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Brits rush to invest in holiday homes, asbestos reminder for landlords and, other property news

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The following are eye-catching snippets from an especially newsworthy week in the property market.

More Brits invest in holiday homes across the UK

The Great UK Staycation Guide we published earlier this year made clear the meteoric growth in the popularity of holidays in this country.

Little wonder, then, that Property Wire on the 13th of October has described a corresponding surge of investments in holiday homes across the UK. The article cites figures from the Park Leisure group which reports a stunning 47% more sales in the year since the same month last year.

The figures also suggest that one of the favourite locations for a staycation is the Yorkshire Dales. The holiday homes site at Littondale has seen a massive 91% increase in bookings this summer compared with the same months in 2019.

With many Britons determined to take the same number of holidays as they would in other years, but now wanting to avoid the restrictions of international travel regulations, 77% of those surveyed said they had no intention of going abroad.

Asbestos: a reminder of landlords’ responsibilities

Less prominence is probably given these days to the dangers of asbestos in buildings. New generations of landlords, therefore, may be unaware of the continued hazard and run the risk of failing to take sufficient responsibility if the material is found in their let property, warns an article in Landlord Today.

The piece reminds landlords that the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 asserts that any let property must be fit for human habitation and that any asbestos likely to be in an unsafe condition must be removed or managed before any tenancy begins.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations of 2012 also explains that the legal duties imposed on landlords for repair and maintenance of the property are typically included in the detailed provisions of the tenancy agreement.

Landlords’ responsibility for the removal or safe management of asbestos extends not only to the areas of the property that are occupied by tenants but also to common areas of the building.

The top property hotspot of the last decade revealed

Property Reporter on the 13th of October cited figures from a study of nearly 2 million residential properties which were offered for sale between September 2010 and the same month this year. The study aimed to identify the locations – outside of London – where asking prices have risen most sharply.

The runaway property hotspot is Easton, an area of inner-Bristol, where the advertised price of a home more than doubled – increasing by some 120% – in the past 10 years. The current average asking price in that neighbourhood is £283,397 - £155,000 more than a decade ago.

In fact, Bristol seems to be the hottest of the top ten hotspots in the country. Five other areas of the city – Arnos Vale, Eastville, Redcliffe, Totterdown, and Whitehall – all rank in the top ten locations identified by the study of property sales in the last decade.

Sharp increase in London property owners selling

The exodus from the capital seems to be gathering pace as more former homeowners there look to escape to quieter areas, with more space at home, and an environment conducive to home working.

By selling now, London’s property owners can take advantage of the current boom in the market and the incentive given to buyers through the current stamp duty holiday explains an article in Property Industry Eye on the 13th of October. One London estate agent has recorded a 90% increase in its listing of properties for sale in the last month and has conducted 77% more valuations.

Post-coronavirus, house-hunters are likely to be adapting to a “new normal” of homes with adequate office space, fast broadband connections, and preferably a garden, we reported in our news roundup of the 29th of April.

Airbnb landlords beware - HMRC may be investigating you

If you thought you might be flying under the taxman’s radar by renting out your let property through Airbnb, you may need to think again, warns Landlord Today in a story on the 9th of October.

The warning comes on the heels of Airbnb agreeing to disclose more of its data to HM Customs & Revenue – and may shift the focus onto individual landlords. To stay on the right side of the taxman, therefore, the latter might want to make a voluntary declaration of annual earnings through Airbnb lettings rather than run the risk of fines for failing to declare the income.

Airbnb has previously disclosed that annual earnings for the average Airbnb host are little more than £3,000. For those hosts letting out a room in the home in which they also live, earnings at this level fall well within the maximum £7,500 which is allowed under the government’s Rent a Room scheme.

If you are a landlord letting a property which is not also your own home, however, you do not qualify for the £7,500 tax allowance of the Rent a Room scheme.