Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 27

Find the latest property, tax and financial news for landlords in one place with Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s weekly round-up.

This week, latest official statistics suggest that buy to let tenants are largely happy with their rental homes; we take a look around the UK at the latest house price and buy to let mortgage data; a jailed letting agent is unable to repay money they stole and a warning that a homelessness crisis could be on the way for middle aged renters.


The government releases results from the latest English Housing Survey

The latest results of the 2017-2018 English Housing Survey, a national survey analysing the circumstances and condition of housing in England, has been released. The survey is one of the longest standing government surveys, beginning in 1967.

The main findings of the latest English Housing Survey 2017-18 released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, reveal that most of the 4.5 million households (84 per cent) privately renting are satisfied, or very satisfied, with their accommodation.

Here are some key points from the report:

  • 84 per cent of renters are satisfied or very satisfied with their homes
  • The average renter is aged 40, and more likely to be male (60 per cent)
  • The most prevalent types of private rented households are single person (25 percent), couples without children (24 per cent) and couples with dependent children (22%)
  • Private renters commonly hold lower managerial and professional roles at work (24 per cent)
  • Rents cost tenants an average third of their household income each month, compared to 28 per cent for social renters and 17 per cent for homeowners with a mortgage
  • 20 per cent of renters claim housing benefit
  • 76 per cent paid a security deposit at the start of their current tenancy, three quarters of tenants (73%) reported their money was protected in a government-authorised scheme, which it should be by law. One fifth of private renters (20 per cent) did not know if their deposit was registered with one of the government authorised schemes
  • Most tenancies (72 per cent) end because the renter wants to move – the main reasons are commonly changing jobs (18 per cent); moving to a nicer neighbourhood (16 per cent) or moving to a bigger property (13 per cent)
  • For the 28 per cent who did not move by choice, 12 per cent were asked by the landlord; 10 per cent had an agreement with the landlord and 8 per cent came to the end of their tenancy
  • Nearly two thirds of private renters have no savings (63 per cent), but more than half (58 per cent) hoped to buy a home of their own
  • 42 per cent believed they will never afford to buy a home
  • 25 per cent of private rented properties fail the Decent Homes Standard, compared to 19 per cent of owner occupied households and 13 per cent of social rented homes
  • 14 per cent of private rented homes have a serious hazard, compared to 11 per cent of private owned property and 6 per cent in the social rented sector

Read the full English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018: private rented sector.

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House prices are still rising…

House prices have risen again, taking the average value of a property in England to £245,817, according to official data for May from the Land Registry.

The monthly increase was 0.1 per cent, while over the year to the end of May was 1 per cent.

The biggest year-on-year rise was 3.4 per cent in the North East, while the greatest fall was 4.4 per cent in London.

In Scotland, house prices increased by 2.8 per cent over the year to an average £152,801.

In Wales, values dropped 1.4 per cent from April to May, but the yearly increase was still 3 per cent, taking the average property price to £159,428.

The average house price in London is £457,471, down from £478,485 a year earlier.

Across the country, almost 90,000 homes changed hands during the year.


…But buy to let mortgage trend stands still

Landlords bought 5,500 new homes to rent in May – the same number as a year earlier, says lender trade body UK Finance.

The level of remortgages increased by 2 per cent to 15,000, compared to May 2018.

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Jailed letting agent can’t repay the £300,000 he stole

Jailed lettings manager Robert Parker faces a longer prison term because he cannot afford to repay more than £300,000 stolen from his employer.

The judge at a Cardiff Crown Court proceeds of crime hearing has ordered he must repay nearly £71,000 within three months or face an extra year behind bars.

Parker, 28, was sent to prison after admitting the theft to fund a luxury lifestyle of gambling and holidays.

He has just over £70,000 left, mainly in two properties he owns and money in three separate bank accounts.

The judge ordered the houses to be sold and told Parker that his former employer, Nina Chivers, of Nina Letting Agents, Barry, South Wales, would be left out-of-pocket by his actions over nine years.

Middle aged renters could face retirement homelessness crisis

Tens of thousands of millennials approaching retirement could face a housing crisis because their pensions will not cover renting their homes.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People reckons around 630,000 people born between 1980 and 1996 face homelessness in old age unless the government acts to help support them.

The report says many paying up to 40 per cent of their incomes on rent face problems because their income is likely to fall by half on retirement, leaving them with just a fifth of their pensions to live on. The report recommends the government starts a building program of affordable housing that is accessible and manageable for an ageing population.

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“Our inquiry sheds light on the numbers involved and spells out the scale of the challenge ahead. It sets out our recommendations for using the window of opportunity that now presents itself to head off an otherwise inevitable catastrophe for the pensioners of tomorrow.”

– Group chair Lord Richard Best