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Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

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Liberal Democrats Announce Help To Rent Scheme

Liberal Democrats Announce Help To Rent Scheme

Help To Rent Scheme To Support Young Workers 

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has announced plans for a new ‘Help to Rent’ scheme should his party get elected to power in May. The scheme is intended to support young workers who want to move out of their parents homes and rent their first property in the private rental sector (PRS).

According to some of the latest research it is thought that around two million young working adults still live with their parents because they cannot afford to move into a property of their own, either purchased or rented.

The proposals for the Help To Rent scheme will include a government loan of up to £2,000 (GBP) in London, and £1500 (GBP) in other UK regions to cover the cost of tenancy deposits, with loan repayments staged over 12 or 24 months.

To be eligible for the proposed Help To Rent scheme and secure a loan for a deposit, tenants would need to be in paid employment, aged between 18 to 30 and not be property owners or seeking a tenancy in social housing provided by local authorities. 

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RLA Hit Back At Rent Control Calls

RLA Hit Back At Rent Control Calls

Rent Controls Are Not The Answer
To The UK Housing Shortage

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have hit back at politicians and housing and homeless pressure groups who are openly calling for rent controls in the UK’s private sector by claiming that private sector rents are falling in real terms following analysis of the official English Housing Survey (EHS).

The English Housing Survey (EHS) results are taken from a continuous survey conducted by the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and show that average private sector rents increased by just £10 from £153 to £163 (GBP) per week in 2014, representing a rise of 6.5%.

In contrast, average weekly rents in the UK’s social sector increased by more, with weekly rental prices increasing 25.4%, rising by £18 from £71 to £89 (GBP).

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Interest Rate Rises Could Stall UK Rental Property Market

Interest Rate Rises Could Stall UK Rental Property Market

Interest Rate Rises Could Decimate
UK Rental Property Market

The recent changes in the dynamics of the UK property market are forcing a number of mortgage lenders and property investment specialists to advise clients how they can better protect themselves.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has claimed that the BoE has no immediate plans to increase the base interest rate, currently remaining at the 0.5% record low, however this situation could change within the next twelve months.

The UK property market remains in a fairly delicate state and affordable residential properties are being bought with amazing speed, as the UK economy continues to improve but property prices are predicted to rise considerably over the next few months.

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Former Deputy PM Wants Action Against Rogue Landlords

Former Deputy PM Wants Action Against Rogue Landlords

Former Deputy PM Reckons “Rachmanism” Is Back!

We need to take action against private landlords and protect society’s most vulnerable people” – John Prescott

Former deputy PM, John Prescott has used his weekly column in the Sunday Mirror to hit out at rogue landlords in the UK’s private rented sector (PRS).

Mr Prescott wrote: “We tackled Rachmanism through legislation, housing finance and building more local authority housing. But 50 years later Rachman lives on in a new generation of unscrupulous landlords. More than a million rented homes in the private sector are now substandard. But for years, the taxpayer has subsidised them through housing benefit. Research has revealed that at least 36% of London’s council houses sold off by the Thatcher government are now in the hands of private landlords. Rents are at their highest ever to maximise obscene profits.”

Peter Rachman was a Polish migrant, who earned the poor reputation of being the archetypal slum landlord, because he subdivided houses into flats and rooms, forced paying tenants out of their properties to replace them with migrants from the West Indies, as it was easier to charge the migrants higher rents because they weren’t covered by UK rent protection legislation.

Mr Prescott also commented on mega landlord, Fergus Wilson’s decision to evict tenants on benefits and rent to Eastern Europeans instead, writing: “We pay out £9.3 Billion (GBP) in housing benefit every year. It helped people like Wilson build their property empires. But cuts to these benefits and the introduction of the bedroom tax means they’re looking to maintain their margins. Now, only one in five landlords rents to people on benefits. Cutting benefits has led to landlords kicking out the poorest people in society. We must get tough and follow Newham Council’s lead by licensing all private landlords to stop them kicking out the vulnerable to feather their own nests.”

