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Bournemouth high rise fire caused by electric bike

Bournemouth high rise fire caused by electric bike

Over 50 firefighters were called to YMCA Bournemouth on Westover Road at around 1.30am on December 18 after a fire erupted in one of the flats on the fifth floor.

Following an investigation by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service it was found that a converted electric bike was the cause of the fire.

The fire service is now warning the public about potential fire risks with lithium-ion batteries and to only buy from reputable sellers.

Station Manager Shaun Milton said: “We know that e-bikes and e-scooters are increasingly popular, but it’s vital that owners understand what to look for when buying them, and how to charge them safely.

“Anyone buying an e-bike conversion kit should always purchase from a reputable seller, and check that it complies with British or European safety standards. You should also check that the various components are compatible.”

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Up to ONE MILLION new rental homes needed in just seven years


A new analysis of the private rental sector suggests that between 800,000 and one million more homes are required to meet growing demand by 2031.

Savills – an estate agency which is a long-time stalwart of Build To Rent – has looked at the private rental sector overall, and not just BTR. It has calculated the propensity of different age groups to rent and applied this to government household projections.

Savills says: “These projections point to an additional 800,000 to 1,000,000 Private Rented Sector households by 2031, under three scenarios. Our base case scenario identified that between 2021 and 2031, the greatest growth in the number of PRS households will be in the 25–34 year old age group, with an additional 370,000 during this period. There will [also] be an additional 229,000 35–44-year-olds.
“Other scenarios involved a ‘Help to Buy 2’ stimulus or an ‘Affordable Home Building Programme’. Our projections indicate that a stimulus package similar in scale and impact to Help to Buy would soften future PRS demand by 20 per cent (c.200,000 households) and an affordable homebuilding programme would soften demand by 11 per cent (c.110,000 households).“While a Help to Buy 2 would deliver more houses, it would come at the cost of fuelling further house price inflation, which has the dual effect of (i) pushing home ownership further out of reach for middle-income earners, whilst (ii) simultaneously putting increased pressure on PRS rents.”The analysis appears in a Savills report backing the development of much more BTR housing in the UK.The agency says some £250 billion of investment is needed to meet the growing rental demand by 2031, while it suggests that demand will be greater for so-called ‘single-family homes’ rather than blocks of rental flats.“We need to adopt a positive response to the housing crisis, across all tenures” says Jacqui Daly, director of residential research at Savills. “Build To Rent can help to deliver many more homes, more quickly, and secure investment that improves the energy efficiency of the private rented sector, while meeting the needs of young, middle-income households.”Savills calculates that £3.5 billion has so far been spent building over 10,000 purpose-built BTR homes; to build another one million would cost £250 billion.

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Tenants face losing deposit as 83% of landlords report tenancy agreements being breached

Tenants face losing deposit
  • A total of 83% of landlords have had tenants breach their tenancy agreement
  • Most common breaches include not keeping the property sufficiently clean
  • Other breaches include keeping a pet without the landlord’s permission 

More than eight out of ten landlords say they have had a tenant breach their tenancy agreement, according to new research.

Direct Line surveyed 500 landlords in October and November last year and found that 83 per cent had experienced a tenancy breach.

The most common breaches included not keeping the property sufficiently clean and maintained – at 36 per cent – and failing to notify a landlord of required repairs at 29 per cent.

Other breaches include damaging or making alterations to the property, keeping a pet in the property, smoking or vaping in the property and redecorating without permission.

All of these other breaches were reported by more than a quarter of the landlords surveyed.

The most common sanction for broken tenancy agreements is to have money deducted from the tenant’s deposit, to issue the tenant with a written or verbal warning, or to ask the tenants to pay for the damages or work themselves.

Landlords are being urged by Direct Line to have their properties inspected regularly to help check for any breaches.

Left unaddressed, issues such as required repairs may cost more money to rectify if they are left in the long run.

Reason for breach Proportion of breaches
Failing to pay rent on time (or not at all) 38 per cent
Failing to keep the property sufficiently clean and maintained 36 per cent
Failure to notify the landlord of things that need repairing 29 per cent
Damaging or making alterations to the property 28 per cent
Keeping a pet in the property 28 per cent
Smoking/vaping in the property 27 per cent
Redecorating without permission 25 per cent
Causing a disturbance or nuisance to neighbouring properties 23 per cent
Subletting or moving in people without notifying the landlord 15 per cent
Changing locks 15 per cent
Tampering with or covering smoke or carbon monoxide alarms 10 per cent
Other 1 per cent
landlords who have not experienced any breaches in tenancy agreements 17 per cent
Source; Direct Line
Action Imposed Proportion of actions
Money deducted from their deposit 38 per cent
Gave them a written or verbal warning 32 per cent
Made them pay for the damages or work 28 per cent
Did not return the deposit 26 per cent
Evicted the tenant 23 per cent
Made them rectify the issue 23 per cent
Other 2 per cent
Landlords who did not take any action 6 per cent
Source: Direct Line

Despite this, just over half of landlords – at 55 per cent – conduct six-monthly property inspections, according to the Direct Line research.

A further 21 per cent make only annual checks, while 10 per cent of landlords admit that they only visit their properties at the start and end of the tenancy.

Fourteen per cent of landlords visit their properties less often than that, or only if they suspect there is an issue.

Harriet Scanlan, of Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, said: ‘When it comes to lettings, landlords often find themselves juggling numerous responsibilities to ensure the seamless management of their investment.

