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Government End Outdated Law To Allow Short Term Letting In London

Government End Outdated Law To Allow Short Term Letting In London

New Measures Allow Londoners To Conduct Short Term Letting
Of Homes For Extra Cash

The UK Government have announced that they are set to introduce new measures that will bring to an end outdated rules from the 1970’s that prevented home owners in London from renting out their properties on a short-term basis to visitors.

Communities and Local Government (CLG), Secretary Eric Pickles said that there were almost 5 million overseas visitors to the capital between July and September 2013, and thousands of properties were advertised as being available as holiday lets on travel accommodation websites such as Airbnb.

However, under laws dating back to the 1970’s, Londoners who want to rent out their properties for less than 3 months, technically still have to apply for planning permission from the council, which does not apply anywhere else in the UK.

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the number of empty UK properties still increasing

The Number of UK Empty Properties Continues To Rise

Despite campaigns from all quarters of the media and industry bodies, the number of empty homes in the UK increased significantly in 2011, new research has shown.

Data from the Communities and Local Government department, (CLG),the Office for National Statistics, (ONS), and Halifax’s own housing statistics database, the study revealed a 1.8% rise in empty residential dwellings.

According to the Halifax Empty Homes survey, which takes into account all private and public empty residential abodes, including those that have been vacant for under six months – leapt from the 650,127 recorded in April 2010 to 662,105 for the same period earlier this year.

Despite this trend, the study also revealed some more positive movement, with the amount of long-term empty private homes, those that have been without occupants for at least 6 months, dropping to the lowest levels since 2008.

These properties account for 44% of all empty residences, underlining the significance of the improvement.

It was shown that April 2011 that there were 292,313 examples of this kind of home, which represented a 1.1% decline on the 295,519 reported in the same four-week period 12 months earlier.

Stephen Noakes, Mortgage Director at Halifax,(a division of Bank of Scotland), said: “The findings show the considerable impact empty properties can have on the overall housing market, claiming it is therefore necessary for action to be taken to address the issue. Long-term empty homes account for about 1.6% of all private homes in England. And at a time when first-time buyers are still facing numerous obstacles to getting on the ladder, it is imperative we look further at the issue as an industry.”

The issue of empty homes that are fit for purpose remains a particular problem in a number of areas across the UK, where the proportion of void occupancy is double the national average. Even the UK’s Private Rented Sector is not unaffected. Landlords with properties requiring substantial improvements are lying empty due to the current lack of available finance.

UK property owners and landlords are reminded that they should have appropriate <a href=”http://www.legal4landlords.com/insurance-services/”>insurance</a>, in order to protect their property assets. However, that insurance may still be invalid if the property is unoccupied for a lengthy period of time (see the small print) and specialist insurance may be required.

<a href=”http://www.legal4landlords.com/”>Legal 4 Landlords</a> offer <a href=”http://www.legal4landlords.com/insurance-services/”>Un occupied BTL</a> insurance for Buy To Let Landlords with empty properties.

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Homes built before 1919 have risen in value more than any other type of property over the past 25 years.

The report by the Halifax says pre-1919 homes are popular because there are fewer of them, and they tend to be in the best locations.

Over the past quarter of a century, the report reveals, homes falling into this category have risen in price by more than 450%.

This is equivalent to an average increase of more than £500 every month for 25 years, a price rise which has not been matched by any other type of property.

In 1986, pre-1919 homes had an average value of £33,619, making the category the cheapest of the four ‘ages’ of property.

By 2001, the average had increased to £117,990 and today it is £188,473, an increase of 461%, or £516 every month.

The other three ‘ages’ of property are 1919 to 1945, 1946 to 1960 and 1960 onwards.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, said it was easy to see why pre-1919 properties were now more expensive than any other. “The age of a property often determines its size, its style and location. Properties from the Victorian or Edwardian era tend to be in higher demand. This is because there are fewer of them. They are often larger, situated in desirable locations, and have a popular style”.

The cheapest properties are homes built between the end of the Second World War, which triggered a building boom, and 1960.

They cost an average of £144,988, and have risen in value by only 249% over the past 25 years.

As the study highlights the popularity of older properties, it raises concerns about the Government’s moves to encourage people to buy new-build homes.

