Sunday, 10 January 2010

2010 - Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to everyone visiting

As the picture from NASA shows the New Year has started with ice and snow covering virtually all of Great Britain. Let's hope it's not a vision of things to come throughout 2010!

This year is bound to see changes to the lettings industry, not least because there will be a General Election. One of the first challenges landlords face is the proposed changes to Buy-to-Let mortgages. The Government is currently consulting on whether to make Buy-to-Let mortgages a fully regulated product like residential mortgages.

According to one recent survey the lack of mortgage competition is the number one concern for landlords and yet very few landlords we have talked to understand the implications of regulating Buy-to-Let mortgages. We will return to this topic in future Blogs and keep you posted on how this consultation progresses.

Interest rates are at record low levels and whilst they show no immediate sign of increasing the next Government and the Bank of England will have to eventually address this issue. There is a widespread feeling that as interest rates inevitably rise the pressure on homeowners and landlords will become even more intense. The fear is that many more homeowners and landlords will default as rates rise.

With UK Government debt at an all time high there is also no doubt that we all face higher tax bills in the near future, whichever party wins the election. HMRC (the Taxman) has made it clear that they view landlords suspiciously and feel that many landlords are simply not paying all the tax they should. We have reported on this in the past and although HMRC deny targeting landlords we expect this clampdown on landlord taxation to continue in 2010.

There are currently over 70 pieces of legislation that affect landlords and we expect that number will increase. In addition we expect that regulators will continue to apply that legislation more vigorously. It is clear from the conversations that we have with landlords that many simply do not understand the full range of legislation that affects them. This leaves landlords vulnerable to prosecution and fines plus loss of income. For example, far too many landlords are unaware of the legislation surrounding tenant deposits, gas safety checks and EPCs.

In short, far too many landlords ignore the fact that they are running a business, irrespective of the number of properties they own.

Ignorance of the law is no defence and the fact is that tenants often know the law better than the landlord. We are seeing increasing numbers of landlords facing claims from tenants who are using the law to win substantial sums from landlords. will continue to work hard throughout 2010 to help landlords run their businesses profitably and safely. We will continue to offer nationally negotiated products and services designed to save you money and time.

In addition, The Landlord Resource Centre will provide you with FREE help and advice. The Landlord Resource Centre is the largest free on-line resource available to landlords in the UK. Contained within The Landlord Resource Centre is all the information you need to know to let property safely, complete with hundreds of links to further information.

At the end of last year we also launched The Business Directory which lists local and regional businesses who want to work with landlords and letting agents. Businesses such as Plumbing & Heating Engineers, Electricians and Solicitors are now starting to use this Directory to advertise their services to you. If you're looking for help please check out The Business Directory, it could save you time and money.

We will use this Blog to bring you more, relevant news throughout 2010. Landlords we have surveyed told us that they don't have the time to search for news. Don't worry, we'll bring it to you.

Don't forget to read the emails we send to landlords and agents. If you do not receive our regular email newsletters please email or telephone 01352 721300 and we will make sure that you are added to our mailing list.

Also, don't forget The Landlords Club, the FREE forum for everybody involved in lettings. You are not alone, there are over 1 million landlords in the UK and The Landlords Club enables you to share ideas, experience and help. Best of all it's free, all you have to do is register and you can post on The Landlords Club as often as you like. offers all landlords and agents Free Advertising, nationally discounted products and services, local and regional businesses, quick access to news, an industry forum and the UK's largest free on-line source of help and advice. No matter what 2010 brings we are here to help you run your business profitably and safely.

We wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.