x
By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Barry X
Barry X
-
2501  Profile Views

About Me

I happened to check my profile today for the first time ever and noticed there have been over 1,500 "viewings" of my completely empty profile.... presumably a lot of people reading my raving, ranting but (I hope) factually and technically coherent posts were curious to know a little about me?

Thanks for reading all this,
Barry
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I first became a landlord in 1996, while still working in IT (which I'd been doing since the start of the 80s and was by then a senior freelance manager).

Within 5 years of being both a part-time, but already very 'hands-on', landlord and full time IT professional I made the decision to abandon my successful and quite lucrative IT career to concentrate full-time on slowly growing and closely managing the properties.

In the early days I did absolutely everything myself - from finding tenants (using things like faxed-in "voucher ads" in Loot back then, long before emails or web-based advertising in this sector), managing lettings, property maintenance (luckily I have a lot of practical skills, but as the number of properties increased we used contractors more and more, and for about 3 years had 2 full time maintenance/handymen working for us too) and of course all aspects of the business side.

I say "we" and "us" because after a while my wonderful wife got fully involved too - she's much better at dealing with tenants than I am, plus good at making decisions about refurbishment specifications and so on.

As the world changed around us, and also because we got busier, we started working increasingly with agents - initially for "finders only" but now 'fully managed' on several properties and one day they can look after the lot!

One of the main problems for us (more for me, not so much my wife) has been that over the years I've carefully developed and refined our own tenancy agreements, as well as some simple but useful processes and paperwork - but the agents seem unable to use any of that if they do full management. Unfortunately all of their tenancy agreements look poor quality to me and not as good for our business by comparison!

Until recent years I had no regrets about that decision to switch from IT to property, but now I increasingly wonder if we'd have been better off if I'd concentrated on software and/or consultancy and perhaps built a solid business in that instead while keeping property as a useful sideline. There were so many great opportunities and I turned my back on all of them.

A real regret I certainly have is in not exiting from property in the UK, selling everything and reinvesting in something new abroad while still young and healthy and equally importantly before tax laws affecting tax residency and CGT changed fundamentally and very significantly in what I see as a greedy and ill-judged attempt by the government to take money from us (and anyone like us) but in practice just inhibiting and discouraging business and flexibility (if we'd sold CGT free for the properties in our own names then our buyers would still have paid what used to be stamp tax, and our company would have paid a lot of corporation tax for its sales, so instead of the government benefiting everyone lost out and we're all stuck with it).

As the years have passed since then we've seen spectacular sustained growth abroad in the sectors of interest to us in those counties and cities in the Far East we liked and would have opted for. Meanwhile here in the UK performance has (at least in my opinion, and by comparison, and after carefully taking exchange rates etc into account, and not helped by years of 'quantitative easing' and all the rest) - been very lack-luster. It's also been increasingly hampered by detrimental legislative and taxation changes coupled with rapidly changing social and cultural factors making a landlord's - or agents - life increasingly (and I think unfairly and uncomfortably) difficult.

Over those nearly two decades since moving from IT to full-time property I've developed quite in depth knowledge of relevant landlord-tenant law, both for "let" properties and also freeholder/leaseholder legislation - something I'm extremely involved with these days for various reasons. (In my IT days, particularly during the 90s as a project and later program manager and at times IT director/CTO or whatever, I got very much interested in contract law as well as to an extent intellectual property Law or IP, but not bricks and mortar property law back then).

So now you know quite a bit about me. Another thing of relevance, I suppose, is I was diagnosed with "terminal" cancer in 2014, after getting increasingly but mysteriously ill the previous year. I was then thought to have only 3-4 months to live, but over 4½ years later I'm still here - now on "borrowed time" and very much dependent on the private health policy I luckily took out more than a decade ago and without which I'd almost certainly already be dead by now (anyone out there who believes they can trust their life for long-term illness care to the NHS should try it for themselves). Anyhow, that's another thing - other than tax and whatnot - that makes it extremely hard for us to move anywhere.

Life eh? For a while it seems to stretch out in front of us with unlimited possibilities. Then we find how short it is; time passes so quickly and there are more boundaries in all directions - many of them invisible but still uncrossable - we don't have to stray far before we start to find them.

Despite the frustration of it all, and the vagaries of life, we're doing just fine and actually I feel both contented and very lucky indeed.

In case anyone is curious about my profile image - it's a snapshot the patient records on my first oncologist's bookshelf. A brilliant, as well as very charming man (and a rather old fashioned / old-school one as you can tell from his filing system) and one of the growing number of people who've each contributed so much to keeping me alive. My medical history since being diagnosed with cancer is just one of the many folders in the photo - so mine (representing me) is just one of the many very similar looking folders, and that's how I see life and death in perspective.

A thought provoking quote of uncertain origin - it turns out to be much older than it might at first seem - that I'd like to share with you (and apologies if you think it corny or trite or have hear it before) is:

The past is history, the future a mystery, but the TODAY is a gift which is why its called 'The Present'!

my expertise in the industry

-

Barry's Recent Activity

Barry X
By the way (not buy to let for a change!)....... has anyone here actually gone to conservativehome .com/platform/2020/07/ros-altmann-what-ministers-need-to-do-to-ease-the-plight-of-small-landlords .html (copy & paste into your browser then be sure to delete the two spaces I've added before pressing enter)? She makes some good points, though only in relation to smaller landlords, i.e. those with one or two properties and who became landlords to provide themselves with a pension (fair enough as that's her area of expertise). BUT then take a look at some of the comments at the end posted in response.... some of them are absolutely appalling and virtually all of them represent the kind of twisted, ignorant "let's-roast-a-few-landlords-then-laugh-because-they-deserve-it" attitude that makes me so ashamed of this country as its now the normal, accepted mainstream and even encouraged view. There are so many well established, decent, honest, often generous and usually extremely experienced landlords like me/us who want out! Is it any wonder when, apart from having our legitimate and highly professional businesses unfairly targeted relentlessly for years on end, fleeced and milked by local authorities and taxed to death both by them (with c/tax on empty properties and "licencing fees" and all the rest) and central government/HMRC.... and then all the still growing mountains of mainly pointless and ill considered red-tape and over regulation..... we then ALSO have to tread so carefully, super politely deal with, humour, pander to and accommodate (literally as well as metaphorically) the increasingly ignorant, nasty, "entitled" and of course utterly unappreciative population that both eggs councils and governments on to attack us more and more and also at the same time wants (with council, government and court backing) to cheat and steal from us while partying wildly to annoy neighbours that WE - not they - have to deal with, damaging our properties, not paying the rent or repair costs, having the courts totally on their sides, having "human rights" etc, unlike us we inhuman scum-bag hated landlords and agents, and then one day many of them simply run away after having paid nothing for months and there's nothing we can do or are even allowed to do about it. Read some of the comments on the "Conservative Home" website in response to Rosalind Altmann's quite mild and cautious article and you'll see several horrible specimins of humanity lurking there fondly imagining they are being so grown up and sophisticated when in reality its very obvious to me, at any rate, what mindless thugs they really are. THAT is the sort of thing we have to face and deal with. Its no good being weak and trying to appease or kowtow to such oiks.... better to get ourselves as organised as they are, but way better informed and intelligent than they ever could be, and force through all sorts of new legislation (while having some of the crap axed and repealed), laws that, for example, allow a central public register to be set up that only, say,"licensed" (haha) landlords and agents canb update or comment on that record the names and former addresses of nuisance tenants who were evicted, didn't pay their last months rent or owed anything else (in many cases far more) and so on.... they need to wake up to the fact that without us they will have nowhere to live, and we can get organised, share information about them and take back control.

From: Barry X 09 July 2020 16:46 PM

Barry X
Well hallelujah.... its nice for a very unusual change for someone to show some support for landlords, agents or the PRS in general, and almost some understanding of what it/we are all about. I'd welcome this if it were the start of a pendulum swing the other way, but fear it won't be. We shall see. My guess is that she'll be a lone voice or there might be a few murmurs of cautious (or more likely pretend) agreement but when it comes to actually DOING anything NOTHING WILL HAPPEN. Instead there will EITHER be a growing clamour of disagreement and even rage from a number of noisy, aggressive, dismissive quarters OR she'll be totally ignored OR a mixture of the two with most MPs, Lords and civil servants (the hidden menace) studiously ignoring her and hoping she'll go away, while a few will angrily denounce her. The real problem is that there are 365 supposedly "Tory" MPs, and (I think) 650 MPs in total (or thereabouts), plus over 800 "Lords" in the House of Lords (most of them political non-entities foist on the nation through bogus "honours lists" to stuff the place with unquestioning pre-programmed socialists) and of course the mysterious civil service that is supposed to only advise but really drives and runs so much of it...... THAT'S what we are up against (plus all the local councils and other anti-landlord vested interests etc). It would be foolish to think the occasional sensible and apparently landlord/agent considerate voice is going to make any difference. Yes, its a very welcome change and good to hear or read about, but in reality its a so-called "outlier" and not going to help us much unless it can be nurtured and made to grow into some sort of unstoppable movement with both "real teeth" and "marching boots" etc. Let's hope, but also let's not make the mistake of sitting back, holding our collective breath and expecting anything to be done for us. We must make things happen for ourselves. Be realistic; we must wake up from our apathy and fatalism (while moaning to each other without explaining anything to the nation) and instead FIGHT with guile and strategic cunning if we actually care and want to save ourselves, and if she is kind enough to join in and support us and spread the words then great; its always good to have a "friend at court" but even better to have an army marching on the court and/or laying siege to it!!!!! When we start gnashing our fangs, breathing political fire and rolling out barrels of political dynamite THEN we might start to see a few real and long awaited changes taking shape....

From: Barry X 09 July 2020 15:03 PM

Barry X
Rishi is a sadly deluded amateur.... and I expect he'll be heavily blamed by the government, and especially by Boris the stabber-in-the-back and betrayer (and not just of every woman that's ever been stupid enough to com into his life)..... Can you imagine that the ONLY thing holding BTL investors from getting even deeper into the huge mess this government (and its predecessors) have made of our industry is a piffling couple of grand, when - for example - the ridiculous 3% "surcharge" has not even been temporarily suspended let alone abolished, and non of the blatantly anti-landlord "cumulative kisses of death" have been revoked? It would take a LOT MORE than this silly little token "incentive" (that anyhow is aimed at owner-occupier purchasers, certainly not us the afterthought hated landlords) to get me to commit any more to the UK's traumatised, fleeced, beaten and cringing BTL / PRS corner..... I want OUT not further in. The moment he gives us a complete CGT "holiday" we'll be OFF!!!!!!!!! What a fool he is - this woefully inexperienced spend/borrow/print-money/give-away/bribe and burn chancellor, but we'll see....... personally I'd have been more impressed if he'd lowered taxes significantly and done all he could to encourage real business activity than just pay people for not working and give away silly trinkets that aren't worth that much to anyone individually but in total cost the country a spectacular amount of money the country doesn't have..... all done in the hope that people might remember (they won't) or be grateful (they won't) and so vote for Tories (now anyhow a sort of New Labour) forever (they certainly won't).

From: Barry X 09 July 2020 14:44 PM

Barry X
ONE of a number of problems is, as I've posted here before, that IF your tenant has been made a "sitting tenant" by the abolition of normal rights of eviction then the property will plummet in value because it cannot be sold with "full vacant possession". As has been shown since the 1970s to date, time after time without fail, in the auction houses (more or less the only place where such blighted properties can be sold, usually only to clever cash buyers) you'll be lucky to get 1/2 the normal price and usually more like only 1/3. Think about that!!!!! Probably most people will realise its not even worth selling, or doing maintenance (except where required by law) and certainly no "improvements" whatsoever! The tenants will get a very cheap property they can't be kicked out of BUT on the other hand it will become an increasingly sad, dull and miserable place (with no incentive for the LL to put in a modern kitchen or bathroom or anything else) PLUS they will find it virtually impossible to move anywhere because everywhere else will only have similarly blighted properties that are never available.... the reason for that is, of course, that the moment the tenants in any of those properties actually do go (or die and have no near relatives able or willing to take over the blighted property) THEN the property will finally be done up and sold, with huge relief, for a normal price. Once understood (which will never happen by the look of it among the brainless fools in Westminster) its easy to see how in the long run this will be a disaster for tenants too - they will lose choice, flexibility and access to well maintained properties landlords are anxious to keep "competitive" to "attract the right people" - because there won't BE any "right" tenants!!!!!

From: Barry X 01 July 2020 20:37 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 01 July 2020 20:26 PM

Barry X
Agreed and you've made a number of excellent points. I'd just like to add - though most of us already know this - the most absurd thing of all in relation to this is the ridiculous "Tenant Fees Act 2019" that by law limits us to only being able to charge 3% over bank base (currently almost zero) in interest for arrears and NO COSTS for enforcement or collection or anything else. By contrast credit card companies charge anything they like in interest for customers of theirs who are not even in default! For example they are typically currently charging 25% as a "normal" interest rate - not even a penalty! If you don't pay they can charge a "reasonable" amount for sending you letters to mention that you've missed a payment (we are not allowed to) and they can charge whatever it costs them to pursue you for the debt. OBVIOUSLY if you are a tenant with a balance to pay off on your credit card the obvious and sensible thing to do would be to simply default on your rent and use that money to pay off your debt(s)..... there are no real implications or downsides to this, the so-called "Tory" party has made sure of that! This means that, outrageously, the vile dishonest government has shafted us all and forced us by law - and without genuine thought, consultation or our consent - to become the cheapest "lenders" on the market and with no ability to charge for anything!!!! This is of course an absolute disgrace!!!! I can't image they'd dare do that to any other business sector..... imagine what would happen if they tried to do that to banks or credit card companies?!!!!!!! Not only that, but of course this ludicrous Act is probably the first law in the history of any nation on earth that instead of making something against the law works the other way around and lists the only things you ARE allowed to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It should be against the law to pass such a law. Imagine the world changing slightly (as it won't - it will change A LOT and already has since last year), or there being something these idiots hadn't thought of (where do I start....)..... what then? How is this bizare and utterly wrongheading pice of crap supposed to work? Well of course they don't care because they don't care about us.... and THAT is why we should all get together and make their lives even more miserable than they've made our! We MUST somehow FORCE THEM TO CARE ABOUT US AND THE PRIVATE RENTAL SECTOR/MARKET. Any suggestions? I've made plenty over the last 3 - 4 years and nobody has taken me up on any or suggested anything better.

From: Barry X 01 July 2020 20:16 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 29 June 2020 12:03 PM

Barry X
Without taking the mikie, and out of interest, I've just briefly looked into this Dickie Murphy fellow. Firstly, from his City University pages, I notice he has what appears to be an extremely cushy but ostensibly respectable job as the toast of all left-wing liberals.... absolutely adored as a spokesperson numerous BBC presenters can call on at the drop of a hat (and pay handsomely) to say whatever suits their usual agendas. The same for the Guardian and all the other left-luvvie rags and organs you can depend on to understand and defend the plight of landlords. He 'specialises' in exposing tax avoidance and evasion schemes, even though - hypocritically - he has (and probably still does) use them himself when it suits him. He even has a Wikipedia page he probably got his friends, admirers and/or students to cobble together for him (a bad idea because once its there anyone can add more or less anything they like and/or change what his friends lovingly posted there for him - I could easily find all this out if it were important enough and/or I had the time and interest because there's a "history" page behind every Wikipedia page and you can easily follow the profiles and quickly get to understand the motives of most of the "contributors" - I'm an expert at it because until about 2011, when I finally got utterly fed-up with all the bullying and politics behind it and subverting it, I was a leading "editor" for some particular high traffic topics, and still dabble in it discreetly when I feel the urge, to keep up to date). On his Wikipedia page - and easily verified elsewhere from more reliable sources - it mentions that he was a founder of the company behind the game Trivial Pursuits (that became such a big hit and made him A LOT of money). The company was incorporated in Ireland for tax avoidance reasons that he'd "now" be "ashamed of".... well, I think by intentionally drawing attention to that one they distract from possibly many others, and no matter how "ashamed" he might or might not be I'm willing to bet he's never gone to the Revenue, "taken the knee for them" (as is now the fashionable but totally ridiculous expression for simply kneeling), apologised and paid back with interest all the money he saved by that "strategy" alone..... probably not even 20% of it! :-)

From: Barry X 29 June 2020 11:53 AM

Barry X
Hazel - I think your post is excellent and extremely well put. I think your story, and many thousands like it (including ours as it happens), should be regular national news as part of the "re-education" process to inform all these spoilt, ideologically-programmed, ignorant and very much mistaken people the reality of most (admittedly not all) landlord's lives and how hard most of us (including you and your husband) work to provide them with the accommodation they want. I agree that quite a lot of their attitudes and behaviour is due to very poor - or sometimes nonexistent - parenting. But that's not the whole story though.... I personally believe another major factor is the heavy politicisation of education... in "the old days", i.e. when I and presumably you went to school (and even more so college or university for those, in those days, who didn't go straight out into the real world "university of life" to work and learn so much more, although the fees were always a lot more too)... anyhow, in those days (not so long ago) we were taught to open our minds and also HOW to think. NOW they are instead taught WHAT to think while their minds are closed and sealed shut. They are of course taught a whole lot of complete nonsense and lies and not only lap it up and believe every word without questioning it - they should be taught to question everything, but obviously that's "old school" and not the modern way of brainwashing. They should also be taught critical thought - but instead cunningly taught to distrust and fear any sort of independent or critical thought. They instead are trained to always avoid such things, sticking instead to hiding behind their ideological slogans and "no platform" for anyone they are trained to disagree with (obviously not daring to find out what they those heavily labelled, usually as "far right extremists" when they are not, have to say or why its officially deemed to be wrong, and whether it really is wrong or not.... and so on. Then there's the "social media" they are all now totally obsessed with and a slave to, that reinforces all of this. They are terrified of risking being seen to be even slightly different - they must all work hard to be clones of each other and guess what? **Almost** all of them carefully develop "Millennial" personalities! One of the messages they are thoroughly taught (and then all reinforce and "police" in each other) is that they are "entitled" to so much, and that we landlords are universal "capitalist wrong doers" and "owe" them so much.... no wonder we have Generation Rent etc. And there are increasingly more and more of them as they drop out of the end of this educational-indoctrinational sausage machine.... with such large (and ever growing) numbers of gullible, relatively mindless and easily led clones its no wonder so many organisations and of course politicians want to pander to them at the expense of everything else. The SECRET SOLUTION is to find ways to disrupt these people's cosy, easy lives and make such a nuisance of ourselves - but with good reason and easy to understand "sound byte" messages (both in the national news and by infiltrating and dominating and skilfully bombarding their social media "channels") - messages these mind-numbed millennials can comprehend - and doing it in very large numbers of landlords and agents (all sticking together as there is "strength in numbers" and weakness otherwise), and all of a sudden and at once They need re-educating, and/or we all need to get out, move on, find something new to do and not give a damn that in the process - collectively - they have killed their GOLDEN GOOSE, i.e. us, without instead cherishing, appreciating and being kind to it!!!!! I wish you and your husband, and business well and hope you (and all of us) find a way out of this increasingly tangled spider's web of nonsense (probably as indicated above and elsewhere in my posts) before it brings us all down and/or chokes us to death - if nothing else gets us first!!!

