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Landlords Advice



For over a century, Willmotts have been providing a fantastic service with an enthusiastic team, ready to deliver a rich array of knowledge, expert advice and brilliant tenants. We manage property throughout the Greater London area and beyond. From individual houses to large portfolios.

Why pick us?

We have won the best Letting Agent in our locality for 5 years running. Visit Allagents.com/Willmotts for an extensive list of our reviews.


Our Service can be tailored to suit you

Full Property Management

We take pride in the property management service we offer our landlords. Not only does it ensure the smooth running and proven longevity of the tenancies, in addition it ensures that properties are maintained to a high specification and at a reasonable cost. We will advise on everything from creating tenancies, pre- and post-refurbishments, advising utilities services, and general maintenance work through to collecting rent, paying service charges and dealing with renewals and terminations. Our management service is all encompassing from the most minor element to a to full scale refurbishment and we also have a 24 hour emergency service available for tenants for out of hours problems. Property management forms a core element of our business and we have maintained properties for a variety of landlords including; family trust funds, private investors; homeowners who are temporarily relocating and property investment companies. A vast majority of our clients have been with us for decades and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.
In fact, we’ll deal with absolutely everything so that you can enjoy an optimal return on your investment.


Rent Act Protected Tenancies

Most residential lettings by non-resident private landlords which began before 15 January 1989 will be regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977. Since 15 January 1989 most new lettings have been assured or assured shorthold tenancies and it will only be possible to have regulated tenancies in very limited circumstances. A regulated tenant has certain important rights concerning the amount of rent that can be charged and security of tenure.

Source; https://www.gov.uk

As part of our management department we provide a specialist division which purely deals with the day to day management of Rent Act Protected and Assured tenancies. We can also advise upon the Rent Registration process and closely liaise with the VOA. In the event of succession we are perfectly placed to advice on market rents and the process that needs to be taken by the landlord to obtain possession and vastly increase the value of their investment.



HMO and Private Landlord Licensing advice

What is HMO and Private Landlord Licensing?
In a nutshell it is a license issued by the local authority that a landlord needs to rent out their property if that property comes under their criteria.

Councils across the UK have their own requirements as to what type of property needs a license.

For example you may have a studio flat in Hammersmith that requires a license (selective) and a three bedroom flat in Wandsworth which does not (The borough has yet to introduce licensing other than HMOs). Confused, understandably.  

The local council will determine if a license is needed, but in all cases if it is rented out to 5 unrelated parties (.e.g. students / professionals) you will need a HMO license.

Portfolio landlords (of which we have many) find this particularly frustrating as it changes from borough to borough and affects their investments.

Licenses typically last for 5 years and can cost roughly from £800 - £2000. Along with the cost of the license are the works needed to obtain the license so it can really be costly.

An HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not members of the same family but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’. Depending on the exact type of HMO some landlords may require a selective licence from the council or Local Authority.

Why are HMOs subject to regulations?
All HMOs, whether the landlord needs a license or not, are subject to Management Regulations and Inspections under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is to ensure that the property is managed correctly and satisfies certain safety standards.

What types of properties are classified as HMOs?
Below lists types of accommodation that are all likely to be classified as HMOs:

• Bedsits
• Shared flats and houses
• Boarding houses
• Hostels
• Halls of residence for students or nurses
• Hotels or bed and breakfasts with permanent residents.

What is a large HMO?
You must have a licence if you’re renting out a large HMO, which is defined by the following:

• It’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household i.e. not a family.
• Tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

What are the differences in licenses for HMOs?
Where selective licensing applies, unlike the other forms of licensing which relate to HMOs, then normally all houses within the private rented sector for that area must be licensed, except where they require to be licensed as HMOs.

Non licensable HMOs must be licensed under Selective Licensing.  “House” means a building or part of a building consisting of one or more dwellings.  For those purposes “dwelling” means a building or part of a building occupied or intended to be occupied as a separate dwelling.

The selective licence can be valid for up to three years, and thereafter will have to be renewed. A tenancy or licence is exempt from the selective licensing if it is granted by a registered social landlord.

What areas are subject to HMO licensing?
A local authority may designate the whole of their district or part of their district (local wards), subject to selective licensing. An area may be designated for selective licensing either (a) if the area is (or is likely to be) an area of low housing demand or (b) the area is experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour and some or all of the private sector landlords are failing to take action to combat the problem.  A designation can last up to five years and can be renewed or even extended.
 
