Monday, February 11 2013, 2:10PM
“An intelligent assertion of your thesis, democrat.
You mention two alternatives: "Increase population density (live in smaller houses and/or cram more people into existing property) or build on fields."
There is a third alternative: alterations to our nation's economic policies, designed to a) favour home ownership, b) favour affordable housing, and c) encourage brown-field building whilst discouraging green-field building.
Such measures might include:
* Tax deductions for first home purchases.
* Tax penalties for second home purchases.
* Greatly increased stamp duty on higher-end houses.
* Increased tax on profits derived from properties bought to let.
* Legislative pressure on banks to decrease prohibitive down-payment requirements.
* Toughened planning requirements, increased eco-impact strictures, and prohibitive tariffs on green-field building.
* Incentives for brown-field building of affordable new housing.
The point is not necessarily advocacy of each of these measures — but rather to suggest that Increased population density and green-field building are not inevitabilities. Economic policy can, and does, have a profound impact when wielded with social justice in mind.”
Monday, February 11 2013, 3:18PM
“we all know what to do ! but i am called a racist saying it . everyone with a honest mind (including my friends from afar) know there are far too many people in this country already .”
Monday, February 11 2013, 5:34PM
“"How to save the countryside"? This will never be achieved by having an open door policy on immigration and by giving priority to building on green fields instead of using so-called brownfield sites first.”
Monday, February 11 2013, 6:04PM
“Can't disagree with some of the suggestions, particularly building on brown field sites, however, pulling up the drawbridge would most definitely help; it is so obvious.”
Tuesday, February 12 2013, 12:14AM
“This incompetent Con government is solving the problem by forcing out many youngsters, especially the more educated ones, in search of work abroad because they have little chance of finding worthwhile work in this country.”
Tuesday, February 12 2013, 1:00PM
“I pretty much agree with Prog-Rock-Fan on this,I live in the countryside - we are forever trying to fend off planned developments on every bit of land that comes up for sale.. RAF Newton was set to be affordable housing for Migrants.. but there was outrage from the local community, So the owners let some perfectly habitable 7 bedroom houses rot and fall into disrepair just to spite everyone, knowing that the A46 project would take on the site.. They did and as the houses were no use by then they levelled them, funnily enough now the A46 has been built and traffic flows nicely, 3 major developers are building very large estates, next to the Industrial estate that has sprung up on the the Old RAF site, so all the new roads will become choke points, and Newton has gone from having 30 houses to around 300 houses in the space of 5 years, and is still growing.We need to plan cities better, Industry needs to be near infrastructure,light commercial and retail needs to be inside city boundaries with favourable rates and consideration to saturation of similar businesses. And heavy commercial and large retail needs to be where you can park to load up - i.e. out of town.In other words - Sofa's - by all means have a show room in town, but collect from a warehouse out of town. Shoes - by them in town - no need for out of town developments.Anything you genuinely need personal transport to collect is better if you can park near it.Anything little and whimsical is ok inside the City centre, because you can get trams and busses out to the suburbs or your car without having to lug large packages.We have gone from having thriving city centres - to dead city centres full of closed down businesses, former offices and factories, which are all being converted into gyms, clubs etc.. you can park right outside mobile phone shops on retail parks.. WHY? convenience..We could make cities a lot more shopper friendly and an experience if we had things that need roads, near roads, and things that don't, in town, and make people park and come in on public transport, or god forbid.. WALK! Then all the closed down derelict former industrial sites on the periphery of the city centre could be used for affordable housing.”
Tuesday, February 12 2013, 3:57PM
“The UK has around 800 people per square mile so we are extremely densly populated by global standards. The non-immigrant population is actually falling due to low birth rates. The overall increase in population is entirely down to Immigration. It's the single biggest influencing factor in UK population growth. It is in theory at least the easiest to do something about. The generous benefits system is attracting a huge influx if European migrants to the UK.”
Tuesday, February 12 2013, 8:25PM
“Regarding population, we cannot build our way out of this no matter how much green land we build on. One day, we will run out of space and have no green area left. Like China, we will have to think about capping the amount of babies people have. This will long-term reduce the population slowly and this will stop all the child benefits!”
Tuesday, February 12 2013, 10:24PM
“@City_C10: "We cannot build our way out of this no matter how much green land we build on. One day, we will run out of space and have no green area left."
Wednesday, February 13 2013, 4:04PM
“Mam35Do your research. Net immigration (or rather net migration) is the difference those coming in and those going out. The net figure of 3 million over the time of the last Labour Government is accepted on all sides of the argument! There are not plenty lying in the hands of rich landlords. An empty property is a disaster for a buy-to-let investor.”
