Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter

The Renters Reform Bill White Paper is Coming - Ashington Page -  Independent Estate Agents in Beaconsfield

The government has announced that the Renters' Reform Bill will be introduced in this parliamentary session. Wide-ranging proposals outlined in its Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper include abolishing section 21 and introducing a single system of periodic tenancies.

 
The government has outlined its proposals for the Renters' Reform Bill, which will be introduced in this parliamentary session, detailed in its Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper. This paper builds on the Levelling Up White Paper and sets out the government's plans to fundamentally reform the Private Rented Sector and level up housing quality. The proposed reforms for the private rented sector in England go much further than initially expected, with the government calling it "the biggest shake-up of the private rented sector in 30 years”.

The government says the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper "marks a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants. It provides new support for cost of living pressures with protections for the most vulnerable, and new measures to tackle arbitrary and unfair rent increases." At the same time, the proposals to introduce Private Renters’ Ombudsman, improve grounds for possession under section 8, and introduce a new property portal will provide " the estimated 2.3 million private landlords with greater clarity and support".

These are the Proposals outlined in the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper:

 

Section 21 "no fault" evictions to be abolished

Section 21 will be abolished, so that landlords will only be able to evict a tenant in reasonable circumstances, which will be defined in law. "Removing Section 21 will level the playing field between landlord and tenant, empowering tenants to challenge poor practice and unjustified rent increases, as well as incentivising landlords to engage and resolve issues," says the White Paper. 

However, the government will also reform the grounds of possession under section 8 so that they are "comprehensive, fair, and efficient, striking a balance between protecting tenants’ security and landlords’ right to manage their property".  A new mandatory ground for repeated serious arrears, making eviction mandatory where a tenant has been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at hearing. A new ground will be introduced for landlords who wish to sell their property and allow landlords and their family members to move into a rental property. 

The notice period for the existing rent arrears eviction ground will be increased to four weeks while the mandatory threshold of at two months’ arrears at time of serving notice and hearing will remain. In cases of criminal behaviour or serious antisocial behaviour, the notice period for the existing mandatory eviction ground will decrease.

Working in partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the government says it will also introduce a package of "wide-ranging court reforms that will target the areas that particularly frustrate and hold up possession proceedings", including county court bailiff capacity, paper-based processes, a lack of adequate advice about court and tribunal processes, and a lack of prioritisation of cases. The government also intends to "strengthen and embed mediation services for landlords and renters, preventing avoidable evictions".

 

Periodic tenancies to become standard

All tenants who would previously have had an Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy will be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies. Tenants will need to provide two months’ notice when leaving a tenancy, to "ensure landlords can recoup the costs of finding a tenant and avoid lengthy void periods". Landlords will only be able to evict a tenant in reasonable circumstances, which will be defined in law.

The government says it will allow time for a "smooth transition to the new system, supporting tenants, landlords and agents to adjust, while making sure that tenants can benefit from the new system as soon as possible". It will introduce the changes in two stages, providing at least six months’ notice of the first implementation date, "after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules". To avoid a "two-tier rental sector",  all existing tenancies will transition to the new system on a second implementation date.

The government hopes that a single tenancy system will mean "both parties will better understand their rights and responsibilities", while providing "greater security for tenants, while retaining the important flexibility that privately rented accommodation offers," says the White Paper. "This will enable tenants to leave poor quality properties without remaining liable for the rent or to move more easily when their circumstances change, for example to take up a new job opportunity." 

 

Notice periods for rent increases to be doubled

In a move to combat the cost of living crisis, rent increases will be limited to once per year and  the minimum notice landlords must provide of any change in rent will be increased to two months. It will end the use of rent review clauses, "preventing tenants being locked into automatic rent increases that are vague or may not reflect changes in the market price" and says that "any attempts to evict tenants through unjustifiable rent increases are
unacceptable".

In cases where increases are disproportionate, the government will "make sure that tenants have the confidence to challenge unjustified rent increases through the First-tier Tribunal" and it will "prevent the Tribunal increasing rent beyond the amount landlords initially asked for when they proposed a rent increase".

Minimum housing standards to be introduced

Minimum housing standards for the private rented sector (PRS) will be introduced by widening the application of the Decent Homes Standard, which currently only applies to the social housing sector. Under the Decent Homes Standard, homes must be free from serious health and safety hazards and landlords must keep homes in a good state of repair so renters have clean, appropriate and useable facilities. The government will also expand Rent Repayment Orders to cover repayment for non-decent homes. Periodic tenancies will also enable tenants to end a tenancy without remaining liable for the rent in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation.

The White Paper says that "putting a legislative duty on private landlords to meet the Decent Homes Standard will raise standards and make sure that all landlords manage their properties effectively, rather than waiting for a renter to complain or a local council to take enforcement action." It will give local councils the tools to enforce the Decent Homes Standard in the PRS "so that they can crack down on non-compliant landlords while protecting the reputation of responsible ones". The White Paper also reaffirmed the government's intention to upgrade "as many homes as possible" in the private rented sector to EPC Band C by 2030.

