Posts with tag: NLA

National Residential Landlords Association merger complete

Published On: April 2, 2020 at 8:46 am


Categories: Landlord News

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After announcing their plans for a merger in August 2019, the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have now officially become the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

Jodi Berg OBE will head the newly created NRLA. She has spent 30 years working within the management of public and public interest bodies, gaining expertise in board governance, commercial negotiation and mergers.

Following an early career as a solicitor, she entered the ombudsman world specialising in resolving disputes and complaints, acting as the Independent Complaints Reviewer for HM Land Registry and housing sector regulators, the Housing Corporation and the Tenant Services Authority.

Her Board experience includes a non-executive directorship of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and chairmanship of public bodies including an NHS Trust, the Administrative Justice Forum and a probation service. 

National Residential Landlords Association
Jodi Berg OBE will head the newly created National Residential Landlords Association

Announcing the appointment, Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive said: “Jodi comes to us with a wealth of experience of Board leadership and the lettings industry, gained over decades in the business and we are delighted to have her on board. 

“While we are operating under unprecedented circumstances at present, we would like to reassure members that we are here to support them through these unchartered waters and that, as a united organisation, we are stronger together.”

Jodi Berg comments: “I think the new NRLA has a bright future and it is great to be on board from day one.

“As an association, we now represent more than 80,000 landlords and the more we grow this number, the stronger our voice will be. We need to encourage landlords to come together and support each other and work with other areas of the sector to bring about positive change for both landlords and tenants.”

Jodi takes over from Adrian Jeakings at the NLA and Alan Ward at the RLA, who remain on the NRLA board.

The merger was approved by RLA and NLA members in a members’ vote last year.

Government announces three-month mortgage payment holiday

Published On: March 19, 2020 at 10:28 am


Categories: Finance News,Landlord News

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The Government is to offer coronavirus-affected mortgage holders a three month payment holiday.

In a joint statement, the RLA and the NLA said: “Our priority is to ensure that tenants are secure in their homes during this crisis. The three-month buy-to-let mortgage payment holiday will take a lot of pressure off landlords enabling them to be as flexible as possible with tenants facing difficulties with their rent payments.

“No responsible landlord will be considering evicting tenants because of difficulties arising from the current situation. There does need to be some flexibility though such as with dealing with a tenant engaging in anti-social behaviour.

“This could cause misery for fellow tenants or neighbours especially when they are going to be spending a lot of time together.

“We would like to see further measures taken including pausing the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax due in April.

“In addition, we need to do all we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There should be national guidelines for local authorities to suspend routine inspections of properties and a temporary halt on enforcement action where landlords are unable to fulfill certain required obligations because of the health risk posed to them, tenants and contractors.”

Henry Jordan, Director of Mortgages for Nationwide Building Society, comments: “As the UK’s second-largest buy-to-let mortgage provider we feel it is important to extend protection to landlords and their tenants during this uncertain period.

“We have extended mortgage payment holidays to include rental properties so that landlords with tenants who are unable to meet rental payments because of coronavirus are protected as much as possible.

“These payment breaks will be able to be arranged via The Mortgage Works – Nationwide’s buy-to-let arm. We would encourage tenants to speak to their landlords if they are impacted or worried about coronavirus to ensure that steps can be taken to support them at this time.”

Franz Doerr, founder and CEO of flatfair, comments: “It is pleasing to see that the government is taking measures to ensure landlords are protected during this crisis with a three month mortgage holiday, but support must also be offered to tenants as well, who may very well be unable to make their payments in the months ahead.

“The impacts of Covid 19 are just becoming visible and it is crucial that everyone pulls together to help us all come through this.”

Chris Sykes, mortgage consultant at Private Finance, the mortgage broker, comments: “While many holiday plans are in disarray, mortgage borrowers will welcome a break from monthly repayments in the current climate.

“The biggest beneficiaries are likely to be customers who are self-employed or have little saved to help them through these challenging times. A mortgage holiday will ease concerns about loss of earnings if people are isolated for any period or if their working hours are reduced due to business closures.

