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PRS Rental Prices Keep Going Up

PRS Rental Prices Keep Going Up

PRS Rents Increase 2.5% In The Past Year

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, tenants in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS) have seen rents increase by an average of 2.5% in the 12 months up to June 2015,.

Private rental prices increased across the whole of the British isles with rents increasing by:

  • 5% in England
  • 1% in Scotland
  • 8% in Wales

PRS rents increased across all English regions during the year with rental prices increasing by 3.8% in London, while the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation stood at 0% over the same period.

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PRS Tenants Could Be Hit With Rent Increases Despite Falling Inflation

PRS Tenants Could Be Hit With Rent Increases Despite Falling Inflation

PRS Tenants Could Be Hit With Rent Increases
Despite Falling Inflation

The increase in demand for rental properties in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS) from would-be tenants could drive local rental prices through the roof in some parts of the country according to a new report published by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

According to data published in the latest ARLA monthly Private Rented Sector report 31% of letting agent members recorded an increase in the cost of monthly rent for rental properties in UK regions between January and February this year.

41% of letting agents in the South East of England reported landlords increasing rental prices for their properties. However, in Wales only 13% of letting agents reported landlords increasing rental asking prices.

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Letting Agent Complaints On The Rise According To Property Redress Scheme

Letting Agent Complaints On The Rise According To Property Redress Scheme

Complaints About Lettings Agents  On The Rise
According To Property Redress Scheme

Due to the fact that more tenants and property owners are now aware of their consumer rights, especially the right to redress, there has been a month on month increase in the number of complaints being made against lettings agents, property management companies and estate agents.

The Property Redress Scheme, (PRS), is just one of three consumer redress schemes set up by the Government to provide fair and reasonable resolutions to disputes between the public and property agents.

From 1 October 2014 it became a legal requirement for all lettings agents, property managers and estate agents, as defined by legislation, in England to belong to one of the three Government approved redress schemes, which are:

The number of complaints raised with the PRS is increasing month on month. Of the complaints raised so far,

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UK Private Sector Rent Still Rising

UK Private Sector Rent Still Rising, Albeit Slowly

Private Sector Rents Rise By 1% Over Last 12 Months

New data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that private sector rents are rising below the level of average earnings for first time in many years, bringing some good news for tenants.

According to the ONS, in the 12 months to September 2014, private rental sector rental prices increased by:

  • 1% in England
  • 4% in Scotland
  • 2% in Wales

The ONS say that the UK’s underlying annual earnings growth increased by 1.2% in the year to August, up from 0.5% recorded in April 2014.

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Help-To-Buy Scheme Could Threaten UK Housing Market

Help-To-Buy Scheme Could Threaten UK Housing Market

The Help To Buy Scheme Could Be Scaled Back Amid Concerns That The UK Property Market Could Be Heading
For Another Property Bubble

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that the Bank of England are being vigilant on UK house price rises and they would intervene if the situation becomes necessary.

The Chancellor’s comments come after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned that the booming UK property market could threaten the economic recovery of the country.

Possible action could include reigning back the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme, which enables people with only a small deposit to take out a mortgage.

In a report the OECD said that “The UK should introduce measures to address the risks of excessive house price inflation, as property values now significantly exceed long-term averages relative to rents and household incomes. Access to the Help to Buy scheme should be tightened, and buyers should be required to put down bigger deposits for mortgages”.

In response to the report, Mr Osborne said: “I’ve said we should be vigilant about the housing market and this Government has given the Bank of England the power and the tools to do what they felt needed to be done to help to contribute to building a resilient economy in an independent way”.

The Help to Buy scheme enables the Government to place a second charge on properties purchased under the scheme, allowing them to have some degree of profitability and allow them a small degree of control over the UK property market.

People buying property worth up to £600,000 (GBP) using a deposit of just 5% may be grateful of the Government’s help but many fail to realise the full implications of the scheme, or spot the Government tactic of controlling properties.

