Posted on

Beware of Rogue Traders – Protecting Northamptonshire Residents

Beware of Rogue Traders – Protecting Northamptonshire Residents

*Stay Alert: Northamptonshire Police’s Urgent Reminder*

In the tranquil corners of Northamptonshire, a recent surge in reports about rogue traders and door-to-door sellers has prompted Northamptonshire Police to once again issue a stern warning to residents across the county. As the tales of deceit and swindling continue to grow, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and cautious in the face of potential scams.

The commendable efforts of the Force’s Economic Crime Unit have come to the fore, particularly when they thwarted an attempt to defraud a vulnerable Northampton man out of thousands of pounds. This incident, reported on Monday, August 14, unveiled a chilling tale of cold-callers who descended upon the elderly man’s property in the Abington area of the town on Thursday, August 10. Their pitch was that his roof was in dire need of repairs.

Returning the following day, these cunning individuals brandished a bird’s nest, accompanied by some cement and a piece of the roof, cunningly claiming that rot had taken its toll. They proceeded to quote a staggering sum of over £20,000 for the repair work, slyly followed by a demand for £5,000 upfront to cover the cost of scaffolding and a skip.

Trusting the words of these silver-tongued deceivers, the occupant handed over the initial £5,000 payment. As the scaffolding went up on Sunday, August 13, the man’s son began to sense that something wasn’t quite right. Sensing the urgency, he reached out to the Northamptonshire Police for assistance.

While this instance turned out to be a legitimate business, it underscored the pressing need for awareness and preparedness against rogue traders. Officers had a conversation with the company owner, highlighting their dubious practices. The result? The man’s money was returned.

Sergeant Michael Rogers, a pillar of the Force’s Economic Crime Unit, emphasizes, “Although we managed to rectify the situation this time, not everyone is as fortunate. It’s crucial for individuals to be on the lookout for potential rogue traders.” He highlights the modus operandi of cold-callers, targeting the most vulnerable members of the community, and encourages everyone to be the watchful eyes for their elderly or vulnerable neighbors.

In the event that someone finds themselves caught in such a web of deceit, where a tradesperson insists on urgent work or demands immediate payment, the message is simple: Reach out to a trusted individual and contact the authorities.

If you’ve encountered the sinister world of rogue traders, don’t hesitate to report it to Northamptonshire Police at 101 or online via And remember, in dire emergencies, dial 999 without hesitation.

**How to Unmask a Doorstep Scam: Protecting Yourself**

1. **Unexpected Warnings**: Be cautious if someone unexpected knocks on your door with urgent claims about your property needing immediate fixes.

2. **Upfront Payments**: If a demand for upfront payment is made before work is carried out, exercise extreme caution.

3. **Bank Withdrawal Pressure**: If you’re pushed to withdraw money from your bank while the perpetrators wait, be extremely suspicious.

4. **Unforeseen Additions**: Stay alert if they suddenly unveil additional problems that demand immediate financial attention.

**Remember These Crucial Points: Safeguarding Yourself**

– **Protect Your Finances**: Never disclose your PIN, and never succumb to pressure to share your bank card, financial information, or withdraw cash.

– **Take Your Time**: Don’t let anyone rush you into decisions. Refrain from handing over money on the spot. Instead, take time to ponder and consult with a trusted individual.

– **Control Access**: Only allow access to those you’re expecting or those you trust. Don’t feel embarrassed to turn someone away.

– **Verify Credentials**: Check the legitimacy of their claims. A genuine professional won’t mind you verifying their credentials. Use independent contact details, not those provided by them.

– **Consider Offers**: Even if the offer seems genuine, take your time to evaluate it. Politely decline or ask them to leave if necessary. Always get multiple quotes.

– **Seek Assistance**: If you sense danger, dial 999 immediately. For less urgent situations, contact the police non-emergency number at 101 to report incidents.

With these precautions in mind, Northamptonshire residents can stand strong against the tide of rogue traders and protect their homes, finances, and peace of mind. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and stand united against deception.

