Kate’s 5 must-read property news stories this week

publication date: Sep 11, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Possible Housing Policy Changes

Bedroom tax to be abolished?
The controversial spare room subsidy, or ‘bedroom tax’, where social or council tenants lose housing benefit for having spare bedrooms, looks set to be abolished by the general election or shortly afterwards. Lib Dem MP Andrew George has proposed that tenants lose benefit only if they turn down alternative, smaller accommodation, with disabled tenants exempted. Currently, 14% of housing benefit is withheld if there is one apparently unused bedroom, and 25% for two or more, affecting an estimated 31% of existing working-age claimants and putting many in rent arrears for the first time. For more information visit Housing Benefit, what you'll get and Welfare reform - Bedroom tax

Letting agents now have only a few weeks to join an Obudsman Scheme
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis is urging letting agents to register with 1 of 3 redress schemes before 1st October, when it becomes a legal requirement, so tenants and leaseholders can take complaints to the scheme, and possibly receive compensation. Most agents are already signed up. Although most tenants and landlords are happy with the service they receive, the redress schemes are somewhere for disgruntled tenants to go for quick, effective and free redress. My advice – if an agent doesn’t belong to an Ombudsman Scheme already (ie a few weeks before) DO NOT rent from them as they are going to struggle to be registered on-time. See - Letting Agents need to act quickly.

Read - Letting a Property checklist

Latest price and rental reports: quick summary
According to Martin Ellis, Housing Economist, house prices in June-August were 3.0% higher than in March-May. Annually, prices were 9.7% higher June-August than in the same period last year. Both quarterly and annual increases were lower than in July. Housing demand is supported by improving economic conditions, but earnings growth below consumer price inflation, and with a potential interest rate rise, may curb this. Some improvements in housing supply may help ease the pace of house price growth. See Halifax house index.

Read - Our latest Property Price Report

Property Finance News
Latest news is mortgage rates are on the way down! Coventry Building Society launches new residential range with 2 and 5 year fixes from 9th September, Leeds launches a 10 year fix and Santander reduces it's residential mortgage rates.


  • 2.29% Fixed Rate until 31.12.16, 65% LTV £199 booking fee, Early Repayment Charges (ERCs) payable to 31.12.16 with no arrangement fee.
  • 2.59% Fixed Rate until 31.12.16, 75% LTV £199 booking fee, ERCs payable to 31.12.16 with no arrangement fee.
Leeds Building Society has reduced it’s 10 year fixed rate mortgage up to 65% LTV to 4.19%, fee is just £199 and you get a free standard valuation up to £335 and fees assisted in-house legal services for remortgages. The Society also offers a competitive 10 year fixed rate deal at 4.39% up to 80% LTV.

Santander cuts residential rates by up to 0.25%

Switching mortgages can save you thousands of pounds a year, so for the latest mortgage news visit - Financial Reporter

Read - Financing a Buy to let checklist

Property Tax Clampdown in North West and North Wales
HMRC have launched a taskforce to target tax evasion, unpaid Capital Gains Tax on sold properties and undisclosed rental income. They expect to recover £5 million and follows in the footsteps of successful task force operations in London, South East England and Yorkshire. Tax cheats could face heavy fines or criminal conviction. Find out more from HMRC.

Read - Buy to let tax checklist

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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