Browsing all articles from July, 2022

LATEST: Official smoke and CO detector guidance revised ahead of Autumn changes

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Official guidance on smoke detectors in rented homes has been updated by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities ahead of the October 1st changes announced previously.

From that date onwards landlords will have greater responsibilities over the provision of smoke alarms within their properties and face fines of up to £5,000 for non-compliance with these new regulations, although these are very rare.

The new regulations are an updated to the existing Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

The biggest change within the new guidance is that landlords must ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced “once informed and found that they are faulty”.

Previously, private landlords were only required to ensure they worked at the start of each tenancy.

This will shift more responsibility to the landlords to fix faulty detectors of either kind – previously this sat with the tenants who were only ‘advised to arrange’ repairs or battery replacement with their landlord.

Get ready

ev charging points electric landlords

“The updated regulations contain some subtle but significant changes for agents and landlords working in the PRS in England,” says Timothy Douglas (pictured), Head of Policy and Campaigns for Propertymark.

“They have been coming down the line for some time, but with a firm date set for their implementation and detailed guidance now published, our advice is that letting agents start to prepare immediately.

“Agents should ensure they fully understand the regulations and begin the installation of new alarms and repair of existing alarms, and update their property management practices accordingly and without delay.

View Full Article: LATEST: Official smoke and CO detector guidance revised ahead of Autumn changes


EXCLUSIVE: Govt says landlords cannot apply direct to £4.5bn cladding fund

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Leaseholders can now check their eligibility for a share of the £4.5 billion Building Safety Fund, which has reopened to take new applications.   

Those living in buildings over 18m with cladding issues can apply for a share of the fund. However, the DLUHC tells LandlordZONE that private landlords who own a leasehold flat in a building that might be eligible cannot apply directly and should speak to their building owner or managing agent to register an application on their behalf.

Where a landlord’s leasehold property is in a block that is eligible and a successful application is made, costs for any works to address the risk posed by cladding will be covered by the fund.

Protections checker

A new online Leaseholder Protections Checker ( will help leaseholders discover if they qualify; they will need to complete and submit a leaseholder Deed of Certificate to their building owner to confirm if they have anything to pay or not.

Under the Building Safety Act, leaseholders can legally prove that they are protected from historical building safety costs. The protections prevent qualifying leaseholders from paying the majority of costs to fix fire safety defects in their homes, and make those responsible, and those who own the buildings, pay instead.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Greg Clark (main pic), says: “The Building Safety Act makes clear building owners’ liabilities and gives us powers to pursue those that continue to flout the rules.

“It has also introduced far-reaching legal protections to relieve many leaseholders from the financial burden of fixing their homes. With these now fully up and running, I urge any homeowners who may qualify to see if they are eligible using our online Leaseholder Protections Checker as soon as possible.”

View Full Article: EXCLUSIVE: Govt says landlords cannot apply direct to £4.5bn cladding fund


REVEALED: Cities with largest student populations and best BTL opportunities

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Leeds has the highest number of student properties in the UK, according to new research.

Website analysed the biggest university towns and cities, giving Leeds, which has five universities and one of the biggest student populations, the top spot with 16,225, followed by Nottingham with 15,422 properties, where it’s estimated that more than 60,000 students attend the city’s three universities.

Birmingham – home to five universities – was third in the league table, with 14,829 properties, no doubt due to the fact it has the biggest student population outside London. Other cities in the top 10 were Sheffield (12,330), Newcastle (10,470), Leicester (10,233), Liverpool (10,191), Manchester (7,291), Bristol (6,779) and Exeter (6,479).

At the other end of the scale, Oxford and Cambridge have the most students living in university-owned accommodation with 79% and 77% respectively.

Higher rents reckons student housing can be a good investment even if the property market dips more generally as it offer greater yields due to cheaper purchase prices and higher rents.

Student homes and HMOs are also more affordable than regular properties as they’re usually located outside city centres while there’s always steady demand, with a new group of potential tenants coming through every year.

However, there are big potential changes on the horizon that could impact student landlords in the Renters Reform Bill, meaning that tenants would only have to give two months’ notice.

Landlords fear that without a fixed-term contract – guaranteeing that tenants would leave at the end of the academic year – their business model would fall apart.

