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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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council of letting agents


Landlords Revolutionary Becomes Regulated Landlord Action, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Tenant Eviction

Landlord Action is the original UK eviction service for landlord and letting agents. Set up as the alternative to solicitors, it has just acquired status as an ABS. So it’s now approved and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – so it can conduct all the legal work on behalf of landlords and agents itself.

After more than a decade in an anti-establishment position, Landlord Action has now become part of the establishment. The founder Paul Shamplina says: The internet is now full of Landlord Action copycats that appear to offer the same service – but are not the same dedicated eviction specialists. We realise that our original idea has spawned an entire internet industry that now endangers the very landlords and agents we set out to protect.

Back in 1999, a group of landlords decided to set up an eviction service as alternative to using a solicitor. Under written advice from a QC, they set up the UK’s first specialist service.

Landlord Action was revolutionary. It redefined the legal eviction process by naming it as The Three Steps. And it charged fixed fees. Its position was as clear as its leaflet: We’re not like lawyers. Our fees are fixed. And we talk plain English. Landlords and agents across the country were clearly pleased with the offering. Landlord Action has acted in over 25,000 eviction cases.

As the buy-to-let industry grew, an eviction industry sprang up – all following the Landlord Action model. The internet created fertile ground for a whole raft of copycat services. These have tried to use the same language and offer the same fixed-fee structure. The difference is not all these services actually use legally qualified personnel to do the work. Some are just a lone operator with a mobile phone. By getting the landlord to issue at court, they don’t carry any responsibility and can leave the agent and landlord exposed when things goes wrong.

From the start, Landlord Action always used external solicitors to review every case, issue at court and brief advocates. And they have always used advocates at court. Over the years, they used a panel of solicitors firms that, for the most part, have served their landlords and letting agents well but ultimately Landlord Action did not have overall control over what was going on.

In 2012, in order to improve standards and provide a better service, Landlord Action decided to bring solicitors in-house and a new Legal Director was appointed. Justin Selig, a solicitor of 20 years, is also a very experienced landlord with a mixed residential and commercial portfolio. He recruited a whole new legal team of experts in this specific area of law and Landlord Action became even sharper. A team of legal minds with landlord thinking.

Now Landlord Action has acquired the status of a law firm. It still only specialises in Housing Law. And it still only represents landlords and agents – never tenants. Its new position is a recognition of its expertise and will clearly differentiate it from those internet services that have tried to copy it.

Landlord Action founder, Paul Shamplina, summed up the latest position very clearly: “We set out to protect landlords and agents. But we ended up creating a whole sector that doesn’t care enough. We’re part of the letting community and we’re dedicated to providing landlord and agents a high quality specialist service dedicated to their specific needs. Whatever we can do to improve that, we will.” Landlords Revolutionary Becomes Regulated


Got A Question or Something To Share? Latest Articles

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Readers Questions


Eviction – Beat the Xmas rush Landlord Action, Latest Articles, Tenant Eviction

Eviction – Beat the Xmas rush and get possession for January letting.

Landlord Action logoPlanning for Christmas in October?

No we haven’t taken leave of our senses. If you really want vacant possession for January (and you need the current tenant out) now is your last chance before Christmas to make it happen. The courts are stuffed full. The usual Christmas Rush is already beginning. You must act before October 15 to have a decent chance of getting a hearing this year.

The overburdened court system is suffering the usual end-of-year delays. And the impact of the new welfare reforms is making hearing dates even later. If you really want vacant possession for the crucial New Year period, you need to act fast and you need to act right now! The next two weeks are critical. And of course your paperwork needs to be 100% accurate and checked to avoid delays and having to restart the whole process.

We have a fantastic advice line for landlords and letting agents and our in-house legal team will soon be able to put you back in control. We do want to wrap it all up for you – before Christmas.

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.

Mortgage Express Conspiracy Theory Latest Articles

I would appreciate your thoughts on the following Mortgage Express conspiracy theory.

