Currently viewing the tag: "Eric Pickles"
Government End Outdated Law To Allow Short Term Letting In London

Government End Outdated Law To Allow Short Term Letting In London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The UK Government have announced that they are set to introduce new measures that will bring to an end outdated rules from the 1970’s that prevented home owners in London from renting out their properties on a short-term basis to visitors.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

Continue reading »

Will Landlords Be Safe Under New Rental Rules?

Will Landlords Be Safe Under New Rental Rules?

Tenants Charter could put tenants in a

stronger position over PRS landlords

Regulations which hand private rented sector tenants more power and rights to request longer leases have been greeted with cautious optimism, although the new code of practice, intended for launch by the Government, would bring in much-needed protection for many tenants from rogue and inexperienced landlords.

The proposed Tenants’ Charter, could mean honest and hard working landlords are at a disadvantage and could be put off from renting out properties.

The results of the introduction, could lead to another shortage of available rental stock for the UK property market leading to rent increases and landlords becoming trapped by more stringent legal binding agreements.

Continue reading »

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Industry welcome to weak tenants’ charter that could see UK PRS landlords at odds with

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lenders

The new tenants’ charter was announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Eric Pickles, last Wednesday, allowing tenants to ask for longer tenancies and better transparency of letting agents’ fees.

The new tenants’ charter will also aim to force all lettings and property managing agents controlling PRS rental properties to join a compulsory redress scheme.

The Tenants’ Charter, published for consultation, outlines what tenants should be looking out for at every stage when renting a property in the UK’s private rented sector, including lettings agents having to inform customers what all their fees are upfront, before they have committed to anything, including visiting a property.

However, the introduction of these terms under the banner of the tenants’ charter could threaten the business future of large numbers of landlords who would technically be in breach of the strict buy-to-let mortgage terms imposed by many mortgage lenders, which generally stipulate that tenancy agreements are to be for a period of no more than one year.

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Mr Pickles stated that the Government intend to publish a code of practice setting standards for the management of property in the private rental sector (PRS) along with guidance setting out the role of public bodies in protecting tenants from illegal eviction.

Mr Pickles said: “This government is on the side of hardworking people and the last thing we want to do is hurt tenants and kill (property) investment by increasing costs and strangling the sector with red tape. But tenants deserve better value for money, and dodgy landlords should be under no illusion they can provide a shoddy service with impunity. These proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed-term, family-friendly tenancies that meet their needs”

Mr Pickles also said that the Government will develop a model tenancy agreement which will clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and ensure families can benefit from longer tenancies, without changing the existing legal framework for the rental market. He said “Longer tenancies will give families greater certainty and security, especially for those with children at school, and reduce costs for both tenants and landlords who will not have to pay letting agents to arrange frequent contract renewals.”

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee said: “I am pleased that the Government has embraced many of the recommendations in our private rented sector report. The proposals for a tenants’ charter and model tenancy agreements reflect our calls for greater awareness of rights and responsibilities. Far too often the security needed by families is not being provided by the private rented sector. I am pleased, therefore, that the Government has listened to what the Committee said about the need for more family friendly tenancies. It is also welcome that the Government is taking forward our proposal to allow rent and housing benefit to be clawed back when landlords have been convicted of letting out dangerous property. The Committee will be watching closely to ensure that they are translated into action. We will also press to ensure that the Government’s gathering of information on selective licensing leads to action to raise standards. Much remains to be done if renting is to become an attractive alternative to owner occupation. It is disappointing; therefore, that the Government does not see fit to crack down on cowboy letting agents and their rip off fees and charges. It is also regrettable that the Government has declined to give local authorities the powers and freedom they need to improve housing in their areas.”

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current
Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Property professionals generally agree with the introduction of the new tenants’ charter but many think that the Government have sidestepped the opportunity to enforce much tighter regulation of landlords in the private rental sector and lettings and property managing agents in particular and many feel that the new measures fall short of what is really needed.

It will be interesting to see if the Government put pressure on the banks and mainstream mortgage lenders to abolish or ignore such limiting clauses, allowing them to deliver on the real aim of the tenants’ charter.