What properties do not require an HMO license?
The following types of property tenancies or property rental licenses are exempt:

• Business tenancies
• Holiday lets
• A prohibition order is in force
• Licensed premises (for liquor licensing purposes)
• Agricultural tenancies
• The property is managed/controlled by a local housing authority or public body
• The building is regulated under other legislation (e.g. care homes)
• The building is occupied by students controlled/managed by a University/College (who
subscribe to an Approved Code of Practice)
 
Please note; the above is not an exhaustive list of exemption types.

Councils that currently run private landlord licensing schemes:
HMO Licensing came into force with the London Borough of Ealing on the 1st January 2017.
The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham adopted HMO licensing in June 2017.

Willmotts are perfectly placed to advise on what is sought from Landlords in this respect, so to avail yourself of our in depth knowledge of this subject please contact:

William Taper | 020 8222 9945 | w.taper@willmotts.com



Property Maintenance

Whether you require a builder, plumber, electrician, locksmith, painter/decorator, gardener, gas engineer, carpenter etc., we will oversee and ensure that the work is completed promptly, professionally and at a reasonable cost. All of our contractors are vetted, trustworthy private companies with whom we have conducted business for many years and as a safe guard we ensure they carry a suitable Public Liability insurance in the event it is required. We can deal with anything from a dripping tap or to a full blown refurbishment. As a landlord you can be as involved or as removed from the day to day issues as you wish, we will tailor our management to suit your specific needs.


Litigation Support

In the unlikely event you require assistance in either terminating a lease or obtaining vacant possession of your investment, we could assist with providing litigation support.  This would enable your lawyer to look at the relevant notices that may have been served and provide a clear indication of a timeline to obtain possession. If so required we can also act as the third party in negotiations for a surrender. As litigation is a very complex and involved element of the law we can provide an overview of the circumstance and direction as what may be required. We have also negotiated special rates with a number of local firms of lawyers to assist in this matter. We are able to assist both in house clients and on occasion will also assist landlords who do not have their properties managed by us, the latter will incur additional costs which can be discussed after the 1st consultation.


Investment Advice

We can help you in the sale or purchase of all types of residential investments and development opportunities. We have a huge amount of experience that enables us to secure the right investment opportunities for you at the right price. Much of our business today is acquiring properties on behalf of retained clients. We use our knowledge across all property sectors, our strong bonds with landlords and other agencies to match an investor's specific needs, factoring in risk, asset management and return. In close partnership with our commercial agency department and  professional valuation department we can offer advice on value enhancement. Facilitating re-structuring of leases, implementation of rent reviews & lease renewals and substantial property management work puts us in a unique position with existing and new clients to offer an all-encompassing advice on strategic acquisition and disposal of such property. Close liaison with agency and professional teams ensures we can deliver an all-round service, which is second to none.

We live and breathe the properties we advise our clients to buy. Our knowledge of the market and anything that impacts upon investor return, enables us to form a clear and proactive asset strategy. When it comes to sales, we know our markets in depth, we know what investors are looking for and allows us to provide clear, bespoke strategies to maximise both asset performance and appeal to likely buyers. We have installed a uniquely personal culture, fostered throughout the firm’s 159 year existence and in addition have forged relationships with clients which have been nurtured over decades. You too can benefit in the same manner by initially contacting,


Legal requirements for landlords

As members of RICS and Guild of Professional Estate Agents we are constantly evolving our offering and making sure our landlords are covered. From the Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 compliance, to Legionella Risk Assessments at Willmotts we want to make sure all of our landlords let out their properties knowing they are safe and the tenant is not at risk.

In this ever changing legislative environment we ensure our clients are protected. With over 160 acts of legislation to comply with, it really is a minefield, but we will help every step of the way.



Landlord Fees

We aim to keep our fees as competitive as possible while offering a first class service. With over 150 years experience, constantly investing in our business, health and safety procedures and improving ours systems we hope to continue to provide a great service to our landlords.

