Which UK Towns Might be Worst Hit by Brexit

A no-deal Brexit could cause problems for towns in London’s commuter belt and beyond. The more polarised a town’s or city’s property market is, the harder it could be hit after a no-deal Brexit. The great thing is – it’s not all bad news. During the most volatile political times of the last 40 years, let’s delve deeper into the murky world of a no-deal Brexit and what it could mean for some of the country’s most at-risk property markets. 

Property Investment in Stevenage

Downside: There is what you might call “a bit of a gap” in property prices in our beloved Stevenage, with the property gap widening from 68% to 197% in the past five years. The average detached house in Stevenage comes in at around £553,697 compared to £186,422 for a one-bedroom flat.

Upside: There’s massive investment in start-ups and mature businesses happening in Stevenage, making it one of the greatest innovation/investment hubs in the UK. Not only is it close to London but its location near Cambridge also makes it an exciting investment opportunity. If you’ve ever been to Stevenage, you’ll know the greenery and numerous parks are just a part of this town’s charm and one of the reasons it makes it a very attractive buy-to-let opportunity.  

Property Investment in Milton Keynes

Downside: Fiona Baldwin of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office has already urged businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Also known as ‘Brexodus’, EU workers are fleeing Milton Keynes yet local workers are not filling the open positions, which could spell trouble for the local economy. 

Upside: Milton Keynes Businesses have been told to “Keep calm, carry on, and be ready for change”. And that’s what we Brits do. Brutalist architecture (which Milton Keynes has a lot of) has become pretty chic these days with high-rise developments being greatly sought after, which points towards buy-to-let in this area being something well worth considering.

Property Investment in Northampton

Downside: A report from East Northants Council states in the situation of a no-deal Brexit: “The main difficulty is knowing what we are planning for, with little or no direction coming from the Government and its ministries. With this lack of clarity, the council and all relevant agencies in Northamptonshire have considered the possible risks to be: public disorder, workforce shortages, food/fuel/medicine supply chain issues, transport issues.”

Upside: 18.4% of Northampton’s population are in rented accommodation, with that figure to rise over the next 10 years, now seems to be the time to strike if you’re going for a buy-to-let in this large market town that dates back to the Bronze Age. Boasting buildings and facilities such as the Grade II listed Northamptonshire Central Library, Northampton holds its own when it comes to pleasing architecture including the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery plus a thriving café culture.

Property Investment in Luton 

Downside: Carlos Tavares, owner of Vauxhall, based in Luton, warned the BBC of “dramatic consequences” of a no-deal Brexit. Citing free trade as an overriding factor for the plant, employing 1,225 personnel at its Luton plant, a no-deal would be a punch in the gut, affecting both the local economy and endangering employment.

Which UK Towns Might be Worst Hit by Brexit Aspen Woolf

Credit: Flickr

Upside: With a skilled workforce, fantastic infrastructure and lively social scene, it’s not all doom and gloom for Luton. At just 30 miles to the capital, it really has superb access, Luton is one of the most desirable commuter belt locations and ideal for a buy-to-let investment. An accelerated housing development scheme, investment in the airport facilities and increasing leisure investment in the area means the opening of job opportunities for residents which all contribute to the appeal of the town.

Property Investment in Maidstone

Downside: Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s codename for its contingency plan in the face of a no-deal Brexit has predicted congestion in the greater Kent area with lorries facing delays of up to two and a half days. Projected losses for Maidstone in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit could reach £86.5 million.

Upside: Maidstone buy-to-let properties can yield anything from between 2.3% to 7.2% per year, making it a lucrative option for buy-to-let investors. Known as the ‘Business capital of Kent’, Maidstone Borough Council is intent on increasing the borough’s local economy. By 2031 their vision for Maidstone is “A model 21st century county town, a distinctive place, known for its blend of sustainable rural and urban living, dynamic service sector-based economy, excellence in public services, and above all, quality of life”.

Property Investment in Hastings

Downside: When you think of 184.7% from 63.1% over the past 5 years, that’s a fair bit of polarisation. Also, Hastings Council internal Brexit risk document suggests the town may even be flung back to the good ol’ days of rationing depending on the length of any supply shortages.

