Buy-to-let landlords undeterred by stamp duty surcharge

1 02 2017

Buy-to-let landlords undeterred by stamp duty surcharge

The number of second homes liable to pay stamp duty increased to 62,800 in the final quarter of last year, up from 56,200 in Q3 and 30,400 in Q2, suggesting that many people believe that investment in buy-to-let property is still worth pursuing.

The introduction of the 3% levy on stamp duty in April 2016 was expected to sound a death knell for buy-to-let property. But the fact is that many investors remain attracted by the high yields, low void periods and potential for capital appreciation that buy-to-let offers to be deterred by the introduction of the surcharge.

Instead of steering clear of the market, many buy-to-let landlords continue to add to their property portfolios, as reflected by the significant increase in the amount buy-to-let investors borrowed to invest in property towards the end of last year.

Landlords borrowed £3.2bn in November 2016, up 10% month-on-month, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said, which was the highest monthly level since the stamp duty changes on second properties were introduced last April.

The government has made £519m from the 3% surcharge on second homes in Q4 2016 – and £1.19m since Q2 2016.

As well as buy-to-let investors, the second home 3% stamp duty tax can apply to those purchasing holiday homes and parents buying for children, for example.

Commenting on the HMRC’s latest quarterly stamp duty statistics, Nick Leeming, Jackson-Stops & Staff chairman, said: “So far £1.19m worth of stamp duty receipts are estimated to be attributable to the additional 3% element payable on second homes, a significant windfall for Treasury coffers.

“Between Q2 and Q3 the number of second homes liable for the 3% surcharge nearly doubled. This increase is understandable as many buy-to-let investors would likely have rushed to make purchases before April 1st, but the number of liable second home transactions is up again in Q4 to 62,800.

“The data suggests that buy-to-let investors are not being deterred by the new tax which is supposed to be dampening demand from this group to the benefit of first-time buyers. We will see the true impact of this policy in time, but my fear is that additional costs will be passed on to tenants.

“The better solution is a real concerted drive to build more homes, rather than targeting buy-to-let investors – I hope the upcoming Housing White Paper contains a real blueprint for change in this regard.”

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Decorating tips for landlords

24 11 2016


Rental property demand is still very strong throughout the UK.

We have lots of great landlords at Belvoir Stoke-on-Trent and we always advise them to keep the decoration neutral.

To ensure that you obtain the best tenants and avoid the  risk of long rental voids, below are a few simple hints and tips for  successful letting:

  • Be prepared to redecorate at least every three years.
  • Don’t get personal. Stick to neutral  colours and a common theme – always keep a tin of paint for touching up  when tenants leave.
  • Install good lighting if necessary, bright and airy properties let quickly, especially in the main living room and kitchen.
  • Keep costs down by buying felt-backed  bleach cleanable carpet which doesn’t require underlay, and be prepared  to replace where carpet cleaning does not work. Always pick neutral  colours.
  • If you provide curtains they need to  be smart, hard-wearing and neutral coloured. Beige goes with anything  and makes the property look light and spacious. Let the light in. Open  curtains and blinds to their maximum. This will let a lot more light in  and make a flat feel more airy and spacious.
  • Provide standard white goods –  cooker, fridge/freezer, washer/dryer etc. Provide a directory of  procedures for all your equipment or copy the User Manuals, to ensure  your tenants know how to use everything.
  • If you decide to let your property  furnished make sure the furniture is relatively new, in good condition  and meets the latest fire and safety regulations.
  • Fix all outstanding repairs. Fix the  leaking tap, patch the holes in the wall, clean the grout and replace  cracked tiles. Make tenants think they have little to do when they move  in.
  • Put excess furniture in storage or  rearrange furniture to see more floor space. The more floor space a  viewer can see the better. This is another psychological factor and the  more floor space a viewer can see the bigger they think the room is.
  • Clean. Many viewers are put of when  viewing an unclean flat. Clean the windows thoroughly, clean sinks and  toilets, and before viewings open all windows to let fresh air into the  flat, put clean colourful towels out and most important hide any dirty  washing.

