Tenants Fined £23,000.00

Three tenants who were found to be guilty of sub-letting a three bedroomed house in Kingsbury and crammed 35 men into the property have been fined more than £23,000.

The 35 ‘sub-tenants’ had been crammed into all of the property’s rooms with the exception of the bathrooms and given mattresses. The kitchen also doubled up as a bedroom and there was even a mattress found under a canopy in the garden without any form of heating.

Two of the guilty party, appearing at the Willesden Magistrate’s Court, were each fined £9,000 as well as £1,470 in associated costs and victim charges, for not obtaining an HMO licence and ignoring Brent Council’s requests for information as part of its investigations.

The third guilty tenant was given a £1,000 fine for not giving information to the council’s officers as part of their investigation into the house along with a further fine of £1,350 in costs and victim surcharges.

Councillor Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “No one should be forced to live in the overcrowded, unsafe and unhygienic conditions that the Council discovered these men living in. Poor living standards in the private rented sector are not the norm and Brent Council will track down those responsible, be they owners, agents or illegal sub-letters.

“We will not tolerate the exploitation of tenants by criminal landlords and subletters and we will continue to prosecute anyone we find breaking the law. It’s time that rogue landlords get their house in order or exit the rental market so that those professional landlords who operate in Brent can continue to provide quality, much-needed accommodation.”

Richard Merrick of PIMS, said:”Unfortunately this is a sign of the times, as we have reported over the last six months cases of illegal subletting are rapidly increasing and in some instances on an ‘industrial’ scale.”

40% Of Landlords Switching To Limited Companies

Latest research from a specialist lender claims that over the next twelve months almost 40% of landlords will be mortgaging BTL properties as limited companies, with only 26% of BTL acquisitions being made by individuals.

Those landlords who have a portfolio of four plus rented properties, 42% will be mortgaging a new property via a limited company; however it drops down to 31% of landlords with three properties.

The research states that London’s BTL investors will more than likely be making additions through the use of a limited company.  The specialist lender which commissioned the study says it shows that more and more landlords are switching to become limited companies.

Nearly 89% of the mortgage brokers that took part in the research said that they fully expect to see a very high increase in landlords setting themselves up as limited companies; having the opportunity to claim back mortgage interest tax relief will be the prime motivator.   From those landlords who took part in the survey, approximately 15% were planning to expand their portfolios and 23% of them are intending to buy three or more properties over the coming year.

The survey also states that those landlords with large portfolios are far savvier of the recent lending criteria and application processes that the Prudential Regulation Authority has recently imposed on the sector.

Nearly Half Of Tenants Are Problematic

Recent research claims that 40% of tenants are causing problems for their agents or landlords when leaving at the end of their tenancy, causing an average £210’s worth of maintenance and repair costs.

An interior company surveyed 2,302 landlords who were 18 years old or more who let out at least one property for renting to tenants.  The first question they were asked was how they felt about renting out their property, with an overall majority of 62% replying it made good sense to them as the monthly rent fully covered their mortgage payments and in most cases more.
25% who took part did admit to feeling nervous about renting out their property as having little control over how the tenants would look after their home. However more than one in ten, (13%) adamantly stating that they wished they had never let out their property in the first place.
The respondents were also asked whether they had encountered any problems with their tenants and 40% said they had or were having issues.
The main issues were:

•    58% said tenants were constantly in contact with them about minor issues and when investigated, some were in fact found to be made up.

•    41% said that tenants had taken it upon themselves to make changes to the property without first seeking permission.

•    26% had complaints from their tenant’s neighbours about their anti social behaviour.

•    23% had their tenants damaging their property with the landlords expected to incur the repair costs themselves.

•    18% had experienced late rent payments.
Those landlords, who stated that their tenants had contacted them on minor or imaginary issues, were asked on average how many times a month had this occurred, and it turned out to be four times.

The last question involved the costs incurred by the landlords for repairs, cleaning and general maintenance upon a tenant leaving their property, and on average it was £210.