Full Lettings, Renewals and Management Service
15%+VAT (18% inc. VAT)

Let Only Service
9%+VAT (10.8% inc. VAT)

Renewals Service
8%+VAT (9.6% inc. VAT)

Other Fees and Charges

THE arrangement charges are INCLUDED in out Full Lettings, Management Service
LET ONLY – ADDITIONAL FEES

Check-in and/or Check out services can be arranged separately, detail’s and charges for this service
are upon request and the signing of a new agency agreement.

Arranging a Cleaner where instructed by the landlord £45.00 + VAT plus cost of the cleaning
Arranging for Energy Performance Certificate £35.00 + VAT plus cost of the report
Arranging PAT tests £35.00 + VAT plus cost of the test and report
Arrange Smoke Alarm and Carbon monoxide test £45.00 + VAT plus cost of the test and device if installed.
Arrange for Gas Safety Certificate £45.00 + VAT plus cost of gas engineer to attend and produce certificate
Arrange for legionella water safety check £45.00 + VAT plus cost of test and report.


Court Attendance - We are able to appear before any Court or Tribunal; however this will be by special arrangement and subject to a fee for any such attendance of £300 (INC VAT) per day, or part thereof.

Visits to Managed Properties - We will undertake to inspect managed properties once a year. Each additional visit requested, for example in relation to monitoring any maintenance work, will be charged at £95 (INC VAT).



Technology

At Willmotts we are constantly looking at improving our services to clients, tenants and internally.

With this in mind we are at the forefront in adopting new technologies, for example:
 
Fixflo
makes reporting repairs easy for tenants. Receive simple and accurate reports through a picture-based system, with translation into English from over 40 languages. No more lengthy, confusing phone calls. Tenants can report repairs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using their PC, mobile, or tablet. With Fixflo, they can easily report their issues or receive online guidance to solve problems themselves–saving time for everyone involved. This also helps our landlords save money and unnecessary call out charges.

KeyNest 
An amazing key tracking system, this helps us track all of our landlords keys to ensure they are secure, safe and where they should be at all times.

Inventory Base 
An inspection app that allows us to produce fantastic details reports on units.

Goodlord 
The leading tenancy creator and reference partner. It allows multiple tenants and guarantors to be able to upload documents remotely and make the moving in procedure smooth. It also allows our landlords easy viewing of references and the ability to remotely sign tenancies.

Vaboo
 A tenant portal which gives our tenants added reasons to stay with Willmotts and their landlord. We offer discounts on shopping, gym memberships, cinema and theatre tickets. There are also prize draws, one of our tenants recently won a months free rent, they were delighted!

We are members of The Property Ombudsman redress scheme. Our client money protection is provided by RICS & Propertymark





Maximum Tenant Deposit levels


Minimum EPC Ratings for Rental Properties


Don’t Risk a £30000 fine. Do you need a license to Rent our your property?


Landlord Licencing continued


Don’t let Check in and Check out fees add up


If you are a landlord and have communal areas make sure they are compliant


Who pays for Service Charges and Council Tax?


Fitness For Human Habitation Act explained


EICR Electrical Certificate Explained
Landlords News

Landlords Could be Hit Hard



Each Hammersmith Landlord Could be Hit By a £52,850 Bill. And 5 ways on how all Hammersmith landlords can escape the worst of the coronavirus downturn on their Hammersmith rental property

With the second lockdown starting on the 5th November 2020, does this mean Hammersmith landlords can wave goodbye to their Hammersmith buy-to-let investment and see it go up in smoke on the bonfire of buy-to-let dreams, like a Guy Fawkes puppet?

With many Hammersmith tenants at risk of losing their jobs after the furlough scheme ends in March and as the reverberations of the Coronavirus recession hit this winter, what does this all mean for Hammersmith landlords and what can they do to mitigate the risks?

Since the spring, most Hammersmith tenants and buy-to-let landlords have been protected from the coronavirus crisis thanks to the banks with their mortgage payment holidays and job support schemes.

Before the second lockdown was announced on the 31st October, it was expected that as the furlough and mortgage payment holidays were due to end on Halloween, there would be some serious fallout from those schemes finishing. One silver lining from the lockdown (if you can call it that) is that mortgage payment holidays and furlough have been extended, yet does all that just kick the can down the road?

The question is, what can Hammersmith landlords do to mitigate the financial risk on their Hammersmith buy-to-let investment?

