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Welcome to our last Newsround of August, lets’s see what has been in housing news this week.

Net zero green targets doubts

Doubts have been raised by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on the achieving Net Zero whilst in the midst of a pending recession.

45% of home owners say that their main priority is using savings for existing living expenses and not on investing for greener technologies on their home.

As many as 51% admitted to having installed no energy-saving measures in their homes and blamed the high of cost doing it.

Landlords have very little choice if they are to meet the minimum EPC targets by 2025 of having EPC rating ‘C’.

Sam Rees, public affairs officer of RICS says

The retrofitting of millions of UK homes will be essential to helping to meet our net zero ambitions, however homeowners’ immediate concerns are understandably with the rising cost of living, especially their energy bills.

It is important to recognise that retrofitting and the cost of living are not mutually exclusive issues. A suitably retrofitted, low-carbon home can help with the long-term challenges of the cost of living and reducing high levels of energy consumption. Achieving this however is not cheap.

With the UK Government giving financial support to homeowners to support them with rising energy prices, RICS is calling on the government to extend this support and provide additional financial incentives to homeowners to encourage retrofitting and ultimately helping to tackle the cause of high energy usage.

You can read the full article here.

Tax changes needed to boost housing supply

There is a growing call for the government to change the way that landlords are currently taxed in a bid that it will ease the current shortage of homes available to rent in the PRS.

Demand for rental homes grows year on year whilst there is a stark decline in the number of available properties to rent. Couple that with 73% of tenants choosing to renew their tenancies brings a significant lack of stock. Read what Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark has to say on the matter.

Illegal Airbnb Sub-letting

A crackdown on the amount of illegal Airbnb lettings in one London borough has begun. Collaboration between the Airbnb Payments UK which is sharing its data with Kensington and Chelsea council.

The data sharing, which will take place under a court order due to GDPR requirements, will provide the council with payment evidence of social housing properties identified as being potentially listed as holiday and short-term lets. Enforcement can then take place.

Kim Taylor-Smith, a Kensington & Chelsea councillor, says

There is a huge demand for social housing in our borough and it’s simply not fair that people in genuine need are being denied a place to call home because others are illegally sub-letting their council properties to make money.

Tenancy fraud is not a victimless crime. It costs the public purse an average of £42,000 a year for each home and this welcome collaboration with Airbnb will help us to clamp down on it in our borough.

Read the full article here.

Influx of Section 21s

Paul Shamplina from Landlord Action has given a stark warning of the unintentional consequences of abolishing S21 within the new proposed reform White Paper. 28% of landlords plan to issue a section 21 notice before the ban comes into force, according to a survey they have carried out.

He says

More than a quarter of tenants who have or will be asked to leave their rental properties (via receipt of a Section 21 notice), are in such a position not because they have done anything wrong but because landlords fear they will be unable to gain possession of their property easily in the future, if their circumstances change.

Competition for rental properties is already at an all-time high, and we could be heading towards a rental stock crisis. It has been reported that in some parts of London, for example, tenants are offering up to a year’s rent in advance. But for most, this simply isn’t feasible.

Whilst we don’t know how many of the properties sold will remain in the buy to let sector, it’s clear that tenants will ultimately suffer as the combination of pressures forces rents to continue to rise. Landlords need reassurance and clarity on the future of evictions soon if the sector is to avoid a deluge of evictions and homelessness.

Gaining possession still remains one of the highest concerns for landlords.

All-inclusive rents

New research by Rightmove has found that the most popular search term from renters is now ‘bills included’. This has overtaken words such as ‘pets’ and ‘gardens’ of a year ago.

Furthermore, the geographical search area has also doubled, suggesting that the lack of rental homes and record rents means renters are having to look further afield for their home.

Tim Bannister of Rightmove says

People looking for a new place to rent are casting their net much wider than before, in the hope that it will help them find a suitable place that they can afford. Although it’s not as constrained as it was a few months ago, the number of homes is still nowhere near enough to meet demand from tenants.

The lack of homes is down to more people choosing to stay put and sign longer contracts, some landlords selling up due to more onerous taxes and others taking advantage of record house prices, and hybrid working shifting some demand to more rural and suburban pockets of Great Britain. This has all led to a fiercely competitive rental market in many areas with agents reporting that in some cases properties are being rented out in just a few hours.

Follow this link to read more and find out the five most popular search terms now and that of a year ago.

Snippets

Newsround will be back next week.

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