The Government either top up the purchasers 5% deposit with 20% of the property’s value or it will underwrite a portion of the debt allowing lenders to advance purchasers with high loan-to-value mortgages that the Government guarantee.

The £600,000 (GBP) upper limit of the Help-To-Buy scheme has been widely criticised for being too high, however, recent figures show that the average cost of a property bought using the scheme was just £148,000 (GBP).

Concerns are rife that another property bubble may be formed in the UK property market following a continuing run of positive house price trends.

Mortgage lender, Nationwide recently reported that property values had risen by 10.9% during the last 12 months, the first time annual house price inflation has reached double figures since April 2010.

Data from the Land Registry also shows that average property prices in London have already surpassed the previous 2007 peak.

Recent property price increases have caused the typical average cost of residential property in the UK to rise to £262,770 (GBP), according to Zoopla.

New regulations to control borrowing were introduced at the end of April 2014 to ensure prospective property owners are not risking taking on too much debt.

Under the Mortgage Market Review, lenders are required to carry out stringent affordability checks, including making sure borrowers can continue to meet the mortgage repayments if and when interest rates rise.

However, data on the number of mortgage approvals for residential property purchases appear to suggest that the market may be moderating, with the Bank of England reporting a dip in loan approvals for the second consecutive month during March 2014.

UK Index of Private Housing Rental Prices

UK Index of Private Housing Rental Prices

Experimental Statistical Data Released For January To March 2014 For Rental Prices Paid By Tenants In UK Private Rental Sector

The office for National Statistics (ONS) have released experimental statistical data covering the change in rental prices paid by tenants in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS).

Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK increased 1.0% in the 12 months to March 2014, unchanged from a 1.0% increase in the 12 months to February 2014.

  • In the 12 months to March 2014  rental prices in the private rental sector increased by:
    • 1.0% in England
    • 1.3% in Scotland
    • 0.6% in Wales
  • Rental prices increased in all UK regions over the year to March 2014, with rental prices increasing by the most in London reaching 1.4%

The Index of Private Housing Rental Prices (IPHRP) measures the change in price of renting property in the UK’s private rented sector and is published as a series of price indices covering UK regions.

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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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Flooding Spells Trouble For PRS Landlords

Flooding Spells Trouble For PRS Landlords

Post Flood Checks for PRS Landlords
Of Properties Affected By Flooding

The recent flooding observed in the South of England this winter have seen a large number of landlords and home owners properties damaged by flood water with around 6,500 properties damaged by flood water since December 2013.

This has meant that both landlords and tenants have had to put in a great deal of time and effort to put things right, with landlords spending a substantial amount of time contacting their landlord insurance providers to inform them of the situation and trying to arrange repairs.

However, there are some landlords who remain unsure of where to start when it comes to flood damage, so we take a look at what landlords can do if property has been affected by flooding:

  • Wear waterproof clothing, boots and a face mask
  • Get a qualified person to switch off electricity at mains – don’t touch sources of electricity while standing in water
  • Remove water using pump and generator – position generator outside as it produces carbon monoxide fumes which can kill
  • Only pump out water when flood levels outside house start to be lower than inside – this reduces the risk of structural damage
  • Houses can be cleaned and disinfected using ordinary household products
  • If drying property naturally, keep doors and windows open, if using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows

Severe Flood Damage

Unfortunately, if you own property in the South of England there is a good chance they have been severely affected by flooding, especially if they are located near the Somerset levels or by the River Severn or River Thames.

The Environment Agency (EA) issued 16 severe flood warnings (meaning severe flooding with a danger to life) and 76 flood warnings (meaning immediate action should be taken) in January 2014 for the South West and South East of England.

If your rental properties have been affected by severe flooding then there is the likelihood that the tenants will have already been evacuated.

UK PRS landlords may find that they have to foot the bill to re-house tenants while their property is unfit to live in, and even after the flood waters have receded and it could still take months for damage to be repaired.