Tenants given more rights to keep pets in properties

The government will legislate to ensure landlords do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home, with the tenant able to challenge a decision. At the same time, the government will  amend the Tenant Fees Act to Act 2019 to include pet insurance as a permitted payment. This means landlords will be able to require pet insurance, so that any damage to their property is covered.

The government also encourages landlords "to allow reasonable requests by tenants to redecorate, hang pictures or change appliances - provided they return the property to its original state when they leave".

Bans on renting to families with children or those on benefits to be outlawed

It will become illegal for landlords or letting agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits ("No DSS").  The White Paper says that, "while most landlords provide a professional service to their tenants, there is evidence that some landlords and agents are actively discouraging, or even preventing people in receipt of benefits or with children from renting their properties".  The government will also explore whether action is needed to support other vulnerable groups that may struggle to access PRS accommodation, such as prison leavers. 

A new Ombudsman covering all private landlords

A single government-approved Ombudsman covering all private landlords who rent out property in England - regardless of whether they use a letting agent - will be introduced and membership will be mandatory. The Ombudsman will have powers to "put things right for tenants", including compelling landlords to issue an apology, provide information, take remedial action, and/or pay compensation of up to £25,000. The government also intends for the Ombudsman to be able to require landlords to reimburse rent to tenants where the "service or standard of property they provide falls short of the mark". The Ombudsman’s decision will be binding on landlords, should the complainant accept the final determination and failure to comply with a decision may result in repeat or serious offenders being liable for a Banning Order.

The White Paper says that "making membership of an Ombudsman scheme mandatory for landlords who use managing agents will mitigate the situation where a good agent is trying to remedy a complaint but is reliant on a landlord who is refusing to engage". It will also ensure that tenants have access to redress services in "any given situation, and that landlords remain accountable for their own conduct and legal responsibilities". 

New Property Portal for private landlords and tenants

A new digital Property Portal will be introduced to "provide a single ‘front door’ to help landlords understand, and demonstrate compliance with their legal requirements". The government says that "too often tenants find out too late that they are renting a substandard property from landlords who wilfully fail to comply, and councils don’t know who to track down when serious issues arise". It notes that the portal will also "support good landlords to demonstrate regulatory compliance and to attract prospective tenants".

The nature of the portal is yet to be determined, with the government to "conduct extensive testing of potential solutions for the portal, underpinned by user research and engagement with representative groups, to make sure the system works for tenants, landlords and local councils". The portal should be flexible enough to support future policy developments, "supporting efforts to raise standards in the sector and reduce the number of non-decent rented homes by 50% by 2030". This could include a system where landlords and agents must meet minimum standards before properties can be let.

The Property Portal aims to provide a solution to these issues, with landlords legally required to register their property on the portal and local councils empowered to take enforcement action against private landlords that fail to join the portal. The Property Portal will "dramatically increase local councils’ ability to enforce against criminal landlords". The government plans  to incorporate some of the functionality of the existing Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents.

 

Source: goodlord.co

 

Factors to Avoid That Affect Home Values | Flying Homes

Will the housing market crash? We have been asking the question for two decades now as prices have climbed to ever higher multiples of earnings. But apart from a few months in 2008 and early 2009, when prices did slide appreciably, it never seems to happen. Stock market corrections come and go but nothing will seem to dislodge housing from its inflated heights.

Having just gone through the most unlikely property boom in history, however – in which prices have surged throughout a pandemic – it is worth asking again. If we really have reached the end of the age of ultra-low interest rates that would remove the engine that has driven the long housing boom of the past three decades. You have to be in your mid-50s at least, now, to remember the days of double-digit mortgage rates. It is safe to say that today’s house prices would not be sustainable in such an environment. Many people would be spending their entire salaries servicing their mortgage.

If you are waiting for a housing crash in order to get your toes into the market, however, don’t get too excited. With inflation at a 30-year high, the Bank of England’s base rate is widely-expected to rise further from its current level of 0.5 percent – the bank’s monetary policy committee only narrowly voted against raising them to 0.75 percent at its February meeting. Markets, however, are not expecting rates to peak at much higher than 1 percent. And, with the global economy in shock from the invasion of Ukraine, don’t be surprised if further rises in rates are suspended for the moment as the Bank begins to wonder whether the world could be thrown back into recession, with all the deflationary forces that would entail.

Are conditions right for a crash? Relatively fewer properties are now held on high loan-to-value ratios than in the past. The era of 95 percent mortgages effectively ended with the credit crunch in 2007, since when only a limited number of such loans have been issued, mostly to first-time buyers under government incentive schemes backed with taxpayers’ money. In the second quarter of 2007, 52.4 percent of mortgages had a loan-to-value ratio of over 75 percent, 9.3 percent were over 90 percent and 5.5 percent were over 95 percent. The corresponding figures for last year were 40.3 percent, 3.9 percent and 0.3 percent. Moreover, more homes are now mortgage-free than was the case during past property booms – the number of properties held with no mortgage overtook the number of homes with a mortgage for the first time in 2013/14. It means there will be fewer distressed sellers than was the case in the past , even if interest rates do rise appreciably.

