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Our roundup of news items over the past week. Including the new NRLA report on the number of properties to be built to help the housing supply crisis and a new anti-discrimination guide.

UK needs  230,000  rented homes a year warns new report

In a report released this week, it is claimed that around 230,000 private rented properties will need to be built each year to reach Government targets in the middle of the decade. This coupled with Government targets with social housing and owner-occupied properties leads to the Government needing to build 340,000 properties each year.

Government figures have reported that the supply of private rented housing has actually fallen by 340,000 over the past five years.

The report commissioned by the NRLA has speculated that without changes in tax or other policies, the private rented stock will decrease by an estimated further 540,000 properties over the next 10 years.

Ben Beadle Chief Executive of the NRLA said:

Today’s report highlights in stark detail the supply crisis now engulfing the sector. For all the efforts to support homeownership….Without urgent action, the increasing number of people looking for affordable housing will be the ones to struggle as they face less choice and higher rents as supply dries up.

Anti-discrimination guide for landlords issued by government

A new guide has been issued by the Government to assist with the upcoming changes to the right to rent regulations.

The document says it provides practical guidance for landlords on what they should or should not do to avoid unlawful discrimination when complying with their obligations under the Immigration Act 2014 and under the Equality Act 2010.

The anti-discrimination guide can be found here

The new changes, which come into force on the 1 July 2022 can be found here

Private Rents Rising at the fastest rate in five years adding to the cost of living crisis

The average price of rent has gone up 2% in 2021, the highest rise since 2017, ONS figures have shown. This coupled with the fact that inflation in January rose by 5.5% and the energy crisis has caused the cost of living to soar.

Osama Bhutta, Campaigns Director for Shelter said:

Services are already hearing from people who are struggling to pay their rent and keep the lights on. Covid-era protections are now gone, and if you struggle to pay your rent you face eviction and homelessness. The government should reverse the damaging welfare cuts that are pushing people into impossible choices

Calls for Government action have been louder since it was revealed this week that Legal & General have announced that they will be spending £2.5bn on more than 7,000 purpose-built rental properties over the next five years in various UK cities.  Although this will increase the housing stock for renters and will hopefully help with regeneration and levelling up, it is feared that these units will be expensive and unaffordable for low-income families.

Darren Baxter, policy manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

Renters searching for a new tenancy will struggle as rents in some areas have risen as much as 8%. Despite this, housing benefit has been frozen for two years. To address this, the government must urgently relink housing benefit to the real cost of renting.

Amount of Airbnb properties equals homeless people in holiday hotspot

Figures obtained by ITV news shows that in Cornwall there are more Airbnb properties listed than there are listed homeless people.

In addition, figures published by CPRE, a rural housing charity have shown that the increase in short term letting with Cornwall has increased by 661% over the past five years, to around 15,000 properties. CPRE have identified that there are around 15,000 families within the county who are on the waiting list for social housing.

CPRE chief executive Crispin Truman has said:

There simply has to be a Government response to the fact that our rural housing supply is disappearing into an unregulated short-term rentals market that simply didn’t exist six years ago.

CRPE are calling for tighter controls on second home ownership, including higher council tax and the requirement to have planning permission.

Landlord offered compensation after agency clause held to breach the ombudsman code

A buy to let landlord has been offered over £400 compensation costs as a clause that forced the landlord to remain with the agent while the tenant remained in the property was held to breach the ombudsman code.

The clause itself did not permit the landlord to serve Romans notice with a tenant in situ, which meant that she continued to pay commission.

The Ombudsman said they are “not satisfied that this liability for continuous fees, without the ability to serve notice, which was specifically not drawn to the attention” of the landlord.

Landlords with similar arrangements with agents should be aware of this decision. Letting agents by law have to be part of a redress scheme and any similar clauses to this may break the scheme code of conduct.

Snippets

Newsround will be back next week.

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