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Government Funding To Boost Shared Tenancies For Homeless

Government Funding To Boost Shared Tenancies For Homeless

£1 million Government funding boosts rental options for single homeless people

This week, Communities Minister Don Foster announced a cash boost of up to £1 Million (GBP) to support single homeless people providing access to shared tenancies within the UK private rental sector.

The funding is intended to help homeless people to find a safe and secure home in shared accommodation or Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) in private rented sector (PRS) properties.

Mr Foster allocated up to £800,000 (GBP) for homelessness charity Crisis to fund schemes to set up new shared tenancies for single homeless people within the UK’s private rented sector.

The minister also announced a further £230,000 (GBP) for the charity to continue its Private Rented Sector Access Programme, which works with local landlords to help vulnerable people find the homes they need in privately rented accommodation.

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Landlords expected to do UK border agency's job for them

Landlords expected to do UK border agency’s job for them

Private landlords are set to become an extra line in UK Border Control as they will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let rental properties to people allowed to be in the UK under immigration laws announced in the Queen’s Speech.

This means that Private Rental Sector (PRS) and social housing landlords will have a responsibility to make sure their tenants are in the country legally

Over 3 million buy-to-let landlords are rental property owners in the UK private sector and will be responsible for checking the immigration status of all potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for those breaking the law.

Employers will also face more substantial fines for employing on illegal immigrants.

It appears that UK landlords and employers are expected to police the immigration system as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency.

Landlords are being given additional responsibility with no recompense other than the threat of heavy fines for failure to comply. Why are we expected to do the UK Border Agency’s job for them when they are paid handsomely for failing to do the job they are employed by the Government to do?

Does this mean that Landlords will be given a financial incentive to turn informant?

I don’t think so…

The new measures are included in an amended Immigration Bill will also limit the ability of European migrants to claim UK state benefits and ensure that the right to residence in the UK on the basis of family commitments is not abused by criminal elements. The UK judicial system will be expected to balance the nature and seriousness of the crime committed against the right to remain resident in the UK.

Temporary migrants will be charged for use of NHS services and only those who have lived in an area for at least two years will qualify for social housing. Regulations will also be amended to ensure that European immigrants cannot claim benefits for more than six months if they do not actively seek legal employment and show they have a genuine chance of obtaining work.

The legislation has been drawn up as the Coalition Government struggles to contain the electoral threat posed by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which has hard-line immigration policies.

The details of how the measures will be implemented will be set out later in the year. The plans will be the subject of a formal consultation in the coming months.

Ministers expect the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in houses of multiple occupancy (HMO) properties. However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas.

It is unclear how landlords are supposed to verify the authenticity of documentation, as many employers have already discovered to their cost since the tightening of employment rules surrounding immigrant workers, as falsified information has no way of being checked and is only up to the diligence of the employer to ascertain the true identity of their employees.

The limit of the financial penalties set to be levied on landlords who fail to comply is also yet to be decided but is expected to be severe and may run into thousands of pounds.

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lending Up 20% Over The Last Year

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lending Up 20% Over The Last Year

UK Buy-to-let mortgage lending has increased by 20% year-on-year during 2012 to reach its highest level since the UK property crash of 2008.

The appetite for buy-to-let mortgages has been boosted by strong demand from frustrated first time buyers, who end up as tenants as they are unable to get themselves on the property ladder. This strong tenant demand has in turn pushed up private rented sector rental prices as tenants find that they have become financially trapped.

£16.4 Billion (GBP) worth of buy-to-let mortgages have been taken out over the last year, showing a 19% annual increase, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.

Around £4.6 Billion (GBP) worth of buy-to-let mortgages were advanced in the last three months of 2012, representing a 10% increase on the previous quarter.

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UK Buy-to-Let Needs New Landlords

UK Buy-to-Let Needs New Landlords

The demand for rental property in the UK is such that many experts are predicting that as many as 1 in 5 households will be living in rental property as tenants by 2016.

In order for this estimate to be accurate there will need to be an additional 1.1 Million more rental properties made available in the UK private rented sector.

Experienced property investors are expanding their rental property portfolios and the demand for rental property is so strong that many new property investors are being encouraged purchase property for longer term rental yields and become landlords.

UK PRS landlords are reported to control as many as 4.8 Million PRS rental properties throughout the UK, up from the reported 2.5 Million in 2002.

