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What homebuying under-35’s want, criminal landlords, homes fit for climate change and other UK property news

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As UK property news slips into its stride, there has been a fairly mixed-bag of headlines this week – here are some of the most notable.

The ‘must haves’ for homeowners aged under 35 

‘Must have’ features sought by homebuyers in their 30s include some of the following essentials, according to a story in the Mail Online last week:

  • top priority is an almost definable “sense of privacy”, said the survey;
  • unsurprisingly – given the rearrangement of many work-lifestyles during the recent pandemic – is the desirability of a home office;
  • another understandable preference is for an ensuite bathroom;
  • less expected, perhaps, is the premium younger homebuyers would attach to a vegetable patch in the garden;
  • if your own veggie patch turns out to be less productive than expected – or simply too much hard work – then proximity to good restaurants and takeaways will be needed.

Local amenities should include a neighbourhood gym, a farm shop, butchers, and artisan bakery. Proximity to a local supermarket or magnolia colour schemes, on the other hand, aren’t as important.

Research lays bare failure to tackle criminal landlords

Despite the laws being in place, very few local authorities are prosecuting landlords for crimes related to living standards or management of property owned by landlords in the private sector.

The warning comes by way of a press release from the National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA) on the 12th of November, revealing that, in the last three years, two-thirds of local councils have failed to bring any prosecutions at all against landlords alleged to have been guilty of such crimes.

Citing data received in a Freedom of Information request, the NRLA revealed that 67% of councils had secured no convictions while a further 10% had achieved just one.

Twenty local authorities claimed 77% of all successful prosecutions. Southwark in London, Birmingham, and Hull secured the highest number of convictions, representing 38% of all such successes.

Government urged to plan homes for climate change

Climate change experts have called upon the government to pay greater heed to planning for the development of new homes in areas free from the risks of flooding, according to a story in Property Reporter on the 22nd of November.

The study by think tank Localis concluded that the pressures of climate change, combined with the chronic shortage of new housing, meant that many new homes are being built in areas vulnerable to the steadily worsening risk of flooding.

The research found that 200 planning applications have been approved so far this year for building a total of 5,283 new homes on floodplains known to be at risk of flooding – and for 4,255 of those homes to be highly likely to suffer flooding.

Only a comprehensive policy planning reset could avert further flooding tragedies from happening, said Localis.

Top tips for Winter lettings

Are you a landlord looking to let your property to new tenants this coming Winter? If so, a recent article in Property Wire has some advice for you.

  • when things are crying out for minor repairs, your property is hardly looking its best – so fix all those niggling maintenance problems from the start;
  • with everything then shipshape, it’s time to take some photographs – or film a virtual video tour;
  • remember that listing or advertising your let property is an exercise in marketing – make sure you are convincing at that;
  • even if the property has been empty a while, turn the heating on to warm it up for a while before you show potential tenants around – it’ll be cold outside so make your let property cosy and inviting;
  • that also means paying attention to any central heating boiler – get it serviced before the round of viewings starts;
  • outside, make sure the gutters and rainwater goods are free of debris and allow rainwater to run away quickly and easily.

Attention to these matters – none of them especially onerous – is likely to attract the responsible and dependable tenants you are likely to be after.

£600-a-month studio flat listing removed after claims it was a ‘former bin storage room’

If you wondered just how desperate the housing shortage has become in some of the country’s major cities – and not just London – consider the case of a flat in Manchester advertised to let at £600 a month.

The small, windowless, unfurnished, one-bedroom basement apartment, with bare chipboard kitchen fittings, has just been pulled from the market, says a story in the Metro newspaper on the 19th of November. It was revealed that the “recently refurbished” accommodation had previously served as a waste bin storage area.

The advertised listing was viewed with incredulity by several former inhabitants of the apartment block.