From: Barry X 23 June 2020 12:10 PM

Barry X
Paul - I wish we could wake up to discover it was all just a horrible dream, but unfortunately the reality is that we landlords have all been more or less asleep - trusting that someone "out there" such as ARLA or the NLA in years gone by - would look after our interests and lobby for us to protect our industry and ensure we were fairly treated so the PRS could flourish for the benefit of all (by which I also mean our tenants).... Unfortunately if and when we do eventually wake up collectively (I think I've PERSONALLY been fairly wide awake and alert to all this steadily growing and chocking bind-weed of legislation and manipulated public sentiment for several years - see some of my oldest posts), THEN we'll all discover it has actually got FAR WORSE. I'd say its almost got to the point of no return - if not already passed it - while we were all (collectively) dozing in our vaguely concerned/aware but still totally apathetic and trusting cocoon.... We need to burst out of that cocoon as a truly terrifying fully grown creature with teeth and claws and breathing fire so we strike fear in the complacent hearts of politicians, and the likes of Shelter and Generation Rent etc who would then all suddenly realise they are totally out of their depths and at the mercy of the giant and ferocious beast they've unwittingly given birth to and then helped nurture while not realising it wasn't the placid lamb for both slaughtering and somehow milking as it died that they they believed they had hold of! We need to become WELL ORGANISED AND MILITANT, PLUS ACTUALLY **THREATEN** THINGS WE CAN REALLY DO, e.g. (as I've said before) tactically serve s.21 notices on ALL our tenants together with a very carefully written letter explaining that, sorry but apparently unbeknown to them, successive anti-landlord measures have steadily caused the private rental business to become untenable (haha) and it has become too risky for us to to continue as landlords, due to so many heavy fines and penalties (and more in the pipeline) for trivial administrative errors (but no fines of penalties for blatantly defaulting tenants who rob us, damage our properties or cause us vast amounts of work for which nobody pays us anymore), and the courts have become so blatantly anti-landlord and biased that they have absolutely no sympathy anymore and will certainly not use common sense or treat us fairly. At the same time, we should go on to explain, most of our property rights have been seriously undermined, if not taken away from us entirely. History is repeating itself (we should tell them) - this is returning us to the nightmarish bad old days of the 1970s where it ended up that no more rental properties were available because anyone who had one could not be evicted and was going nowhere and virtually nobody was willing to offer another property for rent. The only options were to buy - if you could afford to, and then be stuck usually with a bad quality property in the wrong area that you only bought because it was cheap, and that you then discover needs to be repaired and maintained at your own expense, which is not so funny! They used to say "if you buy a cheap car you drive a hard bargain"!..... etc. Suggested to our weathy complacent tenants that they apply to the council for accommodation before what little they have is all gone. That will shock them. Or alternatively, tell them to write urgently to their MP begging for an immediate emergency suspension or reversal of these absurd laws (they managed to bring in emergency measures - just the wrong ones - for Covid-19 in March and April). Suggest too that the write to Shelter explaining that as they have potentially made hundreds of thousands homeless through their relentless wrongheaded lobbying they now urgently plan to house all these homeless people.... after all they do claim they are a charity for the homeless (but not because they are supposed to be MAKING people homeless, even though they are and its about to get much worse and become a national scandal)..... And there are plenty of other things we can do as well.... And so on..... Its obvious what NEEDS to be done (and should have started 5 - 10 years ago). What I can't understand is why so many bitter, worried, capable people are not doing this.

From: Barry X 23 June 2020 11:35 AM

Barry X
While they're at it there is so much more that can be done, e.g. why not make private mini-cab firms effectively work for free as a convenient sort of public transport by giving people (especially our "struggling" tenants) free rides to anywhere they want to go, such as to the beach for a lavish (and probably quite boozy) picnic while on 80% pay from the government and no need to work, and the driver can (should and MUST!) wait till they've finished then take them back (again for free) to our flats. There's no reason why our "vulnerable" tenants should be “...paying for the cost of the pandemic for years down the line” because of course WE "malicious" and "unscrupulous" landlords CAN PAY IT ALL FOR THEM ("malicious" and "unscrupulous" as implied of us by the generous, wise, deep thinking and clearly very learned Patrick Jenkin in his brilliantly well thought-out article ). No doubt if the taxi drivers need to earn anything we "unscrupulous" landlords can pay for it all to protect our "most vulnerable in our society" tenants from needing to bother to pay (most of whom happen to be relatively well paid graduates and many of whom were commuting to the city to work every day up until covid-19 so no wonder they were all "vulnerable").... The same for shopping and everything else - let our "vulnerable" tenants help themselves to anything they like or feel they need.... then take it all for free - especially trolley loads of booze to help them pass the time comfortably in our rent-free, eviction-free flats (that Shelter and/or Generation Rent have quite rightly indignantly demanded be requisitioned, incrementally in many little steps, for the common good, but clearly not ours) while those same "vulnerable" tenants are paid not to work. Oh, and in case I forget to mention it.... and I think I'm speaking for us all here..... we should reassure the esteemed Mr Jenkin (careful - no "s" at the end) and his concerned shadow (or perhaps shady) minister colleague Ms Thangam Debbonaire (not to be confused with "debonaire" which is an entirely different word meaning sophisticated, carefree and of course deeply gracious) that OF COURSE none of us became landlords in the hope of "making a profit" or because we were "wanting to own property".... absolutely not! Obviously instead we all decided from a young age to devote our lives, precious savings and any money (that nasty stuff none of us want or need for anything) to providing top notch "safe and affordable homes" to "the most vulnerable in our society" as those are very obviously and clearly "the duties that [we] landlords owe". ....and don't worry about the "affordable homes" bit - naturally that really means completely for free in most cases and for most of the time!!!! Well, we "malicious" people have to redeem ourselves somehow!!!!!

From: Barry X 22 June 2020 11:22 AM

Barry X
Mark - as always you delude yourself and/or attempt to project yourself as something you're not. I didn't see your further post as I had to go back to hospital again for a few further routine blood tests and things (I have cancer and have been on chemotherapy for several years to keep me alive). If I'd seen you're further posts and had the time and energy I would have probably replied. I personally have plenty of experience at the FTT but none at the Upper Tribunal though do sometimes read some of the public domain write-ups on judgements and cases. Just because you have "extensive" FTT and Upper Chamber experience (assuming that's even true and not just more bu**sh*t from you) then so what? It proves NOTHING! I've met plenty of people who seemed respectable enough (though deeply flawed) in the Tribunal court room but often turned out (as expected) to be more or less ideologically fixated, bigoted and slogan dependant raving loonies when met in the open plan area of Alfred Place. I imagine that if you do go there now and then (perhaps "extensively" but I doubt that) then you're probably very much like that yourself... its certainly how you come across to me in your posts and replies and things. By the way, whats all this "It humoured me how you failed..." nonsense? That's not the way you're supposed to use the word "humoured" in a sentence. Humouring someone means going our of your way to please or appease them even when you disagree and is not something you can do to yourself when someone "failed" to respond to you because they were busy and had far more important things to do! Once again in your case I'd say "The lady doth protest too much methinks".

From: Barry X 15 June 2020 14:29 PM

Barry X
This is all well and good but what most people either didn't realise, or have forgotten, is this is mainly a TAX ON INFLATION! If you bought a property 10 years ago for, say, £200k you'd expect it to now cost £400k. If you used it as a buy to let you'd now be taxed on the "growth" if selling (and one day probably every year even if not). However if you bought £200k's worth of groceries and cleaning products 10 years ago, to fill the same warehouse with the same quantity of comparable things would now probably cost around £400k. The government's Office of National Statistics conveniently rigs inflation figures for political purposes. In reality an objective look at most normal things people buy would show prices approximately double every ten years with compounding inflation (other than highly artificially priced things like petrol or booze that are mainly tax one way or another anyhow). So without doing any improvements or alterations to that once £200k house (just maintenance and a little updating to keep it "current" during that period), you'd EXPECT it to roughly double every ten years, all things being equal and no economic shocks like the sub-prime crisis.... such things can be factored in by using a different rule of thumb over a longer time period. Now the same house more or less anywhere in a comparable location would cost £400k and after you've paid the CGT (or corporation tax if via a Ltd Co) you can't afford to buy another one, which I suggest proves the point..... its a big swizz. IF the Office of National Statistics was fairer, more balanced, more honest and so more realistic OR better still had a separate, fair and accurate "property index", and IF "indexation" (remember that?) hadn't been abolished THEN inflation would be removed and any real gain OVER INFLATION could be fairly taxed if that's what the government wanted to do (and they do).

From: Barry X 15 June 2020 13:59 PM

Barry X
Sensible people during the "lockdown" period have very little to spend their money on so should now be better - not worse - off than before it started PROVIDED they were employed and either had "furloughed" income or were able to work from home (as most of our tenants have been - all "professionals") on full pay. Apparently some (probably many) have been bored and done vast amounts of online shopping to pass the time, thus running up large bills on their credit cards that they'll pay off in preference to paying the rent they are "worrying about". That makes sense because the interest rates on their credit cards as typically 32% and with charges for chasing letters and debt recovery on top. Contrast that with the pitiful plight of landlords who - under the genius and thoroughly well thought out (not) "Tenant Fees Act 2019"... LLs can only charge 3% and apparently have no remaining rights to charge for the costs of debt collection or recovery. From a tenant's point of view its become a no-brainer - prioritise all other debts about the boring need to pay now optional/voluntary rent, or just live there rent-free for a few months then run away to cheat another landlord, leaving no clues or trace for the previous one to follow. Others apparently passed some of the time making babies - there will undoubtedly be a bit a a "baby boom" after this, in about 9 months time, so those ones might be worrying about how they'll pay the rent for the BIGGER flat they'll need, on top of all other normal "baby expenses" and compromises! Of course there was also a big rise in domestic violence (probably un-policed due to the "social distancing" recommendations - not enforced laws), and of course a small boom in domestic murders - very nasty but at least the "baby boom" will be much bigger so in years to come there will be even more demand for PRS housing, except by then the remaining vestiges of the PRS will be totally gone!!!!

From: Barry X 05 June 2020 13:00 PM

Barry X
Hazel - in what "way" has she "behaved" to make you think she "inhabits The Dark Side and should be stamped on"? She may well be a terrible landlord but there again she may be an exemplary one, the article doesn't give us any indication. All she has apparently done wrong is not spend a lot of money to obtain a Coventry council licence for eight months. The other thing we know is she has seven tenants. These licences are totally pointless and just a scam - its all about taking money from landlords and has nothing to do with "raining standards" or any of the other false claims frequently made by lying councils to justify their greedy schemes to exploit sitting-duck landlords. They can "raise standards" anyway, if they like, they don't need a "licencing scheme" to do it. If you look into it - which I've just done - Coventry council WAS going to introduce a "selective" scheme applying only to poorer quality areas of their borough. Then when they realised how much money it was going to bring in for nothing they abandoned that plan and decided to make it borough-wide so they could extract every penny they could from as many landlords as there are in their little empire. These are licences for HMO's..... when I started out as a landlord over two decades ago, an HMO was typically a very large property with at least 7 self contained bedsits but all sharing some facility such as a communal living room, bathroom, entrance or whatever or any combination. I've taken the trouble to download and read through Coventry Council's boring "Signed Designation" document. For your information, their definition of an HMO is ALMOST the meanest, harshest, most unrealistic one available - and they're not alone, so many other badly run so now greed cash-strapped councils are now adopting it too. Under this piece of legally enforceable nonsense an HMO is now any rental properties "...that are occupied by 3 or more persons comprising two or more households..."! I said "ALMOST" because I expect in a few years time an HMO will be any TWO (not three) people sharing a flat who aren't married to each other - as if that would "raise standards" and anyone who defied it, or didn't believe it was real, or just happened to be abroad for a few months and never got the post about it should - according to Hazel anyhow - be "stamped on" for "behaving that way" (unless I'm being unfair to Hazel and she knows more about Mrs P.N. than the article tells us). Think about it for a few moments..... more or less forever its been quite common for, say, a couple to rent a two bed (or even one bed) flat and let an old friend of theirs - perhaps from their university days - share the flat with them and use the other bedroom (or perhaps living room, depending on the layout and size of the flat). Suddenly that's now against the law in Coventry and an increasing number of other parts of the country unless every five years (or in some cases three years or even just every other year) pay the council a few hundred pounds for nothing but the privilege of renting to traditional sharers instead of a single family or a couple with no friend(s) sharing. The effect of this type of scheme is very corrosive and damaging to the PRS, costing many hundreds (or a couple of thousand or so) to "small" landlords with one or two properties, and for portfolio landlords many thousands of pounds extra. And this is on top of all the other costs that we are being steadily and grossly unfairly burdened with. As soon as a scheme like this is imposed in a particular area, the typical response of local LLs (and understandably too) is to refuse to renew longstanding tenancies to good tenants who were, and still are, happy to live there and were expecting another renewal as normal, and if necessary even evict them, just to avoid being scammed by the council for renting perfectly normally and respectably to sharers. Presumably we've also seen adverts saying things like "would suit a small family or professional sharers"? As these schemes become more prevalent the adverts will become more likely to say something like "would suit a couple enjoying extra space and able to pay for it or else a small family" - SHARERS WOULD BE NOW BE **OUT**!!!! So you can see how greedy scams (sorry, schemes) like these don't "raise standards", they actually make people temporarily homeless, split them up and force them to pay a lot more each (as sharing is a much cheaper options which is the main reason people have always done it - until now), and of course it further reduces the available housing stoke because instead of sharing a flat the couple and their friend now need two flats between them. finally, it drives landlords out of business, or at least radically changes their behaviour.... in our case we used to own several quite large ex-council flats in Pimlico (Churchill Gardens and Lillington Gardens to be exact). I don't know anything about Mrs P Nagra in Coventry, she may be a good landlord or a terrible one... what I do know is WE ARE exemplary landlords and were in Pimlico. We used to rent out each of our flats there to about 5 or sometimes 6 (our max per property) young professionals, policemen, nurses and/or PhD students.... we were super kind and helpful to them giving them separate ASTs each and not making them responsible for cover the rent or bills for occasional empty rooms or finding substitutes to refill them (we took on all those responsibilities ourselves). We personally met and spent quite a lot of our time carefully interviewing all prospective tenants to make sure they'd fit in and not upset the people already there. (We learned that if you allow one "bad" tenant into such an arrangement then at least one "good" tenant soon moves out so its not worth it - best to be loyal and considerate to the "good" ones already there, as all of them were). In our Pimlico flat-share tenants (in flat-shares WE set up and managed) the individual tenants all thought their rents were a bargain and the set-up just perfect for them as far as they were concerned. Some stayed as long as 6 years! Most stayed about 3 - 4 years and encouraged their friends to apply to us in case we had any vacancies anywhere. It was a lot of hard work for us but also very profitable and worth our while. What went wrong, you might ask? Well, Westminster council (and most councils at the time) began reducing the number of sharers you could rent to without having to pay for an - you guessed it - HMO licence, and this was well over ten years ago now - it started sometime (two or three years, I think) before the "credit crunch" hit in 2007/2008. First it was up to a maximum of 6 - that was ok for us but becoming a worry if any tenants decided to let a boyfriend or girlfriend quietly move into a room. This quite often happened and we didn't mind as long as the rest of the people there were ok with it. For example it meant one more person to share the loo, kitchen, fridge whatever. We sometimes had to have group meetings at one of several pubs around there (at our expense of course) to discuss and sort such things out. Under Westminster's new rules it was a no-no and could not be allowed anymore - so it was anti-tenant as well as anti-landlord. Then a year or so later they "tightened up" the definition of HMOs "to improve standards" (the usual lie). It became 5 or more sharers! Our response was simply to sell ALL of those flats, take a big tax hit to pay for inflation since we'd bought them many years before, and reinvest the money elsewhere in smaller units that are much less affordable (probably not affordable at all) to the high quality but low income people we'd been renting to. So NOBODY benefited from the council's greed! We NEVER paid for one of their rip-off licences because we simply got out. Our tenants lost a really good thing - as has everyone since who COULD have enjoyed living in one of our very happy, well run "high standard" flat-shares - by the council "raised the standard" by driving us all out and destroying it all. Westminster are NOT short of money, which is why their c/tax is so cheap, relatively anyhow. They make millions every year from, for example, from prime and super expensive parking, and business rates from large numbers of often ultra high value office blocks and premium shops and restaurants in absolutely prime locations. There was no need for them to screw things up like this for everyone just in the hope of taking a few hundred quid per property from us. And that, Dear Readers, is the sort of thing that usually happens: cash-strapped and/or plain greedy, out of touch councils screw (or try to screw) landlord and some of the smarter ones get out and everyone loses.

From: Barry X 05 June 2020 12:28 PM

Barry X
Paul & others - as you know the whole boom in the PRS was due to the introduction of s21 in the Housing Act 1988. Before that socialist 1950s and 60s laws applied, as well as the later Rent Act 1977 that gave the tenants even more anti-landlord "rights". All that made virtually all tenants "sitting tenants" who could not be evicted - for two generations, so even when the "sitting tenant(s)" died it still wasn't over and the landlord still couldn't recover the property! Furthermore their rent was "capped" by the always out of date and out of touch government, and if you wanted/dared to increase that always low rent you had to go cap in hand to a Tribunal after spending a lot of money and filling in many forms to try and justify it! The Tribunals were, of course, very pro-tenant and anti-landlord. What's happening now is a steady step by step return to those dreadful anti-business laws and that state-controlled hard-left regime (I've long said the "Tories" under Cameron transformed themselves in to the "New Labour in Tory Clothing" party, while "real" Labour moved further to the left). Until the introduction of the s.21 in the 1988 Act (that came into force the following year) (1) tenanted properties became worth only 1/3 of their normal open market value with full vacant possession, i.e. with no tenant. (2) It wasn't normally possible to get a mortgage or loan secured against such a property, i.e. against a tenanted one. Even to this day there are still quite a few blighted properties with sitting tenants under that dreadful former regime. They can only be sold (if the owner wishes to sell) at auction to specialist investors and, as I said, for around 1/3 of their otherwise normal value. No wonder landlords in those days were totally averse to any maintenance (unless required by law as safety critical) or improvements! If you/we wait long enough - and do nothing collectively - the way things are going means ALL of our properties will be turned into 1950's - 70's style blighted, almost unsaleable properties with sitting tenants! You have been warned!!!!!!!

