If you own or manage a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) you may need to obtain a licence for the property. It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence. Landlords who are caught can be heavily fined by the courts.
Mandatory HMO licensing
From 1 October 2018 mandatory licensing will no longer be limited to certain HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but will also include buildings with one or two storeys. The HMO must be occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households.
Your property qualifies for a Mandatory HMO if:
• At least five occupants live there, forming more than one household
• The occupants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
NB Please note that a purpose built flat with five or more occupants situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats is not subject to mandatory licensing.
Mandatory licences are normally issued for the maximum permitted period of five years, from the date of approval.
If your property qualifies as a Mandatory HMO you must apply now for a license.
Additional HMO licensing
1 October 2018
On 1 October 2018 Southampton City Council will introduce an additional HMO licensing scheme covering the wards of Bevois, Bargate, Portswood and Swaythling. The scheme will cover all HMOs in this area that are not covered by Mandatory HMO licensing. This will include all HMOs with 3 or 4 tenants and purpose built flats with five or more occupants that are situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats.
These licenses will expire on 30 September 2023 when this additional licensing designation ends.
20 October 2015
On 20 October 2015 Southampton City Council introduced a second additional licensing scheme. It covers all HMOs (excluding those subject to mandatory licensing) in the following four wards of the city:
These licences will expire on 19 October 2020 when this additional licensing designation ends.
For more information go to: https://bit.ly/2ztuTpB
The UK property market is experiencing a sharp slowdown, with house prices falling to a modest degree, latest house figures from Rightmove show. Homeowners who have put their property up for sale in July have dropped the amount they are asking by 0.1 percent compared to June in an attempt to woo potential buyers.
In London, asking prices were down by as much as 0.5 percent, with smaller apartments accounting for most of the fall. Rightmove Director and market analyst, Miles Shipside, considers the drop in asking prices to be ‘a sign of a falling market.’
“With more price reductions at this time of the year than in any of the last six years, there’s likely to be a combination of both initial over-pricing and failure to react fast enough – or to reduce by enough – when initial buyer interest fails to lead to a sale,”
Bloomberg quoted Shipside as saying.
House prices in the UK appear to be falling mainly because of the increased economic uncertainty concerning Brexit. Political uncertainty is often bad news for all sectors of the economy, including real estate.
Experts say that doubts regarding what the future holds for the UK economy are likely to continue to exert a moderate drag on housing market activity beyond this year. A report filed by The Week cites property prices in London may continue to fall until 2020.
More Homes, Restricted Demand
In the meantime, Homes and Property revealed that landlords are still rolling out a variety of new homes, with the number of new properties entering the market rising 8.6 percent year on year. The surge of new properties entering the UK market has left estate agents with the highest stock of homes since September 2015. Despite new homes coming on to the market in the past year, however, property demand has mostly remained static so far, the report claims. This has led most sellers to see falls in the number of properties being sold.
Outside of Britain’s uncertain political situation and the excess supply in the housing market created by new-to-market properties, it appears that the seasons have also had a hand in the fall in UK house prices. The Homes and Property report suggests that the summer slowdown is partly responsible for the reduction in property rates, as people get distracted by sunbathing and drinking icy beverages rather than focusing on ‘for sale’ signs.
“Prospective buyers will need tempting with a special summer price or a beautifully finished and presented must-have home, and sellers whose homes tick these boxes then need an estate agent with good marketing skills to promote it effectively,” continues Shipside, in Homes and Property.
To boost sales at a time like this, property owners are encouraged to set a realistic property price for their houses from the offset. If you set the price too high, you turn away dozens of potential buyers who may have been interested. To set the fairest and realistic house price, you should enlist the expert help of a local estate agent who is knowledgeable in this area.
We are proud sponsors of the Southampton Property Show, one of the UK’s biggest property exhibitions.
More than 600 landlords, investors and property professionals from across the South Coast are expected to attend Southampton’s largest property, business & networking event taking place on Thursday 13th September 2018.
Being held in Southampton’s prestigious AA 5 star rated Southampton Harbour Hotel at Ocean Village with its striking super-yacht inspired design, this phenomenal event will provide a wealth of networking opportunities to all in attendance.
Taking place at the same time as the Southampton Boat Show, this event is expected to be attended from visitors all over the country.
To purchase your FREE show ticket go to: https://bit.ly/2GmFGSR or for more information: www.southamptonpropertyshow.co.uk
We look forward to seeing you there!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in less than two weeks, on 25th May 2018.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union.
A fine of €20 million or 4% of annual turnover may be payable for non-compliance.
This new legislation affects anyone offering goods and services who holds and processes personal data.
If you are a letting agent or a landlord and you hold personal information, bank details or identification documents, carry on reading!
1. Register with the commissioner’s office
2. Make a list of the specific type of data that you hold
For instance, if you are a landlord, you likely hold personal data about your tenants and if you are a letting agent, you will hold details about both landlords and tenants. Alternatively, if you have details about prospects such as email addresses or phone numbers, you should also make a list of these.
3. Make a list of various places where the data is being held
You might be holding data in more than one place. For instance, you might be holding it in on CRM software, Mailchimp, Gmail or any other account software.
4. Make sure that those places are compliant to GDPR
If the data is being held online, make sure it’s on a secure site with a strong and protected password. You should contact the relevant support service to ensure the data is totally safe.
