North Manchester Lettings: Advice for First-time Landlords

The decision to enter the property market as a landlord is not one to be taken lightly, but if you’ve been thinking about it for a while, there’s no time like the present to set the ball rolling on your new venture. Manchester is a great spot for property investors – one of the UK’s major cities, it is well connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air, and has a large student population. Both these factors mean there is always a steady stream of renters looking for the perfect property. If you choose wisely and research your target rental market, you should have no trouble generating interest in you property (or properties).

This article aims to provide practical North Manchester landlord advice for those who are new to the area, or new to the property market.

Decide What Type of Tenant You Want

You might not have any firm ideas of what type of tenant you would like to rent out your property to, but it’s very helpful to know who your market is. North Manchester is popular with a wide variety of renters – including students, young professionals, families and older couples – but not all groups will want to rent the same types of property. Students have become increasingly demanding in the last couple of decades, and the traditional cramped, damp, run-down red brick terraced student properties of the past will no longer cut it. Many students prefer to live in designated student apartments with all mod cons, excellent facilities and good transport links. It’s still possible to rent private properties to groups of students, but students tend to congregate in certain areas, particularly to the south of Manchester, so are unlikely to want to live in a district that is predominantly home to families.

If you want to target families, you will need to think about the proximity of schools. North Manchester has a large number of primary and secondary schools, some more popular with parents than others. Proximity to a good school can have an impact on house prices, but you might also be able to command a higher rental fee if you are in a catchment area of a top school, so you should bear this in mind if your target renters have children.

Young professionals are likely to want a property that’s close to nightlife and shops, or at least has excellent transport links to the nearest decent nightlife. In the case of North Manchester, this is likely to mean excellent links to the city centre – so look for good train, bus or tram links, or at least somewhere that is a short and affordable taxi ride away. North Manchester’s Metrolink tram system is very popular with commuters, so properties near a tramline are always a good bet.

Don’t Over-estimate the Market

As an investor, you have the advantage that you are not part of a chain and you do not need to wait for your own property to sell before you complete. This can be a big attraction to vendors, and may allow you to drive down the price on your chosen property. Emphasise your ability to commit and proceed with the sale immediately when you make an offer, but don’t get carried away and be tempted to pay more than you can realistically afford, or more than makes sense given your likely return on investment. While North Manchester has some highly desirable areas, many districts – such as Harpurhey and Moston – are known for their affordable housing and tend to have something of a rough reputation. No matter how desirable or modern any property you purchase in areas like these, you will struggle to attract renters prepared to pay premium level rents.

Seek Professional Advice

If you have never let out a property before, you will need to ensure you fulfill all your legal obligations. There have been moves to clamp down on unscrupulous and negligent landlords in recent years, and tenants have a number of rights you will need to be aware of. If you are not entirely sure of all your responsibilities as a landlord, seek advice from a professional who can ensure you don’t fall foul of the law. There are numerous agencies with specialist knowledge of the North Manchester rental market and these can help you target the right renters for your property, and help ensure a mutually beneficial relationship for both you and your tenants.

Government Landlord Bashing

We again have been hit with the government bashing landlords with additional taxes. We will all have opinions and some will change as the dust settles. A lot of landlords are in uproar calling this the end of buy to let especially after the damaging tax changes from the last budget meaning that there will be no tax relief on mortgage payments as it is reduced gradually over the next 4 years.

The stamp duty rates are


Property or lease premium or transfer value Before April 2016 After April 2016
Up to £40,000                            0%                                0%
From £40,000 to £125,000(the portion from £40,001 to £125,000)  0%                                3%
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)                            2%                                5%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)


The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)                          10%                              13%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)                          12%                              15%

This new stamp duty tax will cost an extra £1350 on a property valued at £85,000

The new stamp duty tax apparently imposed to bring it much needed funds to help first time buyers and house builders is a 3% tax on you purchasing any additional buy to let property’s. This in itself certainly shouldn’t affect your decision to increase your portfolio as in real terms all this will do is mean that the return on your investment will only be delayed by 3 months or so. It has the potential to seriously distort the property market, as landlords and second homeowners rush to beat the April deadline and then go quiet. If you do continue to increase your portfolio, when it comes to selling up, you can offset purchase costs against any eventual capital gains tax – and that includes stamp duty. So, while you will get whacked with a big bill now, if a buy-to-letter eventually sells at a tasty profit, you can claim stamp duty back later on CGT. The Treasury confirmed to last night that this still remains the case. The question is, will it one day face the axe?

