Can The Planning System Help Or Hinder The Creation Of A Large Scale Private Rented Sector?

Karen Cooksley, Partner - Head of Planning, Winckworth Sherwood

Karen Cooksley, Partner – Head of Planning, Winckworth Sherwood

Residential developers who build for sale have, for many years, voiced consistent concerns about the length of time it often takes to navigate the planning system and achieve the consent required to build much needed homes. Inefficiencies in the processing and determination of applications can result from a lack of resources or experience at officer level. There is frequently a lack of political will or leadership to help communities understand the need for more homes to be built in their locality and the wider social and economic benefits which will result. Each local authority has different policies and there is a frequent tendency to apply planning law and national policy in a different way.

Successive governments have tinkered with primary and secondary legislation, and latterly made more radical changes to both law and national policy, in an effort to speed up both policy making and decision taking at a local level. In recent years the Coalition Government has given special emphasis to the need for the construction and provision of more homes of all tenures, not just to serve spiralling housing need, but also to kickstart the recovering economy.

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Young London Receives London Rental Standard Accreditation

London Rental Standard

London Rental Standard

Young London are pleased to announce that we have received London Rental Standard accreditation.

As an accredited letting and managing agent our applicants, residents and clients can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they’re dealing with an agency that fully complies with the law and offers a good service.

The London Rental Standard, a voluntary set of minimum standards, was created by the Mayor of London (Boris Johnson) to set out the level of service that those operating in London’s Private Rented Sector are expected to adhere to.

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Land Acquisition In The Private Rented Sector

Darryl Flay, Chief Executive Officer, Essential Living

Darryl Flay, Chief Executive Officer, Essential Living

Rising house prices, demographic change and the tight mortgage market have led to a doubling in the number of renters in the UK over the last decade.

While no one doubts the UK’s penchant for ownership is about to change any time soon, there’s a huge opportunity in unlocking the kind of institution-backed sector that supports housing in the US. Replacing the reputation for poor standards underpinning the buy-to-let sector could, however, redefine the way the public approaches renting, while creating an exciting new asset class for institutional and, eventually, retail investors.

A growing number of large investors have been posturing on the sidelines for years and, over recent months, the talk has turned to action with major schemes in development across London and Manchester.

One of the much-discussed barriers that has delayed the entry of UK institutions into the market has been the lack of available stock and the relatively low yields available from buying an ‘off-the-shelf’ product. This invariably means paying a mark-up to a developer that comes straight off your returns.

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Consultation on Definitive House Price Index

Office For National Statistics

Office For National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics has launched a consultation seeking input from “users” on the proposal of developing a single definitive house price index.

As I have blogged about previously, there is not a precise house price index as all of the current indexes source their data differently.

The move to a single, UK-wide, index would help end the confusion caused by the contrasting data thrown up by the current indexes.

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Funding Private Rented Sector Housing

Andrew Screen, Managing Director, GVA Financial Consulting

Andrew Screen, CEO, GVA Financial Consulting

The emergence of a significant Private Rented Sector (PRS) development and funding market has been driven initially by the public sector through various initiatives, including the formation of the Government PRS Taskforce and followed closely by investors. These early investors included M3 Capital Partners, M&G, Apollo, Grainger, AGP, Qatari Diar, Akelius, Oaktree and Sigma, with many following suit in the last 12 months. On a monthly basis new investors are entering this market with c£500m to invest, all seeking PRS developers and suitable investment opportunities in the UK’s top 35 cities.

Sources of Funding

The Government provided the initial PRS market stimulation with the Build-to-Rent fund, which provided debt, equity and mezzanine funding for the development of PRS stock. This was followed by the announcement of the Government’s Housing Debt Guarantee Scheme providing 30 year guarantees to banks for PRS debt funding. The amount of funding available for new PRS development is estimated at approximately £10bn from private sector funding sources and £10bn by way of public sector funding initiatives.

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Another Successful RESI

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

On September 10th the property industry’s best and brightest descended upon the Welsh countryside to attend the UK’s biggest property event, RESI 2014.

Once again we had more than 1,000 delegates in attendance networking, discussing the current state of the residential property sector and enjoying a full conference programme of opinion and debate, Chaired by Mark Eason, the BBC’s Home Editor.

Leading developers, researchers, financiers and politicians took to the stage to talk about the key issues facing the sector and I have collated some of the biggest talking points to come out of this year’s conference.