Upside: Hastings has a bustling culture and arts scene. Hotspots include the Creative Media Centre, The Jeerwood Gallery and a newly renovated University of Brighton in Hastings campus, which makes the town a viable option for attracting young talent. £500m of public funds are currently being invested in East Sussex, being channeled towards the Hastings-Bexhill Link Road, plus a brand-new 50,000 square meter Business Park is also being developed nearby.

Property Investment in Watford

Downside: Instead of moving closer to their place of work, a no-deal Brexit could mean that Watford residents will need to commute longer distances which in turn will increase pollution and also add stress to family life. 

Upside: Over the next 10 years, £1.5Bn is being invested in Watford to improve infrastructure, build new developments and improve leisure facilities. A mainstay of Watford life – the Old Charter Place Shopping Centre has received a £150m cash injection which will include restaurants, shops and a 9-screen IMAX cinema with live performance spaces. It’s clear to see why this would make Watford an ideal buy-to-let investment.


In these uncertain times, there are still plenty of opportunities for property investors to take advantage of. With over 14 years’ experience, Aspen Woolf are experts in the area of buy-to-let. With increasing UK rents, now is the time to act and here at Aspen Woolf, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Get in touch today by calling 0203 176 0060 or sending an email to info@aspenwoolf.co.uk.


Everyone is Talking about No.1 Trafford Wharf

Salford Quays Manchester media city at night

Salford – an area with a previously less than desirable reputation. Long gone are the days of the ‘old’ Salford. Whether it was the depressing smoke stacks depicted by local legend L.S. Lowry, or the general consensus as the nation’s capital for scallywags, things have changed immensely. The erstwhile days of an industrial wasteland that once was Salford has now been replaced by world-class architecture with shops and restaurants to challenge the best London has to offer. So, whatever takes your fancy, No.1 Trafford Wharf in Salford Quays has something for every taste.

Salford Quays – a history

The Quays were opened in 1894 by Queen Victoria. Salford Quays, being the larger of the two docks (the smaller of the two are named Pomona docks). Spanning 120 acres of water and 1,000 acres of land, Salford Quays was a major transportation hub for the North West and at one point served as the third busiest port in Britain. 

In 1985 Urban Waterside began the Salford Quays development plan. Not only did the local development company face struggles with pollution from nearby factories, pollution also negatively impacted the water quality greatly. Things had to change. Dams were built to seal off the docks using a rather ingenious approach of aerating the water using a compressed air mixing system. In just under two years, 12,000 fish were introduced. Salford Quays was well on its way to being the cultural centre it is known as today.


Whether you’re a red or a blue, a history fanatic, a foodie or someone who appreciates a lively evening scene, No.1 Trafford Wharf has something for everyone. ITV, The BBC, Bupa and the University of Salford are all part of what is being touted as the second largest concentration of creative, media and tech companies in Europe. Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the things Salford Quays has to offer:

  • The Lowry – an arts centre built in 2000 and opened by the Queen, The Lowry comprises of over 2000 square feet of gallery space and hosts a 1730 capacity theatre.
  • Imperial War Museum North – opening in 2002 and showcasing war machines, uniforms and military uniforms to name but a few of the exhibits, the museum won the Building Award in the 2003 British Construction Industry Awards.
  • Ordsall Hall – often cited as Salford’s best kept secret, this Tudor mansion dates back 750 years. But beware – locals are often overheard whispering about The White Lady, an apparition said to haunt the Great Hall.
  • Old Trafford – Go behind the scenes and experience the club’s history with an 80-minute Manchester United Museum and Stadium Tour. A pilgrimage for United fans worldwide, Old Trafford is more than an institution – it’s a way of life. 


With the Manchester Metrolink tram system (voted one of the best in the world) serving Salford Quays and the Greater Manchester area, there’s also plans for the British High-Speed Rail to be introduced, reducing the commute to London to a swift one hour. Transport connections are convenient to say the least. Needless to say, this is still a part of Greater Manchester. Ask any Salfordian and they’ll no doubt tell you this IS the Greater Manchester. 

