School catchment area high on list of priorities for house hunters

August 28th, 2015

The proximity of a property to a school ranks highly in the wish list of would be buyers and renters in the UK. In a survey conducted by online estate agents Urban, some 95% of buyers and 81% of renters would pay up to 25% more to live in a home in close proximity to a school. Furthermore, 30% of tenants searching for a property expressed the school catchment area as their top concern, compared to 15% of respondents who chose close proximity to a town and the 17% who desired to be near a train station.

Full story available from Property Wire: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-property-prices-schools-2015082810917.html

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Rogue letting agents should be banned from industry says ARLA

August 27th, 2015

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has told Government ministers that all letting agents should be professionally qualified, with rogue agents banned from the industry. The association also wants to see bans in place whereby prohibited sales agents cannot work in lettings. These calls were made in an official response to the Communities and Local Government consultation on its discussion paper, Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/arla-calls-for-rogue-letting-agents-to-be-banned-from-industry/

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Rents will continue to rise unless more properties are built

August 26th, 2015

This month it was revealed that almost 40% of former homes sold at a discounted rate under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme are now being let out on the private rental market.  The rents for these properties can also be up to seven times the cost of the average social rents, thus potentially netting their owners some tidy profits.  With the Government looking to extend the current Right to Buy scheme but not taking the appropriate measures to replace these properties that are sold, this will only compound the current housing situation of a lack of affordable homes and as some have argued will only add to the benefit bill rather than reducing it.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, has defended the extension of the Right to Buy scheme claiming that “More council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years. However, it is important that councils make the best use of their assets and manage their housing stock as efficiently as possible. So it is right that as high value council homes become empty they should be sold to fund new affordable housebuilding in the same area.”  As sound a policy as this may seem on paper it has been suggested this month that Housing Associations may turn their attentions towards the Private Rented Sector (PRS) to make up for the financial loss of selling their stock.  They even have the option of the government’s Private Rented Sector Housing Guarantee Scheme that requires developments to be of a minimum value of £10m and to deliver residential developments only.  With the PRS in desperate need of more purpose-built stock, coupled with the need to improve the standard of housing, Housing associations delivering PRS schemes could not only raise the standard of housing but also help to alleviate some of the strain on the fastest-growing tenure type in the UK.

Building more properties needs to be a priority for the government moving forward.  This month it was revealed that the average rent has hit over £800 in England and Wales, landlords hold onto a rental property for an average of 17 years, and with a growing number of private landlords along with the growing number of UK households these price increases of rent are only set to continue unless more houses are built.

With such demand for housing it was surprising to many landlords and letting agents that the Government in its Summer Budget included an announcement that mortgage tax relief for buy-to-let home buyers was to be restricted to the basic rate of income tax.  Many have argued that this will only lead to further rent rises to cover the financial hit of the new tax rules.  However this month, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) did meet with the Treasury and though it was clear the Government will not be doing a U-Turn on this, the RLA have however, been asked to propose other ‘tax solutions’ to the Treasury. As such, the RLA is now asking landlords and letting agents to put forward their own proposals for a new tax relief system. The RLA intend to take received proposals back to the Treasury next month.


Scottish Government launches code of practice consultation for letting agents

August 26th, 2015

A consultation period for a proposed code of practice for letting agents has been launched by the Scottish Government. Included in the proposals are requirements for letting agents to undergo training before they can be added to a register. The proposals also outline, a statutory code of practice that all letting agents must follow, a mechanism for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents and powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2015/8/code-of-practice-for-letting-agents-consultation-launched

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


50% increase in evictions over past 4 years

August 25th, 2015

According to figures published by the Ministry of Justice in August 2015, 0ver 43,000 households in rented housing in England and Wales were evicted by county court bailiffs in the 12 months to June, representing a 50 per cent increase in the past four years.

Housing charities are blaming benefits cuts for the increase in evictions.  Private landlords have of necessity a much lower tolerance for rent arrears than their council and housing association counterparts and will act more quickly to evict and re-let to rent paying tenants.  As the private sector has taken more and more supported tenants, the amount of housing benefit being paid to private landlords has tripled in the past decade, to £9.3bn a year in 2013-14.

Read the full story on LandlordZone

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Average rents exceed £800 for the first time in England and Wales

August 24th, 2015

According to new data from the latest buy-to-let index from Your Move and Reeds Rains, rents in England and Wales rose by 1.9% in July to £804. This represents the fastest month on month increase since records began in 2009. The rapid rises can be explained by the demand for rental properties outstripping the available stock and thus driving up rents even faster than house prices. Only two regions saw falling rents on a monthly basis with a 0.1% month on month drop in Wales and the East of England.

Full story available from Property Wire: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/england-wales-rent-index-2015082410896.html

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Buy-to-let landlords given hope over tax reforms

August 21st, 2015

The Summer Budget in the UK included an announcement that interest relief would be limited to the basic rate of tax. This measure will be gradually introduced between April 2017 and April 2020. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) estimates that a landlord with a £150,000 buy-to-let mortgage on a property worth £200,000 may see their profit fall from around £2,160 to £960 per year. The RLA’s policy driector, David Smith, met with Treasury officials and afterwards reported that is was clear that the government would not be performing a U-turn on the Budget announcement.  The RLA have however, been asked to propose other ‘tax solutions’ to the Treasury. As such, the RLA is now asking landlords and letting agents to put forward their own proposals for a new tax relief system. The RLA intend to take received proposals back to the Treasury next month.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/hope-for-letting-agents-over-mortgage-interest-relief/

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Legislation on legionella has not been changed

August 20th, 2015

It has been claimed that some letting agents in the UK are misinterpreting landlord’s responsibilities regarding legionella risks to their tenants.  According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the legislation has not been changed and any misinterpretation or misunderstanding can impose unnecessary financial burdens on landlords where they are being charged for legionella testing and certificates they don’t actually need,’ said a HSE spokesman.

The HSE has produced free practical guidance for landlords which is available on its website on how to manage and control the risks in your system. The spokesman said that following the guidance is not compulsory and landlords are free to take other action, but if they do follow the guidance they will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

The guidance can be found here on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm#Landlord

Read the full story on Property Wire

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Misinformation being spread in relation to new licensing system

August 19th, 2015

From autumn 2015 all private landlords who rent out accommodation in Wales will be required to register with Rent Smart Wales under part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. In addition, those agents and managing landlords who undertake the day to day tasks of managing the rented property will need to undergo training to obtain a licence. Ross Hooper-Nash from Cardiff agency Jeffrey Ross claims that marketing emails are in circulation stating that agents must be ARLA members or have a Client Money Protection policy in place. Neither of these are part of the policy.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2015/8/letting-agent-warns-of-misinformation-about-new-licensing-system

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords


Transfer more evictions to High Court says Landlord Action

August 18th, 2015

Highlighting delays in obtaining a County Court bailiff appointment once a possession order has been granted, Landlord Action is campaigning to enable more eviction cases to be transferred up to the High Court. The delays in getting a bailiff appointment, often up to three months, along with possible additional delays in preparing the property and finding a new tenant, mean that landlords can suffer large losses during the eviction process. Cases that have been transferred up to the High Court and result in a Warrant for the High Court Enforcement Officer to act are generally resolved much quicker.

Full story available from Property Reporter: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/landlord-action-campaigns-to-transfer-more-evictions-to-high-court.html

RentPro cloud based rental property management software for letting agents and landlords