From: Barry X 03 June 2020 11:59 AM

Barry X
Everyone should be aware of some of the horribly distorted tricks and lies Shelter frequently depends on, e.g. I believe it still counts people in "inappropriate accommodation" as "homeless". This means for example that someone in a flat or house share who'd ideally like his or her own place (even if a lot smaller) is "homeless" by Shelter's criteria! They consider all sorts of people living in a home to be "homeless" for all sorts of excuses/reasons, e.g. people in failed relationships dividing a decent sized house between them are "homeless" because ideally they each want a place of their own, and so on.... That really suits their agenda because it means they can hugely exaggerate the number of "homeless" people while doing virtually nothing for the genuinely homeless (by MY criteria and probably what most people thing Shelter mean when they don't), i.e. people sleeping rough on the streets or in the woods or whatever who really *don't* have a roof over their heads, proper sanitation (even if basic) and some sort of security when sleeping. That's VERY different and shows what a devious, lying, political lobbying group Shelter are at their core these days. Obviously attacking, demonising and blaming landlords all the time, while completely ignoring the much larger number of unreliable, dishonest and in some cases outright rogue tenants suits them and their agenda perfectly. The government are complete fools to listen to them (but we knew they were incompetent fools anyhow) and its absolutely outrageous in my opinion for them to be funding a blatantly cheeky left-wing lobbying group.

From: Barry X 03 June 2020 11:28 AM

Barry X

From: Barry X 01 June 2020 13:46 PM

Barry X
Mark Wilson you joker.... ...try as you might to dress up your comments to try and make them look intelligent and fact based, many of us here immediately see through all that - especially if we've read a few of your many uninformed anti-landlord posts here. (1) Of course there will be many firms going bust - because of yet more woeful government incompetence, this time in their dreadful mismanagement of virtually every aspect of the "virus crisis" which makes a nice change from them screwing up the PRS in the hope of making themselves more "popular".... (2) There will also be many companies who realise that working from home for much of the time is perfectly possible and preferable for any of their office based staff... therefore there will be an accelerating number of them significantly "downsizing" their offices to just a core team, IT and a few meeting rooms... These would have been more intelligent things for you to point out, except you didn't think of them as you're so focused on hating landlords and trying to be "influential" (which you're not - you're just another nobody/wannabee). The effects of (1) & (2) will result - I predict - in tenants gradually moving to cheaper and more attractive places on the edges of towns (if they like towns as most do) or else into more rural locations (a romantic idea but the reality is most couldn't cope with it and so will eventually move back to suburbs). That means rents MIGHT decline in high cost areas like central London while increasing a little in desirable suburbs with good transport links and decent schools and local shopping areas etc (except even more people will be mainly online shopping now so the impact of that will also be interesting to see). Anyhow, Mark, as well as a "like" button there should also be a "dislike" button. That would make it more fun and help show what's really going on here ! We know you are some sort of left-wing "activist" surveyor with no apparent knowledge or experience of the PRS, but who hates landlords and makes all kinds of wild unsupportable claims, and so I "dislike" everything you've ever posted! It's fun to see people taking you seriously and trying to talk sense to you when the more "seasoned" of us know you won't take a blind bit of interest in any well developed counter arguments to any of your garbage!

From: Barry X 01 June 2020 13:32 PM

Barry X
Activists "...sharing skills and information about how to...." how to CHEAT and SCAM their landlords with the help of the government who listen to hard-left lobbying organisations like Shelter - in their case dishonestly claiming to be a charity for the homeless - NOT self-interested organisations such as RNLA, who are utterly useless and do virtually nothing for us. As I've been saying for several years (but of course nobody listens) the problem is we have nobody to stand up for us - forget the likes of RNLA.... With great irony on the new(ish) RNLA home page of their website they don't even mention ANY of the many threats to landlords or what they are going for us about any of them. HOWEVER they are still announcing the now very out of date "news" that the RLA and NLA have teamed up to be useless together.... They also make the thoroughly disingenuous claim at the bottom of the page in a box all of its own "LANDLORDS STRONGER TOGETHER Landlords have backed plans for its two largest representative bodies to merge to provide a stronger voice for the private rented sector." WHO exactly is making us "stronger" as they politely and meekly give in to everyone and everything with hardly a whimper?! What a load of CODSWALLOP!!! WE need to become "Activists" - but the intelligent, well informed well organised sort. For a start those landlords who have any of these "RENT STRIKERS" in their properties should have a LIST to NAME them so nobody ever rents to them again..... there MUST be consequences for their cynical politically (and greed) motivated abuses of the trust placed in them to let them rent a valuable property in the first place. And we need to take various ACTIONS FOR LANDLORDS, e.g. the government is set on abolishing the s21 notice - this is VERY bad for us (every tenant will become a "sitting tenant" more or less just like under the dreadful socialist laws of the 1950s). So why are we doing nothing about it? How about a very large number of landlords serve s21 notices to ALL of their/our tenants and explain "its in response to the government abolishing this fundamental property right because they clearly don't care about or like us. We don't want our properties to end up with effectively sitting tenants probably making it impossible to ever sell except to another landlord for perhaps 1/2 the open market vacant possession value. Write urgently to your MP explaining the government has finally destroyed the Private Rental Sector that you and millions depend on, so please IMMEDIATELY cancel/repeal/reverse the abolition of the 'no fault' s.20 eviction right that every landlord needs as a last resort". The initial paperwork will all be free and we don't really have to do anything for a couple of months except sit back and see the amazed (and probably at first angry) reaction across the country, except we will be ORGANISED and have really good, well briefed and prepared PR to finally represent us and give us a real voice that can finally be heard, explaining the huge raft of blatantly anti-landlord legislation relentlessly cobbled together and forced through the incompetent and woefully out of touch government machinery to come out the other end seriously harming our businesses and driving us OUT of business! They would NOT dare do this to any other industry or economic sector. They (the government) does it in the hope of attracting votes from tenants they pretend to be "defending" while in reality screwing it up for them and ultimately making many of them homeless. There are MANY other hard-hitting things we can do (that depend on us being solidly together), e.g. Tax Strikes for tens of thousands of landlords and agents. The government might notice that an if the numbers were sufficient (ideally much more than sufficient) they will have to listen and negotiate and will be unable to take action against all of us (and properly handled and managed they wouldn't be able to and it would have no legal basis).... etc. When are we going to start? After its all over?

From: Barry X 01 June 2020 13:13 PM

Barry X
Like most of Labour's ridiculous "give away someone else's stuff" policies to try and win vote from delusional and probably very ignorant people, there is no sense, fairness or logic in this. Therefore the "New Labour Party" as I call the Tories in Labour clothing might well take an interest in adopting this rubbish - as I've said before their view seems to be "if you like Labour we'll do more of the same so you'll LOVE and vote for us!" There are so many flaws and problems with these ludicrous - and unethical and unfair - proposals. For a start the outrageous and deeply flawed (and ill-conceived) Tenant Fees Act 2019 prohibits us from charging more than 3% interest and we are banned from charging for costs of chasing and collecting debt - all totally outrageous and not something the government would dare do to any other sector I'm quite sure. If you were a tenant with some outstanding credit card bills to pay off you have an easy choice.... would you like to stop paying the rent (voluntary anyhow these days) and at worst - if anyone could even collect it from you - pay just 3% a year interest for as long as you feel like owing some or all of it (or just in theory before you move out and vanish repaying none of up to two years++ in rent) and with no risk of paying any other costs, or would you like to pay around 33% a year in interest to the credit card company/Bank and also face full-on costs for every letter they send and step they take to recover the rest of what you owe (with interest and costs)? Obviously once more people know these things it would be a joy for many (most?) tenants to live rent free when they feel like it and instead use the money to extend but keep paying off other loans and naturally all their credit card bills! As Landlords we've already been FORCED with no choice to become powerless fall-guys offering the cheapest credit by far and with no teeth left to chase or collect it except at our own expense. Now the government and/or Labour are doing all they can to help tenants finally discover these loopholes (at our sole expense and misery) for themselves, as well as greatly expand them and make them ever more disastrous for us. Ideally, if I were sufficiently influential, I'd get EVERY landlord or agent acting for them in the country to issue s.21 notices for EVERY TENANT IN THE COUNTRY (while we still can)!!!! Issuing the notices is only simple paperwork and there are no court fees or costs. THEN also say we are not taking/accepting any more tenants under the current legislative regime or trending direction after we get vacant possession unless during the 3 month period (and shortly after if more time is required) things change dramatically. Obviously a stunt like this would get us some attention to say the least, and provide a good opportunity (at last) to explain our position and why after years of attack we've had enough and this is just the beginning . [They need to have it spelt out to them; these are OUR properties and OUR businesses and OUR livelihoods, not Shelter's or Generation Rent's or Labour's or the fake-Tory parties, or anyone else's and like everyone else we want and deserve to be treated fairly and not have our rights, income and livelihood steadily eroded and taken from us. The message must be clear; we WILL defend our rights and WILL fight back. We WILL stick together, be well organised, take excellent expert advice and become a serious force to be reckoned with. The economy and country needs and depends on us so why allow them to endlessly take the mick and keep kicking, defaming and abusing us?] There would then be a three month period for all those tenants sufficiently concerned about becoming homeless, and having nowhere on offer/available to go, to write to their MPs and beg them to help. This is just one of a number of ideas I have for us to fight back, as we now should and must. If only this hadn't become such a spineless country of supplicants depending on useless "professional bodies" to speak for them/us when clearly they won't do a thing except gradually surrender every step of the way backwards until we're all out of business..... Think!!!

From: Barry X 11 May 2020 19:21 PM

Barry X
In the highly unlikely event our greedy, shortsighted and now - due to their own extreme economic incompetence and folly - seriously over leveraged (i.e. seriously in debt) government decided to implement this, it should NOT be a temporary coronavirus "holiday" thing but a simple abolition of this ridiculous, unfair and market (and behaviour) distorting rip-off tax imposed since the dark days of George Osborne - but whose reputation of one of the worst ever chancellors is sure to be eclipsed by useless Rishi Sunak who has done vastly more damage and made far more serious (and in some cases crack-pot) errors since his appointment only recently - late Feb'20 I think. Imagine if you had to pay a 3% "surcharge" tax for - say - buying a second car while still having another one in your household somewhere? ...and always having to pay 3% extra in tax if you wanted to use an ordinary car as a minicab even only occasionally? Or if you were a restaurant owner who wanted to expand but had to pay a tax of 3% on the second premises and every further one there after? Or a manufacturer who had to pay a 3% "second facility surcharge" for any premises (even just outhouses) after the first one...... etc. Absurd and there'd be an outcry - but landlords and the private rental sector is - for no obvious reason- different because were're obviously here to be fleeced, milked, and generally exploited and cheated and nobody complains and its all just quietly (but grudgingly) accepted because as we are all so pliant and anyhow have no proper, credible professional bodies with "teeth" to fight for us, common sense, fairness (if it exists anywhere, I'm not sure) and our rights and businesses, we apparently just have to accept it and make do.... all of this is VERY WRONG and must soon CHANGE - we need to get organised and fight back ferociously.

From: Barry X 01 May 2020 14:56 PM

Barry X
I meant to comment on this yesterday but wasn't well enough (I'm a long term chemotherapy patient and at an exhausted and "weak" stage of my regular treatment) so only read it on my phone and never quite made it to the office... therefore probably few people, perhaps none will read this. Never mind. All I wanted to say is this is simply AN EXCUSE by Labour to push their long term agenda to undermine landlords and make it as cushy and convenient as possible for tenants. Their latest demand for the same-old further undermining, or outright abolishing, of our vital right to serve a s.21 notice (or close equivalent) has NOTHING to do with the covid-19 crisis - that's just Labours' latest/current cynical excuse (lie) for once again calling for "urgent action". Labour must have reralised a long time ago that no sensible or sane landlord would vote for them, but millions of delusional, ignorant and politically-deceived tenants (typically quite young and recently come out of highly political, screwed-up institutions called "universities" but nothing like what they once were, or serving the purpose they were originally intended for, including the "red brick ones" many of which were once excellent). So offering no or free rent, no risk of eviction no matter how much annoyance, damage or payment default you've stacked up, guaranteed long rental agreements that you (the tenant) can walk away fro any time you like but your poor old landlord is stuck with. Heavy fines for landlords for more or less anything - often nothing even to do with them, e.g. the tenant causes a lot of condensation in a well maintained property them relentlessly blames the landlord and gets the council o their side to back them and join in with bullying their landlord..... The sad things is - as I've often posted here - we no longer have a "real" Tory party, only a sort of "New Labour in Tory Clothing" party. Their plan seems to be "if you like Labour you'll LOVE and vote for us (because we're more or less the same but present ourselves better)". Don't trust ANY of them, or our useless "professional" bodies, like the feeble NRLA, that DO NOT properly represent us or our disappearing rights or businesses.

From: Barry X 30 April 2020 15:21 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 27 April 2020 13:58 PM

Barry X
It shouldn't just be during the coronavirus crisis - IT SHOULD BE ALWAYS AT ALL TIMES. When c/tax was introduced in 1992 it was only supposed to be for local residents to pay for local services provided to them by their local council. It was only in recent years that the cash-strapped councils - partly because they waste so much money on useless things - desperate to collect more money (probably also to largely waste) started targeting landlords. The promised "forever free for empty properties" was reduced first to just one year. Then six months, then a piffling two weeks (what a joke) and now we must pay for services neither we nor our properties are using from the dy our tenants move out. And as I've reported here before, for several years now there's been the newer scam stealthily introduced by these greedy landlord-fleecing councils; a "Surcharge" to "encourage us to bring properties back into use" (more lies, dishonesty and spin from them).... so you pay full tax on an empty property the day it becomes vacant - even though there would be a 25% discount if one person was still living there consuming local services but with nobody there you pay 100%. THEN, if for some reason (probably a very good one as we all want rent) the property is still empty after 1 year you now must pay 100% + 50% more, i.e. 150% of the tax! And as soon as they can they want to start charging the "surcharge" after 6 months, then probably 2 weeks or something, then from the day the property becomes vacant - "encouraging us to bring it back into use" even though we're advertising like mad and doing our best to achieve that anyhow! And WHEN they've achieved this stealthy plan over the next few years they'll change the names to the "empty property rate" (from day one) then bring in a new "surcharge" of 200% for properties still empty for whatever reason (being rebuilt, legal reasons, executor sales whatever). This should have been heavily challenged and sopped YEARS AGO. Probably one of the main reasons it wasn't were that too many people depend on professional bodies like the former NLA now re-branded as the equally feeble RNLA to advise, lobby and organise us into large scale group actions if necessary - which given how we're treated and what's been going on for years with the writing clearly on the wall, I believe such actin IS necessary. Despite their amalgamation and re-branding they are still useless and show no real sign of caring for anything much except collecting fees and selling things like 'training' and if possible tie-pins and branded mugs. They (organisations like the RNLA) should be concentrating first and foremost on representing us and FIGHTING to regain our steadily diminishing rights, reverse (or at least amend) pointless ill-considered and damaging legislation, and ever FIGHTING against all the increasing burdens of tax (local and central and often by stealth), and all these scam "licencing" schemes and all the rest - but they are NOT. We can and SHOULD have a much bigger, stronger voice and heavier stick than jokers like the lobbying-group (and ex-charity for the homeless) Shelter that seem to always get the government's full attention and - disgracefully - even financial support for coming up with more and more hair-brained politically motivated whims to further harm our businesses and drive private landlords out of the market.

From: Barry X 27 April 2020 11:17 AM

Barry X
This once again shows how much they hate us and want to crush us.... one WEEK? And at a time like this when many agency business are either shut (if small) or working from home with very limited resources and difficulty doing anything quickly, especially if like this it might require a lot of management collaboration. Also - I totally agree with "Retired Agent's" comment above. This is just a box ticking exercise and they want to send out as many "consultations" questionnaires as possible and rig it so they get the fewest number of responses (to "prove" we don't care and are not interested in our own livelihoods) and also any responses they do get - no matter how carefully and fully written, and well supported with evidence, and written with energy and true passion - they will IGNORE anyhow!!!! Last time I naively wasted my time responding to one of these things was years ago when councils reduced their "allowance" of 6 months for empty/untenanted properties to 2 WEEKS, before quickly abolishing it altogether so now we must pay from the day our tenant movers out, and ironically a single person living there gets 25% discount but no people must pay more!!! The questionnaire I was sent was all rigged and loaded questions such as "do you think that landlords should contribute more to support the poorest and most vulnerable people in their communities" to which of course I replied "no" just as everyone else I know did because that's not our job anymore than providing emergency surgery on our desks for road accident victims - even if they crashed right outside our windows. The lying/dishonest response from the council? They reported a poor response from agents and landlords suggesting those who did not reply "were comfortable with the proposal so didn't see the need". For the rest, including me, we were apparently all "comfortable with the proposal but had a number of useful suggestions to make, most of which will be applied"!!!!! By the way... speaking of the complete abolition of the perfectly fair, much needed and besides promised "forever" c/tax exemption..... as we all know, we don't WANT empty properties, we want them tenanted and earning us money, but sometimes we used to plan to keep them empty after the end of the current tenancy so we could carry out renovations - now as a result of no "allowance" we do far less renovations and try to work around tenants while they are still living there and paying the bloody tax - jolly inconvenient for them but there it is. When invented/introduced by the Thatcher government in 1992 we were told the c/tax would only EVER apply when people are living there using local services provided by the council, NEVER for empty properties... this was to assuage the anger of the population - some of whom actually rioted - in response the the Poll Tax proposals, then hastily ditched... For a few years this promise of an ONLY for occupied properties was honoured, then it was reduced to a single year of empty unoccupied status exemption (and pay normally after that), then six month and then, very briefly a piffling 2-weeks only, before being completely abolished. Did you know that if the property is empty for any reason for OVER a year, then even though you've been paying the full rate of c/tax from the day you tenant moved out, there is now a SURCHARGE - typically of 50% on top (but can vary from council to council) - and they plan to steadily reduce that "allowance" of one year before the nasty, greedy "surcharge" kicks in, in stages to a "surcharge" from the day our tenant moves out, THEN RISING to an even greedier larger "surcharge" after one year of paying the first tier "surcharge" - a dispicable disgrace but not many klnow about it yet and the feeble NRLA with mumble a bit then agree is manageable rather than mobilise us to fight it to the bitter end for the government who we can and SHOULD force to ditch it (they gave councils the power and should take it away as its horrible, damaging, immoral and will further harm our businesses). The council's bogus claim to try and justify this greedy fleece-the-landlord-even-more policy? Well, its to "encourage" us "to bring the property back into use" when that's normally exactly what we are working hard to do anyhow, e.g by rebuilding it or maybe solving a complex legal problem... We live in a lousy but once great country now long run by incompetent, greedy, ignorant, self-interested politicians and bigoted people who think (totally incorrectly) we are all at least wealthy in not dammed rich and can pay for anything; they only have to ask or bully us to take it from us. We MUST start to fight back. We are potentially an enormous threat and force and properly mobilised and organised we should be perfectly able to reverse most if not all of the incremental damage these morons have caused, then be taken seriously, respected and treated more carefully (with proper consultations from real professionals, not hard-left leaning lobby groups l;like Shelter - who are NOT really a "charity" for the "homeless" anymore but something totally different and quite nasty). That's it - thanks for reading this characteristically long post.

