Saturday, 29 April 2017

Waiting for Godot

From: Closed circuit

Brexit may still be causing uncertainty in the housing sector, but there is one group that won’t be damaged, according to experts – buy-to-let landlords. In fact, they could even be boosted by it.

Immediately after the vote some had predicted a mass exodus of EU citizens but it turns out the only losers will be EU migrants.

Speaking at the Great Buy-to-Let Debate, Professor David Miles from Imperial College London said Brexit could be positive for the private rented sector because migrants who were considering buying a property in the UK may now put that decision on hold and stay in private rental accommodation.

So, no end in sight for precarious lettings for migrants, and buy-to-let landlords stand to gain from this instability. Same as it ever was.

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A TripAdvisor for tenants is on its way, heralded as a tool for prospective tenants to make informed choices when scouting around for a new home.

But a quick scan of the Marks Out Of Tenancy website leaves us hanging with the apt message “waiting for Godot” as the site endlessly loads. Technical glitches aside, however, the idea is sound.

The brains behind the site will have to watch out for an age-old trick that hotel and restaurant owners regularly use on TripAdvisor: sneakily giving themselves glowing reviews to boost their ratings. Closed Circuit can envisage landlords ploughing the same furrow, especially as all the reviews are anonymous.

Prospective tenants should watch out for reviews such as: “Five-star home! The landlord is really great and really good-looking, too.”

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Five stars also to West Kent Housing Association, which found itself in the news this week after a property it could not let in Sevenoaks was used to resettle a family of Syrian refugees.

The property had been empty since February last year, according to local press reports, and after considering its options, the association and local council decided to bring its first family of Syrian refugees to the area.

Usually at this point Closed Circuit would make some sort of dreadful pun, but in this instance we will say hats off for an excellent humanitarian gesture.

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