Posted on

A Fairer Private Rented Sector

A fairer private rented sector

A Fairer Private Rented Sector

Foreword from the Secretary of State


In the words of Michael Gove

Everyone has a right to a decent home. No one should be condemned to live in properties that are inadequately heated, unsafe, or unhealthy. Yet more than 2.8 million of our fellow citizens
are paying to live in homes that are not fit for the 21st century. Tackling this is critical to our mission to level up the country. The reality today is that far too many renters are living in damp, dangerous, cold homes, powerless to put things right, and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them. They’re often frightened to raise a complaint. If they do, there is no guarantee that they won’t be penalised for it, that their rent won’t shoot up as a result, or that they won’t be hit with a Section 21 notice asking them to leave. This Government is determined to tackle these injustices by offering a New Deal to those living in the Private Rented Sector; one with quality, affordability, and fairness at its heart. In our Levelling Up White Paper – published earlier this year – we set out a clear mission to halve the number of poor-quality homes by 2030. We committed to levelling up quality across the board in the Private Rented Sector and especially in those parts of the country with the highest proportion of poor, sub-standard housing – Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands, and the North West. This White Paper – A Fairer Private Rented Sector – sets out how we intend to deliver on this mission, raising the bar on quality and making this New Deal a reality for renters everywhere. It underlines our commitment, through the Renters

The Bill also fulfils our manifesto commitment to replace Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices with a modern tenancy system that gives renters peace of mind so they can confidently settle
down and make their house a home. These changes will be backed by a powerful new Ombudsman so that disputes between tenants and landlords can be settled quickly and cheaply, without going to court. This white paper also outlines a host of additional reforms to empower tenants so they can make informed choices, raise concerns and challenge unfair rent hikes without fear
of repercussion. Of course, we also want to support the vast majority of responsible landlords who provide quality homes to their tenants. That is one of the reasons why this White Paper sets out our commitment to strengthen the grounds for possession where there is good reason for the landlord to take the property back. Together, these reforms will help to ease the financial burden on renters, reducing moving costs and emergency repair bills. It will reset the tenant-landlord relationship by making sure that complaints are acted upon and resolved quickly. Most importantly, however, the reforms set out in this White Paper fulfil this Government’s pledge to level up the quality of housing in all parts of the country so that everyone can live somewhere which is decent, safe and secure – a place they’re truly proud to call home.

Executive summary

Everyone deserves a secure and decent home. Our society should prioritise this just like access to a good school or hospital. The role of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has changed in recent decades, as the sector has doubled in size, with landlords and tenants becoming increasingly diverse. Today, the sector needs to serve renters looking for flexibility and people who need to move quickly to progress their careers, while providing stability and security for young families and older renters. It must also work for a wide range of landlords, from those with a single property through to those with large businesses. Most people want to buy their own home one day and we are firmly committed to helping Generation Rent to become Generation Buy. We must reduce financial insecurities that prevent renters progressing on the path to home ownership and, in the meantime, renters should have a positive housing experience.

This White Paper builds on the vision of the Levelling Up White Paper and sets out our plans to fundamentally reform the Private Rented Sector and level up housing quality. Most private landlords take their responsibilities seriously, provide housing of a reasonable standard, and treat their tenants fairly. However, it is wrong that, in the 21st century, a fifth of private tenants in England are spending a third of their income on housing that is non-decent. Category 1 hazards – those that present the highest risk of serious harm or death – exist in 12% of properties, posing an immediate risk to tenants’ health and safety. This means some 1.6 million people are living in dangerously low-quality homes, in a state of disrepair, with cold, damp, and mould, and without functioning bathrooms and kitchens. Yet private landlords who rent out non-decent properties will receive an estimated £3 billion from the state in housing related welfare. It is time that this ended for good. No one should pay to live in a non-decent home. Poor-quality housing is holding people back and preventing neighbourhoods from thriving. Damp, and cold homes can make people ill, and cause respiratory conditions. Children in cold homes are twice as likely to suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Homes that overheat in hot summers similarly affect people’s health. In the PRS alone, this costs the NHS around £340 million a year. Illness, caused or exacerbated by living in a non-decent home, makes it harder for children to engage and achieve well in school, and adults are less productive at work. There is geographical disparity with the highest rates of non-decent homes in Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the North West. Visibly dilapidated houses undermine pride in place and create the conditions for crime, drug use, and antisocial behaviour. Too many tenants face a lack of security that hits aspiration and makes life harder for families. Paying rent is likely to be a tenant’s biggest monthly expense and private renters are frequently at the sharpest end of wider affordability pressures. Private renters spend an average of 31% of their household income on rent, more than social renters (27%) or homeowners with mortgages (18%),8 reducing the flexibility in their budgets to respond to other rising costs, such as energy.

