Schools go Green for Grenfell

Schools go Green for Grenfell

Schools go Green for Grenfell

Schools go Green for Grenfell

Schools across the country are wearing green today and help their local communities as part of Green for Grenfell Day.

The event, organised by Grenfell United, reflects how the community around the Tower and all over the UK came together to help after the tragedy last year.

Secretary of State for Housing the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

“The Grenfell fire was an unimaginable tragedy and as we approach one year since that terrible day, it will be a time to reflect and to remember.

“I am pleased we are able to support Grenfell United and the community in promoting this important day.”

Sandra Ruiz, from Grenfell United, said:

“Green for Grenfell Day is an opportunity to celebrate community spirit up and down the country. In the days after the fire, a community of volunteers surrounded us and helped us through the most difficult of times.

“If there is to be a positive legacy from this tragedy, we hope it is that we celebrate and emulate here in North Kensington, and across the country, the community spirit that we saw in the days, weeks and months after the fire. We hope communities and schools will get behind it and it will bring good to people around the country.

“Anything that brings your community together is what Green for Grenfell Day is all about, that could be wearing green to school, planting trees, painting a community area, holding a coffee morning, anything that celebrates community. We hope people will join with us to make this a special and positive day.”

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-to-go-green-for-grenfell

UK house prices reached a new record high

UK house prices reached a new record high

UK house prices reached a new record high

UK house prices reached a new record high

UK house prices in the last three months to March grew by 1.5% pushing the average price to a new record high of £227,871, according to the latest house price index of Halifax.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:

“House prices in the three months to March were largely unchanged compared with the previous quarter. The annual rate of growth continues to be in a narrow range of under 3%; though the average price of £227,871 is a new high.

“Activity levels, like house price growth, have softened compared with a year ago. Mortgage approvals are down compared to 12 months ago, whilst home sales have remained flat in the early months of the year. This lack of direction in the housing market is in stark contrast to the continuing strength of the UK jobs market. The unemployment rate is now the joint lowest since 1975 and in the three months to January there were 402,000 more people in work compared to a year earlier.

“In the coming months we expect price growth to remain close to our prediction of 3% despite the very positive factors of continuing low mortgage rates, great affordability levels and a robust labour market. The continuing shortage of properties for sale will also support price growth.”

The key facts of the housing activity since the start of the year

UK home sales start the year on a flat footing. Home sales in February reached 101,000, the same as in January. In the three months to February home sales were only marginally lower than in the same period a year earlier. (Source: HMRC, seasonally-adjusted figures)

  • Mortgage approvals for house purchases contracts by 5% in February. After the sharp rise in number of mortgage approvals – a leading indicator of completed house sales – in January, they fell by 4.8% in February to 63,910. Compared to the same time a year ago, approvals are down by 7%. (Source: Bank of England, seasonally-adjusted figures)
  • Market activity still very subdued. There are no signs that the acute shortage of stock of homes available for sale is easing. The number of new instructions has now fallen for 24 consecutive months – the worst sequence for nine years, with the figure for unsold stock at a record low. For the eleventh month in succession new buyer enquiries have also fallen. (Source: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) monthly report)
  • Mortgages in the UK have reached their most affordable level in a decade, new research from Halifax has revealed. Typical mortgage payments accounted for less than a third (29%) of homeowners’ disposable income in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to almost half (48%) in 2007 (Quarter 3). This fall in the burden of mortgage payments has helped improve affordability for homeowners – driven predominantly by historically low mortgage rates, despite the first base rate rise in a decade last November.

http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/globalassets/documents/media/press-releases/halifax/2018/180317-press-release_halifax_mortgage-affordability-2018_final.pdf

Source: https://www.halifax.co.uk/media-centre/house-price-index/

planning permission

Over 350.000 new homes were granted planning permission in 2017

planning permission

Over 350.000 new homes were granted planning permission in 2017

The residential development pipeline remains strong, according to the latest report published from HBF and Glenigan.

The report revealed that 351,169 new homes were granted planning permission in 2017 recording the highest number since HBF and Glenigan started the Housing Pipeline series in 2006.

The fourth quarter saw a strengthening in approvals after a slight cooling during the previous three months. The number of units approved during the quarter was 1% up on the third quarter of 2017 and 9% higher than during the same period of 2016. The year-on-year rise was driven by a 7% increase in the number of private housing units approved together with a 27% rise in social housing units approved. Overall the number of residential units approved during 2017 was 21% higher than during the previous year.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation said:

“The record number of applications being submitted and approved is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment to ramping up housing supply even further than the unprecedented increases of the last four years. To build more home needs more land to come through the planning system more quickly, and to encompass a broader range of sites. SME builder numbers are down by more than 80% in recent decades as layer upon layer of legislation has worked against small firms and start-ups as well as those delivering specialist housing such as retirement homes.

