Posts with tag: RLA

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.

Will change to electrical safety regulations leave tenants at risk?

Published On: February 25, 2020 at 9:08 am


Categories: Law News

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The introduction of new electrical safety regulations raises the prospect of high-risk rental properties not being covered by a legally binding requirement for landlords to carry out regular checks.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is concerned that the changes due to come into force on 1st June 2020 will affect the standards of some rental properties. They will immediately remove the obligation for landlords to carry out electrical safety checks in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). This obligation will only apply to a renewed tenancy, to begin with, and then for all others as of April 2021.

 This will leave some rental properties under no legally binding electrical safety regime for the interim period, leaving tenants without the assurance that properties are safe.

The new plans have been presented to Parliament for agreement. They contain weaker penalties for landlords failing to keep the properties they rent safe. They could also complicate the process by which local authorities can issue penalties, making them more difficult to enforce.

The RLA has now written to the Ministry of Housing to express its concerns about the loophole being created for irresponsible landlords who otherwise would not carry out these checks. The association is calling on the Government to delay the implementation of the new framework to provide time to address the problems being called.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Good landlords don’t need to be told to carry out safety checks but these changes to regulations leave tenants vulnerable to those landlords who are not so responsible. It is essential for the safety of tenants that the loophole being created is closed and we urge the Government to delay implementation until that happens.”

Short-term lets market growth is hurting renters looking for homes

Published On: February 24, 2020 at 9:22 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Finding access to long-term homes to rent is becoming more difficult for tenants, including many with children. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says this is due to Government policy driving landlords to move into the holiday lettings market.

This warning comes as new figures show that Airbnb accommodation now accounts for one in four property listings in some parts of the country. It was also recently that ARLA Propertymark published a study that found nearly half a million properties could be left unavailable for longer-term rent, as more landlords exit the market in favour of short-term lettings.

The RLA has been campaigning on this issue since 2016. The association believes that the main reason why it has escalated is the change in taxation for landlords, which is driving many out of the long-term sector.

The full impact of the restriction of mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax applies from April, making many landlords significantly worse off or even unable to make a profit on their lettings. The RLA points out that this change does not apply to landlords with short-term lets, encouraging long-term landlords to move into that market.

Along with the 3% Stamp Duty levy on the purchase of extra housing and other measures affecting landlords’ confidence in the market, there is mounting evidence that this issue is causing a drop in supply, despite demand continuing to increase.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “Government policy is actively encouraging the growth of holiday homes at the expense of long-term homes to rent which many families need. This is completely counterproductive, making renting more expensive and undermining efforts to help tenants save for a house of their own.

“The Chancellor must use his Budget to give tenants a better deal by supporting good landlords to provide the homes to rent that they want to live in.”

Latest ONS Index reports year-on-year rent price growth for UK

Published On: February 21, 2020 at 9:33 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The January 2020 Office for National Statistics (ONS) Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, UK has now been published, showing only a slight increase. 

The main points of the report highlight that:

  • UK rent prices grew by 1.5% year-on-year
  • This 1.5% increase is up from 1.4% in December 2019
  • Private rental prices grew by 1.5% specifically in England. In Wales, they grew by 1.3% and in Scotland by 0.6% in the 12 months to January 2020
  • Landlords in London saw private rental prices grow by 1.3% in the same time period
  • The largest annual growth in England was in the South West (2.3%), followed by the East Midlands (2.2%) The lowest was in the North East (0.6%), followed by the North West (1.1%)
  • There has been a long-term UK increase of 8.6% between January 2015 and December 2019

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has pointed out that these increases are less than inflation.

Hedi Zidan, Founder and CEO of Nestify, a proptech lettings agent in the UK, comments: “Today’s figures demonstrate that the UK rental market is resilient and that demand remains strong. 

“Our landlords are increasingly meeting tenants who are seeking a range of different accommodation solutions, durations and tenancy options. This means that in order to maximise the current UK housing stock, it’s vital landlords have access to a range of short, medium and long-term rental options. 

“These figures demonstrate how integral professional landlords are to UK housing and it is our belief that they should be supported to provide the range of tenancies that the UK rental population so clearly crave.