Landlord Law Newsround #337

Landlord Law Blog NewsroundWelcome to our weekly Newsround, let’s see what has caught our eye this week in the housing news.

Labour as the next government seems virtually certain

As I write, the results from local elections are coming in, with more and more Council seats falling to Labour and Labour’s Chris Webb winning the Blackpool South By-Election.

So, at some time during the coming year (or possibly in early 2025), we will have a Labour government with different plans for housing.

An immediate (or almost immediate) removal of section 21 no-fault evictions is virtually certain.  However, Labour will not want to discourage private landlords, as a reduction in the Private Rented Sector will just create more homelessness.  So overall it may not be too bad for landlords.

We wait to find out more details about their plans, although I wrote a speculative post here.

Rental homes advertised are not ready for tenants

A new report out from Zero Deposit claims that 24% of advertised rental properties are not ready for tenants to occupy them for at least six months. The report highlights the staggering imbalance between supply and demand.

They found that out of 128,000 properties advertised for rent only 49% were ready for immediate availability and 16% were available within one month.

Sam Reynolds Zero Deposits’ chief executive said of the high demand for rental homes

This demonstrates the severe imbalance between supply and demand and really does highlight the need to encourage more landlords into the sector, and provide sufficient incentives for them to stay there, in order to provide the vital rental homes needed.

West Midland renters face the shortage wait with 56% of properties available immediately, whilst the North East fairs the least favourably with just 42% of rental properties available straight away.

He stated that until the government stops deterring buy to let investors the current situation is only likely to worsen.

Tenants moving costs should be met by landlord – claim

Generation Rent is standing its ground on demanding that landlords should pay towards moving costs for tenants. The group claims

Renters need more time to move than the two months we currently get, and landlords who are uprooting their tenants’ lives should support us with the costs of moving. That will both reduce the stress and hardship of an unwanted move, and reduce the homelessness epidemic that is currently shredding councils’ finances.

It wants the government to ‘strengthen protections for renters when the House of Lords debates the Renters Reform Bill’.

In this context, see my post Urban myth – tenants have GOT to move out at the end of a section 21 notice period.

Polly Neate chief executive of Shelter is calling for all parties to show more commitment in ending the housing emergency and homelessness, she says

We need every party to commit to building 90,000 social homes a year for ten years, and an overhaul of the Renters (Reform) Bill so that it delivers genuine safety and security for private renters.

Should rents be dependent on EPC rating?

The Housing Forum states that social housing is the most energy-efficient of all housing stock in England. However, it wants those properties that are rated EPC D to have their rents reduced accordingly, because they are less energy efficient homes and tenants will face twice as higher energy bills than those tenants in an EPC B rated property.

Those tenants on lower EPC rated properties are left with very few options to improve the energy efficiency of the homes that they are in, and it is very much in the hands of their landlord to make improvements to reduce their bills. Therefore the higher energy costs should be factored into all renters’ payments so that the total cost of rent is evened out within four years.

They say that this would even things out for the less energy-efficient homes as the more energy-efficient ones would pay slightly ‘more rent to recompense’ for the lower energy bills they are paying.

Ian McDermott, chief executive of Peabody says

At Peabody we support the principle of taking thermal comfort and energy efficiency into account in the future social rent formula. This could incentivise energy efficiency work and retrofit investment, help reduce residents’ energy bills and support a fairer and more equitable approach to rent setting.

You can read more here, and staying with EPC’s in a recent report by Which? the consumer company they are claiming that EPC’s are ‘not accurate’.

 EPC’s are too confusing and must be improved

Which? the consumer company said in a recent report that EPCs are ‘not accurate’, are too confusing and must be improved. They are saying that an EPC should include the property’s energy use and cost, the heating system installed and any environmental impacts.

They also want EPCs to facilitate a means by which landlords can easily transition to a more energy efficient heating system by way of information and options to take going forward. Their report says

Unfortunately, there is substantial evidence that the metrics and information in many EPCs may be misleading and homeowners, tenants, landlords and policy makers could be making decisions based on inaccurate information.

Daniel Sarefjord, CEO of Aira UK, a heat pump firm, says the EPC certificate is ‘outdated, counterintuitive and badly designed’.

Could this be the next challenge for the government?

The man who turned his home into a homeless shelter

Although this is not something most people are able to do, I found this story of Stuart Potts, who opened up his home to the homeless, quite inspirational.

We need more people like him.

Snippets

Average rents in Great Britain climb to record high
Landlord Regulator advertises for Welsh-speaking staff
New powers for councils to help build more affordable homes
London landlord narrowly avoids refunding tenant £32,000
Tories accused of taking Labour housing policy to ‘rectify’ their own failures
Scottish landlords exit as housing crisis deepens

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #337 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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