Being a property landlord is easy.
Said nobody, ever.
But it is easier during good economic times. When tenants pay on time, and you have full occupancy, it’s great. Your cash flow is healthy, and your blood pressure will be somewhere around normal. Well, normal for a landlord, whatever that is.
Let’s face it, 2020 has not been a good year, to put it mildly. The Covid pandemic has decimated our economy and created massive problems for many people. With businesses having to suspend or reduce their operations and millions of people being furloughed on reduced incomes, there has been a pronounced knock-on effect on the rental market.
As a private sector landlord, you will, no doubt, have had many difficult conversations with tenants struggling to pay their rent over the past few months. In this situation, the government advice has been for landlords and tenants to negotiate and agree on payment schedules wherever possible.
That’s fine from the tenant’s perspective, but what about the landlord? Contrary to popular belief, most landlords aren’t sat on a massive pot of cash. They can’t simply go down to the cellar and grab another bucketful of gold to pay their bills. So, what do they do?
There are plenty of resources for tenants to access. A quick look on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website lists eleven sources of help for tenants, ranging from legal aid to universal credit. Landlords are given two – contact the National Residential Landlords Association or access some training on talking to tenants. Here’s a link if you’d like to know more, https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/coronavirus/tenants-and-landlords-in-the-private-rented-sector/
As part of the government’s package of measures to help, they introduced the ability for landlords to apply for mortgage payment holidays from their lender. However, these are limited to three months. What happens after that if the tenant is in the same position? The harsh reality is that, if a tenant can’t pay their rent and lose their ability to pay it indefinitely, the landlord has to start eviction proceedings.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 means that landlords must give extended notice periods of six months to evict tenants. If only one of your tenants is affected by that, the financial implications for you are serious but manageable.
What if it’s more than one tenant? When you have two, three, or four evictions to manage, the time and costs spiral out of control. At the time of writing (October 2020), researchers are projecting unemployment figures over four million during the coming months. History has shown us that high unemployment leads to low property prices. Some landlords will find themselves with empty blocks of flats, worth less than they paid for them.
Faced with this prospect, owners of apartment blocks may begin to think it’s not worth the hassle anymore and decide to sell the whole property. But what are the timescales involved? Selling a block of flats must be significantly more complicated than selling a single flat or property, mustn’t it?
You may be surprised how quickly the process can take place. Here are a few of our recent examples:
A client contacted us one Friday morning. They had an ageing relative whose main asset was a small apartment block. The relative had to go into a care home and needed to sell the block of flats to raise funds quickly. From our conversation on Friday, we obtained all the information we needed to make a provisional offer on Saturday, the next day. After viewing the property on Monday, we finalised and agreed on the final offer and terms. The sale completed twenty-eight days later.
An apartment block was owned by several family members, who were all in advancing years. They wanted to sell the block of flats while they were all in good health, and the transaction would be more straightforward. We viewed the property two days later and made a subsequent offer the day after. We then completed the sale in six weeks.
Our client owned a block of twelve, one-bedroomed flats. The property had been on the market for a while before the owner approached us. During the Covid lockdown earlier this year, we negotiated several complex issues that had previously prevented the sale and completed within twenty-eight days from issuing the contract papers.
It is true, selling a block of flats is complicated. There are many more factors to consider and legalities to contend with, compared to selling a private house. However, at sellmyflats.co.uk, it’s all we do. We have access to the required capital and make the whole process simple and easy for our clients.
For more information about how you could sell your block of flats, contact us now on…..