Welcome to your December edition of the Fish Need Water newsletter!

Here’s what we’ve got coming up:

  • Thanks, Philip (not) for the wonderful (not) Autumn Statement.
  • All the latest need-to-know news.
  • If you hate spreadsheets, you’ll LOVE our property tool of the month.

Autumn Statement woes

Over the past few years, we’ve become used to the government bashing landlords over the head with ever-more restrictive regulations and rulings. So we weren’t all that surprised when Philip Hammond managed to find yet another way to thwack us all in last month’s Autumn Statement.

What’s on the cards this time? No – not mortgage interest rates, stamp duty or the removal of the wear-and-tear allowance. This time they’ve decided that letting agents in England should no longer be able to charge fees to tenants. Instead, the cost of administration, reference checks, immigration checks and credit checks will likely be absorbed by the agent – or more likely passed on to you, the landlord.

It’s true that some agents charge extortionately high fees to tenants. And that’s a problem because high tenant fees won’t necessarily compel landlords to look for better agents (as they’re not directly affected by those fees). But surely the answer is a cap on tenant fees rather than a ban on them altogether?

Scotland banned tenant fees back in 2012, and some evidence suggests that landlords have increased their rents – thus passing the costs back to the tenants.

The proposals put forward in the Autumn Statement are intended to be made law “as soon as possible” – so there’s still hope that they’ll change their minds following a consultation with the industry.

We’ll keep you in the loop, of course. In the meantime, it seems like a good time to check whether you’re charging as much rent as you could, in case you end up with extra costs to recoup. We’re happy to conduct an assessment for you: just give us a call on 020 3199 3492.

Property news

How does the Autumn Statement 2016 affect me? We focused on tenant fees above, but there’s still lots more to know about this year’s Autumn Statement.

London’s housing market 1996–2016: how the property map has been redrawn over the past 20 years. A fascinating “then and now” – with just one factor remaining constant…

Londoners ignore crime over fears it could devalue property, research finds. One in five Londoners have been a victim of or witnessed a crime but failed to report it over fears it would devalue their property.

10 “new” regeneration hotspots where house prices are booming. Exciting new districts in places we once ignored.

Trump victory seen spurring foreign demand for London property. Yup: Donald Trump may well be good for the London housing market.

Our useful tool of the month

Getting the maths right on an investment is super important, but not everyone has a thing for colour-coded spreadsheets.

If you’re not a fan of formulae, you should check out the Landlords Calculator from Property 118. Simply enter the details of your current portfolio or a deal you’re interested in, and the calculator will spit out all the important numbers and tell you what they mean.

Check it out here.

The end! (Until next year.)

Speak to you in 2017!