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Estate Agents & Letting Agents in Leeds

Here you will find the latest Hudson Moody Wass and property news.

Barclays to accept personal income when assessing BTL affordability

Barclays has announced a new approach to calculating mortgage affordability that will act as a boost for many buy-to-let landlords.

Following a successful pilot conducted last year, Barclays will now allow any shortfall in the rental income used to calculate affordability to be met by the applicant’s disposable income.

Under the new approach, customers would be required to complete a full income and expenditure assessment involving disclosure of the following:

  • Net Income
  • Commitments and dependents 
  • All residential mortgages (including permissions-to-lets)
  • The total of all BTL mortgages outstanding and the total rent received
  • The application does not go into retirement and there are no foreseeable changes to their income
  • The new policy will help individuals looking to realise their goal of  supplementing their income or enhancing their capital growth plans by investing in a rental property.

Derram Attfield, 42, a self-employed recruitment professional in London is one of the first to benefit from Barclays’ new policy.

“There’s no guarantee of a state pension being available when it comes to my retirement and being self-employed I recognised the importance of having a good retirement plan in place,” he said, “Barclays’ new policy has helped me to purchase a rental property and to maximise the opportunity of both the growth in equity in the flat, and the regular rental income, to support my pension plans.”

Andy Gray, Barclays managing director of mortgages, said: “There are only a handful lenders that allow any shortfall in the rental income used to calculate affordability to be met by the applicant’s disposable income. Barclays’ new policy provides a greater opportunity for those planning for their financial future and choosing to invest in rental properties to help support their longer term goals of, for example, paying for their children’s’ university fees or enhancing their lifestyle in retirement.” 


 


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Council prosecutes landlord for stripping tenant’s home

A London-based landlord has been ordered to pay more than £6,000 in fines, costs and compensation for harassing his tenant by allowing the removal of fixtures, fittings and essential services from his home while he was still living there.

The case at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 19 January heard how Saimir Selita, 34, of Green Vale, London, harassed his tenant Dariusz Kocaba who lived in a rental property in Ladenham Road, Oxford.

The court heard how the property was totally gutted by Selita's builders while Kocaba was away visiting relatives in Poland in February 2014.

Upon his return the he found that all the fixtures and fittings had been removed from his home including the kitchen, the bathroom, all the flooring and most of the internal doors.

The house was totally uninhabitable and all Kocaba's personal possessions had been taken from his locked room and dumped in a leaky garden shed. Many of his belongings were damaged beyond repair. Kocaba was forced to cancel his next two shifts where he worked at BMW in order to find himself somewhere to live at short notice.

Oxford City Council's environmental development service launched an investigation after  Kocaba contacted the council's tenancy relations officer.

After pleading guilty in court, Selita was fined £1,800 and ordered to pay costs of £1,260, a victim surcharge of £120 and compensation of £3,070 Mr Kocaba, a total of £6,250.

Councillor Ed Turner, deputy leader of the council and board member for finance, asset management and public health, said: "This sort of harassment of tenants should have no place in today's society and it is good that this outrageous behaviour by the landlord has been brought to book.

"The stiff fine and compensation order should send a powerful message to any landlord that tenants' rights, and the law, must be respected."


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German landlord taking the p*!?

UK landlords are often criticised for withholding tenants’ deposits for all kinds of unfair reasons but a landlord in Germany has ended up in court for trying to claim damage caused by urine.

The landlord was seeking €1,900 (£1,400) for damage to a marble floor caused by a male tenant missing the toilet bowl while urinating standing up.

There is some debate in Germany about whether men should sit or stand to pee but Judge Stefan Hank in Duesseldorf backed the tenant’s right to urinate standing up.

Some German toilets have red traffic-style signs forbidding the standing position - but those who choose to sit are often referred to as a "Sitzpinkler", implying it is not masculine behaviour.

The judge agreed with an expert's report that uric acid had caused some damage to the bathroom's floor but said men who stand cannot be held account for “collateral damage”.

Men: It would make life easier all round if you just cleared up after yourselves.


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Landlord Action hosts “Rumble with the Agents”

If you’ve ever wanted to punch your letting agent, now’s your big chance.

On Thursday 21 May Landlord Action is hosting the biggest white collar charity boxing event to be brought to the property industry and is looking for participants.

