Tag Archives: Letting Agent

Capita TDP to be taken over by MyDeposits Landlord News, Latest Articles

The Capita TDP (Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme) has been closed to accepting new deposits since the 14th of September this year.

Capita a corporate giant and FTSE 100 company was only awarded the contract by Government to operate the scheme from the 1st April 2013 (no pun intended) in an effort to increase competition and drive down costs for this service. Mydeposits has however stepped in to take over responsibility for Capita TDP protections in England & Wales after confirming their withdrawal from the market.

All of Capita TDP’s existing deposit protections will be automatically transferred to mydeposits from 1st December 2013. Landlords, agents and tenants in England &Wales will also have access to the scheme’s dispute resolution service. Capita TDP has now written to all existing members informing them of the news.

All transferred deposits will continue to be protected throughout the duration of the fixed term tenancy. my|deposits will also reissue a new Deposit Protection Certificate (DPC) and the relevant Information for Tenant’s leaflet for each protection.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of mydeposits, said: “Capita TDP’s existing landlord and agent members can rest assured they’re in safe hands with mydeposits. The experience and knowledge we derive from partnership with the both the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) means we’re well placed to manage the handover following Capita’s withdrawal.”

“Landlords, agents and tenants will also have access to our free award-winning dispute resolution service, giving them peace of mind that the deposit will be returned fairly if they’re unable to reach an agreement over its return.”

“We’re on hand to speak to existing Capita members who have concerns regarding the transfer of their deposits. Landlords, agents and tenants can also visit our website www.mydeposits.co.uk where they can find details of the scheme and a range of useful guidance and advice on deposit protection issues”.Capita TDP


Letting Agent won’t release rent (6 months paid in advance) Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My tenants have paid 6 month rent in advance ( as they did in the previous 6 months with no problems) due to them being students.

The Letting Agent is dragging its feet and will not release the 6 months rent to my bank account stating the tenants have to sign a form allowing this to happen. Letting Agent won't release rent

Previously there was no mention of the tenants having to sign a form.

Tenants have been in my property since 18th October and I have not received any rent payment, I have had many conversations with staff at my letting agents and they keep fobbing me off.

I am unsure as to what to do next, what would you do?

Thanks

Michelle


HMO Internal locks ‘deal breaker’? Advice, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’m at the point of exchange on an HMO licensed 5 bed house, currently let to students. I received a letter from the mortgage lender Birmingham Midshires (BM Solutions) saying one of their conditions is that there are ‘no internal door locks’. I checked and there are thumb locks on all the bedrooms. The letting agent who manages the house asked the students about removing them, they refused. BM Solutions logo

I’ve heard stories about BM Solutions withdrawing the offer after exchange, and apparently there will be 5 days between exchange and completion. I can’t risk losing 20% of my deposit if they discover there are still internal locks. What should I do? Is this really a deal breaker?

Apparently it’s only 1 of the students that has a problem with the locks being removed, but as I don’t yet own the house I can’t speak to her directly and can’t change the contract, everything is dealt with by the letting agent.

Has anyone else come up against this one? Should I risk it and tell the mortgage lender that I did request the locks to be removed (if they ask)? Or should I actually pull out now before it’s too late?

Any advice much appreciated.

Regards

Duncan


Should Landlords do immigration checks? Latest Articles, NLA - National Landlords Association, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

As it stands, this is precisely what the Government is planning to do by introducing an Immigration Bill to Parliament including a civil scheme to penalise leasing accommodation to illegal immigrants. The scheme is intended to come into effect in 2014. Government’s proposals, as set out in the relevant Government consultation document, are summarised below. The scheme ultimately implemented may vary. Should Landlords do immigration checks?

The Government suggests that landlords check tenants’ immigration status, but will recognise the agreed transfer of the duty to a letting agent. Where a landlord has performed checks according to Government guidelines, the landlord will be able to claim a statutory exemption from penalty. Where a property is rented out to a company, the Government proposes that the company is responsible for making checks.

Rechecks might have to be made annually for those with temporary leave. A landlord would be required not to renew a tenancy agreement if a tenant cannot provide documentation at the time of recheck, but would not be required to take possession proceedings. The landlord would also be required to report the suspected illegal migrant to the Home Office.

The Home Office proposes two possible levels of penalty, £1,000 or £3,000 per illegal immigrant, depending on the landlord’s compliance history. In addition to objecting on the basis of having performed the document checks, a landlord would be able to object based on not being liable.

Our bone of contention is the requirement to report tenants whose immigration paperwork expires during the course of the tenancy. If this happens to an employer, assuming the employee has been in employment for less than two years, they can summarily dismiss them without being accused of unfair dismissal. Although the member of staff would have to leave employment that day, there are no risks to the employer. But landlords on the other hand, are subject to housing legislation and cannot summarily evict a tenant, even if they wanted to, for losing the right of abode in the UK.