Frequent home moves are expensive with moving costs of hundreds of pounds.9 This makes it harder for renters to save a deposit to buy their own home. Over a fifth (22%) of private renters who moved in 2019 to 2020 did not end their tenancy by choice, including 8% who were asked to leave by their landlord and a further 8% who left because their fixed term ended. The prospect of being evicted without reason at two months’ notice (so called ‘no fault’ Section 21 evictions) can leave tenants feeling anxious and reluctant to challenge poor practice. Families worry about moves that do not align to school terms, and tenants feel they cannot put down roots in their communities or hold down stable employment. Children in insecure housing experience worse educational outcomes, reduced levels of teacher commitment and more disrupted friendship groups, than other children.11 In 2019 to 2020, 22% of tenants who wished to complain to their landlord did not do so. In 2018, Citizens Advice found that if a tenant complained to their local council, they were five times more likely to be evicted using Section 21 than those who stayed silent.13 The existing system does not work for responsible landlords or communities either. We must support landlords to act efficiently to tackle antisocial behaviour or deliberate and persistent non-payment of rent, which can harm communities. Many landlords are trying to do the right thing but simply cannot access the information or support that they need to navigate the legal landscape, or they are frustrated by long delays in the courts. In addition, inadequate enforcement is allowing criminal landlords to thrive, causing misery for tenants, and
damaging the businesses and reputations of law-abiding landlords. Collectively, this adds up to a Private Rented Sector that offers the most expensive, least secure, and lowest quality housing to 4.4 million households, including 1.3 million households with children and 382,000 households over 65.14 This is driving unacceptable outcomes and holding back some of the most deprived parts of the country.

Our ambition

We are committed to delivering a fairer, more secure, and higher quality Private Rented
Sector. We believe:
1. All tenants should have access to a good quality, safe and secure home.
2. All tenants should be able to treat their house as their home and be empowered to challenge poor practice.
3. All landlords should have information on how to comply with their responsibilities and be able to repossess their properties when necessary.
4. Landlords and tenants should be supported by a system that enables effective resolution of issues.
5. Local councils should have strong and effective enforcement tools to crack down on poor practice.

What we have done

We have taken significant action over the past decade to improve private renting. In 2010, 1.4 million rented homes were non-decent, accounting for 37% of the total. This figure has fallen steadily to 1 million homes today (21% of the total).15 To improve safety standards, we have required landlords to provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as regular electrical safety checks. We supported the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which means landlords must not let out homes with serious hazards that leave the dwelling unsuitable for occupation.
To help tenants and landlords in resolving disputes, we made it a requirement in 2014 for letting and managing agents to belong to a government-approved redress scheme. We have also given local councils stronger powers to take action against landlords who do not meet expected standards. We have introduced Banning Orders to drive criminal landlords out of the market, civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution, and a database of rogue landlords and agents. Over the last five years, we have awarded £6.7 million to over 180 local councils to boost their enforcement work and support innovation.
To reduce financial barriers to private renting, we have capped most tenancy deposits at five weeks’ rent and prevented landlords and agents from charging undue or excess letting fees. Between 2010-11 and 2020-21 the proportion of household income (including housing benefit) spent on rent by private renters reduced from 35% to 31%.16 We have taken additional steps to protect private tenants when exceptional circumstances required. During the Coronavirus pandemic our emergency measures helped tenants to remain in their homes by banning bailiff evictions, extending notice periods, and providing unprecedented financial aid. These measures worked. There was a reduction of over 40% in households owed a homelessness duty following the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in 2020 to 2021 compared with 2019 to 2020,17 and repossessions by county court bailiffs between January and March 2022 were down 55% compared to the same quarter in 2019.


This is a very brave and necessary course of action, to deal with the housing crisis. Housing costs have risen exponentially, since the late 1990s, when the population began to grow rapidly due to migration. The true number of migrants in the UK is not known, but one thing is for certain, there are upwards of TEN MILLION more people in the UK today, than there were just a decade ago, probably much more, they all need to live somewhere and although this may be devastating to landlords who have worked hard to purchase property to secure themselves an income for the future, especially as many have been denied their anticipated income from pension funds that have been stagnant, the government does need to look at the bigger picture and act quickly, before this crisis evolves in to civil unrest.

Download the full White Paper HERE

Posted on

Rising house prices help boost increase tax revenue

Rising house prices help boost increase tax revenue

Rising house prices help boost increase tax revenue

Rising house prices boosted HMRC’s coffers during the previous tax year.

Analysts suggest the booming housing market has meant HMRC has attracted more funds from stamp duty payments as well as more grimly from increased inheritance tax receipts during the pandemic.