These changes only effect purchases over £40,000 being realistic these are not available in many areas and the areas where they are come with their own problems as far as renting them out is concerned. These areas are not in high demand by first time buyers and will over very little capital growth as their prices will remain low as many will try to purchase below the threshold

The majority of our landlords in the Manchester area hold property under the value of £125,000 as the rental returns in this area offer excellent yields. These properties are in demand because they offer some capital growth and great yields. I suspect there will be a small spurge in the market (especially in the auction rooms) between now and April from landlords buying however this will be short lived. I do think long term that these properties’ will rise in value as many landlords from the south and overseas who want to increase their portfolio move north for the better yields.

The impact of the removal of tax relief on mortgages will have an effect on the housing market over the next four years as some landlords decide to sell but along with the demand from first time buyers entering the market and increased interest from buyers from overseas and the southern market I see a continued increase in house prices of around 5% a year. This means house prices doubling over a 15 year period.

I see a larger increase in rental demand and along with the squeeze on landlords margins these cost being passed onto tenants resulting in an increase in rents. If rents increase at 5% a year that will also mean your rents doubling over 15 years also.

Imagine your current property/properties in 15 years’ time receiving double the rent you received at present and being worth twice as much. Taking into consideration inflation not expecting to increase by more than 2% it should leave landlords in comfortable position.

In the long term we will all get different visions from our crystal balls but we must always remember some golden rules.

Property investment is a stroll not a jog. Property investment is a long term investment.

There is a continual increase in demand for rental properties as we are not building enough and we have an ever increasing population mainly being caused by immigration at present

Manchester is a thriving city and it boundaries are forever increasing therefore your properties that are within easy reach of the city become more in demand and especially at the lower end as those people who work in the service industry in Manchester need easy access at inconvenient times at affordable cost but the increase demand will increase their rental cost which increases yields and attracts more investors again resulting in increased values.

We can’t predict what the chancellor is planning for the future or predict how the changes will affect things however we will always have to remain flexible to move with the changes and adapt to the changes

We at Brentwood lettings are always happy to help and give you our opinions however it remains the case that you must take financial advice for tax planning from the experts


Landlords and the Housing and Planning Bill

The Housing and Planning Bill is set to become a cornerstone of the Conservative Government’s vision for the property and rental market from now until 2020.

This is a heavy weight piece of legislation, much of the content trailed in advance in the Conservative Manifesto and “Fixing the Foundations”, the new Government’s productivity plan – it has 145 clauses and 11 schedules.

The measures are far reaching and are intended to ease the way and encourage the building of new starter homes and self-build among many other things to do with planning and development. Local authorities, many of whom have so far resisted planning and development measures introduced under the last government, for example the conversation of redundant office space to residential, will be put under a duty to promote the supply of new homes, and to prepare reports about the actions they have taken under the starter homes duties.

However, of most interest to landlords are the measures included to tackle so called “rogue landlords”.

Banning Orders

BANNING ORDER red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

A banning order is a new concept in housing which will be an order made by the First-tier (Property) Tribunal, which has the effect of banning a person from:

  • letting housing in England;
  • engaging in letting agency work that relates to housing in England;
  • engaging in property management work that relates to housing in England;
  • or doing two or more of those things.

The regulations will be set out what explaining constitutes a banning order offence. A local housing authority in England will be able to apply for a banning order against a person who has been convicted of a banning order offence.

Before applying for a banning order, the authority will need to give that person a notice of intended proceedings, informing them that the authority is applying for a banning order, and inviting them to appeal within 28 days.

