While the various Government schemes intended to support home ownership and stimulate the housing market grab the majority of the headlines, additional measures geared towards the ever-expanding rental market have recently been announced while others have already been implemented.
As more people struggle to afford to buy homes the rental market becomes ever stronger. Historically there has been little encouragement to developers and investors to build homes for private rent.
The Build to Rent Fund, launched in December 2012 with a fund of £200million and increased to £1 billion in the 2013 Budget, aims to provide that encouragement.
Developers can make an application to the Build to Rent Fund for support on projects for purpose-built privately rented homes. The Fund allows Government to share risk or offer bridging finance to allow schemes to be built, managed and let. The funding may contribute to development costs such as acquiring land or construction.
For those interested in building homes specifically for this sector the Build to Rent Fund could be an attractive measure. Full details on how to bid for funding are available on the Homes and Communities Agency website.
Along with the attempt to stimulate greater investment in development projects to increase the supply of rented accommodation is an attempt to encourage longer fixed-term tenancies and raise standards generally.
The significant growth in the number of households living in rented homes has inevitably seen more families having to rent their home and potentially for long periods. Measures announced by the
Government aim to allow tenants to benefit from the greater certainty and security offered by longer tenancies with greater transparency about letting agents’ fees intended to eliminate unreasonable practices and unfair charges.
Landlords or those considering entry into the buy-to-let market may also stand to benefit from a reduction in agents’ fees with longer tenancies resulting in fewer renewals and reduced need to find new tenants on a regular basis.
The aims are no doubt laudable but there is no change to the existing legal framework planned and it remains to be seen how significant the impact of the proposals will be.
Thomas Andrews is a specialist property solicitor at Greene & Greene Solicitors, advising on a range of property matters on behalf of individuals and landowners.