Plenty of UK property news hits the headlines once again as a resurgent market shows signs of stabilising while the demand for rented accommodation swells in some parts of the country.
Other news from the private rented sector shows an online agent facing up to £30m in fines, a proposal for an extended period of grace for landlords to achieve EPC targets, and an examination of the relative costs of renting.
2022 property market will be “closer to normal”
A story in the Mail Online on the 13th of December revealed signs that the new year could usher in a stabilised housing market in which prices and the volume of transactions are “closer to normal”.
After the average asking price of a home in the UK rose by £21,431 during the past year, the last month has seen a dip in those prices of some £2,234, according to figures compiled by online listings agents Rightmove.
Although average prices are expected to stabilise in the year ahead, 2022 could still bring an annual increase of around 5% as the number of properties currently on agents’ books remain at an all-time low (fuelling the continued imbalance between supply and demand) – but a wave of new homes is expected to help stabilise the market in the coming year.
Government tipped to give landlords an extra year on EPC targets
Although the government will maintain its targets for an improvement in minimum Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the standard of rented accommodation, landlords may be given a longer period of grace to achieve those standards.
An article in Landlord Today this week reminded readers that landlords currently have until 2025 to ensure that any new lettings are for properties with EPC ratings of at least a band C.
According to lettings agents Hamptons, that target date will be extended until 2026. The requirement for all existing tenancies also to meet the new minimum band C rating will remain – as at present – for 2028.
Landlords who fail to meet the deadlines for improving these EPC standards will face penalties of up to £30,000.
Demand for rental housing increases across the Southeast and West Midlands
Research conducted by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and published on the 10th of December showed that the demand for rented accommodation has become notably more pressing in both the Southeast of England and the West Midlands.
An overwhelming majority (74%) of landlords surveyed by the NRLA in the southeast of England reported that demand for rented accommodation had increased during the third quarter of 2021 while a sizeable proportion (71%) of landlords in the West Midlands returned similar findings.
In both regions, says the NRLA, there is the need for a suitable stimulus that encourages responsible landlords to increase the supply of homes for long-term letting.
Online estate agent puts thousands of landlords at risk of fines after failing to properly serve documents - claim
Online estate agents Purplebricks face penalties of up to £30 million after failing to carry out of the most fundamental routines required by landlord-tenant legislation, according to a story in the Telegraph newspaper on the 12th of December.
Costly claims can be expected from tenants who failed to receive from Purplebricks so-called “prescribed information” about the way in which deposits they had paid were securely held in approved national protection schemes.
There is a legal requirement for tenants to be served this information within 30 days of their having paid the deposit. Failure to do so gives any tenant the right to reclaim three times the value of the deposit that they have paid.
Tenants now have six years in which to make such claims – and, if all of them do so, Purplebricks stands to face demands for up to £30 million.
Renters spend more on housing costs each month than homeowners
Online listings website Zoopla on the 13th of December published the results of a current English Housing Survey on the relative cost of renting compared with owning your own home.
The stark difference is that while tenants who rent spend an average of 31% of their household income on rent each month, owner-occupiers are spending an average of just 18% of their income on mortgage repayments.
Nevertheless, more than a third (35%) of current tenants expect to be in a position to buy their own home within the next two years.
Current figures from the English Housing Survey indicate that almost one million individuals bought their first home during the 2020-2021.