As we know, Mortgage Express is run by UK Asset Resolution who are tasked with recovering as much money as possible for the tax payer.

If UKAR were to increase tracker margins for Mortgage Express customers, to a point where most landlords were to default on their mortgages, UKAR would be in a position to appoint LPA receivers. This would not affect the number of properties in the PRS but it would mean that a centralised body, controlled by the Government, would control a huge section of the PRS. In turn, that would create jobs in the public sector, it would mean that Jo Public wouldn’t have to deal with rogue landlords and letting agents to anywhere near the same extent and it would also provide a better opportunity for recovery of tax payers funds.

Apart from landlords, can you imagine tax payers not supporting such a scenario?

As I see it, the clock is ticking and landlords only have so much time to diffuse this bomb. The success of a Class Action against West Bromwich Building Society or Bank of Ireland could prevent the above. If a test case isn’t won before the above scenario comes to pass then I’m afraid the PRS as we know it may be doomed.

Mortgage Express Conspiracy Theory

Thoughts?

EDITORS NOTE

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Subletting Scams – why landlords are afraid to report them Cautionary Tales, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property News

Many landlords are fearful to seek help from their local authorities in terms of dealing with subletting scams.

Just imagine this, you’ve jst let your nice little three bed house to Mr & Mrs Lovely and their two perfect children, only to find out that 10 of their family have also moved in. How would you feel?

Subletting scams can also go a stage further. Mr & Mrs Lovely may never actually move into the property, they simply cram as many immigrants in as possible (sometimes illegal immigrants) and charge them all a rent and make a huge profit.

The landlord then has numerous concerns including:-

  • Mr and Mrs Lovely fail to live up to their name and stop paying rent, but they continue to collect it
  • wear and tear on the property
  • noise related issues affecting neighbours
  • will their landlords insurance still be valid
  • fire safety
  • HMO licensing
  • and so the list goes on.

You would think that a quick call to the local EHO (Environmental heath Officer) should sort the problem wouldn’t you? So far as I’m aware, EHO’s have every right to close the property down if they consider it to be a danger to human life, through overcrowding for example. In such circumstances, that’s exactly what many landlords actually want to happen. What they don’t want is to spend several months going through the Courts to obtain possession order, which under the circumstances they will inevitably obtain but at what cost to themselves and at what risk to human life in the meantime?

Whilst any legal action is ongoing the landlords property is probably getting ruined, they may not receive rent, the neighbours get very upset and the landlords ends up with a huge bill.

The fear of reporting such problems runs deep. Will the local authorities use the problem against the landlord? Will they take pictures of the property and use them in their anti-landlord propaganda to justify licensing schemes? Will the local authority press charges against the landlord for the state of the property, which may well have been perfect when they first rented it to Mr & Mrs Lovely?

In many cases, inventories prepared by landlords are not up to scratch so the fear of reporting problems is that tenants will claim the property was a death trap from day one and the landlord becomes a victim twice over!

I am hoping that any TRO’s (Tenancy Relations Officers), EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) and others with the powers to actually do something about this will comment on the problem as well as landlords and letting agents. Subletting Scams - why landlords are afraid to report them

 


PRS Industry spokesman – please stand up! Latest Articles

Can you help me? Who would you consider to be the official spokesperson/body for the lettings industry? I’ve only been in this industry for 12 months, so I’m still relatively a novice compared to most! But I would have thought ARLA? Yes? Anyone else?

I’m still fuming after only just catching up with the Watchdog / Rogue Traders episode from earlier in the week, when the last comment to screen was some ‘Letting agents, don’t act illegally’ – or words to that effect…so now 4.5m viewers think that most of the lettings agents are criminals! Yes I know it makes good TV, but where was the industry spokesperson saying that 99.5% of the industry aren’t like that?