From: Barry X 24 April 2020 13:32 PM

Barry X
Another thing you can consider doing is make a Money Claim Online for their debt to you after they fail to pay as per the AST. This is something few landlords consider as they/we all tend to concentrate on specific AST-related legislation. Take proper advice but in my opinion (unchecked): They will have a "contractual debt" so you will be entitled to recover it, whether you are an individual or company landlord, via the "Money Claim Online" process. The brilliant thing is FOR FREE and WITHOUT REAL COMMITMENT you can (and should) serve them with a really tough and well written "Pre-Action Protocol" letter giving them just 30 days from service to settle their debt OR prove (using the pages and pages of forms you simply download from the government website and attach) that they GENUINELY are financially completely unable to either pay or get a loan to pay for now, and so admit the debt but need more time to pay. I've quite often done this over the years - and again in the last 3 months - and it usually puts the wind up their sails (provided the letter is accurate and well written and well supported with attachments to prove the rent has not been paid and the relevant contractual terms. If - as some do - they ignore a correctly served Pre-Action Protocol letter (formerly called a "Letter Before Action") then just go ahead and file the claim online. You'll then need to pay the court filing fee, but that's added to the debt. You are then also entitled to charge 8% (yes EIGHT PERCENT) interest, pro-rated-daily from the day stated in the tenancy each amount falls due until it is settled (one day) in full. That's a lot better - and more concerning for the tenant - than the piffling 3% allowed under the 2019 Tenant Fees Act. But done correctly I think the County Court claim will fall outside of that rule on interest because its become a contractual debt - I believe (but please independently check). The tenant will have 14 days to respond by either filing a defence or serving an "acknowledgement of service" to then have 28 days to file a defence. Most tenants - even apparently good ones - seem these days totally fazed by "official" (specially legal or court) paperwork and unable to read or comprehend it. Therefore they usually just worry and/or send you rude text messages or emails, none of which are important or relevant (either ignore completed - best - or if you feel like replying you MUST always use the header "Without Prejudice" so it can't be used against you in some way in court - if it ever gets that far, but probably won't).... anyhowhow, unless they file a defence (which will be interesting and usually incredibly deeply flawed and easily refuted), or serve the acknowledgement and then still file a defence, all WITHING THE TIMES SET (which almost always they won't) you then just go back on line and request a DEFAULT JUDGEMENT... very easy.... and then you have a JUDGEMENT AGAINST THEM and they have a CCJ they will find increasingly annoying and eventually want to pay/settle to have it marked as "settled" on their credit scorers. The smarter ones just about realise the implications and also that if they can pay within one month of the Judgement it will not appear on their "public record" so that's a big incentive for any who understand how it could affect them, even if they already have one or two CCJs for much smaller sums this will be a comparatively BIG ONE (three weeks rent) and potentially the Kiss Of Death for many things they'll want to do in the next 7 years so you may get the whole lot eventually plus 8% per day until they pay - in a way, if you're not hard up, this is nice because its wildly better interest than you can get almost anywhere else. And of course also serve a s.21 just after filing the online claim, or if you're daring, at the same time as the Pre-Action Protocol although that may prove unwise if the matter *really* goes to a court hearing - I'm not sure. One thing I do know from experience is that even if the tenants file a defence (usually a nonsense one easily rebutted if you studdy it carefully) it NOT normally go to a real curt hearing (but possession claims more often do) - for *money claims* like this as you are offered FREE telephone MEDIATION first (which you would be VERY wise to agree to for all sorts of reasons). This type of mediation for these type of claims can be great (usually is) and often works beautifully in your/our favour provided you simply play it calmly, accurately and plan in advance what you are willing to slightly compromise on (like payment by instalments instead of all at once, and dropping, say, £100 and maybe some of the interest as an incentive to settle "prior to court"). Each party speaks to a mediator as an independent, impartial go between and never directly so it is NOT confrontational, just very professional which is good for us not them). You should win, collect your money (maybe after a few months to a year or two later but with plenty of interest so who cares). AND still evict them too, AND make it clear you have balls (sorry ladies but a generic term including you too) so on departure you WILL repeat the process making a new separate claim in addition for any further sums they owe for anything on vacating the property and ending the tenancy. If everyone did this, and the tenants knew what was coming, I think it would happen a lot less and we professionals would be more respected and much better off! Hope that helps one or two landlords/agents.... please do check it all carefully before acting, but I've personally done these things - a lot of work at first until you know the ropes and have a system - but I've so far never "lost" as its always worked a treat in the end, plus its more satisfying not to be beaten or faced with writing off potentially a couple of thousand or more to some serially-cheek tenant.

From: Barry X 23 April 2020 18:38 PM

Barry X
From many people's points of view - very much including ours as agents and/or landlords - he IS the anti-Christ, albeit a fairly toothless and feeble one and absolutely non-christian in ethics, background and beliefs. Once again I feel TOTALLY LET DOWN by the people who've amalgamated to be the NRLA, they have either not thought about this or if they have not bothered to firmly but loudly and clearly represent us all and defend our dwindling and always under attract rights. It seems perfectly obvious to me that this has virtually nothing to do with "supporting" tenants struggling to pay rent - the article concedes its probably only about 2% anyhow. It's REALLY all an excuse and "sweetner" and disgusise for mounting a further attack on us.... this one the old chestnut about abolishing the so-called "no-fault" s.21 that is the whole reason the Private Rental Sector even exists! Before it everyone was a sitting tenant mostly under the 1950s laws and the whole sector had stagnated and become unworkable. The s.21 was the SOLUTION and NOT a "problem" or remotely "unfair" or "unreasonable". For example its a sensible condition of most mortgages and insurance policies that you only rent to people via ASTs so you have the s.21 right - its VITAL. And even our valuable (but less valuable) s.8 is once again under attack. Look beyond the lies, disguises, subterfuges and "sweeteners".... NOTHING the "real" Labour party does ever considers us or our rights and all of it is incredibly destructive. Don't ever believe a word any of them, including the useless mayor Khan who was only elected because the demographics and background of "Londoners" - who've pretty much vanished from many/most parts of London - changed so much. And then there's the Tories - I call them "Labour in Tory Clothing" they hate us too, or perhaps simply don't give us a thought or care about us. They certainly show NO SIGN of understanding or genuinely caring bout the private rental sector and how landlords (especially "smaller" ones) operate, or what motivates them/us to even remain in this sector - apart from the staggering tax bill for exiting - a sort of "taxation handcuff" if ever there was one! The Labour-in-Tory-Clothing party have long ago adopted and been implementing all the mainstream destructive and ill-considered Labour policies in the warped and usually mistaken view that no matter how much damage t causes (to us, in particular) it doesn't matter if it helps them stay in power by fooling people to vote for them under the guise "if you like Labour you'll LOVE us!!!". So there it is - more political spin and lies and the NRLA has once again either not seen it or gone along with it. They do NOT truly "represent" us and are not strong enough or smart enough to firmly and resolutely speak up for us in the many ways they certainly should... a sad disgrace and it doesn't bode well for our futures.

From: Barry X 23 April 2020 09:22 AM

Barry X
Why should everyone else's problem be paid for by Landlords? By the way, one thing I though of a while ago and have mentioned to quite a few people - who ALL thought it an excellent analogy (once they understood it - sorry I'm so long-winded and useless at getting to the point)...... Point (1) The government has been telling the world and his dog that we landlords and our agents (all assumed to be rich bas***ds even though few of us are either) should all be happy and willing (keen even) to reduce rents or even let our tenants live in our properties for free "during the crisis" because, obviously, tenants all "need somewhere to live". The theory being some are now a little more hard up than usual, even though most are normally employed (unlike most of us, certainly me anyhow) so now getting, or due to get, 80% 'furloughed' pay. In reality, though few will admit it, many of these people are probably no worse off, some even better off, on on 80% pay while not going to the pub or having many other expenses.... (Meanwhile we landlords aren't eligible for any such genuine support, only bogus "support" that leaves us a little worse off like a "mortgage holiday" where we STILL have to pay, the money we'll owe is actually secured against our property, and we'll have extra interest (that disgracefully is no longer even tax deductible) to pay in addition.... so NO SUPPORT or hand-outs for us). Point (2) everyone (our tenants anyhow, but apparently not us, the people thought to have so much they need nothing else and must give instead) needs to eat and have a few household essentials. Therefore, in addition to suggesting tenants should now pay less or no rent (at our expense and loss) why hasn't the dear-old and obviously wise (joking) government also told them to go to shops - any shops large or small - and just openly help themselves to whatever they need then "negotiate" to pay half or nothing "due to covid 19"? Obviously the poor man with a single convenience store who works from 6am getting the shop ready, till perhaps 11:30pm will be delighted to be "doing his bit for the covid 19 crisis" by just giving stuff away. After all he owns (or rents) a small shop so must be a rich bas***d who can easily afford it.... plus its obviously his job, as a small shop keeper, to subsidise society and look after working people who are probably much better off than he is! So why not treat shop keepers like landlords and suggest their customers plead poverty (whether true or not) and ask for goods "they need during this difficult time" for free or half price? After all, what's the real difference between getting accommodation extra cheap or free on the pretext of "these difficult times" to any other "essential" item or commodity? Just a thought.

From: Barry X 20 April 2020 16:35 PM

Barry X
I agree with and have "liked" all of the above comments/posts to this. My long detailed post here mainly just an elaboration on what they already said PLUS some suggestions on a PRACTICAL way forwards to save ourselves and the businesses we've all worked hard to build, and in some cases given so much of ourselves to sustain. Not remotely surprising at what's happening, given the way the Government has been treating us, and for years tightening the screws to screw us!!! Its partly due to their sheer incompetence, lack of understanding the private rental market, insistence of listening to now very bogus charities (just self-interested political lobbying groups that - amazingly and outrageously the government even supports financially now), ignoring our professional bodies who are useless anyhow and only make feeble token efforts to pretend that are our "voice" (nervous whisper really from these useless people)... yes all that and more BUT a bigger, more important, darker and entirely less obvious reason (less obviously to most, anyhow) is the way the Tories have - since the time of shifty "call me Dave" Cameron decided to switch directions and focus on "social justice" (a ridiculous political slogan) - been steadily adopting more and more socialist policies and turning themselves into a Tony Blair-like "New Labour". Basically we now have two main parties Labour in Tory Clothing or Hard Labour in Labour clothing. (The Tories quietly transformed themselves to the left in the hope of retaining power by attracting Labour voters. The seem to believe they can gain al the brainwashed Millennials (brainwashed by years of attending highly politisesed now heavily left-wing schools and universities - all highly dishonest long term Blairite policies that payed off big time for labour). One of the results of this stealthy transformation is that, of course, they must make a show of loving Tenants and "defending & extending their rights", for socialist credibility and a show of caring about "social justice" (whatever that really means, which is nothing on proper close scrutiny). Meanwhile also making a show of crushing and penalising the "greedy, rich bastard" landlords, i.e. hard working us mostly doing an honest job providing an important public service for increasingly smaller margins for us to live off and more and more overly complicated and very deeply flawed red tape and pointless ill conceived and not even thought through laws. "Proper" socialist are usually militant - and I was say the more to the left the nastier and more ignorant - people. We should respond by being well organised and militant too, but a very different sort - HIGHLY reasonable, intelligent in our approach and able to debate. NOT always shunning open debate with "safe spaces", "no platforms" and trying - when caught out and actually having to deal with a different point of view - to discredit well informed people with strong factual arguments they can't refute, and instead dismiss them as "not qualified to speak" even they aren't "qualified" either. We have to be very different and far more plausible than these nasty, bullying people for years now perfecting and succeeding with their refinements of the bullying and intimidating Alinsky "rule book" tactics. We can and SHOULD and MUST start doing this if we'd like to still be in business in 5 years time - because the way things are going the Labour in Tory Clothing would love to see us gone and replaced with LARGE companies providing all the "private rentals" via huge portfolios of "Build to rents" and mopping up cherry picking larger private portfolios etc and squeezing and driving out the "little people" with only 1 - 10 properties, and of course all lettings agents entirely if they can - and if we let them they WILL!!!! I've previously suggested MASS tax strikes, MASS protest/revenge evictions (revenge at government policy is still legal even if getting out troublesome "tenants from hell" now has to be handled circumspectly), and so on. Read some of my long-winded, boring (but I hope informative, if you can filter signal from noise) previous posts! But I have many more ideas I keep to myself for now but will share with any decent group that gets organised. I'm dying of cancer - have been since 2014 when thought to have only months to live, but with mayor and minor surgery and continuous debilitating chemotherapy all the time in between (I'm typing this in bed on my laptop and was in hospital wearing an FP3 face mask all day yesterday getting more treatment).... DESPITE all that I still work a bit now and then when able AND share my passion, advice and predictions with you (most of my predictions for many years have come out correctly, especially my more pessimistic ones like these), but sadly most people can't even be bothered to read what I so painfully and laboriously type, let alone think about it or consider acting on it. If that's you then sorry but you have only yourselves to blame. Good luck!

From: Barry X 09 April 2020 11:31 AM

Barry X

From: Barry X 08 April 2020 23:22 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 08 April 2020 23:21 PM

Barry X
I've LONG been saying.... organisations like ARLA and the NLA (as it was) and no doubt the NRLA as it now is are TOOTHLESS and FECKLESS organisations feathering their own nests with fees for members and selling them branded trinkets and training courses whilst doing virtually NOTHING but occasionally politely grumble in a mild, cautious and apologetic way while the government clearly doesn't take them (or us) seriously, listens to lobbying groups (pretending to be charities caring about homelessness) like Shelter etc. and "Generation Rent" and of course ignoring our representatives and continuing to walk all over us and crush us. It is very wrong we should have allowed this to happen at all let alone year after year. Our professional bodies need to become MILITANT and actually work HARD for us with strong and innovative initiatives that MAKE US STRONG AND A VOICE TO BE HEARD, LISTENED TO & TAKEN ***VERY*** SERIOUSLY. They should be doing things like (but NOT ONLY) organising long term mass TAX STRIKES (for agents AND landlords) on a HUGE SCALE that the government simply can't ignore, and they should very clearly explain why we're doing this and that we'll do it again and again each time the government fails to listen to us or take our views or livelihoods into account. Another example of something we could do is MASS EVICTIONS! The way this could work is that many thousands of landlords, ideally like us with reasonable "portfolios" each, and agents for everyone else, should simply serve EVERY tenant in EVERY property a valid s.21 notice (even if they moved less than 6 months ago you should be able to end their tenancy in the 7th month provided you have a well written AST). Pathetically and counter-business we are no longer allowed to evict in "retaliation", e.g. if they turn out to be hell as tenants and cause us a lot of unnecessary trouble, but I believe (but haven't investigated) that we CAN carry out "revenge" evictions in response to government legislation or stupid statements telling tenants they don't need to pay rent or whatever.... and we should then heavily publicise (via our currently rather feeble bodies who all need to shape up and start being militant ion our side as I said) to explain what we've done and exactly why. The s.21 will have at least 2 months to run and during that time the government can negotiate with us and back down or reverse whatever latest pathetic thing (or past pathetic thing we chose to deal with) that they have done. If they don't they'd have to accept we've exercised our right to empty all of our properties for a month - a price worth paying, particularly because I bet that within a few weeks we'll win and NOT have to pay it!!!! Imagine if the government did nothing and we started log-jamming the county courts with THOUSANDS of possession claims, while vast numbers of tenants would have no where to live as so many landlords would be token-evicting everyone and no offering their properties to anyone of the desperate people looking?!! We could politely explain to our desperate and terribly upset tenants why we need to do this and politely ask them to explain that to Shelter etc. and ask their MPs to consider our livelihoods and start treating us a little more fairly, maybe even more favourably like their other favourite business sectors!!! Anyhow, I have other ideas too. Those are but a couple of them. All this needs proper expert investigation and planning to work successfully and not make things even worse for us. THEN we might actually start to be noticed, taken a bit more seriously, have our rights respected and treated slightly more fairly.

From: Barry X 08 April 2020 09:42 AM

Barry X
Grim times for landlords and agents.... and it will probably get worse, especially as all this becomes clearer... ...and our dear government has effectively told tenants they don't need to pay rent now due to the coronavirus crisis - in theory they are supposed to only stop paying rent if they completely lose their income and have no savings or support (such as a guarantor) but in reality many will make spurious claims and stop paying. Again in theory they will still owe it but it will probably prove impossible to collect it even via court action (the courts will be swamped with claims, so very slow to deal with them, and inevitably extremely sympathetic to the tenants no matter what the evidence). And at the same time our stupid ignorant government has "guaranteed protection for landlords" by, um, saying we can have mortgage payment holidays if we can do a lot of paperwork and somehow "prove" everything BUT it isn't really "protection" of any sort... all it means is we still pay but later and with additional interest roll-up so our costs will have increased, and anyhow INTEREST is ONLY A BUINSESS EXPENSE (even though our despicable government won't allow us to treat it as such anymore, so yet more cost an burden to us as we all have long known). Obviously it is the NET PROFIT (if any these days for some now loss making BTLs "investments").... and of course they haven't thought that many people (including us) are totally relying on that as the income we live off, and nobody is offering us 80% of any we lose due to the crisis! The government really doesn't care about us, understand the private rental sector or actually bother to investigate it - instead just taking advice from extremely dubious self-interest political lobbying groups like Shelter (that pretends to be something else from what it really has long been), Generation Rent and all the rest. On the other hand its always possible there might be a few crafty, highly devious and utterly dishonest people in the lower and upper houses of Parliament working together to drive us all out of business so a few of the larger landlord companies (some of them seem to have their fingers in, directly and indirectly) can get rid of most of us (their competition) and where it suits them buy some of our properties (especially but not only, small to medium sized portfolios), and basically have a laugh. Humph! I've long been posting cynical 'doom and gloom' comments here and it seems ALL of my predictions have been steadily coming true! I really wanted to get out of private residential lettings years ago - and probably leave the whole steadily sinking mess of this increasingly silly, badly run, and depressingly PC country behind. However for personal reasons like depending on BUPA to keep me alive (and so less easily able to emigrate) and other equally onerous reasons, sadly I wasn't able to even though I clearly saw most of "the writing on the wall" years ago when for most people it would have been easy and for many the right and best thing to do. Oh well.