It is important for landlords to keep in constant contact with their landlord insurance provider and their tenants in order to make sure the restoration process runs as smoothly as possible.

Traditional brick or concrete walls will generally dry out well so long as they are clear for ventilation.

Wall cavities need to be inspected by an expert to ensure walls are secure and any damaged wall-cavity insulation will also need to be removed.

Internal walls, damaged plaster, plasterboard and wallpaper will have to go. Holes might also need to be drilled through plasterboards or dry linings to drain trapped water and aid ventilation, and timber partitions may rot if not dried properly and property owners are advised not to redecorate for at least three months after walls have dried and repairs have been done.

Modern wiring can withstand a short period of flooding, but if a property has been flooded for more than a few hours, it will probably need rewiring – downstairs at least. An electrician will also need to give junction boxes, socket outlets, light switches and ceiling connections a thorough check to ensure there is no water trapped inside them.

Moderate Flood Damage

Properties have been affected across the whole of the UK, even though properties worst affected by flooding are mainly in the South West and South East of England. Many of these properties are still habitable, however there are a number of other issues that landlords have to deal with.

Flooding can destroy the fabric and structure of property if left and it’s hard to be sure how solid a property’s foundations are after flooding, as some problems may take years to materialise.

There can be subsidence – which causes foundations to “sink”, and heave – which forces foundations upwards. Subsidence occurs when the ground under a building “shrinks” through lack of water, whereas heave occurs when the ground expands because of excess water. There is also the possibility of sinkholes and signs to watch out for are cracks and general movement in the building, but both can often remain undetected for some time.

Other indicators of structural damage include buckling of walls, bulging or dislodged sections of property and new cracks above windows or doors

Tenants will often get in contact immediately if they feel that their property is affected by flood water, and landlords should try to get as much information as possible about the amount of damaged caused.

Small amounts of water in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms are less disastrous than in carpeted areas such as bedrooms or living rooms, and if it is safe to do so you can advise your tenants on how to contain flood water.

Landlords should keep in regular contact with tenants in the worst hit areas to monitor the situation and make preparations to re-home them if necessary.

Minimal Flood Damage

Rental properties built on high ground, away from lakes and rivers, will probably be unaffected by flooding. However, with the high winds and increased rainfall over the past few months there is still a danger of damage, so landlords need to make sure that basic checks are carried out to assess the damage when they are able to.

Roof tiles, chimney stacks, gutters soffits, and window frames can be adversely affected by strong winds and continuous heavy rainfall. If left in unchecked these minor issues can become major problems in the future.

Tenants may have noticed small leaks in garages and lofts during heavy rainfall, which should be treated as warning signs.

Unfortunately, nearly every landlord across the UK right now needs to have some sort of plan in place in case their properties are affected by flooding; otherwise they could find themselves in a difficult situation.

The Environment Agency website is updated on a regular basis with information concerning flood warnings and what to do in an emergency.

The new “Flood Re” proposals intended to replace the current statutes of the Water Bill will leave landlords high and dry as insurance companies withdraw insurance for rental properties in areas prone to flooding.

Personal Invitation To The Business & Property Symposium On February 20th In London with Matthew Moody

Personal Invitation To The Business & Property Symposium On February 20th In London with Matthew Moody

Personal Invitation To The
Business & Property Symposium
With Matthew Moody 

Hi everyone, Matthew Moody here and I’d like to personally invite you to my brand-new live “networking” event; the “Business & Property Symposium” taking place in LONDON next Thursday 20th February, 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Grand Connaught Hotel London.

Click here to Regsiter your place now

I haven’t run a live London networking event since 2009 when I used to run “Property Success Group” but I’m back!

Why?

I’ve built up a solid successful business over the last 10 years but one of the things I always enjoyed doing more than anything is hosting live events.  I’m at a time in my life where I want to give back more and help more people on their property investment journey.  And this is my gift to you so come along and join me at this brand-new event which will blow the fluff out of the networking industry.

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