The government says that Landlords should simply report the tenant to the home office. Much of the Landlords business as we know it, relies on good tenant relations, and asking tenants repeatedly about their immigration status is unlikely to augur well. Also tenants could understandably become aggrieved if the landlord reports them to the home office. They may feel desperate, stop paying rent and even become hostile and take out their frustration on the landlord or the property.

The danger is that landlords would avoid taking tenants with restricted immigration status for fear of repercussions. This is hopeless for prospective tenants who happen to have short visas and hope to renew them and could be unlawful discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity or race. It also flies in the face of a number of other government policies, such as a desire to attract overseas students and the best talent for global businesses based in the UK.

Anecdotal reports shows that lots of people confuse issues of immigration status and ethnicity. A BBC report recently demonstrated the blatant discrimination that black applicants can experience. A white applicant for a flat was offered a viewing by an agent where the black tenant was wrongly told that the same flat had been taken. The agent said that they were complying with the landlord’s instructions, but this is unlawful. There are landlords who say that they prefer not to house people from certain ethnicities because of one bad experience. Apart from the social injustice, this attitude just makes bad business sense because the landlord is restricting their pool of applicants and perpetuating their own fixed attitude.

The Government plan to impose these immigration check responsibilities on Landlords will make finding rented property for black and ethnic minority tenants even more difficult. Many landlords have voiced their concerns that they will be turned into the border police, which is not good for community relations.

The government on its part, argues that there is a lot of support for these measures and that it is simply not fair that people who pay nothing into the system should be able to enjoy the benefits of living in the UK. This argument I might highlight, is flawed as many people here illegally work extremely hard in the shadow economy and are helping to regenerate the UK. Measures like these checks, will push them even further underground and into the hands of exploitative criminal landlords.

This article was submitted to Property118 by zone4homes.com


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

 


I’m losing a tenant every 6 months, please help! Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Hi all,

My fifth tenant has now decided to leave after having been subject to 6 months of abuse and hell from the neighbour adjoining the maisonette. All four previous tenants have left after six months and have all cited this neighbour from hell as the culprit for their misery and reason for leaving. This has put me at substantial financial loss, not to mention the stress. This is my first property and subsequently my first time as a landlord. I am losing a tenant every 6 months

I have exacerbated all my options. The troublesome neighbour likes to throw his weight around and seems to relish in bullying my tenants. He is also very devious, he has filed noise complaints against each one of my tenants with the council and complains to both letting agents about the noise. My current tenant mentions that the last straw was when the neighbour abused and threw stones at his Mum while she was visiting, thus instigating my tenant to angrily shout at the neighbour who recorded the interaction on his phone. When my tenant called the Police they did nothing as the neighbour had footage of my tenant shouting.

Emails from my previous four tenants include incidents where the troublesome neighbour, grabbed Tenant A round the throat and threatened him in my property. He jumped over the garden fence and threatened Tenant B. Threats to steal, shoot, beat up Tenant C and Tenant D apparently used to come home from work and watch TV wearing headphones so as not to disturb him, the list is a lot longer than this.

Police have been called on six separate occasions by two different tenants (the others were too scared to).

I have contacted the landlord of the property direct. Their letting agent is not prepared to do anything about it giving the excuse that it is one tenants word against another. I am have now lost my fifth tenant! Is this not evidence enough that the neighbour is the cause of the problem?

My letting agent has tried to influence the other letting agent but I feel both have dragged their feet hoping that the dust will settle. My letting agent now is refusing to re-let the property due to this neighbour.

I feel like I only have two options:

1) Reluctantly sell the property or

2) Try and re-let the property by switching my current agent to the same letting agent who oversees the troublesome neighbour. This eliminates the denial that there is a problem and who causes it due to one letting agent getting to hear about all the problems at both properties without any middlemen diluting the seriousness of the allegations. The problem with this option is whether the letting agent would evict the troublesome tenant or just be happy to allow my tenants to leave and enjoy the inctreased income from the renewals.

What other options do I have?

Please help.

Mark Lintern


Calling all Wikipedians Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Neither Property118 nor myself have a page on Wikipedia and that makes me 🙁

Can you help?

I understand that other people have to compile the page and the more input the better?  Calling all Wikipedians

If this is the case I suggest the following as a starting point.

Property118 forum

An online forum and news feed with a mission to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords and letting agents.

Founders of The GOOD Landlords Campaign.

Funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.

Google News Publisher.

Claims to have nearly 200,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletters.

Founded by Mark Alexander – Twitter handle @iAmAlandlord


Damage caused by leak from neighbouring flat Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My tenants reported a very serious leak from the water cylinder to my letting agents, who called in my plumber, who could find no trace of a leak from the water cylinder.