“This flexible relief is an intelligent move for both lenders and borrowers. Lenders will reduce the risk of having ‘bad debt’ on their books if customers miss payments without taking a mortgage holiday, which can reflect poorly on their business and make it harder to raise finance in future.

“Customers can rest easier by avoiding the danger that a missed payment creates a blemish on their credit profile which lasts longer than the current pandemic and limits their borrowing options for three years or more.

“Customers need to be mindful that pre-emptive action will be key to making the most of a mortgage holiday. It will be important to agree deferred payments with their lender in advance, so they are not recorded as missed.

Andy Foote, director at SevenCapital comments: “This evening’s (18th March) measures announced by the Government will be welcomed by landlords and tenants alike. We heard measures yesterday designed to protect landlords through mortgage relief over a period of three months.

“It’s extremely good news, and I’m sure there will be thousands who will breathe a huge sigh of relief, to hear that any renters affected, who as a result are unable to pay their rent during this period will also be protected.

“It’s also highly encouraging to see that this legislation has been extended to both the social and private rented sector, where there are many landlords and tenants who may be impacted by these events and unsure about their payments in this unprecedented situation.

“During a tough period of time, as the Prime Minister himself said, “it would not be right for people to be penalised as a direct result of following government advice”.

“The information that appears to be missing, however, with regards to mortgage relief, is whether landlords who run their properties through limited companies will be protected under this legislation or whether there are alternate business measures being put in place that will cover this.

“We await further developments over the next few days.”

Support needed for tenants hit by the coronavirus

Published On: March 17, 2020 at 9:27 am


Categories: Tenant News

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Package to support tenants hit by coronavirus

The country’s leading landlord organisations are calling for a package of measures from Government and mortgage lenders to support tenants and landlords affected by the coronavirus.

In a joint statement, the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association said: “We are encouraging all landlords to work positively with tenants to provide support where needed throughout this difficult period. Landlords should be as flexible as they can to help tenants facing payment difficulties resulting from the impact of the coronavirus. 

“To support landlords in this we are calling for a package of measures from Government and mortgage providers. This includes a temporary scrapping of the five-week wait before Universal Credit claimants get their first payment, pausing the final phase of restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax and ensuring lenders look sympathetically on requests by landlords for mortgage payment holidays where their income is being affected through reduced or non-payment of rent.”

Emergency measures to protect people facing homelessness in the coronavirus outbreak

On top of this, homelessness charity Crisis is calling on national governments and local councils to take emergency measures to ensure people experiencing homelessness can access self-contained accommodation with private bathrooms.

The charity is deeply concerned that the measures set out don’t go far enough. Crucially, the current COVID-19 guidance fails to include measures to enable people who are sleeping rough, or living in shelters and hostels, to self-isolate.

People experiencing homelessness, particularly those rough sleeping, are particularly vulnerable in this outbreak. They are three times more likely to experience a chronic health condition including asthma and COPD.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “The guidance we have received to-date is inadequate. It fails to set out a plan for how people experiencing homelessness can self-isolate in this outbreak.

“We need emergency action to protect people in this very vulnerable situation – this must include testing and access to housing. Let’s not forget that the average age of death of someone who is homeless is 45, substantially lower than the general population. Given the obvious vulnerability, the only answer can be to provide housing that allows people to self-isolate.”

Crisis is calling for the following measures to be taken as a matter of urgency:

  • People sleeping rough and living in hostel and shelter accommodation to have rapid access to healthcare assistance and appropriate housing 
  • Assistance from national governments to secure hotel-style accommodation to meet the increased need   
  • Removal of legal barriers so that anyone who is at risk of, or is already homeless, can access self-contained accommodation
  • Provide additional financial support through the Universal Credit system to ensure people are not pushed to the brink of homelessness
  • Protect renters from evictions by temporarily suspending the use of Section 21 and Section 8 evictions

The charity is calling for the Westminster Government to ringfence a proportion of the £5bn fund announced in the Budget last week to fight Covid-19 for local authorities to help deliver these measures.