  1. Help Your Hammersmith Tenants Get the Financial Support They are Entitled To 
Billions of pounds are being spent by the Government to help those people whose income has been hit by coronavirus. The better Hammersmith letting agents and self-managing landlords are supporting, guiding and helping those Hammersmith tenants in financial difficulty to gain a better understanding of the Universal Credit (UC) processes, systems and payment levels, to enable their tenants to pay the rent and ultimately indirectly help their Hammersmith landlord. Also, if you are a Hammersmith tenant, and that support isn’t given when you ask, don’t forget Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council do hold special cash reserves for discretionary housing payments, which can be utilised to close the gap in rent between what UC pays and your current rental commitments. Also, the Government’s Money Advice Service & Citizens Advice are a good online resource for you to find out what you are entitled to.

  1. Adopting, Adapting & Improving Your Hammersmith Buy-to-Let Property
Demand for gardens or office space means Hammersmith landlords will need to think outside the box. Those Hammersmith homes with tenants sharing (e.g. HMO’s and shared houses) might need to price their pre-coronavirus 4 bed sharing house to maybe a 3 bed sharing house plus a work/office room and, if you haven’t already, installing a top of the range, fast and dependable internet connection could be the thing that swings it. Outdoor space and gardens are really high on Hammersmith housebound tenant’s wish lists, in fact I have come across some Hammersmith tenants demanding that new rental properties have a landscaped garden or those that bought a dog or cat for company during the first lockdown, are looking for their Hammersmith landlords to relax their ‘no pets policy’.

  1. Hold On to Your Good Hammersmith Tenants
Those Hammersmith buy-to-let landlords with decent tenants, who find themselves in financial dire straits should consider attempting to keep them, even if their own monetary circumstances mean they have to decrease their rent somewhat over the short term. Now of course, I would expect that tenants need to prove their circumstances, yet if their plight was real, surely it would be a wise choice to reduce the rent by perhaps £50 a month and support your tenants? You know they are taking great care of your Hammersmith rental property and rather than risk the issue of advertising your empty buy-to-let property - particularly when there is no assurance you will achieve your existing rent and ultimately risk drawn-out void periods with no rent coming in at all. What I would suggest therefore,  in such circumstances, is that you create a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with a longer term with your existing tenant at a lower rent – a temporary measure but with peace of mind for both parties which can then be reviewed once that tenancy is up for renewal.

  1. Carry Out Firmer Checks on Your Prospective Hammersmith Tenants 
Many private Hammersmith landlords and a few slipshod Hammersmith letting agents tenant checks are somewhat lacking in their depth. Trust me, there is tenant referencing … and then there is ‘proper’ forensic tenant referencing. As certain parts of the British economy have been hit harder than others, Hammersmith landlords must consider when choosing their new Hammersmith tenants, the type of work they do or who their Hammersmith employer may be, to enable them to decide on their future capacity to meet their rental commitments.

  1. Rent Guarantee Insurance for your Hammersmith Rental 
There are still insurance companies offering landlord rent guarantee insurance if your tenants become unable to pay the rent. Many insurance firms removed these insurance products in the first lockdown, yet some have returned to the insurance market although insurance premiums have gone up in price. Remember to check the small print of the insurance, although you will get a lower insurance premium if you can show stringent tenant referencing (as per the previous point).

The Nuclear Option - Eviction

Hammersmith landlords need to be conscious that, should their tenancy run into trouble, the Government have changed the rules when it comes to eviction during the coronavirus pandemic. Going into the first lockdown, there was already a backlog in the courts and now, just before going into the second lockdown, bailiffs have been instructed not to enter rental properties in high risk Tier-2 and Tier-3 Covid-19 areas.

Eviction really does have to be the very last option. Negotiation or arbitration will nearly always deliver quicker and improved outcomes for both parties. Hammersmith landlords who do come to mutually agreeable arrangements with their Hammersmith tenants by briefly reducing the rent, or allowing payment holidays with legally enforceable pay back schedules should ensure they get the agreed terms in writing and run by a solicitor or their agent (feel free to drop me a note if you need advice).

However, if eviction is required, it doesn’t mean the tenant gets off ‘scot free’. Evicted tenants, depending on their circumstances, will either be placed temporarily into an inexpensive B&B, asked to move in with family or given one of the local authorities temporary accommodation properties, with the goal to then move them into long term council accommodation (as the chances of obtaining private rented accommodation would be slim with agent’s heightened reference checks – more of that at the end).
 