The clause in the Bill provides that in deciding whether to make a banning order and if so, what order to make, the Tribunal must consider:

  • the seriousness of the offence;
  • any previous convictions that the person has for a banning order offence;
  • whether the person is or ever was included in the database of rogue landlords and letting agents;
  • the likely effect of the banning order on the person against whom the banning order is proposed to be made and anyone else who may be affected by such an order.

A ban must last for at least six months. If the order is breached, a the local authority can impose a financial penalty up to £5,000.

A breach of a banning order does not invalidate or affect the enforceability of any provision of a tenancy or other contract. In particular, this is to ensure that a tenancy agreement cannot be found to be invalid on the basis that it was granted when a landlord or letting agent was subject to a banning order.

This provides protection for the parties to a tenancy agreement by ensuring that they do not lose their rights under the agreement as a result of the banning order.

Creating a Database of Rogue Landlords… and Letting Agents

Housing-enforcement-offic-012The Secretary of State is to be required to establish and operate a database of rogue landlords and letting agents. All local housing authorities in England will be responsible for maintaining the content of the database.

Those with banning orders made against them will be included, plus those where a local authority deems them suitable for inclusion, even if they are not in possession of a banning order. An appeal mechanism is to be available for those included in the “rogues’ database”.

Rent Repayment Orders

dab1422639385_866_90984443This provision in the Bill for Rent Repayment Orders will empower the First-tier Tribunal to make the orders to deter rogue landlords who have committed an offence, or rented housing in breach of the new banning order.

The offences will be:

  • breaches of improvement orders and prohibition notices and of licensing requirements under the Housing Act 2004,
  • violent entry under the Criminal Law Act 1977,
  • and unlawful eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.


An order requires a landlord to repay rent paid by a tenant or to repay to a local housing authority housing benefit or universal credit which had been paid in respect of rent. For clarity, the Bill provides for definitions of a “letting agent”, “letting agency work” and “property management work”. It also describes what is meant by “English letting agency work” and “English property management work”.

Recovering Abandoned Premises in England 

camelot-UK_2012SquattedRoom-78 Abandonment of rental properties has for a long time been a very difficult situation to deal with for landlords, given the provisions of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The Bill provides that a landlord may follow course to recover possession of a property where it has been abandoned, without the need for a court order.

A private landlord will be required to give a tenant notice which brings the tenancy to an end on that day, if the tenancy relates to premises in England and certain conditions are met:

  • a certain amount of rent is unpaid (two months, if monthly, or one quarter);
  • that the landlord has given a series of warning notices;
  • and that neither the tenant or a named occupier has responded in writing to those warning notices before the date specified in the notices.

    If you require any further information on any of the details of this article, feel free to call our offices on 0161 681 3724 and we will be glad to help you.

Government Plans to Regulate Buy-to-Let Mortgages

Speaking to a Parliament Committee on Wednesday (21/10/2015) George Osborne said “The governor of the Bank and the FPC (Financial Policy Committee) have asked for additional powers over buy-to-let mortgages which weren’t included, and we have granted those powers”. He went on to say that yet has yet announced it “I’d better wait until we actually make the announcement, but (this will be) as soon as possible”.

The news George Osborne had decided on regulating commercial finance came as a shock as he previously rejected it and the Bank of England said the Government intended to consult on buy-to-let lending later in 2015, with ‘a view to building an in-depth evidence base on how the operation of the UK buy-to-let housing market may carry risks to financial stability’, it would seem the consultation never arrived.

Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said: “The Government stated its intention earlier this year to hold a post-election consultation to assess the evidence for granting powers of direction over buy to let lending to the Financial Policy Committee (FPC). It was therefore very disappointing to hear the chancellor apparently jump the gun at yesterday’s treasury select committee. It suggests a stage of evidence-led policy making has been removed, and that the consultation may be limited to what those powers will be when – rather than if – they are granted.”

Individual lenders also spoke out about the announcement. Charles Haresnape, Aldermore Group managing director, said the lender welcomed any policy to improve the private rented sector but said it was important that any powers granted do not jeopardise the buy-to-let market. Lenders are really trying to help borrowers understand that there has been many changes in banking in the last ten years. There is really no comparison in banking then and now.

