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Jeremy Corbyn pledges rent controls

The Happy Tenant Company comments on Jeremy Corbyn pledge to introduce rent controls

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to give cities the power to introduce rent controls under a Labour government.

“Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections” Corbyn told delegates on the last day of the Labour conference in Brighton.

But not everyone is in favour of the Labour leader’s proposals.

Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company, agrees with ARLA chief executive David Cox, who said the last time rent controls existed, the private rented sector went from housing 90% of the population to just 7%, and that Labour’s pledge would be a backwards step for the industry.

Mr Joseph comments: “The vast majority of private landlords in the UK own one or two properties or a moderate sized portfolio, which they have built up over many years. Contrary to popular belief, managing even just one property correctly takes a lot of hard work. Adding rent controls to the raft of legislation already imposed on landlords in the last eighteen months will completely decimate the market.  Landlords simply won’t be able to make a profit and will either cut back on maintenance to achieve a realistic return on their investment or exit the market altogether.

Addressing the affordability of housing is an important issue but some landlords have made a living by running very successful buy-to-let businesses which support our housing system, and for some, it is their livelihood. 

Ultimately, such action could also end up making conditions even worse for renters by reducing both the quality and quantity of properties available to rent. Re-balancing supply is the only way to achieve a more balanced market.”

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Happy Tenant Launches Mortgage Clinic

The Happy Tenant Company Launches Mortgage Clinic to Support Portfolio Landlords with PRA Lending Changes

The Happy Tenant Company, a residential asset management company which provides landlords with fixed-fee professional property management, has announced the launch of its free ‘Mortgage Advice Clinic’ with expert mortgage broker Lee Grandin of Landlord Mortgages & Lend2Landlord, to help prepare and educate portfolio landlords about PRA changes.

From 30th September, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), part of the Bank of England, will start to enforce tougher standards for landlords with four or more mortgaged properties. The change means that, for the first time, lenders will need to undertake a full analysis of a landlord’s entire property portfolio as part of the lending process.

The Happy Tenant Company, which manages £500 million worth of property for portfolio landlords, says landlords need to be working with their property management companies and brokers to get paperwork in order so they are fully prepared when the time comes remortgage.
Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company says: “The borrower costs that will be taken into account by lenders include everything from management and letting fees, council tax and service charges to repairs, insurance, voids and ground rents, as well as any other costs associated with renting out a property.  Lenders will want to know a landlord’s current approach and future plans of portfolio management which is why we have joined forces with Lee Grandin to help support our portfolio landlords.

Our property managers keep stringent records of all costs associated with our landlords’ portfolios, which have been crucial following the introduction of stricter affordability tests imposed by lenders at the start of the year.  Now, however, this will be even more important as landlords will need this information as part of their business plan to support new mortgage applications.”

If fewer lenders decide to operate in the portfolio landlord market, reducing competition, the application process could be further delayed as those still lending to the sector will be faced with a larger volume of business. Lee Grandin, Managing Director at Landlord Mortgages and Lend2Landlord, will be advising new and existing Happy Tenant Company landlords during their monthly ‘Mortgage Clinic’ on how to get organised to support a smooth application.

He comments: “From October PRA regulations will set guidelines on how lenders should approach lending to portfolio landlords.  It is important that a landlord understands that there isn’t a definitive set of rules but a general requirement that a landlord’s portfolio rental business is sound, viable and sustainable.  It will require that a landlord produces a business plan to support its funding requirements.  We perceive that specialist brokers like ourselves, accountants and asset management firms like The Happy Tenant Company, will play a far greater role in the buy-to-let mortgage funding application process.”

Grandin adds: “Inevitably the changes will result in less competitive landlords (smaller sized landlords) being squeezed out from the market

Read the article here…

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Why is tenant referencing important for landlords and letting agents

Why is thorough tenant referencing so important for landlords and letting agents?