Caroline Kenny, an executive of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) wants the Government to build on the experience and expertise of those industry bodies which already require higher standards of their members. Commenting “Responsible agents who choose to belong to professional bodies which require client money protection insurance, impartial redress and an adherence to a strict Code of Practice are forced to compete with those who show little regard to professional standards or the needs of their clients. UKLA believe that this package of proposals represents a missed opportunity for the Government to make mandatory the kind of comprehensive protection offered by the UK Association of Letting Agents and other industry regulatory bodies, which are called UKALA & NLAfor by those working in the property industry and needed by hardworking consumers who are unable to differentiate between good and bad letting agents.”

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The NLA has long argued that private renting can be far more flexible than commonly perceived, and we need to tap into this potential to meet the changing needs and expectations of those who rent. We look forward to working with government to make a success of these proposals. However, we believe that the Government has missed an opportunity to require greater professionalism of letting agents. While the requirement to belong to an approved redress scheme is a step in the right direction, it does little to protect the financial interest of landlords and tenants working with unregulated agents.”

Residential Landlords Association

Join The Residential Landlords Association

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) welcomed the Government action to improve tenants’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities saying: “Tenants take more trouble buying a second-hand car than renting a house” Ensuring that tenants and landlords each understand clearly their rights and obligations to one another ensures a balanced relationship and enables them to hold each other to account based on the large number of laws already in existence. It will also play a vital role in rooting out those willfully criminal landlords who reap misery on tenants. We look forward to working with Ministers on the Charter as well as on how to best get this information to tenants.”

RICSPeter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said “The long overdue announcement was definitely a step in the right direction. The lettings sector has for far too long been the Wild West of the property industry, with many tenants having absolutely nowhere to go should they wish to complain about shoddy service. The introduction of a code of practice specifically covering those managing rented property should certainly improve standards.”

Chief Executive of the Housing & Homelessness charity Shelter, Campbell Robb said “This announcement is recognition that current private renting arrangements are not fit for families with children, who need greater long-term stability. This is a welcome step in the right direction, and ministers now need to consider how to make longer tenancies a real choice for the families desperate for a more stable place to live.”

The announcement of the new Tenants’ Charter was good news for consumer champions, Which? Who have been campaigning since 2007 when they first called for an amendment to the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 requiring letting agents to join an approved complaints scheme, just as property sales agents are. The consumer groups investigations also discovered earlier this year that major letting agents are acting unlawfully by not being upfront about the fees charged to clients.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, looks set to be implemented in Spring 2014, giving all landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme. This will mean that 40% of agents who currently aren’t signed up to a redress scheme will have to become members

Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Renting is now the only housing option for millions so we’re pleased to see the Government taking steps to address problems in the lettings market. Making charges clear upfront will enable people to shop around more easily, and longer tenancies could mark the end of unnecessary renewal fees. The new legislation giving landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme now needs to be brought in as soon as possible and there must be strong action taken against any agent in breach of the scheme.”

  • Do you think the proposals go far enough?

Take our Poll on the Tenants Charter or leave a comment below!

[yop_poll id=”2″]

 

Government Manage To Lose Housing Minister

Government Manage To Lose Housing Minister

Government Reshuffle Does Away With

Housing Minister Position

Mark Prisk, the (now former) Government Housing Minister and Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford, lost his Government position after the cabinet reshuffle last Monday.

 

New Under Secretary of State - Kris Hopkins will be responsible for Housing

New Under Secretary of State – Kris Hopkins will be responsible for Housing

Housing will now be part of Conservative MP for Keighley, Kris Hopkins responsibility as he steps into a new Government role as Under Secretary of State, rather than Housing Minister and he will be deputy to the Secretary of State.

Mr Hopkins is another former leader of Bradford Council, like his ministerial counterpart, Eric Pickles.

News of the ministerial reshuffle was broken last week via the Government’s Twitter site and also by Mark Prisk himself via Twitter, however on the Conservative Party website it was alleged that Mr Prisk had been asked to step aside due to his reluctance to undertake media interviews rather than his actual work.

