Tag Archives: Letting Agency

Help regarding being a victim of subletting Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

A well known national letting agency franchise office based in Ealing advertised flatshare, I viewed the property and agreed to pursue a tenancy. My agreement is for the duration of 3 months, all bills included.

The tenant I share the flat with (Mr G) was claiming to be a tenant at first with the agent supporting this but is now claiming to be the landlord and he has been subletting this property out for four years. We have written and audio proof of this. Help regarding being a victim of subletting

The agent (who has close relations to the tenant acting as landlord) has confessed that his ‘client’ is subletting.

The owner of the property currently resides in South Australia.

I have reason to believe Mr G is committing benefit fraud as a result of all he has divulged to me regarding his five bedroom villa in Iran and and in Inverness of which he put the ownership in his daughter’s name. He is in receipt of many state benefits including disability claiming he cannot work and earn.

Neither Mr G, acting as my landlord, nor the agent can provide me with a current valid gas safety certificate. I have seen a photocopy of one issued in 2010. Mr G is refusing to provide me with gas central heating, he cannot provide a valid reason of refusal. Two different employees from two different energy companies checked our gas facility two weeks ago and concluded that the cooker is unfit for use and needs replacing for safety reasons and there is an issue with the box that links to the boiler. Mr G is refusing to consider the law and the health and safety of others by not addressing these repairs.

I have documents that state that Mr G is the landlord, which prove he is subletting to me but I have not been provided with documentation to prove whether he may or may not have the actual landlord’s permission to sublet the property.

These are also the points I have raised with the property owners own letting agents, another very large national firm. They have been very sympathetic with my predicament, however, they do stress that the actual landlord “may seek legal action to remedy this situation” and that the actual landlord has no legal obligation to me. I completely understand this and assume this to mean I must leave the property ASAP, although, according to Shelter, my tenancy agreement with the illegal landlord, Mr G, still stands and I have until 3rd December to vacate the property. We are getting conflicting advice so don’t know which way to go next.

Could you please suggest anything?

Thank you so much for your assistance.

Best Wishes

Mrs Saadeh

 


Rant About Scottish Letting Regulation Commercial Finance, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

As the Scottish Government gets set to embark on the regulation of letting agents – regulation which is badly needed in my view – I fear that my worst nightmare may be about to become true.

Why? Well, let’s look at what’s happened already with Scottish renting legislation.

Landlord Registration has for the most part been startlingly ineffective in raising standards. In fairness, that perhaps was not its prime purpose (having been introduced under anti-social behaviour legislation) but the fact that we now have a national database of private landlords should allow national and/or local government to target those landlords with awareness-raising advice, invite them to seminars and so on. Those unfortunate tenants who suffer at the hands of malicious or, more likely unaware, landlords need that to happen. I’m fairly sure there must still be many landlords who are not yet registered. The fact that Scottish Government hiked the penalty for non-registration up from £2,000 to £50,000 must surely indicate that registration is seen as important. The requirement to quote registration numbers in property advertisements seemed a pretty good way of bringing all landlords into the system. Yet, how many adverts still appear with no registration numbers? How many unregistered landlords have been fined?

No. I see poor practice flourish aplenty and registration requirement ignored. I see responsible landlords pay their dues while the irresponsible carry on regardless. I see local authority Landlord Registration teams funded by those responsible landlords and, it seems, doing not a great deal to bring all within the net.

Why not simply legislate to make it a requirement that for any individual to rent out a property he or she must either use a regulated agent (when that’s in place) or achieve accredited landlord status (or commit to a time-limited accreditation path)? Overnight, poorly performing landlords would be outlawed.

Look at Tenant Information Packs. Of course it’s good practice to pass incoming tenants information and advice relative to their tenancy and their new property. Responsible agents and landlords have been doing so for years as a matter of course. So surely it’s good that all now have to do so?

