Tag Archives: government

Squatters now face prison sentence if found squatting in private property

May 14, 2012

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After much deliberation a new law regarding squatters rights will come into action within the next few months.

This new legislation, which ministers want to be actioned within two months, has received Royal assent in Parliament so this will now come under the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders act.

Many court battles have been seen over the years with squatters, squatting at the moment is only a civil offence.

When the new law is actioned squatters can be faced with a prison sentence if found squatting.

Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina said the decision “should prevent landlords and homeowners having to enter into lengthy and expensive legal battles”, but he urged property owners not to be complacent and to avoid void periods that may attract squatters wherever possible.*

 

*Source – Stride

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New buy scheme takes over the stamp duty holiday

March 26, 2012

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The stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers has now ended so they will now join in with others and pay 1% tax on properties worth more than £150,000

The BBC have reported saying that the Government have changed back to the original 1% tax for first-time buyers because the holiday had been ineffective in helping people to buy.

The Government now think that the new buy scheme will get Britain’s first time buyers onto the property ladder.

When the stamp duty holiday was introduced back in 2010 it made savings of up to £2,500 for first-time buyers for homes worth up to £250,000.

In the new budget the Government announced a 7% rate on homes over £2m and they want to stop stamp duty avoidance for property buyers at the higher end of the market.

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Newbuy, Government backed scheme to help first-time buyers get their feet onto the property ladder

March 13, 2012

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Most first-time buyers are struggling to raise a deposit for a mortgage so they can own their own home. Some deposits can be around £20,000 or even £40,000 which would take years of saving to get.

Now the government backed scheme ‘Newbuy’ is allowing first-time buyers to have the chance to own their own property and they may even only have to raise a deposit of 5%.

On new build homes (flats & houses) the buyer can get a mortgage of up to 95% of the purchase price and it is only available in England only.

If you are interested in a new build property and you already have at least a 5% deposit saved, you can go to a developer, mortgage lender or IFA (independent financial advisor) to see if you’re eligible for the new buy scheme.

Any mortgage applications will go through the normal process and will be assessed in the usual way.

If you pass all the steps to be accepted to get a mortgage (lenders affordability & credit criteria) you may be able to get up to 95% of the purchase price.

Direct Gov have added information on how you need to qualify on their website…

  • You must be a UK citizen or have the right to remain indefinitely in the country.

Newbuy properties must be:

  • New Build – Residential properties being sold for the first time or for the first time in the current form.
  • Priced up to £500,000 – but there will be no cap on income.
  • Full ownership – Newbuy is not available for shared ownership or shared equity purchases.
  • Primary homes – Newbuy will not be available for the purchase of second homes or for buy-to-let purchases.

If you are going to use the Newbuy scheme you cannot use and other publicly funded mortgage scheme or have an interest-only mortgage.

Grant Shapps, Housing Minister has said because younger people cannot afford deposits the average age of the first-time buyer has risen.

“I’m not prepared to stand by, and nor is the Government, to watch an entire generation of people be locked out of the housing market when they can afford proper mortgages” He commented.

For more information CLICK HERE to go to the Newbuy Government backed website.

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Use your home as a profitable income…

March 9, 2012

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Do you have more bedrooms than you need in your house? If you do, have you considered using your rooms as a profitable income and rent them out?

With the economy the way it is at the moment it is advisable to take the opportunity while you can.

You must also consider if your home is a suitable candidate for this. Is the room well furnished and property maintained? Storage space is always a plus point and make sure it is a comfortable living space.

Always investigate your potential tenants, get rental references and check their income just to make sure the tenant can keep up with their payments and you won’t have any loss of income.

The government in the UK have set up a rent a room scheme. If you take this opportunity home owners can receive £4,250 which is tax-free for when you let a furnished room.

If you would like more information on this, go onto the government website DIRECT GOV.

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Council tenants face a prison sentence or a fine if they sub-let their homes

January 19, 2012

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"Tenancy cheats are taking advantage of a vital support system for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and getting away with a slap on the wrist while our waiting lists continue to grow"

A government’s proposal will now allow council tenants who sub-let their homes to be charged and face up to a two-year prison sentence.