The latest HMRC data for April 2021 to March 2022 shows total provisional tax receipts for the period rose by £133,8bn to £718.2bn – up 22.9%.

Stamp duty receipts hit an all-time hight of £18.6bn, up £6.1bn on a year before.

Inheritance tax receipts for April 2021 to March 2022 were £6.1bn, which is £0.7bn higher than in the same period a year earlier.

Other receipts included money from PAYE Income Tax and national insurance, which rose by £34.8bn to £338bn.

Rosie Hooper, chartered financial planner at Quilter ,warns that more estates are being dragged into paying inheritance tax due to the frozen threshold of £325,000 after which an estate may have to pay the levy.

She says: “A key contributor to the increase in IHT receipts is the housing market which increased relentlessly over the same period, in which stamp duty holidays drove the UK to a record high average house price.

“With thresholds frozen, the increase in IHT revenue is viewed as a stealth tax, as more and more people are dragged into the IHT net following the sale of their homes.

“This tax year, you can pass on £175,000 of your property tax-free through the residential nil rate band (RNRB) which is effectively doubled to £350,000 when combined with the allowance of your spouse or civil partner.

“That’s layered on top of your inheritance tax allowance – or nil rate band – of £325,000, meaning it is possible to pass on £1m inheritance free as a couple. However, the RNRB only works for those with direct descendants to inherit the family home, while the UK’s 6m cohabitees are less fortunate and cannot claim the combined allowances.”

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says the IHT receipts are a “heart-breaking reminder of the pandemic” but also questions how long the booming housing market and tax take will last.

She adds: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we face difficult times ahead as the cost of living starts to bite.

“The property market has thrived in the past year as buyers took advantage of stamp duty holidays to bag themselves a new home.

“But with costs on the rise, it’s uncertain how long the market can sustain this momentum and we could see a quieter year ahead.

“Workers will also be bracing themselves for the 1.25 percentage point rise in national insurance which began in April – a further cost increase impacting already squeezed budgets.”

Posted on

Best ever spring market for vendors as prices hit new record

There’s been a remarkable 1.7 per cent increase in the average asking price of homes coming to the market in just one month, according to Rightmove.

The national average is now £354,564 after the largest March increase for 18 years; in addition, the annual price growth rate of 10.4 per cent is the highest that Rightmove has recorded in any month since June 2014.

“This unprecedented price level is being stoked by the greatest imbalance between buyer demand and the number of properties available for sale that we have ever measured at this time of year. This is the strongest spring sellers’ market that we have ever seen in several metrics” says the portal in its latest snapshot, published this morning.

There are now more than twice as many buyers as sellers active in the market, which is the biggest mismatch between supply and demand that Rightmove has ever recorded at this time of year.

The speed of the market is further demonstrated by the fact that are there more than one in five deals being agreed on Rightmove within the first week of being marketed. This is double the figure for the same period in the more normal market of 2019.

Almost half are having a sale agreed within the first fortnight, another indicator of high demand and the likelihood of finding a buyer quickly.

“While these unprecedented numbers are helping to drive prices to new records, they do also show that there are a number of properties that will remain on the market after this time and that may benefit from a price reduction” cautions the portal.

 The largest monthly price rise has been recorded in the “top of the ladder” sector, predominantly comprising four bedroom or more properties.

This has seen a 3.8 per cent jump due to high demand and the greatest scarcity of supply, though encouragingly for prospective buyers in this sector 12 per cent more properties have come to market in the last month compared to the same period a year ago.

However it’s the more mass-market “second-stepper” sector that’s selling fastest, with just over half of these homes finding a buyer within the first two weeks of marketing.

Rightmove property data director Tim Bannister says: “Those who weren’t ready to take advantage of last year’s rush now have another chance to get on the market while these conditions last. Many of those who are selling in this record-breaking market obviously also face the prospect of buying again in the same market, and being in fierce competition against other buyers.

“Having a buyer for your own property, subject to contract, puts those who are buying again in a powerful position compared to buyers who have yet to sell, and agents report that these ‘power buyers’ are more likely to get the property that they want and negotiate the best deal on price.”

Bannister continues: “Agents report that despite the current high demand, a price reduction is often needed if a property has not found a buyer within the first two weeks.

“It could be that the property is too niche and has to wait for the right buyer with those specific requirements to come along, but more often it’s due to prospective buyers being underwhelmed by a seller looking for an over-optimistic asking price compared to other properties that are being snapped up at record speed. Acting quickly on a price reduction before the property goes stale can help to get sellers back on track for a speedier sale.”

