Currently viewing the tag: "rental property"
Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation Warning

Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation Warning

New Smoke And Carbon Monoxide
Alarm Legislation 
Comes Into Force
On 1st October

On October 1st 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations are supposed to come into force meaning that landlords or their appointed lettings and property managing agents must install a smoke alarm on every floor of a rental property used for accommodation and fit Carbon Monoxide alarms in any room that contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, and all alarms should be in good working order.

However, there are calls for this legislation to be delayed due to lack of notice and ambiguity of the actual legislation.

The introduction of the new legislation is intended to save lives, we are already aware of the dangers that a potential fire in a residential rented property can cause, however, many landlords remain oblivious to the danger posed by Carbon Monoxide.

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Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Muted Response To Tax Relief Petition

The Government has published a response to the online petition that opposes the proposals to change the amount of tax relief on buy to let mortgages announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in the post election summer budget.

From April 2017 onwards landlords will only be able to claim the basic rate tax relief rather than the higher rate tax relief on buy to let mortgage payments. It is widely feared that the move will severely affect the profitability of the private rented sector (PRS).

The online petition to reverse the planned tax restrictions on individual landlords has attracted more than 23,600 signatures since being posted.

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Pension Freedom Fuels Increase In UK Property InvestmentPension Freedom Fuels Increase
In UK Property Investment

Since UK pensioners were granted full control of their retirement savings in April 2015, an estimated 60,000 (70%) pensioners have taken advantage of their ability to take some or all of their accumulated pension in a lump sum, with many opting to put their cash into property instead as an alternative to annuities, shares and bonds.

According to the latest Global Real Estate Outlook report published by property investment company IP Global, property remains a far more predictable and stable longer term option compared to alternative investments in the stock market.

In the UK, property prices in London and Manchester are leading the way, with prices in Greater London increasing by 12% in the last year alone.

New properties in Manchester may appear to be valued at less than half the average of London properties, however, residential property prices are expected to continue rising to close this gap, with new projections putting Manchester’s property price growth at a staggering 26.4% by 2019.

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Politicians Want PRS Control

Politicians Want PRS Control

Labour Announces Further PRS Controls

The Labour party leader, Ed Miliband, has announced his party’s plans to reform the private rented sector (PRS), with longer term tenancies and rent cap proposals, should they win the May general election.

Labour have been at the forefront of the PRS reform movement for some time, campaigning for longer term tenancies for tenants in the private sector and now the political party leaders want to introduce even more legislation that would effectively cap rental prices so they cannot be increased by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during the proposed secure three-year tenancies.

The PRS control proposals were supposed to win the hearts and minds of the 9.1 Million households currently living in private rented sector properties, however even tenant campaign groups can see that these new proposals have more holes in them than an old Swiss cheese.

The introduction of new legislation that Labour are proposing would require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rental prices charged to any previous rented property occupants, allowing tenants to have the upper hand in negotiating the best possible rental price with landlords, before the start of a new tenancy.

Do TESCO provide customers with information concerning the actual purchase price that they pay for items before they sell them on at a huge profit, do they reveal operational profit margins – No they don’t!
Prices fluctuate as do operational costs, why should landlords be singled out for special measures when other business sectors are left alone?

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How Landlords Are Affected By 2015 Pre-Election Budget

How Landlords Are Affected By 2015 Pre-Election Budget

How Landlords Are Affected By 2015 Pre-Election Budget

During the pre-election budget last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP announced some significant changes that could have a detrimental impact on landlords the UK’s private rental sector (PRS) and residential property owners.

Below are the highlights of the pre-election budget that are of relevance to landlords and property owners:

  • £13 Billion (GBP) sale announced of the mortgages of UKAR – Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley (Mortgage Express) to reduce national debt which followed the bailing out of the banks.
  • Introduction of 20 new housing zones.
  • The economy of the North grew faster than the South during 2014.
  • The UK has the highest rate of employment in its history!
    Employment is growing fastest in the North West, Yorkshire having the biggest employment.
  • Living standards are higher in 2015 than 2010.
  • Inflation forecast downgraded to 0.2%.
  • Low interest rates to be “locked in”.
  • Original target of debt reduction set in 2010 budget has been met.
  • 13 years of rising national debt has now been stopped.
  • UK achieved the largest and most sustained debt reduction of any major economy according to the IMF.
  • Government borrowing is falling.
  • The wealthy are making the biggest contributions to reduce debt.
  • End of austerity in 2019.
  • The annual tax return is to be abolished. New digital tax accounts to be created.
  • The personal tax free allowance has been raised to £10,600 (GBP) and will be raised to £11,000 (GBP) in 2017.
  • The higher rate tax threshold will rise to £43,300 (GBP) by 2018.
  • Class 2 national insurance contributions abolished for self-employed.
  • Stronger measures against tax avoidance and tax evasion.
  • Review of avoidance of inheritance tax through deeds of variation.
  • New penalties for tax evasion and those professionals who assist them.
  • Crime down 20%.

There was some good news contained in the 2015 pre-election budget too:

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UK Property Investment Increases 8% In A Year

UK Property Investment Increases 8% In A Year

UK Property Investments Rise By 8% During 2014

UK property investment is booming again, thanks in part to the Government changes to the way pensions are controlled. The changes allow interested property investors to release pension funds for property purchases early, because bricks and mortar continue to offer a greater return than pension funds currently provide.