Crisis is also calling for national governments and local councils to ensure that frontline workers in homelessness organisations are recognised as an emergency service as part of their response to COVID-19.

Government should listen to suggestions of how to halt decline in rental housing

Published On: February 18, 2020 at 9:19 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The decline in the supply of rental housing remains an issue in the UK, and landlords say the Chancellor needs to use his first Budget to take immediate action.

More properties are being sold by landlords than purchased, and others are making the decision to switch to short-term holiday lets for tax reasons. Therefore, unless action is taken, tenants are going to find it increasingly hard to find the home they want.

Investment in new rental properties has been slowed by the introduction of measures such as the 2016 3% Stamp Duty levy, knocking the confidence of landlords across the country.

The drain in rental accommodation is only made worse by an incentivisation from the tax system for landlords to switch their properties to short-term lets. As a result, ARLA Propertymark is warning that almost half a million homes could be made unavailable for tents in need of long-term homes to rent.

In their submission for the Budget, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the National Landlords Association (NLA) argue that the tax system entirely contradicts the Government’s housing objectives.

The RLA and the NLA are calling for a fundamental review of the way rented housing is taxed to ensure that tax policy supports, rather than contradicts, government objectives. Their proposal is for the Stamp Duty levy to be dropped where landlords add to the net supply of housing through developing new properties. This includes bringing empty homes back into use or converting large properties into smaller, more affordable units of accommodation.

The associations also propose that tenants are supported into homeownership by introducing a Capital Gains Tax exemption for when landlords sell a property to a sitting tenant.

In addition, they are calling for tax relief for landlords investing in measures to improve the energy efficiency of a rented property or those who let adapted properties long-term to tenants with accessibility needs.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, comments: “The tax system for rented housing is failing. It encourages the provision of holiday homes over long-term properties to rent, it deters investment in new housing and provides no support to those wanting to make energy efficiency improvements. 

“For the sake of those living in rented housing or who are looking for accommodation, Ministers need to use the Budget to urgently change course to ensure that their tax policies are positively aligned with their wider housing objectives to encourage good landlords to provide long-term affordable housing.”

Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the NLA, said: “The tax system with which landlords must contend is no-longer fit for purpose. HM Treasury has constructed a series of barriers to investment, which make running an efficient and successful lettings business borderline impossible.

“As he prepares his first Budget, we hope that the Chancellor will take the opportunity to use taxation to encourage investment in new and existing homes alike. Mr Sunak must recognise that housing costs can only be reduced by making it easier, not harder, to provide good quality rented homes.  

“The emphasis must be on finding solutions and encouraging investment across tenures amongst a diverse range of providers.”

New Welsh government budget sees increase in housing funding

Published On: December 19, 2019 at 10:21 am


Categories: Property News

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The Welsh government has said that housing and local government would receive a big spending boost, second only to health and social services. They plan to spend £2bn over five years, allowing for 20,000 new affordable homes to be built.

However, this boost is still below 2010 levels according to Finance Minister Rebecca Evans. The budget also sees a freeze of the Housing Support Grant, which helps people avoid becoming homeless, remaining at £127m a year.

Evans went on to say: “Despite a decade of austerity, we have consistently prioritised our NHS. Even though our like-for-like funding remains below 2010 levels, this Budget strives for a greener, equal and prosperous Wales.”

The Welsh government budget is funded mostly by the Conservative UK Government, but with the addition of Welsh income tax. It is managed by Wales’ Labour-led devolved government.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for The Economy and Finance, Rhun Ap Iorwerth had this to say on the matter: “Local government is still not being given the level of funding it so desperately needs to deliver crucial front line public services.

“The £140m package for low carbon transport is not nearly ambitious enough and such a small package in the face of such a colossal global climate crisis shows that this Labour government isn’t taking the issue seriously enough.”

