Selective Licensing is coming to Moston

Manchester City Council have confirmed that just over 300 properties in Moston will be covered in their selective licensing area.

This will come into force on 23 April 2018 and will have effect until 22 April 2023.

If you rent out a property in this area, you will HAVE to have a  License from Manchester City Council. There are a few exceptions, but from our experience and knowledge of the area, Licensing will apply to 99% of the landlords in the zone.

Licenses are per property, not per landlord.

The aim of this scheme is to contribute positively to improving neighbourhoods. Manchester City Council hope that this will

  • Make more people want to live in the area
  • Make people want to stay in the area for longer
  • Reduce the amount of time houses are empty
  • Increase Property values as the area imrpoves
  • Reduce Crime and antisocial behaviour.

You can view the affected are on this map, or you can see a full street list on the Manchester City Council Website here

A public consultation took place online between 20 March and 2 June 2017. Responses were recorded from 30 Landlords & Agents and 38 Residents.

97% of residents highlighted that houses were in poor condition and 91% reported problems with rubbish and flytipping.  29 of the Residents who responded highlighted issues with poorly managed private rented houses and people moving in and out of the area often.

You can download the full results from the residents survey here

55% of landlords highlighted issues with rubbish and flytipping, and 50% said houses were in poor condition and there were poorly managed private rented houses.

You can download the full results from the landlords survey here

 

We actively manage around 30 houses in the highlighted area and our office is based on Moston Lane between Stovell Street and Fold Street. We are perfectly placed to help bring about positive change for this small area. The main priorities that we see from the consultation results are:

  • Rubbish & Fly Tipping
  • Houses in poor condition
  • Poorly Managed Private Rental Houses
  • People Moving in and Out of the Area often

 

What can we do?

Rubbish & Fly Tipping

 

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste and is a crime. We checked out Fix My Street and noticed, unsurprisingly that there have been ongoing complaints of fly-tipping in the highlighted zone You can view this interactive tool here

Local community group North City Community Action Group are working really hard to raise awareness of the local rubbish and fly-tipping problems and envoke positive change with the Council. We fully support their efforts and always welcome them to work with us to ensure the tenants and properties that we manage are not contributing to the problem. The very local team at North City Community Action Group are local residents who volunteer their time to help rebuild the communities in and around Moston. You can find out more about them and get involved here

 

Houses in Poor Condition

There are a number of tenanted and empty houses in poor condition in the highlighted area. Bringing them up to the required minimum standard is going to be costly

 

Poorly Managed Private Rented Houses

13 years ago, when we setup in Moston, letting and managing private rented houses was an easy enough task, even for the most inexperienced of landlords. As the years have passed, regulations have tightened, expectations have grown, compliance, reporting and monitoring requirements have rocketed and the required systems and procedures that need to be in place for successfully and legally letting a property have become difficult for even the most experienced of landlords.

Whilst 13 years ago using an agency was a nice have to save time and hassle, nowadays its a MUST have to ensure you are fully compliant and covered under all aspects of property law and legislation.

For advice on how to successfully manage your property, or for a free property management health check, call our office on 0161 681 3724 and we’ll be happy to help

 

People Moving in and Out of the Area Often

The highlighted area on the map is made up of most 2 & 3 bed terraced houses.

Our average length of continual tenancy in the area is 2-3 years (Manchester average 1 year 4 months- source), however in other areas we do see a rise of an average tenancy length being 3-4 years. Whilst our tenant retention rates are above average for the city, we are certain that positive action towards increasing management standards of surrounding properties and eradicating fly-tipping would see this figure naturally and organically grow.

 

Houses in Poor Condition

 

 

Buying a house next to your favourite Football Stadium

Recently, The Manchester Evening News ran an article on the average house price on the streets where your favourite Football Stadiums are, the list looked at house prices around Bury FC, Rochdale FC, Oldham FC, Stockport County FC, Altrincham FC, MCFC, MUFC, Bolton Wanderers FC, Wigan Athletic FC and Salford City FC. Missing from the list was everyone’s favourite F.C United, on Lightbowne Road in Moston.

So, we can plug that gap for you and give you the low down on the house prices near our favourite football stadium.

