Why you should research your potential landlord's credentials

Alex Johnson's round-up of the week's property news, including why sales fall through, closing garden gates, and the costs of running a home.

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The Independent Online

Around 80 per cent of renters do no research on potential landlords before renting a property. The survey by Kiwi Movers also shows that one in five people believe renting from an agency means they don’t need to worry about landlord credentials. However, 18 per cent of those who did find useful negative information on a landlord say it affected their decision to rent from them. Overall, women are more likely to do a background check than men, and one in four people prefer to rent from a woman. People in London are the least likely to research a potential landlord, citing the highly competitive property market as the number one reason for not doing so, while renters in Liverpool are most likely to check out a landlord online before renting, followed by Swansea and Southampton.

Back home

People spend an average of six months living back with their parents after breaking up with a partner, according to figures from Churchill Home Insurance, mainly because rising rent and mortgage costs mean they cannot afford to pay for separate accommodation as a single person.

Rent rises

Rents have gone up everywhere except in the North West over the last three months, says HomeLet, meaning the average rent in the UK (excluding Greater London) is now £764 per month, five per cent higher than a year ago. The average rent in London is £1,543, up nearly eight per cent. Rents are rising fastest in Scotland – where new tenancies are 11 per cent higher than a year ago - and the East Midlands, up 7.9 per cent.

No sale

More than one in four property sales have fallen through in the past five years and in nearly half of cases, the fault was attributed to the conveyancers for taking too long to exchange contracts. According to a poll by LV= Legal Services, a fifth of buyers were gazumped and one in seven sellers suffered buyers pulling out at the last minute.

Home Insurance

The cost of the average combined buildings and contents home insurance policy was £310 in the first there months of this year, the lowest premium since 2012. The Association of British Insurers estimates that he average buildings-only policy cost £255, with the average contents policy £136. A separate report from Consumer Intelligence indicates that people looking for home insurance quotes are on the phone for an average of 12 minutes to check a quote (and nearly three minutes simply to get through the initial voice message).

Quality concern

A new survey  shows that 73 per cent of renters would like to own their home compared to 65 per cent three years ago. The survey by HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance shows that 60 per cent of aspiring homeowners are concerned about the quality of housing, although worries about negative equity are down to 44 per cent from 64 per cent two years ago. Unsurprisingly, fears about the availability of housing are strongest in London, with those in The North West and Scotland the least stressed about housing problems.

Generous parents

A comparison of retirees suggests British retirees are more generous with their children’s housing deposits than those in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and New Zealand. A quarter have helped their children with a home deposit, says UKForex, twice as many as the international average.

Garden gate

A quarter of homeowners never lock their garden gates or backyard doors. The data from Rattan Direct reveals that 23 per cent of people in Wales claim they do not have any items in their gardens worth securing, while one in 10 of those in Yorkshire bring all their items inside to beat the burglars.

Generation Inflation

Millennials are facing worse inflationary pressures than any other generation, according to Fidelity International which estimates their actual inflation rate is almost double the UK average, largely because  they spend proportionally more on housing, especially rent, than any other generation.

Writers’ worth

The total sale value of homes in London with blue plaques connected to literary figures is more than £91m, easily beating properties with plaques linked to any other profession. Knight Frank’s analysis shows Hampstead has the most homes with blue plaques (64), while Cheyne Walk in Chelsea is the street with the most blue plaque properties (10). The most expensive blue plaque property sale price is composer Hubert Parry’s Kensington Square home at £18.3m.  

Running a home

Owners of three bedroom homes spend nearly £20,000 a year on household bills and the mortgage. MORE TH>N says the average annual running costs are £1,634 per month, rising to £1,828 in London. In more than half of the towns surveyed, the cost of living in a three bedroom home is actually less for those with a mortgage than those renting. For one bedroom flats, the cost of bills and rent is cheaper than bills and a mortgage in only Cambridge, Norwich, Croydon, Richmond and Westminster. The report shows that household bills cost more than rent in Carlisle, Blackpool and Neath Port Talbot.

Property fraud

Experian’s latest data shows an increase in ID theft within mortgage applications, rising from around four per cent of all mortgage application fraud to six per cent, the highest since 2012.“ Because of the values involved, the impact on people’s lives can be devastating,” said Nick Mothershaw, fraud expert from Experian. “In many cases, fraudsters have either hacked databases or intercepted emails between individuals and their solicitors. Large payments have been diverted and fraudsters have disappeared with the money. Fraudsters also use the ID of people who have recently passed away but who previously lived at a property.”

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