5. Make sure you have permission from respective people to process and use their data
If someone has applied to rent your property, this does not mean you can now send marketing emails to them. If you purchased a list of marketing emails, you should be very careful in making sure you have permission from everyone on that list.
One of the major purposes of the rules is to reduce unwanted mails and spam. In this case, you should make sure that everyone in your list has consented to receiving your e mails.
7. Appoint Data Protection Officer
Appoint a nominated officer to monitor compliance to ensure that employees are well informed of their respective duties.
Other key suggestions
Keep a diary to prepare for the GDPR. If ICO happen to contact you about a certain breach, you can easily show them you are taking it seriously and have a record of your compliance.
Great talent makes it all happen…
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If this sounds like you, please drop your CV to:
Last week the government published its response to the consultation on banning letting agent fees to tenants along with a draft bill. The bill imposes a BLANKET ban on fees to tenants, not even a cap as was thought might be the case. With no more tenant fees, most agents will have no choice but to pass on the lost fees to landlords instead. Landlords beware. It's about to get a bit crazy out there!
Last week the government published its response to the consultation on banning letting agent fees to tenants along with a draft bill.
The level of fees charged by letting agents and some landlords are often not clearly or consistently explained, leaving many tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.
The draft Tenant Fees Bill generates a complete blanket ban on fees charged by agents (and landlords) for the creation, renewal or continuation of an AST or license.
This is much harsher than was anticipated. Many thought the ban would be in the form of a cap or upper limit on tenant fees, rather than a full ban.
Tenancies which fall outside of the Housing Act 1988 will not be covered and it appears that company lets have not been included in the new rules.
There is a list of permissible fees that agents and landlords can still charge to tenants.
Those permitted include fees for breaching tenancy agreements and fees for losing keys.
Enforcement will be through trading standards officers, who have a duty to enforce the legislation so that agents can complain about other agents who are not playing by the new rules.
A civil penalty of £5,000 is payable initially for a breach of the ban on letting fees, but a repeated breach would amount to a criminal offense. However, civil penalties of up to £30,000 can be issued as an alternative to prosecution.
If the offense is by a company, the directors can be made liable too.
There is also a list of anti-avoidance provisions to stop agents and landlords getting around the ban.
CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION
The government also launched a consultation on making membership of client money protection schemes mandatory for letting and managing agents that handle client money. This will give landlords and tenants greater financial protection and confidence that their money is safe.
The bill will also amend the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla - so that all fees being charged are clearly set out on all websites.
The bill limits tenancy deposits to the equivalent of 6 weeks rent. This is an increase on the proposed one month which many agents and landlords considered to be not long enough.
AN INDUSTRY IN TURMOIL?
The bill has not yet been laid before parliament, so it is not in force yet.
But what is known already is that many agencies, especially the large corporates, make a significant amount of their revenue from tenant fees, and some of the big corporates have already started passing these ‘lost’ fees onto landlords in a bid to stay alive, even before the legislation has officially kicked in.
OUR PRICE FREEZE!
But at Home Hub Southampton we like to be different!
Our fees are already all-inclusive and transparent but we are going a step further...
If you put your property on with us fully managed before the end of 2017, we will FREEZE your prices for up to the next 5 years! That’s right! Lock in now, and you will not be subject to any fee rises in the next 5 years!
To contact us to find out what we can do for you or to find out more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading cleaning experts Dr. Beckmann has revealed the nation’s most popular household smells in its Cleaning and Laundry Bible, and they may just help you achieve a successful sale/let!
Here are Britain’s favourite household smells:
So get the oven on, lawnmower out and the coffee on!
Southampton is constantly referred to as a ‘buy to let hotspot’ in the media. HSBC ranks Southampton among the top 10 places to invest in property in the UK, and Southampton is tipped to register the highest capital growth in the country by 2019.
Southampton is currently undergoing massive transformation. Westquay Watermark is now complete and represents an £85 million investment in Southampton and is the UK's largest restaurant and dining complex. The Royal Pier development project is a £450 million development that will transform the landscape of Southampton’s waterfront.
Southampton is a fun and vibrant place to live, and with its two universities (34,000 students), a large hospital, an airport and its location on the South Coast with proximity to London, there is high demand for HMO rooms.
The HMOs we source, refurb and manage for ourselves and investors are largely for professional tenants. The typical tenant might be a young person aged between 23-35 who is re-locating to Southampton for a job. They will usually require an initial 6 month contract after which time they may move in with friends or with a partner, or indeed move to a different area of the country for work.
Southampton is an Article 4 area which means that you can no longer change a family house into an HMO without planning permission in Southampton city centre. This means that you have to look outside the article 4 boundary for suitable investment purchases which can be converted into HMO properties without planning permission, or buy an existing HMO being sold on by a landlord.
Southampton has mandatory and additional HMO licensing. Regardless of HMO licensing, our properties are always refurbed as if mandatory licensing were in force in the area.
We have noticed that due to lots of new all purpose student blocks going up in central Southampton (with inclusive gyms and bells and whistles), there are more traditional student houses remaining void - especially the shabbier ones. As a result some student landlords are changing those properties to professional HMOs for which the market is strong. As with all buy to lets, the key is to stay ahead of your game in terms of the property you are offering so it will always be attractive to tenants.
Southampton is booming and we at Home Hub Southampton are enjoying being part of it.