The Potential Cost of Evicting a Problem Hammersmith Tenant

The average rent for a Hammersmith property currently stands at £2,542 per calendar month.

Thankfully, evictions are very rare. Last year before lockdown, tenants from 201.4 rental properties were evicted each working day in the UK ... but if yours was one of those, that is still a potentially large cost.

Working on the basis that most evictions from the first rent not being paid, through to eviction, refurbishment of the kitchen, bathroom, carpets and décor (because often these do need sorting/replacing) were taking on average between eight to nine months before Coronavirus hit, (plus the mortgage payments), this means a Hammersmith landlord could be hit by a £52,850 bill, broken down as follows:

Missing rent (8½ months)
£21,607
New kitchen
£4,325
Bathroom
£2,090
Carpets
£2,422
Redecorate
£2,161
Agents fees
£2,269
Legal fees & court fees
£3,500
Mortgage payments
£14,477
Total
£52,850

What that would be now is be anyone’s guess – yet it could be a lot more.

This is why it is so important to get the best tenant from day one. Many Hammersmith tenants, who know they wouldn’t pass the references of letting agents, are attracted to those private landlords who don’t use a letting agency, as they know their referencing checks are not as strict and may be a softer touch. That’s not to say going with a letting agent is a guarantee you won’t need to evict; it just means the chances are much, much smaller. Like anything in life - it’s a choice.

Whether you are a Hammersmith landlord who uses a letting agent or not, and feels their reference checks are not to the standard or level you might hope or if you just want a chat about the best rental guarantee insurance, then give me a call what have you got to lose

Call Willmotts for property advice or information with property rentals, Lettings, lettings@willmotts.com or call 020 8222 9958

Visit Our Hammersmith Estate Agents Page Here

Willmotts Property News YouTube Channel

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Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash
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Hammersmith Buy-to-Let Landlord



3 Reasons That Will Make You Want to Stop Being a Hammersmith Buy-to-Let Landlord and the six reasons that will make you want to become one

The buy-to-let market in Hammersmith is about to enter a challenging 12 to 24 months. Yet by looking back at the last recession and what is happening now, there are vital lessons all Hammersmith landlords can learn to protect themselves, and in fact create opportunities for themselves both in the short term and ultimately the longer term. For the purposes of this article, I would like to split these and look at the challenges and then the opportunities.

So, let’s consider the challenges ahead for Hammersmith landlords…

Overall, the impending rise in unemployment stands to encumber tenants’ ability to pay their rent, the rents being achieved and the possible Capital Gains Tax changes might mean an increase in tax paid by Hammersmith landlords when they come to sell their Hammersmith buy-to-let properties. 

Let’s look at these three points in greater detail. Firstly looking at your Hammersmith tenants ability to pay the rent; the Furlough Scheme certainly did help soften the blow, helping out 8.9 million people in May (out of 30.5 million who were eligible for it) and at the last count in early August, this thankfully had reduced to 5.3 million people (meaning 15.86% of workers are still on furlough). However, it cannot be denied the economic fallout from Coronavirus has already placed some tenants under economic strain. As the Furlough Scheme finishes at the end of October, commentators are suggesting the number of tenants either incapable of paying their rent, or requesting a reduction in their rent, is predicted to increase as we go into autumn and early winter.

The ultimate sanction against non-payment of rent is legal proceedings although guidance from the Government has recommended that landlords and tenants should work together and deplete all possible options before starting eviction proceedings. Yet many Hammersmith landlords are feeling the pressure as many mortgage payment holidays will be coming to a close at the end of September. Some Hammersmith landlords can indisputably see that their tenants are finding it tough and they are willing to work with them, but they can only make allowances go so far.  Landlords aren’t running a charity and I would stress to any tenant that finds themselves being made unemployed in the months to come to apply for Universal Credit as soon as possible, which should help with their rental payments. With regard to the eviction process, the Government have changed the rules a number of times in the last few months, so if you want an update, don’t hesitate to contact me, whether you are client or not – I am just happy to help.

Secondly, it’s interesting in central London, there has been a glut of Airbnb properties coming onto the market because of a lack of tourists to rent them on a short-term let. A greater supply of rental properties has meant a downward pressure on rents in London of 2.1%.