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, has been a keen boxer for many years and as well as putting himself in the ring, he is offering other property professionals the opportunity to try their hand at a boxing whilst raising money for The Rainbow Children’s Trust, an organisation providing emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

With no previous experience required, Landlord Action are looking for a total of 14 willing participants that want to get fit, learn to box and be a hero for six minutes.

Punch London Boxing Gym is partnering the event to provide a fully structured and supervised boxing training programme, from a novice to ring ready in just three months, as well as arranging the fight matchups for the night. With eight places already taken, remaining spaces are on a first come first serve basis.

The evening itself will consist of seven fights, a sit down three-course meal with unlimited drinks, an auction, raffle, celebrity table and a disco afterwards. Channel 5 have also confirmed they will film the event.

Shamplina said: “I have had this idea for a number of years and I decided that 2015 is the year it should finally happen. Knowing estate agents are a very competitive bunch, I know they will be up for a rumble in the ring, and it’s all for a fantastic charity, so I hope everyone will get behind it.”

The event is open to agents, property professionals, suppliers and landlords. Those participating are asked to take a table of 10 or 12 to represent their company at the event.

The event will be on Thursday 21 May 2015 at Holiday Inn, Avenue Banqueting, 58 Regents Park Road, London, N3 3JN.


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Paragon Mortgages report BTL lending up 58%

Paragon Mortgages’ parent company, the Paragon Group of Companies, has announced results for the quarter to 31 December 2014.

The group reported operating profits of £30.9 million, a 14.9% increase on the first quarter last year (£26.9 million).

Paragon Mortgages reported a strong first quarter, with significant growth in buy-to-let loans completed during the period of £222.1 million – a 58.4% increase on the same time period last year (£140.2 million).

The business has also seen strong growth in the new business pipeline, which stood at £416.7 million at 31 December 2014, which is up from £222.5 million at the same time point last year.

John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said: “We continue to benefit from an increase in the scale of our funding capability and, as a result of the deposit raising capability of Paragon Bank, improved diversity of funding.

“This has allowed us to continue developing our buy-to-let proposition for landlords and their intermediaries and we now have our most complete and competitively priced range of buy-to-let products. The fact that the pipeline continues to grow demonstrates well that the business has a good platform in place for further development through 2015.”


 


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West Brom in court over rate hike

The long-awaited court case over increased tracker rates by West Brom building society began on Wednesday.

The lender is accused of illegally ramping up rates for about 6,200 buy-to-let customers.

In December 2013 West Brom upped rates by two percentage points on some tracker mortgage deals aimed at landlords despite no change in the Bank of England base rate.

Customers were told their rate had been hiked because of ‘market conditions’ and to ensure it was running its business ‘prudently efficiently and competitively’.

Property investor Mark Alexander took the case to the High Court on behalf of 350 other disgruntled landlords.

Alexander said their tracker rates should be protected under the terms of their mortgage agreement while West Brom claimed it was able to override these terms if it was deemed necessary.

Solicitor Mark Smith, representing the landlords, told Mr Justice Teare that the building society’s actions were unfair and that the clauses in the mortgage contracts used to justify the rate hikes are ‘inconsistent’.

The West Brom claimed it had only used its discretion to vary the tracker rate for customers who own a portfolio of three or more buy-to-let properties.

If West Brom win the case it could give the lender, and others, the go-ahead to up rates on other tracker mortgages for both landlords and owner-occupiers.

After the hearing Alexander Tweeted that the judge had been “tough on both sides”. He described the case as a “cliffhanger” but added that “consensus amongst attendees was that our closing arguments were stronger.”


 


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2014 saw rents rise by 3%

According to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains, rents rose 3.0% over the course of 2014 despite falling on a monthly basis between November and December
 
Across England and Wales the average residential rent now stands at £767, compared to £745 in December 2013.
 
The strong annual growth comes in spite of falls on a monthly basis, with average rents 0.1% lower in December 2014 than in November 2014.
 
“There appears to be a new fire in the rental market as we enter 2015,” Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, commented. “Demand for homes to let is hotter than we would normally expect at this time of year.”
 
“Recent months have shown a divergence from usual seasonal norms,” Gill went on. “Historically, there is a tendency for rents to ease in the winter, particularly December. With fewer tenants willing to relocate in the festive period, landlords usually compete to fill empty properties and agreed rents tend to dip as a result. Last month that happened – and rents fell compared to November – but by much less than the usual extent.”
 