“Government should ensure councils are not just taking the easy option and encourage them to grant permissions on a range of sites by type and size rather than merely relying on a few larger sites to meet local housing need.”

Glenigan’s Economics Director, Allan Wilen, added:

“The residential development pipeline remains strong, with a rise in approvals during the fourth quarter taking the total for 2017 to 351,169 units, a 21% increase on the previous year. The increase in approvals bodes well for potential new housing activity over the coming year as house builders are able to bring forward development on these new sites in response to demand.”

Read more: https://www.hbf.co.uk/documents/7575/HPL_REPORT_2017_Q4_MAY_18.pdf

support for rough sleepers

£30 million immediate support for rough sleepers

support for rough sleepers

£30 million immediate support for rough sleepers

Housing Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP confirmed a £30 million fund for 83 areas across England in order to boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets and help them into accommodation

The Councils with the highest numbers of rough sleepers will receive a share of this funding to significantly increase the support they are able to offer people now and also those at risk this coming winter.

Funding will be used to provide an additional 1,750 additional bed spaces for rough sleepers and an additional 531 dedicated homelessness workers. The funding will also help improve the co-ordination of services available to those in need and at risk.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said:

“Given how dangerous it is to sleep rough, we are pleased that ministers have recognised that urgent action is needed to support people off the street and out of danger, as well as to prevent people ending up on the streets in the first place.

“Effective outreach services are a crucial part of this along with sufficient emergency accommodation and assessment and support for people with mental health and substance use problems.

“While this money is a welcome first step, we hope that the government will provide sufficient funding alongside its forthcoming rough sleeping strategy to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of halving rough sleeping in this parliament and ending it within 10 years.”

Among the projects this funding will cover:

  • Camden – will receive £870k for a significant expansion of their outreach team to deliver targeted street interventions focusing on hot spot areas, as well as new staff to support rough sleepers to keep their own accommodation
  • Cornwall – will receive over £430k for crisis hostel accommodation, cold weather provision and support for the most disengaged rough sleepers with chronic needs
  • Manchester City Council – will receive £418k to fund specialist staff to work with young rough sleepers and offenders and provide additional night shelter beds and supported hostel beds

Councils will be supported by the government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon. James Brokenshire MP said:

“No one should ever have to sleep rough. I am determined that more people living on the streets and those at risk this coming winter get the help they need now.

“That’s why I am making £30 million available that will help councils boost the immediate support they are able to offer. Whether this pays for more beds or more outreach workers this will make a real difference now.

“Many challenging factors lie behind rough sleeping, from mental health problems to addiction and our long-term strategy to be published this summer will outline how we plan to tackle them and eliminate rough sleeping for good.”

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/james-brokenshire-announces-30-million-immediate-support-for-rough-sleepers

help older renters

Government must help older renters who are unable to afford their own home

help older renters

Government must help older renters who are unable to afford their own home

The RLA believes the Government must help landlords support older renters looking for greater security, following the publication of a BBC report which claims the number of middle aged renters has doubled in a decade.

The BBC News data claims:

  • The proportion of 35 to 54-year-olds who live as private tenants has nearly doubled in 10 years since 2006-07, according to the Family Resources Survey by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Renting among all age groups is now more likely to be from a private landlord than from a council or housing association
  • A particular rise in renting among 45 to 50-year-olds, sometimes as a result of death, debt or divorce.

Responding, RLA policy director David Smith said:

“With Government data showing that rents are increasing by less than inflation and that average weekly rents are lower than weekly mortgage payments, it is not surprising that more older people who are finding it difficult to afford to buy a property are now renting.

“We recognise that older tenants, especially those with children, want security in rented housing.

“Although official statistics show that tenants have, on average, lived in their existing rented homes for almost four years, we have called on the Government to do more to support the provision of longer tenancies.

“This includes addressing the problem that mortgage lenders often prevent landlords offering longer tenancies with an RLA survey showing that 44 per cent of landlords have mortgage conditions that limit the maximum length of tenancy that can be offered.

“The growth in the number of older tenants is one factor behind an increase in demand for rented housing at a time when an increasing number of landlords are not investing in more properties or are selling off homes because of Government tax rises on the sector.

