Posts with tag: housing

Government Urged to Address Housing Complaints System

Published On: July 19, 2018 at 8:56 am


Categories: Law News

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According to Ombudsman Services, a single ombudsman is fundamental to ensure that the present system for complaints regarding housing is not complicated.

The Government is being urged to simplify the system of consumer complaints in housing and property to assist the eradication of the reportedly baffling patchwork of schemes involved.

It was claimed by the Ombudsman Services that the existing redress process is too complex, confusing and ultimately failing consumers, due to the fact that nearly 40 services, charities, advice groups and trade bodies involved.


Chief Ombudsman Designate at Ombudsman Services, commented: “Redress in the housing sector is far too complex, with overlaps and gaps that make it virtually impossible for consumers to get complaints resolved.

“Our research shows the vast and baffling patchwork of schemes that people are faced with when they have an unresolved complaint. The current system is fragmented, complicated and ineffective. Consumers deserve better.”


The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has recommended the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman and a single consumer portal, which would signpost consumers to multiple redress schemes.


Vickers added: “By following the model used in energy, where strong regulation is backed up by a single ombudsman and effective advocacy, redress in housing could be transformed for the better.

“Our research shows that the vast majority of the public support this approach.”


Almost seven in ten people claimed that the current system for complaining about housing was confusing.

Insufficient Housing Stock Hits One Million Last-Time Buyers

Published On: June 25, 2018 at 9:26 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,

Increased property prices are preventing the equivalent of 1.4m last-time buyers from downsizing, in addition to a lack of appropriate housing stock.

Key Retirement, an equity release provider, discovered that 30% of over-65s are intending on going through the process of a final home move.

However, 44% of those wanting to move expressed that there was no suitable housing stock available, while the remaining 35% claimed that they would not benefit financially.

Demand for housing was at its maximum in the North East and South West, with 58% and 44% seeking to downsize, respectively.

As a result of this, there are 42% anxious about bill payments in a property that is far too big for them and their needs.

Dean Mirfin, Chief Product Officer at Key Retirement, commented: “Downsizing should make financial sense for older homeowners it releases money to pay for retirement, and it also should make sense for the property market as a whole as it frees up bigger houses.

“But despite the numbers of older homeowners wanting to downsize it is clear they face problems in finding suitable homes for retirement, and for many, the finances just don’t add up. Unfortunately, that leaves them struggling to maintain homes, and in many cases, struggling financially.”

We recently looked into the differences between buying and renting across the UK, from two studies. One took the cost of raising a deposit into account, while the other focused on monthly mortgage repayments compared to rent prices.

Read the stories in full here and here




Sadiq Khan’s Housing Tsar Concept Should be Considered, Insists PayProp

Published On: September 29, 2017 at 10:52 am


Categories: Property News

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Sadiq Khan’s housing tsar concept should be considered, according to automated rental payment provider PayProp.

The COO of PayProp, Neil Cobbold, believes: “Sadiq Khan’s call for an independent housing commissioner adds to the profile and diversity of the debate. Everyone agrees housing is in a mess, and we need a proper debate to address it.”

Sadiq Khan's Housing Tsar Concept Should be Considered, Insists PayProp

Sadiq Khan’s Housing Tsar Concept Should be Considered, Insists PayProp

PayProp says that the Mayor of London’s proposal represents an interesting possibility ahead of the Conservative Party Conference, which begins on Sunday.

“The number of housing ministers over the past few years has been well documented, and a lack of continuity has contributed towards the broken housing market acknowledged by the Government,” believes Cobbold.

Back in June, Reading West MP Alok Sharma became the sixth Housing Minister to take the role since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

“With 15 politicians taking the role of housing minister since 1997, it’s been hard for anyone to really get their feet under the table and make the required progress. And the fact that the housing minister is still not part of the cabinet certainly compounds this,” Cobbold comments. “That’s why we think the idea of a housing tsar, either in London or working on a national basis, deserves serious consideration. It could be one of the first steps towards improving the nation’s housing outlook and we would welcome a discussion on this issue during the upcoming party conference season.”

He suggests that a housing tsar could work across three specific issues – housebuilding, transparency and helping generation rent.

He explains that de-politicising delivery of housing could contribute to quicker and more efficient housebuilding, as well as improving transparency in both the sales and lettings sectors.

What’s more, generation rent could be helped by a housing tsar pushing more savings and buying initiatives, and an improved standard of rental accommodation for the growing number of long-term private tenants.

This is because an independent representative’s mandate would be solely focused on improving the housing system, rather than meeting differing party-political objectives.

Khan and Dorian Gonsalves, the Chief Executive of the UK’s largest franchise agency Belvoir, are just two of the high-profile figures to recently discuss the possible benefits of a housing tsar.

Khan’s call came after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June, and is aimed at helping protect tenants’ interests. He wrote an open letter, suggesting that a housing tsar could act as a watchdog for social tenants, leaseholders and freeholders.

Gonsalves believes that a national housing tsar could work with experts and politicians from all parties, and make recommendations to the new Housing Minister. He insists that they would help to improve market stability.

Cobbold concludes: “If London can have a dedicated night tsar, we believe there is room for a housing tsar to help Alok Sharma implement the changes that are desperately needed to improve our housing market.”

How much Living Space can you Rent for $1,500 per Month Around the World?

Published On: September 21, 2017 at 8:10 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,

Many tenants across the globe will be used to the fact that they won’t get much living space for their monthly rent. But how much living space can you rent for $1,500 per month around the world?

