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 air key issues facing the sector and I have outlined 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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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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Immigration Act Pilot Area Announced

Compliance Corner

Compliance Corner

The government has announced the pilot area and start date for the first stage of the Immigration Act.

The area, in which agents and landlords will have to check an immigrants ‘right to rent’, will be the West Midlands, with a start date of December 1. This area will include Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, but will not apply in Solihull and Coventry.

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Caution Needed in the Rent Setting Debate

Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation

Ian Fletcher, Director of Policy at the British Property Federation

In May the British Property Federation (BPF), like many other organisations, heard alarm bells ring when Ed Miliband, realising the voting potential of ‘Generation Rent’, set out a range of rental reforms that included the possibility of what looked like ‘rent controls’.

Recognising the pressing need for more rental accommodation and the disquiet of many of those forced to rent, Miliband proposed that a Labour government would introduce three-year tenancies, ban letting agent fees, and put a ceiling on rent increases.

The latter part of the proposals caused particular unease amongst the property sector, which feared that a ceiling on rents posed a very serious threat to the health of the UK’s emerging Build to Rent sector.

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In Conversation With… Phil Buckle

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

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 Phil Buckle, Director General at Electrical Safety First.

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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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Private Rented Sector Properties with Low EPC Rating to be Banned

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

In less than four years landlords will have to have made sure that all of their Private Rented Sector stock has been made energy efficient.

After April 1st 2018, as part of a requirement laid out in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s two consultations on the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations, a landlord will not be allowed to let out their property if it does not have a minimum EPC rating of an ‘E’.

The consultation also refers to April 1st 2016, from this date tenants will be able to request their landlord to carry out reasonable energy efficiency improvements to improve the properties EPC rating. The landlord can not refuse to carry out the necessary works if requested.

The consultation is currently seeking industry input on how to implement these regulations, which are part of the Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions.

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In Conversation With… John Grimes

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

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 John Grimes, Managing Director at Drummond House Developments Ltd.

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Changes to Capital Gains Tax Target Non-Resident Sellers

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

The imposition of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the disposal of UK residential property for non-residents came as a surprise to many people as the UK government seeks to level the playing field between those who are tax residents in the UK and those who are not.

Unlike many other countries, that tax gains on the disposal of residential property situated in their jurisdiction, the UK has not generally charged CGT on gains made by non-residents. The result of this is that a gain would either be fully taxable in the country of residence or escape taxation entirely.

The UK government considers this to be unfair and has proposed legislation to tax the gains on residential property of those who are non-resident in the same way as gains made by those who are resident.

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