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Maintaining let property in a good state of repair, rent increases, attracting higher-paying tenants, homes near “outstanding” schools, and other UK property news

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Recent UK property news headlines have cast the spotlight on the private rental sector with suggestions that landlords may be penalised for failing to keep their let property in a good state of repair.

This may come at a time when rents are increasing at an especially fast rate – but suggestions can also be made for attracting higher-paying tenants.

Landlords will have to refund rent if homes are not kept in good condition

The much-vaunted Renters’ Reform Bill is turning its attention to those homes in the private sector which are judged to be unfit to rent, announced Michael Gove in a recent speech.

In a story on the 16th of June, the Mail Online revealed that landlords might have to pay the penalty of returned rental receipts if they persisted in letting unfit property. The properties in question could account for as many as one in five of the 4.4 million dwellings in let accommodation.

Other proposals in the radical shake-up of legislation for the private rented sector include the introduction of open-ended tenancy agreements – to replace fixed-term tenancies – so that tenants will avoid so-called “no-fault” evictions and be made to move only when there is a good reason. The Bill also anticipates the appointment of a Private Renters’ Ombudsman and will grant tenants the right to keep a pet in their rented home.

Eye-watering rent rises as increasing inflation grips the UK

Inflationary increases in rent are hitting the private rented sector like a tidal wave, as Landlord Today on the 22nd of June reported what it called “eye-watering” rent rises.

Landlord Today referred to recent statistics suggesting an across-the-board average rent increase as high as 18.8%.

It is not only inflationary pressure that is responsible for increases of such magnitude. At a time when the stock of available homes for rent is dropping so significantly, the imbalance between supply and demand also results in increased rents. Studies indicate that the stock of available housing for rent is already some 24% down from just a year ago.

The situation in London paints an even grimmer picture where the imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in an average annual rent increase across the capital of 27.6%.

How to attract higher-paying tenants

In what is otherwise bleak news for both landlords and tenants, Property Wire on the 21st of June offered tips to landlords on attracting higher-paying tenants. The road to success lies in stylish and well-equipped accommodation says Property Wire.

At a time when inflation seriously impacts tenants’ cost of living, the following become priorities:

  • bespoke interior designs that incorporate top-quality furniture – for which a third of tenants are likely to be prepared to pay more;
  • professionally decorated interiors – with high-paying tenants eschewing any DIY aspirations on the part of their landlords; and
  • a desk and appropriate furniture for creating a working from home (WFH) workspace.

The cheapest places to buy a home close to an Outstanding school

The greatest accolade the education regulator Ofsted can bestow on a school in the public sector is to grade it as “Outstanding”.

In a report on the 21st of June, the online listings website Zoopla revealed those parts of the country where you can find the cheapest housing close to schools that have been graded as Outstanding following inspections by Ofsted:

  • the three locations in which homes near to Outstanding schools are Watford, Wolverhampton, and Wakefield;
  • you are likely to pay the biggest premium for buying a home near an Outstanding school in Blackpool, Durham, or Sunderland; and
  • remember that the Ofsted ratings of the schools near you may impact the value of your home.

UK House Price Index for April 2022

On the 22nd of June, HM Land Registry published the official statistics on the House Price Index for the UK as of April 2022.

The figures revealed that the current average price of a home in the UK is £281,161 and that this value rose by some 12.4% in the preceding 12 months.

The monthly increase in the average house price (from March to April) was 1.1%.

With 2015 as the base year so = 100), the current monthly index for house prices now stands at 147.5.

The published figures also showed that the rise in average house values was strongest in the Southwest of England, where prices rose by 14.1% in the 12 months to the end of April. The slowest yearly increase in the value of a home was in London, where average prices increased by 7.9% in the year to April.