Another Friday, another Newsround. Lets see what news we can find from the past week.
A rise in the number of empty homes
It looks as if the number of empty homes, after having fallen, is now on the rise again.
It is now 216,000, which is the highest level since 2012, according to official figures.
The problem is most severe in coastal towns headed by Portsmouth, Hartlepool and Eastbourne.
Project Etopia chief executive, Joseph Daniels, said:
The stubbornly high number of empty homes is compounding the housing market’s deeply entrenched problems with lack of supply remaining a key driver of high prices and low affordability.
New homes are not being built fast enough and the constant spectre of abandoned properties aggravates an already tough market.
The analysis is from Project Etopia is a modular home and school building company.
Labour plans indefinite tenancies
Shadow housing minister John Healey has announced Labours plans to introduce indefinite tenancies modelled on the regime in Germany. This is a change from the position at their Conference which was to introduce three-year tenancies.
People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes. The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice.
Unsurprisingly this has been strongly criticised by the National Landlords Association. Meera Chindooroy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager of the NLA saying:
Labour’s proposal of adopting a German-style approach to private renting shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the market. Not only have rents increased dramatically across Germany over the past 10 years, the nature of renting is wholly different. Almost all properties are let unfurnished and tenants are usually responsible for installing basic amenities, such as kitchens, meaning a much longer-term investment of their own money.
We agree that the process for landlords to regain possession where there is a fault of the tenant is in urgent need of reform. However, the English Housing Survey 2018 shows that 90 per cent of renters who have moved in the past three years have chosen to do so. Removing flexibility from the private rented sector would have a detrimental impact on the economy as tenants are no longer able to seek out opportunities where they arise.
Already many landlords are choosing to sell up and leave the sector meaning that fewer properties are available to those in need and unable to afford to buy. Introducing indefinite tenancies would, I am sure, accelerate this process.
Those advocating the removal of section 21 no-fault evictions seem to forget the lessons of the last century where an inability to recover rented property under the Rent Act 1977 contributed to rented housing dropping from accommodating about 80% of households in 1916 to about 8% in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
If landlords withdraw from the market there will be no private rented sector.
Client money protection chaos
With only a few weeks to go before client money protection becomes mandatory for agents there seems to be major confusion.
RICS it seems, have yet to approve a scheme and established CMP provider Lonsdale has withdrawn from the market.
Oliver Wharmby of Lonsdale said
After 12 months of dialogue with MHCLG and with still so much uncertainty, we have lost confidence in the way CMP is being legislated and therefore cannot reasonably continue to provide a CMP scheme to agents in England.
A spokesperson for the RICS confirmed to Property Industry Eye that its own scheme is still in limbo, saying
RICS submitted its application to establish a government-approved Client Money Protection scheme, and we are working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to obtain approval of the scheme ahead of April 1.
It is estimated that some 4,000 agents are still without CMP cover.
- Zoopla is the first portal to ban No DSS adverts from its sites.
- Landlords who are behind with their tax payments are urged to come forward sooner rather than later
- The Property Ombudsman rules out an increase in financial awards
- Nearly Legal reports on the case where Hull CC new enforcement policy was found to be lawful in Judicial Review proceedings