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Campaigning to Improve Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

With an estimated 9 million people living in private rented accommodation, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is a major and expanding element in England’s housing market. But such rapid growth brings its own problems, with safety a key concern and electrical safety a particular priority.

Around half of all domestic fires in Great Britain arise from electricity, killing one person each week, and well over a quarter of a million (350,000) are seriously injured by electricity each year.

In the PRS, if a landlord fails to ensure electrical safety in their rented properties then they can face significant financial risks from fires and invalidated insurance claims. Yet the regulations surrounding electrical safety are piecemeal and ambiguous – and poor electrics are often ‘invisible’, lying undiscovered until a serious accident occurs.

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In Conversation With… Bill Hughes

Bill Hughes, President of the British Property Federation

Bill Hughes, President of the British Property Federation

We are regularly in conversation with a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate. The purpose of this feature is to get them to discuss the topics and issues that are currently affecting the Private Rented Sector.

If you would like to take part in an In Conversation piece then please do get in touch with us.

Today we are in conversation with Bill Hughes, President of the British Property Federation.

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Young Group at RESI 2014

RESI Café 2014

RESI Café 2014

Once again, Young Group was in attendance at the annual Property Week RESI Conference, and sponsor of the ever-popular RESI Café.

The event was a resounding success with around 1,000 of the residential property sectors’ good and great in attendance.

All of the conference delegates received a copy of the latest biannual PRSupdate publication. The overarching theme of this issue is ‘Delivering the Private Rented Sector’, which was received with great enthusiasm and complemented the themes presented by the event’s speakers.

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Landlords Lack Awareness of their Agent’s Professional Memberships

Property Academy Landlord Survey

Property Academy Landlord Survey

A Property Academy survey, which questioned 2,948 landlords, has turned up some interesting information in regards to landlord awareness of what professional memberships their chosen lettings agent hold.

Over half (55%) of the landlords that use a letting agent did not know whether that agent was a member of a professional body. Only 37% were aware if their agent was a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the largest membership body in the lettings sector.

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Revenge Eviction Bill Proposed

The government backs bill to end retaliatory evictions

The government backs bill to end retaliatory evictions

The Government, in the form of Communities Minister Stephen Williams and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, recently gave their backing to a Private Members Bill, put forward by Sarah Teather MP (LibDem), which aims to end the practice of retaliatory evictions.

The Bill has been backed by a number of organisations, including the housing and homelessness charity Shelter who stated, “no one should face eviction for complaining about bad conditions. The government’s – and ultimately Parliament’s – support for Sarah’s Bill could end this practice once and for all.”

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Private Rented Sector ‘Code of Practice’ Launched

Private Rented Sector Code

Private Rented Sector Code

A new Private Rented Sector Code of Practice has been launched by 17* leading Private Rented Sector organisations.

The code, requested by the Department for Communities and Local Government, was created with the intention of driving up the quality of Private Rented Sector letting and management standards.

The document contains guidance for agents and landlords that outlines their mandatory obligations as well as recommended industry best practices.

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Supporting Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Yesterday the Gas Safe Register kicked off their annual ‘Gas Safety Week’, a nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness of gas safety for the UK’s 23 million gas fuelled homes.

Gas Safety Week 2014 will be backed up with national advertising and media coverage as well as various events throughout the week.

The campaign hopes to get across its gas safety message as September is the time when many people will be turning on their boilers for the first time in preparation for winter.

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Time is Running Out for Letting Agents to Join a Redress Scheme

Time Running Out for Letting Agents to Join a Redress Scheme

Time Running Out for Letting Agents to Join a Redress Scheme

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has confirmed that October 1 is the deadline by which all letting agents in England must have joined an approved redress scheme (the Property Redress Scheme, Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Ombudsman).

It seems there will be no grace period, so agents operating in England (the obligations do not yet apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) that are not already a member of one of the three schemes should quickly rectify that.

In 18 days any agents that has not signed up to a scheme will be breaking the law and can be fined up to £5,000.

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Young Group Sponsor RESI Café

Young Group Sponsor RESI Café

Young Group Sponsor RESI Café

After a successful 2013 Young Group is again proud to be returning to The Celtic Manor today as the sponsors of the RESI Café.

If you’re attending the event we hope you enjoy the fare on offer. This year, to minimise queueing and to keep up with demand, the Celtic Manor has doubled the number of servers throughout the Café area.

Also, all delegates will receive a complementary copy of our latest PRSupdate publication – with articles from industry leaders who are all currently active in the PRS, talking about their experiences of delivering a new, larger scale, modern Private Rented Sector.

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