From: Barry X 28 March 2020 09:14 AM

Barry X
here here.... the government's been an absolute disgrace, particularly from the disastrous period of Cameron and George Osborne onward. If you can be bothered to read to the end of this LONG post you'll see I make an important suggestion - I hope that THOUSANDS of landlords and DOZENS of larger agents (maybe HUNDREDS of smaller ones) take it seriously. It seem to me the government; (a) actually WANT to drive private landlords - whether "accidental" with a single property and in the mind of the government needing deterring from being attracted to remain landlords and maybe buy another property too, or portfolio landlords - like my wife & I - needing to be successively taxed and legislated to death and driven out. They want to replace us with much larger "institutional" companies, like the Build To Renters, Housing Associations etc and seem keen - apparently - for a period of transition where BTL property prices are hammered and some of these companies might pick up our properties cheaply to add to their portfolios - don't believe me? Its happened to us - we used to own a few ex council properties in Churchill Gardens and Lillington Gardens in Westminster. We owned them for well over ten years and they rented out well and we got a good returns on them. For a variety of reasons - especially legislative e.g. with the successive undermining of s21, the incredible delays in getting anyone to court for ignoring s21s and not going and not paying either (all of which SHOULD be made a criminal offence, if merely not paying a silly TV licence can be) , the now completely useless s8 notices ignored and undermined by the courts (when you eventually get there and they take pity on the tenant who didn't realise that by not paying rent for months and/or behaving so badly all their neighbours always complain about them and that seriously damaging the property all might lead to them becoming "homeless", what a terrible pity so let's give them another chance especially as they tactically paid off £100 of their by then say £4,000 arrears the night before the hearing), the absolutely HORRIBLE Tenant Fees Act 2019 (a dreadful and woefully incompetent piece of legislation with both draconian intended consequences and even worse unintended consequences that will come to haunt us all as they are discovered and start to be exploited by "generation renters" telling each other about them via social medias, e.g. using us as the cheapest and safest "lenders" with no choice - just use your rent to instead pay off your credit card and nothing will happen to you and 3% with no risk of costs is a hell of a lot better than 33% and all the "over your limit" charges and collection costs you can imagine, etc and that's just one of the problems I expect will start to emerge) and so in view of all that and more we decided to steadily sell our ex-council flats in Pimlico off... and guess what? ALL of them sold extra cheaply to a particular Housing Association I won't name! These used to be always-in-demand red hot properties for BTL (and we'd never have sold them - instead occasionally buying one or two more at a high price, not selling at low ones - if the government hadn't totally screwed it up for us and with even worse to come I'm sure). THAT'S an example our personal direct experience of what's going on. (b) the Tories, especially since Cameron but perhaps a little before that, have latched on to the idea that pretending to care and focus on "social justice" (a typically grand sounding piece of Blairite Labour-mantra nonsense that sounds good but means next to nothing good) is a real vote winner... the Torry's election strap line should have been "If you like Labour you'll LOVE us because we're not really Torries anymore, haven't been for ages and never will be again we promise, and look - we're gradually adopting all their policies and turning into a softer version of the same!" But sadly they probably wreck our rental businesses, and drive us out of business for nothing because they didn't actually even attract many of the "generation rent" votes (because these people have mainly been trained at their highly politised schools and universities to vote Labour, and if they voted conservative for a change the Torries would probably soon lose their votes anyhow, and not get them back, when these normally not very bright people eventually realise all those gimmicks actually worked against them and nobody really gave them any "free" stuff anyhow). and so on with (c) and (d) too but I think that's a long enough post for now. I don't think it paranoia or some silly conspiracy theory to believe there is far more to this than just incompetence or a seriously lack of understanding on the part of the government (although there is plenty of both) - because I'd say there is also an agenda behind it all that's been getting steadily amended and becoming bolder and even more anti-landlord and anti-agent as time passes. We CAN and MUST do something about this. We should't just grumble to each other about it in blogs like this (although its useful to communicate with each other and share views and ideas). Nor should our trade bodies and landlord associations just make occasional muted and highly polished "professional" comments that are largely ignored will nasty political organisations pretending to be caring charities like Shelter (hiss) get the government's full attention because they are on "the same page"... no, we must DO something that both hurts and worries the government and REALLY GRABS THE HEADLINES. Here's what I suggest, and have long thought; we organise a DOUBLE TAX STRIKE, simultaneously coordinating a landlord tax strike and agent one. For example the landlords pay their July 2nd installment STL tax to a proper ring-fenced client account set up by a firm of solicitors, or an agent for the purpose and then send HMRC evidence that they have done this with a covering letter from the template prepared by the strike organiser's solicitors. Agents do the agent version of the same thing. We get frequent maximum coverage in all the major daily newspapers both in print and online carefully but robustly explaining why we're doing this both for the genuine benefit of GOOD tenants and also to stay in business so we can provide the flexible accommodation they need. Whilst at it we also gradually educate them about the real benefirts of a strong, competative private rental sector and how owning your own property isn't always (or probably even usually) the very best strategy in life... flexibility and other ways to invest in more "liquid" but equally strongly performing (usually) assets is an alternative worth considering for some higher earners, and low earners should stop worrying if they have no choice anyhow - why allow misery and a feeling of being cheated and made into a "second class citizen" just because you can't own some crummy overpriced flat that's too small for you and in a "compromise" location to eat up your life? Much better put than I have just now, this should be the gist of our well argued, inspirational eye opening message to some of the smarter "generation renters" and you never know, over time it might percolate down to a few more. It will certainly grab the attention of older, wiser people and there might even be one or two of those (but not too many of the wiser ones) in government, the house of Lords and maybe even the civil service who - let's never forget - are disproportional politically biased and highly (but discreetly) activist and driving the government to deliver their agendas too. So there it is... we need TEETH and we need to gnash them if we want to be noticed. Here's the sort of things we should be demanding when tax-striking... we want the government to (which they must make a firm commitment to do with a firm statement of a realistic and rapid timetable to implement); (1) ABOLISH the stupid 3% "second home surcharge" that hurts the market but probably costs as much, if not more, to administer and police as it actually really collects. (2) ABOLISH/REVERS the end to tax relief for loan interest and fully reinstate it as a 100% relief. It is absurd and totally anti-business to tax us on turnover rather than net profit and loan interest is a major and perfectly legitimate business expense for many of us. Imagine if you ran a factory and needed to buy or upgrade some of your larger plant or machinery - can you imagine the government discouraging that sort of vital investment by not allowing tax relief on the major loan you might need to take out to pay for it? Of course not, they'd never even think of it let alone get away with it! But to us, properties ARE in effect our major "plant" and biggest investment and we mostly need to finance the purchase of it/them in order to provide our service and be in business. So why should WE be heavily DISCRIMINATED against in this disgraceful, immoral, illogical way? STRIKE!!!! (3) ABOLISH the ridiculous, ill-considered Tenant Fees Act 2019. It's a mess and does more harm for good tenants, agents and landlords alike than any possible good - other than enormously helping bad tenants screw us and creating all sorts of strange loopholes that luckily few have noticed or discovered yet. (4) Make it a CRIMINAL OFFENCE for a tenant not to have moved out of a property on or before the end date of a proper, validly served section 21 notice. (5) Don't allow the courts to make concessions to tenants served with section 8 notices for rental arrears unless they have paid off at least 60% of the arrears (no matter how bad) at least one week before the hearing. (6) Set up a working committee with Landlord and Letting Agent bodies (but NOT Shelter etc) to look at new PRO-LANDLORD/AGENT legislation with a firm commitment to implement it as and when ready, for example to better deal with bad tenants (I'm certain there are vastly more of those than bad landlords and agents who obviously do exist as well);. That would be a good start. If they honour it then fine. If not then strike on or again as necessary. Any better ideas to get us and our views noticed, and rescue our businesses before this has all gone too far against us and there's too big a mountain to climb back up?

From: Barry X 14 February 2020 10:49 AM

Barry X
Among other factors behind this, including the alleged under funding and resources (a euphemism for lack of staff) - probably made vastly worst by their recruitment priorities of "diversity" and "equal opportunities" always being so much more important than simply finding motivated people both able and actually willing to do a proper job (the quality of most we've had to deal with has dramatically plummeted in recent years).... are; (1) councils insisting on tenants ignoring perfectly valid s.21 notices (wile we're even allowed to still serve the now heavily undermined shadows of what they once were) FORCING us to apply otherwise unnecessarily to the courts for possession orders. I wrote an article about this for the NLA quite a few years ago for their "Landlord"magazine, but apart from a lot of NLA members completely agreeing what an outrage it is for councils to in effect encourage people to break the law and need to be forced out by courts absolutely nothing has been done about it - not even campaigning or canvasing by the NLA despite their duty to - as I see it. Anyhow, after having been a member of the NLA for over ten years up till then I later got fed up with them and let my membership lapse. In my view they were originally excellent, and worth joining, but over the years have becoming a fatter more lazy organisation concentrating mainly on generating fees and selling NLA merchandise and courses instead of making a REAL nuisance of themselves, noisily and boldly on our behalf lobbying and campaigning and spending MONEY on national advertising to raise public awareness of the lies and duplicity of people like Shelter HARMING the private rental sector and in reality working against tenants' interests and rights and indirectly costing tenants more (as well as making it harder and harder to find anyone now daring to even accept them as a result - and not helping them helping them at all (but helping Shelter to grow and raise more funds to pay their executives even more). Shelter's policies, and Generation Rents and all similar "pro-tenant, anti-landlord" organisations wrongly gain far more publicity and government attention than ours as professional landlords, and indirectly lead to more evictions taking more court time, as well as fewer properties even being available in the first place and higher rents when they are. going back to the s.21 notices and councils forcing landlords to go to court, otherwise unnecessarily as most people would be prepared to accept the original notice and simply go if they hadn't been told "officially" not to, some councils, again for their own convenience, even tell tenants to ignore the possession orders and wait another month or two for the bailiffs before they can be "validly rehoused" normally to larger properties which is why all this - at our expense - is worth the council's time. (2) court time is hugely wasted by a lot things thgat shouldn't even be necessary, such as vast numbers of TV Licence Evasion cases. I know the BBC (the anti-British Broadcasting Company as I call it) managed to criminalise this so the CPR, not themselves, has had to bear the brunt and pay for it all. However its all part of the court's system and does massively impact County Court finding and "resourcing" so is certainly not helping any of us, only the BBC who can't lose because it either costs them nothing or they win (at our expense). (3) and so on.... Its all a mess, the whole legal system is in crises so my best advice is (A) avoid anyone on any form of housing benefits so they are unconnected with the council so you can avoid all that nonsense (its a shame because we used to be perfectly willing to accept good people, like recently divorced mothers or respectable people who just happen to be invalided out of work or whatever) but for years no wouldn't consider it simply because of a number of absurd anti-landlord policies including (but by no means only) the one I've just explained about s.21 notices. (B) be VERY careful; who you accept as tenants.... much better to have an empty property in good condition available for a good tenant (single, couple, family, whatever) than COSTING you money with a tenant not paying and not going and causing damage and deterioration... Good luck - we're going to need more and more of it the way things are going!!!

From: Barry X 16 January 2020 11:21 AM

Barry X
I'd say that if rent alone is 75% of net income for a tenant there's a VERY high risk of default. We used to do all of our own advertising and views as well as management ourselves, but over the years have been phasing-in agents to take it all over from us, which is working well and great. However we still like to meet ALL tenants before giving a green light for them to go on to be ID and credit checked for us by our agents. One part of that meeting is to run through realistic estimates with the prospective tenants of the real cost of renting to check they understand it and reassure us they know what they are doing and can afford it. We use OUR OWN rule of thumb method for doing this, which we know works against us in terms of rejecting a much higher proportion of applicants, however we prefer to have a property empty than occupied by a defaulting tenant in dispute with us. Here's what we do; for a start we don't just go on rent but the WHOLE cost of rent plus main bills, e.g. for one of our studios it might be £875 PcM for rent, but adding in council tax, estimates for energy averaged over the year, water, TV licence (many don;'t have anymore so we're happy to on that on request) and phone/internet, it might come to £1,170 which is a lot more than just rent. THEN we say that if that is 45% or less than their joint net income (this usually works for couple when both have respectable jobs, but rarely for single applicants unless slightly higher earners which is also fine). That means for this example they need to earn at least £1,170 / 0.45 = £2,600 PcM or £31,200 per year net. Usually fine for the type of couples we'd aim for and often fine for singles in better jobs. IF they don't quite earn enough, including guaranteed bonuses or overtime or guaranteed secondary income but excluding estimates overtime or bonuses that we don't accept for this estimate, but still wish to go ahead then between 55% - 70% we'd accept them with one or perhaps two credible and also fully credit and ID checked guarantors to meet our criteria. That means the couple or single tenant must have at least £20,000 net per year for this studio plus one or else two guarantors with SURPLUS income in addition to covering their own commitments of £11,200 meaning probably £50,000 - £60,000 net income in total. If our prospective tenants don't meet our slightly more rigorous tests, or are put off by it or don't confidently believe they can easily get suitable guarantors then we don';t pass them back to our agents for the next steps of formal ID and credit checking. In our view if a tenant needs a guarantor but can't easily find one then why should we trust them if nobody they know much better than us doesn't! Also, we'd much prefer to have an empty property, even for a void of a month or two, then rush to get a poor quality tenant who then defaults at some point on rent - costing us much more than a month or two's rent plus a lot of hassle, extra work and worry, to get them out. We've also found that tenants in that situation are more likely to start disrespecting the flat because they know they are probably going to do a runner after hanging on rent free for as long as possible - because some idiot at the CAB, or even worse the hated always anti-landlord Shelter people, told them we don't matter, can't do much about it and they can live in our property rent free if they can't afford it because its their home and our problem. This approach has worked well for us for well over 20 years now and we haven't gone bust yet, despite the best efforts of our successive governments including the current one that we don't trust either, but still much prefer to some Labour/LibDem alliance (perhaps with a smattering of Green to make it even worse). They all pander (highly counter-productively) too much the likes of "generation rent" and listen way too much to highly politisised "charities" feathering their own nests like Shelter instead of completely ignoring them - as they jolly well should - and instead asking proper industry expert for real information and advice on what will work best for everyone including tenants. sorry for the slight rant - hope of interest even so?

From: Barry X 16 January 2020 10:48 AM

Barry X
As has been said by numerous other people - property professionals, lettings managers and expert portfolio landlords..... all of us WANT GOOD TENANTS.... if we have someone in one of our properties causing us no trouble, looking after the property and most importantly paying the rent in full and on time as they always should do then THERE IS NO REASON TO EVICT THEM. Spending time and money on evicting a good tenant is normally the last thing anyone would consider unless perhaps they need to sell the property for some reason (which would be with great reluctance due to the associated costs and usual enormous tax hit for either CGT or Corp Tax). Evicting a bad tenant using the Section 8 route is even harder work, slower and more long winded than the section 21 because you actually have to appear in court and PROVE the tenant is in default, and even then the judge will favour the tenant and do anything to make you give them yet more time and further chances to somehow change into a different person and actually behave and "be good"... which a bad tenant never will - they will mock you and laugh at our useless justice system that seems to heavily favour miscreants, liars, cheats and even criminals over the people whose lives or businesses they harm. The simplicity and clarity of the original s.21 - before it became steadily messed-up and undermined in recent years through a successive series of legislative attacks - was what revitalised and rescued from oblivion the whole of our Private Rental Market from the late 1980s onward. The original, un-compromised s.21 also led directly to the BTL market too, because after waiting carefully for several years to make sure it really worked (which in those days it certainly did) lenders were then finally willing to finance purchases of rental properties on reasonable terms because it had suddenly become possible to gain vacant possession if required, and sell, so tenants would no longer automatically become "Sitting Tenants" blighting properties and reducing them to around 1/3 of their vacant possession value... a very serious point which all of us should remember (or learn about if too young to remember) and think carefully about, because THAT is where all this is leading/returning us to. The government WILL NOT LISTEN and it is pointless assuming they will and trying to engage with them. They have clearly decided long ago to target and if they can destroy the PRM for their own selfish and self-interested reasons, agenda(s), and possibly also ideological commitments (all of which will be even worse if/when we have a Lablour-Green-Libdem coalition inflicted on us). We all need to get together - professional portfolio landlords, lettings managers and agencies etc, and CAUSE ABSOLUTE HELL for them (the government and whilst at it also councils looking to fleece and milk us all) on a massive scale - including having many thousands of us withholding tax in protest and taking any other reasonable actions we can between us think of. Of course we should also grab huge media attention - we'll need an excellent, well funded PR agency to manage that and ensure our real views and points are properly heard and fully reported.... not marginalised, misrepresented or completely ignored and "buried" as usual, e.g. by the BBC, Guardian and all the slippery-dishonest rest. Unfortunately THAT'S what we need to do, and what things have come to, if we are to have any chance whatsoever of being taken seriously and either left alone or better still force a reversal of all these ridiculous anti-landlord, anti-agent measures, and a revival of the PRM. PS. I'm not a militant person by any means, and normally take no part whatsoever in politics or campaigning for anything (except grumbling politely when not happy) but things are now steadily getting REALLY BAD , and GETTING SLOWLY WORSE..... think of the famous experiment (probably really only a thought experiment) where you can slowly boil a frog alive and he or she won't think of jumping out of the water, but if you dropped one into even quite warm water it would hate it and immediately jump back out.

From: Barry X 16 August 2019 10:05 AM

Barry X
The government won't listen - as usual they will ignore experts and property professionals and will continue to target, blame, increasingly overtax, and steadily undermine all the rights of landlords - as well as continue to mess around and do serious damage to the lettings agency business. There has long clearly been an agenda for this and non of it is accidental or purely due to governmental incompetence - although there is a huge amount of that too. The government would simply not consider doing any of these things to any other major sector of the economy or business sector.... imagine them actively and steadily seeking to put (a random list coming up) restaurants, hotels or car rental firms out of business in the same way?! We have a dysfunctional, self-interested and I would say quietly corrupt government. It is neither representative of the "the people", nor feels itself answerable to anyone. We clearly do not have a functioning democracy in this country and talking to or attempting to engage with MPs is a delusional and pointless activity. Landlords and agents need to get together in large numbers, all stick together and point-blank refuse to pay tax - or something - until the government understands it is dealing with a full-on rebellion it can't simply quash or ignore.... for that is probably our only hope.... that or sell up (cheaply and pay a vast amount of CGT or Corp Tax to wipe out years of hard work and gift it to our dreadful government) and leave the country exactly as the government would probably love us all to do.... meanwhile their mates running large property businesses will mop-up.... The writing is on the wall.

From: Barry X 16 August 2019 09:30 AM

Barry X
Thanks to this horrible, damaging, totally ill-conceived pieced of shite, I mean of course the Tenant Fees Act 2019, we've already had half a dozen prospective tenants make offers on flats of ours they were only 1/2 interested in at best.... we (and our agents) then worked hard to get references and paid for credit checks etc only to find none of them responded to follow-up emails, answered their phones or bothered to explain themselves at all. This very rarely if ever happened to us before but now it's become normal.... ....the reason? Well, it should be obvious! They don't have to pay for referencing or credit checks anymore so make offers on ALL the flats they've seen and then decide later if they are interested or can be bothered to ever speak to us (or our hard working and very nice agents) again. They have no "stake" and nothing to lose.... everything is laid at their feet and they can do (or not do) as they please while WE must pay and endure all this.... and this is only the beginning.... we're expecting LOTS of normal, perfectly respectable tenants who have NEVER done anything wrong before to start defaulting on rent as and when word gets round that its the "smart" thing to do.... there are NO PENALTIES, NO COLLECTION COSTS, NO PROBLEMS AT ALL for them now.... its just 3% interest plus piffling base-rate (IF they feel like paying but even that's apparently unenforceable) and of course 3-and-a-bit% is a LOT less than say the 27% APR (or whatever) for their credit cards (that DO also still have the rights just taken from us to charge for debt collection costs on top) so when our tenants have "balances" (what we used to call debts) of, say, £750 or more then why not just pay it off and owe rent to the silly-old landlord instead? Makes sense and saves tenants a LOT of money and all that worry too - now nobody can chase or hassle them! Thanks to the genius of a Tory government trying to look increasingly like a Labour government (and anyhow already fundamentally Blairite in character) we as Landlords have been FORCED to become ulta-low cost lenders with no ability to even enforce debts. ...and those are but two of the serious problems created for us by this piece of crap. An absolute disgrace and I'm sure not something they wold have dared impose on any other industry sector or part of the economy.... can you imagine the government bringing in an exciting new law making it at least your RIGHT not to have to pay restaurant or car-hire or hotel or anything-else bills anymore and instead just have it on 3% (and a bit) credit for as long as you feel like, and actually not even have to pay the interest either unless and until you felt like it? The government and/or people behind them (ultra-Remainer, "right on" Civil servants of course) really do appear to hate and/or envy and/or despise us (while blatantly trying to woo short-term "generation rent" votes at our grievous long term expense) and perhaps want to drive us out of business while at the same time trying via the back door and/or indirectly - now or in the near future - to take our properties/assets from us at blighted values. It makes you want to give up, which as it happens is - I believe - EXACTLY what they hoped to achieve.

