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Substandard
10.12.07 Substandard home crisis Government focus on building new homes when vast numbers of properties lie empty or do not meet a decent standard is absurd, according to he Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). CIEH says that the focus on building new while reducing the amount of money made available for the renewal of older stock in some parts of the country is unsustainable and a threat to public health. Chair of the ...
Wind power
10.12.07 Wind power for 25 million homes Energy Secretray, John Hutton, has announced proposals to open up its seas to 33 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy. He has also announced that he will chair a panel of experts to advise him on renewable energy. Speaking to the European energy industry in Berlin, Hutton launched a strategic environmental assessment of the seas surrounding the UK, paving the way for a possible `third round` o...
Voluntary accreditation
07.12.07 Voluntary accreditation is best practice Caroline Pickering, chair of the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) has responded strongly to the Carsberg review of residential property, calling for the industry to look to voluntary accreditation schemes as opposed to statutory regulation. Pickering said: ?It is vitally important to us that the consumer is protected in the private rented sector whether letting or renting, and the key ...
Home-buying review
07.12.07 Home-buying review launched Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, is leading a home-buying review to investigate whether there is a better, faster and less stressful way to buy and sell homes in England and Wales. Shapps promises that the next Conservative government will scrap the cumbersome home information packs but keep the energy performance certificates, as well as improving the process of moving home. Residential property ...
Residents should regulate
07.12.07 Residents should regulate social housing The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is launching a new model for tenants of social housing to influence the way their landlords manage their business, hold them to account and ultimately call in the new regulator, Oftenant, when their concerns are not resolved. Social housing tenants, who have traditionally had few guarantees of choice or power in the provision of their housing, could now...
Leeds builds
06.12.07 Leeds to build council housing Leeds city council has announced that it has agreed in principle to begin building council houses again. The announcement signals a major commitment to council house building in Leeds by providing rented accommodation and affordable housing in targeted areas across the city, without encroaching on greenbelt land. Leader of Leeds city council, Councillor Andrew Carter, said: ?We have over some pe...
Rate cut
06.12.07 Interest rate cut welcomed The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee has announced a 0.25 per cent interest rate cut, bringing down the rate to 5.5 per cent. The reaction has been consistent: the news was welcome but further cuts are hoped for in the coming months. Ross Bowen, managing director of Connells S&V;: ?We are now looking for the next cut to follow soon to help rebuild consumer and market confidence.? Simon...
Herefordshire stars
06.12.07 Poor rating for Herefordshire Housing The service provided by Herefordshire Housing is poor and the prospects for improvement are uncertain, according to an independent report released by the Audit Commission. On a scale of zero to three stars, the Audit Commission inspection team gave the Hereford-based housing association a zero star, poor rating for its current service, because there are substantial numbers of properties in poor ...
Lost
06.12.07 Design quality lost in translation Housebuilders and architects are being urged to respect each other more. Launching the 2008 call for entries to the Building for Life Awards, Wayne Hemingway warned of an endemic failure by the two professions to work well together: ?It?s like ?lost in translation? on a national scale. Neither side values what the other one brings.  Unless they start talking and drop all the old stereotypes about p...
Up and out
05.12.07 Building up and out A London council is investing £1 million in tackling the shortage of social housing in the borough by extending properties. There is a shortage of larger social housing in Hounslow for growing families creating an overcrowding problem. But there are simply not enough larger properties in the borough to meet a growing need, so extending homes is a solution. The funding allocation means 20 houses will be exte...
Homlessness funding
05.12.07 More funding to tackle homelessness announced Junior Housing Minister, Iain Wright, has announced a rise of six per cent in the funding for homeless services. Councils will receive at least £150 million over three years to help them prevent and tackle homelessness in their areas and will receive almost £50 million in homelessness grants next year - a £3 million increase on last year and a rise of six per cent. All local author...
Enforcement fine
05.12.07 Record planning enforcement fine A £150,000 fine has been handed out to a landlord who turned a Hounslow bungalow into 10 self-contained bedsits, believed to be London?s biggest planning fine. Vikas Subharwal converted the property in 106 Wellington Road North, Hounslow, into rental units, despite being refused planning permission for the development. Hounslow council served him with a planning enforcement notice in July 2005 requir...
Surveyors
05.12.07 Surveyors to provide energy certificates Surveyors in Scotland can now conduct assessments for energy performance certificates (EPCs) for existing building stock after a protocol agreement was signed. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland (RICS Scotland) signed the agreement with the government?s Scottish Building Standards Agency (SBSA). EPCs were introduced to Scotland following EU legislation and will provide in...
Slowdown
05.12.07 More evidence of slowdown The Halifax house price index for November is further evidence of a slowdown in the UK housing market. The index shows that: * House prices fell by 1.1 per cent in November.  In annual terms, house prices are 6.3 per cent higher. * A mixed pattern of monthly price rises and falls is a typical feature of a more subdued housing market. For example, there were six monthly falls and six monthly increa...
Housing adaptations
04.12.07 More funds for home adaptations Communities Minister Baroness Andrews has announced the increases in the disabled facilities grant (DFG) as part of a package of measures designed at helping people live independently in their own homes for longer. The grant can be used for home adaptations such as ramps, stair lifts and easy-access showers. The DFG will increase by £25 million for 2008/09, an increase of 20 per cent, taking ce...
Sign up
04.12.07 London boroughs sign protocol The London boroughs in the South East London Housing Partnership - Lewisham, Southwark, Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley have become the first local authorities in London to sign up to the housing protocol agreement with the Housing Corporation. The protocol sets out how the boroughs will work in partnership with the Housing Corporation on housing delivery and covers key issues on affordability and supply a...
Amateur
04.12.07 No place for amateur investor The bursting buy-to-let bubble could leave a generation of amateur property investors with serious savings losses, but it could also mean it?s a great time to be a professional landlord, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). ?Over the last decade we?ve seen a new pattern of people buying and letting property to boost their retirement funds but the crest of that wave is now over,? says...
Confidence
04.12.07 Confidence falls in property sector A survey into the property sector has revealed a significant fall in business confidence. The survey of senior decision makers from 160 professional firms ? representing the views of chartered surveyors, lawyers, property developers, property investors, architects and others - working in the residential and commercial property industry was undertaken by the property group at accountants Smith & Wil...
Framework
04.12.07 Development and investment framework launched The London Development Agency (LDA) has set out plans in the North London Development and Investment Framework to deliver nearly 58,000 homes across north London by 2016. The framework represents the first step in aligning and prioritising actions to unlock growth across six London boroughs, bringing together the Department for Communities and Local Government, the LDA, Transport for Lond...

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