It appears that the former deputy PM must have had a small lapse in his memory because it was the Labour government that introduced Local Housing Allowance, (LHA) – which replaced housing benefit and slashed the amount of money that tenants in private rented sector properties could claim towards housing costs, paving the way for the current unpopular bedroom tax that is affecting tenants in the social housing sector. The Labour government also introduced the ATOS Work Capability Assessments that have been attributed to the welfare reforms that the UK is also currently seeing.

Owning rental properties and letting them to tenants is a business and rental prices are dictated by local area demand as well as the LHA rates in each region, so it is unfair of the former deputy PM to tar all landlords with the same brush. Yes there are some unscrupulous landlords out there, and there are unscrupulous bankers and businessmen too, but they are not being targeted by former politicians who use the media to their own ends.

Wind your neck in 2 Jags, and stick to commenting on matters that you know about, rather than wading into a debate on which you know very little!

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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Even MP's Think Landlord Immigration Checks Are Unworkable

Even MP’s Think Landlord Immigration Checks Are Unworkable

MP’s Question Immigration Checks By Landlords

The Governments plan to make private rented sector (PRS) and social housing landlords legally responsible for checking the immigration status of all tenant applicants has raised questions on the policy from MP’s.

The proposal to make landlords perform immigration checks on tenants and prosecute those who fail to comply has caused outrage among UK PRS landlords, who would be expected to be doing the UK Border Agency’s work without payment.

Following the outline of the new proposals, Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, a former housing minister, told the House of Commons during a lively debate on the Queens speech that landlords performing immigration checks on tenants would be unworkable, stating that: “The Government cannot tell us how their policy will be enforced, because they do not know who the landlords are and they will not have a statutory register.”

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UK PRS Rents Rise Faster Than Tenant Income

UK PRS Rents Rise Faster Than Tenant Income

Working tenants renting property in the UK private rented sector have diminishing amounts of disposable income after new research revealed that average PRS rents rose four times faster than average UK salaries increased.

The March 2013 HomeLet Rental Index shows the average cost of renting property in the UK private rented sector increased by 3.3% during the first quarter of 2013 to average £776 (GBP) per month.

In contrast, the average amount working tenants earn in a year only increased by a minimal 0.8% over the same period to £27,300 (GBP).

Although the 3.3% rise is much higher than that of tenant income, the increase in PRS rents has apparently slowed.

Data from March’s report also shows the average cost of renting a property in the UK PRS in the first quarter of 2012 increased by 3.4% and a significant 6.9% in 2011.

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Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

A basic round up for all UK Private Rental Sector (PRS) landlords of what is and what will be happening to affect tenants that are in reciept of benefits during the 2013 Welfare Reforms. 

Council Tax Benefit April 2013

 

  • Local authorities will become responsible for their own Council Tax schemes under the welfare reforms. Anyone of working age will now have to contribute towards their own council tax – All PRS tenants should have received a letter from their local authority if this affects them.

Disability Living Allowance

  • This benefit is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
  • All new and existing claimants will be reassessed using stricter rules so fewer people will qualify. The new assessment will focus on an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life.

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Are Landlords Sure Thay Are Not Victims Of A Rent To Rent Scam?

Are Landlords Sure Thay Are Not Victims Of A Rent To Rent Scam?

There are more worrying developments in the UK PRS, as the practice of Rent To Rent within the UK residential lettings market is causing increasing concern among industry professionals.

The practice of Rent To Rent, sees one set of individuals renting a privately owned residential property within the UK private rented sector (PRS) and then sub-letting it to another tenant for profit, as a business.

It is widely believed that many Rent To Renters are operating without the landlord’s knowledge or consent.

Professional tenants have reportedly accepted a tenancy, signed agreements of multiple properties, then they have proceeded to sublet the properties to unsuspecting third parties, unaware of the true situation.

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