18 episodes

A weekly podcast co-hosted by Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson, who discuss practical tips to help you start, grow and succeed as a landlord in England

Good Landlording Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson

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A weekly podcast co-hosted by Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson, who discuss practical tips to help you start, grow and succeed as a landlord in England

    #17: Introducing the new Renters’ Rights Bill

    #17: Introducing the new Renters’ Rights Bill

    In this episode of Good Landlording, Suzanne Smith and Richard Jackson discuss what the King's Speech said today about the contents of the new Renters' Rights Bill, which will apply to the private rented sector in England.







    The discussion includes the key provisions, the extent to which it differs from the Renters Reform Bill, what doesn't appear to be in the Renters' Rights Bill and the situation with EPCs.















    >> Ask a question: Click here for question form







    What are the key provisions of the new Renters' Rights Bill







    The King's Speech itself didn't say much about the new Renters' Rights Bill, other than: "Legislation will be introduced to give greater rights and protections to people renting their homes, including ending no fault evictions, and reforming grounds for possession".







    More detail was given in the briefing notes (see page 69-71) that accompanied the King's Speech and Richard discuss what the briefing notes to the King's Speech say about the new Renters' Rights Bill:









    Abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault evictions’







    New Section 8 grounds for possession







    Ability for tenants to challenge rent increases







    Ending of rental bidding wars







    Right for tenants to request a pet







    Applying a Decent Homes Standard to the PRS







    Applying “Awaab’s Law” to the PRS







    Creation of digital private rented sector database







    Private Rented Sector Ombudsman







    Anti-discrimination







    New enforcement and investigatory powers









    >> Blog post: What the King’s Speech says about the new Renters’ Rights Bill







    >> Blog post: How to be a pet friendly landlord







    What did the King's Speech say about EPCs?







    It was a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party to "ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030, saving renters hundreds of pounds per year. Nobody will be forced to rip out their boiler as a result of our plans."







    Although energy was mentioned in the speech, there was no specific reference to requiring landlords to meet new minimum energy efficiency standards. This is something that would need primary legislation.







    >> Related episode: #16: What the Labour government has in store for landlords







    >> Related episode: #14: Manifesto pledges on leasehold reform















    Credits







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    Music: "Paradise Found" by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech. Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 License.

    • 28 min
    #16: What the Labour government has in store for landlords

    #16: What the Labour government has in store for landlords

    Now that the new Prime Minister has appointed his front bench team and made clear his priorities, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith discuss what the Labour government has in store for landlords in England in the 16th episode of Good Landlording.







    They include answers to lots of questions from listeners, and go through what we know about leasehold reform, energy efficiency and leasehold reform. They also discuss Labour's plans to build 1.5 million homes in the next five years.























    >> Ask a question: Click here for question form







    What we cover in this episodeWhere are we now?What happens next?What is likely to be included in a new Renters Reform Bill?What's likely to be included in a Leasehold Reform Bill?Rachel Reeves' speech on 8 July 2024 about housebuildingPractical tips to help landlords to navigate the coming change







    Where are we now?







    The Labour government won the general election on 4 July, and the new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, said in his speech in front of Number 10 on Friday that "change will start now". 







    Angela Rayner has been confirmed as the Secretary of State of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with Matthew Pennycook as Minister of State for Levelling Up. Matthew Pennycook was Shadow Housing Minister from December 2020 to until the General Election. He knows the brief really well and shepherded  the Renters Reform Bill and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform act as it now is through the House Commons.







    The Guardian quotes a government source saying that the "Levelling Up" bit will be dropped from the of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The source is quoted as saying: "We agree with the principle of levelling up, but it was a gimmicky branding exercise [...] We’ll be taking the Ronseal approach. It will do what it says on the tin.”







    The has been confirmed by Angela Rayner since the podcast was recorded. The name of the department will be the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.







    What happens next?







    The King's Speech has been confirmed for Wednesday 17 July. The speech sets out which Bills will be in the next session of parliament, and we expect Bills on rental and leasehold reform to be included.







    We'll do an episode shortly after it is published to go through what legislation Labour intends to introduce for landlords.