Everyone is Talking about No.1 Trafford Wharf Aspen Woolf

Credit: Flickr

No. 1 Trafford Wharf – the diamond of Salford Quays

Designed by architecture firm 5 plus, this 354-home development is situated next to stunning waterside views. Close to Manchester city Centre and just a 45-minute commute to Manchester’s scouse neighbour, this could also be a huge opportunity for a buy-to-let investment for a buyer based in Liverpool. 

5 Plus’ vision is one that incorporates both an attractive live-in environment and something with a touch of that architectural ‘wow’. The location was a hugely positive feature while considering the scheme for the multi-award-winning architecture firm. A bold, daring design which combines effortless style with sophisticated minimalism; not only does this define the modernism of Salford Quays but also influences the architectural direction of the city in general. The 5 Plus ethos of ‘simple, elegant design’ using quality materials, including the use of heritage brick to maintain the relationship between old and new aptly demonstrates the sensitivity in completing this unique and exciting project.

Comprising a combination of one-bedroom properties, 211 two-beds and four three-bedroom flats over two towers of 18 and 15 storeys, not only is this the ultimate in northern-cool, there’s ground floor retail space with a communal podium garden and roof terrace, ideal for enjoying that stunning Mancunian sunset. Trust me, they do exist.

The Benefits of Being an All-Cash Property Investor

Mortgages, yawn. Let’s take a look at why YOU should be paying in cash:

  • Cash-buying makes the entire process more efficient.
  • Buying with cash eliminates the risk of loan denial.
  • The long game: cash buyers pay less for their homes over an extended period. No loans = no interest.
  • Cash buyers obtain complete and immediate equity on their home.
  • Fewer market fluctuation worries. Regardless of what happens within the market, you’re always able to make decisions on your home.

Why invest in No.1 Trafford Wharf?

It’s an exciting time for this cutting-edge development, so let’s take a look at why now is the right time for you to make that investment.

  • Property prices are rising with forecast of a 22.8% increase between 2019 and 2022.
  • The population is swelling. By 2024 Manchester’s population is expected to rise by 37%.
  • Rents are expected to increase by 17.6% by 2022 due to the influx of young professionals to the area.
  • It’s not all about London, you know. Property sales and transaction speeds are three times that of London with an average selling time of just 36 days.

What makes buy-to-let such an attractive option for cash buyers is that you don’t need to worry about clearing enough to make mortgage payments. If the worst comes to the worst and you do unfortunately have to sell at a loss, you’ve probably saved enough from not paying a mortgage which should be enough to offset the loss. However, always get advice from a trusted advisor before making big financial decisions. 

No.1 Trafford Wharf is an iconic space with peerless style, Both innovative and urban yet with impeccable respect to the heritage of the area, now is the perfect time to become a part of its present and to help shape the future of the area, contact us to find out more about this exciting opportunity. 

Invest in Manchester’s New Thriving Urban Community

Jutland Nortthern Quarter

Throughout the decades, the north has always fallen behind the development seen in the south. However, fortunes are changing and now, the likes of Manchester are seeing a significant amount of investment, where new urban areas are appearing after regeneration. Despite already being considered one of the most influential cities in the UK, it still has a lot to offer when it comes to growth and development.

This is a massive positive for the North and now, Manchester has London in its sights when it comes to being the best place to live. In fact, Manchester has already been voted the 46th most liveable city in the world, putting it ahead of London. Therefore, perhaps now is the time for Manchester to pull away from the pack. 

Extensive developments in recent years have allowed Manchester to flourish. One area that has seen redevelopment and is still undergoing redevelopment is the Northern Quarter. Therefore, it is fast becoming the next place to be and is certainly a place where investors might want to consider purchasing. In particular, developments such as Oxygen Towers provide a great opportunity for investors. 

Why The Northern Quarter?

Perhaps the question to ask here is why not the Northern Quarter? Manchester is thriving. The population is growing and people are choosing to live there instead of the likes of London because of the opportunities available to them. In fact, the population of Manchester has grown by 23% in just shy of ten years and so, many of these people are seeking somewhere to live. This is where the Northern Quarter can really appeal to investors. As these new residents are seeking new urban communities within the inner-city. The reason for this is that they can access all that this amazing city has to offer such as restaurants, bars, shops, entertainment venues and even employment opportunities. For investors, there is still so much to gain from investing in this area of the city.

