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Dramatic Fall In Number Of Empty UK Properties

Dramatic Fall In Number Of Empty UK Properties

UK Empty Property Numbers At All-Time Low

According to campaigning charity Empty Homes, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of empty residential properties in the UK.

The new research shows that the number of empty residential properties in the UK dropped by 75,000 during 2013, the largest-ever annual fall in numbers.

The substantial fall has reduced the total number of empty properties in the UK to 635,127, the lowest recorded level ever, according to campaigning charity Empty Homes.

The biggest falls in the number of empty properties were observed in the North West of England and London.

There was also a large fall in the number of long-term empty residential properties, with figures dropping by over 27,000 to a new record low of 232,600.

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Mystery Of Missing £400,000 Housing Benefit Payments

Mystery Of Missing £400,000 Housing Benefit Payments

R2R Company Owes Landlords £400,000 Housing Benefit Payments

Around £400,000 (GBP) in housing benefit payments have mysteriously disappeared after being paid to London Housing Solutions one of London’s biggest property agents, who specialise in letting property to tenants claiming benefits, Channel 4 News have revealed.

Channel 4 News attempted to trace both the present and former directors of the company, who admitted that the money had gone astray, but neither would accept responsibility for its disappearance.

Local Housing Solutions, an offshoot of London Housing Solutions, who until recently shared offices and staff in Catford also denied benefiting from the missing payments.

Channel 4 News understands at least 100 private rented sector landlords are owed rent by London Housing Solutions and the tenants spoken to by Channel 4, fear eviction as a result of the non payments.

The two rent 2 rent companies were originally set up by Keith MacGregor, who failed to respond to Channel 4 News’ accusations.

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Local Authorities Urged To Build More Private Rental Sector Properties

Local Authorities Urged To Build More Private Rental Sector Properties

Local Authorities Urged To Promote Institutional Investment In Private Rented Sector Over Home Ownership

According to the report “Making Renting Viable“ commissioned by the British Property Foundation (BPF) and conducted by a leading London law firm; more UK local authorities should focus on building new residential properties for the private rented sector to encourage institutional investment instead of promoting local homeownership.

The British Property Foundation and Addleshaw Goddard who conducted the survey, reckon that UK local authorities should earmark land within their council boundaries for private rented sector (PRS) properties and set housing development targets to encourage pension funds and other institutions to invest more in the private rented sector.

Partner at Addleshaw Goddard, Marnix Elsenaar, said: “It’s vital councils recognise both the need for an institutional private rented sector that’s not the same as buy-to-let, while ministers should update planning guidance to make building for rent economically viable. Residential property was seen as more difficult than renting out a commercial office block, but the landscape has changed. Institutions want reliable, long-term returns and they should see a good degree of income growth in the private rented sector.

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HMRC Targeting PRS Landlords Again

HMRC Targeting PRS Landlords Again

Another Clampdown On UK PRS Landlords By HMRC

HMRC has turned its attention to the housing and property rental market with the intention of targeting landlords, again.

The taxman thinks that there are a number of UK private rented sector (PRS) landlords who have yet to declare any income earned from renting properties to tenants, and they are going all out to find them.

The latest clampdown on private rented sector landlords by HMRC is intended to target those landlords allegedly not paying tax and the taxman is using information provided by all UK local authorities to track rental properties.

Letting agents and landlords have already started receiving letters from HMRC requesting information on long-term and holiday rental property addresses, letting periods, tenant numbers and rental income.

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Funding Boost For Government Build-To-Rent Plans

Funding Boost For Government Build-To-Rent Plans

Finance Secured To Build Thousands Of
Affordable Properties For Rental Purposes

Government housing minister Kris Hopkins has welcomed a deal that will release £500 Million (GBP) of additional funding to build new affordable residential properties in the UK.

The new investment finance has been secured through an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB), that will help deliver up to 4,300 new and affordable homes to rent in areas of the UK.

The funding is set to form part of the £3.5 Billion (GBP) Affordable Housing Guarantees programme, which enables housing associations to use Government guarantees to secure private investment at more competitive rates than they would otherwise be able to secure.

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Discretionary Payments Scandal

Discretionary Payments Scandal

70% Of Local Authorities Spend Less Than Half  Of Discretionary Payment Pots

Official Government figures suggest that 70% of UK local Authorities are committed to pay out less than half their emergency hardship fund or discretionary housing payments pots by the midpoint of the current financial year.

The figures were confirmed following further research by Inside Housing published in November, which found many local authorities were on course to hand back millions of unspent discretionary housing payment funds in April 2014.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures, released on Friday 20th December 2013, show one in six local authorities have committed to pay out less than a quarter of their DHP pots.

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Councils must be free to borrow more to build new residential properties

Councils must be free to borrow more to build new residential properties

Councils must be free to borrow more
to build new residential properties

The Government must allow Local Authorities to borrow more money to spend on building so they can tackle housing shortages and build 60,000 extra residential properties in five years, according to the Local Government Association

The Local Government Association (LGA) said that the nine councils listed below were unable to take on any loans at all, even though they have over 40,000 people on accommodation waiting lists.

  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Dudley Borough Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Harrow Council
  • Royal Borough Greenwich Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Woking Borough Council

The LGA said lifting a cap on local authority borrowing would allow up to 60,000 new residential properties to be built in the next five years.

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Government Offers Direct Payment Guarantee For Social Landlords

Government Offers Direct Payment Guarantee For Social Landlords

Private Rental Sector Landlords
Expected To Fend For Themselves

PRS landlords were left furious after the Government Welfare Reform minister offered social landlords the opportunity for direct payment of housing benefit under the Universal Credit scheme, but there was no such offer for private landlords.

Government Welfare Minister, Lord Freud has offered landlords a series of small concessions over Universal Credit, with payment of housing benefit to tenants temporarily suspended if rent arrears exceed two months. However, this only applies to social housing landlords, i.e local authorities and housing associations and not private sector landlords.

Lord Freud confirmed that direct payment of housing benefit to tenants who are at least two months’ behind with their rent, would be suspended, with the total amount of rent outstanding paid back to social landlords within six to nine months.

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Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

A basic round up for all UK Private Rental Sector (PRS) landlords of what is and what will be happening to affect tenants that are in reciept of benefits during the 2013 Welfare Reforms. 

Council Tax Benefit April 2013

 

  • Local authorities will become responsible for their own Council Tax schemes under the welfare reforms. Anyone of working age will now have to contribute towards their own council tax – All PRS tenants should have received a letter from their local authority if this affects them.

Disability Living Allowance

  • This benefit is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
  • All new and existing claimants will be reassessed using stricter rules so fewer people will qualify. The new assessment will focus on an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life.

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Labour leader, Ed Miliband says Labour plan to crackdown on rogue landlords and grant local authorities greater powers.

Labour Leader Plans Crackdown on Rogue Landlords

Labour Leader Plans Crackdown on Rogue Landlords

Politicians are usually reticent to discuss the UK private rental sector (PRS) because political conflicts could easily arise. Landlords are, of course, great taxpayers and contributors to the economy, where tenants are seen to be the ‘ordinary man’: in reality, both have their place and their way of working. 

However, Labour party leader Ed Milliband was keen to make clear his plans to protect tenants from rogue landlords in a speech delivered earlier this week, in favour of longer tenancy agreements.

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