Landlords & Legislation ! Ben Whiting Joins us for our February Meet

Once again it was great to see so many people and so many newcomers at our February property meet !

We welcomed Ben Whiting from Allington Hughes Solicitors as our main speaker and also had updates on recent developments affecting landlords from Richard and an update on the current financial market from Mark Heywood of Watts Commercial Finance.

Richard informed everyone that there is currently a Facebook page entitled ‘Judicial Review of Clause 24 – ‘Alice in Wonderland Tax Grab.’ This page provides information regarding the challenge that is being made to the government’s proposals, to reduce the mortgage interest relief. Updates on this can also be found at

Mark Heywood introduced himself and reiterated what he had covered in the last meeting for the newcomers that were present. He explained that there is no 6 month rule in his world unlike with traditional lenders. Furthermore commercial banks can help if you are creating a new limited company.

Mark concluded by stating that it is currently a busy market place, the demand is out there. Landlords are in a position of strength. Watts receive approximately thirty inquiries per day off landlords. He stated Watts would love to help if they are able to. If you have an existing portfolio, they will give you their honest opinion on it. They can calculate how much capital they could raise for you in the future, by taking the equity out of it if you needed it.

Should anyone wish to contact Mark his details are as follows:-

Tel: 01270 611000
Mobile: 07855 217508
E Mail:

We then turned to our main speaker for the morning, Ben Whiting from Allington Hughes Solicitors in Wrexham.

Ben started by highlighting the new planning category which is coming into force in Wales today (25th February) namely C4 in relation to HMO’s. This will give local authorities the power to manage development of HMO’s with fewer than 7 residents. Essentially this means that all properties with 3 to 6 unrelated tenants will require a change of use planning application to be made. (Further information can be found at:-

He outlined the Rent Smart Wales scheme and asked whether everyone who is a landlord has registered at the moment. Most landlords confirmed that they had yet to register and were waiting until nearer the 23rd November. One landlord confirmed he had registered and had then been made aware that once you have registered you have to put all of your properties onto the scheme within one month.

It has also been accepted that some landlords who have completed previous accreditation courses may be able to transfer across to Rent Smart Wales without having to attend a classroom course and will just have to complete and online module as and when it becomes available. Ben explained that under the scheme landlords have to follow the Code of Practice once they sign up which can be downloaded from the ‘Resource Library’ section of the Rent Smart Wales website.

As a side issue he mentioned that landlords in Wales have to provide their tenant’s details to their water company i.e. their names, dates of birth and address. If they do not do this they can be held liable for the water bill. One of the attendees mentioned the website ‘Landlord Tap’ where landlords can inform their relevant water company of their tenants details.

Ben concluded by mentioning the changes that are coming into force on the 1st April in relation to stamp duty. This will mean an increase in the stamp duty rate of 3% and will apply to purchases of £40,000 and above. He stated that the average property transaction take 6-8 weeks and therefore if anyone was looking at purchasing a property now they would probably struggle to complete on the transaction before the new change come into being. The government still hasn’t decided on the legislation which will govern this as yet (we understand this will be clarified in the budget in March) He highlighted the fact that even if someone exchanges before the 1st April, they will still be liable for the new stamp duty rates if they complete after that date.

Should anyone wish to contact Ben his contact details are as follows:-

Tel: 01978 291000