“The private rented sector is a vital component of the UK housing market and policy levers must be used to support the sector in driving additional capacity,” he said, “It is important that the financial policy committee works closely with the sector and uses any powers sparingly and appropriately, and not unnecessarily remove any momentum from the private rented market.”

Steve Griffiths, head of sales and distribution at Kensington Mortgages said it will be interesting to see what powers the Bank of England is given when further details are announced later in the year.

“The rental sector is becoming increasingly important to the UK housing market and many people are staying in rented accommodation for much longer than we have seen historically,” he said, “The quality and variety of such accommodation has improved significantly following the growth of buy to let, and it is vital that these standards are maintained in the future. It would be short sighted to limit landlords’ ability to deliver quality rented accommodation when many people rely on this sector.”
In 2014, the BoE asked for the power to cap the size of landlords’ mortgages as a multiple of their expected rental income, similar to the loan-to-income cap it had imposed on residential mortgages.

The Buy to Let market is currently based around rental cover required is 125% at 6% notional rate, which means for a loan of £100k you will require £625 per month rent as a minimum.

It is yet to be seen; what increased rental calculations will be? how this will reduce supply of rented properties? and the effect it will have on rents charged by landlords.

The Bank of England has requested such powers as they see Buy to Let as a risk to the economy, the micro-management powers requested of amending the criteria of lenders deciding for both Landlord and Lender what risks they can take in there businesses is seen as the failure of government with “too big to fail” banking.

A finance ministry source said the details of the new powers remained subject to a consultation that was due to start before the end of the year.

This is the second shot across the bow of the landlords from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in recent months after plans for an unparalleled change to how business loans are treated. The chancellor says that landlords received mortgage interest relief, where Landlords view it as the Chancellor charging tax on revenue instead of profit – a scheme unseen in any other business sectors.

The majority of landlords put their faith in the Conservative Party in May believing Ed Miliband with his rent control and anti-landlord rhetoric being a risk to the private rented sector. So when the chancellor announced restrictions on the tax relief on buy to let mortgages, it came as a shock, with many feeling betrayed.

Other changes have also annoyed landlords with “retaliatory eviction” regulation ensuring a tenant can expand there tenancy above the term agreed by complaining to a council housing officer about a housing fault of an issue that they are not required to notify a landlord beforehand.

The introduction of Universal Credit which caused major concern with rent being the first benefit element to be reduced with Benefit Caps and restrictions on the Landlord being paid direct if the tenant is in arrears or vulnerable.

The new introduction of “right to rent” putting landlords as a element of the UK’s Border Force – student landlords feel under real pressure to ensure there tenants have a legal right to be at the property and then having to ensure the tenant keeps that legal right to reside or face financial penalties.

Upcoming Energy Performance Requirements above the current HHSRS making properties unrentable if they do not meet certain energy performance, a worry to many landlords that supply electric heating elements instead of gas.

Landlords should not be punished for running a business or making profits. With social housing in long-term decline and mortgages still out of reach for many, the private rented sector plays an invaluable role in housing the growing population.

Landlords need to stand up for their rights and the good of the industry by lobbying their local MPs to tell them the truth of how the Budget will hit them and their tenants and how Bank of England deciding if they can get a loan or not will affect the market.

The Chancellor’s tax on property rental turnover and the restriction of mortgage interest relief

Landlords are set to be hit by the Treasury in 3 different ways. Firstly the insurance premium tax has just been increased from 6% to 9.5% – an increase of over 58%, which will of course directly impact on all our insurances to run our businesses.

Secondly, the 10% Wear & Tear allowance is to be removed and replaced with the system of offsetting cost of replacement furnishings against income. Most Landlords would probably agree this is actually very fair, except that you cannot offset the original cost of buying them. We think this is grossly wrong as in any other business you could, even in a start-up. If say, you furnished your office then the complete cost of doing so could be offset against your business income. Why is it different for providing someone with decent furniture? The change will most likely lead to more cheap or second-hand furniture being used initially in setting-up a property before letting it.