Adam Joseph, CEO, The Happy Tenant Company

Carrying out thorough tenant referencing is one of the most important processes a landlord or letting agent should undertake when choosing to let a property. This is because it mitigates the risks from loss of income and damage to a property.

Professional tenant referencing and Right to Rent checks confirm a tenant is who they say they are, has the financial means to pay the rent on time every month, has permission to live in the UK and ultimately can be entrusted with a landlord’s greatest asset, his/her property.

Of course, even the most detailed referencing is not a guarantee. But having information on a person’s identity, their credit history, any possible County Court Judgements, employment references and their track record as a tenant from previous landlords, is a good place for landlords and letting agents to start. This minimises the risk and filters out possible ‘bad tenants’.

New landlords, or those concerned about carrying out referencing and checking the authenticity of the information provided, should seek professional help from a company that can produce a detailed report. This will enable the landlord to make an informed decision on the suitability of the tenant.

There is a danger that some landlords and letting agents can be too eager to get tenants approved. This is why an open mind is important.  Landlords who use an asset management company, where fees only come from management not letting the property, have the reassurance that the advice they receive is unbiased and focused on the best interest of their investment.

Mortgage lenders are stringent with who and how much they lend to ensure borrowers are able to meet repayments. Landlords should act in a similar fashion to protect their investment and income streams.

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Do you need assistance with thorough tenant referencing? Contact one of our specialists today.

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Action to Ban Letting Agent Fees

Happy Tenant Company Comments on Government Action to Ban Letting Agent Fees

Yesterday, the Queen’s Speech outlined a Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill Ban to, as expected, stop lettings agents charging tenants.  Its suggested that tenants may be allowed to recover unlawful charges as part of legislation outlined in the ban. Having previously worked as an estate agent, owning his own independent agency before taking on his current position, CEO of The Happy Tenant, Adam Joseph, offers an unbiased opinion on this major shake-up of the industry and what this could mean for small independent agents:

“As someone who has a duty of care to landlords and tenants, but also partners with leading estate agents and knows the business model, I think there is a real concern that this could be the turning point for the demise of many independent agents. This would be a loss to both the industry and consumers.  For some, those fees may only represent a £30k turnover, for example, but to a small agency that could be in equivalent of one and half members of staff. Of course, the alternative is that agents will start to cut corners, the fallout of which leaves landlords with unreliable tenants. Without a doubt there is an expense involved with carrying out referencing, it may not be as expensive as some charge, but it is also not as cheap as people would like to think, particularly if you have to factor in more complex elements such as guarantors. I feel that agents should have a right to charge something, albeit capped. 

What will be next, renewal charges? If agents continue to be squeezed larger agents will be the only ones that can survive.”


Our Fees

Are you fed-up with mark ups and hidden fees?

We believe the fees that letting agents and management companies charge are excessive, unfair and affect your return on investment.

With The Happy Tenant Company, you don’t need to worry about excessive charges. Our fee is clearly laid out, transparent and easy to follow, and our unique approach gives you substantial savings from day one.

On another note, The Happy Tenant Company were mentioned recently in The Telegraph within a publication on ‘How landlords can resolve a dispute with tenants’.

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Happy Tenant Company Partners with Uber

‘Free Rides’ for Happy Lives – Happy Tenant Company Partners with Uber to raise money for Make-a-Wish UK

The Happy Tenant Company and Uber have announced a partnership agreement. As a Residential Asset Management Company, they provide landlords with professional property management services for a fixed fee. The promotion with Uber offers any new users a free ride up to the value of £10. At the same time, it will raise money for the charity, Make-a-Wish UK.

Managing over £500 million worth of property on behalf of landlords, The Happy Tenant Company uses group buying power to negotiate discounts with its panel of approved letting agents, maintenance services and inventory clerks. These discounts are then passed on to landlords and their tenants in full.

Now, The Happy Tenant Company is exploring new ways of securing offers for cost-effective living which go beyond property management, to support those who rent and let property.

