Report from the Central Bedfordshire Landlords Forum - 12th June 2013

The meeting was held in the Council Chambers at the Council offices in Priory House, Chicksands and was attended by approximately 50 Landlords, Agents and other interested parties.

The meeting started with a presentation by Tim Pike representing the Bank of England.

The predictions from the Bank of England are that the economy is to remain sluggish, but there will be a slow sustained recovery.

They are expecting inflation to keep closer to their target of 2% but we all know this is often governed by outside influences and the hike in Student Fees last year was listed as just one of these.

Recent predictions from economist have interest rates staying at the current low rate until 2016 with some predictions that it could even drop below that level for a short time !

There was a discussion regarding the recent revelations that some companies such as Amazon and Thames Water have paid very little or no Corporation Tax. There were differing views on this, but it was noted that in some cases the investment of these companies is offset against corporation tax and without investment and expansion they would not employ such a large workforce or provide the level of service that they do. The more staff they employ the larger they are and therefore the more they are contributing in other taxes such as PAYE and VAT.

Interesting views on whether low interest rates encourage businesses to borrow to invest and allow the general public to pay down some of their debt. Did this mean that the people with money whose savings were being effected by the low interest rates spent any less or did it benefit the majority who might be kept in employment because the companies they worked for were able to borrow at lower interest rates. They were then able to invest and keep more staff employed and they in turn were able to reduce their debt ? Everyone will have their own view on this.

The second presentation was by Mr Billy Gill the local representative of the National Landlords Association (NLA) who talked through the various benefits and subscription models of being a member. More information can be found here National Landlords Association

Lastly there was also a presentation by Nick Costain, Head of Service – Private Sector Housing from the Central Bedfordshire Council.

He explained how the Council is trying to promote and aid the conversion of empty houses and commercial premises into residential accommodation that can be rented by the provision of grants and interest free loans.

More information on the Empty Home Loan assistance can be found by selecting the following link

For information on the help the Council will provide turning commercial premises into residential please contact the council. When I find a link to this information I will post it here.

There was also a debate on the change of rules regarding the paying of Council Tax on empty properties and how this might stop Landlords improving their properties if there is an extra cost involved while the work is carried out. The Council also said that a consultation letter had been sent to over 20,000 landlords before the decision was taken but only one person in the room could recall receiving one.

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