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Roundup: June’s landlord headlines

Posted on 2015-06-25

June has been another fast-paced month in the rental sector and particularly for landlords as more information on potential licensing schemes and immigration checks has emerged.

If you’ve been too busy keeping up with legislation to read the news, no fear. In association with Landlord Today, we have put together a round up of June’s biggest stories…

After we expected a further announcement about a national rollout of immigration checks in May’s Housing Bill to no avail, it is now being reported by the National Landlords Association (NLA) that July is when the next key information will be announced.

The Association reported that after meeting with Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, it understands that the results of the West Midlands pilot scheme are being assessed next month.

The testing phase has been going on in the West Midlands since December 2014 and the NLA says the national roll-out of the scheme may be phased, area by area, and that it may not apply throughout the UK.

So far, the pilot scheme has generated 36,000 visits to the guidance web pages, 75 referrals, over 900 calls to the Home Office and 114 checking requests. These stats are hard to put into context at the moment so the industry eagerly awaits any official comment on the success or otherwise of the initial phase of immigration checks.

In other news, the issue of kitchen facilities in rental properties came to the fore this month after an all-party group of MPs urged that landlords who fail to provide basic cooking and kitchen facilities should have their licenses provoked and be banned from practicing.

A refrigerator and a two-ring cooking hob are the absolute minimum landlords should provide their tenants, the group said.

Another story which received one of the biggest reactions this month centred on a block of converted flats in Luton.

Forty-six tenants were forced to leave their rental accommodation because the landlord did not have sufficient fire safety measures in place and did not hold the appropriate HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) Licence.

The closure of the property was one of the first acts of Luton Borough Council’s new ‘rogue landlord team’.

The council says that of the forty-six residents who had to leave the flats, some have been helped in finding alternative accommodation, three households have been placed in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation and 13 other households have been offered advice.

At the other end of the scale, in London’s prime rental market, a central London agency took to the news pages to claim that some ‘posh’ student tenants pay up to £12,000 a month in rent.

“These students are prepared to pay £6,000 to £8,000 per month for a nice two-bed flat in Mayfair, Marylebone or Belgravia, rising to £12,000 per month in Knightsbridge,” claims Napier Watt’s director Jonathan Adams.

Back to reality, almost, and we heard this month that Britain’s biggest landlords, Fergus and Judith Wilson, have begun the mass sell-off of their 1,000 strong property portfolio.

The couple declared last year that they would be selling off their portfolio and announced through the national press that they have already sold 100 properties to foreign investors and are hoping to make around £100 million in profit from the sell-off.

And finally, as activity the student rental market begins to ramp up, Glide Utilities has released a report which outlines ‘what students seek’ in their uni pad.

The annual report outlined fast internet, inclusive bills and double beds as three of the top desires for the students of 2015.

Right, that’s it for this month. We now look forward to July’s developments which look set to include further detail on immigration checks as well as an indication to the extent and timescale of David Cameron’s plans for mandatory landlord licensing.

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