If you rent in a big city, size seems to get compromised on very often. If you don’t want to compromise on size, then this seems to be at the expense of location – what a great time to rent!

RENTCafé has found out how much living space you can get for the same amount of rent each month in the 30 most magnetic cities around the world, to show you where you’d be better off renting.

But what makes these cities magnetic? RENTCafé has used the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies’ Global Power City Index, which ranks each city in terms of its attractiveness, based on six main criteria: economy, research and development, cultural interaction, liveability, environment, and accessibility.

Using the 30 top cities included in this index, RENTCafé then calculated how much living space you can rent for $1,500 per month in each location.

The study found that you can rent three times more space in Shanghai than in Los Angeles for $1,500 per month, while the price per square foot in San Francisco is five times higher than in Berlin – basically, the German capital would offer you five times more living space than San Francisco for the same amount of money.

It may be hard to picture this, so below is the comparison between the size of an apartment in Istanbul and Manhattan, where you’ll get seven times less living space than in the Turkish city:


The research reveals that four Western European cities compete with Manhattan, San Francisco and Hong Kong in terms of high price per square foot. London, Paris, Zurich and Geneva all offer less than 350 square foot for $1,500 per month.

How much Living Space can you Rent for $1,500 per Month Around the World?

How much Living Space can you Rent for $1,500 per Month Around the World?

To offer some shocking contrasts, RENTCafé has compared the following cities:

Manhattan vs. Seoul

Boasting a high ranking in the Global Power City Index in terms of research and development, economy and cultural interaction, New York City is the second most magnetic global hub, making it a desirable place to call home. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Manhattan only offers 277 square foot for $1,500 per month in rent.

Similar to New York in terms of architecture, entertainment and employment options, Seoul tells a different story where living space is concerned. In South Korea’s capital, the same amount of money will rent you no less than 1,389 square foot, which means that you get to make yourself at home in a highly generous living space. The top educational system, the remarkable public transportation network and the modern yet traditional allure make for an amazing city to call home.

San Francisco vs. Vienna

Smaller, less hustly-bustly and slightly less expensive than New York City, San Francisco is among the most coveted cities in the world. There is no shortage of cultural diversity and entertainment options there. For $1,500 per month, you can rent a 316 square foot apartment in the Golden Gate city and enjoy the perks of living in one of the best places of opportunity in the USA.

If you’d rather not downsize, the good news is that you can triple your living space by moving to Austria. A monthly sum of $1,500 would rent you 1,099 square foot of living space in the city of Vienna, making it one of the most affordable Western European cities. Here, wellness meets opportunity, so your career is sure to be in good hands. The City of Music also offers you a wide range of museums, vintage cinemas, live shows, recreational parks and hiking trails.

What a difference! Does this make you want to move to the other side of the world?

Housing Minister launches Right to Build Expo

Published On: September 19, 2017 at 11:15 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,

The National Custom and Self Build Association Right to Build Task Force has moved to launch a national programme of events in order to showcase its work.

It is hoped the newly established ‘Force will help boost the supply of Custom and Self-Build housing and bring together stakeholders from industry, local authorities and landowners.


Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning said: ‘To fix our broken housing market, we need to get creative, giving consumers greater choice over the kind of homes they wish to live in.  Custom and Self Build housing will be an essential part of this.’

‘As set out in our Housing White Paper, we are committed to doubling the number of Custom and Self Build homes by 2020 – so that anyone who wishes to design their dream house can do so.’

‘I am delighted to be part of the very first Right to Build Expo today, which is a fantastic demonstration of government and industry working together to help this sector go from strength to strength.’[1]

Woman signs purchase agreement for a  house

Housing Minister launches Right to Build Expo

Richard Bacon MP, who initiated the Right to Build legislation and is now Task Force Ambassador, added: ‘Custom and Self Build housing enables local authorities, landowners and other organisations to bring forward more affordable and better designed housing to meet local demand. This Expo will enable them to gain an insight into what can be achieved and how to get help and support to deliver their ambitions.’

Michael Holmes, Chair of NaCSBA and Task Force Board Member, added: ‘This Right to Build Expo is the first of a series across the UK. It marks another important step in our programme to boost the Custom and Self Build housing sector in the UK and build the capacity across the country to enable high quality projects to come forward and help thousands more people to build their own homes.’[1]



UK property market being driven by first-time buyers

Published On: August 23, 2017 at 9:59 am


Categories: Property News

Tags: ,,,


The most recent research from Connells Survey & Valuation suggests that demand from first-time buyers is driving the UK housing market.

Data from the investigation indicates that landlords and homeowners are delaying making any decisions, amidst economic and political uncertainty.


First-time buyers made up 49% of all property purchases during the last month – up 6% on the five year average of 43% for July.

Increased activity amongst those looking to gain a foot on the housing ladder was supported by a rise in mortgage lending. First-time buyers took out 36,000 loans in June, a rise of 22% month-on-month and 6% year-on-year, taking it to the highest level since November 2006.

John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, noted: ‘Demand from first-time buyers is supporting the housing market at the moment.  People are eager to get on the property ladder, with record high employment and competitive mortgage rates. But this doesn’t mean it’s an easy task to get a foothold in the market.

UK property market being driven by first-time buyers

UK property market being driven by first-time buyers

‘Economic conditions are still tough.  The increasing cost of living and house price inflation are making it harder to save for a deposit.  House prices are around eight times higher than earnings – and they’re rising twice as fast.’[1]

In addition, Mr Bagshaw suggests that with the typical price of a property rising steadily, first-time buyers should receive help, perhaps in the form of an exemption from stamp duty.