LV= GI (London Victoria General Insurance) has published some research looking at how and when people achieve their ‘forever home’. The forever home being that home you intend to stay put in, but with house prices on the rise, many homeowners are creating their forever home by making the following changes:

  • Redecorating
  • New kitchen
  • Landscaping the garden
  • Add an extension
  • Painting the exterior

They have produced a tool for you to put in your age and area to predict when you will buy your forever home.  

You can read the full article here.

Onerous ground rent provisions in leases has been widely reported and with fears it could render many homes unsaleable in the future, the government created a consultation paper to tackle issues such as doubling ground rents every ten years. That opening sentence will not come as news, however did you know that it has now come to light that freeholders who would have traditionally owned the land their home sits on and been free of ground rents and service charges, are finding costly covenants contained within their title deeds? Freehold householders are being charged thousands to contribute to the upkeep of shared green areas and open spaces, on top of the taxes they already pay to local councils. Read more about this story from Today’s Conveyancer here.

Research commissioned by OVO Energy has shown that 'unnecessary' emails contribute over 23,475 tonnes of carbon to the UK's footprint.  These are the carbon footprints of different emails (from the book by Mike Burners-Lee: How Band are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything):

Average spam email: 0.3g CO2

Standard email: 4g CO2

Email with 'long and tiresome attachments': 50g CO2

Mike Burners-Lee explained "When you press send it goes through the network, and it takes electricity to run the network. And it’s going to end up being stored on the cloud somewhere, and those data centres use a lot of electricity. We don’t think about it because we can’t see the smoke coming out of our computers, but the carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing."

We all need email communication, but do we really need to send that 'one liner'? OVO Energy is calling on the UK to 'Think before you Thank', if we all sent one less email per day, we would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year.

Read more here.

RICS, Historic England, PCA and Cadw have been working together since the beginning of 2019 with the aim of developing a best practice approach to damp and moisture in traditional buildings. PCA report it is the first time that building surveyors, preservation specialists and heritage organisations have ever worked in collaboration to adopt a single approach to dealing with dampness. The methodology is based around 7 key stages outlining what level of knowledge the surveyor should have and what elements should be considered throughout diagnosis and repair. It includes legal requirements such as planning, building control as well as other associated legislation, regulations and standards. Currently released as a working draft document, the ‘Investigation of Moisture and its Effects in Traditional Buildings’ may be subject to further changes before it is finalised, so cannot be currently used to benchmark competence or duty of care. We’ll continue to watch developments with interest and await the final outcome once all the involved organisations have concluded their consultation process. If you’d like to see the document in draft, click here.

The Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index for October 2019 shows that London property prices may be 'showing signs of life' as average prices increased by 1% over last year. This is likely to be due to a drop in supply and more realistic asking prices. Leicester top the cities index table with and increase of 4.7% over 2018, and Aberdeen house prices continue to fall with a drop of 5.9%.

You can read the full report here.

You may also find this report by Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) of interest. It offers some positive news for homeowners and investors in and around the key regeneration areas of London such as Southbank, North Greenwich and Paddington Basin. The research conducted in these areas identified an annual property price growth of 4.7% above average with Stratford benefitting from an 8.5% uplift. The report focusses on seven of these areas in London and found that overall, the average annual house price growth was boosted by 3.5% due to regeneration. You can read the report here.

Despite the numerous news stories over the years showing the devastating effects of flood waters, it comes as somewhat of a surprise to learn that almost two thirds of people in Britain have not conducted a flood check to determine the risk to their home. In London 71% have never checked the flood risk and in Scotland 77% confirmed the same. For those moving house, only 23% of people had carried out a flood check for their new home. With predicted wetter winters to come and over 5 million homes in the UK at risk of flooding, some may want to pay closer attention to the risks. Read the full results here.

We’ve reported on stories in the past where the information provided on the sellers questionnaire has resulted in a dispute between parties and yet again an ugly situation has arisen over claims that the sellers provided misleading or false information. After a failed property transaction in 2017, the potential buyers are currently fighting the case through the Central London County Court to obtain the return of their non-refundable deposit of £108,000 plus other costs as they were not told about the Little Chef and motel development planned nearby, claiming it would have adversely impacted the price and saleability of the property in future. The sellers on the other hand believe it would have no impact as it could not be seen from the property. It’s hoped the final judgment in this case will clear up any uncertainty around the completion of the sellers questionnaire, either way, this is one to watch. You can read more about this story here. 

Most rentcharges have their origins in the late 19th and early 20th Century, where a developer would buy the freehold land for less than market value and make up the deficit by granting the seller a rentcharge. The developer could then pass on the liability to pay the charge onto the new homeowners. The creation of these types of rentcharges was abolished under the Rentcharges Act 1977, although those still in existence will continue until 2037. A typical rentcharge is only a few pounds per year, but not paying this on time gives the owner of the rentcharges the options of a right of entry onto the land to hold the land and take income from it until the arrears have been discharged; or to grant a lease of the land charged on trust to raise arrears. These are enforceable if the payment is 40 days overdue and does not have to be demanded.

