Streetwise Property Alert 24th January 2014

Welcome to Friday’s email of news and views…

Licensing – More News

We have said for some time that the BTL and HMO markets are moving steadily towards blanket licensing – led by Hackney, more and more authorities are bringing in licensing and rules and regulations on an area-by-area basis. We suspect, eventually, that there will be some sort of national licence system but, for now, it’s all a little bit here and a little bit there.

We note this week that a newspaper report from Sheffield offers a heads-up of what’s happening there – and elsewhere sometime soon? ‘Sheffield City Council said rented housing in Page Hall was “generally poorer” than elsewhere in the city.’

‘Senior councillors have agreed to introduce selective licensing to about 350 properties in the Page Hall area. Landlords will soon have to register for a £725 five-year licence.’ If you are buying a BTL, check what’s what with the local authority first – what you are used to with one BTL in one area may not be the same when you buy elsewhere.

Get Advice ASAP

We have something of a mantra here when it comes to looking at property opportunities… ’due diligence… independent legal advice… due diligence… independent legal advice etc. In these current times, we need to amend that a little – get independent legal advice asap. As examples, we’ve had members express interest lately in sub-130k BTLs in London and lease option deals. Several have missed out because they are simply not ready to buy – no lawyer, no cash to hand and so on. It’s a fast-moving market right now!

Estate agency Move With Us is saying much the same – their research suggests some 84 per cent of people leave it ‘until the last minute’ to appoint a solicitor which leads to a larger number of deals falling through. ‘The property market is quickly gathering pace. With such increased competition, being legally prepared early puts buyers in a good position by being able to stand out from the competition and demonstrate that they are a serious, motivated and reliable contender.’ Be prepared to do a deal!

Student Deals – Where’s Hot?

Stuart Law at investment specialists Assetz is in the news drawing attention to student accommodation hotspots – he names Leicester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Southampton and York for student investment. Over to Stuart who gives us an idea of what to look for in the months and years ahead, ‘There is a shortage of bespoke accommodation for overseas students, from China, India, Nigeria, Germany, Ireland and France and other countries, who now make up more than half of UK postgraduate and want their own space.’

‘Undergraduate student hall of residence accommodation has long been a sound buy-to-let investment opportunity, offering excellent yields, but the lucrative market in high quality post graduate accommodation is only just starting to materialise. Many students are continuing to study after their undergraduate degree due to the current competition in the UK jobs market and overseas students are drawn to the UK for its excellent standard of university education.’ Food for thought.

All for today, see you again soon.

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