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Renting for the elderly and disabled, own your very own island, fallout from the pandemic and other property news

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The property market has not entirely put behind it the nightmare and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic – but it is definitely getting there.

Whether it’s stories and information that landlords need to know or those looking to buy their own home, the headlines are generally looking forward rather than back to renewed activity in a buoyant market.

Survey says posh university towns have high rents but low yields

A recent survey of students at 100 UK universities discovered that those attending the more highly-regarded, up-market universities of the so-called 24-member Russell Group paid rents that averaged some 27% higher than their friends at any of the other 76 universities.

Rental income might be higher, but yields are less attractive since the average price of a house in cities occupied by Russell Group universities is £479,410 – some 62% higher than other UK universities.

Students at Russell Group universities pay an average of £296 per week. The costliest rents – £720 a week – are for students at Imperial College London and the most affordable are at the University of Leeds, where students pay an average of £160 a week.

Law Society pilots plans for crucial property information to be available upfront

The Law Society would like to see greater use and an earlier exchange of Property Information Forms (so-called TA6 documents). An earlier release – rather than the present delay until solicitors have been instructed – would be an invaluable aid to marketing the property, according to a report in Property Wire last week.

Although it is not a legally binding document, the Law Society introduced the Property Information Form so that sellers could give home buyers an overview of critical information about the property.

From time to time, the Law Society updates its guidance on the type of information to be included – one of the most recent updates in February 2020, for example, concerned information to be included about Japanese knotweed, flood risks, radon, and septic tanks.

An earlier exchange of the Property Information Form – before an offer is made, for example – could be done by way of a so-called TA6 Part 1, the process of which the Law Society is getting ready to trial.

NRLA calls on local authorities to work with PRS to close the adapted properties gap

The National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA) on the 23rd of March announced that it had launched a campaign to improve provision in the private rented sector (PRS) of let accommodation specifically adapted for use by the elderly and disabled.

The NRLA is lending its support to ways in which government and local authorities can help landlords in adapting their properties to become more inclusive and accessible to both the elderly and the disabled.

The campaign recognises that the number of private rented sector tenants over the age of 65 is set to double by the year 2046. Yet the NRLA also discovered that 79% of landlords currently have no knowledge of the Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) made available by local authorities for the adaptation of let properties. Armed with the relevant information, however, 68% of landlords expressed a willingness to adapt their let properties accordingly.

Your very own island - for just £80,000

It’s one of those dreams that precious few of us are likely ever to realise. But the opportunity has just arisen to buy your very own island – for as little as just £80,000.

Revealing the news in its edition of the 17th of March, the Mail Online noted that the price tag for the uninhabited Deer Island (Eilean an Fheidh in the Gaelic language), in Loch Moidary in the Western Highlands is no more than you would expect to pay for a lock-up garage in South London.

Admittedly, the 11-acre island has no houses, gas, electricity, or running water and is covered in native woodland – but perhaps its greatest draw is that there is “zero chance of intrusion” in the words of the auctioneers responsible for the sale.

How the pandemic has changed where we want to live

The Covid pandemic has brought a sea change in the lives of practically the whole population. Among those changes, perhaps none is more radical than the change in those place we most want to live.

In a report dated the 19th of March, the BBC gave an analysis of how our preferences seem to have changed.

There has been a steady exodus to the countryside, for instance, with a distinct preference expressed for homes by the sea. Greater space at home – both indoors and out – is also a priority, as is the availability of a garage whether or not that space is ultimately converted into a home office or gym.

Increased coverage of better and more reliable broadband services has encouraged the move from centres of urban population.

The BBC published a list of the top ten locations sought by home hunters and these included Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset in the Southwest, York, Manchester, and Sheffield in the North, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.