The Prime Minister has said he wanted ‘everyone in this country’ to experience the ‘magic moment’ of getting the keys to their first flat. But the Government scheme, which allows people to buy with only a 5% deposit, is available only to those who want a newly-built home.

And it is this type of property which has plunged in value over recent years amid fears of further falls. Since the credit crunch began, the Halifax figures show, homes built after 1960 have dropped by nearly £40,000 in value.

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A Channel 4 TV programme is set to reveal the scandal of over 1 Million empty residential properties in the UK

There are 2 Million people on housing waiting lists – and yet 1 Million properties are still remain empty or uninhabitable.

Along with landlords from hell, the empty property debacle is one of the issues being aired in Channel 4’s new ‘Great British Property Scandal’ season which starts on TV tonight.

Tackling the 1 Million empty residential properties across the UK is one of the top priorities of the Government’s new housing strategy and a key feature in the drive to increase the provision of affordable housing.

Channel 4’s decision to address the nation’s housing shortage in a season of four programmes this week seems prescient, coming hard on the heels of divisive Government housing initiatives – in particular, the drive to restart council house sell-offs

As yet there has been no mention of agents or individuals in any of the publicity material released by the television company, but the series does promise to be uncomfortable viewing for many UK landlords.

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The Scottish Government wants to give local authorities the power to impose a levy of up to 100% of the standard Council Tax charge.

The amount would vary depending on the council tax band and the extra percentage that each council decides to charge.

Based on current (2011/2012) charges, the owner of an empty £212,000 house in Edinburgh could be liable to pay an extra £2,338 in Council Tax.

The Government wants more people to report empty houses in their neighbourhood to their local councils.

With 22 local authorities already signed up to the reportemptyhomes.com website but the Government hopes to see all 32 get involved.

The Council Tax on Empty Homes and Housing Support Grant Bill proposals could apply to the current 25,000 properties which have been empty for more than six months and are liable to pay council tax.

If all local authorities decide to use the maximum powers, they could raise up to £30 million (GBP) per year from UK property.

Confidence in the UK’s commercial property sector has fallen for the first time in almost a year amid fears about the economic fallout of the Eurozone crisis.

According to survey data released last Friday by Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s largest commercial lender, confidence in the prospects of the industry are being pushed lower by fund managers, only 10% of whom expect activity to increase within the next six months.

Large businesses were more positive, however, with more than two-thirds intending to increase their exposure to the sector.

Lloyds is well placed to gauge industry sentiment, having inherited a large loan book from its takeover of HBOS.

The group owns more than £60 Billion (GBP) or $93 Billion (USD) of commercial property loans.

Lloyds’ Managing Director of Corporate Real Estate, Lynda Shillaw said: “This quarter’s market overview suggests that weakening prospects for the world economy, turbulence in global financial markets and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis are impacting negatively on UK commercial property confidence.”

Added to the news that UK retail surveyors are reporting an increase in vacant retail units and the picture becomes even gloomier for landlords with commercial premises on the British high street.

According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, (RICS), the number of retail surveyors who saw an increase in available shop space rose 14% during the three months to September,

The 29% net balance of those seeing a rise in availability, up from 15% in the last quarter, is a worrying omen for the retail property sector, which is suffering from falling consumer confidence as well as a massive tightening in lending from UK banks.

The number of respondents reporting increased demand for shop space fell, with the net balance declining from 12% in the second quarter to -19% during the three months to October.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said; “There is a suspicion that the recovery that was expected is no longer coming, and with more stock coming through and demand falling, rents are going to come under pressure. The resolution of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe would go some way to alleviating the concerns, but confidence is crucial to the retail sector and at the moment it is hard to see where the good news story is coming from”.

Across the wider commercial property sector, demand levels slipped back for the first time since last year, with a net balance of surveyors seeing demand among tenants falling to -11% from a 10 % positive balance during the last quarter.

Landlords across the sector also offered special deals and discounts to encourage retail tenants to take up commercial property rental agreements.

Over the last three months, 20% of commercial landlords said the need for inducements had been increasing and many felt that landlords were under increasing pressure to incorporate more flexibility into their leases.

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