Wednesday, February 13 2013, 4:32PM
“No you do your research lol, ..there were at least 710,000 homes laying empty. in 2011/2012..recent figures not yet released..but expect a huge increase..http://tinyurl.com/aquyua8
As for immigration/emigration, all in all it hasnt changed much over the years, depending on when a government decides to claw in its figures...a large majority come in for study at university etc..nothing new :)”
Wednesday, February 13 2013, 4:46PM
“TYou will see. no matter what council site you go to..all over the UK, they will have some or other 'rejuvenation' scheme, to try and get empty properties back into being..mainly trying to attract private owners to get going..most also have a report part, where you can report an empty property in disrepair...id advise anyone to use that facility :)”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 9:39AM
“Close your eyes and everything will be fine. Just how many people can this country support? Immigration into this country as not changed? You could fool me with that. Yes I am a racist! why because I dare to disagree with you, that makes me racist, it is not my view differs from your opinion. this is a little country, land and food are limited. (Remember the Last war we came very close to starving; even then we could not grow enough food) Now I would imagine the population as doubled. The world is in turmoil, it will only take two or three countries to stop providing us with cheap food and back to square one. yes lets have more immigration.”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 10:31AM
“mam35Seeing what happens to council houses being wrecked and thousands of pounds spent repairing them I perhaps can understand why private owners maybe reluctant to rent their property.”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 3:54PM
“Just spent about 1500 putting mine straight, what made it worse were 2 months rent in arrear, meter converted to key meter without my permission which puts off tenants and will cost me to have changed back. The deposit didn't cover the work, and you can't use it to cover rental arrears thanks to the tenants protected deposit scheme, if they wreck your house and leave in arrears, they still get the deposit back unless you dispute the cost of the works, which could take months. And landlord insurance is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard - as they assess the most desirable result as getting possession back.My house has been empty for 2 months whilst I have had to go and put it right, in my own time, I am not a career landlord, I just need to recoup some of my outlay until I can afford to sell it. Now it's finally available again after loads of expense travel and hard work, I have changed agents, carpets, curtains, painted walls, fixed cooker, filled holes, painted ceilings, skirting boards, changed bathroom fixtures, mended units.. What I don't understand is the Wear and Tear argument. I've lived in my own house for 3 times longer than the last tenant at my other house, and somehow I haven't done anywhere near that amount of damage.. And what is worse is the tenant before did the same.. Why can't some people live without wrecking the place and upsetting the neighbours? I manage it.”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 4:19PM
“...meter converted to key meter without my permission which puts off tenants and will cost me to have changed back...What makes you think meters puts tenants off?? A tenant actually can have no choice in the matter either, if they fall behind with monthly bills or have a bad credit rating..its the utility company that decides, not the tenant, take it from a renter of many years, thats the way it works, the supply belongs to the supplier, if they decide a meter needs to be fitted the tenant has little choice :) Ive switched and changed many times from meters to monthly bils and vice versa, the tenant does do not need to ask your permission, and it would make no difference to future tenants, they can request to have meters taken out themselves, if they prefer..me I prefer meters, it makes budgetting much easier. It certainly makes no difference to future tenants in my experience, whether meters are in the property or not.”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 8:16PM
“Mam 35. do you own property? What is a few thousand to you? Ask the Council the cost of repairs. Meter no problem but a wrecked property. What you chose to do is your choice. What a property owner wants is their choice. They are renting a house to a tenant in need. As long as it dose not cost you everything OK then.”
Saturday, February 16 2013, 11:01PM
“As I said disdent3, it is not always the tenant who chooses to have a meter but the supplier, just like they do for a water meter. A few thousand for what??? Why are you presuming that all tenants are 'in need' and are going to 'wreck' a place...”
Sunday, February 17 2013, 3:04PM
“Lets not forget that the average rent is higher then what the person would be paying for a mortgage,. If I could finance a mortgage that definately what i would go for..it would be cheaper, but unfortunately im not in a position to do so right now, and before, when I had the money, I simply moved around too much. Some of us renters actually improve a property..All the properties I move into have the bog standard magnolia paint on the walls and cheap carpets, during my time I replace with high quality carpets, and redecorate to a high standard..unless the landlord has specifically instructed the agent not to allow redecorating or changes...in which case they will then have to face the bill of 'fair wear and tear' as im not allowed to redecorate :/”
Tuesday, February 19 2013, 10:19AM
“Why are not for profit Housing Associations some of the dearest landlords?”
