The Government’s proposed
Section 21 ban is a “short-sighted move”, according to Marc Trup, the CEO
and Founder of proptech firm Arthur Online.
With so many changes affecting
the private rental sector and further proposals outlined by the Government, we
decided to interview Marc about the upcoming challenges facing landlords and
how they can overcome them.
Read on for his expert opinions…
Q. Is it now easier or more difficult to let properties?
A. I have found no difference in the
London area, where I operate my rentals. If the price is right and the property
in a good location, property will always get rented. All I can say is prices
are at 2008 levels in my area.
Q. Do you think that buy-to-let will remain profitable in the future – why?
A.Difficult question. If you only plan to invest in one or two
properties, I’d say no. But, as a business with a growing portfolio, there is
still potential to profit from buy-to-let. If you’re in this as a yield play,
then it’s a fine line. If you believe in capital growth, then yes, but there may
be better places to put your money.
Q. What are your
thoughts on the Section 21 ban?
think it is a very short-sighted move by the Government. Landlords are already
being bombarded with penalising new legislation and landlords want to feel assured
that they can repossess their property, should a tenant refuse to pay rent. The
lack of available housing is already becoming a national scandal, so the last
thing the private rental sector needs is landlords being forced out of
Q. How do you think proptech will
help landlords to stay compliant ahead of new law changes?
proptech is the first step for landlords to ensure they are offering more
transparent and consistent levels of service. Automation offers many new and
exciting opportunities in proptech, eliminating any risk of human error. For
example, using automated events, you can notify Council Tax and utilities of a
new tenant, so that all the tenancy information is kept up to date. You can
also set reminders so that you know when to renew your property’s gas safety certificate and, that way, always stay in line
Q. How has the rise of proptech
changed the property industry?
Proptech is all about interconnected solutions, with everything you need all in
one place. Property
management software on the market currently offers a way to seamlessly
integrate core operational systems, allowing better collaboration across teams
and departments, enhancing their efficiency and flexibility to meet greater
demand. Proptech offers a way to scale business operations, while reducing
Q. What do you think the next year
holds for landlords?
think it depends on the uncertainty around Brexit. If we know where it’s going,
the property market can prepare for whatever the outcome. I guess we’ll just
have to wait and see what the future holds. The outcome of Section 21 is also
something to watch out for. I believe that if powers granted to landlords to evict tenants in Section 8 are strengthened, scrapping Section
21 shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to good landlords. However, if the right
to sell with vacant possession is not maintained, I fear there may be a
substantial number of landlords leaving the sector for good.
Q. If landlords leave the sector as a result of Government
intervention, how will the housing market adapt to high tenant demand?
A. Good question. The sector is bringing in build to rent
and there is an increasing number of smaller units – Houses in Multiple
Occupation (HMOs) – time will tell how these work out. HMOs offer cheaper
accommodation but with greater churn, as tenants strive to afford large
accommodations. It is certainly an interesting time.
Q. Do you have any advice for those
looking to enter the buy-to-let sector?
those looking at entering the sector, my advice would be, be very careful. A
lot has changed in the property sector within the last couple of years. Before
you invest, I would urge you to get clued up about new rules and regulations
around tenants, such changes to HMO licensing, and changes that are coming or
are likely to come, so that you aren’t breaking any laws.
Marc Trup is the
Founder and CEO of Arthur Online
After selling his business to BUPA in 1998, Marc started
investing in rental properties in London. Over the next 15 years, Marc grew his
portfolio to over 85 properties. While successful, self-managing his portfolio
became increasingly difficult. Following a long search, he found that nothing
quite cut the mustard. So, being an entrepreneur, he started Arthur Online to
make not only his life easier, but also that of other property managers.