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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Burnham to give powers to CPO slum landlords

Prospective Labour Party leader Andy Burnham is calling for local councils to be given the power to Compulsory Purchase slum landlords in an effort to regenerate towns or cities.

This is nothing new.  Councils already have substantial powers to CPO properties where it is in the public interest.  They also have significant powers under the Empty Homes Premium to charge penal rates of Council Tax.  Despite this a recent report by the BBC reports that many councils are not using this power, this includes many Labour Councils.

It appears yet again for a politician calling for more powers to act when the reality is that they are already there but remain unused.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Saville Residential Property Focus 2015 – Issue 2

Savills have published their latest report on UK residential property.

The report is tag lined as helping to explain the ' complexities of the built environment is vital in this post-election climate.'

NAEA reports rise in buyers

The National Association of Estate Agents’ May 2015 report says the average agency branch saw 383 house hunters register, up from 344 in April.

Supply of housing stocks remains low, increasing slightly to 46 properties per branch, up from 43 in April. 

Mark Hayward, Managing director at NAEA,  confirmed the continued shortage in supply

"Supply does not meet the rise in demand, and as consumer confidence grows we will continue to see a widening of the property gap. The housing shortage will not be solved any time soon, so as pressure mounts we will no doubt see increases in house prices, making it harder for those stepping on or up the ladder.”

Knight Frank Prime Central London Index

Knight Frank's Prime Central London Rental Index for June 2015 reports a slowing market.

Annual rental value growth in prime central London slowed to 3.4%.

Knight Frank put the slow down to high levels of supply hitting the market following pre-election uncertainty. The strong supply levels have enabled tenants a better negotiating position, forcing landlords to set more realistic asking rents in some areas.

The agent shared concerns over the EU referendum impact on prime rents, as financial institutions evaluate their futures in the capital.

Prime gross yields held steady at 2.96% for the second consecutive month. Take advantage of our discounted landlord insurance rates

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Over 1 million UK homes overcrowded

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Friday, June 26, 2015

UK population growth - ONS data

It's a very simple equation - no wonder house prices and rents continue to rise.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Should Right to Buy extend to landlords?

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The crossrail effect on house prices

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Gov push on with immigration checks

A survey carried out by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) in the pilot area for the new immigration checks ( Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall) has raised concerns over a Right to Rent Scheme roll out.

The JCWI reports landlords discriminating against tenant applicants on the basis of background, turning away tenants who have a foreign accent. The JCWI accuses the adoption of the Right to Rent Scheme is making it increasingly difficult for tenants in those pilot areas who cannot easily identify themselves as British or from a European Union state.

If a landlord breaches the rules they face a fine of £1,000 per illegal adult occupier and for a second offence that rises to £3,000 per adult.

Under Section 20 to 37 of the Immigration Act 2014 it makes it compulsory for landlords to check the immigration status of new adult tenants, with a potential fine of £1000 per tenant and £80 per lodger if this is not done.

The six month period of the pilot scheme has concluded and although a Home Office Advisory Panel has not yet made its evaluation,  David Cameron appears hell-bent on rolling the scheme out nationwide, stating on May 21st 2015 -

“For the first time we’ve had landlords checking whether their tenants are here legally. The Liberal Democrats only wanted us to run a pilot on that one. But now we’ve got a majority, we will roll it out nationwide, and we’ll change the rules so landlords can evict illegal immigrants more quickly.”

The JCWI accuse the Gov of pushng on with a the roll out regardless of any findings from the pilot scheme - To appease some voters, the Conservatives intend to implement increasingly hostile measures in an effort to appear ‘tough’ on immigration. The Government are ploughing on with the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme regardless of the outcome of the initial rollout so far and, undoubtedly they will leave chaos in their wake.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New bill to name landlords on Council Tax form

The Conservative MP for Hornchurch and Upminister, Dame Angela Watkinson is introducing a bill to help identify criminal landlords today in Parliament. 

The MP proposed bill would force landlords to identify themselves on the council tax registration forms of a rental property.

The Draft Local Government Finance (Tenure Information) Bill would give councils the power to obtain the landlords details on a property.

Existing law means tenants are entitled to know the name of their landlord when signing a tenancy agreement, but he new bill would force this information to be shared with the local authority when registering for council tax.

The aim is to make it  more difficult for criminal landlords to hide their identify from the authorities.

If a tenant refuses or is unable to identify their landlord a local authority would be enabled to seek the owners identity using Land Registry data.

MP Angela Watkinson believes the proposed bill has strong cross party support.

The UK has the highest rents in Europe

According to research from the National Housing Federation rents in Britain are almost double the European average.

NHF data puts the average UK rent at £750 per household per month, compared to a European average of just £400.

The National Housing Federation claim the average UK tenant spends almost 40 per cent of their income on rent, whereas the average European tenant pays just 28 per cent.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation commented:

“British renters get a raw deal in comparison to their continental counterparts. Not only do they face crippling rents, but renters in the UK have almost no certainty whether they will be able to stay in their home from one year to the next. How can we expect people to raise families, start businesses or save for their first home if they don’t even know where they will be able to afford to live?”

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Should landlords lose tax breaks?

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Owner occupation falls as PRS surges

Data from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) reveals that owner occupation is falling as tenants in the private rental sector continues to rise.

In the census period from 2001 to 2011 the number of households who owned their own home fell from 69% to 64% whilst the numbers of tenants renting privately increased from 13% to 18%.

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Top ten new London commuter towns

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LSE report on the impact of rent controls

A NLA commissioned report by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has concluded rent controls in the private rented sector would fail to improve the housing situation.

The LSE have published its interim report, in which it considered evidence from the UK, Germany, Ireland, San Francisco, New York and the Netherlands.

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of the NLA, commented on the reports interim findings:

“The report is required reading for Labour leadership and London Mayor hopefuls, who seem to be ignoring both academic evidence and the overwhelming rejection of similar policies by the electorate last month.

“Private rented sectors in many countries, regulated or not, are facing major problems in high demand areas. Market fundamentals cannot just be regulated away”.

Kath Scanlon of LSE London commented:

“In light of the various proposals put forward before the General Election, we were asked to explore evidence from other countries about how rent controls and other regulatory policies affect the private rented sector.

“We found clear evidence that inflexible controls reduce supply, but the strongest message was that what may work in one country cannot simply be transferred to a different market and institutional environment”.

Mrs Uphill continued:

“The taxation of buy-to-let is a touchy subject for some, even though landlords in the UK receive no special treatment compared to other businesses.

“This report reinforces why successive governments have chosen to treat landlords as businesses. Doing so encourages best practice and, above all, helps to ease the housing crisis.”

The final report will be published later this year, after a more detailed investigation into London's private rental sector.

Download the LSE’s interim report on the effects of rent controls

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