NEWS


BATTLE FOR THE BILLIONS

Last week Mydeposits.co.uk, one of three tenancy deposit protection scheme, announced that it has protected over £1 billion worth of deposits on behalf of tenants.Eddie Hooker (right), Chief Executive, mydeposits.co.uk, commented, “Mydeposits has gone from strength to strength since we launched over four years ago, firmly expelling the myth that landlords and agents can’t be trusted with holding ‘client money’.

 

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BUDGET GETS LUKEWARM RESPONSE FROM INDUSTRY

It was never going to be full of gifts and good news but many in the property industry had hoped that ‘something could be done’ in George Osborne’s budget, delivered last Wednesday.Indeed, ‘something’ was done. A new £250million scheme called First Buy, was announced to ‘kickstart the property market’, but the only part of the property market that will benefit is going to be construction, as the assistance provided by the scheme is only available to purchasers of new homes.

 

 

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LETTINGS FIRMS EXPELLED BY PROPERTY OMBUDSMAN

Two lettings firms, one in London and the other in Torbay, have been expelled by The Property Ombudsman scheme.

 

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MARKET FORCES DON'T SET STANDARDS - DEPOSIT SCHEME CHIEF WARNS

Despite one in six households now renting, there has been a market failure to educate the consumer in the private rented sector

 

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BUSY TIME FOR RENTING.

The current rental market in the Clacton on Sea area is busy.

 

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ENGLISH HOUSE SURVEY RECORDS MASSIVE RISE IN RENTING

Whether through choice or necessity the number of Britons renting privately has increased by more than 60% in the last decade.

 

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LATEST LAND REGISTRY FIGURES RECORD MARGINAL RISE IN HOUSE PRICES

House prices rose 0.2% from December to January, according to the latest Index data from Land Registry.

 

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MORE LOCALS THAN EVER PRICED OUT OF COUNTRYSIDE

Homes in the countryside have become increasingly unaffordable for local people over the last ten years leaving many working in rural areas with no hope of getting on the housing ladder, according to research carried out by the National Housing Federation.

 

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STRONG TENANT DEMAND CONTINUES TO PUSH RENTS HIGHER

Rents rose at a rapid pace in the three months to the end of January, as falling supply of rental properties and strong tenant demand continued to drive prices upwards.

 

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CHEAPER TO BUY THAN RENT?

It is now cheaper to buy a house, flat or bungalow than to rent property in most of the UK, research has revealed.

 

 

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CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO USE AN A.R.L.A. AGENT?

A troubled estate agent who fiddled his clients out of thousands of pounds has been jailed, reports the Coventry Telegraph.Debt-plagued Coventry businessman Stephen Greenwood was given a 12-month sentence for fraud after a ‘‘catastrophic fall from grace’’.

 

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RIGHTMOVE IS UK'S 8TH BUSIEST WEBSITE

A record-breaking month of traffic in January has moved Rightmove up to be the 8th busiest website for UK users. Rightmove ended the month sandwiched between Microsoft MSN in 7th place and BBC News in 9th in terms of share of web pages viewed by UK users, according to independent data compiled by Experian Hitwise.The 8th place position represents strong year-on-year growth for Rightmove who ended January 2010 in 15th place.

 

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BPF BACKS PLEDGE TO TACKLE NON-PAYING TENANTS

ARLA members are likely to be encouraged by a pledge from Welfare Minister Lord Freud to look at the problems caused by tenants who refuse to pay their landlords and "play the system" to live rent free.

The move has already been backed by the British Property Federation.

Quizzed on the Government’s welfare reforms during the BPF’s Residential Conference, Lord Freud said the Government would consider landlords’ concerns over issues around tenant debt. Figures last month revealed that £276million of rent went unpaid in the private rented sector in December alone.

Lord Freud suggested that "extra protection" could be offered to landlords, who at present found it took more than three months to evict non-paying housing benefit tenants, with no chance of ever reclaiming the money.

