Monthly Archives: January 2013

Bedroom Tax Could Be Subject To Change

Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, pensions minister, speaking in a debate in parliament on Wednesday, said that the controversial bedroom tax could be subject to change if there are impacts that the government has “not though of”.

He said: ‘I fully accept there will be disruption as a result of this measure, which is why we have a two-year programme looking at all this work, evaluating the impact and publishing the research. If we need to make changes to the system as we go because there are perhaps groups or impacts that we have not thought of, we will be in a position to do that.’

The bedroom tax policy will see social housing tenants of working age with a spare room docked an average of £14 a week from their housing benefit.

Mr Webb defended the policy, saying that private renters are not allowed to claim local housing allowance to cover the cost of a spare room.

He said: ‘Where is the morality in saying to private tenants they cannot have a spare room, when social tenants, who are paying a subsidised rent, can?’

Mr Webb also said the policy will help free up housing to ease overcrowding and contribute towards deficit reduction.

In response to criticism the policy will hit disabled people disproportionately hard, Mr Webb pointed to the increase in value of discretionary housing payments, which are administered by councils, from £60 million to £155 million a year. DHPs will be available for disabled people and foster carers hit by the bedroom tax, meaning they will ‘be for the long term’ and not just for temporary fixes as in the past, Mr Webb said.

‘We have allocated the money that we think is needed to deal with the problem and given it to local authorities to respond on a case-by-case basis, ’ he said.

However Labour MP Kate Green said the DHPs would still be ‘temporary and limited’. She said: ‘Is it not totally misleading to imply that discretionary housing payments will in any way compensate for what has been lost?’

Earlier, another Labour MP Phil Wilson branded the bedroom tax ‘arbitrary, spiteful and deeply cynical’.

He said: ‘The bedroom tax is being created by a mindset that believes only those who own their own homes can live in a community and those who rent with government support, even though many of them are in work, are deemed to be a burden on that community.’

Liverpool Landlords To Become Licensed

Liverpool council are looking at ways to improve the quality of the rented accommodation in the city, and may ask landlords to sign up to a new licensing scheme, similar to that in the London Borough of Newham. There are over 50,000 rented properties in the city.  The scheme would see all landlords agreeing to comply with… Continue Reading

6 Cheap and Quick “Fixes” to Improve Your Property’s Rental Prospects

Vanessa Warwick’s (www.propertytribes.com) 6 cheap and quick “fixes” to improve your property’s rental prospects and profits. 1. Kerb appeal Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason! Because first impressions really do count. Some “no shows” of viewings may be because the prospective tenant reached the outside of your property and… Continue Reading

Scottish Rents Rise Following Shelter Campaign

Rents in Scotland have risen significantly following the ban on fees charged to tenants, according to the website, Citylets. The rise follows Shelter’s campaign to encourage tenants to reclaim their fees, and the implementation of tenancy deposit protection. Citylets has tracked rents for over five years and the latest rent rises it has reported are… Continue Reading

Rents Expected to Reach Record High in 2013

Rent costs are expected to rise to record highs in 2013, according to the Halifax, and increase by 18% over the next five years. The growth of the rental market, which has been driven by the phenomenon dubbed ‘generation rent’, shows no signs of stopping as more people turn towards renting properties rather than buying.… Continue Reading

31 House Rules for Tenants goes Viral!

A house hunter who was recently looking for a room to rent was surprised when the landlord gave her a list of 31 house rules. The rules included a fine of £100 for using additional heaters in bedrooms, and £15 for leaving dirty dishes in the sink. The rules also stipulated that tenants were not… Continue Reading

Subletting of Social Housing Bill Passed by Lords

A bill to criminalise the subletting of social housing in England and Wales has completed its latest stage in parliament. The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill was passed by the House of Lords yesterday, and will now go back to the House of Commons before becoming law. The bill creates a new criminal offence… Continue Reading

Letting Your Property to Pet Owners

Landlords are traditionally resistant to letting to pet owners. With statistics showing that over 50% of households in the UK own a pet, landlords could be cutting down their potential market by more than half. The reason that landlords are so resistant is usually the fear of the damage that a pet can cause, be… Continue Reading

Ed Miliband Proposes Landlord Database

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, has proposed a national register of landlords and more powers for councils to tackle rogue landlords. A “national register” of landlords, the likes of which already exists in Scotland, was proposed under the last Labour government.  This was abandoned by the coalition which said it did not want… Continue Reading

Number of Tenants in Severe Arrears Falls

The number of tenants in severe arrears fell in the last quarter of 2012, according to receivers Templeton LPA, part of the LSL group. There was a 15.6% drop in the number of tenants in severe arrears, which translates to 16,000 tenants. Although that still left 86,000 in serious arrears of two months or more,… Continue Reading