Posted on

Demand for London flats soars as more seek to buy first property

Flats are once again trendy as first-time buyers look to smaller homes in a bid to buy in the capital.

London flats are back in fashion after falling hugely out of favour during the pandemic “race for space”.

The release of pent-up demand from first-time buyers who put off buying decisions during Covid lockdowns, combined with spiralling rents as London fills up again with workers, has sent demand for smaller homes soaring.

According to one survey, flat prices are outpacing the overall property market in five London boroughs — Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets — in a striking reversal of the trend of the last two years.

In eight other boroughs — Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark, Waltham Forest, Lewisham, Islington, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster — flat price rises have almost caught up with the overall market.

 “London is on manoeuvres once again. There’s been no exodus. In fact, many younger buyers chose to rent while the dust settled on the pandemic, and that’s the main reason why the lettings market has been red hot.

“These buyers, who put their purchases on hold, are being confronted by the reality that borrowing costs are going up. Many of them are first-time buyers who are desperately playing catch-up. We expect the prices of flats in London to put in a robust performance in 2022 for this reason.”

Flats without outside space became increasingly hard to sell during the pandemic as buyers sought larger homes with gardens.

In the year to September prices of London flats only inched forward 0.74 per cent on average, compared with a 4.92 per cent rise for terrace houses, 7.33 per cent for semi-detached homes, and 9.18 per cent for detached houses.

However, Rightmove says it has seen the same marked flip-flop in the trend over recent months. It has seen a bigger increase in demand for flats — 27 per cent last month compared with last year — than for any other property.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: “This coincides with the renewed demand to live in London, after it temporarily dropped due to restrictions this time last year.”


Posted on

Rightmove pushing reluctant sellers to come to market within weeks

The number one portal is making a big marketing and research push to get reluctant owners to put up the For Sale boards next month.

It says its own research shows that March is the strongest month of the year to sell a home, having the highest number of buyer enquiries per property for sale on average over the last five years.

While new listings are also highest in March, strong demand from buyers in the month means March sees the highest competition for the homes available on average.

It says data currently suggests a build up of momentum as March nears: for example listings are up 11 per cent in the last three weeks compared to the same period last year, while buyer demand is up 32 per cent over the last three weeks compared to the same time last year.

Home-valuation requests to estate agents are up 27 per cent since the start of the year compared to the start of last year, while searches for gardens have jumped 70 per cent in two years, as more people continue to look for outdoor space.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, comments: “For any sellers who might be conscious of coming to market at a time when the number of new listings has traditionally been high, the data shows us that the level of demand in March means sellers are likely to met with multiple potential buyers competing for their home.

“Those thinking of selling are also likely to be aiming to buy a new property, and may be tempted to begin the search for their new home before listing their current one on the market.

“Due to the speed and competitiveness of the market, agents are reporting that it continues to be of high importance for those actively looking to become ‘power buyers’, to give themselves the best chance of securing their dream home.

“This means making sure they have their current property on the market or preferably sold subject to contract before beginning the search for their next home.

“This spring is certainly shaping up to be a busy one, with buyer demand, new listings coming to market for sale, and valuation requests to estate agents from future sellers all continuing to increase compared to last year.”

Posted on

Inflation wiping out house price growth in many areas – claim

Soaring inflation means that house price growth in much of the country is being wiped out, according to a leading housing market analysis.

The latest monthly market report from the Home website says that only four English regions, plus Wales, show annual growth over and above the latest RPI inflation figure of 7.7 per cent for November.

Home also warns that with RPI inflation – according to some analysts – heading for 10 per cent, “some regions are treading water while others are suffering significant price falls in real terms.”

The website cautions that with cannier buyers fixing seven year mortgage deals at as low a rate as two per cent, there are hedges against the growing inflation threat – so it is not expecting any significant impact on the number of buyers in the housing market in 2022.

Home also quantifies the large gap between supply and demand.

It says agents’ inventories over the past 12 months have dropped 41 per cent – and actually 50 per cent less than in January 2019.

Supply in London is down 33 per cent year-on-year, sales stock is down 25% and prices are already up 1.3% over the last six months, making it one of the top four performing English regions.

Monthly supply of new sales listings remains comparatively low across the UK, down 18 per cent compared to the month of December 2020. Greater London shows the greatest contraction again this month.

Scarcity is also prevalent in the rental market and Home warns that it’s getting worse – the supply of rental properties is down 24 per cent on January 2021, making further rent hikes inevitable this year.

