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Our regular round-up of news items for you. This week we start off with some good news for landlords.

Landlords eligible for home charging points grants

One in five properties in the UK could benefit from a new government grant to help fund electric vehicle home charging points for rented properties.

The EV Chargepoint Grant for Landlords and the EV Chargepoint Grant for Tenants and Flat Owner-Occupiers offer up to £350 for the installation of a home charging point to make EV ownership easier for those living in rental accommodation or flats. Read more about this exciting new benefit here.

Are you ready for the new Fitness for Human Habitation (Wales) Act?

This act comes into effect on July 15th and will affect all landlords, whether social or private, you can read more here.

The act identifies 29 hazards within the property where landlords need to meet minimum requirements, one of which requires a smoke alarm, in proper working order, to be present on every storey of a dwelling. Landlords must ensure that these alarms are in proper working order and interlinked with all other smoke alarms connected to the electricity supply. The act also says that a carbon monoxide alarm should also be installed in all rooms containing a fuel-burning appliance.  These can be mains or batteries but must comply with BS EN 50291.

Mass exodus of private landlords

Mass exodus of private landlords is a catastrophe for the country

TV presenter Phil Spencer says that this is of major concern which the government can no longer afford to ignore. Many BTL landlords have divested their portfolios and left the private rented sector in recent years. He added

The more landlords who sell up, the less rental properties there are, and therefore the rents are increasing. A mass exodus of landlords is a catastrophe for the country

Read more with his discussion with Vanessa Warwick, co-founder of Property Tribes. Couple this with a negative perception of landlords that landowners are claiming the government contributes to bringing forth more woe onto the overall housing crisis. Aspirations to improve housing are being blocked by planning and infrastructure constraints. Sarah-Jane Laing, SLE chief executive, says

There has been a wide political consensus to improve sustainability of our rural communities but the start reality  is that we should be much further forward than we are now.

Read more on this article here.

Has Covid had one positive outcome?

A prominent lettings agency chief, Anita Mehra of agency Benham and Reeves  says the lifecycle of a typical tenancy has been transformed in recent years, as a result of Covid. The lifecycle of a tenant would rent a property for 12 months and then renew for another year, now post Covid tenants are now often choosing to renew their tenancies and remains where they are. This could be because there are fewer properties on the market to choose from. She goes on to say

Since the pandemic, tenants tend not to move just because they would like a change of scene. They are now often choosing to renew their tenancies and remain where they are, as they realise that there are so few properties to choose from.  And because rents have risen sharply since the pandemic, they know they are unlikely to find an equivalent property at a similar rent.

So a good proportion of  tenants are renewing their leases and staying put, usually moving only due to a change of circumstances. We expect this trend to continue this year due to housing shortages and tighter financial conditions for consumers but remain hopeful that 2023 will see a more typical tenancy lifecycle and more movement in the market.

National scheme seeks landlords

A new scheme has been launched which is seeking out private landlords who will lease their properties to local councils.

It is currently only running in Wales and is being co-ordinated by the Welsh Government and so far as many as 15 councils have shown their support.

Long term leases are on offer from five to twenty years with guaranteed rental payments for the length of the lease at the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate, less agreed management fees. Is this something that will become more popular? You can read more here.

New wave of fire safety rules

And finally, for this week, the government is to introduce more regulations to make high-rise blocks safer to live in. Priti Patel has launched her Fire Reform White Paper. Sean Hooker of the PRS says

I urge all agents to engage with the consultation but more importantly get up to speed with the new rules and obligations.

Ignoring these changes will lead to claims for redress and in the extreme cases a criminal prosecution – so do not take these responsibilities lightly.”

You can read more about this here.

Snippets

Newsround will be back next week.

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