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London rents lower now than in 2016 – but they have risen everywhere else

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London is the only UK region where rents are lower today than they were five years ago, according to Rightmove figures.

Rents across almost two thirds of the capital’s districts are lower now than they were in March 2016, meaning that the average London rent has fallen by 2.3 per cent.

The most significant fall took place in the past year, as rents dropped by 7.8 per cent on average.

London's falling rents over the past five years have been driven by renters moving away during the pandemic. In the past year alone, the capital has seen rents drop 7.8 per cent

London’s falling rents over the past five years have been driven by renters moving away during the pandemic. In the past year alone, the capital has seen rents drop 7.8 per cent 

All other regions of the UK have seen rental prices rise since 2016, with many having experienced double-digit growth.

Excluding London, average monthly asking rents across the country are at a record high of £982 per month, up 4.2 per cent since March 2020 – the highest annual rise since 2015.

The East Midlands has seen the highest rental increases, up by 19.3 per cent over the past five years, with asking prices rising from £733 to £875 per month. 

In terms of towns and cities, Wolverhampton has seen rental prices soar by 35 per cent with rents increasing from £631 to £855 per month.

Walsall, Bradford and Liverpool have also seen asking rents surge, rising by 32 per cent, 29 per cent and 28 per cent respectively over the past five years. 

What about the past year? 

The challenges posed by the pandemic appears to have encouraged many renters to spurn London in favour of the regions.

This increased demand, coupled with a lack of available rental properties in many areas outside the capital, has continued to push asking rents upwards over the past 12 months.

The areas with the biggest rent rises outside London, according to Rightmove

The areas with the biggest rent rises outside London, according to Rightmove

The number of empty rental properties outside of London is down by 54 per cent compared to this time in 2019, whilst in London it is up by 19 per cent.

In seven regions, properties are letting at the fastest pace ever recorded, according to Rightmove. 

In the South West it is taking an average of just 14 days to agree a tenancy, and in the East of England it is taking only 16 days. 

Seven UK regions are seeing properties let at record speed, according to Rightmove data

Seven UK regions are seeing properties let at record speed, according to Rightmove data

‘Our data shows a stark contrast between the rental market in central areas of London and the market across the rest of the UK,’ said Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove.

‘Agents are telling me that they don’t have enough rental stock to meet the demand from tenants in many areas, while in London there will be some tenants who have a lot more stock to choose from.

‘The frenzied buying and selling market is likely to be exacerbating the problem as well, as some sellers are moving into rental accommodation until they find the home they want to buy, adding further demand to already diminishing rental stock levels.’

What’s the advice for landlords?

Many landlords will be benefitting from the surge in rental demand – but there is always competition, for example to secure the highest rent or the best tenants.

‘Landlords need to ensure the property looks smart and fresh and has good wi-fi, and to keep any garden or outdoor space well maintained to attract the maximum number of tenants,’ said Lisa Simon, head of residential at property consultancy Carter Jonas.

‘If tenants are looking to negotiate then that provides an opportunity to review the length of contracts and secure longer term lets with an annual rent review, to take account of the fact that the market is likely to increase again.’

What’s the advice for renters?

With properties renting in record times, many renters are having to act faster than ever before to secure a home. 

‘My advice would be to always offer asking price with an earlier occupation date, and be prepared to offer more if it’s a property you really want,’ said Simon.

‘Landlords like the security of longer-term tenants, so anything over a 12 month tenancy agreement is going to be favoured. It’s worth thinking mid to long-term about an area you’d like to live in.’

What is happening in London?

The decline in rents is being driven largely by areas of Inner London, where average rents are down by 6.5 per cent compared to five years ago.

Outer London is faring much better, with rents up by two per cent since March 2016.

The biggest rental falls in the capital have been seen in Finsbury, where asking rents are 24 per cent down since March 2016, having fallen from £2,818 to £2,147 per month.

Barnes and Stockwell have also recorded 20 per cent falls in asking rents, while Notting Hill has seen the average drop 19 per cent from £3,517 to 2,850 per month.

