Revenge Eviction Bill Does Not Proceed

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill is talked down at its second reading

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill is talked down at its second reading

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill, dubbed the ‘Revenge Eviction Bill’, has failed to proceed from its second reading in the House of Commons.

During the debate MPs Philip Davies and Christopher Chope decided to ‘talk out’ the Bill so that only 60 MPs managed to vote before time ran out. This stopped the bill from receiving the 100 votes that are required for a motion to proceed.

The bill had received cross-party support but was openly opposed by leading landlord associations, who claimed it could lead to landlords finding it difficult to take back possession of their properties from problem tenants.

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House of Lords to Discuss Consumer Rights Bill Amendments

House of Lords set to debate Consumer Rights Bill amendments

House of Lords set to debate Consumer Rights Bill amendments

The House of Lords will be in session today and on the agenda will be a discussion of various amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill, some of which could massively affect how letting agents operate.

Letting Agent fees and Client Money Protection (CMP) requirements are at the forefront of the discussions. The Labour party will be pressing for the Bill to include an amendment that would make it illegal for agents to charge any fees to tenants (like it is in Scotland).

The Government seems to be against such changes and believes that the Bill’s requirement for agents to display all their fees (those charged to both landlords and tenants) to be enough.

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Housing Minister Rejects Mandatory Client Money Protection

SAFEagent

SAFEagent

Following a request by SAFE Agent, urging the Government to amend the Consumer Rights Bill to include mandatory membership to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme for all lettings and management agents, the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has responded by stating that he has “…no plans to make CMP compulsory.”

A statement released on the SAFE Agent website, by John Midgley the Chair of SAFEagent, stated: “We are disappointed and will continue with our campaign…”

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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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Immigration Bill Factsheet

Government

Government

Since the Immigration Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May, and became the Immigration Act 2014, letting agents and landlords have been awaiting further details.

In simplified terms the Act will require landlords, or their agents, to carry out checks on the immigration status of any prospective tenant.

More detailed information pertaining to the ins and outs of the act have been thin on the ground – there isn’t even a confirmed date for when the Act will come into force – and this has left landlords and agents confused.

At the start of August, The Home Office released their ‘Factsheet: Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation‘. The “factsheet”, far from being the comprehensive list of answers that was expected, is in fact a vague collection of information that has created more questions than it has answered.

We continue to wait for the government to release further information and hope that any new releases will answer the many questions that have been left unanswered.

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Bank of England Announces New Mortgage Affordability Test

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

Mark Carney, Governor  of the Bank of England (BoE), has proposed a new mortgage affordability test to curb the proportion of home loans that can be lent  at more than 4.5 times their income. The measures are being touted as an attempt to prevent dangerous levels of household debt.

A consultation paper has been published today and will be open for comments until 31 August 2014 with the final rules will come into effect on 1 October 2014.

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Government releases “How to Rent” guide

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

The Government has released its guide, How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England, in a drive to educate the public about renting best practices.

The guide, in an attempt to inform and educate tenants and landlords, has all the important ‘need to know’ rental information in one place.

The Government hopes that, by making the public more aware of their rights, they can help the industry as it strives to stamp out bad practices.

Kris Hopkins, the Housing Minister,  said that “encouraging a new generation of well-informed tenants with easy access to useful and understandable information would help root out the small minority of rogues and raise the game of any landlords who don’t know what is expected of them.”

Young Group believes that educating tenants and landlords is an important step in helping to improve the sector. This guide is a step in the right direction in the fight to help improve the growing Private Rented Sector market.

Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting in London. Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting. A market of informed renters will demand positive renting experiences which will in turn raise standards and root out bad practice.

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National house building statistics

National house building statistics

National house building statistics

The latest national statistics on house building in England (March quarter 2014) have been released.

The data shows that house building starts are on the increase and are nearly a third higher than this time last year, although they are remain nearly a quarter below their 2007 peak.

While this can be seen as a positive it is still far short of the number of houses that need to be built in England to be to keep up with housing demands from population growth.

