The nightmare of Tenancy Agreements
Norwich Union chief steps down - Patrick Snowball head of insurance giant Norwich Union has quit his position, three months after missing out on taking control of Aviva the parent company. Mr Snowball was considered one of the leading contenders to take over from the outgoing Richard Harvey but he was overlooked in favour of Andrew Moss instead. Snowball is well known and respected throughout the insurance industry and it is thought that it will not be long before he is recruited by another insurance company. Snowball was responsible for the merger 7 years ago of the Norwich Union with the Commercial General Union and is credited with the companies strong growth in recent years. Norwich Union are a household name in the United Kingdom and sell many different types of insurance policy including Home Insurance, Motor & Life and Pensions. The insurer is due to report to the market tomorrow and it is expected that they will unveil that sales & profits have increased by 11%.
Some minor relief for Home owners - at last some welcome relief for homeowners suffering under the weight of rising interest rates and utility costs, OFGEM the utility watchdog has named two of the largest UK suppliers with failing to reduce prices quick enough. The providers involved are EDF group that owns the former London Electricity and South East Electricity and Spanish controlled Scottish power. These two have been singled out as dragging their feet with regard to reducing bills for homeowners. Gas prices in particular have rocketed recently, and OFGEM feels that homes could save up to £140.00 per annum by swapping providers, something that 4 million UK households did last year. The intervention by the consumer group follows many complaints with regard to prices and it homes that with gas prices may now start to fall.
Debts placing many homeowners on thin ice - the economy may be skating on thin ice as many homeowners have borrowed heavily to finance spending warns a leading economic forecaster. Many people are living beyond their means having borrowed too much many to finance lifestyles or to get a foothold on the housing ladder. Concerns are also mounting that people are turning to credit cards to make essential purchases as their salaries are being eaten up by increased mortgage payments. There are genuine concerns that part of the population have become addicted to credit card usage partly caused by the fact that they are so easily available. Borrowing for consumption and an economy based on borrowing is not a recipe for long term growth. Interest rates have been benign for quite some time and this has led to an over confident almost relaxed attitude to risk. If interest rates rise further many people could be facing real hardship, credit card interest rates are known to be higher than mortgage rates and monthly repayments on cards could leap. Many other people have borrowed against the equity in their homes to finance consumer spending not anticipating that the economy may take a downturn in the near future.
Builders pay more in London - Property developers are paying record prices for land in London as residential property prices continue to soar. A report recently released suggests that some investors may get their fingers burnt. London development research have released a report that states there are in excess of 700 new housing developments in London and that over bullish sentiment may be affecting market prices. Prices in secondly locations are reaching similar prices to better quality areas. Many developers believe that property prices are so strong in London that they can simply buy land, build and sell at profits. However, London remains popular and many of it's fashionable areas always will be. However, with interest rates creeping up it remains to be seen if buildings in less fashionable areas continue to sell at current prices.
Every town home price average now in excess of £100,000 - Every town the length and breadth of the United Kingdom now has an average home price of in excess of £100,000. The barrier has recently been broken but many homeowners remain distinctly unimpressed. The cost of homeownership (even for holiday homes UK) is at an all time high and it remains harder than ever to get a foot on the ladder. House prices, council taxes, utility bills, they are all increasing with the resulting effect that consumer spending should drop off and homeowners are left with less disposable income.
The logistic nightmare of Tenancy Agreements - Thousands of Landlords across the United Kingdom are struggling to come to terms with the new Tenancy deposit scheme rules which effects buy to let properties. Although any letting agent registered with ARLA (Association of residential letting agents) has received help from them, many letting agents are calling the new scheme an absolute nightmare. ARLA themselves have stated that there is still much confusion regarding the implementation of the scheme and they suspect that at least three quarters of landlords have not yet signed up. From April 6th 2007 any landlord with a buy to let property had to register new tenancies with one of three government approved tenancy deposit schemes. The new regulations are designed to protect tenants deposits and put in place a dispute resolution service to help sort out grievances as soon as possible. The government is hoping that the new transparency in these schemes will not only protect tenants money but lead to better landlord/tenant relationships.
If you are a landlord and you do not register under one of the schemes, you may have to pay the tenant back up to three times the amount of the deposit.