Protecting Your Property from Japanese Knotweed

By Nic Seale It's growing season and that means many property owners are on the lookout for signs that Japanese knotweed may be encroaching onto their land. This is a very real problem that's affecting landlords all over the UK. To get an idea of the scale of the problem, here's a map of Japanese knotweed infestations (from the PlantTracker site): As you can see, there are several large clusters of Japanese knotweed infestation, primarily in northern England, Wales and down into the southeast of England. Parts of Scotland are also blighted with the highly invasive species that was brought here from Japan in the 1800s, and Northern Ireland to a lesser extent. At Environet, we're constantly tackling infestations of Japanese knotweed on private as well as commercial premises. Methods of eradication for this weed is the subject we’re asked about on a daily basis, so we’re here to give some...
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Andy Burnham - Speech at RLA Conference, Manchester

Andy Burnham, the Major of Manchester addressed the RLA's Future Renting North conference in Manchester last week.  He pointed out that only good landlords would be attending the conference, bad landlords don't attend property conferences. He denounced conditions of properties in the area and vowed to work with landlords to improve them.  He wants to drive rogue landlords from the area.  After his speech, Burnham took questions from the audience and had a challenging exchange with some. You can watch the speech below.     
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The Potential Crisis of Buy-To-Let Tax Changes

  Recent changes to the way that buy-to-let properties are taxed could create a pension crisis for over 1.8 million landlords, according to the leading landlord body in the UK. These changes were originally announced back in 2016, but have begun to be phased in starting around April 2017. The major buy-to-let tax change coming into force affects mortgage interest payments. Previously, higher rate taxpayers could offset these payments against their rental income before making a final tax calculation. Now, however, this relief is being phased out and this is resulting in higher tax bills, which will increase even if landlords’ rental incomes have remained static. Not just the higher rate taxpayers are being affected however, Once rental income is taken into account, some basic rate taxpayers will be pushed into the higher banding, meaning they see their liabilities increase as they will no longer be eligible for certain benefits.According...
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The UK Buy to Let Market - Incentives and Education key for sustainable future

There’s been no shortage of change in the UK over recent years and private landlords may well be wishing for a break from it all. At the same time, the fact that the UK continues to have a severe lack of housing supply, coupled with strong demand means that there is still a case for buy-to-let investment. Here are three key issues, which could determine whether or not this investment area performs well over the forthcoming years.    Recognition that there are generational differences in attitudes to housingSome aspirations are pretty much timeless, for example the desire to find a life partner and to have children. Many aspirations, however, change between generations, often in line with changes in technology, which lead to changes in lifestyle. Up until relatively recently, most people born in the UK would typically spend most, if not all of their lives here, certainly their working lives.Over recent...
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Why the Government Needs to Start Wooing Private Landlords

It shouldn’t come as any great surprise to any private landlords reading this to learn a new study published this week warns that up to a million families in the UK are at risk of losing their home by the turn of the next decade.What does come as a surprise, however, is the fact that homelessness charity Shelter, who so merrily campaigned for stricter tax regulation against landlords during the government’s recent private rental market consultation, didn’t fathom this out sooner.Warnings have come home to roost Time and again, landlord rights campaigners warned that private landlords would simply sell up if it would become unprofitable for them to rent properties. Well, the loss of the automatic 10 per cent wear and tear tax allowance last year didn’t help, but what did push most wavering landlords over the edge, was the passing of the Section 24 legislation taxing gross income.The result...
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What the New Tax Changes Mean for Landlords

As most of us in the residential property investment sector are already aware last Thursday saw the introduction of the first phase of a new government tax move to penalise landlords. Legislation cutting tax relief for higher earning landlords (those earning more than £40,000 per annum) will be phased out gradually over four years and replaced with a standard 20 per cent tax credit. Before April 6, higher earning landlords were able to deduct mortgage interest payments of up to 45 per cent from their tax bills. Like the 3% Stamp Duty on BTL and second homes, the new legislation is intended to hurt landlords in the pocket. And certainly, for some landlords, they’ll be paying more in tax than they make in profit. That’s because they’ll be charged on their full rental income (rather than just profit). Investor Steve Bolton, who led – and lost - a court challenge...
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Even with Profit-Sapping Tax Change, Landlords Remain Upbeat on Investments