    Lobbying for the Renters Reform Bill (or whatever it ends up being called) has started already with the NRLA, Propertymark, Generation Rent, and Shelter already issuing press releases about rental reform.







    What is likely to be included in a new Renters Reform Bill?







    The following are likely to be in a new Renters Reform Bill:









    The abolition of Section 21.







    Strengthening the ability of tenants to challenge rent increases







    End rent bidding wars. See David Smith's blog post on Rental Bidding: New Zealand law in the UK.







    Extending Awaab's Law and the Decent Home Standard to the private rented sector. The 2022-23 English Housing Survey estimates that 11.9% of properties in the PRS in England are “unsafe”, which means they contain a Category 1 HHSRS Hazard. 

















    See Election special: Manifesto pledges on rental reform for more detail.







    >> Blog post: What landlords can expect from the new Labour government







    What's likely to be included in a Leasehold Reform Bill?

    • 21 min
    #15: Is buy to let still worth it for landlords?

    #15: Is buy to let still worth it for landlords?

    In this episode of Good Landlording recorded in the week of the General Election on 4 July 2024, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith discuss whether buy to let properties in England are still good investments in 2024.







    They analyse what make buy to lets so popular, what has changed, and what makes a successful buy to let in 2024. After going through the pros and cons of other investment strategies, they close with reasons to be positive about the future of the private rented sector.







    This episode isn't investment advice, but is their thoughts on how the proposition of investing in buy to lets has changed over the last few years, and where it leaves landlords now.







    What we cover in this episodeWhat did buy to lets become so popular?Why have buy to lets become less attractive?What about other investment strategies?Reasons to be positive about the private rented sector















    >> Ask a question: Click here for question form







    What did buy to lets become so popular?







    Newer landlords might not realise that buy to lets didn’t really become an established strategy until the early 2000s. In fact the first buy to let mortgages weren’t even launched until 1996.







    The PRS has seen phenomenal growth in the past three decades. In 1988, the PRS in England was only around 9% of all households. It peaked at 20% or 4.7 million households in 2017, falling back slightly to just under 19% in 2023. 







    The trigger for this phenomenal growth was the deregulation of the PRS initiated by Margaret Thatcher's government with the Housing Act 1988, which abolished rent controls, and the Housing Act 1996 which made assured shorthold tenancies the default tenancy.







    The decrease in interest rates in the 2000s, and ready access to buy to let mortgages, helped accelerate the growth of the PRS.







    Base rates remained below 1% from 2009 to May 2022, and "property gurus" promoting "free buy to lets" using cheap money and the BRRR (buy, refurbish, rent, refinance) strategy, encouraged this growth further.







    Why have buy to lets become less attractive?







    Higher interest rates over the last two years have caused particular problems for unincorporated landlords, who have been unable to set off their full financing costs against their profits after George Osborne introduced Section 24 in the Finance Act 2015.







    Many landlords are highly leveraged, which makes them more vulnerable when interest rates increase. Those searching for "passive income" have discovered that outsourcing property management means they have high fixed costs, which impacts profitability.







    The increase in interest rates mean that investors can get a good tax-free return in a cash ISA, without risk.







    >> Blog post: Can landlords make passive income from rental property?







    What about other investment strategies?







    Short term lets have their own challenges, and are due to have increased regulation. HMOs require a lot of management time.







    Investing in the stock market can be unpredictable, and seems less tangible than investing in bricks and mortar with a positive net cash flow.







    It's important not to put all one's eggs in one basket when it comes to investments, and not invest everything in buy to lets. Sometimes landlords will also use their pension to invest in property, by using a SSAS, a small self-administered scheme which can invest in commercial property. Suzanne says she has not done this as she doesn't want all her investments in property.

    • 18 min
    Election special: Manifesto pledges on leasehold reform

    Election special: Manifesto pledges on leasehold reform

    For this special election episode of Good Landlording, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith pick apart the pledges that the political parties make in their general election manifestos for leasehold reform in England and Wales. (This episode does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland, where the law is different).