Posted on

Revealed – what customers REALLY think of estate agents

A new survey of people who have sold their home in the past six months has given a strong backing to the performance of their estate agents – with a few exceptions.

Some 1,159 owners who moved in the past six months were questioned in early January, and asked to rate their agent from 1 (top ) to 10 (bottom).

Over 50 per cent of respondents were within the top five scores, 15% rated their estate agent’s performance during their last sale as a five – the most prominent individual score. Exactly 30 per cent gave their agent one of the top three scores.

However, at the other end of the scale, eight per cent stated that they thought their agent’s performance was terrible.

When it came to the asking price achieved, buyers reflected roughly the split seen in wider market snapshots – 47 per cent said their agent didn’t achieve the asking price agreed, but 39 per cent did get the asking price and 14 per cent said they got above asking.

When requesting feedback on areas of improvement, the respondents listed:

– More proactive during the transaction in order to speed up the process;

– Better or more frequent communication;

– Better customer service in general;

– More information on how their sale was progressing;

– A higher percentage of asking price achieved;

– Better quality of property listing and/or photos of their home;

– More help on what was needed from the agent to progress the sale.

The survey was commissioned by online agency Nested, from which a spokeswoman says: “It’s clear that sellers view the added value of an estate agent above and beyond the price they achieve and constant, clear communication and a proactive approach to selling are some of the key areas they value most.

“This is hardly surprising given the fact that it takes an average of 320 days to sell a home and the vast majority of this time is spent progressing the sale to completion once an offer is accepted, during which time it’s still susceptible to falling through.”

Posted on

Tax clampdown on second homes announced by government

Owners of second homes who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay under new measures announced by the government today.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says the changes will target people who take advantage of the system “to avoid paying their fair share” towards local services in popular destinations such as Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District, Suffolk, West Sussex and the Isles of Scilly.

Currently, owners of second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers.

However, concerns have been raised that many never actually let their homes and leave them empty and are therefore unfairly benefiting from the tax break.

Following a consultation, the government says it will now bring changes to the tax system, which will mean second homeowners must pay council tax if they are not genuine holiday lets.

From April 2023, second homeowners will have to prove holiday lets are being rented out for a minimum of 70 days a year to access small business rates relief, where they meet the criteria.

Holiday let owners will have to provide evidence such as the website or brochure used to advertise the property, letting details and receipts.

Properties will also have to be available to be rented out for 140 days a year to qualify for this relief.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “The government backs small businesses, including responsible short-term letting, which attracts tourists and brings significant investment to local communities.

“However, we will not stand by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax relief and leaving local people counting the cost.

“The action we are taking will create a fairer system, ensuring that second homeowners are contributing their share to the local services they benefit from.”

Posted on

Property Wealth Tax proposed by former agency boss

A wealth tax on overseas owners of UK homes could raise £5 billion a year to help local people buy their first properties at reduced rates, a former estate agency chief has suggested.

Kevin Hollinrake – a former chairman of Hunters estate agency chain prior to its acquisition by The Property Franchise Group – is now Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malden.

He told a debate in the House of Commons that the government had to strike a balance between personal freedom to buy homes wherever an individual wanted, with the broader freedom of local people to afford homes in their own areas.

One suggestion he had was to increase taxes on non-resident purchases of additional homes, whether holiday properties or buy to lets or occasional residences.

He told MPs: “I do not think there is any argument for not taxing those people pretty heavily if they own property in the UK and are non-resident.

“We already have a two per cent surcharge, on top of the per cent surcharge, for overseas owners. These people are having a profound effect on some house prices in urban areas as well as rural areas.

“I think 28 per cent of properties sold above £2m are bought by overseas owners. Around 20 per cent of all properties in London—and probably a decent quantity in York and other cities—are owned by overseas residents. I do not see a reason why we would not seek to tax those people even more heavily than with a 100 per cent increase in council tax.”

Hollinrake went on to say that a one per cent wealth tax on UK properties —bought by non-UK residents – would raise up to £5 billion a year.

“There would still be an incentive for those people to invest their money in the UK, which I am not against, but the reality is that this would make it a fair and level playing field. They would still benefit from the very high house price growth.

“As we have heard today, house prices have been rising by around 10%, so it still makes sense for people to invest, but such a tax would mean that we could take a little bit out of the money they are making every year from house price inflation and put it elsewhere.”

The former agency chief said the revenue from such a property-related wealth tax could go into the government’s First Homes programme, which offers new-build discounted properties to local first time buyers.