Industry News

Title: Open Letter from Residential Property Industry urges the use of the UPRN across the Sector


Description:

Leading residential property bodies have today published an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and copied to Thalia Baldwin, Director of the Geospatial Commission highlighting the potential benefits from a widely adopted Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and steps that Government need to take to make this happen. The signatories of the letter,  which includes leading bodies from across the residential property sector, believe that the wide market adoption of the UPRN will deliver substantial benefits to UK society, the residential property sector and to Government.

Andrew Bulmer, CEO of IRPM comments: “The UPRN is like attaching a number plate to a car, instead we attach a unique number (up to 12-digits) to all things related to properties (fittings, fixtures, paperwork, surveys etc), so that each property can be uniquely identified with unparalleled accuracy.

If all the conditions outlined in the letter were to be met, we could proactively work towards the wholesale adoption of the UPRN. Implemented effectively, this could help position the UK as the world’s leading property market”.

Dan Hughes, Founder of Alpha Property Insight and the Real Estate Data Foundation noted that; “The property sector is at the heart of the economy, people’s wellbeing and our impact on the environment. There are huge opportunities for technology to help with improving every aspect of this, but to do so requires the effective use of data. The wide adoption of the UPRN would be a big step towards providing the foundations to enable this.”

Theresa Wallace, Founder of The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC), notes that, “widespread adoption of UPRN’s could revolutionise the property market, this is a really exciting initiative which has industry support and we now need the Government to add theirs.”

The letter details the benefits of widespread market adoption of the UPRN to society, the economy and property sector. These include:

  • Improved building, consumer and market safety
  • More targeted and cost-effective enforcement of legislation
  • Increased protection for tenants and a reduction of rogue landlords
  • The ability to speed up conveyancing and transparency in home buying and selling
  • The opportunity to reduce waste, save time and empower the consumer

However, the letter also calls for steps by Government and for certain conditions to be met to really enable these benefits:

  • All public sector data sets relating to properties and buildings should include the UPRN and a clear roadmap is needed to get to this point
  • All future Government tenders and policy relating to residential properties and associated data should mandate the use of the UPRN
  • There must be clear agreement about the ethical use of data in the housing market
  • The UPRN must be in a clear and useable format that allows the UPRN to be widely identified, and freely used and shared
  • This must include the tools, the support materials and the explanation needed by the whole sector for adoption, not just the solution providers

Following the profound findings in the RoPA report, that outlines the phenomenal need for compliance within the property agents’ sector, Lord Best states that “the UPRN is an excellent concept and could be a game-changer.”

The impact of the universal adoption of the UPRN can be immense, The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agents Team (NTSELAT) explain that, “the widespread use of a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has the potential to deliver many benefits across the residential property market. Importantly, a UPRN can offer tenants a greater level of protection against rogue landlords and help to reduce consumer fraud when buying or renting a home. The NTS Estate and Letting Agency Team supports the work of The Letting Industry Council in driving the adoption of the URPN across the property sector”.

CLICK HERE to view the letter.

To add your name, click HERE and complete the form at the bottom of the page.

 

The list of signatories in alphabetical order is below:

  • Advice for Renters
  • Alpha Property Insight
  • Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA)
  • Base Property Specialists
  • Bold Legal Group
  • British Property Federation
  • Building Passport
  • Chestertons
  • ClientMoneyProtect
  • Conveyancing Association
  • Countrywide
  • Fexco Property Services
  • FirstPort
  • Fixflo
  • Foxtons
  • HACT
  • Hamilton Fraser insurance products
  • Hamptons
  • HML Group
  • Hunters
  • Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM)
  • JLL
  • JMW Solicitors LLP
  • Kinleigh Limited (KFH)
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Landlord Action
  • Landmark
  • Landscape Institute
  • Marks out of Tenancy
  • My Property Group
  • MyDeposits
  • NAPIT
  • No Letting Go
  • Northern Housing Consortium
  • National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
  • OSCRE International
  • Premier Estates
  • Property Checklists
  • Propertymark
  • Property Redress Scheme (PRS)
  • Real Estate Data Foundation (RED Foundation)
  • Rendall and Rittner
  • Residential Logbook Association (RLBA)
  • Residently
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Savills (UK) Ltd
  • The Depositary
  • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC)
  • Trustmark
  • UK PropTech Association (UK PA)
  • The UK Apartment Association (UKAA)

 


Description: Tue, 12 Jan 2021 12:12:00 +0000

Title: Government Reforms Make it Easier and Cheaper for Leaseholders to Buy  their Homes


Description:

  • Millions of leaseholders will be given a new right to extend their lease by 990 years
  • Changes could save households from thousands to tens of thousands of pounds
  • Elderly also protected by reducing ground rents to zero for all new retirement properties

Thursday 7 January, 2020. Millions of leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced today (7 January 2021).

Today’s measures come as part of the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, fundamentally making home ownership fairer and more secure.

Under the current law many people face high ground rents, which combined with a mortgage, can make it feel like they are paying rent on a property they own.

Freeholders can increase the amount of ground rent with little or no benefit seen to those faced with extra charges. It can also lengthen and lead to increased costs when buying or selling the property.