Adam Joseph, who became CEO of The Happy Tenant Company at the start of this year, explains “Landlord and tenant expectations are ever increasing. This is why The Happy Tenant Company model has proved so successful. Everyone wants to receive value for money or be offered a discount in return for loyal custom. We’ve focused on delivering more than just property management. We have used our size to secure discounts across a range of service suppliers to help our landlords and tenants; something which experience has shown us is the key to harnessing good landlord/tenant relationships. We truly believe that happy tenants equal happier landlords.”

This latest partnership not only introduces more tenants and landlords to Uber’s cost-effective way of getting around London, but it also enables The Happy Tenant Company to raise funds for Make-a-Wish UK. The charity grants magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.

Happy Tenant Company does not take commissions on any of the discounts it secures. This is why £5 for every Uber ride using the code ‘HAPPYTENANT’ will be donated by the Happy Tenant Company to the charity. “Make a Wish UK is a charity close to our hearts and The Happy Tenant Company has supported them since the company was formed in 2012.  We’re really excited at the potential scale of this initiative, and with no cap on how many people can use our unique ‘HAPPYTENANT’ code, we’re hoping that our support will raise a substantial sum for the charity” said Adam Joseph, CEO.

Natasha Dubash, Regional Fundraising Manager for Make a Wish UK added: “We are thrilled to be working with The Happy Tenant Company and look forward to seeing how the partnership develops further, with the funds raised from this initiative being used to help grant more magical wishes for children and young people living with life-threatening conditions.”

To receive their first ride for free*, new users to Uber use the code ‘HAPPYTENANT’ when signing up.

*first ride up to the value of £10 for free

About The Happy Tenant Company

The Happy Tenant Company (HTC) was set up in 2012 to provide landlords with a professional and totally transparent alternative to self-management, yet a more cost-effective option than using expensive property management offered by traditional letting agents.

The Happy Tenant Company is not a letting agent, they are a Residential Asset Management business. Managing over half a billion pounds worth of property, they use group buying power to negotiate discounts with its panel of approved letting agents and maintenance services, which are then passed onto landlords.

  • Benefit to Landlords – Landlords don’t want to self-manage but they also don’t want to pay renewal fees. Landlords pay a fixed annual fee to HTC. In return, they have their property professionally managed, receive reduced agent fees (between 5-8%) in the first year. Thereafter, our landlords never paying renewal fees. HTC works with their panel of agents to find suitable tenants, then manages the entire tenancy.
  • Benefit to Letting Agents – A shortage of stock in the market means agents are heavily competing for landlord instructions. HTC hands high-quality available stock to the agents.

HTC fees are based on fixed fee levels dictated by the rent, starting from £1000 (plus VAT) a year.

Their team of Property Managers are led by qualified Level 3 Technical Award in Lettings & Management. HTC is regulated by the National Approved Letting Scheme.

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Happy Tenant acquires landlord business

The Happy Tenant Company acquires well known Landlord and Letting business

The Happy Tenant Company (HTC), a residential asset management company, is pleased to announce the acquisition of The Landlord and Letting Show, The Landlord and Letting Awards and The Landlord and Buy to Let magazine, alongside plans to host their first landlord conference later this year.

Recognised in the industry, the Landlord and Letting show and annual awards (introduced in 2009) have grown in popularity throughout the private rented sector, whilst the magazine has been a leading publication for both landlords and letting agents.

Adam Joseph, CEO of The Happy Tenant Company confirms that the decision behind the acquisition was to create a platform to help educate landlords about the latest regulations and tax implications regarding the letting of a property. He says: “With all of the changes currently happening in the market, I’m not convinced that the majority of landlords understand how it works and how it will affect them, particularly the removal of mortgage interest tax relief. Our landlord conference will target this very problem with industry experts providing essential up-to-date information and advice through various seminars, workshops and panel discussions.