 

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BIG FINE FOR LYING LETTING AGENT

A West Bromwich letting agent has been fined £3,120 and ordered to pay £3,417.53 in costs for fraudulently making false claims about his business.The matter came to light following a complaint made to Sandwell Council's Trading Standards Service.At Warley magistrates Amerjit Singh Dhuga, trading as wli.uk.com based at 101 High Street, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to 26 offences including three under the Fraud Act for fraudulently making false claims about his business.

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ZOOPLA ACQUIRES WWW.HOUSEPRICES .CO.UK

Zoopla.co.uk has acquired Houseprices.co.uk, a leading house prices website, for an undisclosed sum.Launched in 2005, Houseprices.co.uk was one of the first websites in the UK to offer Land Registry sold house price information free to consumers. It quickly became the leading standalone website for property price paid data in the UK, attracting over 1 million visits per month and consistently listed as one of the Top 10 most-visited property websites in the UK, according to Nielsen (Source, MediaTel/UKOM).Houseprices.co.uk offers users free access to over 11 million house price paid records in England and Wales that have sold since 2000. It will continue to be operated as a separate brand and website by Zoopla but will now link directly to the Zoopla website, allowing users to easily access local properties for sale, current property value estimates and other features and tools available on Zoopla’swebsite.Alex Chesterman, CEO of Zoopla said, “This acquisition adds to the growing list of websites that we now either own directly or power exclusively, extending our reach even further and allowing us to offer our agent and developer members exposure to a unique and unrivalled online audience. Houseprices.co.uk has built a very strong following over the years by offering a great service, which we intend to continue.”

 

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MORE COUNCILS TAKE ON SELECTIVE LICENSING FOR HMO'S

Two more councils have joined the queue to crackdown on property investors letting shared houses, reports the MoneyCentre. Preston and York are both ready to announce ‘article 4’ selective licensing for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).Councillors in Preston are considering the move that will mean landlords investing in new HMOs will have to gain planning permission before they can start letting rooms.A council revealed that in neighbourhoods with about 14,000 homes, 1,350 are HMOs – with students sharing 840.

 

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AGENTS REDUCE VOIDS ON RENTALS.

Letting agents are more successful at keeping rental properties occupied than individual landlords, according to an analysis of deposits from The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS).

Lettings agents ensure that the void period on a property is kept to within two weeks on 63 per cent of properties compared to only 38 per cent for those marketed by landlords directly. The DPS has assessed the void periods - time when a property is empty of rent-paying tenants - from across 597,753 deposits it holds on rentals in the UK.

 

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HOUSING BENEFIT SET TO CHANGE

Housing Benefit costs under the Labour Government rose to £20 billion per year as claimants and costs increased without any apparent effort to contain them. Press reports of some families living the high life in Kensington on housing benefit have scandalised those who struggle to pay their own mortgage or rent but Eric Pickles (pictured left), the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is set to cap the outrageous claims.

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HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION LANDLORDS PROSECUTED

Unlicensed Watford HMO costs landlord couple £30,000 A married couple prosecuted by Watford Borough Council for running an unlicensed house in multiple occupation were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling over £30,000 by Magistrates.

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MORTGAGE RATES DROP TO SEVEN YEAR LOW

Mortgage rates are at their lowest for seven years, according to new research. The study by Moneyfacts.co.uk found the average interest-rate on a two-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.52%, the lowest since September 2003. Interest rates on fixed rate mortgages have been dropping since September last year as lenders attempt to entice borrowers away from low standard variable rates (SVRs).

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EMERGENCY BUDGET

George Osborne delivered his first Budget as Chancellor this afternoon, saying: "This emergency budget pays for the past, and plans for the future".Speaking to a packed House of Commons, Mr Osborne painted a grim economic picture, saying:"The coalition government has inherited from its predecessor the largest budget deficit of any couuntry in Europe, with the exception of Ireland".

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ELECTRICAL SAFETY COUNCIL NEW GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS

The Electrical Safety Council have issued a new guide for landlords. It can be found at the following link:-

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HOUSING MARKET “DELICATELY POISED”

Both the number of homes sold in England and Wales and the prices achieved fell during May, according to Acadametrics. The number of properties changing hands declined by an estimated 18% from April, while the value of the average home dipped by 0.2%.

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