PRS rental properties in London account for 27% of all residential properties while social renting now accounts for just 24%.

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UK Council of Mortgage Lenders May Change Buy To Let T's & C's

UK Council of Mortgage Lenders May Change Buy To Let T’s & C’s

Lenders may have to change their terms and conditions on buy to let mortgages and rethink their attitudes towards standard tenancies, according to the UK Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) was responding to calls by Labour leader Ed Miliband for longer-term tenancies in the private sector after he said he wanted to see greater security offered to households in rental accommodation. Similar calls have also been mounted by Shelter, and longer tenancies were also discussed in Parliament at the end of January.

But the CML acknowledges that lenders are nervous about extended tenancy agreements because of the risk of a build-up of rental arrears leading to buy to let mortgage arrears, affecting lenders’ ability to repossess the property if a long-term tenant is in place.

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The latest survey by the Association of Residential Letting Agents, (ARLA), has indicated that property rental prices within the Private Rental Sector (PRS) may be beginning to level out.

The ARLA survey quizzed 726 letting agents and over 1500 landlords, and the results showed that just 50% of all respondents reported an increase in their achievable rent level over the first three months of 2012, that’s 10% less than this time last year.

It also emerged that the average void period for rental properties in the PRS has increased to 3 weeks and the number of new tenancies being signed has reduced.

ARLA believe that the new figures indicate that tenants are staying in rental properties for longer periods of time, however some property pundits reckon it could be an early warning that private sector rental property demand is falling, or worse still it could mean that a growing number of tenants can’t afford to pay the rents being charged.

President of ARLA Tim Hyatt commented on the findings saying; “Data suggests that things could be changing in the private rented sector as the amount being charged for rent is beginning to stabilise in some parts of the UK. This could be due to a number of factors, including an increase in haggling, forcing rent levels down.”

The UK may need an extra 1.1 Million private sector rental properties within the next 4 Years

The number of people renting homes in the UK Private Rented Sector (PRS) has almost doubled over the last ten years, increasing from 2.5 Million tenants in PRS properties in 2002 to 4.8 million tenants today.

‘Rental Britain’ – A new report from Savills estate agency and the property portal Rightmove, predicts that one in five households could be in Private Rented Sector (PRS) property by the year 2016.

That would require an additional 1.1 Million rental properties to be made available for rent to new tenants.

The report may be gloomy reading for the UK Government but it is great news for thousands UK landlords who have already secured their rental incomes using specialist products and services for landlords, such as, Rent Guarantee insurance.

The ‘Rental Britain’ report forecasts that £200 Billion (GBP) investment in property will be needed, but says that only £50 Billion (GBP) of this is expected to come from buy-to let-funding, with the gap filled by institutional investment in new purpose built rental accommodation, but the report says that this needs to be recognised by the planning system.

The report also states that a shortage in supply is making some regions of the UK unaffordable, with PRS rent rises averaging 5.2% across the UK during 2011.

The report estimates that during 2011, working tenants paid around £48 Billion (GBP) in rent to private landlords, and this is expected to rise to around £70 Billion within the next five years.

Lucian Cook, director of Savills residential research, said: “Meeting the growing demand for private renting and the changing profile of tenant demand are perhaps the greatest challenges facing both the housing industry and policy makers. The dynamics of supply and demand make a great case for investment in this sector, and rising rents and lower capital values have begun to attract private investors back into the market. Investment returns relative to other asset classes will dictate the pace of investor entry to this sector.”

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Private rented sector property rents in the UK are only expected to rise moderately in 2012, remaining almost in line with inflation and salary increases, according to the Belvoir rental index, which records monthly and annual rents across the popular letting agents 140+ UK offices.

Their data shows that in the UK, property rental fluctuation is very regional and this is likely to continue throughout 2012, with areas such as the South East likely to see a higher increase as residential property rental prices force people out of London into the Home Counties.

Dorian Gonsalves, Managing Director of Belvoir Lettings said “With regard to other areas of the UK I think rents will be relatively stable and increases are likely to be very modest. Landlords should be realistic and it is worth noting that, according to the Belvoir rental index, many areas have still not recovered to the level of rents that were being achieved in 2008. I predict that increased rents and stable or decreasing house prices will result in increased rental yields in 2012. However, this is clearly very dependent on the outcome of the Eurozone crisis and its impact on credit and borrowing. The current crisis is making consumers nervous, which will affect both the buy to let and mortgage market”.