    This episode is useful for all leaseholders, not just landlords who own leasehold flats and houses.







    Suzanne and Richard explain what ground rent is, why it's become controversial, the reforms to date, and where the various parties stand on capping existing ground rent.







    Both Labour and the Conservatives specifically promise to move to commonhold, and Suzanne goes through the differences between commonhold and the existing freehold and leasehold structure. They also discuss plans to end the misuse of forfeiture and so-called "fleecehold" estate charges.







    As always, it's a practical episode, which helps landlords who own leasehold properties, like Richard, understand how the reforms may affect them, whoever wins the general election. It expands many of the issues they discussed in #10: Tips to help landlords self-manage their buy to lets.







    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form







    What we cover in this episodeOverview of leasehold reforms to dateCapping ground rentWhat is ground rent?What's the meaning of a peppercorn ground rent?Ground rent reform to dateWhy is ground rent controversial?What do the parties promise about reforming ground rent?Making commonhold the default tenureWhat is commonhold?What the parties say about commonhold in their manifestosEnding the "misuse of forfeiture"Abolishing "fleecehold" estate charges and maintenance costsConclusionCredits















    Overview of leasehold reforms to date







    According to Official Statistics from 2022-23, there are 4.77 million leasehold properties in England, which is almost 20% of the English housing stock. Of these, 38% (or 1.8 million individual properties) are privately owned and let by landlords in the private rented sector.







    As there are 4.6 million properties in the PRS (English Housing Survey 2022-23), 39% of properties in the PRS are leasehold.







    Leasehold reforms have been a long time coming. Theresa May's government consulted on "tackling unfair leasehold practices" in 2017, and the Conservatives' 2019 manifesto promised to "continue" leasehold reforms including restricting ground rent to a peppercorn and banning the sale of leasehold houses.







    “We will continue with our reforms to leasehold including implementing our ban on the sale of new leasehold homes, restricting ground rents to a peppercorn, and providing necessary mechanisms of redress for tenants."The Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2019















    The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 started the reforms in that ground rent for new leases was abolished and the sale of new leasehold homes was banned, but ground rent for existing leases was not restricted.







    The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act, when implemented, will bring in a lot of reforms. It promises to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholds to extend leases up to 990 years, and buy out the freehold in the case of houses and a share of the freehold for flats.







    >> Blog post: Practical Guide to the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024







    Capping ground rent







    What is ground rent?







    Ground rent is a sum of money which the owner of a leasehold property, a flat or a house,

    • 20 min
    Election special: What the manifestos say about rental reform

    Election special: What the manifestos say about rental reform

    What might a new government have in store for landlords in England? In this week's episode of Good Landlording, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith discuss what the 2024 election manifestos actually say about landlords, rental reform and energy efficiency.







    As with everything on this podcast, our analysis is practical, measured and objective, to help landlords understand what a new government may bring.







    In this episode, we look at each of the key policies that matter to landlords, which includes the proposed reforms of each of the main parties for the private rented sector and the rules on energy efficiency for rental properties.







    Next week we discuss what the election manifestos say about leasehold reform, an issue for landlords who own the 38% of properties in the private rented sector that are leasehold: Election special: Manifesto pledges on leasehold reform.







    What we cover in this episodeContext of the general election for landlordsWould anyone reverse Section 24 (mortgage tax relief restriction)?Is there a consensus on abolishing Section 21?Labour's 2024 manifesto commitments for renter reformsConservatives' policies about landlords in 2024 election manifestoThe policies of the Liberal Democrats for rental reform in the 2024 electionReform UK's housing policies























    >> Submit a question: Click here for question form







    Context of the general election for landlords







    With the controversy generated by the Renters Reform Bill, dropped shortly before the election, it had seemed likely that rental reform would be front and centre in the election campaign. Particularly because the so-called “Rent Wall” (as opposed to a “Red Wall”) of 38 constituencies in “the Conservative heartlands” where there's a high density of private renters was expected to be key.







    However, rental reform has been in the outer reaches of all of the election manifestos and, surprisingly, has barely been discussed to date in the big election set pieces.







