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New Data Reveals UK Private Rental Sector Hotspots

New Data Reveals UK Private Rental Sector Hotspots

Private Rental Sector Rents Continue To Rise
In 10 Out Of 12 UK Regions

New data published by HomeLet has revealed some UK private rental sector hotspots for property investors and portfolio landlords to consider.

In some areas of the UK PRS rents have continued to increase, despite all the doom mongering that is going on in the media, with rents increasing by the most in:

  • Leicester – PRS rents up 45% on 2013
  • Southall – PRS rents up 38% on 2013
  • Cambridge – PRS rents up 24% on 2013

Meanwhile other parts of the UK witnessed the biggest falls in rental prices in 2014 on new rental agreements with the biggest rental price falls recorded in:

  • Colchester PRS rents Down 24% on 2013 prices
  • Croydon – PRS rents down 23% on 2013
  • Brighton – PRS fall 18% lower than 2013 prices.

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SMTC Presents Dick Whittington 28th - 31st January 2015

SMTC Presents Dick Whittington 28th – 31st January 2015

SMTC Presents Dick Whittington
A Pantomime For All The Family

28th – 31st January 2015

Families and theatre goers in Salford may be a little surprised by the latest pantomime offering from award winning Salford Musical Theatre Company as the annual community pantomime transports audiences back to 14th Century London town to recount the tale of 3 times Lord Mayor Dick Whittington and his magic cat.

SMTC have given the pantomime their usual twist on events with comic characters filling the stage including Rover – Dick’s magic cat, who has obviously been watching too many TV adverts and wants to be more dog!

Man mad Sarah the Cook wants to find a nice rich boyfriend, Idle Jack is lazily obsessed with roses and Alice Fitzwarren, who doesn’t even notice. Her father, Alderman Fitzwarren is fed up of his shop being plagued by rats, and so is Sheik Dabooty of Abu Dhabi, who could be a dead ringer for TV’s Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon and there are plenty more surprises in store for the cast and audiences as the evil King Rat tries everything to stop Dick being made Lord Mayor of London, including framing Dick for a crime he did not commit and sending his hordes of ratlings to eat everyone’s sweets and generally cause havoc!

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SMTC in rehearsals for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

SMTC in rehearsals for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Dwarf Shortage Hits SMTC Panto!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 11th-14th December 2013 – The Little Shakespeare Theatre – Shakespeare Crescent – Eccles Manchester M30 0PE evenings at 7.30pm with a Saturday Matinee at 2.30pm

It’s time to gather the family and head to Salford this week as Salford Musical Theatre Company prepare to put on the classic pantomime fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs… with a twist!

Writer, Director & Producer Mike Clarke wasn’t able to find any vertically challenged people under 3 feet tall within the Salford area of Greater Manchester to play the seven dwarfs, so he decided to rewrite the tale giving it an unusual angle!

Even the local press picked up on the challenges faced by SMTC prompting the “Dwarf Shortage” headline and article in the Manchester Evening News and a similar article in the Salford Advertiser, in the same week!

Mike Clarke said “I put out an appeal for adults under 4ft to come forward via social media at the start of September and unfortunately there were no takers, so I decided to re-write the story using acronyms and a little bit of clever wordplay to explain why adults ranging from 5’4 to 6’3 were playing the parts of the seven dwarfs. In this story D.W.A.R.F.S. stands for Drillers, Well Borers, Architects, Rubble Shifters, Fossil Hunters and Skilled Workers! Its just a little bit different, but we are still telling the traditional story of Snow White”

Tickets start at just £5 for children under 12, £7 for adults and £25 for a family ticket for 2 adults and 3 children.

Tickets for Thursday 12th and Friday 13th December have already sold out and seats are limited on all other performances.

To book please call the dedicated Box Office number 07565685671 or book online at https://smtcsnowwhite.eventbrite.com (fees apply)

SMTC presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 11th-14th Dec 2013

SMTC presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 11th-14th Dec 2013

This years eagerly anticipated panto production follows on from SMTC’s award winning pantomime ‘Puss in Boots’, also written, directed and produced by Mike Clarke, which won the NODA District 1 Best Pantomime in 2012!

Salford Musical Theatre presents…

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

8th – 11th May 2013 at 7.30pm

Saturday Matinee at 2.30pm

 

Tickets £9 Adults

£8 Concessions

£5 Children  

Little Shop of Horrors by SMTC - 8th-11th May 2013
Little Shop of Horrors by SMTC – 8th-11th May 2013

Book Online NOW!

http://smtclittleshopofhorrors.eventbrite.co.uk

or

call our Ticket Secretary – 01204 578216

 

UK PRS Landlords Are Still Worried About EPC Compliance

UK PRS Landlords Still Worried About EPC Compliance

More than 17% (1 in 6) of UK PRS landlords reckon that some or all of the properties in their rental portfolio’s fall into the lowest Energy Performance Certificate categories, with an F or G rating, meaning that they could end up being banned from the rental market.

