Pinch punch, first of the month. Let’s see what news stories we have left over from November.
The Universal Credit Disaster
Quite a few articles, including the one from Giles Peaker of Nearly Legal and this one about Solihull, are saying that the Chancellor’s measures were not enough and that the continued roll-out of Universal Credit is just going to produce more problems.
Plus the telephone helpline will be closed for most of Christmas. Merry Christmas Christmas to you too Mrs May!
As always my advice is for tenants likely to be affected to offer and for landlords to insist on payment via a Credit Union ‘jam jar’ account or the Tasker Payments Service and for tenants to have a property-owning guarantor.
However, even with those precautions, it is going to be a generous (and well funded) landlord who agrees to wait some five weeks or more for payment.
Talking about Christmas cheer, many of the Grenfell residents made homeless and not yet rehoused will be having a grim Christmas, still in B&B.
There is a lot of truth in David Lammy’s recent tweet:
When Grenfell was the top story on the news the PM promised to rehouse all Grenfell survivors within 3 weeks. Now that deadline has been extended to 12 months and many survivors will be spending Christmas in a B&B room this year. pic.twitter.com/EE5Ti0basW
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 30, 2017
Many of us were deeply sceptical about the Government’s optimistic promise of housing ‘within 3 weeks’ at the time of the disaster. Sadly it appears that we were right.
Illegal landlords in Wales
Eight of them have been prosecuted apparently. 3,992 more to go …
A story in the Guardian tells us that, according to research by the Halifax, the value of housing in the UK has now topped 6 trillion,
However, apparently, this is (of course) mostly in the South East where you get 68% of property wealth.
The value of homes in London is now more than all the houses in Scotland, Wales and the north of England combined. The research also reveals how property values in the south have escalated since the financial crash of 2007-08, despite incomes remaining relatively flat.
So there you go. The North-South divide strikes again. I suppose the advantage for the North is that people can actually afford to buy them. Maybe.
The law on this is due to be changed and the Working Group report on Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector has published a report which can be found here. There is a good summary from Pain Smith blog here.
It looks as if five year mandatory checks are likely to be introduced, which should not prove too onerous and is something landlords should really be doing anyway. It is likely to work in the same way as the gas safety checks.
I suspect it may also become another prerequisite for serving a section 21 notice.
That’s all for this week. If there is anything I have left out let me know in the comments.