Tenancy fraud will now be seen as an offence and if caught a possible fine of up to £50,000 may be issued.

Government officials have estimated that up to 160,000 council tenants sub-let their homes, this is now costing the taxpayer £5 billion a year.

The tenants that are sub-letting were said to be cheating the system and earning thousands by letting out their council homes at normal rental market rates, Grant Shapps, Housing Minister has commented.

At the moment sub-letting a council property is not an offence, the Government feel that local councils need more powers and are now allowing them better access to bank information and utility information.

Mr Shapps said: “Tenancy cheats are taking advantage of a vital support system for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and getting away with a slap on the wrist while our waiting lists continue to grow.

“It’s time for these swindlers to pay the price. It would cost us billions of pounds to replace the huge number of unlawfully occupied social homes across the country.

“Meanwhile tenancy cheats can earn thousands of pounds letting out their property, which was given to them in good faith and which could instead be offering a stable home to a family in need.”

He added: “The proposals I’ve announced today would not only deliver justice to these fraudsters but will also act as a deterrent to those who think they can earn a fast buck from this precious resource.

“I want everyone to know that our country’s social homes are going to those in genuine need, not providing a ‘nice little earner’ to someone who could afford to live elsewhere.”*

Government Ministers are putting out the proposals for consultation, they also want to make council tenants who earn £100,000 or more a year pay normal rental market rates.

The waiting list for social housing is always growing, at the moment around 1.8 million families in England and Wales are on the waiting list.

*Quote from BBC

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New scheme backed by Which? but they want the Government to be involved more.

January 16, 2012

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An example of a new smart meter

A scheme in the UK to install new energy meters in homes takes a stumble because of massive costs.

Consumer campaign group Which? have said the government should be stumping up the costs to install the smart meters rather than energy companies to keep the costs down.

The Government’s energy minister, Charles Hendry, disagrees with the groups claims. He said the £11.1 billion cost of introducing them to 30 million homes and firms from 2014 to 2019 would reap and £18.1 billion benefit.*

This project was started to have a meter device installed in the home to show how much gas and electricity is being used in real-time.

As customers are asking for the new meters energy companies have been installing them.

But Which? are saying it would be better if the Government took on whole streets at a time to install them.

 

Executive director Richard Lloyd said the government did not have a “credible plan” to keep on top of costs.

“Smart meters can bring many benefits, but consumers won’t accept them at any cost, or from suppliers they don’t trust,” he said.

 

“It’s naive to hope that competition in the energy market will keep under control the cost of installing smart meters in every home in the country.”

He said the government should not write a “blank cheque” on behalf of energy customers at a time when people are struggling to pay their bills.

“The Energy Department should stop and review the smart meter roll-out before it becomes an £11bn fiasco,” he said.

These new meters allow customers to monitor how much they are spending and it also cuts out estimated bills. Which? have welcomed this change but say energy companies must report to watchdogs Ofgem to keep an eye on costs of the scheme and to customers using the meters.

In 2011 a National Audit Report was carried out and had a warning attached, there may be ‘major risks’ when this is rolled out in full. Customers may change their behaviour and the way they spend money with the new meters.

Ministers have been warned by Which? to take a look at their approach in this and take over with a strong leadership role.

 

*Quote from BBC

 

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Affordable new housing made possible for first-time buyers?

November 21, 2011

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The Government have revealed a new scheme to deal with an increasing shortage of affordable homes. This means there are plans to allow first-time buyers of new homes to borrow up to 95% of the property value, then the Government will underwrite part of the risk.

Starting from July 2012, this scheme will build up to 16,000 new homes which then will create up to 32,000 jobs. This initiative is going to be for England only. The Government are adding a £400m fund to this which they are hoping will help schemes that are ready to go but need financial backing.

The ‘radical’ new plans, the Government call them, have been shunned down by the Labour party who think David Cameron and ministers have failed to deliver on housing.

With the economic climate being the way it is at the moment, the Government have made building more homes one of their economic priorities. House priced and rents remain high at the end of 2011, the average first-time buyer is now very close to 43 years old, this being because mortgage lending is so strict and restricted.

Between 2010-11 6% fewer houses were made available than the previous year.

Labour have said the Government should have got to grips with this in their first year of power, and now the situation is getting worse in parts of the country.