From 2018 under the Government’s Green Deal proposals, properties with F and G EPC ratings will not be allowed to be let.

The latest poll of 1,500 landlords by the Association of Residential Letting Agents, (ARLA) also discovered that over 35% of landlords do not even know the energy rating of their properties with regard to EPCs.

ARLA have called for the Government to help landlords to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards, asking for the Landlords Energy Savings Allowance to be extended.

The call has been echoed by Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), who called for the annual energy savings tax allowance to be raised from £1,500 to £14,000.

The allowance is due to be scrapped altogether in April 2015

ARLA Operations Manager Ian Potter, said: “The clock is ticking for the private rented sector to improve its environmental performance but the investment just isn’t there to ensure that this change takes place in the Government’s timeframe. ARLA have campaigned for the Government to incentivise, through tax relief, the improvement of rental properties. Otherwise it is going to be exceedingly difficult for the majority of landlords to find the funds to improve stock.”

While the Green Deal will offer landlords upfront access to funds, it is tenants, as users of the properties, who will have to repay the loan.

Landlords who comprehensively tenant reference applicants can ensure regular income with Rent Guarantee Insurance, easing the financial burden and worry for tenants as loans are repaid.

With only 2 weeks to go, the UK coalition Government have finally produced guidance on the changes to Energy Performance Certificates, (EPC’s) for residential properties, complete with a contradictory anomaly.

The UK Government’s department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) are now under pressure to clear this up and have indicated that they may release further guidance in certain areas.

Currently, letting and estate agents have 7 days from the commencement of marketing a property for an EPC to be obtained, followed by 21-day period of grace should it have proved impossible to obtain one.

However, the guidance then contradicts itself, by then saying that the EPC must be made available to prospective buyers and tenants when they request information, or when a viewing takes place.

The guidance underlines that the EPC must not be provided later than either of those two events.

By definition, it means that all letting and estate agents might not be able to conduct viewings on the first day of marketing – or even within the first week, or at a push, the first 28 days, whilst awaiting an EPC, if the CLG department stick to the new rule.

Nick Salmon said that the requirement to produce an EPC on a viewing sets every alarm bell ringing: “Does it means that if I take a property on the market and the EPC is ordered, that I cannot do viewings on the property unless the EPC is actually at hand? Have they just killed off first-day marketing again.”

The requirement to have an EPC ready for viewings is repeated on both pages 3 and 4 of the guidance.

On page 4, it says:

Q. When should the EPC be made available under the new regulations?


A. The EPC should be made available as early as possible and in particular, when a prospective buyer or tenant requests information in writing or views the property in question. In addition, the seller or landlord must ensure that an EPC has been given to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant.

Salmon said: “We need an urgent answer to this. Unless CLG make it clear that viewings can be made while the EPC is ordered but awaited, we are back in the dark days of their mega-stupidity with HIPs.”

The guidance, which cites an industry survey which found that 36% of estate agents believed EPCs were only needed at the point of sale as one of the reasons for introducing the changes, answers a number of outstanding issues, although it does suggest that agents needing further clarification take their own legal advice.

It makes it clear that the ultimate responsibility to make an EPC available to potential buyers and tenants rests with sellers and landlords. However, under a new duty, an agent must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned before marketing can start. Trading Standards officers can ask for evidence of this.

The seller, landlord or their agent must use all reasonable efforts to obtain the EPC within seven days of the start of marketing. A further 21 days is allowed if necessary. “The effect of this is to provide an absolute duty to obtain an EPC within 28 days of the property going on the market,” says the guidance.

If the property remains on the market after 28 days without an EPC, Trading Standards officers may serve a £200 (GBP) penalty notice ‘even if there is a legitimate reason for the delay’.

The guidance also defines ‘written particulars’ and what the ‘giving’ of written particulars is.

“The giving of written particulars includes making them available electronically, such as in an email or as information on a website.” In other words, agents will have to retrieve the EPC from the central Register and attach it to online written particulars.

However, newspaper adverts and estate agents’ window cards appear to be let off the hook. This also needs further clarification as the guidance actually specifies ‘lets’.

Q. Do newspaper adverts or window cards for property lets meet the definition of written particulars?

A. No. The requirement to attach a copy of the front page of the EPC to written particulars is where an agent provides written particulars to a person (i.e. a specific individual) who may be interested in buying or renting the building.

