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Upgrade your EPC, funding for Covid rent arrears, 3 rogue landlords, house prices latest, and growth in property wealth

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Here is our latest UK property news round-up, including how upgrading your EPC could add a £14k value to your property, plus the latest UK house prices news.

Upgrading your EPC adds £14k value to your property

Whether you are an owner-occupier or landlord, you’ll be intrigued to discover that by upgrading the Energy Performance Rating (EPC) of your property you could enhance its value by £14,000 or even as much as £55,000, insisted the Daily Mail earlier this week.

Whist nudging up a property’s rating from a modest D rating to C is likely to increase the value of your home by just 4%, improving an E rating to a C rating could net you an 8% increase. Furthermore, improvements that shifted your EPC all the way from an F rating to a C is likely to be worth an additional average of 16% on its sales value.

The data provides evidence of the premium that house buyers are prepared to pay for greener homes – the proportion of which has increased by an average of 22% across the UK as a whole. Regions leading that energy efficiency improvement are the Southeast, Wales, and the East of England.

NRLA campaigning secures £65m Covid fund

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) claimed credit on the 23rd of October for successfully persuading the government to find £65 million of funding for help in clearing rent arrears that have built up during the succession of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Payments from this new financial package will be made to local councils in the first instance who will then make the funding directly available to landlords to help clear the rent arrears of low-income tenants.

In claiming the success of its several months of campaigning for such relief, the NRLA is now calling on local authorities to ensure that the new funding goes to help those tenants who are struggling the most.

Three rogue landlords fined £335,000

Although they remain the exception rather than the norm, rogue landlords continue to give the private rented sector a bad name whenever their illegal activities are exposed.

The latest incidents involve three landlords who have been fined a total of some £335,000, explains a story in Landlord Today on the 25th of October.

The more serious of the crimes involved a pair of landlords found guilty of exploiting a “beds in sheds” arrangement – where outbuildings had been let to tenants occupying the space in appalling conditions. The pair were estimated by the court to have made £225,469 in rents from the scheme and they were ordered to repay that amount under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act. In addition, they were fined a further £265,000.

A third landlord was also found guilty of a “beds in sheds” racket and was fined a total of £72,495 for his pains.

UK house prices – latest news

Despite the end of the Stamp Duty tax holiday, activity in the housing market continued largely unabated throughout the month of September, according to a report by Forbes Advisor on the 21st of October.

Citing figures released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the story revealed that property transactions in September were 67% higher than those completed in August, while the 160,950 recorded transactions this September were 70% higher than those in the same month last year.

Commentators have ascribed the notably increased volume of activity not only to the recently ended tax holiday but also to buyer demand for more space and the availability of low mortgage rates.

With buyer demand so strong, it is hardly surprising that figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also illustrate the sharply upward trend of house prices – which increased by an average of 10.6% in the year to the end of August (up from the 8.5% increase recorded to the end of July).

The average price of a home in the UK now stands at a record £264,244, according to the ONS.

The biggest average annual price increases have been seen in Scotland (16.9%), compared with Wales at 12.5% and England at 9.8%.

Older homeowners’ property wealth grows by £800 a month

If you are over the age of 65 and own your home outright, you have probably enjoyed an increase in the wealth represented by that property of £800 a month during the past six months, according to a report by Property Wire on the 22nd of October.

Thanks to the boost to the housing market from the Stamp Duty holiday between July 2020 and September 2021, the over-65s with 100% equity in the homes they own increased in value by an estimated total of £24.225 billion in the six months to September 2021. That equates to an estimated £4,833 each – the equivalent of £800 a month for the six months in question.

The biggest gains were enjoyed by over-65 homeowners in Scotland, whose properties increased in value by an estimated £13,000 and in the South east of England where the increase was an average of £12,000.