The last five years, in particular, have seen the biggest changes made to the Northern Quarter. This once, unwelcoming area of the city has been transformed into an area that is desirable and thriving. With new bars and cafes as well as restaurants, it provides a community and with developments such as Oxygen Towers, the area has a new appeal to it and it is clear to see why. 

As it has moved through the regeneration stages, the final phase is in sight and this will put the Northern Quarter further on the map. An already desirable area is about to become even more desirable. The next area is located behind Shudehill station between Ancoats and the Green Quarter. With this will come more opportunities, an increase in demand and a desire from residents to live here. 

Invest in Manchester's New Thriving Urban Community Aspen Woolf

Credit: Flickr

With simple access to the city centre and the surrounding area, there is a clear desire for people to live here. Developments such as Oxygen Towers have a certain charm to them and offer a modern standard of living that potential residents are seeking. 

An Area With a Clear Vision

The Northern Quarter has undergone a significant amount of redevelopment. What makes it so different, however, is the fact that residents have been consulted throughout the process. Students from the Manchester School of Architecture have been coming up with designs and ideas of how existing buildings can be renovated, turning them into appealing buildings and public spaces.

This is an area that clearly has a lot of potential and if people thought that it had already reached its potential then it is time to think again.

The students have been analysing street and history while consulting with businesses and residents. This refreshing approach has brought with it a clear indication of what the Northern Quarter has to offer for investors in particular. 

From green living to pedestrianisation and outdoor spaces, it has so much more to offer. Therefore, the demand to live in this area is going to increase significantly, bringing with it even more investment opportunities. Many of the proposals that were submitted were serious while others were put out there as a way of creating a debate to find out what people wanted.

The Potential Cannot Be Ignored

From transforming the NCP car park to making the area more pedestrian-friendly, the potential of the Northern Quarter is huge. Many people who want to live in these areas are now considerate about the environment. Therefore, green carparks and car-free zones all act as a positive when it comes to turning the area into an attractive prospect for residents and investors. 

These communities are calling out for regeneration. They are calling out to be transformed and brought back to life. For too long, the areas have remained dilapidated, empty and tired looking and that means that the likes of Oxygen Towers are helping to transform and provide. 

As Manchester continues to benefit from an influx of young professionals and families, it is urban areas such as the Northern Quarter that are going to benefit. The demand for high-quality housing and accommodation is what these people are looking for. Therefore, investment opportunities such as these cannot be missed. 

There is no doubt that Manchester is becoming a thriving and vibrant city once again. For too long it has been in the shadow of the likes of London but now it has a modern appeal. With the introduction of HS2 and the growth of the Northern Powerhouse, these urban communities are a perfect opportunity for investors, which is why Oxygen Towers is an attractive prospect.


Buying To Let Is A Better Investment Than Buying A Home

Could an investment property work for you_

There’s a lot to be said for putting down roots and purchasing your first property with the intention of living in it certainly is the norm. However, what if you broke with tradition and actually purchased a house you didn’t intend to live in? Many people are looking at buy to let investment properties as their ideal investment option.

If you find yourself in a position where you have enough money for a deposit for a property, then you might want to consider using that cash to purchase an investment property instead of a home. This investment will make you money and in time, it will generate enough cash for you to purchase your own home, while also improving your investment portfolio.

So, why should you purchase an investment property before you purchase a home for yourself?

The finance process is different

There are not many people who are in a position where they can purchase their property completely, which means that they require a mortgage. However, many lenders are not comfortable with lending the money. In contrast to this, when it comes to investing in property, it is not tied to a standard loan, which means that the financing can be obtained through different options. Investors can get creative with the way in which they finance the property, while the income generated will help to pay off the loan quickly.

If you invest in property, your tenants will cover the cost of the monthly repayments, enabling your property to increase in value without you using your own money.

