Property news roundup: A fifth of landlords have had disputes with tenants

Plus, Easter DIY, new guide to mortgage changes, home insurance premium figures, and house sales optimism

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The Independent Online

Research from AA Home Membership reveals that 22 per cent of landlords have had a dispute with a tenant.

Disputes were overwhelmingly related to the state of the property, with more than half caused by property damage. Four out of ten were caused by tenants failing to clean the property when they moved and almost a third by poor garden maintenance.

Among the more unusual problems reported by landlords were the theft of the boiler and underwear in the fridge.

Other common causes of disputes were late rent payments (44 per cent), neighbours complaining about the tenant (21 per cent) and tenants keeping pets which weren’t allowed (14 per cent).

Almost half of landlords say it is important to try to keep a good relationship with their tenant so that they’re less likely to move. 

DIY-ers will spend £79 billion on their homes this year

Nearly half of Brits plan to undertake  DIY projects over the next 12 months and spend an average of £3,342in the process, according to Nationwide Building Society figures, a total of around £79 billion.

* Two thirds say they will paint, wallpaper or plaster

* One third will look  improve their garden by landscaping, laying a new lawn, adding fencing or decking

* Nearly a quarter will lay carpet or laminate/vinyl/wooden flooring

* 18 per cent will update or completely renew their bathroom

People up to the age of 54 spend an average of £2,755 on improving their home, a figures which rises to £4,045 for those aged 55 and over.

Richard Napier, Nationwide’s director for savings and mortgages, said: "Spring, and particularly the Easter period, has traditionally been a favourite time for DIYing, and this year is no different. There is a nationwide appetite to invest in homes even at a low level. What’s more, with nearly two thirds using their savings to fund these activities, it is encouraging to see that people won’t break the bank to do so."

New guide to mortgage lending rules

The Financial Conduct Authoriety has published a simple guide to explain the changes in rules for taking out a mortgage which come into effect on 26 April. Every borrower will now have to prove that they can afford the repayments both now and in the future. About half a million copies will be given out to prospective borrowers in branches of high street lenders, mortgage advisers, and estate agents.

Martin Wheatley, the FCA’s chief executive, said: "In the past too many people got a mortgage by simply telling their lender they would have no problem repaying their debt, and that was that. Getting a mortgage can be one of the biggest financial decisions people will ever make, so it needs careful consideration."

The FCA estimates the average size of a new mortgage at £137,000.

House insurance premiums at four year low

Home insurance premiums have fallen in all 121 UK postal regions and are at their cheapest in four years, says MoneySuperMarket.

Its analysis shows that overall home insurance premiums have fallen by 21 per cent, with average annual premiums now £126, their lowest since Spring 2010.

Bolton has seen the biggest fall in average home insurance premiums, down 19 per cent. Premiums in Hull and Crewe both fell by 14 per cent.

Brits increasingly positive about putting homes up for sale

Latest figures from Halifax show that 56 per cent of people feel that it will be a good time to sell in the next 12 months, the highest figure since April 2011. The figure rises to 65 per cent in the East and South East regions, but drops to 36 per cent in Scotland.

Craig McKinlay, Mortgages Director at Halifax, said: "The increase in optimism is partly due to stronger house prices and this shift could provide a much needed increase in the supply of properties available for sale during the rest of the year."

Nearly three quarters of people predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year.