If this was a business that had been featured, there would have been crisis PR in action immediately. Take Johnson & Johnson or EE who were also covered on that programme – there was an immediate response (albeit a bit wishy washy in some cases), but at least there was a response and not complete radio-silence. There wasn’t a single reference to this episode on the ARLA website this week (apologies if I’ve missed it and it was there).

So when did the PRS get such a bad rap? I read a thread somewhere that it was around a year ago that it started getting really bad in the media. I know we aren’t going to stop bad stories being publicised – nor should we, it’s a free country & a media-driven culture after all – but the industry needs to at least stand up for itself a bit more. I know that idiot company weren’t ARLA, they probably weren’t even regulated by TPO, but there needs to be an industry spokesman/body who stands up for the whole industry. Who is it?PRS Industry spokesman - please stand up

The benefit of being new to this industry is that I can look at it with the benefit of the experience of other sectors – and I can assure you that if it was a solicitor or an accountant that was being shown up on Watchdog, those trade bodies would have their PR teams all over it! (and I’m no particular fan of the way ICAEW run themselves, but I’ll give them their due – they are very vocal & have helped over the past 100+ years to form the way their industry should be portrayed). We are still a relatively new sector – we need the same strategy! The majority of us want to increase standards across the board – let’s shout that from the rooftops (even more!)


Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me! Latest Articles

I am a long-time reader (and I suppose a ‘silent supporter’) of property118.com (and previous Money Centre client) having been a landlord since 2004. I have three properties which I rent out, one of which I manage myself, the other two are with two different letting agents. This is, however, the first time I have posted anything on the site

This isn’t a particularly complicated issue to explain, basically I got a phone call a few weeks ago from the letting agent for a flat I have in Glasgow, which is a one bedroom flat built in 2007, telling me the client had reported that there was no hot water. They asked me if I wanted to deal with this myself, or if I wanted them to go ahead and get someone out to see what the problem was. Wanting to minimise the inconvenience to my perfectly good tenants, I told the agent to go ahead and get an engineer out, and then heard nothing further about the matter. I assumed that it had probably been a straightforward repair on a six year old boiler (which had previously been completely trouble-free), and in my mind I was expecting a charge of maybe £100 or so to appear on my statement. Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me

This morning in the post my monthly statement arrived, and I was stunned and angered to see an entry relating to a replacement (new) boiler, at a cost of £566! Although that doesn’t sound particularly expensive to me for a boiler, my concerns are numerous:

Was the problem really so bad on a six year old boiler that it needed replaced? If I had known I’d have got a second opinion at the very least! I may have had some recourse to go back to the builder (for example) I bought the property from.

Why was I not informed that the boiler was condemned? I would have thought this is a fairly major event.

Even if this was the only course of action available, why was I not given the opportunity to have any input into which new boiler was fitted? (after all, I am paying for it as it stands)

I simply cannot believe the complete lack of communication from my letting agent over this, and wondered if any members here had had any similar experiences, or could offer any professional (legal?) advice, please. The way I am feeling as I type this, I feel I should not have to pay for this new boiler at all, given the appalling way the matter has been handled, although perhaps this is a little extreme and just my state of shock at today’s news.

Thanks in advance for any help given.

Regards

Gary


Reluctant landlords begin slow exit from private rented sector Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management

Latest ARLA research also shows regional variation in tenant demand.

The number of reluctant landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) is falling*, according to research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Over the past three months, ARLA member offices have reported a decrease from 26% to 21% in the proportion of rental property coming onto the market because it cannot be sold. This also represents a sharp drop of 21% on the figure of 42% recorded last year.

As these reluctant landlords stop entering the sector, tenants are still faced with strong competition for rental homes. 52% of ARLA members said there were more tenants than properties available. While this represents an incremental fall on tenant-property ratio from the 54% recorded in the previous quarter, this statistic shows that PRS accommodation remains in high demand.

The South East (excluding London) has the highest proportion of members reporting more tenants than properties (67%), whereas London, surprisingly, has the lowest, with just 17% experiencing this trend.