The figures – although alarming for landlords – are good news for London renters looking to take advantage of lower prices and explore areas that may have previously been unaffordable. 

Areas with the biggest rent declines in London since 2016 according to Rightmove.

Areas with the biggest rent declines in London since 2016 according to Rightmove.

‘The events of the past year have had a big impact on rents in London, with the more central areas being hit the hardest as tenants are no longer tied to their workplaces and have been free to seek the larger properties and lower prices found slightly further out,’ said Richard Davies, head of lettings at Chestertons.

‘As a result, prices are the lowest we have seen for several years and represent incredibly good value for those tenants thinking beyond lockdown and looking to lock-in to a good deal.

‘As the country starts to open again, we expect growing numbers of tenants to return to the more central areas and anticipate that rents will quickly start to recover.’ 

What’s the advice for London landlords?  

London landlords may be tempted to hold out for the kind of rents they might have been used to achieving in the past, but the advice is to be pragmatic.  

‘My advice would always be to just get a tenant in the property – a discounted rent is still better than a long void period,’ said Naveen Jaspal, chief operating officer at online letting agent Mashroom.

‘Without a tenant in your property, you are liable for the council tax, the full mortgage and all of the utilities. 

‘Get a tenant in, even at a lower price – use a six to 12 month contract and then reevaluate the market at the end of the tenancy agreement.’

What’s the advice for London renters?

Whilst competition for rental properties is fierce across all other regions outside the capital, the London market seems ripe for a bargain at present.

‘Falling prices are often seen as an immediate win for renters, enabling them to secure a property for what seems like a bargain,’ said Jaspal.

‘But it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t take a place that you think you will be priced out of when the market returns to normal, as you will be putting unnecessary financial strain on yourself further down the line.’   

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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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Over 40 complaints made about ‘unsuitable’ books on English curriculum

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Some books being studied by Junior Cert and Leaving Cert English students feature “disturbing and sick content” and material that is “clearly unsuitable for minors”, complainants have told the Department of Education.

The department has received more than 40 complaints on the issue in recent months, with one email to Minister Norma Foley describing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood as “nothing but sadistic, upsetting and of no moral learning or value to students”.

The acclaimed dystopian novel is based in a patriarchal totalitarian state where women, or handmaids, are forced to produce children for commanders.

One “concerned parent” said they were “perturbed” that their teenager was studying the novel Room by Irish author Emma Donoghue.

‘Questionable’

They said many of the topics in the book were “questionable” and that greater consideration should have been given before the book was “forced upon sensitive people in this day and age”. The Booker-shortlisted story is told from the perspective of a young boy held captive in a small room with his mother.

The emails, released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act, were from parents, one of whom said they were “appealing to and begging” the department to change the curriculum.

One parent expressed “shock and concern” about the prescribed reading lists, citing a perceived “lack of vigilance regarding the age appropriateness” of some books. “The material is offensive, abhorrent and clearly unsuitable for minors,” they said.

The curriculum could “only be described as the sexualisation and desensitising of our children… there needs to be an investigation into this whole sordid affair”, another complaint said.

‘Enslaving’

One person said the book list was “enslaving” students to “abominable ungodly content”, while another sarcastically suggested there was “nothing to stop” Fifty Shades of Grey, the bestselling explicit erotic romance novel, being added.

Some emails were directed towards Ms Foley personally, and called for her to be fired and “held directly responsible”. The department’s response stated that the curriculum at all levels was considered to be for all learners “regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic background, gender or orientation”.

It said it was important that each book was viewed “in its entirety rather than being reduced to particular sections which may be especially controversial”, and that the texts had “strong literary pedigrees” and featured on curricula internationally.

There were also several emails sent to the department in defence of the curriculum, predominantly from students.

The text-list working groups for each subject, convened by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, are comprised of teachers, third-level lecturers, staff from relevant support agencies and experts in children’s and young adult literature. The curriculum did not change this year though the Minister said it would be reviewed in the coming months.


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