This case in Todays Conveyancer relays a landmark case in 2016 where non-payment of the rentcharges led to leases being granted on the land.

Estate rentcharges are similar, although these are a mechanism to pay for and maintain communal areas (roads, car parks, parks) in a new development. The creation of new Estate Rentcharges is an exception permitted by the Rentcharges Act 1977 and will remain enforceable after 2037. This story from the BBC explains how a family are struggling to sell their freehold house which is subject to an Estate rentcharge as a potential buyer was unable to secure a mortgage on the property. A number of developers are now moving away from Estate Rentcharges and creating a ‘contract based’ estate service charge regime which is not a rentcharge and therefore does not risk the enforcement measures detailed above.

  • The insurance market
  • When is a complaint a notice of claim?
  • Know who your client really is
  • Cast iron houses
  • Carbon monoxide
  • SAP 10 - Changes to lighting
    The latest Technical Bulletin for residential surveyors is now available here. Please note; to download and view the full bulletin, you will need to be logged in to Sava EDGE. If you are not already logged in, please click here to log in. If you do not yet have an account, please click here to register. This bulletin aims to bring you quality technical information that will help you in your day to day work and includes articles on the following:

    The Insurance Market
    In this article, Natalie Deacon from Howden Group explains the factors causing insurers to leave the PII sector and gives advice on how best to approach your renewal to get the best possible terms.
    Read more here. 

    When is a complaint a notice of claim?
    Kim Allcott from Allcott Associates shares a story about facing a 6-figure claim without an insurer willing to provide cover. It is hoped that by sharing this cautionary tale, others will not experience the same predicament.
    Read more here.

    Know who your client really is
    This case study warns surveyors to know who your client really is after a surveyor received a claim by a different person to who commissioned the survey originally and includes points to consider if you are carrying out a service to someone known to you.
    Read more here.

    Cast Iron Houses
    Ian Bullock, Managing Director of Carpenter Surveyors, takes a closer look at the cast iron house type built in the mid to late 20s following World War 1 and includes considerations for the surveyor reporting on this type of building in the 21st century.  
    Read more here. 

    Carbon Monoxide
    Following Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in November, this article looks at the dangers of carbon monoxide, the appliances that could pose a risk and the relevant building regulations.
    Read more here.

    SAP 10 - Changes to lighting
    Following our previous two articles looking at changes to SAP 10, this article looks at the lighting changes to SAP 10 in comparison to SAP 2012.
    Do you know which of these is the most energy efficient?

1.  Incandescent

2. Halogen

3. Halogen low voltage


5. Linear fluorescent

Click here to find out. 

According to research carried out by Hamptons International, incomes have grown faster than inflation, the average salary was £542 per week in Britain in July this year, although once you deduct the effect of inflation, the average wage is down £23 less per week than 11 years ago. House prices have risen 115% since the 1970’s and in the last 10 years, areas such as Woking, Guildford and Tunbridge Wells that used to be more expensive than London are now cheaper and Cambridge, which used to be cheaper than the capital is now more expensive. Year to date property transactions are down 3.6% on the previous year. The number of cash house purchases has fallen to the lowest levels on record at 28% compared with 36% 10 years ago. This could be a sign of people tending to stay put and improve, rather than downsize and a lack of appetite by investors. The percentage of purchases by landlords has dropped to 12% year to date, compared with 16% in 2016. This year saw the lowest average number of days recorded to let a property in Britain dropping to less than 20 days compared with over 23 days last year. For the full report click here.

The deadline of 1st January 2020 is looming ever closer for homeowners to ensure their septic tanks or sewage treatment plant is compliant with the new regulations set down in the ‘general binding rules: small sewage discharge to surface water’. Having come into force on 1st January 2015, owners with existing systems were given a period of grace to complete the changes, but once the deadline is reached, any system discharging to a water course must have been updated or changed. Surveyors and valuers should have been paying attention to these requirements for some time now and no doubt a non-compliant system could quite likely affect value and a buyers decision to purchase. Find the governments general binding rules here. You may also find our article on septic tanks that discharge to surface water useful, which you can read here.

Legal & General (L&G), one of the top global asset managers and provider of life assurance in the UK is collaborating with housing associations to build 3,000 affordable homes a year by 2022 according to a recent report in The Guardian. The affordable housing business arm was set up in April 2018 and now has 3,500 properties set to be built across the UK, of which approximately half will be shared ownership and the rest affordable or social rent. This should help to improve the continuing slide experienced in rental homes in the UK to the point where it’s now thought we need at least 3 million new social homes within the coming 20 years. You can find out more about L&G’s involvement here.

RICS have reported that more and more women are qualifying into the surveying profession, with the number currently at 31%. RICS has committed to a corporate objective of engaging increased numbers of women in the profession and along with the launch of the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark (IEQM) in 2015, this focus on driving change is making a real difference. Sava has also seen this reflected in the number of women enrolling onto our Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation which gives qualified learners direct entry to Associate membership of RICS.
Read more here.