Is the Cardiff House Share an Endangered Species?

The Cardiff house share is in great danger due to a number to changes to taxation and legislation to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) across the UK in 2016 with Wales leading the way with the roll out of Rent Smart Wales www.rentsmart.gov.wales a national landlord and letting agent register which came into force on 23rd November 2016.

As well as the introduction of Rent Smart Wales the Welsh Assembly Government have also introduced further legislation around the creation of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or more commonly known as house shares. Prior to 25th February 2016 in Wales the C3 planning use classification applied to all dwelling houses up to and including six tenants but on the 25th February 2016 Wales introduced a C4 planning use classification of HMO: “tenanted living occupation by 3 to 6 people, who are not related and who share one or more basic amenities, as their only or main residence.”

Why is C4 HMO Use Class Such a Problem?

In England, it’s not.  It has long been accepted that permitted development rights ensured a property owner would automatically have planning permission granted by the General Development Order where an existing single family dwelling (C3) is used as a small HMO (within class C4) or vice versa.  However, all properties in Wales with 3 to 6 (unrelated) tenants now require a change of use application to be made, at the recently increased planning fee of £380 and there is NO GUARANTEE OF APPROVAL for your house share in Cardiff or else where is Wales.

Cardiff Council’s Approach to House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

From a landlord and property investor perspective it looks as if Cardiff Council is going all out to stop the creation of additional house shares within the city.  Cardiff Council is to try to control the total concentration of house shares in each area by denying landlords in those areas planning permission to move between HMO classes if the concentration for that area has already been met, and the property falls within 50m radius of the designated area.  The threshold for the ward’s of Cathays and Plasnewyedd is 20 percent and in all other wards 10 percent.

Here is a link to Cardiff Council’s HMO Supplementary Planning Guidance: https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Planning/Planning-Policy/Supplementary-Planning-Guidance/Documents/HMO%20SPG%20Consultation%20Draft%20April.pdf

So as can been seen from housing legislation that has been introduced by the UK Government , Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff Council there is going to be a decrease in the overall number of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) being created in Cardiff even though the number of people looking to house share in Cardiff is ever increasing as they search for high quality affordable accommodation.

More Reasons for Private Rented Sector to be Scared

The Department for Communities and Local Government and Housing Minster, Brandon Lewis MP have played another “blinder” and hammered home yet another nail in the coffin for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in the form of “Pay to Stay”.

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, said:

 “It’s not fair that other hard-working people are subsidising the lifestyles of higher-earners to the tune of £3,500 per year, when the money could be used to build more affordable homes.”

 “’Pay to stay’ will ensure that those tenants on higher incomes who are living in social housing have a rent that reflects their ability to pay, while those who genuinely need support continue to receive it.”

Here is the link to The Department for Communities and Local Government press release:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fair-rents-will-ensure-higher-earning-tenants-pay-to-stay

 

So why is the “Pay to Stay” bad for Private Rented Sector?

Housing Associations can now charge full market rent to tenants who have a household income in excess of £30,000 per annum, the very same tenants the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is looking to attract, but which is more appealing to a tenant a private landlord or a Housing Association?

My guess would be a Housing Association is the more attractive option for a host of reasons but the most obvious being:

  • Tenants will be able to buy their Housing Association property after just 3 years with a 35% discount if it’s house and a 50% discount on a flat

So for professional working tenants currently renting from a PRS landlord making the switch to a Housing Association landlord makes sound financial sense.

Next question where are all the low income and tenants in receipt of benefits going to be housed?

You can also read about other ways Government Attacks Private Rented Sector

HMO Landlord Fined for Unsafe, Overcrowded and Unlicensed Luton Property

Another HMO Landlord added to our “rogue Landlord” feature, a useful guide of how not to go about managing a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and multi let portfolio.

HMO Landlord Khaled Ahmed, 36, failed to attend Luton Magistrates Court on 15 October where he was ordered to pay nearly £53,000 for operating an unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

This Luton HMO Landlord has gone for the hat-trick by managing a unsafe, overcrowded and unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and following a number of complaints from tenants living at the property at 35 Dunraven Avenue, officers from the Council’s Private Sector Housing team carried out an inspection of the eight-bedroom, four-storey house where a number of health and safety breaches were found the most serious being structure altered internally causing a number of potentially fatal fire safety hazards.

This rogue HMO Landlord provided poorly sub-divided rooms to gain additional smaller bedrooms so more people could live there. One bedroom measured just five square metres as well as a young female student living in the attic space, which could only be accessed by an unstable staircase, without windows, ventilation or heating. Other hazards related to obstructed fire exits, accumulations of rubbish, lack of fire doors, and lack of fire alarms and disrepair to the property.

The Magistrate described the property as a ‘death trap’ run for commercial gain and convicted Mr Ahmed for all breaches.

Mr Ahmed was fined £15,000 for failing to licence the property, a further £4,000 for each of the nine breaches of the Management of House in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 which totalled a further £36,000 and a £15 victim surcharge. The Council was also awarded £1,957 costs. Total fines and costs amounted to £52,957 which is one of the highest fines recorded in Luton.

As a further consequence the tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back all rent paid for the past 12 months.

When handing out the fines, the Court also took into account that Mr Ahmed had taken over £22,500 in rent and deposits from tenants.

Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, said: “This is one of the worse cases we have ever seen with tenants being subjected to dangerous and potentially life threatening conditions. What makes it worse is that the actions of the landlord were deliberate and purely for commercial gain.

“I am glad that  substantial fines were imposed, as this serves as a strong warning to any other landlord who thinks they can get away with this illegal behaviour. HMOs need to be licensed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the occupants and to prevent them living in overcrowded conditions with insufficient facilities.”

“The Council takes the condition of the private rented sector very seriously and we have recently embarked on a programme of inspecting all Houses in Multiple Occupation within Luton. We will not hesitate to take further court action should any other offences be committed.”

Anyone living near or knowing of such a property which they believe to be an unlicensed HMO should contact the council on 01582 54 72 22 or email HMO.Hotline@luton.gov.uk.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

Buy to Let Evictions Soar by 33%

Ministry of Justice figures analysed and presented by homeless charity, Crisis suggest the number of Court orders to evict tenants from the Private Rented Sector have dramatically increased by over one third in the last two years.

Ministry of Justice figures suggest Courts in England and Wales have granted 36,211 eviction orders against tenants renting from buy to let landlords and House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) an increase of 12% in the last year and a massive 33% increase over the last two years.

The research by the homeless charity Crisis has added weight by a survey conducted by the National landlord Association (NLA) whose figures suggest an equally bleak picture with 49% of landlords polled saying that their tenants had paid late or are in rental arrears over the last 12 months.

If you are a landlord with a buy to let property in Cardiff or across South wales our Rent Guarantee Scheme can protect your property investment for rental arrears, void periods and costly tenant eviction process.

Our Rent Guarantee Scheme provides landlords in Cardiff and across South Wales complete piece of mind as they are safe in the knowledge that their property is tenanted by  professional tenants and their rent will be paid into an nominated bank account on the same day of the month every month.

Our Rent Guarantee Scheme is suitable for buy to let property investments in Cardiff and throughout South Wales whether it be an apartment, bungalow, family home or flat and for property investors with a Student property, House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) or Multi Let we provide a specialist HMO Rent Guarantee.

For a no obligation Rent Guarantee appraisal you can email info@webletz.co.cuk to arrange a call from one of our team or telephone 0845 496 0000.