    Rental reform is in the manifestos, but it's not something that any of the political parties have been focusing on.







    In this podcast episode, we focus on what the parties have said in their manifestos, and try to interpret what it might mean. It is the second of two episodes on the election to date, the first being GL #8: What the General Election means for landlords.







    >> Blog post: Analysis of the political parties’ policies for landlords







    Would anyone reverse Section 24 (mortgage tax relief restriction)?







    Unfortunately for unincorporated landlords, none of the major, established political parties mention restoring full mortgage tax relief for sole trader landlords, which George Osborne restricted in his post-2015 election budget. Reform UK, on the other hand, states in its manifesto that it would bring back full mortgage tax relief.







    Is there a consensus on abolishing Section 21?







    Yes. All of the parties, apart from Reform UK, would abolish Section 21 "no fault" evictions. Many were expecting the Conservatives to quietly drop this provision in the Renter's Reform Bill, as they got such a mauling from their backbench MPs when it was going through parliament over the last year.







    But the Conservative's 20204 election manifesto states very clearly that they would "deliver the court's reforms  necessary to fully abolish  section 21".  Labour and the LibDems agree, but without this caveat.







    >> Blog post: What happens to the abolition of Section 21 now?

    • 27 min
    #10: Tips to help landlords self-manage their buy to lets

    #10: Tips to help landlords self-manage their buy to lets

    In this episode of Good Landlording, Richard Jackson and Suzanne Smith share lots of practical tips to help landlords manage their buy to lets successfully themselves, without using letting agents.







    Richard and Suzanne are both very well qualified to talk about this subject. Suzanne has always self-managed her properties, even with her first as an accidental landlord, and Richard self manages many of his properties.







    They discuss what self-managing involves, whether landlords need training or accreditation, what the benefits of self-managing are and lots of practical tips for landlords.







    What we cover in this episodeOverview of self-managing rental propertiesWhat does self-management involve for landlords?Do landlords need accreditation to manage their own rental properties?What are the benefits for landlords who self-manage rental properties?Tips for self-managingGolden nuggetCredits























    Overview of self-managing rental properties







    There's a lot of scaremongering on the part of letting agents, to try and put landlords off managing their properties themselves. They make out that it's really complicated, and something best left to agents.







    For some landlords, using a letting agent might be the right approach. They might not have the time or inclination to do it themselves. For guidance on how to choose good letting agents, you can listen to the Good Landlording episode GL #3: Guide to selecting good letting agents .







    However, if you're considering self managing your properties, it's really not as difficult as you might think. There are lots of useful tools that landlords can use to automate much of the day-to-day tasks, or you can do it manually, using spreadsheets and calendar reminders.







    Also, self managing doesn't always mean you have to do it yourself. Many landlords with larger portfolios use property VAs (virtual assistants). VAs aren't AI, but are specialist admin assistants who provide remote support to landlords. Some landlords employ family members to help, which can be a good way to bring the next generation into the business.







    It's possible for landlords to start by using letting agents to find tenants on a "let only" basis and set up the tenancy, and hand over management as soon as the tenants move in. This is what Suzanne did when she first started as an accidental landlord. She didn't start finding tenants herself for three years.







    Self-management is the opposite of the "passive income" mindset, that some landlords strive for. It's also something that landlords need to go into with their eyes open, and make sure they understand all their legal and practical obligations.







    >> Blog post: The Independent Landlord - How to Self-Manage your Buy to Let







    What does self-management involve for landlords?







    Self-management means different things to different landlords. However, these are the three key aspects of managing your own property portfolio yourself:









    Property management. Looking after the property, which means doing or arranging repairs, maintenance, general upkeep and inspections. This includes arranging the annual gas safety certificate, boiler service, the 5-yearly EICR, PAT testing and managing suppliers, esp the trades.







    Financial. Keeping tabs on the various costs that the landlord incurs, and the income due, ie rent. (See Good Landlording episode GL#7: How to manage rent arrears for tips on what to do to minimise the risk of rent arrears.







    Tenant management. Looking after tenants after they move in, good communications,

    • 27 min

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