From: Barry X 19 July 2019 12:32 PM

Barry X
Glad we don't own any residential rental properties in Wales but sorry we still do in England that is going the same was fast and in some ways probably already worse. They REALLY don't want us to own or rent out properties do they? I bet there are all various backdoor attempts to temporarily suppress the value of PRS housing while more an more scared-off and increasingly fleeced and shafted private landlords exit the market and larger "social" housing companies (who can cope with these nonsense regulations due to their size and internal low-cost resources) mop-up all the properties cheaply....? Perhaps? We steadily sold off our ex-council flats in Pimlico (Westminster) so we could concentrate on a smaller radius around where we live in south west London. We expected first-time buyers and "better paid "key sector workers" (provided sharing or dual income households) to snap them up as they were cheap and actually not bad and not in the middle of problem estates or anything, and probably about 35% - 40% of the flats in the same blocks were already owned by largely young middle class professional types anyhow..... but not a bit of it! ALL bought one by one by private "social housing" companies and associations! I'm willing to bet these larger firms are quietly lobbying for all this - not just the politically motivated fools at Shelter etc. and they probably all know they can expect special status and exemptions from much, if not all, these disastrous new rules just like full-on council (and church) owned properties already are to an extent. They're having a laugh if you think about it!

From: Barry X 10 July 2019 11:26 AM

Barry X
...if only they would! ...and I've noticed (having followed it over the years) that quite often surprisingly wealthy criminals, whose money is almost certainly all "proceeds of crime" are given pitifully short sentances (because our prisons are overcrowded and we apparently can't afford to house many more criminals, let alone keep them locked up for long more or less no matter WHAT they've done), and then their already short sentences are quietly halved so, for example, if sentanced for "nine months" they are typically really released after only 2 - 3 months, or sometimes only a single month "on licence" and with a "tag" that makes little difference to them really (particularly as the technology behind it is so feeble)..... and guess what? If they were convicted of massive housing benefit fraud or for that matter tax evasion, rarely if ever have they been required to repay ANY of it! So we the tax payer foot the bill for an incredibly costly and inefficient investigation (actually lots and lots of them as most fail and are eventually abandoned, but we still pay for them all), then an incredibly inefficient and excessive trail (the Justice System and Crown Prosecution System are incredibly inefficient and overly costly "public services" - I often consider them "Dis-services"!).... ....so once again when the "full life-cycle costs" are taken into account, including an allowance for all the failed investigations and failed prosecutions and costs of the prison and parole services too, we (the tax payers) are made to pay VASTLY more than is ever recouped...... its all a bit bizarre to say the least. Instead of targeting small-fry landlords and agents and trying to tax us to death (as we're easy prey), they could probably SAVE tens if not hundreds of times as much by NOT spending large amounts of money going after us for relatively small amounts, but by simplifying and actually improving their systems - especially the behind-the-scenes bits we rarely get to see or notice but that are probably the largest, most expensive and totally inefficient and inept! on the one hand I wish I was in charge of it all and able to start sorting it out.... on the other hand I'm VERY glad I'm not! Rant over.

From: Barry X 08 July 2019 13:09 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 08 July 2019 12:15 PM

Barry X
Completely agree.... EXCEPT for one or two relevant points.... in London, Birmingham, many parts of Yorkshire etc there appear to be quite a few people who are probably in the county illegally - and I'm sure you can easily imagine them - and they are acting as probably rouge landlords (and being the focus of government and council studies eagerly trying/lying to suggest they are representative of us all which obviously they are NOT), and most of them rent very poor quality and overcrowded accommodation (including "beds in sheds" etc) to almost certainly "below the radar" illegal migrants.... I can imagine that in the unlikely event we had a real, genuine Brexit (and not in name only) AND somehow the home office got tough and actually did a proper job AND somehow our borders (and sleepy beaches facing the channel etc) were actually properly patrolled and secured AND all illegals were actually deported.... none of which, let alone all, being likely to happen.... but if it were and did THEN it seems that their grubby corner of the PRS would largely disappear and guessing (because this is the part I don't known whereas I'm confident of all I've said so far)...I'm guessing that over the whole country they account for perhaps 2% - 3% - perhaps 5%, absolute tops, of the PRS at the most (but make a much bigger nuisance of themselves where they operate so might seem bigger) THEY might be hit hard but ONLY if all the measures I've listed were actually implimented. For the rest of us, the normal, decent honest Landlords and agents, Brexit (especially as the government is makeing sure it won't really happen, at least not properly) will make little or no difference. It's all the legal and tax attacks on us that are the real problem, undermining our rights, wrecking our businesses, heavily discriminating against us compared to treatment of other business sectors, taking all our very hard earned profits from an increasingly higher and higher risk business (due to legislative attacks undermining and/or completely negating our rights).... THOSE are the real reasons, together with threat of labour government (perhaps worse still in coalition with Greens), perhaps 20% - 30% or even more of us would love to get out if only CGT and the current very weak property market with low prices (that haven't even kept up with inflation for several years) etc. weren't such a heart-breaking obstacle creating inertia!!!!!!!

From: Barry X 29 June 2019 10:49 AM

Barry X
There is SO MUCH WRONG with the Tenant Fees Act 2019.... its truly horrible and grossly unfair - an unwarranted attack on the PRS and an absolute disgrace. I predict it will both put landlords and of course many agents out of business and also drive many landlords out of the sector as some of the many problems start to emerge and get noticed.... For example - (1) this new law is so far as I know more or less a first in British legal history for reversing the ancient principle that laws ban things and make certain actions "offences". THIS law makes EVERYTHING an offence except for the tiny number of things actually allowed! Suppose (as is certain) that the world continues to change and new things crop up... bad luck, you won't be able to provide any new services or cover any newly emerging risks because incompetent fools like James Brokenshire (one of the principle morons - as I see them - behind this legislation) didn't know before 1st June this year everything that will happen in the world from now on. I imagine he and his chums didn't have a crystal ball to gaze into, only lead filled brains (perhaps on chains) obsessed with smashing up the PRS and rewarding bad tenants in the hope it will somehow gain a few votes (which it probably won't). (2) this new piece of crap FORCES landlords to act as low cost lenders with no right to refuse to give out loans any time their tenants need one.... consider so many scenarios, e.g a tenant can't clear their credit card debts and are being charged, say, 20% APR plus unlike us (for no obvious reason) the banks actually are allowed to ad on the costs of debt collection etc (just as we were in the normal way for defaulting tenants until three weeks ago for the first time in history).... or they want an expensive holiday, or a new car or ANYTHING.... so what would any sensible tenant do - and they will, especially as so many now are members of militant/activist blogs and forums and things all sharing new ideas.... they'll simply stop paying rent when they feel like it and use the money to clear their overdrafts and credit card balances... why not, its only 3% above the piffling bank base rate of ½% so 3½% in total and NO threat of additional late payment charges or possibly even no payment ever - and no "interest on interest" or any otehr penalties or risks if they decide not to pay anything and just live there until one day somehow actually evicted and then they just disappear with your money! and many other things too that I thought of, for example it REWARDS tenants for dishonest behavior, has no penalties or risks for THEM, assumes that Tenants are always good and honest but perhaps just temporarily short of money that they sincerely intend to pay as soon as they can, that all landlords and agents are crooks, it provides numerous new opportunities for people (tenants, councils etc) to scam, blackmail and cheat landlords while nobbling their/our ability to defend themselves/ourselves and further undermining their/out already heavily beleaguered rights. Its an absolute unmitigated DISGRACE. Worse still IF (as is quite possible) we get a Labour-Green coalition government dumped on us in the next few months to a year or two, they will use this as a spring-board for much-much worse to come. They have already been in talks together (and with the mayor of Berlin in Germany, incidentally) to consider rushing through an even more stupid law to ban rent increases for either 3 or possibly even 5, years from the start of any tenancy including existing ones at the time of it getting its Royal Consent.... imagine that?! :-(

From: Barry X 29 June 2019 00:17 AM

Barry X
Steve Sykes - I agree with you in principle and wish it were that simple. The problems are slightly obscure but big obstacles none the less; (a) The deposit "protection" schemes (a big misnomer in itself) are big business and lining pockets so not likely to be abolished even though completely unnecessary and just another legacy of damage from the incompetent Blair Government and its ridiculous failure, the Housing Act 2004 (though in so many ways all subsequent regimes have been almost equally devious, damaging & incompetent, and May's is probably by far the worst)... (b) the government LOVES these schemes because they finally help provide some stats and real details they never had before about landlords, the properties they own, rents charged, deposits taken and names and addresses.... all potentially very useful to them in the long run (if they ever get their act together with HMRC and sharing data) for investigating and collecting tax etc. And in theory all policed for them for free by bribing tenants big-time (with a 3-times the deposit "winnings" for snitching), and scaring the landlords with yet another piece of undermining of the validity/enforceability of the s.21 notice.... Yes, its "Big Brother" stuff with a sledge-hammer-to-crack-a-nut approach.... are you surprised? Before the 2004 Act (that came into force for the deposit provisions on Good Friday in 2006 when all bank systems were down so Day-1 was its first test and a complete fiasco - I remember it well... another brilliant piece of planning and "due diligence" - not - by the government). Before it there was no real problem anyhow because there were plenty of legal protections available for tenants to take on rouge landlords and chase for their refunds, if valid. all that was needed - if anything - was perhaps to make it easier for tenants to make claims and to add/improve better ADR (that comes with the "protection" schemes) instead of the existing courts mediation service that can be good but isn't perfectly tailored to tenant deposit disputes.

From: Barry X 28 June 2019 23:49 PM

Barry X
Although what he did was wrong - fraud always is - there is a deeper underlying problem here..... originally, in 1992 when Council Tax came into existence, c/tax was supposed to be used to collect money to pay for the services used by the people living in the property. There was originally a complete exemption (with no time limit) for unoccupied properties. That was fair and reasonable and in line with the stated purpose of the tax. Then a time limit was set - initially one year I think, although it may have been two years to start with then reduced to one, I can't remember that detail. Then councils found people were exploiting the loophole and claiming properties were unoccupied when they weren't so - not unreasonable - councils started to employ inspectors to visit and check that properties really were unoccupied and showed no evidence of current residential use (storage of furniture was for a while allowed). Then properties had to be completely unfurnished as well as unoccupied.... that was fine and I think perfectly fair. But then - in recent years - things took a turn for the worse..... the one year "empty and unoccupied" exemption was reduced to 6 months, then for a very short period only two weeks, then abolished altogether! Our local council undertook a completely token, bogus "consultation exercise" in which selected people, including me, were sent relatively long, detailed questionnaires full of emotive and carefully rigged questions such as: "Do you agree that landlords have a duty to contribute more to help the poorest people in society?" (to which I replied "no" as that's not every landlord's job or responsibility), and "How much more do you believe landlord's should contribute from their profits to support local homeless projects and other important council-led initiatives for their communities?" (to which I replied "Nothing", which I had to carefully write by hand as it was a multiple choice question with boxes to tick that all had positive integer percentages in them and there wasn't one with "nil" or a 0% available to tick)..... ...anyhow, as you would expect (if like me you've become increasingly cynical after observing and enduring decades of council and governmental deceit and lies) they completely ignored ALL responses, probably not even bothering to look at them, as it was only a box-ticking exercise for them to say they'd done it. As an invited participant I imagined (wrongly) they might be willing to provide me with a report setting out the findings of their "consultation exercise" but it turned out that: (a) there was no such analysis or report available, or probably even produced, and (b) they CLAIMED there had been an "overwhelming" response of "huge support" for the idea that Landlords should pay an awful lot more to support all and any council project "for their local communities", including (perhaps) for the "homeless" and "less well off". I put "homeless" in quotes because I've learned over the years that councils, as well as most charities that you'd expect to be more honest, have strange and unexpected definitions of homelessness; Whereas my definition of homelessness is when someone has no home and is living either on the streets or perhaps in derelict buildings or something, THEIR definition (the council's and many charities') includes - for example - people living perfectly safely and relatively comfortably in a normal house with other people (perhaps members of their own family, or extended family) but they are apparently "homeless" simply because they'd ideally like a place of their own, and where they are currently living is deemed "unsuitable" even though really its fine, and they'd preferably like to be allocated (given) somewhere that's at least partially (if not completely) at the council's , i.e. our, expense! (Note however that for reasons never explained - nobody dares - I've found that quite often white people, especially over the age of 40, and particularly if male and for example ex-soldiers with PTSD after having fought somewhere or other for our country, are for some reason usually not included because they are apparently of no concern or interest to the relevant people at the council). There are even more surprising categories of people included by some charities and councils in their lists and stats of "homeless" people, e.g. people who have recently come to this county as "migrants" and have not yet established any actual right to be in the county or got around to bringing their families over yet - they are often prioritised as being "especially vulnerable", are usually assumed to be teenagers even if clearly they are in their 30s or even sometimes 40s, are perhaps told what nationality (and other "facts") to claim so as best help them up the ladder, and are then bumped right up the "housing list"... and THAT'S no doubt among the sort of things councils tell landlords (like me) that we have expressed an "overwhelming" desire to contribute even more of our "profits" to support! Anyhow, getting back to the evolution of the problem that Mr Satinderjit Singh Thiara of Telford had found his own somewhat dishonest solution for...... Apart from completely phasing out the "empty and unoccupied" exemption for c/tax, while still giving a 25% discount for "single occupancy" (so we have the curious anomaly that if nobody is living there, the then empty property must pay more for the services it has no occupants to use than would a property that DOES have someone - a single person as is increasingly common - living in it and using services, presumably at least bin collections if nothing else).... ...apart from all that..... there's ALSO now for some time been the totally amazing twisted logic by councils, that most landlord are still unaware of, by which they feel at liberty to charge a **SURCHARGE** for "long term empty" properties, it's currently typically 50% for properties empty for more than a year, but set to become 100% for more than a year and a new "surcharge" of 50% likely to be quietly brought in for "long term" emptiness of 6 months or more.... and then one day, before we know it, the moment a tenant moves out and the property is unoccupied there will be a "surcharge" and they will quietly drop the two words "long term" from the description on their paperwork/websites for this surcharge..... and the reason or justification for this surcharge? Well isn't it obvious? It's to "encourage landlords to bring unused properties back into use"! Duh!!! you might guess the council has never realised we like income from our properties and would not normally voluntarily want to keep a property empty and unoccupied for months on end unless there is some special reason to do so or major problem (such as the property is unsafe or unfit for habitation or due on some random date to be demolished and redeveloped or whatever).... anyhow, think about it and be warned.... in realities councils LOVE us to have unused properties because (a) there is nobody living in them using their services, and (b) they can tax us more and more for less and less while "virtue signalling" about their bogus intentions to encourage us to "bring properties back into use" - we, the horrible landlords purposely owning properties to stop people living in them! Given all that, no wonder there's an incentive at times for people to pretend there is someone living in the properties.... .....except I do understand (before anyone thinks otherwise) that in the case reported in this article he was trying to claim - it seems - that other people (who had moved elsewhere) were still responsible for paying. If he'd been smarter perhaps he would have made up names of single people living there, paid 75% of the tax and at least made a 25% saving that probably nobody would ever have noticed.... greed and trying too hard seem to have been his undoing! And please remember my opening comments - I am NOT condoning what he did, it was fraudulent and unlawful - I'm only trying to show some of the motivation, and provocation behind them, for people to end up doing these things.... my main point is that: **NO** COUNCIL TAX SHOULD BE DUE ANYHOW ON UNOCCUPIED PROPERTIES!!! If there was nothing to pay (as used to be the case) then there would be no tax to evade! It's really the greedy councils exploiting "sitting duck" landlords, not the small number of criminally minded agents out there, that have created this problem. Rant over - I'll make myself another coffee now and while doing so try to remember to "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise"..... :)

From: Barry X 25 June 2019 12:54 PM

Barry X
I posted this same comment on the other related article today.... They're both crazy and completely out of touch if they want to simply end s.21 style "no fault" repossession. They also show their extreme ignorance of the history of the Private Rental Sector/Market and the mechanisms that drive it. The Housing Act 1988 created the Section 21 right to regain possession of a property without having to show the tenant(s) had "seriously" breached any of the terms of the rental/tenancy agreement. Landlords could use this new right to seek repossession of his/her/its property for any reason whatsoever - another principle that has also been dangerously undermined in recent years - if it's your property surely you should have the right to regain it on reasonable notice without having to explain why. This is a fundamental BUSINESS principle - we are in business, we are not managing stock for "social housing" - that's someone else's job not ours. BEFORE the introduction of s.21 EVERY tenant in every rental property was in effect a "sitting tenant" (or "statutory tenant") protected by law and potentially not only there for life but able to transfer the tenancy to near relatives etc. They also had other rights for example to apply for rent tribunals if you dared to try and put the rent up to a viable commercial level - wouldn't it be a terrible social injustice if a landlord was actually able to charge a fair rent and make a reasonable return on their investments, work and efforts?! Anyone who goes to property auctions will see that properties occupied by "statutory tenants" are cannot be sold with "vacant possession" . As a result such properties are virtually un-mortgageable (except perhaps via specialist portfolio finance) and are typically worth about 1/3 of their "open market value with full vacant possession". THAT is the sort of thing we've already being covertly returning to with the incremental undermining of the s.21 in recent years - as I've commented before. It's abolition will - I believe get us there in a single step (unless some alternative safety mechanism is implemented to properly and fairly replace it). As I've been saying for years..... if only I was able to sell up and go I would have left this messed-up country like a shot. Sadly, for many personal reasons, I wasn't able to - but anyone who can should perhaps consider it before things get even worse! Good luck - you're gonna' need it!