Generate an income efficiently

The aim of any investor is to purchase a property that has a positive cash flow. Therefore, it is important that you carry out the correct research on the area and the market in general. If you find a property that offers a significant yield then your monthly mortgage payments will be made but you will also make money with it. Once you take out all expenses, any cash left over will go straight to you as a profit. So, all it takes is a property that is in good condition and you will be able to rent it out straight away.
If you purchase your own home then you are not making money. However, if you have to continue renting then the aim is to purchase a property that covers your rent at the same time.

It provides a long-term investment

If you invest in property, you are doing it to make money. If you purchase a buy-to-let property then you can achieve this if the property market has seen an increase in property prices. Therefore, you will be able to sell your property at a higher price than you paid. Investing in property does require the value of the property to increase, so when it does it means that you get to make money without the hard work. The only thing you are required to do is to maintain it. This is a different type of sale when compared to that of your home. You can sell your investment property in order to purchase a large property or several properties while selling your own property carries an emotional attachment and a different thought process.

Buying To Let Is A Better Investment Than Buying A Home Aspen Woolf

You are not limited by the property market

When you purchase a property to live in, you have to consider a number of factors such as your job, your families, the area and your earnings. This means that you can only consider a number of properties within a certain geographical area. If you are purchasing a buy-to-let property then you are not restricted by one market. The world is a small place now and because property management companies are located in almost every area, it means that you can consider other markets and areas. This opens many doors, making it possible for you to find properties that have a low purchase price but a high demand when it comes to tenants as this will enable you to achieve a higher yield.

You can choose any property type

Purchasing a property for your own needs is a completely different situation than that of purchasing for investment reasons. You have to consider the size of the property, how you plan to use it and even think about the size of your family and whether it will have enough room and space. This instantly limits you to a certain aspect of the market where you can only choose from a certain number of properties. When it comes to investing in property, you can choose any type of property providing it will generate good returns and that you can cover the repayments. This opens many doors and provides you with more opportunities for making more money.

There are tax benefits

Owning a home in the UK requires you to pay all kinds of taxes which includes council tax as well as many other taxes should you choose to sell and move home. These taxes are lost and irretrievable. However, in contrast to this, if you are purchasing an investment property, the taxes differ and although they cannot be avoided, they can be taken care of in other ways. This will involve tenants covering the costs of council tax while there expenses that can be deducted from any profits such as travel to and from the property, remedial work that has to be carried as well as other costs. Owning an investment property will enable you to maximise your returns while taking advantage of the range of tax exemptions.

So, you might have been saving hard for many years to get onto the property ladder and own your own home but an open mind can really make a difference. If you consider an investment property, then you are owning your own property but one that is generating an income and making you money. Therefore, purchasing an investment property can often make more sense that purchasing a home. Once you find the right investment property and begin to make money, then you can turn your attention to growing your equity before saving up enough money to purchase your own home.

Lowdown On Leeds – London of the North?

Millennium Square & Civic Hall

Leeds is one of the most well-known cities in the North of England and an increasingly popular place to live and work. The history of Leeds spans more than 800 years, and a whole host of fascinating things have occurred in and around the city. Let’s see what draws so many people to the West Yorkshire city right now. Looking for an investment opportunity in Leeds? Visit our property investment in Leeds section to see what’s available now!

Things to do in Leeds

Some of Leeds’ most popular tourist attractions include Millennium Square, which is found just outside the railway station and is a short walk away from the City Museum, Civic Hall and the Town Hall. A large number of events take place in the square each year, with high-profile sports events playing on the big screen and an outdoor ice rink welcoming skaters in the school holidays. The Royal Armouries Museum is one of Leeds’ best-known attractions and is home to military hardware that dates back hundreds of years.

Music, theatre and TV

The city is also known for its cultural scene, with key venues including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Grand Theatre, the 02 Academy, the Brudenell Social Club and the First Direct Arena. Leeds Festival takes place every August Bank Holiday Weekend at Branham Park, with a number of lower-key festivals also occurring throughout the summer. Soap fans should be left mesmerised by the Emmerdale Studio Experience, which was made open to the public a few years ago. The indoor sets are based at the ITV complex on Kirkstall Road, though you can also stroll through the outdoor set at the Harewood Estate around three miles away.