“In particular a jobs boom across the eastern regions of England has seen a larger than usual number of people relocating in the winter months. This has pushed up rental prices in these regions even further.”
 
In eight out of ten regions of England & Wales rents are higher than a year ago, with the East of England leading the way (experiencing a 7.6% annual increase). By contrast, rents in two regions are lower than twelve months ago. Over the course of 2014 average rents in the North East fell by 2.1%, while rents in in the South West are down 1.0% on an annual basis.
 
The average landlord in England and Wales witnessed a return, before deductions such as mortgage payments and maintenance, of £18,893 over the last twelve months. Rental income made up £8,347 of this figure, while the average capital gain amounted to £10,546.
 

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Balham house prices increased £415 a day in 2015, says London agent

Property prices in Balham outpaced those in the rest of the capital in 2014 with annual growth of 21%, according to estate agent Marsh & Parsons’ latest London Property Monitor. 
 
Marsh & Parsons calculates the average Prime London home to have risen in value by £95,000 in the past twelve months. 
 
The research also suggests that due to higher demand for more affordable housing, house price inflation in so-called suburban ‘villages’ in Outer Prime London like Balham has increased at a faster rate than expected.
 
Favoured by first-time buyers and young families, Balham witnessed the steepest annual growth during 2014 – closely followed by leafy Brook Green where property values are now 19% higher than a year ago.  
 
“The prestigious prime property bastions of Kensington, Chelsea and Holland Park will always command worldwide appeal from buyers – however everyday demand for more affordable homes has catapulted Balham and other Outer Prime corners of the capital onto the map,” according to Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons. 
 
He says that Londoners are increasingly willing to compromise on location in return for more living spice and an affordable price tag. 
 
Marsh and Parsons’ research highlights the differences between Prime Central London (PCL) locations and outer prime locations. The biggest difference in average price was on four bedroom properties, with a difference of £1,566,108 between the average cost in PCL and Outer Prime London. 
 
Rollings concluded by saying that his agency are not expecting any further price growth in Prime London until after May’s general election. 
 

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UK investor turns to US buy-to-let market to fund daughter’s degree

Alister Weightman, a Lincoln based dentist in his mid-40s, decided to turn to US buy-to-let properties to fund his daughter’s university living expenses, preventing him from having to dip into his savings or find the extra money from his own salary.
 
Looking into different investment options that would bring in a steady income and provide a longer term capital gain, Weightman was attracted by the low prices and high returns available on buy-to-let properties in some US cities.
 
“At first I was very sceptical about the offer of such high yields and was concerned that if it sounded too good to be true then it was too good to be true,” Weightman commented. “However, I was intrigued and set about doing some serious research on the various companies out there. My son, a property lawyer, did due diligence on the various options available and after much consideration we both felt confident that PCG Invest was the company to go with.”
 
A UK based property consultancy which advises UK investors on purchasing overseas residential properties, the team at PCG Invest helped Weightman buy his first US property in May last year. Now he owns 10 properties in Detroit and Rochester, New York, achieving net yields of about 20%. He is planning on adding another ten properties to his portfolio.
 
“As the US economy continues to improve we are always looking for new upcoming cities to source properties for our clients,” Darren Brown, Managing Director of PCG Invest, said. “Detroit continues to be a favourite for overseas investors, especially as it continues to undergo significant economic revitalisation and growth.
 
“Trust, safety and transparency are the key factors that are making our business successful,” he added. “Many of our clients come back and buy more properties, like Alister, who in less than a year has bought ten houses and is buying more. They like us because we've got a process that works and we're making them money.”
 

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BTL lending up 58% in Q4 2014, reports Paragon

Paragon Mortgages has announced its figures for the final quarter of 2014, with a 58.4% increase in buy-to-let (BTL) lending compared to the same period last year the headline figure. 
 
Paragon Mortgages’ parent company, the Paragon Group of Companies, also announced financial results for the quarter to 31 December 2014.
 
The Group reported operating profits of £30.9 million, a 14.9% increase on the first quarter last year (£26.9 million).
 
John Heron, Managing Director of Paragon Mortgages, commented: “We continue to benefit from an increase in the scale of our funding capability and, as a result of the deposit raising capability of Paragon Bank, improved diversity of funding.” 
 
He added that Paragon will continue developing its buy-to-let propositions for landlords throughout 2015. 
 

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