However, the most notable impact will be from the Chancellor’s proposed change to tax on mortgage interest relief and will undoubtedly have some serious consequences as interest rate rise.

What is the proposal and when was it announced?
The proposal was announced in the Chancellor’s Summer Budget on 8 July 2015 and it will restrict relief for finance costs on residential properties owned by individual landlords to the basic rate of income tax. Finance costs include mortgage interest and interest on loans. Property Companies and Institutions who hold residential properties are not affected by the proposal.

In plain English, what does this mean?
Landlords are currently able to offset all their finance interest against their rental income, before calculating their rent profits and therefore their tax bill. This is quite normal in business as the general taxation principle is that tax is applied on profit.

The Government proposes to break this normal taxation practice and require landlords to pay tax on part of their costs. By the year 2021, it will still be possible to get a deduction for finance interest, but the amount will be capped at 20%. This is a big change because in most cases, finance costs will be the landlord’s largest cost. No other business is taxed in this way. No other business is taxed on interest on loans taken out to buy assets that generate taxable income. We believe that individual landlords who provide valuable housing across the UK are being unfairly discriminated against by the Government.

What is the Government’s policy objective?
In its latest Financial Stability report the Bank of England commented that the buy to let market could pose a risk to financial stability, especially if interest rates go up. The theory is that this could cause landlords to fall into negative cashflow, where their rental payments no longer cover the cost of mortgage payments. This could force them to sell in a hurry, potentially destabilising the housing market. It was following these comments that George Osborne decided he needed to exert some control over buy to let but we think the Bank of England and the Chancellor have overlooked something extremely simple in their thinking. That is that the lenders already allow for this risk of an interest rate rise in their calculations when they work out mortgage payments on their ‘Standard Variable Rate’ and the rent to mortgage multiple of 1.25.

The Government say that their policy objective is to make the tax system fairer. The Chancellor has said that landlords are taxed more favourably than home owners. However, both the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Conservative’s favourite think tank, Policy Exchange, have warned that this is not correct. Unlike home owners, landlords are taxed on rental income and capital gains.
We believe that the Government’s proposal to tax landlords debt goes too far and will destabilise the housing market, which is what the Bank of England wants to avoid.

When will the measure be introduced?
The measure will be introduced gradually from 6 April 2017 and is ‘tapered’ over 4 years. By 2021, the full impact of the change will bite. Although the implementation of the proposal is to be phased, it is already causing uncertainty for landlords and tenants.

Who is likely to be affected?
The Government say that individuals that receive rental income on residential property in the UK and elsewhere who incur finance costs will be affected. We believe that the proposal will not just affect landlords because there will be many unintended social and economic consequences of this ill thought out proposal. Many other people will suffer too, including tenants, tradespeople, the financial industry, house-builders and the economy as a whole.

How might landlords be affected?
Landlords will fall into 1 of 3 categories, in terms of how the tax change affects them:
1) Landlords remains basic tax payer = no change
2) Change pushes basic rate tax payer into Higher Rate Band = more tax paid
3) Existing Higher Rate Tax payer = more tax paid

Many thousands of landlords will pay more tax as a result of the proposal. For some, the additional tax will not impact on the viability of their businesses. However, for thousands of landlords who have borrowed substantially to invest in their property business, the consequences will be serious. Some landlords will even lose their personal tax allowance because of the unfair way that the Government will calculate taxable income; in many cases, landlords will pay more in tax in connection with their property business than they make in net profit and in many cases landlords who make a loss from their property business will still be faced with huge tax bills. We cannot understand how the Chancellor considers his changes will result in a fairer tax system.

The implications for some landlords are such that they will need to sell properties to reduce the tax they pay on their finance costs. There is concern that many landlords will be declared bankrupt as their tax bills will exceed their taxable income and they will be left with property businesses that are no longer sustainable. The situation will get worse when interest rates increase. The Governor of the Bank of England has publicly stated that he expects interest rates to increase before the end of 2015. If Landlords are subjected to this extra tax burden it will initially be passed on to the tenants, but if they have to sell their properties or face having them repossessed, then the tenants will be without a home.

