The conference kicked-off at 9.25am with an address from Councillor Alex Ball Executive Assistant responsible for Housing & Regeneration in Nottingham. He outlined his vision on working with landlord’s to improve housing standards in rental property. Suggesting how good quality housing would bring improved standards of living and life chances for tenants by delivering the perception their rented properties would become real homes and not just rented property.
Following on from Councillor Ball, Corporate Director of Development for NCC David Bishop outlined his vision in Nottingham becoming a “World Class City” describing the processes required for this to happen including focusing on improving housing standards within the existing housing stock and the introduction of a city accreditation scheme. He spoke about what the Council were doing and the role of the PRS in achieving this ambition.
Other contribution speakers during the day covered off updates regarding the Green Deal and the UK residential property investment market. There was also an opportunity to attend a number of workshops forums during the day. These focused on:
Energy in the Home
This workshop provided an opportunity to discuss future changes and current issues around The Green Deal, The end of CERT and Building Regulation proposed changes requiring “insulation” after notifiable changes such as a boiler change.
The Nottingham Kite Mark-
The workshop provided an opportunity for Nottingham City Council to outline their proposals in rolling out a city wide unified accreditation scheme. This workshop was mainly about obtaining audience opinion on how the accreditation scheme should evolve and how to develop a unified approach to accreditation benefiting all the stakeholders whilst targeting rogue landlords and improving standards for all.
Another major driver for introducing this scheme is around the need to increase the use of the private sector to accommodate people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. Under the Localism Act local authorities are empowered to discharge their homelessness duties to the PRS. Therefore NNC will need assurances about quality of the accommodation being offered and therefore accreditation will provide this.
Analysis of the UK Housing Market 2012
This workshop communicated niche opportunities for residential landlords and property investors and was presented by Richard Bowser; Editor of Property Investor News. The range of topics covered included key influencers on UK property values, rental returns in the next eight years and what investment strategies are working most effectively in today’s market. For more information on PIN go to www.property-investor-news.com.
This workshop provided an insight into the perceived implications around new regulation coming in 2013. The focus was on A) the localisation of some welfare benefits and the reduction of others such as council tax benefit and housing benefit where under-occupancy exists (for working age and the social rented sector.) B) The introduction of universal credit in October 2013 which will replace many benefits including housing benefits and income support. The government’s aim with UC is to make work pay and reduce the cost of the welfare system and the administration costs in implementing it.
All in all the conference was very professionally organised and well presented. I think one of the key messages coming out of the day concerned a requirement for more clarity regarding Article 4 in terms of having the ability to seek a fast track planning assessment or advice on a property prior to purchase.
EMPO had a visual presence with a trade stand and welcome Doreen Buchanan & Eastside properties who became new members of EMPO yesterday.
Business Development Manager