“This is making it more difficult in areas of high demand for tenants to find decent accommodation.

“The Government is increasingly asking the private rented sector to house people in categories that it was never intended or structured to do.

“Ministers need to undertake a comprehensive review to ensure the support is in place for landlords to meet the changes in the types of tenants in rented housing.”

Source: https://news.rla.org.uk/change-is-needed-to-help-older-renters/

GuaranteeMyRent

James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire – New Housing Secretary appointed

James Brokenshire – New Housing Secretary appointed

James Brokenshire has been appointed as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

James Brokenshire said:

“I am honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to serve as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. I am determined to get Britain building the homes our country needs so everyone can afford a place to call their own.

“One of my top priorities is going to be ensuring everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower fire gets the support they need and we learn lessons from the tragedy so something like this can never happen again.

“As the son of a former chief executive of a council local government is in the blood for me. So I look forward to working with councils across the country by supporting them to deliver quality public services and build strong integrated communities.”

Source: GuaranteeMyRent

As a landlord or property owner, the prospect of managing your own property lets can be a time consuming and difficult process; however should you decide to appoint an agent to deal with matters on your behalf then making the decision of who to trust with your rental agreements can be just as difficult.

However, if you’re seeking a hassle free way of letting your property and guaranteeing yourself rent month after month EVEN if your property is empty, then we promise you’ll be in good hands with GuaranteeMyRent. GuaranteeMyRent have built up extensive knowledge and experience in the property rental sector. Since this time, our reputation for offering landlords a first class service has grown and we are now recognised as a significant entity in managing properties.

Give us a call.

Landlords face fines

Landlords face fines, loss of rental income and reduced property value by not reacting to new MEES for Leases

Landlords face fines, loss of rental income and reduced property value by not reacting to new MEES for Leases

A leading property law specialist has warned that many landlords are unaware of the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations, which came into force on April 1.

Landlords face fines of £4,000 if a leased residential property is found to have a rating below the new standard, and up to £150,000 for leased commercial property. The rules apply initially to new tenancies or lease renewals, but in 2020 will apply to all existing domestic properties and in 2023 to all existing leased commercial properties

Liz Brady, Partner at law firm Furley Page, explains:

“As a result of the new regulations, landlords are no longer able to grant leases to new tenants if the property has an EPC band rating of F or G.

“However, there are still many landlords out there who are either unaware of the changes to the law, or who are aware but are not sure how to address the issue.

“It is important that landlords comply with the new regulations, as failure to achieve the minimum EPC rating will require alterations to the property to improve its energy performance, which may take months to rectify.

“This could lead to lost income, as the property cannot be let until the works have been completed. The investment value of the property would also be affected until the necessary alterations have been carried out. There are also significant fines for landlords that are in breach of the new rules.”

Liz continued: “There are some exemptions to the MEES Regulations, but an EPC is required for the vast majority of rented commercial and residential property, including sometimes those with Listed building status. Landlords should review the Government’s guidance on EPCs and MEES Regulations carefully and take steps to ensure they comply with the new regulations.”

Read more: https://www.furleypage.co.uk/landlords-face-fines-loss-of-rental-income-and-reduced-property-value-by-not-reacting-to-new-minimum-energy-efficiency-standards-for-leases/

Source: GuaranteeMyRent

New Right to Rent

New Right to Rent guidance for Commonwealth citizens

New Right to Rent guidance for Commonwealth citizens

Government published last week the updated guidance on right to rent checks on undocumented Commonwealth citizens.

The updated guidance contains information for landlords wishing to rent private residential property in England to Commonwealth citizens (known as ‘Windrush’ cases) who are long-term residents of the UK but do not have documents to demonstrate their status.

The government recognizes that some people who have lived in the UK for most of their lives are having difficulty providing the necessary evidence of their status and wants to help them to get the documents to prove their right to live here and to support landlords undertaking right to rent checks.

The government gives details of a helpline for landlords to call if they are concerned about a prospective tenants’ ability to evident their right to rent.

There is also a helpline number for prospective tenants who cannot evidence their right to rent.

On 23 April 2018, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, made a statement to Parliament about new measures to establish a permanent and sustainable solution for members of the Windrush generation who have been in the country for decades but found themselves unable to evidence their legal right to remain in the UK.

