Lunchtime news Monday 29 September 2015

From today, all landlords must now give new tenants a certificate showing the rented property’s energy efficiency. The energy performance certificate, providing information similar to the ratings system on home appliances, is intended to allow tenants to check the energy efficiency of a property’s insulation, double glazing, boiler and appliances.

This comes as a new report show that 79 per cent of renters are worried about the cost of their household bills, while 77 per cent don’t believe that their landlords care enough about energy efficiency. After location, household bills are now the most important factor in choosing a property to rent.

New rules have also come into force today allowing homes to be extended without planning permission. As many as 80,000 households will no longer have to seek planning permission for improvements such as loft extensions under 50 cubic metres or putting in permeable driveways. ‘Large or intrusive’ improvements will still require planning permits, however.

Meanwhile home information packs are being investigated by the Trading Standards office in Birmingham, which has found that housebuyers are being misled because information supposed to be found in them is inaccurate, incomplete or missing. Officers went to 15 estate agents and asked to see the Hips for a selection of properties and found the majority were unsatisfactory.

A new report out from the National Housing Federation shows that waiting lists for social housing in the North West have increased 75 per cent in the past five years, more than any other region. Despite falls in house prices, affordability remains a major problem, and nearly half a million people – more than 212,000 households – are now on the region’s waiting list. The document also contains the latest forecast from Oxford Economics anticipating a rise in property prices from 2017, which is likely to worsen the situation even further.

The Crosby report – looking at ways to kickstart the mortgage market – has been delayed by two weeks to take into account the market turbulence of the past month. An interim report in July has been widely criticised, and the full report is expected to address whether the government should extend the special liquidity loans to banks past January 2016, or guarantee high-quality mortgage-backed securities.

But the report can’t come fast enough for some, as hundreds of mortgage deals vanished yesterday after the report’s delay was announced, and lenders were uncertain about access to sources of finance. In the past few weeks interbank lending has practically dried up and the cost of wholesale borrowing has risen dramatically as a result. Accordingly around 10 per cent of deals were dropped yesterday, adding to the withdrawal in the past year of 85 per cent of buy-to-let mortgages and 60 per cent of residential mortgages.