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John Coventry

2 bed terrace in Hartlepool

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Hi everyone.

I have a problem that I did not believe when I first encountered it. I have been buying houses since 2006 and have made many, many mistakes in that time, I did not have the resources that are around today.

In 2006 I bought a 2 bed terraced house in Hartlepool for £63000 with a mortgage of £54000 (85% was normal then) This house has dropped in value to an estimated £20000 - £30000 so I can not sell it and redeem the mortgage.

My immediate problem is that I cannot get a tenant as Hartlepool now seems to be awash with empty houses for rent and not enough tenants! A recent count on Rightmove showed 107 2 bed houses to rent in the area.

I have spoken to the Empty Homes Officer and the Homeless Team at Hartlepool Council who both tell me that there are too many houses to rent and not enough tenants. The Officer also said that the council or the Housing Association they work with also had problems filling their properties. I am asking £350 pm rent as at that rate a 2 bed LHA entitlement could keep his £15 per week as he can do. The government would even pay the tenant to live there! this house has been empty for a year and if it stays empty for 2 years the council tell me that they will charge me 150% of the council tax because it is empty although they are no help in finding me someone. I pay council tax now at full rate even though it is empty also water rates. these 2 bills are costing me nearly twice the mortgage. Also the property is very difficult to insure with limited cover.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to rectify the problem or is anyone else with properties in Hartlepool who are facing a similar problem

Thanks

Johncov 

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I changed to the above letting agent who is very local to the house and he had a tenant in there in 5 days.

He is also a property investor and knows what you need so I recommend him so far.

 

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UPDATE

I would like to update this topic as I have now sold this property.

On my last post I had just re-rented this house and thought my problems were over, boy was I wrong!!

After 5 months the tenants moved out without notice and abandoned the house. As they were DSS there was no point trying to recoup any losses so we refurbed the house ready to rent again. More cost. Then I was lucky the house was broken into and the thieves took the boiler and all the copper piping in the house, ripping up floorboards and smashing the kitchen and bathroom in the process, and leaving the water flowing out of the water mains. I was lucky that I was still insured as a week later I might not have been. Insurance cover will often lapse if a house is left empty for more than 30 days. Watch out. Anyway the damage was assessed and they paid me over £11000 to get it fixed. I was loathe to repair this house as if I could not get another tenant then I was just presenting the thieves with another opportunity to get another £200 and this time my insurance may not cover me.Also the council was still demanding that I pay Council Tax although after an inspection they did agree to a 50% reduction as the house was uninhabitable, but only for 12 months. Talk about hitting a man when he was down. So I hit on a brilliant idea (I thought), why not try to get a tenant buyer? The plan was if someone was prepared to take on this house ,repair it which was certainly within the capabilities of a do-it- yourself person and then if they lived in it for 7 years kept the repairs up then I would give them the house for free. I would get 84 payments of £400 with very little deductions and they would get a free house that they could do what they liked with and the best part for them was the Government would pay for it with Universal Credit!. Anyway I got the Hartlepool Mail to do an article for me explaining all this and waited for the avalanche of enquiries that would come and I would pick the best one. How many did I get? 0 not one.

I gave up and put the house in an auction. I had to borrow privately £45000 to bring down the mortgage so I could sell it and am still paying that back now.

I got £16000 for this house as it was and after all the fees walked away with £4000. So the house I bought in 2006 for £63000 I eventually got rid of for a total of £27000,

a £36000 loss.

I just wanted to show people starting out in property that you need to be so carefull which house you choose to buy and you are still at the mercy of local conditions.

I did not expect Hartlepool to go downhill as bad as it did with factories and docks closing like they did and I was left holding a house that I could not rent and some of the problems that I faced. If anyone can tell me a better way I could have handled this then I am always happy to learn.

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@ john, that was a really good read & thanks for posting this as well as pointing out the details of 'what all could go off the rails', because my guess is most folks getting into property investment think its all 'easy money'

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@john, I wanted to comment further on the Hartlepool property.

a rightmove search there are quite a few 2-bedroom distressed properties on auction starting as low as £10,000 to £20,000 for a 3 bedroom refurbished, previously listed for £30,000

£10,000  https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-74523949.html

£15,000 https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-74815705.html

£20,000 https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-75029581.html

makes one wonder if even a good fixed up ready to go 2 or 3 bedroom £30,000 property can be rented for cash flow?

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-69169915.html

even with Hartlepool LHA rates 2 bedroom £425/mth, 3 bedroom £495/mth

https://www.hartlepool.gov.uk/info/20127/benefits_and_grants/286/local_housing_allowance_rates/1

why are Hartlepool properties not a good BTL investment?

 

 

 

 

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