No options for Landlords over HS2

News at Howland Jones | 08/09/2017

Most people local to the Measham area will be very aware of the announcement in July this year about the final route for the HS2, the high-speed railway line which will link London to Manchester and beyond.

Several properties in Measham sit on or near to the HS2 track and for owner occupiers, there are a number of compensatory schemes available.

However, to landlords, there are no compensation options. Full stop. The Government deem investment in property to carry the same approach to risk as investment in pensions or stocks and shares. As such, in some cases landlords have no option but to continue to rent their investment property.

As landlords in Measham themselves, Rebecca and Jon Howland understand first-hand the devastating effect this decision will have on many landlords. “We have attended both HS2 run meetings at the Leisure Centre at Measham” says Rebecca. “Unfortunately, on both occasions we have heard nothing encouraging to suggest this decision about landlords may change or be negotiable in any way. Our own properties are just outside of the HS2 Zones, but many of our landlords properties are directly affected and some are in the Safeguarded area or the Rural Zone.”

“Clearly, residents who live along this corridor currently will be the greatest affected and inconvenienced by the railway development and we have genuine sympathy for them. The Government will compulsory purchase some properties, regardless of their occupant status, and within the Rural Zones, will offer to purchase the property for 110% of the un-blighted value. Landlords who have not lived in their property for at least six out of the preceding eighteen months at the point of any claim will receive nothing.”

“At the meeting this week, we discussed with an HS2 representative an example of a landlord who lives abroad in America, who has an interest only mortgage on their UK rental property which must be repaid within the next five years. The property sits in the Rural Zone; it is not practical for the owners to travel back to the UK to live in it for six months; the property has been rented over the last 15 years; this is the family’s only investment which is intended to provide funds for their retirement. Not being able to sell their property will mean they will be unable to pay the final sum owed on their mortgage and ultimately, the property may be repossessed. The advisor informed me the protocol remains unchanged and this is an unfortunate consequence of the line.”

Jon Howland commented “This seems incredibly unfair and discriminatory against all landlords, but especially landlords living abroad. Whilst inconvenient, at least a landlord who lives locally has the possibility of moving into their investment property for a six-month period. A landlord living on the other side of the world simply cannot practically do this.”

We understand this protocol is not restricted to HS2 alone, but is in fact the same for any major transport development in this country. Landlords it would seem, are fair game and of little consequence when it comes to what is deemed to be a necessary £56 billion improvement to the transport system.