Thirdly, there is talk that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is looking at changing the Capital Gains Taxation rules.  As property is the biggest asset that most people own, this is also reason for concern for Hammersmith buy-to-let landlords. Currently, Capital Gains Tax on sales of buy-to-let property is levied at 18% for basic income tax rate payers and 28% for higher rate income taxpayers. There is talk the capital gains made on the landlord selling their buy-to-let property could be taxed at the landlord’s income tax rate.

Yet before you all start selling your Hammersmith portfolios before November’s budget, any changes in Capital Gains Tax would be immediate. That means to ensure you didn’t come foul of the potential rise in the tax, you would have to have to sell your Hammersmith portfolio at a ‘fire sale price’ in days and have a solicitor that could do the conveyancing in 3 weeks (whilst it is taking 19 weeks on average for buyers to sort their legal work out) and the buyer be a cash buyer because banks are taking months, not weeks to sort finance. This is just something we are going to have to take on the chin!

Let us now consider the opportunities ahead for you Hammersmith landlords…

As the country officially entered its first recession since 2009, uncertainty in any markets (be it property or stocks and shares, etc.) causes investors to vacillate over whether or not to take the jump. Nevertheless, there are numerous indicators that appear to show this is, indeed, a good time to either become a buy-to-let Hammersmith landlord or expand one’s property empire and buy more property ... let me explain.

Firstly, assets (such as gold and stocks and shares) are great, yet if they aren’t producing income and cash – that doesn’t pay for your day-to-day living. Gold doesn’t create any income and many FTSE companies won’t be paying dividends for a while. Government Bonds are currently earning their investors 0.2% (no - that isn’t a typo) and the best savings accounts are achieving 1.1% with a 120-day notice period, so where are you going to invest your hard-earned money?

The average Hammersmith buy-to-let property will earn a monthly return of 4.25%

Of course, deciding on the right Hammersmith property is crucial to get a good rental income and return. I have seen so many Hammersmith first-time landlords buy with their heart and not their head. Buying your own home is more heart than head but buy-to-let is a completely different kettle of fish. There is the inverse relationship between income (rent) and capital growth (how much it will go up in value in the future) i.e. as one goes up, the other tends to go down – so getting the balance for your needs is vital. Again, I can advise on that for you.

Secondly, with the stamp duty holiday and the pent-up demand for people wanting to move home in Hammersmith (discussed many times recently in this blog), the Hammersmith property market is certainly very buoyant at the moment, yet even the most optimistic agents say it cannot last. Whether the market goes pop or has a slow and steady puncture, the market will cool in 2021. The recession will mean some people are less able to afford a mortgage. This means that if Hammersmith property values do ease off in 2021, you may be able to get a great buy-to-let deal if you are planning on becoming a Hammersmith landlord or expand your property empire as an existing landlord.

Also, if the property market does find property prices realign to a new normal in 2021/2, house sellers may find it difficult to get a good price on their Hammersmith home during a recession, meaning many house sellers may be more agreeable to sell their property at a lower price.

Third, if people aren’t buying, they still need a roof over their head and the council aren’t building any council houses, meaning the private sector will need to take up the slack. 

Rightmove reported tenant demand grew by a third in May 2020 when compared to the same month in 2019

Therefore, if you are still unsure about becoming a Hammersmith landlord, knowing that more Hammersmith people want to rent should help you feel more comfortable as the risk of ‘running out’ of renters interested in your Hammersmith property is minimal. Yet again, please don’t go buying any old Hammersmith property, as it’s fundamental that you make a good investment from the start in order to see a good return on your investment. 

If Hammersmith property values do fall in 2021 (as in 2009), tenant demand for Hammersmith property will only go up

Fourth, the Government reduced stamp duty with the sole aim to benefit the property market. The purchase needs to complete by the end of March 2021, which means you will need to have bought the property by November at the latest (as obtaining finance and legal work is taking at least 19 weeks). A word to the wise though, that whilst the saving in Stamp Duty delivers some up-front saving for those buying a buy a let property, don’t get carried away and use that saving in the purchase price you pay. Certain sectors of the Hammersmith property market are seeing some very inflated prices, meaning if you go into battle for a show home quality semi-detached house within a stone’s throw of the best school, you will be fighting against buyers who want it for themselves and are prepared to pay top dollar for it, meaning some landlords could end up paying more for a property. My advice, if you want to save on the Stamp Duty, there are bargains to be had – you just have to know what you are looking for (again, as mentioned in point 1 – I am here to help on that whether you are a client of mine or not). The other option would be ‘just hold back’ until after 31 March 2021, when Hammersmith property prices could ease. 