Lowdown On Leeds - London of the North? Aspen Woolf

Image Credit: Francisco Perez

Shopping in Leeds

The Kirkgate Market can be found in a charming Edwardian building in the centre, although some stalls are now located outside due to its growth over the years. The market is home to 200 stalls, including places to stock up on clothes, jewellery, local produce, hardware and cuisine from around the world. The Victoria Quarter is what has helped Leeds become known as “the Knightsbridge of the North”. The quarter is one of various elegant shopping arcades that you’ll see around the city, with brands including Harvey Nicholls, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood all having a presence here. Even if you’re not shopping for high-end clothing and accessories, you can still admire the stunning architecture whilst enjoying a latte or two at one of the various cafes and restaurants.

Victorian grandeur

Shoppers looking for something a little out of the ordinary are well catered for by the Corn Exchange. This circular building also dates from the Victorian period and was once a farmers market. Today, it’s a great place to purchase all manner of strange and wonderful accessories as well as musical instruments, clothing and goods for the home. Known as a quirky, ‘alternative’ place to shop, the Corn Exchange is home to far more independent retailers than well-known brands.

Nightlife in Leeds

Leeds also has a great reputation when it comes to cuisine and is home to a large number of authentic South Asian restaurants and acclaimed Italian, Japanese, Thai and British-orientated eateries. Partygoers are well catered for across the city centre, but one of the biggest hubs for nightlife is Call Lane, which plays host to a diverse mix of electrifying clubs and bars. Leeds has recently been tipped for the highest growth in house prices across the UK, with JLL predicting growth of 17.1% by 2023, a figure that could see it leapfrog Manchester and Liverpool. Leeds offers a diverse mix of housing, including luxury city centre flats, sprawling rural homes, terraced, semi-detached and detached properties, catering for a wide range of budgets. Leeds is also gaining a greater reputation as an exciting place to do business. New data from Data Commons for UK tech found that investment into the tech companies of Leeds broke Northern investment records in 2018, with the figure standing at £108.8m. It’s also possible to reach London from Leeds within as little as 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Quirky facts about Leeds

The oldest flying aeroplane in Britain was built in Leeds. The Blackburn Type D was built by Robert Blackburn today, and you can still see it in action today, albeit in Bedfordshire. The deal to bring Cluedo to the masses was signed in Leeds when games maker Waddington was based there, eventually being made available in 1949. Another fact you might be surprised to learn is that the second ever Ryder Cup actually took place in the Moortown area of Leeds back in 1929.

Steeped in history

Marks & Spencers actually started life in Leeds, at Kirkgate Market. The brand was first launched as a penny bazaar stall by Michael Marks, who collaborated with Tom Spencer to develop the business. The city also plays host to the final remaining gas lit cinema in the UK, the Hyde Park Picture House. This venue celebrated its 100th birthday in 2014 and retains a number of charming original features. The city also has the oldest continuously operation public railway in the world. You can still ride on the Middletown Railway today, some 261 years after it was first opened to transport coal. The city was also home to hippos at one point – in 1984, the bones of a hippo were discovered in Armley, with experts suggesting they could date back some 130,000 years. Today, the bones can be seen in the Leeds City Museum. The first black player to play in an FA Cup final did so in the colours of Leeds United FC. Albert Johanneson was on the losing side at Wembley as Leeds lost 2-1 to Liverpool.

Leeds’ cultural heritage

The city has also been home to a considerable number of legendary authors, including Alan Bennett, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Tony Harrison. J.R.R. Tolkien was even based in Leeds at one point. The Lord of the Rings author was the youngest professor at the University of Leeds in the early 1920s. The first ever motion pictures were shot by Louis Le Prince in 1888, where he captured footage of the Leeds Bridge and Oakwood Grange.

Selective Licensing

Selective licensing buy to let property investment

There is no doubt that landlords have had to put up with a good few changes in the buy to let market over the last few years. There are plenty of anecdotes on the internet citing the problems this is causing.