Wednesday, February 20 2013, 12:05PM
“I dont know about that desident3, I havent had housing association. I was in a council property for a time while I looked for a suitable private rental, and that was much lower rent, but lower quality property. Id say to landlords, allow improvements! I know some feel as though its others taking over, and its still their 'home'..but without allowing that, you are looking at bills for wear and tear. Its the first thing I ask an agent, whether the landlord allows freedom of redecorating, replacing carpets, ive even built a bar in my present home (although i made sure its all 'removable if needed) :)..all add to the value, and makes the tenant feel happier and more at home. I wouldnt rent a home with restriction applied to redecorating/improvements”
Wednesday, February 20 2013, 2:15PM
“Mam35 - late reply to your meter response.
My House is in very good condition, it's in a nice area,
Experience tells me - along with advice from other single property landlords, that to keep it that way you need a tenant who has a certain level of responsibility.
Usually that means someone with something to lose - like their reputation, job, credit rating, or money.. which in turn means someone who can't afford to mess up.
These type of people are usually able to pay a bill when it is due, and don't want the hassle of going to co-op when it's open to pay CASH to top up their electricity.
They don't want the food in their Freezer to thaw out when they go away for the weekend and have forgot to top up the meter.
They don't want to pay 30 pounds to top it up, but only get 24 pounds worth of electricity.
They are the type of people who would prefer to be trusted, and would prefer a direct debit.
Those who miss payments on their electricity, to the point whereby they have to use a pre-payment meter are generally those likely to default on the rent,
after all - the law states that you can't kick them out without substantial court proceedings,
after they've gone you get your house back, but you can kiss goodbye to the rent,
and pray there isn't any damage to your property.. as that comes out of your own pocket, as their deposit is protected.
And from my experience - with numerous agents - They find it a lot easier to let a property which has a credit meter as opposed to a pre-payment meter.
one other thing.
When the house is empty - or the tenant is on holiday, if you forget to top up the meter - using CASH, as you can't pay by card - and the meter runs out..
Off goes the Fridge, Off goes the Freezer, Off goes anything with a timer, Off goes Boiler timer - and therefore the central heating and hot water.. and in my House - Off goes the alarm and fire alarms - which then discharge their batteries and alarm below a certain level to let you know there is a fault.
In my experience - those who can afford to pay electricity by Direct Debit, don't have this problem, don't want this problem, and generally look after MY Property better than those who are less financially able. And as a single property landlord this appeals to me...
I am not in the business of keeping a roof over someone's head, I have a considerable investment which used to be my home which I want to keep in good condition until circumstances change and I can afford to sell it.
Pre-payment meters do limit potential tenants, trust me - two have already enquired about having it removed, and when they were told the cost and rigmarole involved they opted to look elsewhere.”
Wednesday, February 20 2013, 8:16PM
“Gosh.."Those who miss payments on their electricity, to the point whereby they have to use a pre-payment meter are generally those likely to default on the rent"
Bit of a presumption there..plenty prefer meters. Also if you are on a low income, you may be advised to have a meter by the company.
.."And from my experience - with numerous agents - They find it a lot easier to let a property which has a credit meter as opposed to a pre-payment meter"
Of course...its not because some have 'deals' with suppliers, have had leaflets stuffed in my hand by letting agents when ive moved into a property..payment meters mean nothing to prespective tenants, they can be removed if unwanted, most companies like british gas and others do it for free as long as you are in good standing with your bills.
Most of what you say above Chappy would be cutting out a large portion of renters for no reason..”
Thursday, February 21 2013, 1:21AM
“not cutting out a large proportion of renters at all Mam35,
Just speaking from experience,
Nothing to do with what deals the agents have with suppliers, as most savvy people know that apart from British Gas and N-Power most of the large electricity providers only tie you in on a monthly contract.
It may sound like snobbery to want a tenant who has the means to satisfy the credit checks and can budget without having to buy their electricity in advance, but I don't want tenants who are likely to push my rent down the pecking order behind everything else. I am not a local authority.
If they don't pay me, I default on the Mortgage. That's how it works. I made a small profit for the first time in 7 years last year, but as my tenant left me with 2 months in arrears, outstanding balances on the pre-pay meter to be recouped as a portion of future top ups, which would have been passed on to the next tenant.. and the house in a right state which took me weeks to put right and wiped out the tiny profit I actually made 3 fold. I think I have the right to say that I would prefer tenants who will actually look after the place. Generally (not discriminately), that means self supporting. The deposit on my house is enough to scare off those likely to trash it now. If it stays empty I will have a rethink.”
