The average bills will fall around 5% for water and waterwaste for customers across England and Wales.

The Water Services Regulation Authority Ofwat has finalised decisions that means the average bills for water and wastewater customers across England and Wales will fall by around 5%, before adjustments for inflation, between 2015 and 2020. This would see average bills fall by around £20 from £396 to £376.

Over the next five years, customers will benefit not only in lower water bills but also have improved levels of service. As companies are set to spend around £2000 for every household across England and Wales.

By 2020 customers will benefit from significant improvements in areas of service that really matter to them, such as by tackling leakage and promote water efficiency, there will be more than 370 million liters a day of water saved – enough water saved to serve all of the homes in Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. With a reduction in the time lost to supply interruptions -down on average 32%. 4,700 fewer properties flooded by sewer water and cleaner water at more than 50 beaches.

With around 760,000 people benefit from some form of financial support from their water company this figure will more than double to around 1.8 million by 2020. Companies are putting in place measures, such as social tariffs, which are forecast to help an additional one million people over the next five years.

The announcement from Ofwat includes the decision to lower further the weighted average cost of capital (WACC), which is the minimum rate of return that lenders or investors require to support investment in the sector. Since its initial proposal of a WACC of 3.85%, Ofwat has updated its decision to reflect current market evidence on required returns, resulting in a WACC of 3.74%.

Jonson Cox, Chairman of Ofwat said:

“This is an important step in maintaining customers’ trust and confidence in the water sector. We set out to deliver a challenging but fair outcome. We are requiring companies to meet higher service standards and deliver on their promises to customers. We are bringing down bills so customers can expect value for money, while investors can earn a fair return. Companies will need to stretch themselves to deliver much more with the same level of funding as in previous years. We will achieve more resilient infrastructure and better service as a result.”

Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat said:

“With bills held down by five percent and service driven up over the next five years, customers will get more and pay less. Where companies stepped up to do the best they could for their customers we did not need to intervene. But where companies fell short we stepped in to make sure customers get a good deal. Now the hard work begins. Companies will only build trust and confidence with their customers if they deliver. Those who do can look forward to fair returns, while those that don’t will be hit in the pocket and face a tough five years ahead.”

These new charges will come into effect in April 2015. Companies have two months in which to accept Ofwat’s final determination or seek a referral to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Final determination: average bill changes (excluding inflation)

All figures are in 2014/15 prices. Figures may not add up due to rounding

Changes to average annual combined bill for water and sewerage companies

Ofwat’s final determination

Companies’
2013 December
request

2014-15

2019-20

5 year change

5 year change

National average bill (England and Wales)

£396

£376

-5%

-2%

Anglian

£431

£390

-10%

-8%

Dŵr Cymru

£440

£416

-5%

-4%

Northumbrian
(including Essex & Suffolk)

£388

£382

-1%

0%

Severn Trent

£333

£316

-5%

-4%

Southern

£437

£403

-8%

-2%

South West*

£545

£506

-7%

-4%

Thames**

£370

£353

-5%

3%

United Utilities

£410

£398

-3%

0%

Wessex

£485

£442

-9%

-4%

Yorkshire

£373

£361

-3%

-1%

 

Changes to average annual water bill for water only companies

Ofwat’s final determination

Companies’
2013 December
request

 

2014-15

2019-20

5 year change

5 year change

Affinity

£176

£163

-7%

-4%

Bristol

£202

£160

-21%

1%

Dee Valley

£152

£149

-2%

8%

Portsmouth

£97

£96

-1%

-1%

SembCorp Bournemouth

£153

£134

-12%

-6%

South East

£201

£194

-3%

3%

South Staffs
(including Cambridge)

£141

£135

-4%

2%

Sutton and East Surrey

£186

£180

-3%

-5%

* The average combined customer bill for South West does not reflect the £50 per customer Government contribution towards household bills. This addresses the significant investment needed in the infrastructure which was inherited by the company at privatisation to meet environmental and drinking water quality standards.

** Thames Water’s figures includes the costs for the preparatory works to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a 25km sewer to deal with the problem of too much sewage overflowing into the River Thames. However, it does not include costs for the construction of the tunnel. This is because the project will be financed and delivered by an independent infrastructure provider (IP). The IP is due to be appointed in 2015.

 

7 THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR RETIREMENT HOME

At Property Property Property we cater to everyone, including our dear pensioners. So this post is dedicated and the start of more to come, that are highlighted specifically to pensioners or those seeking retirement.

We have curated and listed below our top 7 tips on things you should look for in your retirement home:

TIP #1: Ramp or home modification

Now we’re not suggesting that this is a most for everyone, but as most people who are seeking retirement homes for the purpose of living there for the rest of lives, we advise that this is something you look out for. As it is a known fact that strength decreases with age, so looking into securing a property with a ramp and already installed home modifications is a bonus as it will save you time and money in the future when having to maybe install these functions.