Landlords may complain about not making good returns but the truth is that BTL is still a profitable and highly efficient way to invest in property. It delivers profits from rising house prices as well as from rental income despite increases in stamp duty and new fee regulations coming into effect.

One increasing issue that you’ll find discussed in buy to let forums is the number of councils that are now introducing selective licensing, with 1 out of 4 boroughs currently running schemes.

Here’s our take on selective licensing and what it means for your buy to let property investments. It doesn’t have to mean you are left out of pocket, especially if you choose your investment areas wisely.

What is Selective Licensing?

Essentially, it means you need to apply to the local council for a licence to be a landlord. To do this, you need to prove that you are a suitable person and show that the property you have to rent is actually fit to be lived in.

Identifying the areas that have introduced selective licensing can be a little confusing and it’s easy to get caught out if you don’t have the right information or advice. Even within different councils or boroughs, it’s not utilised universally. The reasons for bringing in selective licensing in a particular areas can depend on a couple of factors including that there is a low demand for housing or because there have been instances of anti-social behaviour which councils feel landlords contribute to.

Selective licensing doesn’t apply to all landlords either. If you own a house, you are a private landlord and are in a designated area you will need to apply. If you are a housing association, own a holiday let, are a university with its own accommodation or have business premises that are occupied by members of your family, you don’t need to apply.

You may, of course, find that your property is suddenly in an area that the local council has designated with selective licensing, even after operating as a reputable business for a number of years. In this case, you will still need to apply for a license.

The upshot is that the rules can vary for different areas so it’s worth checking whether you fall under the conditions that mean you need to get a license.

The Benefits of Selective Licensing

While it all seems a little confusing, the idea of selective licensing is to help improve standards. It’s not there to punish landlords, although it can appear to be just that. If you already run a HMO where licensing is required, you won’t be particularly phased by this change.

Councils cannot introduce selective licensing for just any reason. The primary one is that the area is suffering from persistent anti-social activity and the local landlords are failing to take action to control it. The benefit here is that it is designed to improve the level of rental properties in the local area which can also benefit landlords.

Selective Licensing Aspen Woolf

For councils, it can be about ensuring that landlords provide adequate facilities for their tenants. There are plenty of horror stories in the media where disreputable landlords have not only left their properties in states of disrepair but put the health of residents at risk as well. If you’re a reputable landlord too, ensuring these bad eggs are weeded out of the system can be beneficial for both you and potential tenants. Applying for a license means that you need to have things like your gas safety certificate, smoke alarms and electrical equipment and wiring that is in good order.

If you are in an area where selective licensing is present, your application lasts for 5 years before you need to think about renewing it.

The Disadvantages of Selective Licensing

Most landlords will tell you that the big disadvantage of selective licensing is the cost. This can vary from region to region as can the areas that are using the licensing. In regions like London, you may be paying well over £1,000 per property while in Liverpool you could be looking at £400. If you are in a selective licensing area and fail to apply and register your property with the local council, you could also be liable to a fine of up to £30,000.

Head onto social media and you’ll find a lot of landlords who are unhappy that their profit margins are being further squeezed by the cost of applying for selective licensing. Councils have been accused of employing money making schemes and that they are making landlords directly responsible for areas where anti-social behaviour exists.  

How to Avoid Selective Licensing

While these are all valid arguments, it’s unlikely that selective licensing is going to disappear anytime soon and may well increase. Because of its nature, however, it doesn’t have to be the drain on resources that some landlords have found. Choose the right locations and make your investments wisely and it’s likely you won’t have to worry about selective licensing at all, at least not for the immediate future.

It pays to work with a property agent that knows what they are talking about when it comes to selective licensing. At Aspen Woolf, we handle a wide range of properties from London and Manchester to Luton and Leeds and understand the licensing requirements in each city.

The truth is that property investment, especially in the buy to let market, is still highly profitable. First of all, levels of rentals and tenancies are at an all-time high and people are always looking for great accommodation in decent areas. If you make good choices on which property you invest in and attract the right tenants, combined with the rising value of your home, there is still plenty of profit to be made.

If you’d like to find out how Aspen Woolf can help with your future BTL property purchase, contact our expert team today.