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Tessa Shepperson Newsround #103

News items from the past week on landlord and tenant issues.  What have we for you this week?

Council Housing

Starting on a high note, I was very pleased to read this article in the Guardian about council housing which is apparently now being built again.

The article describes many new developments and says of the Councils

They are mostly doing so for the first time in four decades since Margaret Thatcher took away their powers to build. These were only returned in 2012 and, in the seven years since, London councils have built over 2,000 homes – compared to only 70 in the seven years before that.

The fly in the ointment is that to pay for this they are also having to act as developers and build some Properties for private sale to fund the social housing element.

Councillor Danny Beales, cabinet member for Camden’s Community Investment Programme (CIP), said

People might think it’s strange for a council to be behaving like a developer. But with the current constraints, it’s one of the only ways of funding investment.

Still, at least some new housing is being built.  What a shame they may later be forced to sell it under the right to buy legislation.

Rents going up?

The general advice to government from the sector has been that increased taxation and letting agent charges are inevitably going to result in higher rent for tenants.

This article from Property Industry Eye is looking at the effect of increased taxation, where  Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, commenting on a survey, said

After filing their 2017-18 tax returns, landlords are becoming more aware that ongoing changes to mortgage interest tax relief are increasing the financial challenges facing them.

This is leading more property investors to reconsider their options and the pressure on some to increase rental prices will be mounting.  …

Growing pressure on landlords to increase rents in order to make ends meet will ultimately have a detrimental effect on renters’ ability to save for deposits to buy their own homes.

The Government should be careful to ensure that any future regulation around the private rental market does not further shrink the appetite of private landlords to satisfy the growing demand of tenants.

Quite.

Lewisham to license all landlords

As reported in Negotiator,  Lewisham is looking to set up a borough-wide selective licensing scheme which will, if approved, require all landlords of some 32,000 rented properties in the borough be registered and pay a license fee of between £540 and £750 per property every five years.

It will be the second most expensive licensing scheme in London after Newham.

Richard Tacagni of London Property Licensing commented:

In presenting their proposals, the council have given a challenging commitment to inspect every licensed property during the life of the scheme, including all rented properties occupied by a single family

Even if inspections started on day one, this would involve inspecting over 100 properties every week throughout the five-year life of the scheme.

The Council’s consultation will end at the end of August.

Vacant properties

Despite changes in the rules to Council tax to allow Councils to charge more to long term empty properties, it seems, according to this report, that they are on the rise.  And worth at least £2.2 billion

Surprisingly (to me) the fact that the region with the highest figure is Cornwall where 25 in every 1,000 homes have been sitting empty for more than ten years.  Although predictably London has the highest long-term empty rate at 38 homes in every 1,000.  The article comments that

the square mile is a magnet for foreign property investors who often sit on properties rather than rent them out.

This information has been unearthed by Admiral Insurance using government statistics and Freedom of Information requests to local authorities.

Snippets

  • You can listen to me in Hamilton Frasers most recent property podcast
  • Shelter takes down a report after it is ‘savaged by landlords’
  • London agent to charge landlords as new £240 tenancy set up fee
  • TDS Charitable Foundation and the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust are funding a 3 year research project on policing the rental sector
  • Fees ban a possible factor in only 2% of available rental properties now accepting pets

The post Tessa Shepperson Newsround #103 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.



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