Changes in mortgage tax relief that could mean lower profits are not deterring landlords around the UK from divesting of their property portfolios. And many are even considering expanding them as they snap up houses for sale in London and elsewhere, according to new research and a number of studies. The optimistic outlook among landlords comes despite a general slowdown in rents that could further sap earnings and a housing crisis that seems to be getting worse. According to the National Association of Estate Agents, eleven would-be buyers are battling to purchase every new house or flat that enters the market, as the number of properties available continues to fall. Meanwhile, those involved in the thriving buy-to-let market will be hit by the government’s new tax measures that come into force on April 6. Announced by the previous government in the Summer Budget two years ago, the measure is aimed...
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How the Budget Didn’t Affect the Property Market

Yesterday was a bit of a ‘non budget’ for property investors, buy to let landlords and others in the housing market. ‘Non’ in two senses – the first being that, unlike last year, the words ‘property’ and ‘housing’ didn’t even pass the chancellor’s lips and secondly, Philip Hammond failed to fulfil the wishes of every ambitious landlord in this country by repealing the Stamp Duty on additional homes. Nor was he prepared to announce a U-turn on his clamp down on landlord tax relief – the impact of which will first be felt next month. Self-employed landlord NI contributions to increase What the Chancellor did do though, is hit hard around one in five individuals who make a living by renting out property. This is by increasing National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. For individuals earning between £16,250 and £45,000 annually NI contributions will increase from nine to 10 per...
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Landlords Embrace Second Charge Borrowing as HMO Appeal Intensifies

  The past couple of years have been somewhat unkind to buy-to-let landlords, bringing a raft of stricter underwriting standards and significant tax changes into the equation. Just as the changes have resulted in many buy-to-let being driven out of business, thousands more are being forced to rethink their strategies and portfolios. One specific area that seems to have become a key consideration for landlords up and down the country is the conversion of properties into houses in multiple occupation (HMO). In the simplest of terms, this is where a standard dwelling is converted in a manner whereby it enables multiple tenants to reside within the same property who are not part of the same group or family. As a means by which to deal with tax increases and make improvements to rental income, HMO is proving to be an effective and appealing option for a growing number of buy-to-let...
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What Does Home Ownership Being At An All Time Low Mean For Landlords?

  Former chancellor George Osborne’s attempts to make life more difficult for residential landlords, together with the current chancellor’s unwillingness to overturn his predecessor’s reforms, have certainly unsettled the market within the past year or so. But their efforts at making residential letting unattractive for landlords have been futile. That’s because the following fundamental facts remain: a) People can’t afford to buy their own homes b) There isn’t enough social housing available. Both of which mean millions of individuals and families find homes through private landlords (the alternative being to move in with in-laws and friends). In other words, instead of getting their own back garden in order, the government has tried to sort the situation by hitting out at landlords. Of course, landlords should be thankful for this – private rents will be in demand for as long as people want a roof over their heads and the government...
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Buy To Let Tax Changes Within Section 24 Of The Finance Act

Landlords could be set to lose out on tens of thousands of pounds of income from their buy to let investments, starting next year when proposed tax changes come into force. Under Section 24 of the Finance Act - introduced by George Osborne in his Finance Bill last summer – landlords will be taxed on the turnover of their property, rather than just the profit. It applies to existing as well as future buy to lets but not to foreign landlords (since they are not taxed under the British system).  Tax to be fully operational by 2020 The government plans to phase in the new ruling on a sliding scale from April 6 next year so that landlords pay 25 per cent in the first year, 50 per cent for 2018 and 75 per cent the following year.  By 2020 the full 100 per cent tax bill will apply. This means...
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