 

FC United, Broadhurst Park, Moston

Closest street: Lightbowne Road

Average house price: £86,647

Last sale: A semi detached house sold for £94,000 in May 2017

 

Whats really interesting about Moston as an area, is that despite being within the M60 ring road, the property prices are still surprisingly affordable. Sitting on the edge of Moston and New Moston the properties around Broadhurst Park are quietly residential, away from the bustle of the Moston Lane district hub and mostly owner occupiers staying for a long time.

Although these properties represent remarkable opportunities as investment properties, they do not come on the market very often, and when they do, they do not remain available for very long. This is a well sought after are as it has excellent links for schools, transport, access to the city centre whilst remaining quiet and still somewhat suburban.

If you want to talk more about the local property market, pop in to our office or give us a call on 0161 681 3724

 

 

Insight into rentals in North and East Manchester

As we settle into the new year I thought I would share with all my friends and investors my insights into the market over the next twelve months

Manchester City centre is booming. There are developers building everywhere. As the city centre grows all new and growing company’s employing more staff and occupying  the many high rise flats and swanky apartments the need for increased infrastructure pushes the boundaries of the city centre.

North and East Manchester will only benefit. There are many workers involved in these new offices and hotel developments that can not afford the high purchase or rental prices the city has on offer. The need for increased workers in the service industry’s that work many unsociable hours need to live in affordable housing close to the city centre with good transport links. Moston, Gorton, Newton Heath, Harpurhey, Blackley, Failsworth and Middleton are all areas that fit these requirements. They all sit on major bus links to the city and many have the additional benefit of the metrolink. We have seen a greater demand for rental property’s within the area and in many cases the tenants are staying longer. The number of tenants that are totally reliant on the LHA to pay there rent has decreased dramatically with many tenants now in some form of employment being part or full time. The fact that this employment may see many tenants looking to purchase there own house and with the increasing number of landlords entering the market this is putting increasing pressure on prices meaning this is an added benefit for any investors. The increase in new builds at higher prices means that many of the cheaper homes have also moved upwards.

Despite attacks on the Lettings industry from the government with more legislation and increased tax demands the industry within North and East Manchester is seeing availability or number of rental property’s stagnate rather than drop however as there is no increase in the number of property’s available to rent and an increase in demand this is forcing an increase in rents. The number of people looking for accommodation means that we can in many cases find a suitable tenant quickly and usually with better references and more security than we have been able to achieve in the past.

There are still many landlords that choose to rent out there property’s alone rather than through an agent trying to save on there outgoings however in many cases this can be costly. There is continued changes in legislation that many miss and get caught out with bad tenants.

Brentwood is a ARLA registered letting agent that supports reasonable increased legislation to get rid of rouge landlords and by us being members we support ARLA in fighting bad legislation on behalf of landlords. We are in need of more houses to manage and we have assisted many landlords outside of the region including people from overseas purchase property’s for us to manage and look after there investments.

I always say we are the regions 2nd best letting agent with many landlords responding well who is the best. I can’t answer that but you can rest assured as the 2nd best we are still striving to improve our services to claim to be number 1 but as we will continue to improve we may never rich that dizzy height

It has been a busy year for the property letting market in North Manchester.

Both the Sales and Lettings markets locally have seen their ups and downs.

Data from the NAEA says in the sales market there are 425 registered prospective buyers for 44 properties each month. Yet conversely, 77% of properties were sold for less than their asking price, and only 4% were sold for more than the original asking price.

The Lettings market, as always, peaked at the start of the year, with an average of 1,800 registered prospective tenants for 188 properties each month. 27% of tenants had experienced rent increases, and it was taking 10% more viewings per property to find a suitable match.

‘It was always going to be an interesting year, following the announcement of the letting agent fee ban in last November’s Autumn Statement. I think we’re starting to see a consolidation of some agencies in the industry as the fee ban looms, which could explain why the number of properties under management has increased,’ said David Cox, ARLA chief executive.

He pointed out that landlords are becoming more selective about their property investments in light of last year’s stamp duty changes. ‘Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) is starting to bite which is why we saw an increased number of landlords selling up. It’s likely that as we move into 2018, tenants will continue to see rent increases as supply starts to reduce, demand continues apace, and legislative changes increase costs for landlords,’ he added.

2018 will pose new challenges and new adventures for us as an independent and local agent in North Manchester.  

