We are doing the Newsround on Thursday this week as we will be closing over the Bank Holiday.
Local Authorities and the Tenancy Deposit Schemes data
I suppose the main housing news item this week is the coming into force of the new rules allowing Local Authorities to keep the proceeds of (some of) their enforcement actions.
These include the new penalty notices and the explained remit of rent repayment orders as I discussed in my post here.
What I did not cover in that post though are the additional powers they will also have now to request data from the tenancy deposit schemes to help with their enforcement. The information can only be used:
- For a purpose connected with the exercise of their functions under Parts 1-4 of the Housing Act 2004 in relation to any premises (in general improving housing conditions, licencing of HMOs, selective licencing of other accommodation and management orders),
- For the purpose of investigating whether an offence has been committed under any of those Parts in relation to any premises
The information they will have to provide is limited to information in the relevant local authority area and will consist of:
- The Private Rented Sector (PRS) property addresses
- Addresses of the landlords letting these properties
- Addresses of letting agents managing PRS properties
- Number of deposits registered at the PRS property address
So generally landlords can expect more enforcement action being taken against them. The ONLY way landlords can prevent this is by ensuring that they are compliant with all the rules.
Problems with poor Housing Association new builds
We have been calling for Housing Association to be allowed to build more (desperately needed) housing – but it seems in some of the areas where they ARE building the properties are not up to scratch.
A report in the Guardian says that problems have included
- Failing lifts that rendered a wheelchair user housebound for a week and a half.
- Security failures that meant premises were open to intruders over a period of months.
- Families repeatedly left without heating or hot water.
It is very worrying that these poor standard properties are being funded by public money – including (according to Sadiq Khan) grants from the previous Mayor Boris Johnson.
Housing expert Steve Hilditch commented
The big housing associations have become massive developers. They’re expanding very quickly. To my mind, some of them have lost their focus on housing need and managing their existing homes
So who CAN we trust to build desperately needed new housing?
What about build to rent?
One answer may be in this article in the Architects Journal which describes new big developments now coming on board for new build rented property blocks.
What sort of properties are these?
the developing conceptual model for these varies widely. It’s either a warm cuddly one of communal, Continental-style shared living, designed for the long term, in a loose-fit style for communities to grow into; or it’s a kind of high-end, long-stay boutique hotel, offering facilities as add-on lifestyle benefits and with out-of-the-ordinary flexible packages for tenure.
Sounds good and the article indicates that the properties are high quality. However this means high rent, so (as they look to be all flats) they will really only be suitable for professional singles and couples.
So there will remain a problem for lower income families.
Worrying lack of knowledge on new energy efficiency rules
A report covered in Landlord Today flags up the worrying lack of knowledge by landlords of the new energy efficiency rules which are due to come into force next year.
These will make it illegal for landlords to rent out property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.
However, it seems that at least 25% of landlords are unaware of this. A further 42% are only ‘vaguely aware’ of it.
This then begs the question – what is going to happen to the housing crisis if hundreds of properties are removed from the private rented sector due to an incorrect EPC rating?
There is a good information page on the RLA website about all this here.
We have lots of problems pending in housing but is government going to be able to do anything about them? This article in the guardian indicates that the Brexit project is going to be so all-consuming that
There is a danger that Brexit could suck the oxygen out of attempts to implement a sweeping programme of social and economic reform that is badly needed at home,
Remainers will be even more annoyed to learn from another Guardian article that foreign states may have interfered with the Brexit vote. Maybe we really did vote remain? Too late to do anything about it now though…
What made me smile this week
I have found a series of programs on iPlayer on amazing hotels. So far I have watched programs about a hotel in Singapore where they have a swimming pool in the sky, a glass hotel in heart of the Equador rainforest and the ‘giraffe’ hotel in Kenya.
They are all extraordinary and wonderful. But probably I smiled the most watching Giles Coran ride a camel and dress up as a warrior.