On the other hand, a third of homes are now owned by investors rather than owner-occupiers – and the regulatory and taxation environment for them is becoming increasingly hostile. George Osborne began to discourage buy-to-let investment with a three percent surcharge for properties bought as anything other than a main home. Since then, the government has withdrawn tax advantages and piled on costs for investors. Now, landlords are steadily being forced to upgrade the Energy Performance Rating of their properties before being allowed to let them – which could land investors with bills of tens of thousands of pounds in the worst cases. So, might investors be inclined to get out of property, dumping huge numbers of homes on the market?

One certainty house owners can rely on is that the government and bank of England will act fast to prop up the property market at the first sign of a collapse, just as Rishi Sunak did by introducing a stamp duty holiday in the early months of the pandemic. Already this week the Bank of England has proposed to relax the 'stress tests' that banks are expected to apply when deciding on mortgage applications – with the result that borrowers could find themselves able to take out larger mortgages, and applying inflationary pressures to house prices. 

Compared with the stock market, things happen at glacial pace in the property market. We don’t have daily property market index like we have a FTSE index. It is a much longer and more expensive process to sell a property than sell a bunch of shares, which means we are unlikely to see panic grip the property market in the way it often does in stock markets. Where people have invested in property it has often been with the intention of remaining in for the long haul. Many landlords can be expected to bear quite a lot of pain before they are moved to sell.

All of which makes a housing crash less likely than a stock market crash. By the same token house prices rarely rise with quite the enthusiasm as a surging stock market. For now, conditions do not look good for further rises in the housing market, and stagnation in prices is looking more likely. That said, few would have imagined the strength of the market over the past couple of years – so I wouldn’t want to bet against a rising housing market.

 

 

Source: spectator.co.uk

House & Son 

 

 

So, you’ve been searching the internet like clockwork. You have signed up to automated emails highlighting for you of all the new properties on the market. You have even registered with all the local estate agents and given them a thorough breakdown of what you are looking for and the exact locations on your wish list. Yet, although you have done everything right, you are still having problems finding your next home. Why? It just doesn’t exist! If only I got a £1 for every time we were asked to simply move your dream house to different location!

The trouble is by doing that the property you love will more than likely be out of your budget. When you start your search you need to be realistic and do your research. What properties are available within your budget, and where are they located?

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is giving too much weight to the photographs of a property. We work hard to ensure that the images you see are eye-catching and encourage you to view, but always remember a photo will only tell you half the story of a property. Nothing can prepare you for standing inside a space and seeing it with your own eyes. That feeling, the one that says you are home, is an experience which occurs only whilst you are stood within a property’s walls.

The perception you create of a property from photographs alone could be misleading; don’t make up the fiction of a property before you have been and discovered the facts for yourself.

Let’s talk about your list. You think you know what you want. You may have dreamed of it for many months, but it is only when you actually start viewing properties that you can start to ascertain what you really need. Go and view a variety of properties, even those that wouldn’t normally make your list, you will be surprised how much your list can start to change the more property you view. This way you will end up with the right home, rather than the one you think you want.

Have you ever thought that you may not actually be ready to move home? It may sound a strange thing to say, but if you are not mentally there yet no property will make the grade. You may have a strong emotional attachment to the property you’re living in and be finding it hard to say goodbye. Or you might simply be feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. Please don’t struggle alone, come and talk to my team about your concerns; we’ve met people in similar situations and just want to help, even if that means you taking a break until you are ready. If you’re in the process of looking for a new home, be honest with yourself. Are you being realistic? Are you keeping an open mind or being swayed by your perceptions of a property? 

Go and see those ‘wild cards’ and if you’re not ready, that’s fine. Your search should be fun, so if you’re struggling come and chat to our team and let us help you find that property you can call your home.

Sociobux Crowd earning money | Monetize your social network

 

One of the most common questions we get asked by sellers is “how many buyers do you have on your

books for a property like mine?” Some people get too fixated on this question when deciding

which estate agent to select.

Here’s the thing: IT DOESN’T MATTER

In reality, although an agent may have a register of potential buyers, the chances are the best buyer

for a property will be someone new, who sees it advertised.

Therefore a more relevant and important question would be “how are you going to present and market

my property to ATTRACT the buyers who aren’t on your books?”


We say this because for every one potential buyer an estate agent has on their books, there are at

least 10 who aren’t. 


Sometimes the buyer hasn't even notified the estate agencies in an area to register their details,

instead they see it pop up in a Facebook campaign, on Rightmove, Zoopla or even in our

window.

Its the sellers who really need the estate agent and that estate agent should be in tune with the way

buyers now search and adapt their approach accordingly by using, to name a few, professional

photography, premium marketing on all the property portals, respond to emailed enquiries within 1

hour, not 1 day etc etc.

So, don’t worry about how many buyers they have on their books… picture yourself as a buyer and

think about what you would want to see and hear!

 

 

Vouch Tenancy Deposit Scheme The Property Ombudsman RICS Rightmove Zoopla OnTheMarket