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Alex Johnson

34697cdc11c7fae753c157e212e05cae76995c44 300x225 Property news roundupThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against an estate agent for not being upfront about administration fees. According the the ASA, the advertiser did not make clear that administration fees were excluded from the rental price on the property, and an insufficient amount of information was provided for the consumer to establish how further charges would be calculated. Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “Hidden fees are not only unfair, they hit those who are struggling hardest. Letting Agents need to get their houses in order and treat potential tenants fairly. Renting a property is a significant commitment and for those who are new to the rental market, like students, navigating it can be particularly difficult. Agents must include all compulsory fees and charges in their quoted prices. If the fees cannot be calculated in advance then the agent must make clear that fees have been excluded, and provide enough information for consumers to establish how fees are calculated. It’s now our priority to make sure agents across the sector bring their advertising into line.”

Architect in the House
Shelter and RIBA are again running their Architect in the House scheme. If you need an architect for some home improvements, sign up online and you will be matched with a local RIBA, RIAS or RSUA chartered architect. who will come to chat with you for at least an hour about your project for free (although they do suggest a £45 donation to Shelter).

What Homes Where
A group of housing and planning organisations have launched a free online toolkit called ‘What Homes Where?’ that will allow anyone to find out how the population of their area has grown to what it is today and what the official projections say about how it might change in the future which in turn has an impact on planning for housing. Ian Fletcher, Director of Property, British Property Federation, said: “Our population is growing, but how it is grows will have different housing implications for different areas. The toolkit can’t make assumptions for you, but will provide a basis for all those involved in planning for housing to consider different scenarios and the implications they might have. It can be used by anyone, however, from councillors to the public, to help them get to grips with the need for homes in their area.”

Renting, not buying
Around 4.5 million of all private and social renters in England do not ever expect to buy a home, according to mortgage provider Castle Trust. Its analysis suggests that owner occupation in England has decreased by 200,000 from 14.6 million in 2008 to 14.4 million in 2012, while the number of private renters in England in 2012 increased to 3.8 million, an increase of 23% from the 2008 figure. Sean Oldfield, chief executive officer, Castle Trust said: “Many people are either unable to get on the property ladder or stuck in their current home despite interest rates still being at an all-time low. Schemes like the Government’s Funding for Lending are helping to boost borrowing options but the market still needs innovative lending products.”

London’s floating village
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to create the UK’s largest ‘floating village’ as part of a drive to transform London’s Royal Docks. His plans will see 15 acres of water at the Royal Victoria Dock site turned into a community with floating homes, hotels, restaurants and bars, one and half times the size of Green Park and with a new Crossrail station, DLR and cable car linking it to central London and Canary Wharf.

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