This implies that a copy of the front page of the EPC does not need to be attached to advertising material, i.e. a newspaper or window card.

The guidance also clarifies what attached means: The first page of the EPC can be incorporated into the property details, or attached.

In an apparent swipe at NFoPP and RICS, who both wanted redactions, CLG has stuck to its guns about not allowing addresses to be redacted from residential EPCs, although redactions are allowed from commercial EPCs.

It says addresses cannot be removed from domestic EPCs, “Following discussions with property agents’ representatives it was agreed there was no requirement to extend this service to domestic sales and rentals.”

One issue which is not specifically addressed in the Q & A concerns lists of available rental properties which are sent or emailed to applicants.

However, as the guidance suggests that properties listed would meet the criteria of ‘written particulars’, a list could hypothetically list 15 rental properties on an A4 sheet of paper, and then have individual EPCs attached.

The changes kick in on April 6th 2012. Any letting or estate agent who has not seen the Q & A guidance can email EPC.Enquiry@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Source: Estate Agent Today

The new version of the EPC, and the new legislation governing their use, are meant to come into force on Good Friday, 6th April 2012.
However, changes to the rules governing EPCs were supposed to be implemented in July 2011, and then in October 2011. Both dates came and went without any sign of the changes happening and with no explanation of what was going on.
Detailed guidance from the Department of Communities and Local Government, (CLG), is promised well in advance of the date, but it’s rumoured that the new version of the EPC hasn’t been approved yet!
In practical terms, this is more of a worry for lettings and estate agents than it is for the general public, who will become legally responsible for EPCs, and face censure and EVEN have to pay fines if the new rules governing their production and use are broken!
Yet they are almost completely in the dark about what’s going on!
However, the big question is will any changes make EPCs more useful?
The official government line is that anything which increases the awareness of the energy efficiency and environmental impact of a property has got to be a good idea.
But so far, there is little evidence to suggest that buyers actually care about energy efficiency very much. After all, there is a lot more to choosing a home than the cost of heating it.
Very few buyers are showing signs of rejecting properties that they like and can afford, simply because they have a “G” energy rating.
Of course, this may change as we are forced to become greener. However, that day is still a long way off.
Alan Kirkman

However, Communities and Local Government department insisted on Friday that guidance for lettings and estate agents on EPC changes has been issued.
The department denied keeping property lettings and estate agents in the dark and says it will be issuing further guidance, although it has not said when.
CLG said that guidance was issued on March 2nd 2012 .
CLG confirmed that the changes to UK EPCs will be implemented on April 6, and the new-look EPC will be released on April 1.
Regarding further guidance, CLG said: “To avoid piecemeal announcements, it is the Department’s intention to make further information available, including the Q&A guidance, with details of other changes being made to enhance and improve the energy performance of buildings regime which will also be implemented in April.”
But the claim that any guidance had been issued baffled the NAEA and ARLA, who said that they had not received anything to circulate to members, and bemused individual estate agents.
The Communities and Local Government department statement said:
“The Property Agents EPC Retrieval Service guidance issued by DCLG on 2nd March provides UK estate agents with details of the service being provided to enable them to attach a copy of the first page of the EPC to electronic on-line written particulars to ensure the most up to date EPC is always provided directly from the EPC Register. This service has been set up at the specific request of property agents. If required, a copy of the first page of the EPC can also be printed and attached in hard copy to written particulars. This guidance has been made available to key partners within the property industry for circulation to their members. However, any property agent is welcome to contact us and request a copy of the guidance. A summary sheet regarding the regulatory change is also available.”

Energy Performance Certificate

35% of UK Landlords don't know the energy rating of their rental properties

According to research conducted by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), 17% of UK landlords reckon their rental properties would fail Energy Performance Certification (EPC).

Under the Government’s Green Deal proposals Landlords who own rental properties that fall into the lowest two categories of energy efficiency could be banned from the private rental market.

From 2018, properties with F and G EPC ratings will not be allowed to be let.

35% of UK landlords don’t even know their rental properties EPC rating .

ARLA has called for the UK Government to help landlords to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards, asking for the Landlords Energy Savings Allowance to be extended and for the Government to offer tax relief to landlords for the improvement of PRS rental properties, claiming that it is going to be exceedingly difficult for the majority of UK landlords to find the funds to improve their rental properties.

While the Green Deal will offer landlords upfront access to funds, it is tenants, as users of the properties, who will have to repay the loan.

Legal 4 Landlords have always been on the side of landlords and now offer a wide range of services for UK landlords including Energy Performance Certification (EPC’s)

 

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