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Another week and another Newsround, here are the stories we have spotted this week.

Anti-landlord Tories

Leading landlords Ben Beadle (of the NRLA) and Vanessa Warwick (of Property Tribes) were at the conference to fight the sector’s corner but found not a few ‘anti-landlord’ MPs at the event.

LandlordZone reporting that MP’s James Cartlidge and Michael Gove seem to want to shrink the private rental sector and with Natalie Elphicke calling for a rent freeze.

There seemed to be a clear disconnect between central and local government, with Whitehall apparently trying to deter investors but local authorities desperate for landlords to house people on their waiting lists and even offering them golden hellos.

All part of the general confusion in the Tory party just now.

Property group halts projects

In the wake of the ‘mini-budget’, US-based deVere Group has halted its property investment division as inflation continues to grow.

Director James Green is concerned over the availability of credit, with a knock on effect to the drop in property prices, saying

We understand many clients around the world will be concerned about current mortgages and protection and, as such, we have put together a dedicated team to assist with these enquiries.

He adds, calling the current situation an ‘intensifying economic spiral.

We are closely monitoring recent economic developments in the UK and are engaged with the authorities

You can read more here.

It also appears that our economic chaos is buffering foreign investors. Research by Alliance Fund analyses has looked at the average cost of a property across both the UK and London and how this has changed since the beginning of the year.

It found that US buyers have seen the biggest boost to their property purchasing potential within the UK market. but homebuyers from the UAE are also considerably better off when purchasing a UK property, as are Hong Kong homebuyers.  You can read their findings here.

Could it be time to restrict home buying by non-resident foreigners when we have a housing crisis in this country?

Scotland’s rent freeze

Full details of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Scotland Bill have been announced where landlords will be restricted from increasing rent and from evicting tenants until next March.

However, landlords will be able to raise rents between tenancies and there are some exceptions to the evictions ban:

  • where a tenant is being evicted for antisocial and criminal behaviour,
  • where a tenant is no longer living in the let property,
  • where landlords are in financial hardship and need to sell or live in the property, and
  • in cases of substantial rent arrears.

But many in Scotland feel that the rent freeze and eviction ban will not solve the supply shortage or the root cause of rising rents, and if anything, will exacerbate the supply problem further.

John Blackwood, Chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, told LandlordZone

We still consider the bill as disproportionate and will wait and see how it passes through Parliament before deciding on our next steps.

The Scottish Property Federation has said that millions of pounds of investments have been put on hold due to the impending rent freeze in Scotland, claiming that investor concern from both inside and outside of Scotland is making it extremely difficult for new projects to compete for capital with the rest of the UK and further afield.

You can read more here.

But activists want more than a rent freeze

However, Landord Today reports that activists are claiming that the Scottish rent freeze does not go far enough and object to the exceptions to the bans.

Living Rent, a Scottish tenant activist group has tweeted saying

The rent freeze legislation still allows for some landlords to increase their rents by 3%. Rent has increased in Scotland by 15% in the cities over the last year. Rent is already unaffordable, and any further increases are completely unmanageable

Landlords in England should note that the changes are just in Scotland and these rules are unlikely to come into force in England, although some activists are asking for them.

Rent Freeze for Wales?

Pressure is being put on the Welsh government to bring in a rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions.

Scotlands rent freeze and eviction ban came into force on 6th September. Plaid Cymru’s housing spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor says

Scottish Government clearly did their work. Meanwhile, the Labour Welsh Government has been dragging its heels. Time is very short, and Welsh Government urgently need to set out their timetable for when action could be taken, because winter will be on us before we know it.

The first minister Mark Drakeford has pointed out that a rent freeze could see landlords selling up and leaving the market.  Read more here.

New Ombudsman for new homes sales

A new regulator in the new homes sector has launched a New Code of Practice for builders and an independent Ombudsman for consumers who buy new build homes.

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB), which was overseen by now ex-housing minister Eddie Hughes is being provided by TDS who will oversee the new code that puts consumers first in the new build process.

The government is fully on board and is committed to oversee the introduction of a statutory Ombudsman, and the Building Safety Act.

You can read more here.

Snippets

Newsround will be back next week.

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