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ARLA Property reveals its wish list for landlords and tenants

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The housing market has been on a rollercoaster in the pandemic this year, even briefly closing amid the first lockdown.

It has been particularly tough on landlords and tenants, who were already facing increasing amounts of pressure due to tighter regulation and costs.

The Government stepped in during March with a ban on tenant evictions to help protect tenants and mortgage payment holiday for landlords. But the sector still remains in a fragile position as the end of the year draws to a close.

We spoke to the chief policy adviser at the lettings industry body ARLA Propertymark, Mark Hayward, about what he would like to see introduced next year to help improve the situation for both landlords and tenants.

Buy-to-let wish lish: ARLA Propertymark is calling for some changes to the rental sector

Buy-to-let wish lish: ARLA Propertymark is calling for some changes to the rental sector

Mr Hayward said: ‘It’s been an unprecedented year for not just the buy-to-let sector, but the housing sector as a whole and we’re now sat in a very different place to this time last year.

‘The Government has acknowledged the important role the buy-to-let sector plays in driving forward the economy, so we’re hopeful that our wish list for the sector will come to fruition.’

The wish list includes calls for the Government to pay the rent of tenants affected by coronavirus direct to landlords and a request for no more tax increases.

Mr Hayward added: ‘It is vital the negative impacts of further taxes on an already penalised sector are considered and the Government must introduce initiatives to help tenants keep the rent flowing and the courts handle eviction cases.

‘Additionally, new buy-to-let landlords should be encouraged through build-to-rent schemes. All of this will help boost the sector, encourage new landlords and help the private rented sector thrive in 2021.’

Keep rents flowing

Unemployment has hit some tenants amid the pandemic, restricting their ability to pay their rent.

It has left some of their landlords facing rental arrears and an inability to make their mortgage payments.

Both parties have been encouraged to communicate a smooth path through these challenging times, and the Government has assisted with a ban on evictions and mortgage payment holidays.

However, tenants must still eventually cover the rental payments that have accrued in the same way that landlords must still repay their mortgage at the end of the loan term, even if they take a payment holiday.

ARLA Propertymark is calling on the Government to pay a tenant’s rent in full if they have lost their income due to coronavirus – either through falling ill or being made redundant.

It would require tenants to send evidence that they had been affected to the Department of Work and Pensions, with their rent being paid directly to landlords.

ARLA Propertymark suggests that the evidence could include a sick note issued by calling 111, a P45, or confirmation from their former employer that they had been laid off.

Support the courts on the evictions backlog

The ban on tenant evictions was introduced to protect tenants during the coronavirus.

It meant that while a landlord could still serve a Section 21 notice, they could not begin court proceedings to physically remove a tenant from a property.

The moratorium on evictions which was introduced early in 2020 due to the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that courts are facing a huge backlog of cases.

With few evictions able to take place until late January next year, ARLA Propertymark is calling for further support to be given to the courts so that the courts can cope with the number of cases.

Don’t stage a tax raid on landlords

There is speculation that landlords could be hit by another massive tax raid next year, amid recommendations for an overhaul of capital gains tax.

Capital gains tax is levied on the profit when an asset is sold. It is the gain that is taxed rather than the total sum received.

The tax is levied on gains made from the sale of second homes and buy-to-let properties – but not main residences, which are exempt.

It affects profits above the annual capital gains tax allowance of £12,300. Crucially, capital gains are added to an individual’s income to decide the rate they pay. 

This means those with income from employment, or elsewhere, who make a profit of tens of thousands of pounds on a property are likely to be pushed above the £50,000 higher rate tax threshold and pay capital gains tax at the top 28 per cent rate. 

The proposals to align it with income tax would push up the rate further. They could see the tax rate on capital gains made on buy-to-let properties rise from the current 18 per cent to 20 per cent for basic rate taxpayers.

For higher rate taxpayers, it would see the rate on residential property that is not their main home rise from the current 28 per cent to 40 per cent.

ARLA Propertymark says that any changes to increase capital gains tax will have a ‘considerable negative impact’ on existing and prospective landlords.

It suggested that it would also contribute to a dwindling supply of rental properties if people won’t go into buy-to-let due to the tax hit.

It called on the Government to avoid introducing any further penalties next year to ‘an already heavily penalised sector’.

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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

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Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².

 

The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.

 

The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.

 

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”

 

Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

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VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.

 

On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.

 

Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”

 

Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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