Lunchtime news Wednesday 13 August 2015

The Communities and Local Government house price figures are available, and they show that the fall in the price of flats has become a key factor in the housing market slowdown. A drop of 3.6 per cent across the UK between May and June contributed to an average fall in property prices of more than £1,000 for that two-month period. Overall, however, prices grew by 0.6 per cent in the year to June.

Meanwhile in Scotland, house prices are rising, although sales have fallen in July. Year on year figures from Lloyds TSB show house prices have increased 9.3 per cent, and increased 1.6 per cent during July, however the number of house purchases has dropped by 27 per cent from a year earlier. All areas of Scotland reported a rise in their annual figures, ranging from 2.3 per cent to 20.6 per cent.

The Residential Landlords’ Association has won an appeal for a landlord’s agent not to pay a penalty over the late delivery of tenancy deposit papers. The landlord registered a deposit with the tenancy deposit scheme, but did not give the tenant the information within the statutory 14 days, only providing it after possession proceedings had started. The RLA said that the penalty of three times the deposit was not payable because the information had been provided before the tenant submitted his application.

A Tory thinktank has produced a report stating that the government should accept the ‘uncomfortable truth’ that many key northern cities such as Liverpool and Sunderland had failed to be regenerated, and central regeneration budgets should be used to help people move south or cut council tax. The report also suggested that the three million new homes planned by the government should be built in just three southern cities – London, Oxford and Cambridge, saying ‘cities based on highly skilled workers are the most dynamic’.

Almost a third of white people believe they are the victims of racism in public services, according to a citizenship survey for Communities and Local Government. A quarter of people questioned also felt that council housing departments or housing associations would discriminate against them, which was an increase of 10 per cent from 7 years ago, and compared with only 11 per cent of people from minority ethnic groups who felt the same way.

And finally, in Sweden a woman is selling her flat, complete with live-in stepfather. The woman who inherited the flat when her mother died has failed to convince her stepfather to move out despite a court order insisting he does. She is going ahead with the sale of the furnished flat after having a joint ownership clause ruled invalid. Whoever buys the apartment will be responsible for removing the gentleman.