View Full Article: REVEALED: Cities with largest student populations and best BTL opportunities


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation plan to kill off the PRS with private rental Right to Buy

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is calling for policies that deliberately target reducing the size of the PRS. Apparently, who owns the 25 million homes available now, and who they are available to, is as important as new construction.

The new JRF report and press release go on to say:”Landlords are likely considering their future in the sector due to planned reforms to the PRS to improve tenants’ rights alongside existing tax changes and obligations on landlords to meet higher energy efficiency standards.

View Full Article: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation plan to kill off the PRS with private rental Right to Buy


Accessibility standards to be raised for New Builds

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New homes will be more accessible for older and disabled people as the government today (29 July) confirms plans to raise the accessibility standard following full consultation of proposals.

The raising accessibility standards for new homes consultation proposed staying with the existing framework for accessible housing

View Full Article: Accessibility standards to be raised for New Builds


A recovering commercial property market is beginning to stall…

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A recent RICS survey finds that interest rate hikes and cost of living pressures are beginning to weigh on sentiment. Credit conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that 43% of respondents to the RICS survey felt “we’re in early downturn.” Investor sentiment is steady, but the market has slowed, they say.

The healthy recovery the industry was reporting just a few months ago as the country emerges from Covid has been short lived. The recovery in demand for retail property is stalling as cost of living pressures affect consumer demand.

Capital value expectations are turning flat for at least the coming twelve months, RICS thinks.

Credit conditions are deteriorating as 43% of respondents to the RICS survey feel the market is now entering a downturn. In response RICS is releasing a ten point “levelling up plan” which is aimed at supporting communities through the delivery of local economic growth, including attracting investment.

The cost of living crisis and the BoE interest rate hikes have caused a “cautious tone” across the commercial property market, thinks RICS and this is mirrored across the whole of the UK.

The RICS UK Commercial Property Survey Q2 2022 just released is the firmest indicator yet that the market is turning down and the signs of a slowdown in the economy are real.

RICS has now released its “levelling up plan” that includes calls to Government to work with industry to attract inward investment to support the economy and our communities for sustainability – levelling-up-and-sustainable-placemaking

The series of interest rate hikes sanctioned by the Bank of England in recent months has seen a net balance of minus 42% of respondents citing a deterioration in credit conditions in Q2, dampening momentum behind investor activity.

That said, for the time being at least, the latest reading for investment enquiries remains positive (net balance plus12% compared to plus 32% last quarter), even if momentum is fading. Beneath the headline figure, the solid pick-up in investor demand for office space also lost momentum, with the net balance slipping to minus 1% from plus 23%. Overseas investment demand has also lost impetus.

Across all sectors, although occupier demand is still increasing, it is not at the same level as in Q1.

In the sector breakdown there is a decline in occupier interest for retail space with very modest growth for offices. The industrial sector is propping up the headline figure, as tenant demand remains comfortable for warehouses – even if the latest net balance of plus 49% is the least elevated figure since Q4 2020.

Meanwhile, leasable office and retail space continues to rise, returning net balances of plus 22% and plus 27% respectively. This is having a knock on effect of landlords increasing the value of incentives packages to tempt occupiers back into the market. Rental growth expectations are therefore now only in modestly positive territory. This is still positive, but is the lowest net balance since Q1 2021.

Tarrant Parsons, RICS Economist, says:

“As the UK economy grapples against significant impediments to growth, the gloomier macro outlook appears to be dampening sentiment across the commercial real estate market. In particular, with the Bank of England sanctioning several interest rate hikes over recent months in an attempt to ward off inflation, respondents report that credit conditions are now tightening within the sector.

“This, in turn, appears to be weighing on investment activity, which lost some momentum at the headline level during Q2. Given interest rates are set to rise further from here, it appears the market may be at a turning point, with an increasing share of survey participants throughout the UK now feeling conditions are consistent with the early stages of a downturn.”

Phil Clark MRICS, Chair of the RICS Commercial Property Forum added:

“This week, RICS have released a ten point levelling up plan aimed at supporting communities through delivery of local economic growth, as part of the UK Government’s levelling up strategy.

“These new investment figures underline the challenges in attracting investment in an uncertain economic environment.