This acquisition is part of our wider business plan to expand our communication with landlords whilst at the same time, connect them with property professionals and suppliers. Our aim now is to establish partnerships with other like companies, who we are already in discussions with, to ensure the conference progresses, attracting new delegates. The HTC landlord conference will take on a whole new style and format with our own personal stamp on it.”

Future plans for the magazine and awards will be announced at a later date.

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Our 1st Property Networking Drinks

Our 1st Property Networking Drinks 

We held our 1st event at Cafe Toulous in March 2017, we had a mixture of property professionals, landlords and contractors and was a huge success.

Paul Shamplina founder of Landlord Action spoke to our guests as well as Tony Gimple from Less Tax for Landlords.

If you would like to be invited to our next networking drinks evening please email membership@happytenant.co.uk

property networking drinks
property networking drinks
property networking drinks
property networking drinks
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Tax Deductibility of Managing Agents Fee’s

Tax Deductibility of Managing Agents Fee’s

There have been a host of tax changes for landlords over the past couple of years which will significantly eat into landlords’ profits and, in many cases, will wipe them out completely.

It has become more and more important for landlords to understand exactly what reliefs they will be entitled to ensure the impact of the changes are mitigated.

So how will these changes affect you and what other expenses can you claim?

While most capital expenses – those involved in buying and selling a property, such as the purchase price and agent and legal fees – cannot be used to offset your income tax, many other costs can.  An area of debate can sometimes be the deductibility of letting and managing agents fees which we explain further below.

Managing Agents Fee’s

To be tax deductible, expenses must be incurred ‘wholly’ and ‘exclusively’ for the purposes of running your property letting business. Expenses are considered money spent during the day-to-day running of your business.  Professional fees typically include fees charged by your accountant, solicitor or letting/managing agent. You may also deduct fees relating to rent collection. However these fees must still be incurred ‘wholly and exclusively for business purposes’. If professional fees relate to the sale or purchase of property, the fees will be considered capital expenditure and thus will not be tax deductible. This typically includes solicitor’s, agents and surveyor’s fees relating to the sale or purchase of property.

If fees relate to a first time letting or subletting for a duration of more than one year, these fees are considered capital expenditure too. Professional fees relating to the lease’s renewal are tax deductible as long as the renewal period does not exceeding 50 years.

Before you Submit a Tax Return

The changes are here and landlords have to be aware of the tax implications to ensure the transaction is commercially viable.  As a landlord you must submit a self-assessment tax return each year. If an accountant prepares this for you the fees are also tax deductible!


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Tips for Buy-to-Let Landlords

Tips for Buy-to-Let Landlords: Adam Joseph, CEO, The Happy Tenant Company

We know that being a buy-to-let landlord has become a pricier and more time-consuming business in the past 12 months since the 3% stamp duty surcharge was introduced, the 10% wear-and-tear allowance scrapped and mortgage relief restricted.

However, as an Asset Management Company, we also know that buy-to-let can still be very profitable.  Landlords simply need to be more savvy about minimising overheads and dealing promptly with repairs to protect their investment and gain the best returns.  

Top Tips from Adam Joseph


Lowering your BTL property maintenance costs: how can landlords keep their maintenance bills low?

  1. Shop Around – If you’re self-managing, shop around for contractors but always take a reference and ideally use someone who comes recommended. If your property is managed, find out what suppliers your management company uses, what they charge and if desired, whether you can use your own.

Asset management companies, like The Happy Tenant Company, with a high volume of properties under management, will already have established relationships with reputable contractors. For example, we know and trust all our contractors, and because of the constant flow of billed work we supply, we’re able to use our group buying power to secure the best deals for our members across all property service suppliers – including letting agents, maintenance services and inventory clerks.  These discounts are then passed on to our landlords in their entirety.