Property investment in the UK is becoming even more popular with the number of property investors increasing by 8% during the past year, according to data recently released by letting agent, Ludlow Thompson, with landlord numbers rising to approximately 1.63 million controlling approximately 3.1 million private rental sector (PRS) properties in the UK. 

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More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

Fire Service Calls For 2013
Smoke Alarm Law To Be Enacted

The Government passed a law back in 2013 requiring private rental sector (PRS) landlords to provide smoke alarms in all UK rental properties.

However, this new bill is still under public consultation and as yet it has not been brought into force and some local authorities claim that this is putting tenant’s lives at risk.

Now there are further calls from the fire service for more new laws to be introduced to make sure all landlords, both social and private sector, install smoke alarms in all rented properties.

Mandatory smoke alarms are among the key issues to be discussed at the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual fire safety conference due to be held in Gateshead next month 10th – 11th March 2015.

The call for UK landlords to install smoke alarms in rental properties forms a central part of the LGA’s key report ‘The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer’, which was launched on Saturday 7th February 2015.

The report highlights a series of proposals on how UK fire services can improve fire safety for tenants, including calls for electrical wiring in rented properties to be inspected annually, the same way UK PRS landlords are obliged to obtain gas safety certificates (CP12’s) every year.

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Recent Survey Discovers UK Landlords And Tenants are happy!

Recent Survey Discovers UK Landlords And Tenants are happy!

Four Out Of Five Tenants Happy
With Their Landlords

The majority of tenants living in private rental sector (PRS) rented properties have nothing but good things to say about their landlords, according to a survey conducted by Saga Home Insurance.

In a poll of UK tenants conducted by the insurance company, 77% of tenants who responded rated their landlord as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

Fewer than 8% of tenants, (1 in 10) described the quality of service they received from their landlords as ‘poor’, which the insurance firm claimed to be contrary to popular stereotypes.

The survey surmised that UK landlords are largely a morally sound, ethical group of business people!

However, 56% of the tenants polled by Saga still identified room for improvement in their tenant-landlord relationships. With:

  • 23% of tenants complaining about hard-to-reach landlords
  • 21% of tenants had reservations about the quality of tradesmen used for repairs.

The insurance firm also spoke to landlords themselves about their relationships with tenants, and the biggest obstacles to a cordial co-existence with their tenants were:

  • Late rent payments cited by 37% of landlords,
  • Damage to rental property – 32%
  • Failure to provide notice when vacating rental property – 20%.

Finally, the insurance company also discovered that at least 10% of landlords, an alarming one in ten,  had not paid tenants’ deposits into one of the three the Deposit Protection Schemes currently in operation, which as well as being illegal, can result in problems when tenant eviction becomes necessary.

Saga’s head of home insurance, Sue Green, commented on the survey results, saying “In the age of housing shortages and escalating rents, landlords have been getting some bad headlines, but the research shows the extent to which this portrayal is unfair. The vast majority of landlords are conscientious and ethical, although tenants do believe more can be done which is why we have released a guide with practical tips to help them improve their ethical credentials.”

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

UK private rental sector (PRS) and social landlords were able to breathe a sigh of relief on Friday 28th November 2014, when the controversial Revenge Eviction Bill, or to use its correct title, the Tenancies Reform Bill, presented by Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, failed to progress past its first reading in the House of Commons.

Rather than failing on a vote, the bill failed on a technicality after MP’s Philip Davies and Christopher Chope chose to talk it out, known as filibustering, because there were not enough MP’s present in the House of Commons to vote for the Bill. The debate started at approximately 9.30am and parliamentary procedure dictates that only Bills which remain unopposed after 2.30pm may make further progress.

MP’s who supported the Bill tried bringing forward a closure motion, to end the debate and call for an early vote, however for a successful majority, at least 100 MP’s must support it, but the motion was only supported by 60 MP’s and the debate on the Bill subsequently ended.

In order for the Tenancies Reform Bill to become law by the next election it must pass a second reading stage in the House of Commons, but it is not certain whether the Government will commit more parliamentary time to debate the Tenancies Reform Bill to try to force it through.

UK PRS and social tenants do need to be protected from the small minority of rogue landlords, and so do good, reliable, law abiding landlords.

It is far from fair that the majority of upstanding landlords should be expected to alter legal business practices because of criticism drawn by a few rogue operators within the UK’s private rented sector.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill proposed restrictions on the serving of section 21 notices even where only a “hazard awareness notice” has been issued by a council. Landlords wouldl also be prevented from serving a section 21 notice where an improvement notice has been served on a rental property relating to category 1 or category 2 Hazards under the HHSRS rating system, or where the rental property requires emergency remedial action.

Tenants would also be able to challenge section 21 notices where they had complained to the landlord or council before the notice was issued, but the council was still deciding whether to even inspect the property in question.

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Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties
As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants looking to rent in the UK’s private rented sector face competition from other would be tenants as demand increases and supply contracts, according the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

ARLA’s latest report has discovered that 68% of landlords surveyed reported more interested tenants than available rental properties.

This is the largest successive increase in tenant demand in the last 12 months, with tenant demand figures up from 46% in Q3 2013, 54% in Q1 2014, 59% in Q2 2014; meaning an increase of 9% between the second and third quarters of the year to date.

The tenant demand data is reinforced by the fact that supply of suitable rental properties in the private rental sector has decreased in the last quarter, with ARLA letting agent members recording a 6% drop in the average number of managed Buy To Let properties on their books, down from 143 to 135 per member agency.

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