Fifth, reports that the mortgage lenders are imposing stricter conditions are true, yet even during Covid, many lenders are seeing buy-to-let landlords as a safer option to lend their money to. In June alone, the number of buy-to-let mortgage products rose by 19.2% (to just over 1,700) meaning if you have a decent deposit of 30% upwards, you are likely to find something that fits your needs (at the time of writing this article, the Birmingham Midshires had a buy-to-let 5-year fixed rate mortgage at 1.94% and Santander at 2.04% ... this is cheap money in anyone’s language). Mortgage rates are ever becoming more economical, which is a great motivation for anyone wanting to get a foot on the Hammersmith buy-to-let property ladder.

Finally, words cannot portray the feeling of being able to see and touch one’s investment like the sensation of bricks and mortar. Buy-to-let investment has to be seen as a long-term investment yet, for many, that is a source of financial security. Of course property values might go south next year (but they might not!), whereas there may be intervals where it’s more problematic to sell because property values will be too low, as is normally the situation throughout a recession, there will also be times where Hammersmith landlords will make a nice profit when selling their buy-to-let homes. Like all things in life - it’s all about the timing. 

Hammersmith property values are 214% higher than 20 years ago

If you’re looking to invest but are not interested in stocks and shares (and you understand that your money may be tied up for a while) then the Hammersmith buy-to-let market could be for you. 

To conclude, buying the right Hammersmith property at the right price to start with, presenting the property in the best way to get the best tenant, fully checking out and referencing the tenant to ensure they have a good track record of being a good tenant that doesn’t trash the property and has always paid the rent on time in the past and then finally, managing the property to ensure your property complies with the 200+ legislations and regulations of rental property, so you can sleep well at night … all to ensure the property is returned at the end of the tenancy to you in good order is what nirvana looks like.

Of course, buy-to-let does come with some risks and challenges, but it’s all about mitigating those risks. Also, there is no denying that buy-to-let also comes with a lot of opportunities as well. If you are a landlord with another agent or even a Hammersmith landlord that manages the property themselves, feel free to drop me a message, email or pick up the phone and let’s chat about your personal goals when it comes to buy-to-let … because what have you got to lose? Surely 15/20 minutes of your time to get great insight and inside track is worth it? 

Remember, the choice is yours...

Call Willmotts for property advice or information with property rentals, Lettings, lettings@willmotts.com or call 020 8222 9958

or check out our Landlords Advice Page Here

#willmotts #propertyexperts #estateagents #charteredsurveyors #willmotts1856 #guildproperty #tenants #landlords #lettings #landlordadvice #hammersmith #propertymarket #proudguildmember

Photo Thanks to Amadeusz Misiak for sharing their work on Unsplash.
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The 2913 Trapped Landlords of Hammersmith



Going into lockdown in March, the Government proclaimed a ban on tenant evictions, pledging that no tenant in a private rented home, who had lost their wages due to Covid-19 would be kicked out of their private rented home until the late summer. Fast forward to August and the press were being briefed as late as Wednesday 19th August that this freeze in evictions in England and Wales would cease on the 23rd August. That was until just after 4pm Friday 21st August when Mr Jenrick, the Housing Minister, announced that the eviction ban would be extended for a further four weeks and also buy to let landlords must now give their tenants six months notice to gain possession.

Cue crocodile tears for all the 2,913 Hammersmith (W6) landlords

Not so ‘snappy’ with piping your eye there. I know many Hammersmith landlords became landlords between 2000 and 2009 because they preferred bricks and mortar to investing in the stock market or gilts/bonds market. All they were looking for was a small pension income to top up their meagre state pension. Not all Hammersmith landlords are akin to the 21st Century Rising Damp version of Leonard Rossiter with his ‘Rigsby-esqe’ or even ‘Rach-manism’ wicked landlord ways. Official estimates suggest there are 1.8m to 2.1m landlords in the UK, the vast majority doing the right thing by their tenants, many of whom have helped their Hammersmith tenants in financial trouble during Covid-19 by acquiescing to short-term rent reductions or rent-payment holidays.