Saturday, February 23 2013, 1:00PM
“Well thats entirely up to you Chappy :) Most pay rent before considering any other bills, and just fall behind with the utilities on occasions, they are very expensive now :/ A meter helps you budget as you can look how much you have before seciding to put on the heating etc..
.."pre-payment meters do limit potential tenants, trust me - two have already enquired about having it removed, and when they were told the cost and rigmarole involved they opted to look elsewhere"
You say about the 'rigmarole' and 'cost' of removing meters putting people off, in most cases the tenant can get it done for free, know because ive done it myself :)..Its not actually up to you to get it done, you are just renting out the property. Some do charge £50-60 but only a few, you can just switch to another company, or just say to the charging company thats what you intend to do, and in most cases they waiver the fee :)”
Saturday, February 23 2013, 1:25PM
“Look Chappy, if you want advice from someone who has rented for many years in several properties that has never defaulted on rent payments, then il give it to you :)...You say about credit checks, but we are in a situation whhere many may fail to have a perfect credit...in fact ive been in my current property for 2 years now, but it was not easy, and i did have to talk the landlord round, using references from previous landlords etc. He wanted an over 90% credit rating, but unfortunately I had defaulted on some bills that year as my partner had been made redundant (for the third time) we fell on hard times, and had defaulted on some of the bills like catalogue etc...but we always made sure rent was paid.There are many like us, in fact there are many struggling, and may not have good credit rating at that particular time, as we are in a recession, and other bills are rising , but a good tenant cares about a roof over their head, so rent is always paid first.
I would suggest good references from other landlords saying they are a reliable tenant, and saying that they left the property in good standing, is just as important, if not more, then having a perfect credit rating.”
Monday, February 25 2013, 2:46PM
“Good references from Landlords, I didn't even get asked for a reference for my Previous tenant, and I later found out that I was bound by a code which states I could only state facts in response to direct questions on a form.
I couldn't give a character reference - i.e. she was a pain in the backside. (even though it is true)
I couldn't state she left in arrears - unless asked if there was an outstanding default..
I couldn't give her a negative recommendation - even though If anyone asked me if they should take her on - I'd say not in a million years.
Apparently the most negative statement you can give as a landlord is to confirm the Tenant was your Tenant between date x to date y. And offer nothing else.
But she is allowed to dissuade tenants if viewings start during the period where she has given notice - and you have no control. So you have to wait until she's gone.
Whatever you say about meters Mam35 - 2 people can't be bothered having the Meter Changed "AFTER" they move in, and having to top up until it's done, and pay the admin charge for the change. I can't get it changed BEFORE they move in as I am not going to be the primary bill payer on a minimum 6 month term.
You may be a tenant, I don't want to fall out, but when I was a tenant, I had no idea what landlords put up with. Now I am a Landlord I know exactly what the issues are.
If I had a string of properties it wouldn't be an issue, but I don't I have 1 house to let. And since the last email - another tenant has asked about having the meter changed - and were told they can get it changed with the supplier when they move in, and they've said they would rather it was installed before they moved in, but they wouldn't commit to have a supply connected whilst they were still living at their existing house. They asked if the owner could have it changed instead.. When the agent told them the utility company wouldn't do it as I don't live there - they went and looked for other properties.
So that's 3 people and another month.
Everyone's personal circumstances are different Mam35 - so I would never get advice about tenants from tenants as no matter how well a tenant knows their friends and themselves, your experience is of a very small cross section of the letting market. I would always seek advice from Landlords who will have seen both good and nightmare tenants alike. Landlords are the ones left picking up the pieces after the tenant has moved on.
You wouldn't get advice on Europe from one person who's been to france on a ferry and had a great time.. you'd want to find out from a variety.. Whilst I admire you sticking up for those you think are the small guys mam35 - I have given people a chance twice - and got my fingers burned twice.. and I am not some corporate who is used to it, so I have to protect myself, and do the best I can for my tenants, but ultimately I am not a charity or housing association.”
Tuesday, February 26 2013, 9:27AM
“mam35 - read the last question on this website
that 52 pounds charge works out at over 130 with admin and minimum 6 month contract.”
Thursday, February 28 2013, 1:38AM
“You are right in what you say, as in 'no bad reference' allowed when dealing in the 'proffessional manner, between agents/landlords etc...but a landlord knows what other landlords require, and the risks of bad tenants, I doubt they want to see others go through the same. The few i have had have always gone out of their way to provide excellent references, which I requested to be either telephoned to the agent or written. If you cannot get that gaurantee from a prospective tenant, then pass.....
