Halifax’s annual quality of life survey reveals that home is where Hart is

The recent release of Halifax’s annual quality of life (QOL) survey has highlighted what some are calling a widening of the north south divide. In a thorough ranking of all 405 local authority districts, just 8 areas of the top ranked 50 locales can be found outside the southern and eastern regions of England.

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New Plan released by MPs Field and Davis could help shake up Social Housing Right to Buy scheme.

Two prominent MPs, David Davis (Conservative) and Frank Field (Labour), have put together a report suggesting that the Government go further with their proposed changes to the Right-to-Buy scheme – providing the opportunity for potentially another 1 million tenants to get on the property ladder.

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The Housing Act 2004 and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme – A guide

The Housing Act 2004, and more specifically Chapter 4 of the Act, sections 212 – 215 and Schedule 10, requires that deposits for all assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreements created on or after 6th April 2007 be protected under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. We provide a guide to what is required and why landlords and agents should be careful when handling tenant’s deposits.

Find the whole guide here.

Councils in fears over RTB effectiveness

PropertySurveying.co.uk – With the Government currently consulting on proposals to increase the maximum discount under Right to Buy (RTB) to £50,000, fears are growing around local authorities that new homes will not be assured as a result.

The consultation’s wording reiterates the Government’s commitment to replacing every social housing unit sold with another affordable home. Some councils, however, are arguing that the borrowing caps their financial resources are governed by restrict them from being able to raise the necessary capital for this goal. With unit values as low as £70,000 in some areas, some councils could be looking at receipts as low as £20,000 to build a new affordable house – something which the Communities and Local Government Department itself believes will cost £40,000 – £50,000 per unit.

Young people to be restricted to two year tenancies in London Borough

surveyorsbarnet.co.uk – The Council for Barnet in London has put forward plans to restrict tenants aged 18-25 to just two year tenancies as part of a shake up of its housing allocation policies.

The tenancy agreements would also be conditional upon unemployed tenants taking part in skills development, training or education which could lead to employment. They would, of course, be reviewed every two years; allowing the council to reallocate housing away from those, for example, not deemed to be trying hard enough to find gainful employment, and towards those deemed to deserve greater support.

Additionally, new tenants over the age of 25 would be offered a five year tenancy agreement, the minimum outlined by the Government.

Both measures are part of a wider exploitation of the powers gained through the recent Localism Act, with additional moves towards prioritising social housing for servicemen and women and towards tackling under occupation.

More information on under occupation and underused homes can be found here.

London’s Lloyd’s Building Now Grade 1 Listed

surveyorslondon.co.uk

At nearly twenty six years old, the Lloyd’s building is now one of the youngest listed buildings in the country and joins just a handful of post war structures to receive the accolade.

The listing was carried out by the Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose, on the advice of English Heritage.

English Heritage’s Designation Director Roger Bowdler said: “We are delighted that the Minister has endorsed our advice to list the landmark Lloyd’s building at Grade l. Its listing at the highest grade is fitting recognition of the sheer splendour of Richard Rogers’s heroic design. Its dramatic scale and visual dazzle, housing a hyper-efficient commercial complex, is universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch.”

It is a world renowned structure and a building that has been described as “heroic and Cathedral like”.

To read more on listed buildings and how they affect you, click here.

For further information on VAT and listed buildings, click here.

Government urges public to help rough sleepers this Christmas

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has urged people across the country to help solve rough sleeping this Christmas. People are invited to call local 24-hour hotlines if they see someone sleeping on the pavement in their neighbourhood.

Supplementary information on over 9,000 services – hostels, day centres and other advice and support services for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness can be found at Homeless UK. For details of outreach teams in London, visit Homeless London.

  • Coming soon – a national helpline

The government plans to establish a new national single phone number which will provide a central point of contact for people across the country to get help for rough sleepers in their neighbourhood.

Based on London’s No Second Night Out number, this new phone line and website will ensure anyone wanting to get help for rough sleepers in their area will know where to go and who to call.

The Minister for Housing said: in a civilised society no one should have to sleep on the pavement.

Alterations to Listed Buildings and VAT

Legislation and general red tape surrounding listed buildings can often be confusing and open to interpretation by an individual.  The situation with Value Added Tax (VAT), charged by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), is just one of many such complications.

To read more, click here.

Richest buyers costing £1bn in stamp duty Avoidance

Stamp duty avoidance on £1m+ properties could be causing the Government a loss of £1bn in revenue. With pledges from Mr Osborne earlier this year to tackle tax avoidance, many will be pointing to this as an area he should be scrutinising closely.

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Letting a commercial premises

birminghambuildingsurveyors.co.uk – If you’re thinking of letting your commercial premises, the difficult economic climate has made it more important than ever to be aware of your options. Four main types of agreement exist and we describe each to help you make the right decision.

Read on here.