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Belvoir Stoke appreciates the importance of taking care of their tenants and by ensuring that each one receives excellent customer service

2 11 2016

Belvoir Stoke endeavours to make sure;

Ensure properties are let legally

Have a vast range of available properties for tenants to rent

Accompany tenants on all viewings

Accommodate tenant requirements

Safeguard deposits in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Why choose Belvoir Stoke?

We are a founding member of the SAFEAgent scheme, which is a kitemark designed to identify agents who are part of Government-backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

All Belvoir offices are owner-managed and run by local specialists, which mean they really know their local area and can offer advice on a range of properties that are close to schools, businesses and health care facilities.

Our fully-trained award-winning teams ensure all properties are let legally – A happy tenancy is a problem-free tenancy!

Belvoir Stoke  aims to provide the best possible service to landlords and tenants. Our local business owners personally manage all essential aspects of lettings, and each operates under licence from Belvoir Property Management (UK) Ltd. The stringent requirements of Belvoir’s franchise agreement ensures that all of our offices operate under the highest standards of professional conduct.

Every Belvoir office has access to a highly trained franchise support team that is based at our prestigious Central Office in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Each Belvoir office can provide a series of unique products and services, including leading insurance packages. Belvoir’s dedicated legal helpline ensures that offices are able to deal with any issues quickly and effectively.

Call us on 01782 478444 and speak to our team so we can match you with a property.



1 06 2015

Public interest in buy to let property investment has never been higher.

Tumbling mortgage rates, a shortage of housing stock, increased tenant demand, all boosted by the recent liberation of some people’s pensions savings, are continuing to tempt more and more investors into the sector as a way of protecting their financial future.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, private residential buy to let mortgage funding has increased by 11 per cent year on year with nearly 16,000 loans, representing £2.2 billion, issued at the start of 2015.

However, Belvoir, one of the UK’s largest property letting and management specialists, says that new landlords should take a long look before they leap into this booming market – and fully consider the pro’s and cons of either ‘going it alone’, or employing an agent to advise on what can be a daunting process for novice investors.

There are three principal points to consider:

  • Being a ‘do-it -yourself’ landlord means having the time and patience needed to care for your property and its tenants. Would you be able to deal with any issue at a moment’s notice, to the satisfaction of all concerned?

  • Do you have the manual and organisational skills to maintain the property to the required standard, or would you need to employ someone to do this for you?

  • Are you confident about handling all the legalities? Changes to Landlord and Tenant law are frequent and often complicated. Again, this demands time, research, a thorough understanding and great attention to detail.

When a considerable amount of your own money is put into a buy to let investment, it is critical to understand the advantages, the restrictions and indeed some of the pitfalls involved.

Letting Agent Fees charged reflect the depth of knowledge, expertise and up to date training required to keep on top of a constantly changing property landscape. When considering the cost of employing an agent you should always be aware of the cost of NOT employing one should things start to go wrong.

How to find good rental properties

11 04 2010

Becoming a landlord can be a great way to build your wealth both today and for the future. But to make the most of your investment capital you will need to make some good buying decisions. So here’s what you will need to consider:

Time horizon

How long are you going to own the property for? If you are planning to own it for more than 15-20 years then you are almost certainly going to make capital gains by the end of it, your main concerns should be to do with location. Making sure you buy in an area which is likely to see good house price growth over that period.

If on the other hand you are only planning to own it for the next 5 years, you will be more vulnerable to house prices falling, so you need to compensate by making sure you buy in an area with a strong rental market. You should also be aware of any major work that needs doing. Buying a house that needs work is fine, as long as you are confident that doing the work will add to the value of the property – improving a run down property is actually a great way to insure against the risks of house prices dropping, and often results in a property that is very lettable.


If you want to make good profits in property you will need to make sure your credit is good. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get started whilst your credit isn’t great, but you should be constantly working to improve your rating, because ultimately that will reduce your mortgage rate, which will save you thousands over the next 10 years.

You should also keep money aside, in case of unexpected repairs. A sudden problem can cause even bigger problems if you can’t afford to fix it immediately. You will either lose tenants, or be put in a position which could damage your credit. In either case you will lose money. Having cash reserves also allows you piece of mind, and makes the job of being a landlord a whole lot more enjoyable.

