Flood Re, the insurance fund developed to provide cost effective home insurance for residential properties in high flood risk areas, came in to effect at the beginning of the month.
It is anticipated that the scheme, funded through a levy (approximately £10.50 per policy) on all home insurance policy holders, will provide cheaper insurance and lower excess limits, and a solution for properties vulnerable to flooding.
Up to 500,000 households will benefit from the introduction of the scheme, which applies to private home owners but excludes certain properties such as blocks of flats and buy-to-let.
Insurers had to carry the burden of flood-related damage claims in the extreme floods of 2007 and 2015, which pushed up the cost of premiums. It is anticipated that this fund will underwrite some of the most at-risk properties that home-owners have found difficult to afford to insure, if not impossible.
Owners of high flood-risk properties will still obtain their property insurance through their usual insurer or broker and it is expected that they will now have access to a greater choice of companies and therefore more competitive prices.
There will be a fixed price for flood cover, based on the Council Tax Band that the property attracts. However, only properties built before 1st January 2009 are eligible to participate in the scheme.
Disquiet amongst commercial and buy-to-let owners rumbles on, as their properties are exempt from the scheme. This unrest is likely to continue until a solution is found that does not exclude SMEs and landlords from prohibitively expensive property insurance policies.
Flood Re was devised in consultation with the government and will be accountable to government henceforth, but is owned and operated by the insurance industry.
While some insurers are absent from the scheme - possibly due to systems glitches or finalising outstanding issues - many companies are now 'signed-up' and affordable choice is plentiful for those who are at risk of flooding.
According to recent information from Rightmove, Caxtons outperformed other Canterbury agents by letting the most student accommodation making them number one student lettings agent in the city during the period 24 Jan to 14 Feb.
Caxtons let 42 properties in that time, beating its closest rival into second place.
Over the past week (8th – 14th) Caxtons also achieved equal first out of 49 Canterbury agents for attracting new student property instructions, and was placed second for 'available stock' out of 90 agents letting similar properties in the city.
Caxtons' Duncan Reeves, associate director and head of Residential & Student Lettings in Canterbury said, "Since we began student property viewings in November last year we have let more than 130 houses and have taken on more than 40 new instructions. This has been a very busy time and we are delighted to have recorded such positive results.
"During the year our Student Lettings department has busy and frantically busy periods – there never seems to be a time when students aren't interested in researching, viewing and agreeing tenancies for their future accommodation."
The doom and gloom merchants who predicted that students would no longer be able to afford to leave home for their university education weren't right in the case of Canterbury.
The city now accommodates approximately 40,000 students every year – double the number of ten years ago. The result is that tens of thousands of undergraduates and graduates studying at the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University for the Creative Arts actively seek student accommodation, so the competition for houses and flats in the city is buoyant. And that means that the student property sector is flourishing.
Duncan Reeves Associate director and head of residential & student lettings, Canterbury
The Student Lettings department of chartered surveyors Caxtons, in Canterbury, decided to give some of the students studying at the city's three universities and taking out tenancies for accommodation through the firm, the opportunity to participate in a simple competition.
Joining forces with the Marlowe Theatre, where the company is a corporate sponsor, Caxtons was delighted to receive a pair of tickets for each of the winners to attend a major performance of the winners' choice at the award-winning* venue.
Lucky prize-winners Lauren Seward, Michael Summers and Sam Jackson collected their tickets on Tuesday 16th February from Caxtons' office in Castle Street, Canterbury. Duncan Reeves, head of student lettings and Sam Scott, development manager at the Marlowe Theatre presented Lauren, Michael and Sam with their prizes.
Lauren was thrilled to get the tickets she wanted to see the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, one of Russia's leading ballet companies which has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth, performing Sleeping Beauty at the end of February. Michael chose tickets to Alan Bennett's classic comedy Single Spies with a stellar cast
Lauren said she had been pleased to locate a suitable property through Caxtons and had liked the website, which was easy to navigate and had a good variety of suitable and well located properties that were clearly displayed with details that were simple to understand. Sam, Michael and Lauren will be moving in to their respective student accommodation in good time for the start of the 2016/17 academic year.
*Since it reopened in 2011, the Marlowe Theatre has won a number of national theatre industry awards, including UK Theatre's award for Achievement In Marketing (2012) and Most Welcoming Theatre In The South East (2015).
l to r: Michael Summers, Sam Scott from The Marlowe, Sam Jackson, Lauren Seward and Duncan Reeves from Caxtons.