented sector using ways that work, which are ethical, fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk to the investor. We pride ourselves on giving independent unbiased Buy to Let Advice on a one-to-one mentoring / coaching basis or through our (very occasional) group seminars.
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