Compulsory redress schemes for UK letting and property management agents confirmed

April 18th, 2014

All letting and property management agents in the UK will be required to join an approved redress scheme later this year under new plans announced by Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.

Millions of tenants and lease holders will receive stronger protection from unscrupulous letting agents under the three approved redress schemes which Hopkins said will ensure they have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account.

The three schemes are The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Redress Scheme. They will offer independent investigation of complaints about hidden fees or poor service. Where a complaint is upheld, tenants and lease holders could receive compensation. Continue reading »

UK interest rate rises could affect buy to let landlord expansion, it is claimed

April 17th, 2014

UK landlords are being advised to be cautious when considering expanding their buy to let portfolios due to a risk that interest rates could rise sooner than expected.

With unemployment down and wage growth rising above inflation for the first time in years the historic low interest rates seen in the UK could start to creep up, according to Landlord Assist, a nationwide tenant eviction and referencing firm. It says that while the UK buy to let market may be currently experiencing a shortage of property caused by exceptional demand, landlords considering taking advantage of historically low interest rates to expand their portfolios need to think ahead. Continue reading »

Buy-to-let rental returns fall in nine regions out of ten

April 16th, 2014

Yields are down as rents fall behind the rise in property prices

Private landlords are experiencing a decline in rental returns across most of the country, latest data shows. Continue reading »

Big rise in complaints to ombudsman about letting agents

April 15th, 2014

There was a 23% rise in complaints to the Property Ombudsman last year, according to its annual report, published this morning.

While most of the 16,378 inquiries did not proceed beyond the initial complaint stage, 2,187 cases did.

Noticeably, most of the initial complaints – 10,179 – were lettings related. By comparison, 5,319 of the initial complaints were against sales agents.

Ombudsman Christopher Hamer repeated his call for regulation of the lettings sector, saying it should become a priority after the General Election. Continue reading »

BTL investors under scrutiny from HMRC

April 14th, 2014

Profits from BTL properties are increasingly coming under close scrutiny from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which suspects some buy to let investors are underpaying their tax bills.

HMRC is now running a Let Property Campaign to encourage landlords to come clean, or risk higher penalties.  Although HMRC is on the lookout, buy-to-let is well designed as a tax efficient investment that can help to keep the size of an investor’s tax bill to the minimum. Continue reading »

Shocking NUS Housing Survey Reinforces Need for Purpose-Built Student Accommodation

April 11th, 2014

‘Homes Fit for Study’ released by the NUS last month revealed that more than three quarters (76%) of respondents had experienced problems with the condition of their home in the private rented sector. From mould to mice, the report reinforces a need for new quality housing. Continue reading »

Living standards will improve in 2014

April 10th, 2014

Rent rises will be overtaken by wage growth in 2014, while disposable income for those in the private rented sector is set to grow for the first whole year since the financial crisis, analysis from LSL Property Services has revealed.

Promisingly household disposable income will rise in real terms for the first year since 2009, as rents will grow by 1.7% annually while average earnings will increase by just 2.2%.

Just 1.4% of all tenancies will face rent arrears, down from 2.3% in 2013. Continue reading »

Universal Credit driving landlords away from housing benefit tenants

April 9th, 2014

Confusion as to how welfare reforms will tackle rent arrears will cause larger landlords to reduce the number of properties they let to those on housing benefits, according to new research. Continue reading »

Landlords’ optimism of getting B2L finance at all-time high

April 8th, 2014

Landlords’ views on the availability of buy-to-let mortgage finance have reached the highest post-crisis level according to a survey by Paragon Mortgages.

The survey of 200 landlords revealed that 44 per cent of landlords felt buy-to-let finance was readily available in the first quarter of 2014, up 2 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

It also represents the highest level since the survey was first conducted in 2010. Continue reading »

Number of serious rent arrears fall

April 4th, 2014

Tenants struggling with late rent have made significant progress in the last twelve months, the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker by LSL Property Services has revealed.

As of the first quarter of 2014, the number of tenants in severe arrears – those more than two months behind on their rent – stands at 68,000, down from 105,000 in the same period last year.

Representing a 35% annual improvement, this comes despite an 11.1% seasonal increase in cases of severe arrears between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014. Continue reading »