From: Barry X 15 April 2019 12:13 PM

Barry X
I posted this same comment on the other related article today.... They're both crazy and completely out of touch if they want to simply end s.21 style "no fault" repossession. They also show their extreme ignorance of the history of the Private Rental Sector/Market and the mechanisms that drive it. The Housing Act 1988 created the Section 21 right to regain possession of a property without having to show the tenant(s) had "seriously" breached any of the terms of the rental/tenancy agreement. Landlords could use this new right to seek repossession of his/her/its property for any reason whatsoever - another principle that has also been dangerously undermined in recent years - if it's your property surely you should have the right to regain it on reasonable notice without having to explain why. This is a fundamental BUSINESS principle - we are in business, we are not managing stock for "social housing" - that's someone else's job not ours. BEFORE the introduction of s.21 EVERY tenant in every rental property was in effect a "sitting tenant" (or "statutory tenant") protected by law and potentially not only there for life but able to transfer the tenancy to near relatives etc. They also had other rights for example to apply for rent tribunals if you dared to try and put the rent up to a viable commercial level - wouldn't it be a terrible social injustice if a landlord was actually able to charge a fair rent and make a reasonable return on their investments, work and efforts?! Anyone who goes to property auctions will see that properties occupied by "statutory tenants" are cannot be sold with "vacant possession" . As a result such properties are virtually un-mortgageable (except perhaps via specialist portfolio finance) and are typically worth about 1/3 of their "open market value with full vacant possession". THAT is the sort of thing we've already being covertly returning to with the incremental undermining of the s.21 in recent years - as I've commented before. It's abolition will - I believe get us there in a single step (unless some alternative safety mechanism is implemented to properly and fairly replace it). As I've been saying for years..... if only I was able to sell up and go I would have left this messed-up country like a shot. Sadly, for many personal reasons, I wasn't able to - but anyone who can should perhaps consider it before things get even worse! Good luck - you're gonna' need it!

From: Barry X 15 April 2019 12:11 PM

Barry X
Another clear attack on the private rental sector, which this article makes reasonably clear. The CGT exempt period after moving out of your own home and letting it used to be 3 years, and had been for a very long time. It was halved (unfairly I thought) to just 18 months from April 2014. Halving it again to a piffling 9 months is just a short step from abolishing it all together. A very similar thing happened regarding council tax on empty and unoccupied properties. Originally as long as a property was unoccupied it was exempt form c/tax as the tax was designed (in 1992 when introduced) to pay for local services used by the residents. Then a 1 year limit was introduced, then (and this bit is the only part I feel was fair) it became a requirement to allow inspections and show the property was unfurnished to demonstrate it really was unoccupied (which I thought fair enough). Then the limit was halved to 6 months (still just about ok for normal lettings and voids between tenancies). Then we were "consulted" as a box-ticking exercise - I remember spending quite a bit of time carefully responding to the question asking if we (or I) agreed that Landlords should contribute more to the costs of helping "the most vulnerable people in society", i.e. pay more tax to the council so they can fritter it away on projects and people that are not our responsibility and have nothing to do with us and we have no say or control over.... obviously nobody actually bothered reading my (or anyone else's) replies because they'd already decided to slash the acceptable 6 months to a totally unacceptable 2 weeks, suddenly costing us literally thousands of pounds a year in unfair, un-budgeted tax (council tax) between every single tenancy, and also taxing us while we renovated and improved properties for tenants (another disincentive to invest).... then after a very short period the by then trivial and insulting 2-weeks "exemption" was abolished altogether and suddenly (this time without token/fake "consultation") we found ourselves being forced to pay c/tax for empty properties the moment a tenant moved out.... ...and it's quietly getting worse.... there is a sneaky c/tax provision that most landlords are unaware of.... if a property was empty for 2 years or more the council could charge a 50% SURCHARGE council tax "to encourage the return of the property to occupation" (obviously in reality they love having the property empty because they don't have to provide any services, such as refuse collection or anything for people as there is nobody there, but they get 50% more revenue for absolutely nothing at all).... then they halved THAT to 1 year.... just wait for the 1 year to be abolished and we will all find ourselves paying a 50% surcharge (extra) for council tax the day a tenant moves out, to "encourage" us to re-let the property, as if we weren't already trying to do that to earn rent and pay our loan costs (that for many people are already no longer allowable as the legitimate pre-tax business expenses that they jolly-well should be)! ....and by the way.... to increase the "encouragement" they are planning, I'm told, to double the surcharge council tax currently supposed to be for "long term unoccupied properties", but in the end no doubt for any unoccupied properties. when that happens we'll find ourselves being fleeced to pay DOUBLE council tax for empty unoccupied properties we're already trying to re-let, and double council tax for every day spent repairing or renewing a property to keep it in good condition. I'd say that's a DISCOURAGEMENT (not encouragement) to maintain property and/or even remain in business. Please continue to keep a close eye on all these abolitions of our essential allowances, scope creep of all taxes both for local and central government, and legislation attacks on us endlessly increasing our costs and risks, and undermining our rights, often simply to provide what the politicians believe will be handy temporary headline grabbing and vote winning gimmicks (that inevitably fail to deliver anything except more damage to our increasingly beleaguered sector).

From: Barry X 01 November 2018 13:25 PM

Barry X
Sorry Sue - this seems like a very naive comment to me.... have YOU ever succeeded in regaining possession via a s.8? You'll find it's not even valid to APPLY, i.e. START the process, until there is a minimum of 2 months rental arrears (if that's the sub-section of s.8 you're relying on). and then you'll need to wait for a hearing (depending on where you are in the country that could be weeks or even months), THEN you'll probably find the judge or magistrate is sympathetic to the tenants and decides they can't be made "homeless" and have just been "silly" or "unlucky" so instead of granting you the possession order (which is NOT mandatory but discretionary) decides they can have another few months, or even a year, to "try and catch up" and that will be that. All other sub-sections are for various breaches of the tenancy agreement and are very hard to prove to the satisfaction of a judge, even if glaringly obviously blatant and appalling.... The ONLY safe option for a landlord is a MANDATORY and NO-FAULT (i.e. nothing needs to be proven beyond any doubt) method for recovery of a property. The s.21 is ridiculously slow, long-winded and problematic enough as it is and then has been undermined and under attack on top of that. Even so it is the landlord's only safety net and ultimate sanction. Without it the whole private rental sector will be plunged back into the dreadful dark-old days of a 1950s-type regime. Rental properties (and the portfolios made from them) will collapse in value and finance for "buy-to-let" will vanish quite literally overnight, never to be seen again unless a new 1988-like Act is somehow brought into being. PS. you also seem mistaken about the mechanisms: if you apply for the so-called "accelerated" process under s.8 then you are not also able to recover rental arrears, if you don't apply for it then it's an even slower and more cumbersome process that is very likely to end in failure for the landlord and a wind-fall for the nearly always favoured tenant.

From: Barry X 29 August 2018 16:37 PM

Barry X

From: Barry X 25 July 2018 12:22 PM

Barry X
Good idea to "scrap the section 21"..... while they're at it why not improve things further by abolishing rent as well? Instead the LANDLORD could be made to PAY THE TENANT FOR LIVING IN THE PROPERTY! Better still, not just pay the tenant instead of the boring, outdated traditional idea of charging them rent, but pay all card carrying members of the Labour party a little more to reward them for their allegiance to that noble institution. Joking aside, I'm not surprised at their ignorance in demanding an end to any sort of "no fault evictions". The s.21 has been under threat for sometime now, and already been significantly undermined. If the government were to even seriously consider - let alone actually implement - an end to the s.21 with nothing comparable (or preferably better for the landlord) to replace it, then I'm fairly sure we'd immediately serve s.21 notices to ALL of our tenants while we still could, then on gaining possession sell all of those properties for any reasonable price before the property market totally collapses and is plunged into years of slump. We'd then get out of the whole damn mess and start something new in a more sensible country (almost certainly in the Far East, actually). Without the s.21 or its equivalent, we'd be back to how things were before the Property Act 1988 when ALL tenants were in effect "statutory" or "sitting" tenants and properties let to them were worth approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of their open market value (as they still are for most tenancies for any reason outside the AST/SPT regimes). Duh!

From: Barry X 16 July 2018 10:38 AM

Barry X
I posted a long, carefully written comment here about how introducing the s.21 process in the first place in the Housing Act 1988 was what revolutionised the private rental sector but it vanished for some reason when I clicked the "comment" button to send it.... oh well, I can't be bothered to type it all again. Briefly, before the s.21 was possible ALL tenants were in effect "sitting tenants" ("Statutory Tenants") and the properties they lived in were worth typically 1/2 to just 1/3 of their vacant open market value, i.e. what they'd be worth with no tenants living in them who could not be asked to leave. Such properties were virtually un-mortgageable. In recent years the s.21 process has been under increasing threat and steadily undermined a piece at a time (as has the entire private rental sector that to an extent depends on it). If anything, one of the best things the government could do (apart from repealing Osborne's dreadful and damaging 3% surcharge, and reinstating full tax relief for loan interest etc) would be to make it EASIER, not harder/impossible, to regain possession of properties if/when required. Most landlords bought the property to rent it out and if the tenant behaves and pays rent that's all they want. The s.21 is the "safety mechanism" for when there's a problem with the tenant but its too hard to prove or unlikely to succeed as a s.8 eviction, OR if the landlord's financial circumstances or plans change and s/he wishes/needs to sell. It's the landlord's property and the landlord should/MUST be able to regain possession on reasonable notice if/when required. Let's not return to "retro" tenancies based on the hopelessly flawed ideas of 1950s socialists!

From: Barry X 06 July 2018 11:04 AM

Barry X
It's not worth spending time plodding through point-by-point this utterly dishonest, out of touch and financially twisted (ok, plain dishonest) garbage reply. superficially only..... how the hell can taxing landlords on turnover instead of doing it more fairly on profit "benefit first time buyers"? Is the government handing over the money they've nabbed off us (deceitfully) to first time buyers to help them save a deposit or something? Thought not! In what way has the greedy, ill-conceived and over-complicating 3% surcharge SDLT helped first time buyers? In generally not in the slightest, I'm quite sure. Oddly enough, if you think carefully about the implications its probably worked against quite a few who anyhow can't afford to buy right now so still need to rent somewhere to live. Vote Tory - get Labour..... sadly we must accept betrayal from our weak-minded and incompetent government. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that (a) they are hostile to landlords and don't give a damn about the private rental sector - it seems to them we're here to be milked, fleeced and whilst at it blamed too, (b) the government are so bankrupt of useful, popular ideas, and are running so scared that they will be booted out in the next election that they are trying to re-invent themselves as the opposition in the hope of confusing a few "young" voters into backing them instead of the even more disastrous Labour party. It's a shame they don't seem to realise that they'd do so much better if only they showed strong, honest leadership with imaginative, well thought out policies that clearly have a good chance of working and being useful. They should have delivered properly from day-1 on Brexit, and just got on with it, instead of making it almost their full-time job to obstruct and delay it whilst also trying to magic it out of existence. Bunch of incompetent, untrustworthy idiots in my opinion. Still, what do I know?

From: Barry X 30 May 2018 11:54 AM

Barry X
I agree that "regulation creep" and it's ever increasing scope and complexity is a significant risk and threat for landlords. There seem to be a number of thrusts for it, including; (a) central government via HMRC taxing (fleecing, milking and generally exploiting) "sitting duck" residential landlords, and also (b) councils cashing in as much as possible with all sorts of licensing schemes etc that - to a cynic like me - appear to be entirely for collecting revenue ("licence fees") and generally do nothing whatsoever (except now and again for show and cover). And on top of that (c) Both main political parties trying to pander to the masses and pretend they are going to deliver cheap but delightfully modern ("state of the art" even") homes for them to buy "cheaply" or "affordably" and until that day (which won't come for most of them) deliver "cheap" or "affordable" or now "living wage" rental properties, also in tip top condition with all rights in favour of the tenant come what may, and the poor beleaguered landlords and agents totally bolloxed. What fun, what a sure-fire vote winner! "The People" will love it, and luckily few will realise its a pack of hollow un-deliverable promises to pacify them and woo their votes when the time comes and they are needed. The article generously repeats the - I think lie - that "The government have undertaken a range of measures to try and drive up standards in the rental industry" when really it seems to be far more about about winning votes and raising revenues.... if they REALLY cared about "standards" then I'm sure their new laws, rules and regulations would be rather different in focus and vastly better thought through and drafted.

From: Barry X 23 April 2018 12:03 PM

Barry X
The single room, typically at the front and over the hall, in an AVERAGE THREE BEDROOM semi-detached house, typically built in the 1930's, is usually around 2.4 m long and about 2.0 m wide, and therefore 4.8 sq m in total. Apart from the rental properties we have, our own house has such a room. It is (or was!) PERFECTLY NORMAL to have a single bed in such a room used by an adult, or alternatively a bunk bed in the same space used by two children (if of the same sex) right up until their mid teens.... so way above 10 years old and for two of them! Although the main double room is probably more than 10.22 sq m but the other one is quite likely to be something like 3.3 m x 3.0 m and therefore LESS than this arbitrary new "standard"..... so a perfectly normal 3 bedroom house (2x doubles + 1x single) that was built in the 1930s for families (typically up to 5 or even 6 adults back then) and has worked perfectly well for 85 years is now suddenly "unfit" and downgraded to being a 1x double + 1x single room (and the really single room can't be used anymore except for a cot or dog basket or something), for a max of 3 people! PLUS you have to be "licence" and pay for the privilege of being told how you can use your house! Great. By the way, where the hell do these people who make this stuff up get two decimal places from? How on earth can they mandate that a room 10.22 sq m is ok for 2 people over the age of 10 to sleep in but a room 10.21 sq m isn't? And what about if the "room" was a long corridor 1 m wide and 10.22 m long.....(with door at one end and a tiny window at the other)? Would THAT be ok for two adults to sleep in? Obviously it complies PERFECTLY with these utterly brilliant, well thought-out impositions. Genius.

From: Barry X 16 March 2018 14:36 PM

Barry X
It was the s.21 provisions of the 1988 Act that revolutioned the private rental sector and made possible what we have today. Before it EVERYONE renting was, in effect, a statutory or sitting tenant under hopelessly outdated legislation from the 50s and there was no incentive to modernise or even repair properties because rents were controlled so it made no difference, and you couldn't sell the property (except for about 1/3 of its open market value if empty) because it came with a tenant, and if that tenant died or moved out their next of kin were able to take over and carry on..... There's been a lot of legislation creep steadily eroding and undermining the s.21 in recent years, e.g. requirements to prove you've "protected" a security deposit, and also that your tenant hasn't recently grumbled about a maintenance issue - all of which should be irrelevant to the basic principle of who owns the property and if they want/need it back for any reason, e.g. to sell it. These are all SERIOUS THREATS to landlords' rights of property ownership/control and should never be allowed to slip off "the radar".... we should be lobbying relentlessly to educate stake holders and have this reversed, as well as prevent future/further attacks. If you've ever been to a property auction to watch bidding for a house or flat that was respectable looking on the outside, but a bit tatty on the inside, and you thought it would be an easy "project" to do up and turn around, then wondered why so few people were interested and went so cheaply you'd know immediately it was subject to a statutory tenancy of some sort or other and nobody could even get a mortgage for it! Such tenancies sometimes arise accidentally, and when they do they BLIGHT properties and effectively take control and usually most if not all of the equity in them from the owner/landlord.... If he/they could I'm sure Corbyn and his chums would be delighted to do that to ALL of your and our properties (but not his/theirs of course).... From time to time over the last few months I've come across well written well researched articles identifying various stated dreams, proposed policies and aspirations of a future Labour government. These include among other measures; (a) rent controls, (b) minimum 3-year fixed term residential tenancies, (c) land tax to try and force people to develop their land and fleece them while they don't, (d) more annual taxes on people who own BTL properties even in addition to more tax rents received and less allowances, (e) new "exits/sales" tax on disposals of BTL properties to be suddenly rushed in as soon as labour get in power to do the same sort of thing in reverse as the 3% SDLT surcharge for buying a "2nd home" so sellers would have to pay it too. Note this would be a tax on the sale price and would be IN ADDITION TO CGT that would still apply for the "profit" (a sour "haha" as that's really a tax mainly on inflation for those that understand, often reversing/negating real-terms profit if any), (f) increasing the 3% SDLT surcharge and maybe adding more rules and making it a bigger mess, (h) more regulation and red-tape to "control" private landlords via registration schemes on a property-by-property basis (with annual charges etc).... and so on and so on.... Maybe none of this will happen, but if even one or two of those measures, let alone all of them, slip quietly into force/place then, boy will both markets (sales as well as rental) and our businesses depending on it take a long-term hit! Of course the treacherous and increasingly desperate Tories (that I used to trust, but that was long ago) will adopt any, and as many, Labour policies they feel like in order to appeal to the young and/or stupid and hang on to a few votes or alternatively take a few new ones dangling as "low hanging fruit" they shouldn't be interested in. There's a famous Irish joke (I first heard years ago from a close Irish friend before an PC-fool complains).... when asked for directions to somewhere the solemn answer is "well, if I wanted to go there I wouldn't start from here....". Right now my advice is that if you'd like to invest in property then forget about the Uk entirely, go back 10-15 years in time, sell everything and pay the much lighter exit taxes applying in those happier days, then head for the Far East and put all your money and efforts into top quality new-builds in any one of the exciting and wonderful booming cities out there such as Bangkok, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, obviously HK could be on the list and many other places too. The food's better, the people are generally fantastic, there's none of the absurd UK planning neurosis, and of course red tape and tax and all the rest are massively in your favour in stead of against you and getting worse. No wonder the returns - and life style - are so much better! Sadly, I didn't listen to my wife when she actually predicted and suggested all this at the time and on and off ever since.....! MEANWHILE, stuck and trapped here in the UK as it slides further into oblivion..... I suggest landlords and others with a stake/interest in private rental property GET TOGETHER, GET ACTIVE and start to MAKE A STAND before it's even later and worse and harder to reverse even more of the same we're heading for.....

From: Barry X 28 December 2017 10:49 AM

Barry X
When he says "It is time to review Osborne’s tax changes on buy to let landlords" does that mean he will personally champion and work hard to accomplish the scrapping and reversal of those damaging taxes, all of them, especially the 3% surcharge SDLT and phasing out of mortgage interest relief (which I see as really being a phasing IN of taxing you for legitimate business expenditure and investment costs)? If 'yes he will' then then great. If not then its all just political posturing and hot air. Perhaps I'm just a cynic but I don't for a moment think his comments about introducing yet another tax, this time on empty properties (and cunningly calling it a "buy to leave" tax - very emotive and liberal sounding to me) was just an after thought that popped into his head while writing this. I personally think it's what this is all really about - sneaking in yet more tax without actually doing anything about the excessive and unfair burden we already have to bear. All his nice words - that we like to hear - are probably just political packaging to sweeten us and ensure that nobody (apart from people like me) notice what might really be going on. Let him put OUR money where his mouth is before we trust or back him! Incidentally - I've long been aware of the sneaky "long term empty" council tax surcharge. Not every agent, landlord or general property investor knows about it but everyone should. Long ago (after the poll tax fiasco) c/tax was introduced to pay for local services used by the people living in the property, and if nobody lived in the property there was nothing (ever) to pay. Then, to ensure people weren't taking advantage of that "loophole" councils started inspecting properties where the owners were claiming the exemption. Then they introduced the rule that it had to be unfurnished" as well as empty (which was awkward in some cases but fair enough). Then the exemption was limited to being available only for a maximum of 1 year, then 6 months, then a piffling 2 weeks, and now it isn't available at all. At the same time they are quietly phasing IN a council tax on empty properties - it's already there - if your property has been empty for more than 2 years (by even a day) you must now pay 50% MORE c/tax than a normal couple would pay, while living there, for local services. You should be able to see where this is going..... soon it will be charged where the property has been empty for over 1 year (not 2), then 6 months, then perhaps 2 weeks or maybe right away as soon as the tenants move out we'll be slapped with a 50% c/tax surcharge when we shouldn't have to pay anything at all. .....then, after a while, for "social" reasons, the surcharge will jump to 100%..... all of this is very wrong and very unfair.... why should landlords have to subsidies the local council and pay for their often poor financial management and silly projects? We MUST remember that as property owners we are sitting ducks or, to continue the farm-yard metaphor, seen by local and central governments as their live-stock to be milked, fleeced and - when they become desperate - eaten alive! It's time we did more than occasionally bleat or mew in protest at these indignities, perhaps it's time we learned to bite back, or maybe become some kind of skunks and leave the politicians who thought they could fleece, milk, or generally harvest us with such an awful and permanent sticking stain on their careers that it "encourages the others" to treat us with more care and respect? ....I dream on, knowing we're just sheep really.