Government Manage To Lose Housing Minister

Government Manage To Lose Housing Minister

The Conservative MP tweeted “Been asked to step aside for Housing for a younger generation. Disappointing but its been a great eleven years on frontbencher”

Reflecting on the property market recently, the Hertford and Stortford MP commented: “As a Government we have worked hard and prioritised limited financial resources to help the housing market through one of its toughest times and create the right conditions for it to flourish.”

Mr Prisk inherited the Housing Ministers job from Grant Shapps, who was promoted to Conservative Party Chairman, in September 2012. His previous roles included working on the Government’s Construction Strategy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the National Landlords Association (NLA), commented on the cabinet reshuffle stating: “The NLA is pleased to welcome Kris Hopkins as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. We hope the incoming minister will take a proactive and holistic approach to addressing the issues facing the housing sector exacerbated by the shortage of housing supply. However, it is extremely disappointing to see the Coalition reduce the significance of housing within Government. Given the significant challenges facing households throughout the country it is essential that housing takes centre stage in political debate. We hope the apparent demotion of the housing portfolio from Minister of State to Under-Secretary of State does not reflect a change in priorities from the Government ahead of the General Election in 2015.”

Government Set To Backtrack On Landlords Conducting Immigration Checks

Government Set To Backtrack On Landlords Conducting Immigration Checks

Bill forcing landlords to check Immigration status of tenants
will be watered down

As previously reported on Spotlight the Government proposals for landlords to check the immigration status of all tenants, has already caused a great deal of outrage from all sectors.

http://mypropertypowerteam.com/landlords-expected-to-do-uk-border-agencys-job-for-them/
http://mypropertypowerteam.com/even-mps-think-landlord-immigration-checks-are-unworkable/

Government ministers look likely to perform the expected U-turn and backtrack on the proposal that would require landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants.

Prime Minister, David Cameron is reported to have been livid when he was told that the proposed new legislation would have to be watered down.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the legislation that is set to become part of a the new Immigration Bill, will not be rolled out nationally, instead, only landlords in certain parts of the UK will be forced to carry out immigration checks and the newspaper named some boroughs in West London would where landlords would be at the forefront of policing the immigration requirements.

Communities and Local Government (CLG) secretary, Eric Pickles, is reported to think that a mandatory requirement for all UK landlords would involve a great deal of additional red tape, and the resulting extra costs would end up being paid for by tenants.

Continue reading »

Government want to ensure tenants in the

Private Rented Sector are not illegal Immigrants

Landlords Warned Over Illegal Immigrants

Landlords Warned Over Illegal Immigrants

Government ministers want to ensure tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) are not living in the UK illegally and are already working with local authorities to tackle rogue landlords who exploit immigrants by housing them in ‘beds in sheds’.

Many private sector landlords already take the correct measures by tenant referencing all applicants to check the tenants’ identity and credit status, making it difficult for illegal immigrants to rent properties from them.

However, despite numerous calls from UK property industry specialists, not all landlords bother with tenant referencing, and a small minority of rogue landlords knowingly target illegal immigrants who would not be in a position to complain about any sub-standard rental accommodation.

Continue reading »

Migrants Expected To Make UK Housing Shortage Worse

A fresh wave of UK immigration is expected when quotas on work permits for migrants from Romania and Bulgaria are dropped under EU freedom-of-movement rules.

Government ministers face an increasing amount of pressure to disclose their official estimate of how many immigrants will pour into Britain next year from Eastern Europe, after remarks were made by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles on The BBC’s Sunday Politics Show.

Mr Pickles conceded on TV that a wave of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria will cause problems in the UK housing supply and admitted that Government officials had already made a forecast of the numbers expected to arrive when border controls are relaxed with the two nations in January 2014 but refused to reveal figures.

Continue reading »

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

Landlords may avoid LHA tenants in future

Benefit Cuts To Make 40,000 Homeless

It has been revealed that the welfare reforms by the UK Con-Dem Government are a serious worry for everyone, even the ministers involved.

