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The king and queen of buy-to-let, will they take Ashford in Kent with them as they fall?

(65 Posts)
Upwind Sat 04-Oct-08 11:27:25

from today's Guardian:
"Judith and Fergus Wilson used cheap buy-to-let finance to snap up hundreds of homes, mostly around Ashford in Kent."

- They own more than 900 houses
- They will have single handedly pushed up the prices families paid for homes around Ashford
- They have started to sell now into a falling market and at realistic valuations, they can't be far from negative equity.
- As they specialise in small family homes, their selling off of stock mean that their tenants lose their homes
- If the Wilsons lose their big gamble, their tenants will suddenly be made homeless en-masse due to reposession, and through no fault of their own
- This big sell off will push down prices in the area
- From the article above they seem oblivious to the immorality of their own actions

BreevandercampLGJ Sat 04-Oct-08 11:36:37

shock

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 11:38:05

Are you local Upwind? The Wilsons are greedy, money-hungry vultures with absolutely no concern for anyone other than themselves - allegedly wink. They have properties round here too and I have heard some very unsavoury reports about their dealings with tenants.

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 11:39:35

I have to say though that, if their buying up of all these properties pushed up prices in the area, their current situation will hopefully bring them back down again, which can only be good for people in the area who haven't previously been able to afford to buy their own home.

Upwind Sat 04-Oct-08 11:49:32

Freckle, I'm not a local but I came across an interview with them a while back and was truly shocked - for a start they clearly did not understand exponential growth, despite being maths teachers! The extraordinary arrogance and ignorance had me shock and I wondered what would become of them.

I am not surprised that htere have been unsavoury reports about their dealings with their tenants - they come across as devoid of any decency or social consience.

onager Sat 04-Oct-08 12:12:31

Do they all automatically lose their homes? Don't they have any rights and in any case someone will own the homes and will have to do something with them.

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 12:19:50

If a lender gets a possession order against the landlord, they will appoint a receiver to collect rent from the tenant. However, they can still give the tenant notice, usually a couple of months, and then take possession proceedings against the tenant if they fail to move out. This is only in the case of buy-to-let mortgages. If the landlord has an ordinary mortgage and has let the property without advising his lender, then the tenants are in the property unlawfully and have fewer rights. Problem is that the tenant may have no idea if this is the case.

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 12:20:54

If the tenant is in a position to do so, they could always offer to buy the property and may even get it at a bargain price (provided they can get a mortgage, which might not be that easy these days).

Upwind Sat 04-Oct-08 12:44:07

onager - in practise tenants tend to lose their homes if a landlord is reposessed, sometimes at short notice. Tenancy rights in the UK are really dreadful, one of the reasons people are under so much pressure to buy here compared to elsewhere.

From shelter England: "In most cases, the lender's right to repossess the property overrides the tenants' right to live there."

There was a really interesting article in today's FT that touched on this.

Notreallycoping Sat 04-Oct-08 12:48:48

gosh. Well I would joke and say Ashford was not the loveliets place in the world and that there are certain overpopulation issues affecting water supply, medical care and so on in the area...

but I think that would be wrong as there are many, many families in potentially an awful position over this and it would be terrible for them if they lost their homes. sad

how dare those people buy 900 houses? I mean wtf? Not greedy or anything hmm

SqueakyPop Sat 04-Oct-08 12:52:11

Is that the really frumpy woman who was on "How I Made My Property Millions?" Husband and wife former school teachers?

onager Sat 04-Oct-08 13:01:36

Thanks for the replies. It's shocking that you have so little security when renting.

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 13:05:33

Over the years the balance of the rights of landlords and tenants has swung in favour of each, but currently seems to be heavily in favour of the landlord. However, I'm not sure there is much to be done about it as, if you make it too heavily in favour of the tenant, landlords will simply withdraw their properties from the rental market.

Notreallycoping Sat 04-Oct-08 13:15:25

Freckle i think it has to work well for both sides of the equation...I'm lucky in that my LL owns this house outright (afaik) and is well off, so unlikely to lose it or sell it I imagine...and it'[s also cheap for me in that respect. He hasn't a mahoosive mortgage to pay.

But some owners only actually 'own' a tiny proportion of the house they let so there needs to be more protection for their tenants.

Upwind Sat 04-Oct-08 13:15:31

But Freckle, you could also argue that the buy-to-let explosion has prevented first time buyers from buying and that the lack of tenants' rights is making life a misery for too many. This Ashford story just shows how greedy individuals can take a stranglehold over a community. Tenants need protection from such landlords.

As long as there is enough housing, everyone will find a place to live whether by buying or renting - if landlords sell up, some tenants will buy.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Sat 04-Oct-08 13:16:39

My feeling is they are unlikeable.

Freckle Sat 04-Oct-08 13:24:07

I'm not defending the system. Just stating how it is.

SqueakyPop Sat 04-Oct-08 13:38:07

We have rented out our house in the UK when we lived abroad for 4 years. We didn't sell before we went because we were pretty sure we were coming back, and it was a good job because the house prices double when we were gone.

Had we decided to stay abroad and buy there, we would have wanted to sell our UK house. We may have been sympathetic to tenants, but would only be prepared to lose so much sleep over it.

If someone wants 100% security in their home, they have to buy it. As a tenant, you are at the whim of the landlord, and the landlord's priorities.

BTL has done a lot for the houseing market, IME - they have done a lot for doing up derelict properties into a habitable position.

People who live and breathe BTL are few and far between.

Upwind Sat 04-Oct-08 13:44:23

But Squeakypop - you would only have been able to evict your tenants at the end of their lease (assuming they were paying etc) so they would at least have had some security as far as that went.

The trouble is if you had gotten into financial difficulty and your bank reposessed your tenants might suddenly have lost their home. I think this is wrong, the banks should always have to honour the terms of tenants' leases. It might make them think twice about lending to greedy chancers.

TheCrackFox Sat 04-Oct-08 14:45:05

TBH, I didn't believe a word they had to say. Why are they selling now, when the advice to home owners is, if possible, to try and ride out the storm? They are selling because they have to. The greedy fuckers have over stretched themselves.

On the bright side, some of the tenants might be able to buy them homes for a bargain.

LittleBella Sat 04-Oct-08 21:08:39

The argument that landlords would withdraw their properties from the rental market is spurious. If a whole load of houses suddenly came on ot the market, it would lower prices - simple supply and demand. So as Upwind says, some tenants would then be able to afford to buy. Landlords do not hang on to empty properties - it is simply too expensive to do that.

Marina Sat 04-Oct-08 21:12:01

I'd love to know which comp they taught at in S London (if they were coming in from Ashford I can have a guess) and why they did not maybe use their nous with figures to give children round here a better education

wittyusername Sun 05-Oct-08 14:46:22

900 properties?

Greedy gits.

hellywobs Sun 05-Oct-08 14:55:48

Poor Ashford. I lived there briefly and was horrified what they were doing with the huge estates they were building around the outside with no infrastructure and no jobs. Then they take most of the Eurostar departures away after promising for years that the international station would boost the economy. Hmmm. My husband lost money on a flat there - I wonder what the prices are doing now?

donnie Sun 05-Oct-08 16:40:32

anyone who feels the need to buy 900 separate properties is a greedy soulless fucker who deserves to lose every penny of their hard stolen cash.I sincerely hope these two parasites end up in penury.( foaming at the mouth emoticon)

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