In theory, yes, but from our perspective as a letting agency we now find ourselves managing a parallel process issuing the mandatory Tenant Information Pack (TIP) alongside our own one, as the mandatory one is so stodgy as to be a turn-off to most tenants, contains errors, and imparts nothing of substance about the property. The effect of this has been to sap resources, particularly time – our scarcest resource – and so impact negatively on our finances. So a highly responsible agency, regulated by RICS and licenced by ARLA is being forced to go through an ineffective process which hampers business efficiency while less regulated or less responsible agents who decline to do so, or are even unaware perhaps that they need to, sail on in the same old way. How many letting agents have been taken to task for failing to issue a TIP? How many who fail to do so, use a low-fee basis as a means of attracting clients? The answers to those questions are unknown, but I’m pretty certain the first is zero or we’d have heard about it.

Simply Let pays about £2000 per year in professional membership subscriptions and regulation levies. We do that because we believe in high standards, and in demonstrating that we hold that belief. We undertake continuing professional development. We do so because we need to be fully informed in order to serve our clients well. We cannot give our landlord clients and their tenants the service they deserve on a low fee basis.

If a landlord’s agent fails to fulfil one of his client’s statutory obligations, it will be the landlord who is held responsible. Are all landlords aware of this? How many agents are playing fast and loose with their obligations to their clients? Again I don’t have an answer to that. If an agent lands a landlord in trouble as a result of negligence or incompetence does that landlord have recourse to a complaints redress mechanism? If that agent goes bust or even runs off with the cash is the landlord’s money safe? Does the agent have client money protection? Unlike estate agents selling houses, a fairly straightforward one-off task, letting agents have on-going management responsibilities which require detailed knowledge of complex housing law. Currently anyone can set up as a letting agent without any qualifications or training whatsoever and without any insurance or external monitoring and take on responsibility for managing clients’ major financial assets and ensuring tenants’ safety in the home.

You can see then why we favour regulation of letting agents. With a level playing field, landlords and tenants could go about selecting an agent knowing that all agents had the basics in place. Why then do I fear, as I said at the beginning of this blog, that my nightmare is about to be realised?

In my nightmare, responsible and already regulated agents found themselves obliged to register and of course to pay a recurring fee for doing so. In my nightmare less responsible agents continued to operate without appearing on the register. The third strand of my nightmare is that nothing much else happened.

It’s turned out like that with Landlord Registration so it’s perfectly possible that Letting Agent Regulation will go the same way.

Why not simply make it a requirement that in order for any letting agent to practice he or she must have in place:

  • A minimum level of relevant knowledge
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Client money protection
  • A complaints redress mechanism
  • Evidence of continuing professional development?

All are currently available to any responsible agent.

The private rented sector involves the very basics of life: a tenant’s home and a landlord’s financial investment (and possibly pension plan). It is critical therefore that all who manage any part of that process, landlord or agent, have the knowledge and capability to undertake their role to a high standard and fulfil it in a professional manner. It is critical too that those who entrust their lot to an agent have the benefit of certain basic protections. So my plea to the Scottish Government, when it develops letting agent regulation, is to make it impossible for any agent who can’t deliver those five elements above to continue in practice. The country and its tenants deserve nothing less. Rant About Scottish Letting Regulation

John Gell MRICS


Eric Walker appointed as Northwood MD Latest Articles

Eric Walker - Northwood MDEric Walker has been appointed to the role of Managing Director at Northwood GB, the letting agency best known for specialising in guaranteed rent.

I have met Eric at several industry events and we have remained friends and kept in touch online ever since. In my opinion he is definitely one of the good guys in the letting industry and Northwood are very lucky to have him on board and leading the company forwards.

Eric takes over the role from Nick Cooper, who died last month of pancreatic cancer, aged 50.  He was a great friend of Nick and a fellow member of the SAFEagent steering group.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the lettings and property industry, Eric joins Northwood from Your Move, where he was Regional Managing Director for its South-East division. Pror to that he was Group Managing Director for Bushells from 2008 until its acquisition last year.

Eric Walker said: “It is an honour and privilege to follow in the footsteps of my dear friend Nick Cooper.  Northwood is a fantastic firm and I have long been impressed by its business model and brand values.  I am looking forward to working with the network and continuing Nick’s drive for excellence in the lettings industry.”

Gemma Goodson, Northwood’s Financial Director, said: “It was Nick’s wish that Eric would become Managing Director as they shared the same working ethos and passion, particularly in raising professional standards in the lettings industry.  Eric brings an outstanding track record and breadth of experience and we are delighted to welcome Eric to Northwood.”


