CITYMATTERS.LONDON 05 - 18 February 2020 | Page 19 PROPERTY subscribe to our newsletter at citymatters.london The Charity Property Matters Survey 2020 Why the voluntary sector needs only six minutes to best understand the property picture across London A SPECIAL London edition of the Charity Matters Report, funded by Square Mile grant maker City Bridge Trust, will be published later this year, writes Antonia Swinson, CEO of the Ethical Property Foundation. And it promise to provide a vivid picture of the London voluntary sector’s property trends, challenges and issues. This will be required reading not just for charities and social enterprises but also for funders, lenders, landlords and London’s local authorities. The last London Survey in 2018 revealed for the first time that more London charities now rent from commercial landlords than local authorities and core funding to cover property costs are a fast-growing challenge. Other shock findings also highlighted additional pressures facing the sector in the capital competed to the rest of the country: 68% of London charities did not have a strategic property plan; 51% had no-one specifically responsible for property within their organisation (9% higher compared to the rest of England and Wales) and over half the London charities (53%) surveyed did not report regularly on property to trustees (compared to 44% across the whole of England and Wales). The Ethical Property Foundation has run its property advice service in London since 2006. Last year the charity directly supported 108 London organisations while providing free and low-cost workshop training to over 100 more. All its services have been shaped by the Survey’s findings over the years - from property health checks to training on how to negotiate your lease. Demand for support has also been driven by savvier voluntary organisations. Charity trustees now seek training to help them to make good property decisions and as interest rates remain low, there is growing interest in buying rather than renting suitable premises or letting out space and learning how to maximise energy efficiency. London’s landlords are also more interested to understand and support this growing sector. Yet too often among smaller organisations in the capital, property is not seen as a priority – until they are forced to close services, or the charity is wound up. This year’s Charity Property Matters Survey 2020 is therefore hugely important to help understand what London’s voluntary sector needs and how we can work together to overcome the property challenges. Interim survey results will be published in late spring, with the full report launched in November. The questionnaire is accessible from the homepage of EPF’s website propertyhelp.org and only takes six minutes to fill out. One in 50 properties could be holiday lets AS many as one in fifty London homes could be short term holiday lets, analysis by London Councils has revealed, writes Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter. The local government organisation found almost 75,000 full properties listed on major short-term rental sites last month. Residents complain that some may be used as ‘party houses’, or for sex work and drug-dealing, London Councils said. It comes as 56,000 households in the capital are in temporary accommodation – accounting for almost 70 per cent of the national total. Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and London Councils’ executive member for housing, said the figures were “ridiculous” when so many Londoners are homeless. He said: “Although short-term lets listed on digital platforms offer benefits to some Londoners, the market is growing out of control. Boroughs are hearing more and more complaints about short-term lets linked to antisocial behaviour and even criminality. “The priority has to be protecting Londoners’ interests. That’s why we’re calling on the government to introduce much stronger regulation of this sector.” In total, London Council found over 108,000 listings on Airbnb, Booking.com, Homeaway, Housetrip, Niumba and Trip Advisor last month – but excluded those where only a spare room was available. The organisation acknowledges that some properties will be listed for rent across multiple sites, meaning the total figure will likely be lower than one in fifty. Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said the figures would include “overlap” as it is common practice to list properties on multiple sites. He said some short-term rental ads would be sub-lets by tenants, which can cause problems for landlords. And not all properties listed will be used permanently for holiday lets- Mr Lambert said many NLA members list properties to make back cash when they have unexpected vacancies. But he admitted that he had seen an “increase” in landlords moving from long-term to shortterm holiday lets over the past three years, because “the economics are better”. He said the problem was “most intense” in London, and there was not enough housing in the capital. Dan Wilson Craw, director of renters’ association Generation Rent, said the profitability of short-term rental was a “huge problem” and landlords should be taxed more on holiday lets to incentivise long-term rents.
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