Projects that have had funding problems will now get help from ministers to stop this housing decline.

Developers will have to fight for funding to take their projects forward but they must meet a certain criteria, the main one is to provide affordable homes. The Government are calling this the ‘Get Britain building fund’. By 2015, the Government are hoping that around 450,000 affordable homes will be built and available. Many of which will be on publicly owned Brownfield sites.

With moved echoing the Thatcher Government in the 1980’s – potential buyers will get help by letting tenants of social housing have the right to buy their home. The price of the property will be halved and the money from that will be used to build even more affordable housing.

A mortgage indemnity scheme is expected to be offered to first-time buyers, they will be able to borrow up to 95% of the property value.

Grant Shapps, Housing Minister has told BBC Breakfast* that the Government are not ‘pumping up’ the housing market but they want to help people get on the property ladder in a ‘responsible’ way.

“What we want to do is to make it easier for first-time buyers who say the biggest problem is the amount of deposit we have to get together”, he said “This is the biggest blockage”.

The UK could be facing a domino effect situation, David Cameron has been quoted saying that “Lenders won’t lend, so builder can’t build and buyers can’t buy”.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg, his deputy, have said, “That the lack of confidence is visible in derelict building sites and endless for sale signs”, they added, “With that this is doing huge damage to the economy and society”.

The Prime Minister will reveal his plans when he delivers a speech at the CBI annual conference, then will make a statement to parliament.

John Cridland, CBI Director General, said that the UK needs a ‘bold package to get the housing market going again’.

First-time buyers at the moment cannot rely on help from their parents for their deposits and they needed assistance to ‘bridge the gap’, the gap being what banks will lend and the market value of houses.

As mentioned previously, Labour have said that this strategy has come too late and does not go far enough.

Labour have asked ministers to levy a £2bn tax on bank bonuses, this would pay for 25,000 homes and would create 100,000 new construction jobs for the younger generation. This is part of their five-point plan for boosting growth.

 

*Source- BBC

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West Midlands property business praised for energy saving scheme

November 9, 2011

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Stewardson Properties are among the first private landlords to have solar panels fitted onto their properties

A property business in the West Midlands are to be praised in Parliament as a ‘fantastic’ example of innovation.

The property business, which is in Cradley Heath near Birmingham, is run by Phillip and Mark Stewardson. Stewardson Properties are among the first private landlords to have solar panels fitted onto the properties they rent out, which then makes fuel costs cheaper for the tenants who work there.

A converted pub in Birmingham, which has been turned into the companies offices and four flats, have recently had panels fitted. A 16 panel installation was rolled out and had saved an estimated £400-a-year in costs.

Phillip and Mark are now planning to extend the scheme to as many of their properties as possible. Their money-saving scheme has been commended by James Morris, West Midlands MP.

Mr Morris, who represents Halesowen and Rowley Regis, said: “It is fantastic that a local company is leading the way in making the benefits of solar power available to their tenants, having seen how much the company saved from having panels on their own offices.

“Support from Government means that homeowners and landlords get paid for the electricity that their solar panels generate, whilst tenants benefit from cheaper electricity bills.

“I will be raising this in Parliament as a fantastic example of local landlords taking innovative action to help their tenants and the environment.”

Phillip Stewardson, 47, has said that this is a “win-win” plan after Government backing, but not all of their properties will get the solar panels installed. He said: “As a businessman it makes perfect sense. Not only do the tenants get the benefit of cheaper electricity, but we get paid by the Government for installing the panels.

“It’s win-win. It’s a green initiative and we’re reducing the carbon footprint of all out properties, plus it adds between one and two percent to our annual yield.

“We won’t be able to install them on every property we own because not every roof is suitable and some of our buildings are listed. But we will be doing surveys and putting them in where the survey is favourable and the tenants want the installation.”

The ‘Feed In Tariff’, which was launched by the Government last  year, will give people who are generating their own electricity with solar panels and other energy-saving products a payout.

Users of these products will be paid for the power they produce, the Governments are calling this a ‘sweetener’ for installing the energy-saving products. All additional electric is sent back to the National Grid.

 

Source- Landlord & Buy-to-let

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