From: Barry X 19 July 2017 11:06 AM

Barry X
As an ethical and responsible landlord I *used* to make an annual donation to Shelter thinking it was a good cause and believing that as someone in the property business it was the right thing to do to support an organisation that not only helped homeless people but - I thought - gave useful legal advice to tenants and perhaps helped them better understand not only their rights but also obligations. I did that from 1996 (when I started) until probably about 2009 or 2010. There are several reasons I not only abandoned my support for them but am happy to make often strongly negative comments about them. The main one being the way - in my opinion - they have become so political. Their politics seems to be one sided; usually focusing on generating adverse press and negativity against landlords who they appear always to distrust and view as 'in the wrong' or 'likely to be in the wrong' even though a great many - like us - certainly aren't, and all the tenants are depending on them. Worse still, in my opinion, Shelter have a long been canvassing and campaigning (in an either very misguided or more likely cynical and self-interested way) to bring more and more red tape and pointless legislation to the private rental sector. They also seem keen to erode and undermine landlords rights - I've written about this here before - Shelter (and generally most left wing organisations and politicians with an interest in rented property) seem to want to put the clock back to the time before s.21 notices allowing landlords to have their properties back, i.e. regain vacant possession, but (and this is vitally important) with "no fault" and "mandatory". Prior to that most tenants were in effect "sitting tenants" of one sort or another. It was the introduction of the Section 21 Notice (and even more so its further deregulation) that caused the whole rental market to blossom in this country, and finally made it worth while for people to invest in property *and* rent it out. Anyhow, it seems to be the way the world is going and there's probably not much we can do about it - certainly not during my "numbered days" anyhow. Oh well.

From: Barry X 26 June 2017 14:15 PM

Barry X
They're desperate for votes and these all seem to me to be just 'opportunistic' policies to try and gain votes from ignorant people who might believe this could all simply happen and then work for them in their favour. None of the people who cobbled these policy ideas together are likely to know anything at all about the private rental sector, let alone how or why its enormous expansion and diversity happened. Prior to the Housing Act 1988 coming into force more or less anyone renting residential property was a "sitting tenant", mainly under the 1954 Act or something similar. The 1988 Act, followed by a few tweaks and slightly more deregulation in the 1996 Act is what REALLY allowed it all to happen, with the potential for mandatory possession via a "section 21" (s21) notice, and all the rest. Rents could at last be 'fair open market' and not set by some out of touch committee (rent tribunal or whatever) that favoured tenants and didn't seem to have heard of inflation! It's fairly well known that a property let to a "sitting tenant" is worth about 1/3 of the open market value of exactly the same property with vacant possession, i.e. no sitting tenant. More or less the only people who can buy properties with sitting tenants are "professional investors" with cash, at auctions, because such properties are virtually unmortgageable. All the recent measures undermining the validity or enforceable of the s21, such as the "anti-retaliatory eviction" rules and requirements for landlords to prove they have "protected" deposits (when they were already protected by law anyhow), all those measures (and more to come, no doubt) are actually undermining the whole concept and basis of the modern private rental sector/market and returning it to the stagnant mess of the late 1970s and 1980s when there was no point or incentive for landlords to spend money on keeping properties looking 'smart' and up to date because it made no difference, and if you had a nice property you wouldn't consider renting it to anyone because you'd be a fool if you did! Also, all of these measures undermine the concept of property ownership and are, in my opinion, a sort of back door (pardon the pun), slow, stealthy and ultra-cheap way of indirectly accruing private property and turning it all into a sort of "social housing" under state and legislative control. Could be time to get out..... I've been thinking about that for quite a while myself and considering other, brighter, better things to do with what's left of my life. Good luck to new entrants - the long term prospects may not be as good as they once were in years gone by (with good capital growth, high rental yields and relatively low running and management costs). "Past performance is no indication of future potential" or something.

From: Barry X 18 May 2017 11:26 AM

Barry X
Whilst a publicly searchable "naming and shaming" database is a good idea in theory it is more likely to be (a) ineffective in solving any of the 'real' problems, just as the RLA rightly says, but worse still (b) various interest groups will probably find ways to abuse it, e.g. by using it to "name and shame" landlords who are (for whatever reasons) slow or perhaps reluctant to pay for various local authority "registration schemes" or perhaps in future (when it comes) decide not to pay to participate in LA sponsored "training" for landlords or something. If there were some magic wand that could be waved to enable the administrators of this proposed database to generate an up to date and accurate list of genuinely rouge landlords, such as those renting "beds in sheds", or operating demonstrably unsafe or overcrowded HMOs, then fine. But they already have powers to seek out and prosecute those landlords yet normally fail to find or deal with more than a tiny percentage. Personally I'm both skeptical and a little suspicious of this latest proposal. I'm watching for the various bogus excuses to justify then force it upon us, make us pay for it, then use it for purposes other than those it was claimed to be created to address. Most likely it'll be the start of, or a step towards, some sort of compulsory national registration scheme that every landlord (and letting agent of course) is suppose to pay to get onto the "white list"of, then keep paying to stay on. It will be interesting to see.

From: Barry X 27 April 2017 13:16 PM

Barry X
I've had exactly the same thing happen to me now and then..... various "job's worths" at the council dump (more grandly known as the "Household Reuse and Recycling Centre"). I have a small single-axle trailer and used to use it for clearing gardening waste, or very occasionally disposing of old furniture and mattresses and things (we rent unfurnished and sometimes tenants leave abandoned furniture behind that we don't want or need). The great thing about the trailer, apart from protecting the car from getting dirty, is you can get everything to the dump (yes, I still like to call it that) in a single journey, which is good from every point of view - saving me time, less journeys, less traffic (I suppose) and quicker and better for other users of the dump too (there's usually a queue and by using the trailer I'm in and out much quicker as it's so much easier to unload and I'm only there once instead of 3 or 4 times)..... AND, all of the waste I've ever taken to the dump on my trailer has ONLY been "domestic", i.e. garden waste and/or household furniture or whatever to dispose of, AND it has ONLY come from properties (I have a few) in the area that the "HRRC" serves and for which council tax has been not only paid but over paid since the council (like most, probably all, others in the UK also charges for "empty and unoccupied" properties that really should still be exempt as the whole point about c/tzx was it's supposed to pay for the services the residents are using and, quite obviously, when there are no residents nobody is using services .....and the "unfurnished" status of a property was originally only meant to demonstrate that nobody was living there - previously you only had to *say* nobody was living there but of course that got abused hence the need to start inspections to decide... it certainly isn't the furniture that is "using local services" other than perhaps the dump when thrown away! Anyhow, I almost never use my trailer anymore, which is a great shame, because they've made it so difficult and been so awkward, so instead I usually make multiple trips in my car which for some reason the council people seem to prefer. In summary: its household waste and c/tax has been paid not just in full but probably in excess during void periods. We should therefore be able to dispose of it at the dump as landlords since exactly the same items can be disposed of there by our tenants (if they wanted to or could be bothered) as they are the "residents". Incidentally, I once witnessed an argument between a handyman and the "job's worth" at the gate; apparently an elderly lady who was bed ridden had paid him to collect some items from her house to take to the dump for her but he wouldn't let him in because he was "trade". absurdly, he was telling him to take everything back to her and tell her she'd need to bring it herself (even though she couldn't even walk)! ....that's the sort of nonsense we're also dealing with her.

From: Barry X 06 December 2016 10:12 AM

Barry X
I agree with Luke P's comment above - exactly so. Nearly all charities turn out to be more political and meddling once they've been going for long enough and become big enough to forget what it was they were supposed to be doing in the first place. Most government agencies start out that way and seem to think it they're raison d'etre. Let's not even *start* talking about the "neutrality" of the BBC (I call them the ant-British Broadcasting Company) with their highly (obviously left-wing) political bias and endless peddling of propaganda and, well, lies. My mother was a volunteer for Citizen's Advice Bureau for a few years. Much as I love my mother I can't say I was impressed with some of what she was doing - very well intended though it was - for the CAB..... she was untrained and unqualified to give advice about tenancies or the law and everything was based mainly on prejudice and guesswork plus interpretation now and then of a few very generalised, vague and covertly politisised CAB leaflets. I was appalled at some of the advice she gave then told me about, e.g. some tenants who'd damaged a property, owed rent and left without giving notice (and apparently either abandoning some furniture of theirs or leaving it there for "storage" in the hoe of being able to come back for it later if a friend with a car could help them move it). My mother took pity on them because they were a "young couple" and in her opinion they had just been "silly" which, being all heart, she felt obviously anyone could be.... told them not to worry about the damage they'd done, even though they admitted it to her and said it had been a concern to them, because "the landlord would have trouble proving it was them", and not to worry about the furniture or fact they hadn't even cleaned the flat because "nobody would be moving in for a while anyhow so it shouldn't matter" and as for not giving notice "the landlord should accept that anyone can make a mistake and they'll know better next time". I think however that if the landlord had gone to see her and been wearing scruffy clothes and looking sad she might have felt sorry for him (if he was lucky, and even though he was a landlord) and given very different advice for the same situation! Oh well.

From: Barry X 28 October 2016 11:51 AM

Barry X

From: Barry X 13 October 2016 09:46 AM

Barry X
sorry about this rather long post - not sure if anyone will bother reading it but never mind - I'll make my comments.... Although I agree there may well be a long term objective on the part of various councils (especially labour ones) to ultimately take over private sector property to replace the sold-off council stock I think there is a much simpler, much shorter term objective and I think it should be glaringly obvious; the councils just see us (landlords) as sitting ducks owning properties and unable to flay away, if you'll forgive me for stretching the metaphor - although they'd love to fleece and milk us which makes it a more complicated mixed-metaphor! but the way they are going they will ultimately cook the goose and/or simply kill the goose that they'd hoped would keep laying them golden eggs, or something.... The point is they are simply hell-bent on taking money from us as they see us as an easy and more or less defenseless target. Look at the facts; disgracefully and dishonestly, across the country they've phased out council tax exemptions for empty and unoccupied properties.... from no time limit, to 1 year, to 6 months, for a while to a farcical 2 weeks and currently nothing. But don't believe for a moment that's the end of it.... oh no and far from it, their feeble excuse (lie) for ripping us off this way was to "incentivise" us to "bring unused properties back into use"! In reality they LOVE unocuppied proerties because they are now receiving 100% c/tax for them without having to provide a service to anyone! If a single person was living in the property they'd have to (grudgingly) allow a 25% discount while actually having to do something for the money. The next stage, already long planned incidentally, is to charge us A PREMIUM on c/tax for unoccupied properties! I read about this almost 3½ years ago as a suggestion from a left wing "think tank". For example they're thinking they might get away with charging perhaps 150%, or even more (or again phase it in starting with a 15% "surcharge" or whatever we might be stupid enough to have the "appetite" to swallow) on a daily basis for empty properties! You have been warned - you've now read about this up-coming scam right here. In theory c/tax is supposed to be collected from the people who use the services, in practice they'll take it from anyone they can get it from. We own quite a few properties and typically have several short rental voids a year - we used to use those periods for repairs and renewals but not anymore - now we try to work around tenants while they are living there, even if it annoys them a bit and is inconvenient! Otherwise we'd have to pay even more of this nasty landlord stealth tax. It surprises me how very little there has been in the press about all this - virtually nothing compared to the discussion (sadly dying down now) about other dishonest stealth taxes like phasing out tax relief on mortgage interest even though this results in taxing on gross turnover rather than net profit and so is a radical change from the fundamental principle of "income" tax - imagine if, for example, restaurants were not allowed to claim food or the gas or electricity they used to cook it with as allowable expenses? So..... given that these greedy, or perhaps just desperate, councils are simply after our money on any-old pretext, why not also scam us for "licensing schemes", selective or otherwise, and if possible more than one applying to each property in the end, e.g. one for "health and safety" and other for "landlord competence/compliance" another for "social impact" etc? Obviously absolutely none of the schemes will achieve any useful benefit or result for tenants or the public or indeed anyone else except of course for the council pocketing all the juicy annual fees (and having the full force of the law to back them up at the tax payers' expense and certainly not theirs). All of this is an utter disgrace but not in any way remotely unexpected or difficult to understand. Only wide-scale, well organised, well funded and long-term sustained rebellion has any chance against such forces, and I fear they will wear us all down and win in the long run. Sadly, history seems to teach us that. But the more hassle we can give them and the longer we can hold out the better! I probably don't have that long left to live (currently a cancer survivor) so from my selfish point of view just a few more years at the most should do it - but my legacy to the world (if I make any at all) might be to inspire others to fight on!

From: Barry X 10 October 2016 13:02 PM

Barry X
I seem to remember there was once an advert for something or other, with the strapline or slogan "a million American women can't be wrong" , but it turned out that they were and the product was seriously harmful! (I tried googling it just now but was disappointed not to be able to find it - perhaps someone with a better memory can help?)..... ....anyhow, if a million American women can be wrong (and often are) then it's even easier to see how a mere ¼ million English tenants can be living in a dream-world cocoon where a benign, loving and trustworthy government (or 'BLTG' for short) has the power, foresight and skill to make naughty, greedy Lettings Agents (hisss, booo) continue to invest in their businesses, buying or renting offices, keeping up to date with all the latest legislation (which this fantasy 'BLTG' churns out in even vaster quantities than does our real-life, fairly useless, self-interested and incompetent government) and best of all the 'BLTG' makes all those horrid agents WORK FOR FREE as some sort of big favour to Tenants everywhere (and presumably it's ok, because the agents are all living on welfare payouts from the 'BLTG' and chose to work for free as agents just for the love and fun of it, instead of going fishing or staying at home watching tv to pass the time or perhaps playing computer games)..... yes, Utopia at its best (for those that can't think very far)..... and #of course it would work, and the tenants would never pay extra'.... ....and her next petition? Obviously to bring in legislation to force landlords to provide accommodation for free, but obviously still pay the same tax they would have done IF they had been allowed to make a profit, or better still make them pay more (and pretend its to ensure "fairness and transparency" or something)!!!!! Yeah, sure, more pointless legislation, yawn.... when does the next landlord/agent-express leave for another country?

From: Barry X 18 April 2016 16:18 PM

Barry X
....and a "victim surcharge"..... once again I can't help wondering who the real "victim" is here (certainly not the council or the public at large). No doubt now Waltham Forest council has forcibly extracted this money from her they will use it to "improve living standards" in the house she has been apparently successfully and quietly renting for the last 11 years..... no? I thought not! Presumably too, the mere fact of her being forced to pay for this licence (and WF's costs in extorting it from her) will now somehow magically prevent (or at the very least reduce) anti-social behaviour somewhere or other, perhaps even in her own rental property? No? again, I thought not! What better sector to target for such a scam than us, the not especially popular and also largely helpless sitting-duck-Private-Landlords...?... yes, we're easy pickings for central and local governments alike and they know it and are onto us. I'm starting to think that maybe, contrary to my usual politics, we should organise ourselves into a very militant and alarming landlord's union and when there are enough of us to safely fight back we should start organising carefully planned and well thought out c/tax strikes and of course all of us should absolutely refuse to participate in any of their daft and fraudulent "licencing schemes" that appear to be designed purely and simply to take money from us while doing absolutely nothing useful or relevant, let alone of value or importance, for anyone. I think it disgraceful enough that c/tax exemptions have been systematically phased out over the last few years (now there is none, whereas once there was quite rightly no c/tax to pay for empty and unfurnished properties - for a year, then reduced to 6 months, then a token 2 weeks and now abolished, and no doubt with "surcharges", e.g. 150% to pay in future to "incentivise" us to "bring our empty properties back into use for hard working families" or whatever similarly emotive lies they will use to justify the next step in their endless and escalating campaign of fleecing us).

From: Barry X 21 March 2016 11:26 AM

Barry X
It's bizarre.... now we have a Tory majority it turns out we really have a Liberal not Conservative government! It seems dishonest-Dave was a crypto- liberal all along and is now using Tory votes to force through socialist legislation and changes. He and his cronies are essentially dictators with no regard or respect for the people who were duped into electing them, and so it's not surprising that don't give a damn about Andrew Goldthorpe's concerns and feel at liberty (being liberals) to casually dismiss him and insult his (and our) intelligence with their double-speak lying response. Slapping a 3% SDLT surcharge on to BTL purchases wasn't designed to create buying opportunities for "families who can’t afford a home" (in general it will make next to no difference to them if they already can't afford to "buy a home"). It was designed to fleece the sitting duck (a mixed metaphor for which I apologise!) of private rental sector landlords. And note their devious double-speak claim that they "...we’ll reinvest SOME of that money in local communities..." which is coded language to explain that they need this money for other things and will not spend any of it (apart from perhaps some token amount if vote catching or news worthy) on doing anything to help so-called "families who can't afford to buy a home". But there's more..... We've been hit by several other huge anti-BTL, anti-private rental sector stealth-tax hikes too.... some that seem to have slipped passed most people unnoticed, e.g. the disgraceful phasing out of the fair and necessary exemption from COUNCIL TAX for EMPTY UNFURNISHED AND UNOCCUPIED PROPERTIES. We are now being forced to pay literally thousands of pounds a year in c/tax for properties between tenancies. It is despicable and utterly unfair! There used to be, quite rightly, a complete exemption - as c/tax (that replaced rates and, temporarily, the unpopular "poll tax") was designed to collect money to pay for local services the people living there were using or could use. Empty flats and houses don't these services so why should they now be paying for them. Illogically the 1 year exemption that was reduced to a 6 month exemption and then - pathetically - a 2 week exemption was abolished altogether on the grounds that this way "Landlords can now support some of the most vulnerable people in the community" (that was what our local council claimed in their covering letter when writing to us to explain away this latest stealth-tax hike). And there's more to come..... the next step will of course be to hit us all with a SURCHARGE COUNCIL TAX RATE (perhaps double or even triple) to "encourage" us to "bring empty properties back into use". Another blatant lie, of course, since who wants to have an empty rental property... the council probably does because they are now taxing us for it without having to provide any service for that money! (Imagine the outrage if commuters who took the day off work because they were unwell were forced to pay train fares for journeys they didn't take, perhaps having to pay a surcharge of more than the normal cost, and the greedy cash-strapped council claimed it was doing this to encourage them back to work or something!)

From: Barry X 25 January 2016 10:00 AM

Zero Deposit Zero Deposit Zero Deposit