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Labour defeated in move to ban lettings agency fees

Government

Government

As PRSupdate reported last week, Labour tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

But, after much debate, the motion was defeated in the House of Commons by 53 votes.

Hours prior to the vote the Government had announced it would put forward its own amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. Details of the Government’s proposed amendment have not been fully revealed, as it has yet to be tabled, although it is known that it will compel letting agents to publish all of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices.

The requirement would goes a step beyond the current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recommendations, including the ability to fine any agents who fail to comply.

The Government said it would plan to monitor the regime for a year and ‘put the industry on notice’ that it would be ready to consider further steps if it deemed necessary.

Young London, Young Group’s operational business, is fully prepared if these new proposals come into force as it already displays all fees on the its website and provides them to every applicant as part of their viewing pack.

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Labour Party to force vote in an attempt to ban letting agent fees

House of Commons

House of Commons

Following on from setting out Labour’s policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector Ed Miliband is going to force a vote in the Commons in an attempt to ban letting agent fees.

The proposal will be tabled as an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that is set to be voted on in the Commons this coming Tuesday (13/05).

This move is a shock to many in the industry and has been roundly condemned by leading industry bodies as being ‘short sighted’ and a ‘knee-jerk reaction’.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has said that it is “deeply concerned” by Labour’s proposals with Ian Potter, Managing Director of the ARLA, stating that “Political posturing on an issue that has such a great impact on people’s lives is unfair.”

PRSupdate will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it continues to unfold.

 

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Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Ed Miliband will set out the Labour party’s planned reforms of the lettings sector – if the party wins the 2015 general election. A future Labour government would impose longer tenancies, stable rent increases and an end to up-front lettings fees.
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DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG's consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

Following the 2013 call for evidence on Private Rented Sector quality, regulation and levels of rent (which Young Group responded to), the DCLG has called for further comment on  its Policy Paper ‘Review of Property Conditions in the PRS’, covering a raft of issues, including:

  • Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • Retaliatory evictions
  • Illegal evictions
  • Safety conditions
  • Licensing of rented housing
  • Housing Health and Safety Rating System

As an organisation with a long-standing vested interest in the Private Rented Sector, Young Group wanted to ensure that our experience and views were shared.

Our full response can be found here but we have included a few extracts in this blog post to highlight our stance on the issues raised.

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Capital Gains Tax Targets Overseas Investors

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs

This article is for information purposes only and in no way constitutes advice.

From April 2015 there will be changes to the current Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules for overseas sellers. Currently the disposal of UK property by a non-resident individual is not normally subject to UK CGT, while UK residents pay 18% of the profits for basic rate tax payers and 28% for higher rate payers.

However, it is not yet clear exactly how the new rules will be implemented as the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have yet to release the consultation documents. Until then, we will not know exactly what is being proposed.

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Autumn Statement 2013: Key Information

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne used his Autumn Statement to update MPs, and the nation, on the state of the economy and the government’s future plans.

The biggest news from the Autumn Statement was that the growth forecast for this year has increased from 0.6% to 1.4% and has also been revised up for next year from 1.8% to 2.4%.

Revised figures showed that in 2008-09, under the leadership of Gordon Brown, UK GDP declined by 7.2% and not 6.3% as had been previously thought. This is the equivalent of £112bn.

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Mayor sets out bold vision to tackle London’s housing needs

Boris Johnson - Andy Wilkes

Image: Boris Johnson – Andy Wilkes

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson gave a keynote speech on the debate surrounding Britain’s housing needs and focused on the pressure on housing in London.

The original Press Release can be found here.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson today announced initial new funding of more than £1 billion to deliver thousands more low cost homes as he warned that London needed at least 42,000 homes a year to meet the demands of the city’s ever increasing population.

During a keynote speech to launch his new Housing Strategy ‘Homes For London’ for public consultation, the Mayor said that housing supply has become the biggest challenge facing London’s economic development.

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