TIP #2: Low ceilings

Ideally, when you look for properties, your mind isn’t too focused on the size or height of the ceiling. But as you gracefully age, I believe it is something you should look for in your retirement home. As you’ll still want to be able to have reach of the lighting on your celling and something that doesn’t have an overwhelming effect, such as a high ceiling.

TIP #3: Lower units

Following on from having lower ceilings, you may also consider having lower units. Such as a lower kitchen cabinet, lower bathroom system; anything that doesn’t stress you or is more easily accessible for yourself as you age.

TIP #4: Community park or recreation center

At this age, you are either more free to explore the world or you’re freer to explore your community. We suggest looking for local facilities that encourage pensioner activities or anything that will keep you busy and stress-free in your older years.

TIP #5: Location

Location is a very important factor to consider when seeking a retirement home as you still want to be accessible and reachable to family, friends, and anyone who you are in contact with. But at the same time, aim to look for a more peaceful and scenic neighborhood so that you can enjoy your retirement with less noise pollution.

TIP #6: Maintenance

This leads back to point 3, we just want to reinforce the point that it’s better to look for a property that will require less maintenance work in the long-run. As you wouldn’t want to spend your retirement having to make continuous modifications and alterations to your new home in order to suit your health. Why not jump this step and consider this now.

TIP #7: Transport

And finally transportation. We advise anyone and everyone looking for a new space to look for a location with good transportation links, as this will give you more freedom to travel as this will be something that is easily accessible for you to visit friends or family.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Retirement and Pensioners’ series.

 

 

5 COOL THINGS FOR YOUR CHILDREN TO ENJOY IN THEIR NEW HOME

Parents, do your children complain that your home isn’t cool enough or that little Johnny’s room isn’t as nice as little Maxwell’s is his class. Well, we’ve got some tips for you on how you can make your home look super-duper cool for your kids.

TIP #1: Chalkboard walls

You either find it fascinating or annoying and that is; chalkboards. As a kid, you may remember drawing all over the walls of the house, even though there was paper somewhere in the house. I definitely did.

To prevent that but also encourage your children’s creative abilities, invest in some chalkboard paint. Whether you want to paint a panel, a strip or be adventurous and paint a whole wall; go for it. Make sure you actually have some chalk though and a chalk eraser, to clean it up after.

TIP #2: DIY cinema system

Have you tried having an at home cinema day, where you’ve put in some animated DVD’s for the kids, but the issue is the screen isn’t big enough? But the layout is cool, just the screen causing problems. Well for that final touch we recommend that you consider buying some ‘Projection Screen’ (preferably 100” inch 16:9 and portable), have it pinned up or stuck to your wall and get you a projector next. Then project your films on a BIGGER screen! Get some popcorn too, while you’re at it.

TIP #3: Dedicated space

Whether it’s an entire playroom, a small corner, or a reading nook. We believe that your child needs a space where they can have some chill me-time. But decorate it and make it look a bit fancy for them.

TIP #4: Cool scenery wallpaper

Have you ever been to the jungle? I haven’t, but you could take your kids there. And I don’t mean a real jungle; I mean that you could customise your little one’s room with some scenic wallpaper ranging from an animated jungle, a little princess castle, a tropical island or whatever takes their fancy. These are a really good way to drastically change the appearance of the kid’s room.

TIP #5: Cool storage systems

As a youth, cleaning wasn’t one of my biggest hobbies and I’m sure it isn’t your children’s either. Unless times have changed drastically. But in order to slowly nurture your kids into the art of home maintenance and also teach them good household skills, create a cool storage system where cleaning actually looks exciting. Having some hanging storage bins are quite good, as your children could practice basketball and represent our country in the Olympics.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Family’ series.

 

HOW TO PERSONALISE YOUR RENTED SPACE

Making a rented space your home is a very tricky task especially as it isn’t your actual home, it’s someone else’s and your just renting it. But never fear Property Property Property is here with some tips and tricks on how you can convert your rented space from being just a rented space to your home.

Seek Permission from Landlord

First of all, make sure you have the permission of your Landlord. If you’re fortunate to have a flexible Landlord who doesn’t mind you suggesting and getting some paintwork and upscaling done on the space, then take advantage of that! However, if you’re Landlord is stricter and doesn’t allow permanent changes (even though painting isn’t permanent), still seek their permission for any changes you may be making to their property.

Now let’s begin….

1. Walls

A majority of the time we want to change and customise our walls, because of walls. So we recommend that your use removable wallpapers that reflect your personality in your rented space, as this will bring to life your character and make you feel homier. Also consider doing a faux wall DIY project, an amazing alternative.

2. Sticking stuff

If you’re into gallery walls or just having paintings/quotes stuck up on your wall for inspiration but your Landlord doesn’t want you nailing stuff on his walls, then we’ve got your back! Consider getting some double-sided tape, blu tack or specific customised adhesive tapes as this will ensure that you can get your gallery wall, without the expensive of drilled walls and an angry Landlord.

