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UKALA Has Serious Concerns About Immigration Bill

UKALA Has Serious Concerns About Immigration Bill

Immigration Bill Concerns Highlighted To Government

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKLA) has voiced some serious concerns over the introduction of the Government’s new Immigration Bill.

The concerns were raised by UKALA Executive Caroline Kenny to Parliament’s Public Bill Committee after the UKLA were called to give evidence on behalf of letting agents.
Ms Kenny used the opportunity to bring letting agents’ doubts over the enforcement and responsibilities of the proposals to the immigration minister’s attention highlighting the UKLA’s concerns over restricting access to all but low risk tenants.

The UKLA were asked to give evidence to the Public Bill Committee following lengthy discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Home Office.

UK Association of Letting AgentsSpeaking after the evidence session, Caroline Kenny commented, “Whilst letting agents are well equipped to carry our checks, and do so on behalf of landlord clients every day, the legal requirement to periodically monitor and report on the immigration status of tenants could affect their ability to conduct business and the safety of their staff. UKALA is deeply concerned that the Bill’s requirements will further restrict access to housing for people from outside of the UK, or with non-standard requirements. Many areas of the UK have very competitive lettings markets and it is entirely conceivable that landlords will instruct agents to favour those tenants they perceive as ‘low risk’. UKALA agrees that landlords and letting agents should act responsibly to ensure that only tenants with the proper permission to reside in the UK are granted new private tenancies. However, we believe it is not appropriate to make housing professionals responsible for policing country’s borders.”

The views shared by many UK landlords with rental portfolios within the private rented sector are more defined, they don’t want the added responsibility of having to carry out these checks on tenants immigration status, they are in the business of renting out property to tenants that can afford the rent, not being unpaid agents of the UK Border Agency performing personal vetting services.

Tenant referencing services are going to become a vital mainstay of all UK PRS landlords’ operational procedures if they are to stay within the confines of the Government new proposals, this creates business opportunities for service providers.

New Affordable Housing Guarantees Funding Is Intended To Deliver

New Affordable Housing Guarantees Funding Is Intended To Deliver
Thousands Of Affordable Properties

New Affordable Housing Guarantee Funding Is Intended To Deliver Thousands
Of Affordable Properties

On the 24th July 2013, Government ministers announced a multi-million pound boost to build thousands of new and affordable residential properties in the UK.

69 different housing associations and developers will each receive a share of £220 million (GBP) to deliver almost 14,000 new and affordable residential properties outside of the London area.

Work on the new residential properties will be started by March 2015 and will be expected to be completed by 2017.

The move is part of wider government efforts to get Britain building, which will lead to the fastest annual rate of affordable house building for over 2 decades.

The increased funding is part of the expanded £450 million (GBP) Affordable Housing Guarantees which will support up to £3.5 Billion (GBP) in government debt guarantees to deliver thousands of new homes.

Of the almost 14,000 homes this money will help deliver, the majority will be available at an affordable rent with 2,000 of those available to buy through shared ownership.

Housing associations and developers who plan to use the guarantee scheme will now work with the Affordable Housing Finance to finalise the details of the loan funding that will work alongside today’s grant allocations.

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UK Housing Minister Promises No Property Purchasing Reforms

UK Housing Minister Promises No Property Purchasing Reforms

UK housing minister Mark Prisk has stated that the Government has no plan to reform the property buying process in England and Wales.

Answering a question from Welsh Tory MP Alun Cairns in the House of Commons, Mr Prisk, a former chartered surveyor, dismissed any idea that he considered the Scottish system superior.

Mr Cairns asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG) what consideration the department had given to reforming the residential property purchase system; and what assessment had been made of the same process in Scotland.

Mr Prisk replied that there were no current plans to change the current residential property buying and selling system in England and Wales, where properties are sold ‘subject to contract’.

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People who own second properties, portfolio landlords and even accidental landlords who have inherited property could be forced to pay more council tax in a bid to help out other struggling households, it has been revealed.

Communities and Local Government secretary Eric Pickles, is expected to announce a consultation for the plans on Monday, which will reduce tax discounts for those with more than one property and remove discounts on empty properties.

These discounts, which can range from 10% and 50% – with 100% for some empty properties – can be worth many hundreds of pounds every year.

Under the proposals Mr Pickles has also revealed plans to review the way “granny flats” are currently treated as distinct properties by tax inspectors, meaning that families with an annex receive two separate council tax bills.

It is thought that the scheme, if it is approved, would make exceptions in certain circumstances, such as homes left empty after someone has died, moved to hospital or when someone moves elsewhere for care.

If the reforms are implemented it would allow council tax bills to be reduced for most people, with Mr Pickles pointing out that the £1,196 generally charged for a Band D property could fall by around £20

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