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Big surge in complaints over property management and deposits

The Property Redress Scheme, one of three approved redress operations, says it saw a 33 per cent increase in membership in 2016 and a 40 per cent surge in complaints. At the end of 2016, a total of 5,259 agent offices – very largely lettings – had joined PRS along with 227 property professionals such as inventory clerks. Total membership of the scheme currently stands at more than 7,000 members,…

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Council working with HMRC to expose tax-evading private landlords

A council claims that up to 13,000 private landlords are “of interest” to HM Revenue and Customs, where there are alleged discrepancies between council records and income declared to the tax authorities. Newham council says the 13,000 represent almost half of all the landlords in the borough and the figure has been calculated through analysis of the authority’s private rental sector licensing scheme, which is widely regarded as one of…

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Buy to let mortgage calculator

Buy to let mortgage costs drop

A new snapshot of the buy to let mortgage market suggests costs have dropped further over the past three months as lenders compete for customers. New figures from software supplier Mortgage Brain show that the cost of a two year fixed buy to let mortgage – at either 60 per cent or 70 per cent loan to value –  is now four per cent lower than it was in May…

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Housing market heading for crisis Central Housing Group

Housing market speeding towards crisis

House prices continued to climb in June, although the pace of annual house price inflation slowed. Today’s Telegraph said the housing market was speeding towards a crisis, with average prices across England and Wales up almost £10,000 on June a year ago. Spicerhaart chief Paul Smith told the paper: “Along with consumer price hikes and falling wage growth, unaffordability in the Housing market is reaching crisis point.” Nick Leeming, chairman…

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shiny handcuffs for Capital Gains Tax evader

Jailed for failing to pay Capital Gains Tax

A property investor has been jailed for failing to declare Capital Gains Tax from the sale of his rental properties. Richard Fuller, 53, did not declare the profit gained from the sales of several Aldershot properties between 2006 and 2013. HMRC reports that Fuller – who was arrested in October 2014 – evaded £157,725. The landlord was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and fraud by false representation in…

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Fifth of landlords to sell investment properties

A survey of almost 3,000 landlords suggests more than one in five plans to sell at least one of their investment properties in the coming year – making the current shortfall of homes to rent even more acute. The Residential Landlords’ Association says 22 per cent plan to sell at least one; a significantly smaller 18 per cent are planning to buy additional investment properties to rent. The association also…

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London Overground trains for Central Housing Group

The London Overground Is Being Extended

The London Overground will be extended 4.5km beyond Barking station, it has been announced. The extension will take the much-troubled ‘Goblin’ (Gospel Oak to Barking) line out to Barking Riverside. Four trains an hour will run on the line when it is opened in 2021. A new Barking Riverside station will be built to support the 10,800 new homes being built in the area. Construction on the extension and new station will begin…

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Barking and Dagenham top property renovation hotspot

The latest property renovation hotspots list revealed that Barking and Dagenham is the top location for an increase in renovation applications in the past two years. According to home service marketplace, Plentific.com, the East London borough was top of the table for the highest increase (114%) in householder development applications since 2015. Other popular commuter renovation zones included Newham, Croydon, Havering, Sutton, Waltham Forest, Bexley, Enfield, Greenwich and Harrow. The national…

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Its cheaper to buy than rent says local mortgage adviser

Research from Mortgage Adviser Swindon has found that it is cheaper for Swindon tenants to purchase a new property than rent from a landlord. As it has become increasingly hard for young people to get their foot on the property ladder, high monthly payments to landlords means that renting is near-unaffordable. Help to Buy ISAs and other government schemes allow them to save for a deposit, ensuring that buying a…

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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards block chart for Private Landlords

Understanding Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – a guide for landlords

In just a few months the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for commercially rented properties will come into force. From 1 April 2018, landlords of non-domestic private rented properties (including public sector landlords) may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating  of  band F or G (shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property). There is ample guidance…

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Alternative housing for Central Housing Group

