I hope you have had a restful week. This week, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our excellent Queen, and we know that people around the world will be feeling the same sense of loss.
We would like to take this opportunity to voice our gratitude for the Queen’s incredible and lifelong service to her country and for the high standards she set throughout her reign.
Now, let’s take a look at all the headlines that caught our attention this week. I always try to summarise the links to save you from having to click through.
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Property News This Week
- Amended New Safety Regulations to be Released October 1st – From October 1, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations will be amended to offer more detail to some of the rules already set in place. The regulations, which have been in effect since 2015, will specify that smoke alarms are mandatory on every storey within domestic properties comprising any description of ‘living accommodation’. The new rules will also specify a carbon monoxide alarm to be fitted in any lived-in room containing a fixed combustion appliance, with the exclusion of gas cookers. Landlords and agents will be required to repair or replace any faulty alarms when alerted to them by a tenant and tenants will have the power to challenge any failure to do so. Local authorities will also be granted the power to enforce the new regulations, with landlords facing fines of up to £5,000 for refusal to adhere to them. Landlords and agents are urged to act now to ensure they stay on the right side of the new regulations.
- Simon Clarke Becomes UK’s 7th Housing Minister in Six Years – With a new Prime Minister now appointed, the expected cabinet shuffle is already well underway. Ousting the previous Housing Minister of only nine weeks, Greg Clark, Simon Clarke will now take over responsibility for this core sector which has been struggling for some years now under a slew of systemic issues. Simon Clarke has been an MP for four years and the minister of state at the Ministry of Housing for Communities and Local Government for two years. We are still waiting to see if the government will ease the pressure on private landlords under Truss’s leadership, and the NRLA has already called for more encouragement in property investment and support for landlords that has been sorely missing for the past decade. Simon Clarke has voiced his commitment to tackling homelessness, building safety and devolution. Time will tell what changes may arise and whether the government finally makes good on its promises for more affordable housing in the UK.
Mass BTL Lender Withdrawal Forcing Brokers to Get Creative – There has been trouble brewing in the mortgage finance sector for some time now, with over half a year of continued interest rate rises and skyrocketing demand unmatched by a paltry supply of both old and new housing across the county. With traditionally higher interest rates available, the BTL sector has struggled to maintain momentum and now it is facing another threat. Currently, a total of six BTL lenders have withdrawn offers of all BTL mortgages, and only two of them have resumed trading after just over a week. Combined with this, a large number of lenders have greatly reduced those mortgages on offer to just a few 60% LTV deals that are unlikely to entice many investors as they eat into capital and profit. This sad situation is far from over, as lenders, solicitors and local authorities are simply overwhelmed with the volume of transactions occurring and are in desperate need of respite in order to maintain acceptable standards of working.
- Liz Truss Beats Rishi for Top Spot with 57% of the Vote – After a race for the position, it has now been confirmed that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will take Boris’s place as the next prime minister of the UK, winning out against the former chancellor Rishi Sunak who competed for the position. Boris was first elected in the summer of 2019 and this week marks his end of tenure as Prime Minister of the UK. It is unclear yet what changes to policies may now come about, but housing organisations are already petitioning our new Prime Minister for action on the critical house building chain failures and the renewal of promises to deliver affordable housing and mortgage financing for the upcoming generation which appears to be more and more of a dream as the cost of living crisis continues to cripple households up and down the UK. It is clear that we need decisive and positive action now more than ever, and only time will tell whether our latest Prime Minister proves worthy of the name.
That is all we have for you this week. If you have any comments or questions on this week’s news summary, please feel free to email us at [email protected] – if not, see you next week.