When my tenants got home from work they found the next door neighbours pulling up carpets following a bad leak from their boiler (I had my tenant’s leaking boiler replaced not long ago). The neighbours’ letting agents are sending them a contractor to suck up all the moisture. Damage caused by leak from neighbouring flat

My agents say we can then assess if there is any lasting damage and make a claim on the buildings insurance.

I don’t think this can be right, as the building insurance is with the maintenance company and covers external, not internal problems.

Am I right in thinking that any claim I need to make should be against the neighbouring landlord’s policy?

Thoughts and advice appreciated.

Thanks

Christine


Expat couple looking for advice investing in London Latest Articles

First off, great site! As a wannabe investor/landlord for several years, I’ve been a keen follower of this and similar landlord online resources, which have been a great source of inspiration and learning about the landlord business. Many thanks!

My wife and I are now planning to take our first steps into residential property investment in the UK and would be really grateful for any advice and tips to help us in this journey. I have detailed our rough plan and somewhat non-standard situation below and would welcome any advice, thoughts and expert insight from the community.

My wife and I are both British expat who have been living/working overseas (currently Singapore) for close to 4 years now. We are both in our early thirties and are in employment; I do contract consultancy work and my wife has a permanent role with a large multinational.

We are now set on settling back in the UK in the next 1 to 2 years. Living abroad has been a great experience but we would now like to settle down and be closer to family. We plan to continue our careers and, at the same time, build/manage an investment property portfolio.

We are both Londoners and want to invest in London as we feel we know the area and view this as a long-term investment to benefit from capital gains. We are of course aiming for positive cash flow on rental income but do not anticipate huge month-to-month profit given the areas we are considering buying in.

We currently have a sum of £500k to invest and plan to take on BTL mortgages to initially purchase a few 1 to 2 bed flats. From our initial research and calculations, we anticipate that this should allow us to purchase 4 – 5 properties, assuming 75% LTV mortgages, purchase costs etc. We plan to rent these out and have these managed by a letting agent.

We do not currently own property in the UK as we sold our residential home in London before we left. While we do plan to stay abroad in the short/medium-term, we are keen to start investing asap and to start preparing the ground for our permanent move later, including me establishing contacts and looking for work etc.

As such, I am planning on taking an extended trip to London for 2-3 months to start the above process (with the possibility shuttling between London and abroad thereafter). The aim is to better understand the market/our options, start making connections, and scouting/purchasing property if possible. During this period, the wife will remain in her job in Singapore and I will not be formally employed.

A big step for us but one we feel is necessary to make our jump home smoother and to start our property investment plans. It would be great to get your thoughts/advice on this i.e. Does the plan seem sound? How would you go about investing in this situation? What should we look out for?

In particular, we would like to:
– better understand the likelihood of us being able to secure BTL mortgages. I understand that being expats and not currently owning residential property in the UK can make this more complicated.
– get your recommendations on good mortgage brokers/advisors in London (as well as other trusted professional e.g. solicitors, letting/mgt agents) who I could possibly get in contact with.
– get an understanding of the landlord/investment networks, clubs or communities that are around and that I could possibly plug into.

I have purposely put down a lot of detail but do let me know if you have any further questions.

Thanks a bunch!

PaulSingapore Expat


Council of Letting Agents call for Scotland’s dangerous electrics to be outlawed Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management

The Council of Letting Agents has today called for better electrical safety standards in Scotland’s privately rented properties.

Speaking at their inaugural conference, Council of Letting Agents (CLA) Convenor Kathleen Gell said: “Scotland depends upon the properties that our letting agents manage. People rely on these properties for their homes and they need to be safe. We have national standards and regulation for gas safety, but the same is not in place for electrics and that needs to change.”

“The only way we can guarantee to keep properties and tenants safe is to regulate electrical safety to a national standard and publicise this as well as gas safety.

Research reveals that there are on average 70 deaths a year in the UK from electrical fires and that Scottish homes are at a disproportionately high risk from these. It has also been shown that tenants of private landlords are more likely to be at risk of electric shock than home owners.

The private rented sector is growing – the number of dwellings provided by private landlords has risen from 115,000 in (5% of all homes) in 1999, to 267,000 (11% of all homes) in 2011 and all indications point to that trend continuing.”

Kathleen Gell continued: “There have been great improvements in this sector with compulsory registration for landlords and the introduction of the tenancy deposit scheme, but we will fall behind on basic safety if we do not act in this area too.”

“We want there to be compulsory checks on wiring and appliances in rental properties. There are standards we could use (Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) ), but we need some teeth to enforce them – we cannot afford any grey areas.”

“Many letting agents already require this level of safety check, but it cannot be enforced: there is no national standard to adhere to and landlords wishing to avoid the cost of a safety check, simply go elsewhere to lease their property.”

“The private rented sector is a major part of the housing landscape in Scotland. We have a duty of care to the people who depend on it for their homes and we need to make sure it is safe.”

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