Despite this competition among tenants for properties, there has been an overall fall in the number struggling to meet rental payments. The current figure of 35% remains high, but represents a fall of 5% from the figure of 40% recorded at the same time in 2012.

Ian Potter of ARLAIan Potter, Managing Director, ARLA, said: “Much has been written recently about the recovery of the residential sales market, and it would appear that these effects are now being felt in the private rented sector. While the departure of ‘accidental landlords’ from the sector will be a good thing for the individuals concerned, there is a real and ongoing worry about the level of rental properly supply across the country.

“With competition for the best properties remaining fierce, landlords and tenants alike can benefit hugely from seeking the advice of an ARLA agent. All ARLA licensed agents must adhere to a strict code of conduct, as well as offering client money protection and redress schemes, which protect all parties if things go wrong.”  

It may not be practical or desirable to manage your own properties for the reasons listed below if ….

  • you are new to being a landlord and fearful of getting things wrong
  • your time is more valuable to you
  • your properties are located inconveniently for you to arrange viewings and meet with tenants as required
  • you prefer to distance yourself from the management of your property portfolio and relationships with tenants.

If any of the above apply to you then a fully managed service might be better suited to your needs. See the letting section of this website or complete the form below for more details of the ARLA agent recommended by Property118. Property Management is available for a little as £14.99 per month + VAT.

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Fit and Proper Landlords and Tenants – Consequences? Latest Articles

I have heard the words “Fit and Proper” mentioned a lot of late in terms of regulation of landlords and letting agents.

It would appear that society would like fit and proper landlords only to rent their properties to fit and proper tenants.

* When deciding whether or not a landlord is a fit and proper person to let out property the authorities in Scotland perform the following checks to ensure there is no ……

  • Information showing that the landlord has committed fraud, or violent or drug related offences.
  • Evidence of discrimination in any business activity.
  • Information showing that they have broken any other laws in relation to housing.
  • Information showing that they are a bad landlord, or that they have been a bad landlord in the past.
  • Antisocial behaviour problems in any properties the landlord rents out or is responsible for.
  • If the landlord has an agreement with a letting agent (or anyone else who’s acting on their behalf in letting the property), that the terms of that agreement are adequate.
  • Anything else which is relevant.

Now as any NIMBY will tell you, nobody wants a landlord to let a property to a bad tenant in their area. Therefore, the government also want landlords to be responsible for ensuring their tenants are entitled to live and work in the UK and also to be accountable for any anti social behaviour of their tenants. In fact, it was anti social behaviour which spurned the Scottish Government to make landlord registration compulsory. In other words, a landlord could actually be prosecuted for the behaviour of his tenants. Therefore, landlords also need to ensure their tenants are fit and proper law abiding citizens and will not be a nuisance to their neighbours or society in general.

Wonderful you might think!

Fit and Proper Landlords and Tenants

But let me ask you a question; what about the people who are not “fit and proper”?

Where will tenants who are not fit and proper live?

The days of shipping undesirables off to the Colonies or taking them to the nearest place of execution where they shall be hung by the neck until they are dead, dead dead are long gone!

So what’s the answer?

* Source:-

http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_topics/renting_rights/landlord_registration/the_fit_and_proper_person_test


Buying student let with students in situ Latest Articles

I am a brand new investor and first time landlord so please excuse my ignorance but I am learning from your site!!

I am about to purchase a student let house in a university city with 3 students already in tenancy until July 2014. The current landlord operates the let with a letting agent who find tenants, set up agreements, referencing etc and check them in for a fee of £500. The management of the property is then taken by the landlord.

My question is will I have a problem with renewals if I elect to go down this route and become liable for a renewal at the end of their tenancy should they wish to stay another term. Also, I assume the landlord has already paid this finders fee – would I then have to pay it again for the current tenants or pay proportionately. Any advice would be greatly appreciated before I have to negotiate with the letting agent. Buying student let with students in situ

Many thanks.

Dee


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