Fewer household fire claims around Bonfire Night: Property news update

Plus, helpful estate agents, Manchester's Mayor and Electionwatch

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The Independent Online

November is one of the least likely times to have a household fire, according to AA Insurance figures.

Last year, only five per cent of home fire claims were reported in November compared to a high of 15 per cent in July.

"We actually see more claims for fire damage during the summer," said Janet Connor, Managing Director of AA Insurance. "We assume that’s down to misuse of barbecues. Good weather and a few beers seem to be more conducive to a fiery mishap than sparklers on a soggy November evening.

Overall, the number of fire claims reported to AA Insurance has dropped by 79 per cent between 2010 and 2013.

Mayor of Manchester

Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that Greater Manchester is to have an elected mayor could have a major impact on housing in the city.

Rob Warm, head of member relations at the National Housing Federation, said that local leadership is vital role in tackling the housing crisis.

"In Greater Manchester we see widely different local housing markets," he said. "In some places spiralling costs have put housing out of reach of many people. In other places we see communities that are struggling, in desperate need of jobs and regeneration. If Manchester is to be the northern powerhouse we all want to see, then we need to sit down with local leaders to make sure that good quality accessible housing sits alongside skills, jobs and transport."

How estate agents help

A study of more than 250 estate agents by Big Yellow Self Storage, shows that just over a third have opened windows to get rid of smells before viewings, and just under a third have pushed things under a bed to tidy up mess. More than 10 per cent have even had to flush the toilet...

Others tactics they admit to using to improve a property's appearance include turning on lights to create the impression of greater brightness (22 per cent have done this) and brewing fresh coffee (15 per cent).

Electionwatch: Where renters will outnumber homeowners

By 2021, 104 MPs will represent seats where a majority of people are renters, according to research by Generation Rent.

Its figures show that the number of MPs who have more constituents who rent than own their home has risen from 38 in 2001 to 65 in 2011. If this trend continues, renters will start to outnumber home owners in 104 seats within seven years.

Nearly half of the predicted 104 renter majorities are in London. Of the 39 seats that are forecast to become renter majorities by the next census, 25 are Labour-held,  and 11 are held by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.