Benefit cap driving poverty in rental market

Responding to today’s report from the National Housing Federation on poverty in the private rented sector, Chris Town, Vice Chair of the RLA said: “The biggest driver of poverty in the private rented sector remains the government’s freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates. “Support for housing costs is simply failing to keep up with the realities of rented housing and we call on the government to use its spending review…

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Universal Credit Evictions Central Housing Group

Home repossessions increase after decades of going down

Figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal increasing pressure on household finances initiating first rise for many years. Home repossession claims by mortgage companies increased by a third year-on-year during the final quarter of 2018 to 5,648, latest figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal, suggesting the creaking economy and Brexit are beginning to push some struggling households into the red. Mortgage repossession claims are the beginning of the process and…

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Dope! Letting agent reports tenant over fruity ‘cannabis farm’

Junior member of staff requires a little re-training after spotting what they thought were marijuana plants and growing equipment in long-term rented property. One of Scotland’s leading letting agencies has revealed how one of its staff mistakenly accused a long-term tenant of growing cannabis at one of its properties. The dope story began when a junior member of the team at Edinburgh letting agency The Key People went to do…

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Improved energy efficiency Central Housing Group

35,000 properties rented out illegally because EPCs are inaccurate

EPC investigation by proptech firm reveals that one in four properties feature square foot measurements that vary by more than 10% from their real size. Over 35,000 E-rated properties are being let illegally in the UK because their Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are so inaccurate, it has been claimed. Proptech firm Spec says this means the properties are likely to be below the minimum legal standard required. Its research also…

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Rental Market Central Housing Group

Buy-to-let landlords must join redress scheme or face a £5,000 fine

Government to launch dispute resolution body for homeowners and tenants The government has announced plans to launch a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service, which will act as a single point of contact for tenants looking to raise disputes against their landlords. Buy-to-let landlords will need to sign up to the service or face fines of up to £5,000. Here, you can find out how the new system could work, and…

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Labour savaged for “fundamental misunderstanding” of rental sector

Labour’s proposal to introduce indefinite tenancies along the lines in a bid to emulate the German model reveals the party’s “fundamental misunderstanding” of the rental sector, says a leading trade body. Earlier this week we reported that Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey wanted to commit the party to “revolutionise” the private rental sector with indefinite tenancies which he said would offer more security for tenants and deter rent increases. However…

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Call for Universal Credit overhaul as many claimants fall into rent arrears

Half the people seeking help with their Universal Credit claim are in rent arrears, according to Citizens Advice. More generous advance loans for new claimants and an additional two weeks of housing benefit while they wait for Universal Credit payments to start were among the measures introduced by the government last year to address concerns that Universal Credit was pushing tenants into arrears. But with new the report published by…

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Scrap Section 21 Central Housing Group

Total rent paid by tenants drops for first time in 10 years – Countrywide

Private tenants in Britain in 2018 paid £59.1 billion on rent – that’s £1.9 billion less than in 2017 and the first fall in a decade. The data comes from Countrywide’s high-end brand Hamptons International, which produces a monthly lettings sector market report. Hamptons says the 2018 fall has been driven by a drop in the number of households renting and rental growth stagnating. In the long term, however, and…

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Tips for property investors Central Housing Group

Landlords warned to be on their guard with the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act

Coming into effect on 20th March this year, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 aims to increase standards for properties in the private rental sector and, for many landlords there should be little new to do. However, landlords should be on their guard as there is the potential for landlords to find themselves subject to court action from tenants, for breach of contract, should a property not meet…

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Tenants Fee Bill Central Housing Group

Labour pledges ‘indefinite tenancies’ for private renters

Labour says it will introduce new ‘indefinite’ tenancies for private tenants, based on rules currently in place in Germany. It claims German tenancies last, on average, 11 years, compared to around four years in England. Labour also says the German system serves as a brake on rent increases, because it believes agents and landlords use the changeover of tenants as an opportunity to hike rents. Tenants themselves are still be…

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Beds In Sheds scandal – 19 tenants found at four bedroom property

Council enforcement officers have raided a house in Wembley, north London, and found 19 tenants paying a landlord £1,000 a week. Brent council’s licensing team discovered a garage that had been illegally turned into two bedrooms with a makeshift partition wall between them; a shed in the process of being converted into what appeared to be another bedroom and smoke alarms in a state of disrepair. The tenants living at the…

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New Universal Credit reform needed says report

Responding report by Citizens Advice today showing 49 per cent of those it helps with Universal Credit are in rent arrears Chris Town, RLA Vice Chair said: “Today’s report demonstrates the need for more changes to be made to Universal Credit. “One of the main drivers of rent arrears has been that tenants cannot routinely choose to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord at…

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Gas Safety Central Housing Group

Forum Spotlight: Gaining access to carry out safety inspection

In this week’s Forum Spotlight, we take a look at a recent question a member posted on our Forum relating to gaining access to his property to carry out a safety inspection. The situation The landlord was well aware of his obligation that he needed to give the tenant 24 hours notice in writing before entering the property. After ignoring two previous messages from the landlord regarding inspections, the tenant…

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Rent controls in London…?

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he will develop a new blueprint for rent controls in the Capital. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he will develop a new blueprint for stabilising or controlling private rents in the Capital, as “part of his ongoing work to help London’s 2.4 million renters”. John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of Landbay, who believes rent controls will lead…

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Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Bill CHG

Guidelines issued for new Human Habitation law from March 20

The government has issued guidelines for the implementation of the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act which comes into effect on March 20. The act, which has come about after years of determined advocacy by Labour MP Karen Buck, applies only to England and amends the relevant sections of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, updating the ‘fit for human habitation’ test. From later this month it will be…

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Right To Rent to be reviewed – but it stays in place for now at least

The Home Office says it will reassess the Right To Rent scheme following last week’s decision by the High Court that the measure breached human rights law. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes has told MPs that the government would also appeal the decision and that – in the meantime at least – the measure remained in place with letting agents and landlords obliged to make checks on prospective tenants. “The law…

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Deposit-free renting Central Housing Group

Rent control: it can work but can also backfire on tenants, says BBC

The BBC’s Reality Check service, respected for giving a more realistic assessment of many politicians’ promises, has looked at London mayor Sadiq Khan’s claim that the arguments for rent controls in the capital are “overwhelming.” While the Reality Check service said this was not the case, it did claim that in certain circumstances rent controls could work for some – but by no means all – tenants. Its verdict is…

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Universal Credit Evictions Central Housing Group

Landlords reveal why they use Section 21

The consultation into which major reforms to make to private sector tenancies, including the case for a Housing Court, longer tenancies and the future of Section 21, has now ended and the industry awaits the result. Critics are calling for Section 21 evictions to be banned, arguing that they tilt the balance of power towards landlords. However, a survey carried out by Landlord Action, has revealed some interesting facts when…

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Right To Rent Campaign High Court Challenge

What now for Right To Rent after government’s bloody nose?

There’s been general support for last week’s judgment by the High Court that the government’s Right To Rent policy breaches human rights. The Residential Landlords Association, which along with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants was central to bringing the case, has written to the government requesting a meeting on the future of the policy, which requires letting agents and landlords to check the immigration status of prospective…

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Labour rent controls will worsen London landlord exodus warns ARLA

Rent controls of the kind which London mayor Sadiq Khan wishes to introduce will worsen what is already a huge exodus of landlords from the capital, warns ARLA. Last week Khan revealed that he wanted to make rent controls a central policy in his re-election campaign ahead of next year’s mayoral poll. Currently he has no powers to execute such controls but – despite earlier suggesting that rent controls could be counter-productive…

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