Currently viewing the tag: "Housing minister"
Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Red Ed Calls For Rent Controls As Part Of Election Campaign

Labour leader Ed Milliband has called for a European style rent indexation to be introduced as part of the political party’s election rhetoric.

The re-introduction of rent controls under the new guise of a newly titled Rental Price Index, designed to stem excessive rent increases, is intended to be one of Labour’s biggest vote magnets

The current coalition Government decided late last year that they wanted private rental sector landlords to act as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency, controlling and reporting on the immigration status of tenants, in order to avoid excessive financial penalties. This legislation is due to come into effect later this year after passing through Parliament and the House of Lords without too much fuss from MP’s, despite lobbying from landlord associations and heated debates with lettings industry professionals. 

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More Details Emerge On Government Demand For Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

More Details Emerge On Government Demand For Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

More Details Emerge From Government
On Letting Agent Fees Debate

The Government have declared that all UK letting agents and property management agents must display full details of all fees charged to tenants on websites and in offices.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg faced a tough grilling at his House Of Commons session from Labour MP Harriet Harman, who wanted the Government to back the ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants.

Ms Harman told MPs: “Not least because of the difficulties of affording to buy a home, there are now 9 million people renting, including 1.3 million families with children – security and continuity are particularly important for them. It is time to move from one-year tenancies with unpredictable rents to three-year tenancies with predictable rents. What we need to be sure is that letting agents do not rip tenants off by charging fees to the tenants, as well as charging the landlords.”

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UK Property Market Bubble Warning

UK Property Market Bubble Warning

OECD Warn About Sustainability Of UK Property Market

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned about the sustainability of the UK property market as residential property prices gain more upward momentum across the UK, and continue surging phenomenally in London, prompting growing fear of another property market bubble, as the UK economy continues to recover from the financial crisis in 2008.

A property market bubble occurs when property prices become so over inflated that they become unsustainable and the market collapses

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also aired concern saying that they are on high alert about the property market in London and the South East of England as house prices surge.

The Bank of England are said to be monitoring the situation, however BOE policy maker, Ben Broadbent reckons there’s no need for alarm over the UK property market as they have already curtailed incentives for home loans through the Funding for Lending Scheme.

Rising property prices are a good thing, they are a good indicator of the overall health of a nation’s economy, and the current government are confident that prices will continue to rise, hence the introduction of financial incentives such as the Help To Buy scheme, encouraging property buyers with loans or guaranteed underwritten mortgages, allowing them to gain a stake in the UK property market.

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3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes To Investigate Lettings Complaints

3 Compulsory Redress Schemes
To Investigate Lettings Complaints

The Government have approved three compulsory redress schemes to offer landlords and tenants in the UK private rented sector independent investigation into complaints in the property management and lettings industry, bringing them in line with redress schemes already in operation for residential property sales.

The 3 lettings industry redress schemes are:

  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Ombudsman Services Property
    • The Property Redress Scheme 

The new schemes will consider all complaints made by tenants and landlords including non-disclosed fees and poor service delivery, and as with residential property sales where a complaint is upheld, tenants, landlords and leaseholders could receive compensation.

Two of the three redress schemes have been around for a while and The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is probably the most recognised of the two pre-existing schemes but little is known about the new Property Redress Scheme.

Most letting agents in the UK are already registered with at least one redress scheme, however 40% of the entire lettings industry, estimated to be around 3,000 agents, are to be encouraged to join up before membership is made mandatory later this year.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said that he hoped the new rules would strike the right balance between protecting tenants in the UK private rented sector and not harming the UK lettings industry with excessive red tape. The new redress schemes were just one part of the government’s efforts to secure a better deal for tenants in the PRS, stating: “All tenants and leaseholders have a right to fair and transparent treatment from their letting agent. Most tenants are happy with the service they receive, but a small minority of agents are ripping people off, and giving the whole industry a bad name. That’s why we will require all agents to belong to one of the official redress schemes. They will ensure tenants and landlords have a straightforward route to take action if they get a poor deal, while avoiding excessive red tape that would push up rents and reduce choice for tenants.”

The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer said: “TPO experienced a 34.2% increase in consumer enquiries relating to unregistered letting agents during 2013, which really underlines the importance of mandatory redress. Whilst my role as Ombudsman means that I am not a regulator and I can only review complaints after a dispute has occurred, making redress a legal requirement for lettings is a positive move. Clearly it would be better if complaints did not arise in the first place and robust legislation to enforce controls was in place.”

There are thousands of decent letting agents in the UK but there are also a fair proportion of rogue agents who operate under the radar, that lack the much needed transparency on fees and who are fleecing both tenants and landlords alike.

Landlords should ensure their appointed property managing or letting agent is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Most UK tenants are unaware that they could be leaving themselves open to exploitation if the agent is not a member of at least one of the regulatory associations.

Housing Minister Wants Crackdown On Rogue Landlords

Housing Minister Wants Crackdown On Rogue Landlords

Government Want New Measures To Tackle Rogue Landlords

Government housing minister, Kris Hopkins, has stressed the need for a fairer, more flexible private rented sector, and wants to raise standards of all rental property conditions and he intends to root out rogue landlords.

The housing minister wants PRS landlords and their tenants to offer their views on what else the Government can do to tackle the problems in the UK’s private rented sector, and what action needs to be taken to further boost the growth of the sector.

In particular, Mr Hopkins wants tenant and landlord views on a variety of new initiatives and safety measures including:

  • Tackling retaliatory evictions where a minority of PRS landlords evict tenants for requesting repairs to the property
  • Requiring landlords to repay rent where they have rented out a property that proves to have serious defects or hazards to tenants health, or where landlords have evicted a tenant illegally
  • Making landlords responsible for improving safety measures in rental properties, such as fitting hard wired smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and periodic electrical safety checks

The UK Government has already introduced an array of new guidelines, including providing local authorities with over £6.5 Million (GBP) to root out and prosecute rogue landlords in their areas.

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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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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 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 Seek Bids For Build-To-Rent Scheme

Government Seek Bids For Build-To-Rent Scheme

Build-To-Rent scheme seeking bids from property developers to help bring about the fastest rate of affordable residential property construction for two decades 

UK Government Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, last week announced a second round of funding for the construction of new rental properties and the government are seeking fresh bids for a share of at least £400 Million (GBP) to build new properties specifically for the private rental sector (PRS).

The funding is part of the flagship £1 Billion (GBP) Build-To-Rent fund, which offers support for property developers and property investors who want to get into the private rental sector for the first time.

Mr Prisk said the new Build-To-Rent scheme would encourage investment in the UK’s private rental market and offer prospective tenants a greater choice of rental property. The scheme is intended to run alongside up to £10 Billion (GBP) in government housing guarantees.

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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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