Landlord Selling Up

Tenants in the private rented sector could find it much harder to rent a property, according to new research by the Residential Landlords Association.

A survey of more than 3,000 landlords conducted by the RLA has found that 22% are planning to sell at least one of their properties over the next 12 months, while at the same time 33% report growing demand for rental accommodation over the last three years.

According to the RLA, who used figures from HMRC, if these landlords reduce their portfolio by only one property each, that would amount to a total loss of 76,000 properties available to rent over the next 12 years.

More than a third of the landlords surveyed, 35%, said that recent tax changes including Section 24 phasing out mortgage interest tax relief and the hike in Stamp Duty, along with other reforms to the private rented sector, including the cap on tenants’ deposits and the ban on letting agents’ fees, were forcing them to withdraw from the sector or increase rents.

The RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, said:  “As demand continues to increase for homes to rent, punitive tax changes are discouraging investment by the majority of good landlords who want to provide accommodation.

“Whilst efforts by the Government to support institutional investment in the sector are welcome, this will remain a drop in the ocean.

“To meet demand, we need pro-growth taxation that actively supports and encourages the majority of landlords who are individuals providing good housing, to invest in the new homes to rent we so desperately need.”

The new research from the RLA comes as UK Finance also published research showing that buy to let investors were pulling out of the capital and investing elsewhere, with Manchester a preferred destination.

Together the figures from the RLA and UK Finance suggest that the impact of a shortage of rental properties caused by landlords selling existing stock could be felt more acutely in certain parts of the country, with the capital worst affected.

If you’re a landlord selling up a property as a result of Section 24 and the increase in Stamp Duty, or you have a property in negative equity, contact Landlord Debt Advisory on 0161 222 4311, or go online to landlorddebtadvisory.com

Landlord Debt Advisory: Case Settlement Process

Following on from my previous post where I introduced CD Fairfield Capital as a company and our property debt resolutions brands, my next posts are case studies, real-life client situations we have dealt with and resolved.

Our Professional Landlord client approached us via our www.landlorddebtadvisory.com website for property debt solutions. For the sake of anonymity, we shall call him Bob. Bob had overextended his borrowing,  purchasing 35 properties since 2004, refinancing several times to raise deposit funds for further purchases and so on. The challenges he was facing were:

  • Interest rate rises (2x 0.25% Bank of England rate rises since we initially took instruction – all mortgages on variable rates
  • The financial impact of Section 24 taxation;
  • Bob’s age, 53 – all mortgages were interest-only with varying expiry dates (2019 – 2031); there were no repayment vehicles in place
  • Miscellaneous costs such as rental void periods, repairs and maintenance, management fees and charges

The Financials;

Portfolio Value:                                                                        £5.12m

Outstanding Debt:                                                                  £5.93m

Expected Shortfall/Negative Equity:                           £810,000

Total Debt Written Off:                                                        £696,000

Total Settlement:                                                                      £114,000

There was a combination of properties with equity and those in significant negative equity.

Bob told us the catalyst for contacting us was a combination of unplanned repair bills and the realisation that any further interest rate rises deemed the portfolio unprofitable as his cash-flow position was already precarious (up until that point it had always made a profit, albeit a rather modest one).

There was also a serious concern for the family home. This property is also mortgaged, owned jointly with Bob’s wife and has significant equity.

Once instructed, we completed a detailed review to include:

  • Recalling all lender documentation (15 lenders) to review security
  • Completing a detailed Statement of Affairs and reviewing all relevant client documentation
  • Portfolio Valuation – 35 individual reports

After concluding this work the following was clear:

  • As Bob had suspected the portfolio was untenable; despite there being some cash available, any combination of the challenges highlighted would quickly absorb this reserve.
  • Some lenders had the right to consolidate against the equity in other properties if sold.
  • This venture would become loss-making Q4 2018 or Q1 2019, and significantly so.

The recommendation was made that all properties were to be sold with the exception of the family home (this is not always the case). The Move With Us network was appointed to address the asset management element of the case (various agents and locations through England and Wales) to commence in line with each lender’s specification.

As the majority of the properties were tenanted, management contract extensions were agreed (where applicable) to ensure consistency with incoming rent, and the properties marketed.

While marketing was ongoing, we provided all lender representation for Bob. Further to this a bespoke shortfall settlement package was offered and accepted on a pari passu basis amongst the lenders (in this case an IVA); the highlights being:

  • Bob retained his family home; we negotiated new terms with his existing lender on a full repayment basis (had previously been interest-only)
  • Bob avoided bankruptcy
  • The equity from the properties sold above the loan value formed part of the settlement (£74,000)
  • Bob also added £40,000 – a combination of his own savings and gifted funds from family to this sum ie total settlement paid £114,000, total debt written off £696,000
  • Our total fee for this work was £37,500 (typical fee for addressing a single property and settlement is £4,000; average shortfall debt write-off is £70,000+)
  • The timeframe from instruction to conclusion circa 18 months

The above case type is common. We receive dozens of enquiries per week from Landlords with similar circumstances and varying portfolio sizes, geographical locations and levels of equity. It’s often the case that the Landlord has already spoken to the lender(s), the Accountant, a Financial Adviser, Solicitor and/or an Insolvency Practitioner unfamiliar with the intricacies of individual lender shortfall policy.

We are the ONLY company of our type in the UK with the expertise, regulation, lender relationships and track record to complete complex, multi-faceted cases of this type in a commercial and client-focused manner.