Property ownership used to be a sure-fire way of achieving a good return on investment and combating the consequences of failing pension schemes, but as Geoff Lewis, partner in Buller Jeffries highlights, increasing government regulation is threatening to spoil the party.
A new licensing regime for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) - any property of three or more stories occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households - is in force.
While the government insists that rules will improve safety and the quality of accommodation for thousands of tenants (many of them students) the jury is still out on the financial consequences for landlords.
Furthermore, those who missed the July 5 deadline for a licence application will now face a fine of up to £20,000.
Private landlords will also lose unilateral control of tenant's deposits from October 1. Deposits will have to be protected under tenancy deposit schemes (TDSs) with disputes resolved by alternative dispute resolution or as small claims in the county court.
Non-compliance will mean severe default penalties.
An Englishman's home used to be considered his castle but the government has recently encouraged local housing authorities to use powers to take control and secure occupation of empty properties under an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO).
Properties vacant for more than six months are at risk, although there are exemptions such as holiday homes, properties for sale, where the owner is ill or in care etc.
Finally, house sellers are going to be hit by the need and expense - £250 or so - of having to provide a home information pack (HIP) when marketing their properties from 1 June 2007.
HIPs will revolutionise residential property sales, "front loading" information provided by the seller for the buyer in order to speed up the legal transfer process.
There has been much opposition to the scheme and last Tuesday the government unexpectedly dropped the original requirement of including a home inspection report in the pack.
There is still uncertainty about the shelf life of a pack where a property does not sell for months.
Sensible property professionals are doing their best to prepare for the new regime.