News items from the past week.
Whats going on with Selective Licensing?
As has been widely reported the government has refused to extend the borough wide selective licensing scheme in Liverpool for a further 5 years. This is on the basis that it
did not demonstrate robust evidence to support the existence of low housing demand across the whole city
This is being challenged by Liverpool Council. Mayor Anderson saying:
This decision flies in the face of the government’s tough talk on housing standards, particularly around fire safety in rented properties.
However in other areas, for example Walthamstow, large schemes are being approved. What is going on?
An interesting article from solicitor David Smith on LinkedIn suggests that the government may not be entirely happy with Liverpool who rushed their scheme in five years ago in order to avoid changed rules on permission.
There are also significant differences between the two schemes:
Liverpool’s scheme covered all of Liverpool. The Waltham Forest scheme covers a lot of Waltham Forest but not all of it, two wards are excepted. It was also the first scheme of this size for Waltham Forest and not a renewal of an existing scheme.
David therefore suggests:
- That blanket schemes covering a whole borough are less likely to succeed, and
- Renewals will be harder
it will be necessary to show why the five years of an existing scheme has not been enough to solve the problems and it will not do to simply wheel out the same scheme again for a further approval.
David ends with four key issues which he suggests Local Authorities will need to prove in applications:
- that the scheme is truly necessary;
- that is it necessary for the whole area that is being embraced;
- that they have developed and learned from previous schemes; and
- that they are considering all the options and using all of their powers as a part of a scheme.
You can read the full article here.
Agents complain of unfair business rates
ARLA and the NAEA Propertymark have written a joint letter to business minister Andrea Leadsom warning that business rates are driving estate agents off the high street.
The problem is that estate agents are charged higher business rates than retail premises because agents’ branches are considered offices rather than shops. In addition agents have the increased costs created by additional regulation plus the competition from online agents, who utilise home-based representatives rather than office staff.
The letter says
One of our members has told us that the amount they pay in business rates is greater than the annual profit made in a year
Although the recent demise of Upad shows that online agents don’t have it all their own way.
You can read the full letter sent here.
Landlords back cards for EU citizens
The Residential Landlords Association in a joint statement with the EU citizens campaign group the3million and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), have called for EU Citizens to be given a physical card to prove they have the right to be in the country post Brexit.
MPs should back what is a pragmatic and common sense proposal. It should not be controversial that EU citizens who have played such a positive role to the life of the UK should be able to easily prove their rights with a physical document.
A digital-only status will massively disadvantage EU citizens against British nationals with a passport, and anyone else who can quickly and conveniently prove their status with a simple official document.
The RLA has pointed out that some landlords may not know what countries are in the EU and are unlikley to go to the bother of checking them out online.
However Brandon Lewis, the Home Office minister, said the government had no intention of changing its policy.
However the right to rent scheme as a whole is being challenged in the Courts. We await the Judges decision – the case which was heard earlier this week.
Petition to regulate ‘Get rich Quick’ Training
Following the TV program BBC Inside Out London there are increasing calls for regulation of the property training sector, especially the ‘get rich quick’ element.
The program looked at the sad case of Danny Butcher who committed suicide after incurring debts with Property Investors, a wealth creation company promising financial freedom.
Paul Samplina writing in Property118 said
Companies like Property Investors, run by Samuel Leads, make guaranteed financial freedom sound easy, claiming individuals can make between £30-£50k per month, as the undercover reporter, Abi Jaiyeola discovered. Whilst it can be argued that people make their own choice to attend such courses, there is no doubt in my mind that they exploit already vulnerable people.
Paul also has some good advice for people on how to check these companies out.
- Huge fines awarded against agents in cartel case
- Councillors in Brighton and Wigan have voted through ‘article four direction’ restrictions for smaller HMOs
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust wins Home Office action on stalking
- Report claims serious design fault in many housing estates
- Silver Sharers website helps older renters
- Private renting making millions sick in England, poll shows
Newsround will be back next week.