Again...what you say about the meters..A serious tenant will not care about little menial things they can deal with themselves, if you want someone that wants to live in your property, take care of it, and wants to live there for all the right reasons. Then it will be no problem. Can't say ive ever even asked how electricity or gas is delivered when viewing a property :/”
Thursday, February 28 2013, 8:41AM
“Some aren't concerned by the meter, it's the upheaval of having it changed, and the fact they'll be billed. The house is in a village, it's a pain to have to top up, and make sure you have enough to go away for any length of time, and to pay a higher service charge every time you top up than you would on a direct debit.
As far as references are concerned, yes I think it's unfair, any information is important to a landlord, and if it's prejudicial to the tenant getting another let, then that is down to the behaviour of the tenant. Some landlords may be over the top, but if you had a questionnaire and scoring system for each category then there shouldn't be a problem.
All references would have the same basic details then.
i.e. score 1 to five - where 1 is untrue and 5 is true
did the tenant always pay the rent on time?
was the house returned in a satisfactory condition?
where there any disputes with the tenant and agent or landlord?
then have fact boxes
Did the tenant depart with any arrears - yes/no - amount.
Is there any pending court action or proceedings to recover debt from the tenant - yes/no
Did the tenant leave under their own notice period yes/no
Was the tenant served mandatory notice yes/no
Was the tenant removed by section 21 or court action? yes/no
Were any costs involved?
Are there any outstanding or unrecoverable debts - subject to Section 8? yes/no
Please State Agreed Monthly Rent
Please State Deposit Amount Retained
Please State Estimated Cost of Damage or Repairs
Please State Duration of the Tenancy
Please State amount of Deposit retained
Please describe any damage.
Do not give a personal account of relations with the tenant.
The total score can then be calculated - and added to any vetting form.
A mathematical calculation of rent vs damage can be calculated.
If these forms were standard and Mandatory, and could be referenced from a central library - using the tenants National Insurance Number as a guide - then there would be some form of selection for landlords.
Agents would be required to complete a form as well - and the two scores could be aggregated to moderate the result in fairness to the tenant.
that way - you could have your property available to those who meet the minimum score only.
For first time tenants - it's always going to be a bit of a risk - but they already usually have to pay a slightly higher deposit with some agents anyway.
I know not all landlords are amazing hosts, but some of us get clobbered because people don't look after things, and think we can all afford to subsidise their bad behaviour. All of the trust element has gone out of the business. I was and still will be a model landlord, and do everything I can to ensure my tenant is not disadvantaged by poor maintenance, but in return, it would be nice for once if they reciprocated by being honest, up front, and if they are struggling, at least look after my house, so that if they do leave with a debt, I can mitigate it somewhat. It's not a lot to ask.”
Tuesday, March 12 2013, 9:39AM
“mam35 - update - finally got a tenant to my house - after a total of 6 saw the meter as a problem. (what you probably don't understand is where my house is),
The deposit on my house is not a months rent - it's 1.5 months rent.
Anyway the tenants are an Old Couple - and to prove it's not about greed, I actually dropped the rent by 50 pounds per month,
I have even offered them a rebate in the summer whilst I have the windows repaired.
So now I make a small loss every month - which simplifies things tax wise.
But do you want to know what clinched it?
I agreed to pay for the meter to be changed.. It would have cost me 132 pounds in total,
52 pounds for the Meter and 70 for decommissioning and installation. including VAT.
Because I am a loyal customer with the same energy company - they waived the installation charges, and have agreed to halve the 52 pound cost, but with terms and conditions,
the terms being that the offer only applies if they are the selected supplier by the new tenant.
As it happens the tenant is happy with this, because if they weren't they'd have to pay the full cost. over 100 with EON, same with NPOWER..
No matter what you say about improving the décor and Carpets - reasonable wear and tear is something a landlord can expect, excessive wear and tear is something that a home owner rarely experiences, because it's their possessions and they look after them.
But ultimately - I don't care who owns a property, I don't have any problem with them wishing for it to be look after when entrusted to someone else. And contrary to popular belief, a mortgage isn't always cheaper than rent, when you take into account things you put in that you'll never get back - solicitors fees, land registry fees, surveyors costs, agents commission in some cases, safety inspections, insurance, interest, as well as general upkeep.
I have rented plenty of houses, and nothing prepares you for the hidden costs involved in actually owning one, let alone trusting it to someone else.
So it's never wrong for me to expect a certain status from my tenants, it's the only way I can assure myself that it will be looked after. As a tenant you defend your status, but if you were a landlord, letting out something that you worked hard to obtain - it's a different matter.”
Tuesday, March 12 2013, 9:40AM
“typo in last post - 122 pounds not 132”
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