Our knowledge of the market makes us highly attractive to overseas and remote investors, we specialise in a densely populated 10 mile radius, containing over, 300 communities and 1.5 million properties. Our average BTL yield is 6-8% and the population growth of the city is expected to swell a further 10% within the next 5 years.

Our managed portfolio continues to grow as we see further remote and overseas investment coming in. We are forecasting a manageable growth of 20-30 properties/month as we enter 2018 and are restructuring internally to absorb the upcoming ban on tenant fees.

2017 has had its ups and downs, 2018 will bring whole new challenges – and we will be ready for them.

 

Merry Christmas from Mike and All The Team @ Brentwood Lettings

Whats Happening to the Gas Works Walls?

Last week, we had a really interesting chat in the office about the huge Gas Holders that can be seen from Alan Turing Way in Manchester. As locals, they have been part of the skyline of that area for our entire lives.

Built in 1869, these giants have towered over the local skyline for almost 150 years. They bring us back to a time where gas was stored locally in urban areas and distributed directly to homes and businesses on demand.

Although they were decommissioned in the 1990’s, the writer of this post is old enough to remember days before Eastlands, before Alan Turing Way and before the metrolink, your writer has childhood memories of guessing how full the holders would be as we passed on the orange GM bus, of hearing tales of the mystery gas workers who filled the membrane and how they filled it, and the apocalyptic stories of what happened if they exploded.

It was interesting that the younger members of the office had no idea about the use or purpose of the Gas Holders.

With the recent announcement that Manchester City Centre is Expanding to Eastlands questions are now, obviously being asked about the fate of the Gas Works.

So far, our feelings are they will not be dismantled or destroyed, but maybe repurposed to fit with the redevelopment of the area.

We shall wait and see.

Manchester City Centre Expansion

The Manchester Evening News has just announced a HUGE Development and expansion of Manchester City Centre. Council chiefs want to link Eastlands with the City Centre.
Over the coming years as the City Centre expands towards the East, this will make Beswick, Openshaw and Miles Platting virtually part of the city centre.
This means that house prices will increase dramatically with so many new homes and improved infrastructure.
Our main strength areas of Newton Heath and Moston will be getting closer to the city centre and again will increase demand for housing. This will be reflected in house prices and rents in the long term.
Manchester City centre is so full of apartment complex’s it will mean there will be increased demand for low cost housing in North Manchester. North Manchester provides the most cost effective housing for those on low incomes or where easy access is required to the city centre meaning there are many searching for accommodation employed in the service industry’s, professional trainees require accommodation as well as many professionals that want accommodation during the week travelling home at weekend.
There is still One Central Park that is meant to become one large Fusing of education, commerce, innovation and enterprise, this unique collaborative venture provides a comprehensive range of activities from vocational training, foundation degrees and postgraduate research to business creation and incubation. It’s a place where industry and academia meet to develop tomorrow’s products and services whilst also acting as a training hub for the skills sought by 21st century business. This site is still in its infancy and will be one of its largest parks of its kind in the near future. This again will mean an increased demand in local accommodation.
Manchester City centre is booming, the areas in the suburbs will benefit from the increase in infrastructure, housing, business and increased unemployment. Moston has a very mixed and diverse community and is regularly labelled as Manchesters Notting Hill.
Full Article here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/city-centre-goes-east-plans-14007080

Investment Opportunity in Moston

https://edwardmellor.co.uk/property-for-sale/10065102.html

This property failed to sell at auction. Still available should fetch £620 PCM. Recent terraced nearby in same auction sold £75K on Hinde street. Great buy for an investor. Declutter paint carpets and gardens all need attention around 33000 spend required

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detail.html?country=england&locationIdentifier=STREET%5E2100325&searchLocation=Delside+Avenue&propertyType=3&radius=0.25&year=1&referrer=listChangeCriteria

We Signed The Manchester Renting Pledge

Brentwood Lettings are a Manchester Based Lettings and Property Management Agent. We are committed to upholding the highest standards for private rented tenants, Manchester City Council have added us to their list of approved and recommended landlords, you can see us on the Manchester City Council Website here

The Manchester Renting Pledge is a public agreement between ourselves, our tenants and Manchester City Council. The standards we pledge to uphold are:

    • I will protect the tenant’s deposit: through an approved deposit protection scheme.