Switching Letting Agents Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We currently rent our property through a letting agency; however the service provided has been nothing short of appalling. Switching Letting Agents

We have no issues with the current tenants but we want to understand whether we can switch letting agents and retain the current Tenants?

The Tenants have signed the letting agreement with the current Agency but as of yet we have not signed and returned the Landlord agreement.

Thanks

Gareth Evans


Meet The Landlords TV programme – fair representation? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Investment News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Last night I finally got around to watching a TV programme I recorded on BBC a few weeks ago called “Meet The Landlords“.

I was asked to appear on the programme when it was first considered but when I told the reporter what managing my portfolio entailed he wasn’t really that interested. Who could blame him? My tenants stay with me for years, I outsource most things and for that reason I doubt I spend more than a couple of hours every week looking after my property portfolio. It makes me enough to live on, my tenants are all very happy and neither me nor my tenants are ever very likely to make good viewing on the Jeremy Kyle show.

The appearances from landlords and tenants featured on “Meet the Landlords” though was a proper rogues gallery. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the programming team had stood out the Jeremy Kyle recording studio’s a picked the worst of the worst people. Perhaps they offered them a free Maccie D’s in return for them and their landlords to make another appearence on the telly? LOL

The programme featured:-

  • Two amateur landlords whose tenants had not been paying rent for months,
  • a landlord calling himself the HMO Daddy who runs what I can only describe as “doss houses” for the dreggs of society,
  • and a woman from a North Eastern letting agency who let a property for a private landlord to rent to a drunken ASBO tenant who couldn’t even be bothered to turn up sober and then broke down into tears when presented with a property which he clearly realised he didn’t deserved to live in

If the BBC wanted to make a documentary revealing broken Britian this was a success. If they wanted to portray the Private Rented Sector then sorry, in my opinion it was a massive #FAIL

If the two amateur landlords had employed a decent letting agent or spent some time reading forums such as this one they wouldn’t have found themselves thousands of pounds down in rent arrears. One of the landlords was quite clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown but the hypocrisy of her story was that whilst her tenants were not paying the rent due to her, she was falling into arrears with her own landlord and prioritising subsidising her own mortgage! No wonder Paul Shamplina for Landlord Action has such a thriving Tenant Eviction business. He was one of the few people on the programme who came across as being decent.

I’ve heard about the HMO Daddy selling coaching and mentoring and I had always wondered why a landlord who claimed to be successful would do that. In my mind, you mentor people either to grow your own business (i.e. employees) or you do it when you’ve made enough money to become truly altruistic and because you thrive on helping other to achieve or solve problems which you’ve previously encountered. Having watched this programme I think I may have worked it out. Perhaps “landlord Jim” needs to sell a blueprint of his “secret recipe”, or a positive spin on what he would really like it to be like, in order to subsidise the appalling behaviour of his appalling tenants living in his appalling properties, all of which were exposed on National TV?

I’ve read some very positive views elsewhere on the web about the lady who worked for the letting agency and dealt with the ASBO tenant. Yes she was grounded, caring and very patient. What I can’t get my head around is how it can possible be in the interests of any landlord to put a drunken lout like that tenant into what seemed to be a relatively decent property. Fair enough, it was explained that the rent was guaranteed to be paid directly by the Council due to this chaps “issues” shall we say but come on! Anybody with half a brain can see this chap was on the road to nowhere but prison. If that house isn’t completely trashed within a year then I will eat my words but I’d happily lay a bet that the damage he causes to the property and the distress he causes to the poor people living in close proximity to him will not come close to the rental income. What man in his right mind would think his wife and children would feel safe living to a sexist drunk like him? The guy believed he was God’s gift to women and obviously has no respect for society or the law either. The chap needed to be institutionalised in my opinion, for his own safety and for others, but I suppose that’s the result of what was badged “Care in the Community”.

The real shocker for me was the prostitute tenant who gave up possession of her property without going to Court in return for a tenner. Yes she signed some papers but it was pretty obvious to me that she did that under duress and whilst under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both.

Maybe I’m lucky, perhaps I will be labelled as a snob for writing this review, but the “Meet the Landlords” TV programme was nothing like the Britain I know and love and certainly not representative of what I have witnessed as a result of being a landlord for the last 24 years!