  1. Maintain – Most importantly, keep your property maintained so that costs don’t build up. It’s a false economy to leave a dripping tap or a loose roof tile – six months later these small things can turn into a much larger problem at a much greater cost to repair e.g. a leaking roof.
  2. Fees – Agents must be transparent with their fees, so make sure you shop around and see who is offering the best deal. However, remember to check what service you will get for that price – those that appear the cheapest on the surface may not be offering the same level of service, so it’s worth doing a little research.

What are the best ways of guaranteeing rent in your BTL property?

If you haven’t yet bought a property, but are looking to make an investment, one of the most important aspects is location.  Being close to public transport, no more than a 10-15 minute walk to the nearest station, for example, is extremely attractive to prospective tenants. Two bedroom properties are the “bread and butter” for any letting agent because they are the most rentable. Studios and one bedroom properties can also be sought after, depending on the area. For example, in London, studios and one beds are in greater demand in Zones 1 and 2 because the location is more expensive. In Zones 4 and 5, a couple may be more likely to rent a two-bedroom property because they can afford the luxury of having a spare room.

In terms of the property itself, the most obvious one is to make sure the property is well presented, both in terms of décor and maintenance. Simple things like knocks in the walls or stains on the carpet show the prospective tenant A) How the landlord looks after the property, and B) How the previous tenants looked after it. This impacts the type of tenant that takes the property on in the future, and sometimes landlords fail to see the synergy between the two.

If, once you have a purchased a buy-to-let property, you want to guarantee rent will come in on time every month, you could first consider taking out a rent guarantee insurance policy. If your tenants pass referencing, the insurance company will offer a service where if a tenant fails to make a rent payment on time, you’ll be fully protected. Additionally, some policies will also offer a comprehensive Legal Expenses service – whereby landlords are covered from any costly legal fees during an eviction process. However, this does not guarantee the rent if the tenant leaves the property, but rather protects against a tenant that won’t leave but has stopped paying rent.

Other options which offer guaranteed rent solutions include housing association lease schemes, rent-to-rent companies or providing emergency housing. Whilst these methods can provide guaranteed rent, there are also other aspects to consider such as: the length of the contract, which is usually longer, the turn-over of tenants, which is usually higher and the rental income, which is likely to be below market value.

Tenant vetting: what are the best, most robust methods for vetting your tenants? What other steps can you take to avoid being scammed or left out of pocket?

There are two ways to reference a tenant:

  1. A Referencing Agency (also used by letting agents) – Tenant referencing agents carry out checks on the prospective tenant’s credit rating and authenticate the tenant’s personal details.   Most offer various levels of service but providing information on CCJs, bankruptcy and credit score is essential.
  2. The Manual Route – The other route, which should ideally be carried out in addition (the more checks you carry out the more confident you can be about your prospective tenant), is asking for bank statements from the last 6 months, current employer’s details and previous landlord references. Do not just assume letters from previous landlords and employers are legitimate, verify over the phone.

One of the most common “cost-saving” traps that landlords fall into is to try and carry out referencing themselves. Admittedly, on the face of it, it’s not that difficult to do a basic tenant reference once you know what you need – a previous landlord reference (name and number), details of the tenant’s current employer (name and number) and bank statements (evidence of their salary coming in every month and current rent going out every month). If you have this information, it should provide you with a fair bit of security, correct?

Not necessarily.  Landlords need to be aware that tenants may provide false documentation so having the skill and experience to spot this is important. As a landlord, you are also now required to check the immigration status of anyone who isn’t from the UK. You need to know what you are looking out for when going through the tenant’s visa from the Home Office, such as its expiry date. Other elements of referencing that you won’t be able to do include looking for any County Court Judgements or bankruptcy charges.  This is why we always say, if don’t know how to carry out THOROUGH tenant referencing, don’t try. Hand the job over to a referencing agency or management company. There is, of course, a cost to this, usually between £15 – £25, but at least you will have peace of mind knowing that you have taken the most important measures to protect your investment.

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