Tag Archives: Letting Agent

Landlords Revolutionary Becomes Regulated Landlord Action, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Tenant Eviction, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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


Readers Questions & Discussion Threads Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Well over 50% of the articles appearing on Property118 are readers questions and discussion threads. We will always do our best to answer your questions but remember, there are 1,000’s of landlords, letting agents and other property professionals reading our Property Forum who are also keen to help. Readers Questions


Eviction – Beat the Xmas rush Landlord Action, Latest Articles, Tenant Eviction, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

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


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