In April 2018, private rental properties will need to have a minimum EPC rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them to tenants. This change will only apply to new tenancies and renewals. By April 2020, the rule will be extended to incorporate all private rentals regardless of when the tenancy started. Landlords that breach these regulations may face a fine of up to £5,000.
Properties with a EPC rating of F or G will either need to be taken off the market after this date or improvements implemented. Where the EPC indicates a rating of F or G it will be considered substandard under the regulations.
The Government is expected to publish specific guidance for landlords in October this year to clarify the changes. The clarification will hopefully
On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices declined by 0.4% in April according to Nationwide. It may not sound like a lot but Britain’s recent rampant property market means the drop represents the worst monthly decline since 2012.
Annual price growth is also weak. Average prices in April were 2.6% higher than the same month last year, the smallest annual increase since June 2013.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, says in a statement: “In some respects, the softening in house price growth is surprising because the unemployment rate is near to a 40-year low, confidence is still relatively high and mortgage rates have fallen to new all-time lows in recent months.
“While monthly figures can be volatile, the recent softening in price growth may be a further indication that households are starting to react
The withdrawal of landlord buyers has left the market freer for first-time buyers without pushing up prices.
Buy-to-let landlords are finally in retreat in the housing market, leaving young adults in a better position to buy a property, according to the latest data from mortgage lenders.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending in March was £21.4bn, down 19% on the year before, almost entirely due to landlords withdrawing from the market. A double whammy of tighter Bank of England lending rules, which have forced banks and building societies to insist on greater rental cover and higher deposits, plus new taxes on rental income, has made buy-to-let far less financially attractive.
Lending peaked in March 2016, as landlords rushed through purchases to avoid a 3% hike in stamp duty. But since then, lending
When you buy or rent a new-build house, you don’t want to finish it and struggle for a solution. A hole where a window should be, no cavity wall insulation and uneven stairs are just a few of the problems to mention.
■ Research the developer online before you buy to check for negative feedback and other’s experience
■ Question purchasers who have moved in to completed phases of a development about their experience.
■ Check which warranty provider the developer is registered with and read its consumer code.
■ Ask an independent snagging company to inspect the house for flaws before completion. However, developers aren’t obliged to allow you to enter the property before the legal completion date and many don’t.
■ Ensure your home and contents policy includes
Benefit claimants are subjected to an unacceptable “postcode lottery” that can determine whether or not they are driven into poverty by sanctions, MPs have said.
A report by the public accounts committee found that some Work Programme providers and jobcentres withhold payments to twice as many people as others in the same area.
Sanctions are a punishment applied to benefit claimants adjudged to have infringed jobcentre rules. If claimants fail to turn up for appointments or to apply for enough jobs, officials effectively fine them by stopping their benefit payments for a minimum of four weeks, equal to about £300 for a claimant over 25.
The report by parliament’s spending watchdog, published on Tuesday, urges the government to review the use of financial penalties, which it finds “have increased in severity in
It’s rare nowadays to read the news and feel anything other than abject horror. But occasionally something good appears, even in housing.
This week, Sovereign housing association announced it has secured £150m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to build 4,500 homes. Which is good because we need new homes. The EIB is able to offer low-cost loans to fund infrastructure projects because borrowing is underpinned by the 28 EU member states.
However, hold the celebration. Because at this point, like a hangover, something may be niggling at the corner of your mind. Words like “EU” and “member states” may ring alarm bells, because very soon we won’t be part of the European project. With the advent of Brexit, we may well see much less funding for infrastructure in the UK. Werner