“It is vital that the UK Government and private sector work together to attract investment and meet the challenge of sustainable placemaking in the built environment, supporting economic regeneration and providing jobs, and easing economic pressure on people across the UK. RICS is committed to working to support delivering this with the UK Government.”

RICS is calling on Government, through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, to address the nationwide housing shortage. It wants Government to reform the planning process to create a more efficient system for both communities and developers.

RICS wants encouragement and integration of critical infrastructure to support employment-led growth, ensuing that projects avoid unnecessary contractual conflicts. This RICS believes can be achived through the greater understanding and utilisation of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Q2 2022: UK Commercial Property Market Survey here

RICS 10 point levelling-up-and-sustainable-placemaking recommendations here

HM Gov. Levelling up the United Kingdom here

View Full Article: A recovering commercial property market is beginning to stall…


HAVE YOUR SAY: Take our survey on Govt’s plans to abolish Section 21 evictions

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LandlordZONE readers are being asked to complete a short survey on the Government’s plans to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.

Outlined within the recent Fairer Renting White Paper, the government plans to prevent landlords in future evicting tenants without having to give a reason.

Instead, Ministers plan to bolster the Section 8 process but this would mean landlords going through a slower and more expensive eviction process, and having to reveal why they want to repossess a property and evict the tenant.

The survey is being conducted by Landlord Action, whose founder Paul Shamplina (pictured) is on a working group which advises the Government on the private rented sector to help inform future legislation.

“This information will be helpful in reforming grounds for possession under Section 8, making sure that landlords have effective means to get their property back when necessary once Section 21 is abolished,” he says.

The survey also asks landlords if they have ever had problems gaining access to a rented property to undertaken key safety and regulatory checks such as completing gas or electrical safety checks.

To complete the survey, click here.

View Full Article: HAVE YOUR SAY: Take our survey on Govt’s plans to abolish Section 21 evictions


Rental property repossessions 56% down on pre-pandemic figures

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Industry analysis by Landlord Action has revealed that the number of rental property repossessions carried out on behalf of landlords across England and Wales has increased by 1,487% annually, following the end of the tenant eviction ban implemented to protect the nation’s renters during the pandemic.

View Full Article: Rental property repossessions 56% down on pre-pandemic figures


Landlord evictions increase 15-fold in 12 months, official figures show

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Repossessions by landlords of private rented homes have increased by 1,487% year on year, latest figures from evictions specialist Landlord Action reveal.

The staggering figure, which includes England and Wales, reflects the resuming of evictions by landlords over the past year following several Covid-related possessions bans.

As a result, during the pandemic only cases where it was deemed necessary were processed, meaning that there were just 817 rental properties repossessed during 2020-21.

To put the percentage increase in context, this means that during 2021/22 some 12,965 rental properties were repossessed among the 4.4 million rented homes in England, or around 0.29%.

Also, the much higher level of repossessions seen over the past year is 56% fewer than the 29,347 recorded in the pre-pandemic year of 2019-20.


“At first glance, it would appear as though the floodgates have opened where the repossession of rental properties is concerned, but this isn’t quite the case,” says Eddie Hooker (pictured) CEO of the Hamilton Fraser Group, which operates industry schemes such as mydeposits, the Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protect, as well as Landlord Action.

“Following a year where tenant evictions were banned except for in certain circumstances, there was always going to be a spike in repossessions as a backlog of cases finally started to be processed.

“But we’re yet to see the level of rental homes being repossessed return to pre-pandemic levels and there are also a lower proportion of initial claims making it to this final, last resort stage.

“While delays due to the backlog of cases may certainly be one cause, it’s also fair to say that the nation’s landlords have largely acted with empathy and understanding following the pandemic, understanding the problems facing many tenants and looking to help them rather than turf them out on their ear.”

View Full Article: Landlord evictions increase 15-fold in 12 months, official figures show


Conflict of Interest with fees paid by purchaser?

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Hi All, I have recently come across a ‘Modern’ online method of auction. The house to be sold was circa £225,000.

The online auctioneer was instructed by the vendor, but the fee of £6,000 was to be paid by the purchaser.

View Full Article: Conflict of Interest with fees paid by purchaser?




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