Yesterday we hosted our annual Landlord Forum at Senate House. The event was well attended, thanks in no small part to the engaging programme of presentations that this year’s speakers had prepared for us.
Some of the key-points to take from the event are below.
- Tenancy agreements – they are the cornerstone of any tenancy and are vital to prevent disputes further down the line, according to landlord and tenant law expert Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law. Using a professionally drafted tenancy agreement is recommended, and be sure to seek advice before proposing any amendments.
- Right to rent checks – these have been a mandatory requirement for landlords since 1 February 2016, but our Q&A session demonstrated that there are still questions about the right way to proceed with the checks. Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law recommended the GOV.UK website as a comprehensive source of information and guidance for landlords on this topic.
- Near-term developments for private landlords – those letting out ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMOs) should be alert to potential changes in mandatory HMO licensing rules that could require all properties with 5 or more sharers from 2 or more households to be licensed, removing the ‘3 floors’ requirement. Many local authorities have already brought in, or are considering, additional and selective licensing.
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With the expansion of Rent Repayment Orders from April 2017, ensuring that you have an HMO licence in place, if needed, is vital. Furthermore, energy efficiency rules will prevent ‘F’ and ‘G’-rated properties being let from April 2018. It’s time to start planning what works and improvements might be necessary or whether particular properties might need to be sold.
- Long-term changes in the market – with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, making predictions for property prices and rental demand over the coming years has never been more difficult. Richard Blanco of the National Landlords Association referred to a reported 43% decline in tenant demand in Central London in the last 3 months, although the causes of this (Brexit? An increase in first-time buyers?) are not fully known.
- Student demand – the final presentation from Roland Shanks of the University of London looked at longer-term trends in student numbers, rents and house-prices. An ongoing demographic ‘dip’ in the number of 18-20 year olds nationally is likely to reach its low-point in 2020/21. Current data indicates, however, that the number of students coming to London will not be hugely affected.
Thank you to everyone who attended the event, making it our most well-attended and lively in recent memory.
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Join us at this year's free Landlord forum on Monday 19th March, 5pm - 8pm.