All of our deposits are registered with TDS, you can find out more about TDS here

    • I will supply a written tenancy agreement: it will include the rent and other charges, how to pay, the length of the tenancy and how it can be ended, a list of the contents and their condition, and who pays bills and council tax.

All of our tenants are issued with an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) at the start of their tenancy, a full photographic inventory is supplied of the property before moving in and we support tenants further by registering utilities and services in their name to their new address. Over and above this, we provide every tenant with a welcome pack, giving them useful information about renting a home and how to solve the most common issues that tend to arise through the normal course of a tenancy.

  • I will provide a safe, comfortable, well-maintained home: it will have a gas safety certificate, annual gas checks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and an energy performance certificate.

All of our properties have a valid gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are provided and tested, an EPC is issued and if the property has water tanks that store water, we also provide a Legionella Risk Assessment.

  • I will give contact details and notice: including emergency numbers and 24 hours notice if I’m visiting.

We have an out of hours emergency line, and we inform all tenants of any visits 48 hours before the fact, in writing.

  • I will do repairs promptly: if there’s a risk to the tenant or the property, I will deal with it straight away, and will carry out urgent repairs within a few working days.

We have a full property maintenance and repair team in-house, emergency repairs are dealt with immediately and are our highest priority. Non urgent and non emergency repairs are sent for landlord approval and the dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • I will deal with antisocial behaviour and nuisance: if my tenant is troubled by other people’s behaviour, of if other people complain about my tenant, I will deal with it quickly.

We deal with all complaints and issues immediately and within the guidelines of the law. we work closely with the Police, Community Support Officers, Social Services and Support Workers to find resolutions to issues.

  • I will look after the outside: I will keep the exterior and outside areas of the building in good condition.

We frequently inspect the exterior of all of our managed properties, and do a full interior inspection every 6 months.

  • If I’m an agent I will be a member of a redress scheme.

We are members of the Property Ombudsman Redress Scheme, you can find our more about the Property Ombudsman Redress Scheme here

  • I will consider joining a professional organisation: such as the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association, Association of Residential Lettings Agents, Association of Residential Managing Agents, Manchester Student Homes.

We are members of the NLA, the RLA and ARLA

Investing In The Third Most Valuable Property Market in the UK – Manchester

We often blog about the growing attention and value in the Manchester Property Market, as an independent letting agent, we have our finger on the pulse for all things property in Manchester and can advise you of the local trends and developments in the Manchester Property Market.

Recently The Manchester Evening News ran an article following a study by Hometrack, which set Manchester as the UK’s third most valuable Property Market in the UK. You can read the article here

Interestingly we ran an article earlier this year about the exact same thing, a question was posed to us by the son of one of our landlords, so we did some maths and some research here, you can read our article http://brentwoodlets.wpengine.com/13-8bn-the-value-of-the-north-manchester-property-market/ for further insights

Selective Licensing – Our experiences so far

Selective Licensing is currently active in North Manchester for 315 properties, this scheme has been in place since March 2017, and has required private landlords to pay Manchester City Council £750 per property to continue letting their properties – under threat of prosecution under Section 95 of the 2004 Housing Act

As one of North Manchester’s leading letting agents, we actively manage properties within this area and have had first hand experience of the process for Selective Licensing.

We are an ARLA registered agency, we are members of the RLA, NFOPP, the NLA and the Property Ombudsman Service. These are not just fancy letters, they all mean things for the way we operate and the standards to which we keep our properties, these associations in themselves regulate our activity, we hold nationally recognised qualifications in Property Lettings and Management and we closely follow latest legislation and regulations.

We do a good job.

Why then, when we pay all of our regulating bodies an annual fee to audit and monitor our activity are we paying Manchester City Council an additional £750/property to confirm what has already been proven beyond doubt by the highest authority in the Housing Market?

 

What Needed to Change?

Of the 315 properties targeted in Crumpsall, we manage or own around 40 of them so are well aware of the localised and wider issues affecting Crumpsall.

One of our regulatory bodies, the RLA, says this about selective licensing:

“An area may be designated for selective licensing either (i) if the area is (or is likely to be) an area of low housing demand or (ii) the area is experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti social behaviour and some or all of the private sector landlords are failing to take action to combat the problem that it will be appropriate for them to take.”