‘Many will have a full-time job, renting out a property or two in order to supplement their income.

‘From marketing the property to vetting tenants, ensuring you secure the very best offer out there and get the best return on your investment, is a constant juggle.

‘This is where the expertise of a lettings agent can be invaluable, serving as a valuable guide through the intricate web of regulations and responsibilities, and keeping an eye on your investment.’

Sarah Casey, of Direct Line, said: ‘Property inspections shouldn’t feel intrusive for tenants and are all about building good relationships and keeping an eye out for any emerging issues.

‘Early intervention can often stop these from developing into a bigger problem that requires landlords to take further action.

‘Landlords should also make sure that tenancy deposits are held in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme to help cover costs if, for example, the tenant leaves the property in a filthy state, has broken furniture or removed property supplied by the landlord.’

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Cheapest mortgage of 3.94% hits market, but will rates fall further?


Rates have dropped significantly since summer – with small lender Generation Home now leading the way

Lenders have continued to cut rates following a drop in inflation to 3.9 per cent in November (Photo: Isabel Infantes/Getty)

A new mortgage deal priced below 4 per cent has hit the market just before the new year, sparking hope rates could come down further in 2024.

Generation Home, a small lender, has today launched a five-year rate for 3.94 per cent for people with a 40 per cent deposit. This comes with a £999 fee, and is currently the cheapest rate on the market.

Despite the mortgage market usually getting quiet around Christmas time, lenders have continued to cut rates following a drop in inflation to 3.9 per cent in November.

The surprising drop in inflation was very good news for homeowners who could see mortgage deals drop even further in the coming weeks as a result, as pressure mounts on the Bank of England to cut interest rates.

Swap rates, a measure that indicates what the market thinks interest rates will be in future, fell by 0.2 points in just a few hours on both two and five-year fixed rates.

It comes following a tumultuous year for mortgage costs. At their highest average level, rates were 6.86 per cent for a two-year fix in July. Experts are predicting even more rates of below four per cent by early next year.

Any further changes will be affected by the base rate, which determines the rate at which the Bank of England lends to other banks. If it stays at 5.35 per cent of falls, which is is now predicted to do, as early as next March, it is likely that deals will also become better value.

David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages, added: “Competition between lenders remains strong in a housing market with lower activity levels.

“As market expectation of the chance for the next move in base rate to be down has grown, lenders have passed through improvements in funding costs.

“Today’s news is likely to further that trend, which could soon see five-year fixed rates closing in on the four per cent marker.”

Lenders battle to lure customers as mortgage applications fall

Currently, an average two-year fix is 5.95 per cent and a five-year one is 5.55 per cent, according to the mortgage analytics firm Moneyfacts. However, much lower deals can be found.

Lenders started cutting rates towards the end of 2023 to lure more customers as the number of people applying for mortgages has fallen.

They will continue to make up for lost business in the new year, which could mean more criteria changes to try to soak up as much business as possible. For example, high-street lenders may try and take some of the business away from specialist lenders.

Chris Sykes of brokers Private Finance added: “While there is no crystal ball to determine what mortgage rates will be in 2024, it is looking increasingly likely that we have now passed the peaks of mortgage rates for the time being.”

Although not yet under 4 per cent, major lenders are offering cut-price deals, including Barclays, which earlier this week announced fixed-rate cuts of up to 0.43 percentage points. The cheapest rate it offers is now a five-year at 4.32 per cent, although it does come with a £1,999 product fee.

Halifax is offering a five-year fix at 4.28 per cent as of this week, down from 4.27 per cent.

Should rates stay (relatively) low, or fall further, first-time buyers are likely to benefit as lenders tend to offer cheaper purchase rates for new buyers than they do for those remortgaging.

Anyone on a standard variable rate, which tends to follow the base rate, are likely to find they are paying a similar rate to what they are already.

But for those on fixed rates about to end, although rates are coming down, they will still be likely find they are paying more than they were before, as thousands move off deals that were as low as one per cent.

Brokers suggest looking for a deal six months before your mortgage comes to an end, and locking in a new one. You will be able to change it nearer the time, if a better offer opens up, but will have one secured if rates increase again.

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Landlord to lose £643,000 leasehold flat after listing on Airbnb

Landlord to lose

A landlord looks set to lose his leasehold flat after being caught renting it out on Airbnb by his freeholder.

A First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that Gabriel Ben-Soussan had breached the clause of the lease which stated it was not to be used other than as a single private residence “for occupation by an individual or an individual and his family as his or their only or principal home”.

It heard that the leasehold services team at Westminster City Council received a complaint that the one-bedroom ground floor flat in Harewood Avenue, central London (pictured), was being used for short-term letting.

It had also been tasked with removing two key safes that were fixed to the exterior wall of the building. It then wrote to Ben-Soussan, asking him to stop the practice.

Airbnb booking

When a council officer visited the property, thought to be worth about £643,000, he found a guest staying there who had booked it via Airbnb for the period of 2nd-17th July. The council confirmed that the flat had been advertised on and

The judge said the property was not used as a single private residence by an individual or his family as their only or principal home, given that it was being used for short-term occupation by a paying stranger.

He added: “The tribunal finds, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent, whether themselves or by an agent, advertised and allowed the property to be used as accommodation for paying guests in breach of clause 18 (a) of the seventh schedule of the lease.”

Ben-Soussan failed to take part in the tribunal proceedings. He has a month to appeal.

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