Amber Rudd announced that the Home Office will:

-waive the citizenship fee for anyone in the Windrush generation who wishes to apply for citizenship – this applies to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it

-waive the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test

-waive the fee for the children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK who need to apply for naturalisation

-ensure that those who made their lives here but have now retired to their country of origin, are able to come back to the UK – the cost of any fees associated with this process will be waived

-be setting up a new scheme to compensate people who have suffered loss – this will be run by an independent person

-establish a new customer contact centre, so anyone who is struggling to navigate the many different immigration routes can speak to a person and get appropriate advice

-ensure that people who arrived after 1973 but before 1988 can also access the dedicated Windrush team so they can access the support and assistance needed to establish their claim to be here legally

Visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/undocumented-commonwealth-citizens-resident-in-the-uk/guidance-for-landlords-conducting-right-to-rent-checks-on-undocumented-commonwealth-citizens to access the updated guidance

Source: GuaranteeMyRent

empty homes

MPs have begun to debate new legislation that will bring empty homes back into use

empty homes

MPs have begun to debate new legislation that will bring empty homes back into use

The measures that will equip councils with powers to bring thousands of long-term empty homes back into use were put forward for discussion in Parliament.

The new legislation will allow councils to charge double the rate of Council Tax on homes left empty for years. Local authorities can currently levy a 50% premium.

Whilst the number of homes empty for 6 months or longer remains substantially lower than when records began in 2004, councils will be handed powers to levy additional charges on homes standing empty for 2 years or more.

The move is one of a range of measures introduced by the government to fix the country’s broken housing market, and councils will be able to use funds from the premium to keep Council Tax levels down for working families.

Through an ambitious package of long-term reform and targeted investment, the government is ensuring communities have the homes they need.

Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:

“While we should celebrate the number of long-term empty homes dropping by a third since 2010, there are still 200,000 vacant properties across the country.

“This bill hands councils further tools to bring much-needed homes back into use and provide thousands of families with a place to call home.”

There are currently just over 200,000 long-term empty dwellings in England, compared to 300,000 in 2010.

The number has reduced since 2013, when councils were given powers to charge a 50% premium on Council Tax bills. The vast majority of councils currently apply this premium on long-term empty homes.

Source: Guaranteemyrent

support landlords

Government must support landlords in order to help young renters

Government must support landlords in order to help young renters

16% of young people will never own their own home according to a new report by the Resolution Foundation, entitled ‘Home improvements: action to address the housing challenges faced by young people’.

In the report, Resolution Foundation suggests that more needs to be done to improve security in the sector and calls for the introduction of indeterminate tenancies and ‘light-touch rent stabilisation’. The foundation also advises tripling the capital gains tax allowance for those selling to a first time buyer to encourage landlords to sell-off properties.

Responding to the report RLA policy director David Smith said the Government needs to focus on pro-growth taxation policies to help landlords provide the extra homes to let that are needed.

RLA policy director David Smith said:

“Today’s report shows the perfect storm that young people face.

“With home ownership remaining difficult for many to access, demand for homes to rent continues to increase.

“This is at a time when Government tax increases are discouraging many landlords from investing in new homes to rent out.

“Ministers need to make pragmatic changes to their approach to private rented housing, with a series of policies that support, rather than attack, the majority of private landlords who are individuals to invest in the new homes to rent we need alongside all other tenures.

“This includes greater support and encouragement for those prepared to offer longer tenancies but who are concerned about being locked into agreements where tenants might be failing to pay their rent, not looking after their property or committing anti-social behaviour.”

Recent research by the RLA’s research arm PEARL has found 69 per cent of landlords are being put off investing in further homes to rent as a result of the Government’s three per cent stamp duty levy on the purchase of homes to rent out.

The RLA is calling for a number of reforms to support those in rented housing, including:

  • Waiving the stamp duty levy where landlords invest in property adding to the net overall supply of housing.
  • Using a combination of tax incentives and improvements to the process for regaining possession of a home where tenants are neglecting it or not paying the rent. 73 per cent of landlord have told the RLA that they would be encouraged to offer longer-term tenancies if such reforms were made.
  • Action to stop mortgage providers from prohibiting landlords from offering longer tenancies. 44 per cent of landlords have told the RLA that they have mortgage conditions that limit the maximum length of tenancy that can be offered.
  • Establishing a new housing court to improve and speed up access to justice for tenants and landlords when things go wrong.
  • Providing relief from Capital Gains Tax where a landlord is prepare to sell a property to a sitting tenant to support first time home ownership.

Read the full report here: http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2018/04/Home-improvements.pdf

Source: https://news.rla.org.uk/call-for-change-as-young-renters-face-perfect-storm/

Guaranteemyrent