Don’t over pay

It goes without saying that the more you pay the less you make in capital gains, but additionally: the more you pay, the more you need to borrow, so the more interest you pay. Paying over the odds could also mean you can’t afford to buy second property as soon. So as you can see, getting a bargain can make a small profit become a substantial one.

The best way to ensure you don’t over pay is to be patient. Don’t fall in love with a particular house, you won’t be living in it after all. Make lots of offers, and sooner or later someone will accept. And remember this maxim: If your first offer is accepted, you have over paid.

The key to being a successful landlord is to be patient, invest plenty of time learning about the area you intend to invest in, and wait for the right opportunity to come along. You might own your investment for the next 20 years or more, so there’s no hurry.

The best tip I can offer?

Decide on an area with a strong rental market, and find a good letting agent. Talk to them, get every bit of advice you can, and you will soon be in a much better position to find the best opportunities in the area.

Landlords top 10 mistakes – no5

10 04 2010

I have been on a bit of a tangent for the last few days, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about our landlord mistakes series. So here’s mistake no5. Enjoy!

Mistake number 5 – buying property close to home

Many landlords want to buy property close to where they live so that they can keep an eye on it, or just because it seems easier. Whilst this isn’t always a mistake, it often is.

When buying a property, all things being equal, you should be looking for areas which offer a relatively high rental yeild to cost ratio. In simple terms: you want a house to be cheap to buy but expensive to rent.

If you buy a property in an area dominated by owner occupied houses the pool of tenants is likely to be low and so will be your rent. If on the other hand you buy a property in an area where there is strong demand for rental properties, you are going to be able to get a much better return, and moreover your property will spend more time being full.

Many landlords don’t like to do this because they want to save that money by managing the property themselves, but this can be a mistake too. It may seem to save money on the face of it, but if it means you have to buy a property in a weaker rental market you will be missing out on rental income.

Here in Stoke (where I am based) we have a lot of landlords from all over the country (the world in fact), they buy in Stoke because we have a very strong rental market, you can buy a house for not much over £65,000 and rent it out for a good yeild. In other parts of the country you would have to pay double that for the same rental value.

So when you are looking to buy property, consider if the area you are looking in has a good rent:value ratio. Think about who might live in the area, are they more likely to be families who own their homes? or younger couples looking to move in together. Areas with a university often offer good opportunities too. These are all factors to consider if you want to ensure that your property investment is a profitable one.

Landlords top 10 mistakes – no4

1 04 2010

This sequence of posts have proven quite popular. So today I’m bringing you mistake number 4. Hopefully these posts are being of use to some of you, it should certainly give you some ideas of things to consider, and potentially could save you from a few minor disasters. Please leave a comment with any feedback or suggestions of other topics you would like me to discuss.

Mistake number 4 – Poor Lease Preparation

It goes without saying that the lease is important. It is what binds your tenant to your property and ensures the rent is paid. This single document represents your legal protection if something goes wrong so it really is worth thinking carefully about. In spite of this however, some landlords write their own contracts to save money.

Writing your own contract can be tempting given the fees that solicitors charge, but saving money here can cost you money later. You may be able to find a standard tenancy agreement, and this is a viable option. However, standards differ a lot, and some lease contracts offer better protection than others.

Your lease must contain the rules of the relationship between you and your tenant that dictate conflict resolution, financial responsibility and terms of execution. This includes things like who is responsible for utility bills, whether pets are allowed, what the penalties for breach of the contract are etc.

If you do use a lease which has not been properly prepared you could find yourself forfeit to many of the rights you would usually have as a property owner. Further more, many standardised contracts will not take into account your own values and what you care about with regards your property.

Another critical point is that landlords are often asked for further agreements by the tenant after tenancy has begun. This is perfectly reasonable, and the landlord may well wish to accept. However, no matter how trivial it may seem, it is important to always put these agreements in writing, as if disputes happen later a verbal contract is much harder to prove, and verbal agreements can often be interpreted differently by each party.