Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ever Had That Sinking Feeling? A Mountain of New Regulations Is Adding to the Pressure on Landlords Already Struggling with Mortgage Restrictions and Rental Rates That Fail to Match Property Price Rises. but a Free New App Is Helping to Make Sense of It All

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ever Had That Sinking Feeling? A Mountain of New Regulations Is Adding to the Pressure on Landlords Already Struggling with Mortgage Restrictions and Rental Rates That Fail to Match Property Price Rises. but a Free New App Is Helping to Make Sense of It All

Article excerpt

WITH property values rising much faster than wages or pension fund investments, people might assume that private landlords are feeling pretty smug right now. But if they look behind the headlines about "record" property price hikes and "sky-high" rents, they will see the picture is more complex.

the squeeze on rental income Though it is true that any landlord who already has a portfolio of properties in London or the South-East is likely to have enjoyed double-digit capital growth in the past year, the same can't be said for their rental income. New research reveals rental rates are not a reflection of property values, instead they are more likely to be driven by wage levels -- and if tenants are not seeing significant growth in their incomes, they won't be willing to pay more of their salary in rent.

Property letting expert Kate Faulkner explains: "The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that rents in Britain rose by one per cent in the 12 months to December last year. Regionally, rents grew most in London, by 1.6 per cent, and by one per cent in the South-East, while in most other regions they grew by less than half of one per cent. If inflation is going up by two per cent, this potentially means that, as a landlord, your rent is only rising by half as much as the cost of living. For those relying on rents for income, this isn't great news."

the pressures of tracking cash flow Rising property prices and belowinflation rent increases hardly stack up to a dazzling financial case when completing a buy-to-let mortgage application, making it more difficult to build on an existing property portfolio.

This increases the pressure on landlords, making the efficient management of cash flow and the accurate calculation of rental yield more important than ever -- especially when a landlord owns more than one property, with the multiple tenants and mortgages that go with them.

the surge in new regulations Regulatory changes are arriving thick and fast. Landlords in England must now advertise tenant fees as well as rents, for example. In May a new law was passed that will soon require landlords to make sure new tenants are in the UK legally. Anyone found letting to a tenant who is here illegally could be fined up to PS3,000.

And if you let a property in the capital, you could sign up to the London Rental Standard, which covers such things as rental agreements, protecting tenants' deposits, carrying out repairs, organising safety checks and implementing energy-efficiency measures -- but it will all involve more paperwork.

so much paperwork The new regulatory changes will undoubtedly bring benefits for many private landlords, helping to weed out rogues, setting higher standards and bringing clarity to the fees charged and the length of tenancies.

But they also mean landlords have to do much more to keep on top of their finances while also monitoring maintenance schedules and keeping track of important dates linked to their rental properties, such as safety-check and certificate-expiry dates. …

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