Unit 8.1

Housing: Access to housing and the property market

Ways of access to housing. Preferences and values:

  • There are no restrictions on foreign ownership.
  • Foreigners and non-residents can also get a mortgage.
  • Most mortgage lenders offer fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages and will require you to raise a deposit which is usually higher for non-residents.
  • Same taxes apply to the property and property-related income for non-residents as for UK residents.
  • It is not yet known how Brexit will affect foreign buyers.
  • For owning a house in the United Kingdom, there are different steps and rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It usually takes 2 to 3 months to have a house.
    Standard steps to follow:

    • Finding property.
      • You can search for properties on websites like zoopla.co.uk or themodernhouse.net.
      • Examples of real estate agents: Foxtons, Countrywide, Bradleys Estate Agents, Manning Stainton, Ludlowthompson.
        • Many estate agents offer solicitor and mortgage arrangement services.
        • An estate agent should be a member of the National Association of Estate Agents.
      • You can also find properties for sale at property auctions and by scouting specific areas.
    • Making an offer.
      • The offer is usually made through an estate agent.
      • Estate agents, lawyers and mortgage lenders are required by law to check your identity.
    • Arranging a solicitor and surveyor.
      • The solicitor is a person that takes care of legal work, mortgage, if there is one, and tells how much it can be expected to pay. Solicitor fees can change.
      • The surveyor will check the property for problems. There are different types of survey available, including:
        • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) condition report – this is a basic survey used for new homes.
        • RICS homebuyer report – this is a more detailed survey that includes a valuation.
        • The building or structural survey – is recommended for older homes or those in need of repair.
    • Finalizing the offer and mortgage.
      • It is a moment when the price can be renegotiated.
      • After acceptance of a finalized offer, it is time to pay a deposit and finalize your mortgage.
    • Exchanging contracts.
      • You’ll receive the contract from the seller’s solicitor to sign and complete the sale.
    • Completing the sale and final arrangements.
      • Paying remaining money owed to buy the property.
      • Paying your solicitor’s bill.
      • Registering the sale with the Land Registry by the solicitor.
      • In England and Northern Ireland after buying home costing more than £125,000 you have to pay Stamp Duty in 14 days.
      • In Wales, you will need to pay Land Transaction Tax on properties over £180,000.
  • Renting is easier than buying. Below you will find some information about renting in England.
    • You can rent from the landlord or through a letting agent.
      • Letting agents must be a member of a redress scheme.
    • Landlords and agents will want to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and possibly employment status.
    • It is illegal for letting agents and landlords to charge certain fees from 1 June 2019. You can find more information about them in Tenant Fees Act 2019.
    • You can ask for a tenancy to be at any time between 6 months and 7 years.
    • There is usually a fixed period of 6 or 12 months for tenancy.
    • Remember to check: Deposit cap. and deposit protection.
    • When you’ve found a place, it is important to check things like:
      • Tenancy Agreement – read it carefully before signing.
      • Inventory – check it with your landlord before you move in and take photos in case of any future problems.
      • Check meter readings so you won’t pay bills for the previous tenant.
  • A landlord must provide a tenant with:
    • A copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.
    • A gas safety certificate.
    • Deposit paperwork – if you have provided a deposit, the landlord must protect it in a government-approved scheme within 30 days and provide you information about it.
    • The Energy Performance Certificate.
  • Shared Ownership
    • There is a possibility of buying only a part of the home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent for rest.
    • Rules of shared ownership are different in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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