• Councils Selling Houses Cheaply Then Renting Them Back

    An investigation has disclosed that councils are selling off their house holdings cheaply to investors who are renting them back to the tenants. The new initiative by government to encourage the selling of houses by councils has allowed the exploitation of social housing for personal profit.

    Although they have limited supply of housing stock, councils have started selling these off while allowing their former tenants to turn into buy- to-let landlords. Therefore, local authorities are likely to face an increase in cost when it comes to placing impoverished families in the properties that the councils once owned.

    Presently, more than 30 councils pay out or rent housing benefits to tenants who are living in homes that were sold after the government revamped the Right to Buy’ scheme in 2012.

    Unregulated

    Even though there are rules designed to prevent the immediate sale of any property hat was bought under this scheme, it is clear that renting is unregulated. Therefore, the generous discounts on sales from government have, effectively created new right- to- buy landlords. Council leaders are nor branding these landlords a national scandal’. People are turning to Wigan estate agents with lower commission fees to rent and sell which is likely to be the saving grace under fire in the long run with regard to the current state of the property market in the UK.

    Right To Buy

    David Cameron increased caps on the maximum discounts to £75,000 (and £100,000 for London). In the Haringey borough, 396 homes were sold under the Right to Buy scheme. Of these, 28 have already been rented out to tenants on housing benefit at costs exceeding £ 265,000 a year. The fact that these costs are drawn from the public purse has caused general outrage.

    Of the 82 council homes that were sold under this scheme in Corby, Northamptonshire, people on housing benefit have rented 25. This has created a cost of £ 85,063.95 since 2012.

    No Data Available

    Close to 100 local authorities claimed that they were unable to supply relevant data to FOI requests since the sales were made to private providers. Mr. Darren Johnson, the spokesman for the Green Party on housing stated that it was outrageous that Right to Buy council houses are being released into the market at highly inflated rents even with reported cases of desperate social housing shortage.

    However, Mr. Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, defended this scheme. He claimed that the scheme was designed to help social tenants perch on the housing ladder, increase housing construction and reduce social- housing waiting lists.

    Affordable Homes Available To Rent

    On the other hand, the National Housing Federation head of policy, Ms. Rachel Fisher stated that the scheme effectively decimated the overall supply of affordable homes available for rent at a period when the country was facing major problems with affordability and housing. She further said that social housing was designed as a reserve of those who needed it the most.

    Despite these statements and calls to action, it is likely that the sale of council homes will increase. This is in the wake of a government announcement that there would be more discounts in the future. At the moment, buyers can get their hands on homes at discounts of up to £ 77,000 (or £ 102,700 in London). Finally, these discounts will increase on an annual basis in line with inflation.

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  • Bring out the Fiddles for Scottish Landed Gentry

    In Scotland, where 432 people own 50% of the private rural land, the property news is good for ordinary people. There is a strong and growing movement in Scotland that has argued for land reform. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has taken up that cause, saying that Scotland’s land is an asset that many people should benefit from, not just the privileged few. The Scottish National Party have removed the tax exemptions for sporting and hunting estates, and pledged new powers to sanction landowners who act as a block on sustainable development. Good tidings for those who believe that Scottish land should be used to the benefit of the majority of Scottish people. Bad news for the hunting, shooting and fishing toffs. This is just a part of sweeping changes which the SNP says will lead to a million acres of land being in community ownership by 2020.
    The private shooting estates, owned by privileged aristocracy and, increasingly, oil rich Sheikhs and unbelievably wealthy oligarchs, do not currently pay business rates. This was a gift to the upper-crust from the Conservative government of John Major in 1994. The argument is that these estates create jobs and that many could not survive as grouse shooting and deer stalking sites if they had to pay business rates. Others say that bringing out the fiddles for the Scottish landed gentry is crass in a country where many cannot even afford to buy a home, and many rely on food banks because of swingeing Tory cuts. This is not about waging class war on the rich, as Nicola Sturgeon has made clear. This is partly a matter of socialist principle, partly a matter of simple economics. It has been said that the loss of these sporting estates, many of which are said to be running at a loss and will have to shut down sporting operations in the face of new tax bills, will cost £470 million, what they allegedly contribute to the economy. But those figures are debatable, and many of these estates will be just fine. The tax raised will allow funds for community buy-out of land to increase from £3M to £10M. The cost of maintaining these archaic estates, and the sustainable development and community ownership they have oft prevented, is hard to calculate. 
    In England, David Cameron has been just as generous as John Major when it comes to lending a hand to the well-heeled. While with one hand he takes from the poor, with the other he has almost doubled the public subsidy for English Grouse moors, and the cost of shotgun licenses has been frozen. This has an cost to the taxpayer of £17 million a year. It is no coincidence that the two most regressive taxes in the UK, Council Tax and farm subsidies, are both swayed in favour the top percentages of property owners. Farm subsidies are in effect limitless, which means that every year every household in Britain contributes £245 to the coffers of the wealthiest landowners. 
    Many welcome Scotland’s attempts to open the dialogue about fairer land ownership and taxation, and argue that England should hold the same property debates. It is hard to imagine that many are weeping for the loss of grouse estates in the space of so much positive advocacy for community-led sustainable property development, and hope for the future of land use in Scotland.