From our experience, Housing Demand in Crumpsall is no lower than other areas in North Manchester, the entire city has high demand for housing, with a booming population and an ever expanding City Centre, affordable and accessible housing is at a high premium. Anti-social behaviour is somewhat out of our remit, we ensure the tenants renting our properties are of good standing, they keep their homes well and they can afford and do pay their rent on time, but anything above neighbour disputes of noise or rubbish, antisocial behaviour is wholly outside our sphere of influence as managing agents or as landlords. The third clause about Private Sector Landlords “failing to take action to combat the problem that it will be appropriate for them to take”, is a little vague, but as ARLA registered agents, we have rules and requirements in place for ensuring we are fit and proper persons to be managing the properties.

Was the problem the landlords, was the problem the demand for property or was the problem Anti-Social Behaviour?

 

Whats the Point?

Every property that we manage in Crumpsall has passed its Licensing Check to date, we had some disputes; at one inspection, that we didn’t attend with the council, they reported we were not eligible for a license for that property because there were no smoke alarms in the property. Immediately we called the tenant, popped round, and as they opened the door, we saw the downstairs smoke alarm in the hallway and within a minute we had checked and verified both smoke alarms in the property were correctly installed and working. When we queried the council, they admitted they had got the property “mixed up with another one”.

At £750 per property and potentially a landlords livelyhood at stake, is this really the kind of mix up that we want to be seeing by Manchester City Council?

Since 2015, If we let a house to someone without smoke alarms, we would be liable for recourse from: ARLA, NLA, RLA, NFOPP, Property Ombudsman and a £5000 civil penalty from the Government. We would be fined, our memberships stripped and we would not be able to operate as an agent.

Whilst its very positive that Manchester City Council are concerned and actively ensuring the safety of its residents, Licensing only applies to the private rented residential sector. Housing Associations/Local Authority housing is exempt, Owner Occupiers are exempt, Student Halls are exempt, live in landlords are exempt and care homes are exempt. So actually, the only properties that are liable are those which are privately rented.

 

Fit & Proper Persons

Selective Licensing essentially is a 5 year certificate to say that you can rent out one particular property. You are checked to be a “Fit and Proper Person”- essentially this is like a Landlords DBS Check, they look for:

  • any criminal convictions to do with violence, drugs, sexual offences or fraud
  • whether we have broken any laws to do with housing or being a landlord
  • whether we have been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • whether we have previously managed House(s) in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and broken any approved code of practice.

and they do this for every single property. Just like the ill thought out DBS checks, its a repetition of work and a waste of resources- checking this 40 times in as many days, will not produce any different results, but will keep someone busy and generate £30k of income for the council.

Why are Manchester City Council choosing to line their own pockets at the expense of landlords, agents and ultimately private rented tenants?

 

Do we agree with Selective Licensing?

Yes and no.

We recognise, accept and embrace the need to raise housing standards across the city. We absolutely agree that the rogue landlords and those providing housing that is not fit for habitation need to be cracked down on and dragged to standard.

But, we do not agree that reputable landlords, agents and those working well within the law should be further penalised to make up for the failings of others. Especially when Selective Licensing has been a scheme run in the past and was proven beyond reasonable doubt that it was at best ineffective and a major contributing factor to increasing rental rates in an area.

 

How Could it Improve?

The same scheme has, this week, been rolled out in areas of Rusholme and Moss Side, although Crumpsall was a “pilot”, it seems no changes have been made to the way the system runs and no lessons learned from implementing the initial wave of Licenses.

As the regulations and controls for rogue landlords are already in place by governing bodies, why hasn’t Manchester City Council considered teaming up with reputable and regulated agents, offered an affordable and mutually cooperative package for Licensing to ensure standards are raised and upheld by agents, and Landlords who self manage then have the option to be Licensed and monitored by the council OR use an already licensed agent who then takes liability for maintaining standards.

With over 60% of Manchester Private Rented sector Landlords already using an agent, this would give the landlords choice, the local agents an opportunity to lead the raising of standards, save the council resources AND ultimately prevent the entire burden of the cost of licensing ultimately landing on the tenants lap.

Right now, the way this scheme works, will do nothing to help tenants with affordability.

 

 

 

 

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