A recent phenomenon noted by letting and property managing agents across the country is the occurrence of “double renting”, (homeowners who are struggling to sell are letting out their existing home to provide an on-going income stream and then moving to another lower cost rental property).

Double renting helps avoid the stamp duty and legal costs that are associated with buying and selling, enabling savvy homeowners to remain invested in the property market until the situation improves and sell at a profit.

“I believe that for reasons of flexibility, mobility and budget, 2012 will see a shift towards more people viewing renting as a preferred lifestyle choice rather than a necessity. By renting a property people are able to plan their spending much more accurately and have the flexibility to follow job offers etc. These factors are becoming increasingly important, particularly in the current financial climate. Because of the regional variations in rental yields it is very important for landlords to talk to specialists who understand the local market, as buying in the wrong area could be very costly. We are able to report on regional markets rather than providing a broad brush approach, which is not particularly helpful from a property investment perspective”, explained Mr Gonsalves.

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Private residential renting on the decline?

UK PRS faces mounting rent arrears

The demand for Private Rental Sector (PRS) residential property and the rise in the number of tenants struggling to meet their rental payments on a regular monthly basis is expected to see the decline of the UK residential property rental market.

According to the latest lettings survey from the Association of Residential Letting Agents, (ARLA) 55% of its members reported more tenants than available properties in the last quarter of 2011, down on 74% reported in the previous quarter.

39.2% of ARLA members reported an increase in tenants struggling to pay their rent, over the same period, a figure up from 36.7% the previous quarter.

President of ARLA, Tim Hyatt, said: “With household income decreasing and job uncertainty prevailing, it could be that increasing rental arrears is a sign that the wider economic malaise is having a tangible impact on personal finance – some consumers may have reached the limit of their access to finance, while others may be cutting back as many commentators have predicted. We are reassured by the fact that the number of new tenancies is stable, but we will be watching the market closely in the coming months to determine how significant these latest figures will prove to be”.

The number of First‐Time Buyers (FTB) able to secure finance isn’t expected to significantly increase during 2012 so the demand for the limited supply of private sector rental accommodation will only continue to rise. It won’t be long before rents will resume an upward trend.

With the mortgage market still facing more financial fallout from the Eurozone crisis and the wider economy remaining sluggish, UK credit conditions are unlikely to ease significantly in 2012. As household income become even more stretched during the course of the year, it is expected that the current rental boom will begin to decrease outside of prime areas in the latter half of this year.

With the numbers of tenants having trouble paying their rent being on the rise, UK Landlords are encouraged to use Rent Guarantee products from reputable suppliers such as Legal 4 Landlords as a means to keep their rental income flowing in.
If you are a Landlord who lets a property then you run the risk of rent default by your tenant. Even the best checks and references cannot predict a tenant falling on hard times and not being able to pay their rent. Could you cover your expenditure if this happened?

In the current economic climate, many landlords are finding their default rates soar as tenants struggle with rising unemployment and increased bills. Recovering arrears can be difficult and costly for landlords, without any guarantee of success.
At Legal 4 Landlords, our Rent Guarantee Insurance will cover you against your tenant defaulting or failing to pay the rent

UK Bailiffs Christmas Holidays

UK Bailiff Seasonal Amnesty

A seasonal reminder to landlords and letting agents that Bailiff Amnesty’s will begin around 12th December 2011 to the 9th January 2011. Please check your local County Court for more details.

 The amnesty, which is not widely publicised, is implemented due to local authority offices, solicitors, courts and housing welfare organisations festive holiday closures.

Unfortunately for landlords, the festive season of good cheer can be one of the costliest periods due to an increase in rent arrears, especially from LHA tenants.

 Up to the end of 2010, there were 995,000 LHA tenancies and rent arrears in this sector were thought to be in excess of £290 Million (GBP).

This year research indicates that there are now over 1Million LHA tenancies and with more changes to the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill due to be implemented on 1st January 2012, rent arrears are expected to increase further.

 Landlords are urged to act fast when dealing with defaulting tenants, especially at Christmas as courts experience backlogs of paperwork and hearings in the New Year.

Speak to your local office now or call our free phone help line – 0800 840 7133

 Legal 4 Landlords Eviction and Rent Recovery Services

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