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  • If you own a home, you need to get it insured. Here’s how to go about it.

    Basically, there are two types of home insurance. One type covers the property and the other covers the contents of your home.

     

    1. Building Insurance 

     

    Typically, buildings insurance covers fire, flood and any other disaster that may hit your home. It takes care of any damage that may be caused to your home and the fixtures and fittings therein. The amount of buildings insurance cover you need will depend on the cost of rebuilding and renovating your home (not its current market value).

     

    When you get a mortgage, the lender will use the valuation report to determine the property’s rebuilding cost. They will then use this to determine how much building insurance you need.

     

    At times, such malicious acts as vandalism may be included in your buildings insurance. Exclusions generally include terrorism and the usual wear and tear. Therefore, you should read the small print before you get this insurance type. If you are new to the UK property market then please understand all of these facts as fully as possible.

     

    1. Contents Insurance 

     

    Contents insurance covers all the belongings in your property. These belongings include electrical appliances, furniture, works of art, kitchen equipment, among others. It also covers the items in your garden, carpets and curtains.

     

    This kind of insurance pays out if your belongings get damaged by flooding or fire or if they get lifted during a burglary. Since you have to pay extra to cover such high- risk expensive items as laptops and cameras, it may be better to insure these individually. Some contents insurance policies also limit the amount you can actually claim for single items to around £1,000. Of course, not all contents insurance policies cover accidental damage.

     

    Calculating Premiums 

     

    Most insurance companies will use your address while working out the premiums you need to pay. If you live in an area that is prone to subsistence and crime, then you may have to pay higher premiums. Similarly, if your area is prone to flooding, the insurance may charge high premiums.

     

    Cutting the Cost 

     

    To ensure you pay less for your cover, find out if you can opt for higher excesses. An excess is the amount of a claim that you have to pay on your own. You can also install a smoke alarm, increase security in and around your house and buy the contents and buildings insurance from one provider.

     

    Buying Insurance Cover 

     

    Shop around to look for the best policy available. Online comparison tools and actual brokers can help you locate good home insurance deals. Check out what different companies are charging and see if you can get a discount before settling for any given insurer.

     

    Making a Claim 

     

    Finally, always make sure that you notify your insurer the moment something goes amiss. For instance, after a burglary, tell the insurance company what happened and quote the incident number that the police assigned to you. As far as possible, ensure that the information you provide is true and accurate. Read the small print on your insurance policy to make sure that you are covered for the risk that you wish to be compensated for.

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  • Blog

    Moving To The UK? Here’s An Overview Of The Property Market

    By reading all of the latest stories in the press you get the know-how on who is selling, where prices are at their best and a better understanding of the market. There has been a increase in demand of property over certain regions across the UK for specified type of property. The Apartment market is looking to meet consumer objectives. The market for condos in the UK has gained popularity over the years and it is evident that it is not about to change. Though there has been a slight decrease in demand, they are still a considered an option by a larger target market.

    Why Apartments are gaining popularity

    - They offer a more affordable housing option.

    Apartments are more affordable as they are designed to occupy less ground space while at the same time ensuring that the numbers of rooms are more. This has led to the increase in demand as even younger individuals can afford. Whether you are opting to rent or buy a home, this option is cheaper as opposed to buying or renting a single family unit.

    - They are convenient.

    Apartments are designed to be convenient as they built to be close to all basic needs. In this, living in a Apartment in the UK will be close to health facilities, stores and retail outlets as well as education facilities. In addition, costs related to repairs and damages are shared by the estate agent in question and the tenant. In this, you are guaranteed a simple and relaxed lifestyle.

    - They provide an all in one efficiency.

    Efficiency is indicated in the building and design of each Apartment. Thje design that comes with each Apartment enables individuals the ability to access more than the basic needs within the condo. In this, you will notice social amenities and other luxury to-go-to place that are within a condo. Whether you love sports or are simply relaxing, there is no need to travel far. All these services at affordable rates yet you are still around home.

    - They offer diversity

    Apartments in the UK are diverse and they offer basic homes as well as luxury which are attracting retirees who are looking for something simple and outstanding yet they can still socialize. Many couples at this age have o dependants and their children are off with their families.

    While the property market takes a different approach into housing, Apartments are still holding strong into their market share. This is being backed up by the introduction of micro condos. These are being introduced with the aim of occupying even less ground space with more storage facilities yet at even more affordable rates. This has been made possible with the advancement in technology. While estate agents are looking to meet consumer housing objectives, the ability to purchase has to be a major factor to consider. Look out for more and better housing options in the UK without having to empty all your life savings. You can now explore the options on the provided listings online.

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