Monthly Archives: May 2012

Government Pledges £85m For Empty Homes

There are currently 720,000 empty homes across England.

The government have announced an allocation of £85 million of empty homes funding, which will be given to councils and community groups.

Following a bidding round, twenty councils have each won a portion of a £60m funding pot, designed to target clusters of empty homes in low housing demand areas.  Voluntary and community groups will receive in excess of £25 million to deal with individual properties.

Of the 720,000 empty homes in England, the aim is to return 5,600 to a good habitable status, relieving some of the demand for homes and improving the neighbourhoods where these empty homes exist.

Andrew Stunell, communities minister, said ‘The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty.  Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.’

George Clarke, TV presenter and independent adviser to the government on empty homes, said ‘The announcement of this funding is a fantastic step forward in bringing empty homes back into use, especially the £25 million of funding for community and voluntary groups.  It’s now up to these organisations to think creatively using new forms of procurement like home steading, sweat equity and apprenticeship schemes to make every penny stretch as far as possible.’

Waltham Forest Council Halts Long Distance Rehousing Plans

Waltham Forest Council has been forced to suspend plans to rehouse tenants outside of London, in areas as far away as the West Midlands. The council owns 27 properties in Walsall, and has offered them to their current tenants.  The uptake has been poor, with just 6 tenants accepting the relocation. The long-distance re-housing plan… Continue Reading

The Base Rate and Buy To Let Mortgages

The current Bank of England base rate is at a historical low of just 0.5%, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that further cuts to the base rate may be needed in order to boost the UK economy. Whilst some consumers with a tracker rate mortgage would benefit from a cut in interest… Continue Reading

Top Tips for Novice Buy to Let Investors

Current market and economic conditions are ripe for buy to let property investment, with low property prices, unprecedented demand for rental properties and soaring rents. On top of this, concerns over pensions, low returns on cash savings and instability in global stock markets are all fuelling demand for safe investments. These are just some of… Continue Reading

Court Ruling Could Change Government’s Bedroom Tax

The government could be forced to make changes to its controversial bedroom tax policy following a Court of Appeal ruling this week. The “bedroom tax” comes in to force from April 2013, and effects social housing tenants of working age with spare bedrooms.  The policy means tenants who’s houses are deemed under occupied will face… Continue Reading

The Rental Boom Continues in 2012

According to Homelet, the UK’s largest supplier of referencing and specialist insurance to the lettings industry, the average rent is still rising, and the private rental sector continues to boom. In March this year, the average rent achieved across the UK was £764, a huge 5% increase on the same time last year.  London saw… Continue Reading

£1.8m Fund To Get Rid of ‘Beds in Sheds’

Housing minister, Grant Shapps, has pledged that criminal landlords trapping vulnerable people in ‘suburban shanty-towns’ will get the justice they deserve. He allocated a £1.8 million fund to areas blighted by so-called ‘beds in sheds’, to tackle the problem head-on and end this growing practice by ruthless landlords. Mr Shapps appealed to councils who may… Continue Reading

Social Landlords are Ignoring Fire Safety Rules

Fire enforcement notices are issued where a landlord has failed to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  They set out corrective measures that landlords are legally obliged to complete within a specific timescale. Research carried out by Inside Housing reveals that over the last six months for which records are available (between… Continue Reading

5 Years of Success for the DPS

All private landlords and letting agents taking deposits for assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales are required to safeguard them with a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme. The Deposit Protection Service (DPS), which is the only custodial scheme, celebrated it’s 5th birthday on April 6th this year, having proved popular as the only… Continue Reading

New Survey Reveals The Green Deal is Unpopular with Landlords

The new green deal scheme, due to launch in October, enables households to install energy efficient measures, such as increased insulation, at no up-front cost.  Instead, private companies pay for the work and recover the cost through the resultant savings in the household’s energy bills. The scheme  has received criticism from former climate change committee… Continue Reading