The budget includes an extra £95.6m for decarbonisation efforts, as part of a wider investment in the environment, totalling over £140m. £36m of which will be put aside to increase the energy efficiency of 25,000 homes through the Nest and Arbed schemes.

£400,000 will be available to tackle fuel poverty in vulnerable households across the region. 

The National Landlords’ Association (NLA) has welcomed the Welsh government budget.

Gavin Dick, local authority policy officer at the NLA said: “The NLA welcomes the Welsh government’s commitment to supporting decarbonisation in their budget.

“We will continue to work with the Welsh Government to deliver a better private rented sector and deliver the decarbonisation that is required.

“We encourage the Welsh government to further facilitate the improvement of energy efficiency by introducing building passports, which would detail the upgrades that are required to property, and a publicly-accessible repository of best practice for upgrading different types of homes.

“Together, these will support landlords and property owners to be better informed about the changes they can make to their properties and ease the way to reaching the highest possible energy efficiency rating.”

Communication and relationships key for private rental sector

An industry roundtable recently discussed the needs of tenants and landlords in the private rental sector (PRS). The main outcome was that organisations need to work more closely to bring about meaningful change.

The roundtable was attended by representatives across the PRS including Nationwide Building Society, Fair Housing Futures, Countrywide, ARLA PropertyMark, Connells Group, NLA, RLA, Generation Rent, and the Nationwide Foundation.

They discussed underlying issues in the PRS and how the landlord-tenant relationship could be improved. It was agreed that most importantly there needs to be a level of trust between landlords and their tenants.

The group felt tenants should be able to report issues without fear of eviction, and that landlords are confident their properties are being looked after. All agreed that the following steps could help achieve this:

  • Make tenancy documents easy to understand: Contracts should be easily readable, translatable and clearly and accessibly highlight the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.
  • Role of lettings agents: More should be done to ensure that lettings agents understand and facilitate the necessary regulation at play in the rental process. It was agreed that full mandatory government regulation of lettings agents is the quickest and most effective method to eliminate unprofessional, unqualified and unethical agents from the property sector.
  • Improved, simplified sources of information: There should be a single point of contact for landlords and tenants where they can seek qualified, straightforward advice regarding their respective rights and responsibilities. Giving local authorities the resources to employ more dedicated Tenancy Support Officers was discussed as was the perceived benefits of a single information portal, replacing the current system where information for both parties is scattered across different Government and sector websites, where there is no standard benchmark of quality.
  • A review of insurance products on offer in the sector: There is potentially scope for more use of insurance in the sector, particularly landlords’ insurance as a route to mitigating risk and building trust. Insurance products available to landlords should also be reviewed to ensure they do not contain restrictions such as “no DSS clauses”, and to ensure that they do not inadvertently trigger unnecessary evictions.

A number of issues were discussed which were not uniformly supported but were discussed in a rounded way. These included:

  • A change in language: The current language used to discuss the private rental sector is outdated and has the potential to encourage stigma. Some took the view that the use of new terms like ‘home provider’ and ‘resident’ could encourage respectful relationship-building between both parties.
  • More effective regulation: Some attendees felt strongly that respect and trust could not be developed between landlord and tenant without a robust regulatory framework offering tenants protection from unfair eviction, and potentially recriminatory rent increases.
  • Scrapping Section 21: Some present contested that Section 21 should not be scrapped and that doing so would not necessarily resolve any of the outstanding issues within the sector, including property standards and tenancy length issues. However, others present argued in favour of scrapping Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions in order to give tenants increased security in their homes. Nationwide Building Society, Crisis, and Generation Rent all support scrapping Section 21, with Nationwide requested it is abandoned in tandem with the creation of a specialised housing court.

Paul Wootton, Nationwide Building Society’s Director of Home Propositions, said: “It was great to convene such a positive and collaborative discussion with people representing different parts of the sector. 

“I feel very optimistic about how we can take this conversation forward, and work to ensure that the private rented sector works for everyone. Nationwide members are both renters and landlords, and we’re keen to ensure that both parties get a fair deal from the sector.”