New survey shows alternative housing choices young people would make

A new survey shows alternative housing choices that a third of young people would choose to buy and live in a caravan if they couldn’t get on the property ladder. My Home Move conducted a survey of 1,000 people across the UK aged between 18 and 34. Nearly a third of people would opt to live in a caravan (29%), followed by 24% favouring a lodge, and 13% choosing a…

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RLA time limited right to rent

Call of the week – time limited right to rent

Now that 18 months has passed since the introduction of the right to rent legislation, many landlords will be facing a follow up time limited right to rent check to ensure that they are still safe from prosecution. This week’s call is a classic example of this kind of case and landlords who rent out to anyone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) should pay close attention to the…

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RLA logo for Local Housing Allowance Central Housing Group

Local Housing Allowance Direct Payments – changing the “payee”

Landlords have been left horrified – and out of pocket –  after local authorities re-directed Local Housing Allowance direct payments from landlords to tenants, without explanation. Here welfare expert and RLA trainer Bill Irvine talks through what can be done if this happens and looks at the case law surrounding the issue. “One of my clients recently contacted me, in something of a panic, when one of the councils it…

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Redbridge Council private rental sector licensing

Council private rental sector licensing offering 50% discounts

Redbridge council in London is offering 50 per cent off the cost of its private rental sector licensing scheme until September 13. The different licensing regimes operating in the borough – launched in a bid to reduce what the council claims is anti-social behaviour and poor property standards associated with the private rental sector – have so far attracted 248 additional applications and 741 selective licence applications. The licence application fee…

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Pressure group urges £5,000 cap on energy efficiency rental work

An energy efficiency lobbying group says it backs new government energy efficiency guidelines to improve 300,000 private rented homes – but it says there should be a £5,000 cap on the cost of remedial work for each property. Speaking to the magazine Utility Week, the Association for the Conservation of Energy has proposed a cap of £5,000 for energy efficiency improvements. It also says compliance with new domestic energy efficiency…

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LSE academics become the latest to call for Stamp Duty to be scrapped

Stamp Duty is having a “substantial detrimental effect” on the housing market, academics have claimed. A study by the London School of Economics and the VATT Institute for Economic Research found Stamp Duty, or property transfer taxes, were making households less likely to move, particularly over shorter distances. The report looked at activity for properties worth more than £250,000, where Stamp Duty jumps from 1% to 3%. The researchers found…

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Faulty white goods for Central Housing Group

Ministers must act on faulty white goods fire risk

More people will die from fires started by faulty white goods if ministers do not act to implement recommendations, the London Fire Brigade, the city’s mayor, and safety groups have warned. In a letter to Theresa May, they say some fridges and freezers are being sold with a flammable plastic backing. People continue to use products that are subject to recalls, it adds. The warning comes a year after a…

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CAD render of downsizing in the housing market

Emotional ties to family homes stop retirees from downsizing

New research from equity release lender, more 2 life, has revealed that an emotional connection to their family home prevents retirees from downsizing. A survey of 205 IFAs shows that 87% of their clients note this as the most common reason for staying, while 52% say that there is no other suitable property to move into. Advisers have been told by more than eight in 10 retirees that they refuse…

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Confidence ebbing away in private rental sector says National Landlords Association

Buy to let investors are losing confidence in their ability to rely on steady rental yields, according to recent figures from the National Landlords Association. Figures show that the proportion of landlords optimistic about their ability to rely on a steady rental yield has fallen 15 per cent in the past two years – down from 64 per cent in the second quarter of 2015 to only 49 per cent…

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Newham Council issue fine to letting agencies

Council to have star-rating system for all letting agencies in its area

Newham council is to set up the UK’s first letting agents rating scheme to protect residents and landlords from rogue letting agencies. The authority has approved plans to rate all of the borough’s letting agencies from zero to five stars (where five is the best), and then publish the list in full on the council’s website. The council claims the list will offer potential tenants and landlords with all the…

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