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Coronavirus: Short-let properties opened to key workers for free

2020-03-27T14:23:03+00:00March 27th, 2020|

A new partnership scheme has been launched by the short-term let industry to provide free accommodation to the capital’s NHS workers amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Launched by UnderTheDoormat together with a number of partners who usually operate in the short term let market, the scheme, called NHS Homes, will provide free accommodation and additional services to NHS staff to enable them to stay near the hospitals they work in during the outbreak. The schemes partners include: UnderTheDoormat Laundryheap onefinestay Homes & Villas by Marriott International Altido LoveHomeSwap They will work together to provide free accommodation, the delivery of clean linen and towels for the medical staff and amenities for guests. UnderTheDoormat, a London based business that typically provides luxury short term rental accommodation in London, launched the original scheme. According to reports, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a downturn in its bookings so it switched its attention to working with its customers and partners to open up homes that might otherwise sit empty over the period. The high level of interest shown in the scheme led CEO, Merilee Karr, to turn this into an industry-wide solution, with the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) providing one point of contact for the [...]

Khan calls for stronger financial support for UK’s renters

2020-03-27T10:25:33+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has written to Robert Jenrick calling for stronger government measures to protect renters, welfare claimants and others during the Coronavirus outbreak. Outlined in a letter to the Housing Secretary, Khan said that the steps taken so far “do not adequately protect the housing needs of all Londoners against the impacts of COVID-19”. He said benefit levels must be increased to help struggling private renters – and warned against leaving leaving landlords and tenants to work out repayment plans for delayed rent built up. A reversal of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) freeze to bring benefit levels in line with the cheapest third of rents in each area has been announced – but it “still falls well short of what is required”, Khan said. He outlines 13 changes to the benefit system – including raising LHA rates to reflect median market rents and full benefit cover for people unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus. Khan also called for the five-week wait for new Universal Credit (UC) claims to be scrapped. As reported by 24housing, after criticism from the sector on the apparent evictions ban announced last week, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed all evictions will be suspended. [...]

Rise in empty homes for third year running

2020-03-26T12:53:46+00:00March 26th, 2020|

  The number of empty homes across England has risen for the third year running — and now accounts for  £56.8bn worth of vacant stock, analysis by offsite eco housebuilder Project Etopia shows. “Bringing these homes back into use is one of the easiest wins for policymakers who want to address the housing crisis and meet homes targets,” said Project Etopia CEO Joseph Daniels. “The long-term trend is one that puzzles ordinary people who are facing huge financial pressures – many of them can’t get on the housing ladder at all and this problem only exacerbates the wider housing crisis,” he says. MHCLG stats account for the number of long-term vacant properties rising by 4.5% to 225,845 in 12 months to October 2019, following a 5.3% rise in 2018 and a 2.6% in 2017. Prior to this, the number of long-term vacant properties had dropped every year since 2008. Of all towns and cities in England, Solihull saw the biggest percentage rise in long-term empty homes last year, with 67.7% more properties standing empty long term, totalling 265.  Newcastle under Lyme saw the second biggest rise (47.6% to 304), while Reading posted the third largest increase (47.5% to 571). The top [...]

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