Also, many Hammersmith landlords have mortgages (in fact, if we added all the UK buy to let landlord’s mortgages, they would add up to £216.65 billion). The Government and the Bank of England have applied political influence on the mortgage companies to be a little more flexible and sympathetic on landlord’s mortgage interest payments, yet the mortgage interest is still adding up. The issue is, some tenants are in arrears with their rent, meaning landlords aren’t receiving their rent, which means many buy to let mortgages aren’t being paid either.

So, how many tenants are in arrears? The National Residential Landlords Association stated that just 3% of landlords recently surveyed reported tenants are in arrears. This was backed up recently when Goodlord stated…

3.72% of tenancies in the UK are in arrears, although interestingly ours stands at x.x%

These are only slightly above the pre-Covid arrears levels, yet still a strain for the landlords involved. Also, the two-month notice period of the section 21 Notice has been extended to six months, meaning it will be March before any tenants are made to leave, even if the notice was issued now. 

So, does this leave Hammersmith landlords trapped?
With regard to the arrears, only 1 in 17 landlords rent their property through a limited company, meaning the rest (i.e. the vast majority) rent their property as a person, thus giving themselves unlimited personal liability should their rental portfolio fail (i.e. the mortgage company could make a claim on the landlords own assets, including their main residence, if the property was repossessed and the shortfall wasn’t made up). Also, if the building society’s and banks turn against the Government advice and are too lenient with landlords with buy to let mortgages, there could be situations where the rental properties are repossessed, meaning the tenant will be made homeless.

I am particularly concerned about the fate of the 819 self-managing Hammersmith landlords (i.e. they don’t use an agent)

They should seriously consider taking out rent guarantee insurance to protect themselves against any potential defaulting tenants (so many don’t). Reasonably priced rent guarantee insurance products, even on existing tenancies are still available to landlords via agents, even in these Covid-19 times (whether you are a client of mine or not do not hesitate to pick up the phone and have a chat or send me an email). Whilst the policies aren’t inexpensive – they do give you peace of mind with the rental payments.

One thing that this does also remind me of is the 2008 Credit Crunch. There were an awful lot of Hammersmith homeowners who were unable to sell their home in 2008/9, so they converted their Hammersmith property into a buy to let investment. There are going to be an awful lot of Hammersmith landlords who will also want to sell in the next six to nine months, yet are unable to do so until the middle of next year without having to take a hit on the value of their home. For those Hammersmith landlords that can relate to that, maybe we should chat to consider your options so you can mitigate any losses?

It seems Hammersmith landlords have been used to saving the Government from a PR disaster of homeless tenants on the streets at Christmas, the least we should do in the country is stop disparaging landlords and lift them up from their pariah status.

Hammersmith landlords are housing 12,143 Hammersmith people in private rented accommodation…

… and so it is my opinion that the contribution made by these Hammersmith landlords should be recognised. My fear is always of a danger of a widening schism between the landlords and tenants. Truth be told, both need each other, and I hope the Government extend help to landlords as they have with tenants, otherwise the Government won’t have any homes to house the British people if all the landlords decide to sell up. It is especially important that the supply of private properties doesn’t drop in Hammersmith going forward when you consider…

Hammersmith needs an additional 2,188 private rental homes by 2029

In the meantime, the Government have bigger fish to fry sorting out the economy as a whole, so if you are a self-managing landlord or even a landlord with another agent in Hammersmith, feel free to pick up the phone or make contact with me and we can discuss your options without any obligation. There is no need to feel trapped, there are options for you and it is better to consider them now, set the foundations and motions going in the right direction promptly before it becomes a bigger issue in the future.

Are you trying to find a new place to live, call Willmotts for property advice or information with selling and or buying a home please email sales@willmotts.com or call 020 8222 9958

#willmotts #propertyexperts #estateagents #lettingagent #charteredsurveyors #willmotts1856 #guildproperty #tenants #landlords #hammersmith #propertymarket #proudguildmember

Photo thanks to Jan Canty for sharing their work on Unsplash.
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