Today’s changes will mean that any leaseholder who chooses to extend their lease on their home will no longer pay any ground rent to the freeholder, enabling those who dream of fully owning their home to do so without cumbersome bureaucracy and additional, unnecessary and unfair expenses

For some leaseholders, these changes could save them thousands, to tens of thousands of pounds.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

'Across the country people are struggling to realise the dream of owning their own home but find the reality of being a leaseholder far too bureaucratic, burdensome and expensive.

'We want to reinforce the security that home ownership brings by changing forever the way we own homes and end some of the worst practices faced by homeowners.

'These reforms provide fairness for 4.5 million leaseholders and chart a course to a new system altogether.'

The government is also now establishing a Commonhold Council - a partnership of leasehold groups, industry and government - that will prepare homeowners and the market for the widespread take-up of commonhold.

The commonhold model is widely used around the world and allows homeowners to own their property on a freehold basis, giving them greater control over the costs of home ownership. Blocks are jointly owned and managed, meaning when someone buys a flat or a house, it is truly theirs and any decisions about its future are theirs too

Professor Nick Hopkins, Commissioner for Property Law at the Law Commission said:

'We are pleased to see government taking its first decisive step towards the implementation of the Law Commission’s recommendations to make enfranchisement cheaper and simpler.

'The creation of the Commonhold Council should help to reinvigorate commonhold, ensuring homeowners will be able to call their homes their own.'

Under current rules, leaseholders of houses can only extend their lease once for 50 years with a ground rent. This compares to leaseholders of flats who can extend as often as they wish at a zero ‘peppercorn’ ground rent for 90 years.

Today’s changes mean both house and flat leaseholders will now be able to extend their lease to a new standard 990 years with a ground rent at zero.

A cap will also be introduced on ground rent payable when a leaseholder chooses to either extend their lease or become the freeholder. An online calculator will be introduced to make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to buy their freehold or extend their lease.

The government is abolishing prohibitive costs like ‘marriage value’ and set the calculation rates to ensure this is fairer, cheaper and more transparent. An online calculator will be introduced to make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to buy their freehold or extend their lease.

Further measures will be introduced to protect the elderly. The government has previously committed to restricting ground rents to zero for new leases to make the process fairer for leaseholders. This will also now apply to retirement leasehold properties (homes built specifically for older people), so purchasers of these homes have the same rights as other homeowners and are protected from uncertain and rip-off practices.

Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’.

Legislation will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament, to set future ground rents to zero. This is the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament. We will bring forward a response to the remaining Law Commission recommendations, including commonhold, in due course.

Further Information

The Law Commission published their report on enfranchisement valuation ’Report on options to reduce the price payable’ in January 2020 and their reports on enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage in July 2020. These reports can be found on the Law Commission’s website.

A freeholder owns both the property and the land it stands on while leaseholders only own the property.

Marriage value assumes that the value of one party holding both the leasehold and freehold interest is greater than when those interests are held by separate parties. Today’s announcement will remove marriage value from the premium calculation.

‘Modern ground rent’ is the rent (determined under section 15 of the 1967 Act) payable during the additional term of a lease extension of a house (under the current law). It is calculated by valuing the “site”, and then decapitalising that value.

Many long leases specify an annual ground rent of a ‘peppercorn.’ A peppercorn rent is used in circumstances where it is deemed appropriate for there to be no substantive rent payable. Under the current law, any lease extension of a lease of a flat under the 1993 Act must be granted at a peppercorn rent. Today’s announcement means that both house and flat leaseholders will now be able to extend their lease to 990 years with a ground rent at zero.

The formula used to work out the cost to leaseholders for buying the freehold or extending the lease includes a discount for any improvements the leaseholder has made and a discount where leaseholders have the right to remain in the property on an assured tenancy after the lease expires. These existing discounts will be retained, alongside a separate valuation methodology for low-value properties known as ‘section 9(1)’.

To find the original press release click here.


Description: Thu, 07 Jan 2021 10:28:00 +0000

Title: COVID-19: Best Practice Guidelines for Property Managers


Description:

UPDATED - Tuesday 5th January 2021 - As England enters a third national lockdown as of Tuesday 5th January 2021, our COVID-19 guidance has been updated accordingly.  Please click the link below to view our updated advice for those working in the leasehold management industry.

With daily updates and restrictions from Government, it is proving a never-ending task to keep on top of events as they unfold. ARMA has produced and published some best practice guidelines to help plug some of the gaps in current guidance for the benefit of everyone in the industry.  The guidlines will be updated as often as we can, so please refer back to this page regularly. 

The latest version will be included in ARMA's monthly updates to all members, along with other essential information and guidance from official sources and experts from within our memberhsip network. 

To download the latest version of the Best Practice Guidelines,  CLICK HERE

 

Not an ARMA Member yet?

If you’re a managing agent, developer/freeholder or a supplier to the leasehold management industry, join ARMA today to benefit from full access to ARMA’s guidance, comprehensive weekly bulletins, monthly newsletters, technical advice, health & safety helpine, expertise and events, plus many other professional advantages: https://arma.org.uk/join-arma/how-to-join-arma


Description: Tue, 05 Jan 2021 11:01:00 +0000