3. Flexible furniture

This is one of the most important things you can do! Get flexible furniture as you could easily move it around. If you’re tired of the way your space is set up, with flexible modular furniture you can just opt and switch up the structure and layout of your room at any time.

4. Decorate, Decorate, Decorate

Property Property Property advice you’re to Decorate Decorate Decorate! Adding textiles that interest you or changing the lighting accessories; anything that wouldn’t make permanent changes to your rented space but reflects your personality, you need it!

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Home Improvement’ series.

 

7 WAYS TO CHEAPLY UPGRADE AND UPSCALE YOUR SPACE

Ever looked inside a home and lifestyle magazine and seen the exquisite homes and expensive looking decoration and wished that your home could look like that. Well, it can! And it isn’t too costly either.

We’ve curated and listed below our top 7 tips for upgrading and upscaling your space:

TIP #1: Clean or Conceal the clutter

First things first we’re the realist… clean the clutter. To achieve that expensive look, we recommend either cleaning/detoxing the unnecessary clutter or hide it with a good storage system that could easier be decorated with a nicely textured cloth or key ornaments.

TIP #2: Paint the floors, not just the walls

Try the unconventional method of painting the floor and not just the walls. Some of the most expensive looking spaces have the best floors. Try a monochrome pattern on the floor, ie. black and white vertical lines.

TIP #3: Organise & Conceal wires

More concealing! A lot of the times we have many little wires all over the floor, hanging on the wall and they’re basically everywhere. They don’t do your living space much justice, to be honest. So hide them! And not just a basic tape work; but branch into the various DIY projects the internet has to offer, such as hiding the wire in boxes or disguising them in the finishing on the wall.

TIP #4: Upgrade switch covers

I’m honestly trying to avoid using the word conceal again, so instead, I’ll use a disguise. Disguise those old light switches with fancy new covers. Or better yet, spray paint or just liquid paint them with the colour of your taste in a metallic finishing. That ought to do the trick!

TIP #5: Retouch & Upgrade hardware

To continue the topic of disguising, why not disguise the hardware around your home also. Switch those old looking door handles to crystal door knobs; they automatically add an element of elegance and luxury to any space. Also, the hardware at the corner of the doors, your kitchen counter, your bathroom floors spray paint those in a waterproof stainless steel gold/silver colour as they will also automatically upscale any space.

TIP #6: One Statement Piece

Most luxury homeowners have that one statement piece that they love to brag about, and why’s that? Well, it might be due to the fact that it actually is a statement piece. Now you don’t necessarily have to go completely out of pocket; but if you’ve got a liking for a certain style of artwork, why not get it blown up in your local photography shop to the largest size and have that one painting/artwork displayed in your living room. That will definitely make a statement.

TIP 7: Simplify your room styling

Now for our final tip. Simplify your room styling.

In order to get that expensive, yet simple living look, don’t do too much. You don’t need to have so many pretty ornaments or too many metallics in one room. Space it out across your living space and make every room a statement.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the Home Improvement series.

 

5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A FAMILY HOME

When hunting for a nice property as parents there are things you’ll be keen on looking for in your new home. So are obvious, such as schools, gardens and the area. But here are some of our top 5 alternative things to especially look for in family homes.

TIP #1: If no gardens, look for parks

Ideally, for a family home, you’ll be looking for a place with a good size garden so that your children have the option of playing outside of the house. But as there is a demand/increase in flats/apartments, families are just about missing out on gardens. So if you are one of those families, we recommend that you look into a property that is easily accessible to the local park, so that your children still are able to play outdoors.

TIP #2: Family friendly facilities and recreation centres

The rising use of technology means that this generation of children already have their recreation sorted on mobile devices. However, if you’re looking to discourage the over the use of technology as recreation for your children, then look for the possibilities of having recreation centres, family friendly cafes and facilities that are local to your forth-coming family home.

TIP #3: Well insulated homes

In order to decrease the number of runny noses and ticklish coughs, we recommend that families look for properties that are well insulated or have a good central heating system in the home, as this will help keep the warmth in during those colder miserable days that we tend to have in the UK.

TIP #4: A good kitchen

When we were looking for our family home, one thing my parents especially my mum looked for was a good kitchen and that always stuck with me. A sizeable kitchen with a well-tiled wall was on the top of her list, as families tend to do more cooking throughout the weeks that the walls become accustomed to the steam, heat and smells. So we recommend looking for a kitchen with well-insulated walls, a breathable space and also a good/replaceable air vent.

TIP 5: Good structure/sizing

Regardless of the type of property, we suggest a good sized space that will allow for children to freely express themselves throughout the home. This will decrease the number of inconveniences and also avoid that claustrophobic feeling of having furniture/storage space crowding up the place.

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Also if you have any tips that you could recommend to us, share them in the comments and we’ll be highlighting them in our upcoming articles in the ‘Family’ series.