Can you show some examples of the impact on landlords?

Example 1 : Joe is an architect and earns £ 45,000. He is what has become known as an ‘accidental landlord’. He has only one buy to let property. This used to be his home but he let it out when he moved in with his partner Monica. Joe is a 40% taxpayer. His rental income is £7,200 per annum; his mortgage costs are £2,500; and his repairs and other tax deductible costs are £1,000. Under the current tax system, Joe would pay £1,480 tax on his property income. Under the proposed tax system, Joe would pay £1,980 tax on his property, an increase of £500. For Joe, the new tax system still results in him making a ‘real profit’ but his effective rate of tax on ‘real profit’ increases from 40% to 53.5%.

Example 2: Dave and Margaret are a married couple. They consider themselves to be entrepreneurs and operate a sizable buy to let business. They have invested in property to provide a livelihood for themselves and to provide a pension when they retire. They have some tenants who are employed but most of their tenants are in receipt of housing benefit. Their only source of income is from their rental business. Their property rental assets are jointly owned and they split the rental income 50/50. Properties have been acquired over a period of nearly three decades. They have recently fixed their interest rate at 4.99% for 10 years to protect their business from risks associated with rises in interest rates. That seemed to be the sensible thing to do at the time. Their rental income is £600,000; their mortgage costs are £350,000; and their repair and other tax deductible costs are £200,000. Their net rental profit is £50,000. They are currently basic rate taxpayers. Their taxable income, after deduction of their personal allowance, is £28,000. Under the current tax system, Dave and Margaret each pay £5,600 tax. Their effective tax rate over personal allowance is currently 20%.
Under the proposed tax system, because Dave and Margaret will not be able to offset any of their mortgage costs against their rental income, they will become higher rate tax payers and their individual taxable income will increase to a staggering £200,000 each, the same as their rental profit because they lose their personal allowance at £121,000 each. The actual tax they would each pay would be £38,900, making £77,800 in total. This is £27,800 more than they actually make in profit from their rental business.
Their effective tax rate on their real profit is now 155.6% as the amount of tax paid exceeds their income. Dave and Margaret are now higher rate tax payers. For Dave and Margaret, the Government’s proposal is catastrophic as their business is no longer sustainable as the tax they pay exceeds their ‘real profit’. Dave and Margaret are now very worried and feel trapped. Their once profitable business is no longer viable. If they were to look at selling their properties they would incur early repayment charges, incur selling costs, be required to pay a significant sum in Capital Gains Tax and repay their outstanding mortgage balances in full, the sum total of which would be greater that the proceeds of sale. They are responsible landlords and are concerned about what will happen to their 187 tenants if their properties are repossessed, especially those tenants in receipt of benefits. They are scared to share their concerns with their tenants as they fear that their tenants may give notice to quit and look for a tenancy that is more secure.

Example 3 : Emily is a civil servant and has non-property income of £40,000. She started to invest in property to create an additional income stream to fund her children through university. Her rental profit is £25,000 and she pays £35,000 in mortgage interest on her rental properties giving her a total income of £65,000. Her total tax bill under the current tax system would be £15,200, of which £9,400 arises from her rental income. This would increase to £22,200 under the new tax regime of which £16,400 would arise from her rental income. Emily’s effective tax rate on her real profit of £25,000 would increase from 37.6% to 65.6%. Emily is now concerned that her tax bill has increased by £7,000 and that her profit from her property rental business has been substantially eroded. She is becoming increasingly concerned about risk, especially knowing that if interest rates go up, her margins will be further eroded. This was not what she had in mind when she used all her savings to invest in property to fund her children’s further education. She assumed that the long established principle of income – expenses = profit would remain and that tax payable would be based on profit made. The Government’s proposal fundamentally changes that formula.


Moston Lane, Moston, M40

£ 700 per Month

Stovell Road, Moston, M40

£ 450 per Month

Cicero Street, Moston, M9

£ 650 per Month
£ 600 per Month

Ashley Lane, Moston, M9

£ 650 per Month

Romney Street, Moston, M40

£ 575 per Month

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