The UK Government has been warned in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron from the office of Eric Pickles, the communities’ secretary, that welfare policies risk making 40,000 families homeless. Exposing deep splits at the heart of the Con-Dem Government over plans to cap benefit at £500 a week per family.

The leaked letter reveals Eric Pickles’s belief that the cap will increase the burden on taxpayers, because thousands of families will be unable to pay their rent and will have to seek local government help.

The letter shows the disparity between the truth and the government’s public insistence that a limit on benefit payments will have little impact on homelessness and child poverty.

No thought or considerations have been given to Private Sector (PRS) Landlords who house LHA tenants, as they face a reduction in benefit payments for housing costs. Many landlords have voiced their concerns through Landlord Associations and lobbying groups but with little effect.

Over two pages, the fears of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are spelled out over “some very serious practical issues for DCLG priorities”.

The letter says: “Our modelling indicates that we could see an additional 20,000 homelessness acceptances as a result of the total benefit cap. This on top of the 20,000 additional acceptances already anticipated as a result of other changes to the housing benefit. We are already seeing increased pressures on the homelessness services. We are concerned that the savings from this measure, currently estimated at £270m [per year] from 2014-2015, does not take account of the additional costs to local authorities (through homelessness and temporary accommodation). In fact we think it is likely that the policy as it stands will generate a net cost.”

The letter then claims that with the reduction in the benefit families can claim, developers will not be able to recoup anything close to a market rent and so will not have an incentive to build homes. “Initial analysis suggests that of the 56,000 new affordable rent units up to 23,000 could be lost. And reductions would disproportionately affect family homes rather than small flats.”

Of a proposed policy that families would be required to divert part of the general benefits, such as child benefit, to cover housing costs, it adds: “It is important not to underestimate the level of controversy that this would generate.”

Written by Nico Heslop, Pickles’s private secretary, at the clear instigation of the minister, the letter lays bare fears of mass homelessness “disproportionately impacting on families”. It says:

•  40,000 families will be made homeless by the welfare reforms, putting further strain on services already “seeing increased pressures”.
• An estimated £270m saving from the benefits cap will be wiped out by the need to divert resources to help the newly homeless and is likely to “generate a net cost”.
• Half of the 56,000 affordable homes the government expects to be constructed by 2015 will not be built because developers will realise they will not be able to recoup even 80% of market rates from tenants.

The leak is the first time that disagreements over welfare cuts have surfaced within the Conservative high command.

Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the letter suggested ministers had not come clean over the effects of their policy. “We were assured by ministers that costs wouldn’t rise. Now top-level leaks reveal the truth. Iain Duncan Smith has promised the House of Commons he will not U-turn on the benefits cap. Perhaps now David Cameron will order him to think again.”

Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat welfare spokeswoman who has already warned that a rigid cap would increase child poverty, said she remained “very worried” about the proposals, which are due to come into effect in 2013.
Last month, employment minister Chris Grayling rebuffed an attempt by Labour to protect those facing homelessness from the benefit cap. Dismissing a Labour amendment to the welfare reform bill, he said: “It is not yet clear to what extent they would be affected by the overall benefit cap.”

The bill has since passed to the Lords, although the revelations will only fuel existing concerns among Liberal Democrat and Labour peers.

Labour MP Karen Buck, who sits on the Commons committee, said Pickles’s letter proved there was confusion and division at the centre of government. “The housing department and the benefits department are pursuing policies which don’t just cut across, but actively undermine, each other,” she said.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, the charity for the homeless, said: “With 21% of people struggling to meet housing costs, it’s naive to think you can cut support without putting some people at risk of losing their home.

The coalition government should stop bulldozing through badly thought-through policies while ignoring independent evidence, its own expert panel and the views of those who will deal with the very real impact on people.”
Enver Solomon, policy director at the Children’s Society, said: “The social costs of the cap are huge and would have disastrous consequences for many children.”

The leaking of the letter will be a source of considerable embarrassment to the government.
A spokesman for Mr Pickles said: “We are fully supportive of all the government’s policies on benefits. Clearly action is needed to tackle the housing benefit bill which has spiralled to £21bn a year under Labour.”
 

Mike

Tagged with:
 

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!