Devon and Somerset Regional Meetings

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Sian Pinheiro-Torres

November 2018

One of the hot topics in Devon at the moment is the lack of ‘affordable’ housing vs. the rise in both purpose-built student accommodation and Build to Rent properties – news of the former being built usually produces an angry response on both social media and in the local press.

The topic of student accommodation is particularly prevalent in cities such as Exeter and Plymouth where there is a view that supply has out-stripped demand; however, this opinion is being rejected by the council and universities. It was initially thought that the amendments to the HMO regulations, coupled with years of recent changes in compliance and tax legislation would make typical student HMO landlords exit the market; however this possible impact has not yet been seen and domestic students continue to prefer a typical HMO to a new purpose-built building.

On the topic of affordable housing, some landlords may be relieved to hear that the roll-out of Universal Credit has been postponed again. The move to Universal Credit is thought to have an impact on rental arrears and so the news that more money has been put aside in the budget is likely to be seen as a very small step in the right direction.

Of particular concern to agents in our regional meetings is the tenant fees ban which is now in the final stages with only its hearing in the House of Lords as the remaining step. Agents are likely to be relieved that deposits remain at the rate of six weeks rent (as opposed to four). However, the financial impact of the ban on fees is still a cause for concern for many, particularly when coupled with the rise of the online agent and an increase in the number of landlords ending their contracts with letting agencies, to manage their own properties.

All of these highlight the importance of demonstrating the benefits of Propertymark membership and qualifications that make agents services invaluable in an everchanging market.

Sian Pinheiro-Torres MARLA
ARLA Propertymark Regional Representative

South West

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