What were your thoughts?Meet The Landlords


Building a letting agency business Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management

I sold my first letting agency business in 2006. In just 12 years my wife and I had taken the business from a standing start to managing 1,000 properties.

We have been investing into property for 30 years so property management makes sense to us, we knew what we wanted as landlords so we built our business model on that.

Following a lockout clause we decided to go back into lettings in 2009 and launched the Go Direct Lettings franchise in January 2012.

The business now manages 400 properties.

This time we wanted to do this slightly differently and to create a National brand by helping others to replicate our business model.

We now have five further franchise offices and and plan to grow the network rapidly based our on proven model for success.

We find that people with a passion for property become the most successful letting agents.

If you would like to find out more please complete the form below.

 

Building a letting agency business

Don Holmes – Founder of Go Direct Lettings


Having problems with a Rent2Rent kind of company Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Looks like my first attempt to enter the rental market has turned into a disaster. I just completed a flat purchase and made two agreements (AST and Letting Agency Agreement) with Rent2Rent company – they were supposed to sub-let the flat to their corporate client. This was nearly a month ago

Easy way to enter a market, I thought. It turned out to be not so. Their tenant moved in last week (after paying a deposit to them 3 weeks ago!). I have not signed any agreements with that tenant and I still haven’t received any payment, not even a deposit. Despite my request to pass me deposit directly, the company has has protected it with mydeposit.co.uk. When I said I do not agree with that, they promised to send me the money but nothing came my way.

I would like to know where to start. From reading some posts here I now understand that AST I signed with with the Rent2Rent company is not appropriate as they are a limited company, however, I don’t know exactly what it means to me. Does it mean that document has no legal meaning to either side?

The second agreement I signed, Letting Agency Agreement, is very simple. It states that they will retain my first month payment from the tenant and give subsequent 11 payments to me. It also states that they will pass the deposit to me to put into DPS.

I spoke to the local solicitor today who advised me to look in this forum for advise or similar cases. I hope someone can help me to get started on this.

I met the actual tenants and they are nice people but it looks like they also got themselves into a bit of trouble. In addition to paying first month’s rent and 6 weeks deposit (for which I believe they still have not received the protection evidence), the Rent2Rent company managed to convince them to pay extra 3 months in advance to save £50 a week so they will not be happy moving out.

My first mortgage payment came through yesterday, I will struggle to afford the second one if I don’t start getting money.

What happens if the Rent2Rent company never pays me but keeps on collecting money from their tenant – will I have no choice but default on my mortgage?

The Rent2Rent seem to have an office in the town, perhaps I can just go there and sit until I get paid – perhaps not the best strategy though.

Please help

N NeugomonneyHaving problems with a Rent2Rent kind of company


Choosing the wrong letting agent could cost YOU thousands! Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management

Choosing the wrong letting agent could cost YOU thousands!It’s devastating when you put your trust and faith into a letting agency, you pay them a monthly management fee; and all of a sudden they disappear with rent and the tenant’s deposit.

This week saw Smith & Jones Lettings in Market Deeping made bankrupt without a warning to their clients or time for them to act. Continue reading Choosing the wrong letting agent could cost YOU thousands!


Letting Supermarket provides massive cost saving opportunities for private landlords Buy to Let News, Latest Articles

Letting Supermarket provides massive cost saving opportunities for private landlordsI am a non-exec Director of Letting Supermarket, an ARLA member letting agency which we have been recommending to Property118 readers since the end of 2012.

The feedback received from landlords we’ve referred has been superb with savings of 50% or more being reported when compared to other ARLA member letting agents. Continue reading Letting Supermarket provides massive cost saving opportunities for private landlords


Kirit Lakhani of My Happy Move Leicester GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors

The GOOD Landlords CampaignKirit Lakhani of My Happy Move Leicester

I am a property professional who is also a Mortgage Adviser and I have worked in the lettings industry for the last 10 yrs.

I own a few properties and have now recently started a Letting Agency to manage mine as well other Landlords Property.

My Happy Move is registered with The Property Ombudsman and also UKALA
We are ethical , transparent and Sincere in what we do for our clients

Continue reading Kirit Lakhani of My Happy Move Leicester


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