Trading Standards adopting ‘lighter touch’ approach to new lettings agent law

June 10th, 2015

Two weeks have now passed since the introduction of new laws that require letting agents in England to display details of all fees and charges on their websites and prominently in their offices. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to £5,000. Research from Property Industry Eye indicates that compliance with the new laws remains very low, yet active policing of the obligations could be lower still. The publication has viewed correspondence from Trading Standards stating that whilst they are actively engaging with the new rules, a ‘lighter touch’ on enforcement will be adopted in the early days as the matter is not safety related and also due to the fact that the institute has not received additional resources to carry out the extra duties.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/cash-starved-trading-standards-may-not-rush-to-police-new-letting-agents-law/

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


Tenants hit by rent increases

June 9th, 2015

Research by Ocean Finance found that 60% of tenants claim that their rent has been increased at the end of their tenancy. The average such increase was £84 per month. 13% of tenants also claimed to have been hit with fees to extend their tenancy agreement with an average fee value of £117. Given that more than half of tenants stay in the same house for five years or more, such fees are becoming difficult to justify.

Full story available from Mortgage Solutions: http://www.mortgagesolutions.co.uk/mortgage-solutions/news/2412232/tenants-hit-as-landlords-jack-up-rents#

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


Guidance for agents in relation to display fees

May 21st, 2015

With the legal requirement to display details of all charges on websites and in offices coming into force on 27th May, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has created a set of templates to assist agents. The templates are available here:

http://www.arla.co.uk/news/may-2015/download-the-arla-template-and-display-your-fees/

Official guidance states that fees should be visible in an agent’s office so that they can be clearly seen by customers. Furthermore fees must be comprehensive and clearly defined. All costs must include tax.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2015/5/help-for-agents-who-must-display-fees-from-next-week

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


Ban of letting agency fees requires further research says MPs

March 25th, 2015

According to an influential group of MPs the next government should assess the possible impact on the private rented sector before making any decision either to implement, or rule out, a ban on letting agents’ fees in England. The Communities and Local Government committee says that evidence from the existing ban in Scotland is not robust enough to make a decision on a ban in England. A report from the committee states that the next government should base any policy decision on the net impact on tenants’ costs and the private rented sector.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/1626-mps-want-research-on-lettings-agency-fees-ban

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


Property Redress Scheme issues guides on unfair fees

February 25th, 2015

Two guidance notes for agents regarding fees have been issued by the Property Redress Scheme. The PRS revealed last month that the most common grievance made against agent members involved unfair or excessive fees charged to landlords and tenants. The first guide is for landlords and their agents and covers the advertising of fees and description of agents’ services. The second guide relates to agents and their fee transparency towards tenants.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/1522-property-redress-scheme-guides-on-unfair-agency-fees

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

 


Landlords face a hike in eviction costs for a second successive year under government proposals

January 28th, 2015

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is, until 27 February, consulting on raising the fee for possession claims in the County Court by £75 per claim – as part of a plan to save the department £55m a year.

It would mean that the cost of filing a paper application for possession would rise from £280 to £355 and the cost of filing an online application would increase from £250 to £325 . The possession fee increase is the second rise in two years. In April 2014, the government hiked up the fee from £100 for online claims and from £175 for paper claims.

Read the full story on Inside Housing

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


Excessive fees are top complaints, says redress chief

January 20th, 2015

The Property Redress Scheme, is claiming an increase in consumer complaints against lettings agents and property management firms as the right to redress becomes better known to the public. The major causes of complaint have been claims of excessive fees (21 per cent), the non return of deposits (18 per cent) and perceived poor service or lack of communication (also 18 per cent).

Read the full story on Letting Agent Today

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


Fair compensation calculations needed for good lettings relationship

January 6th, 2015

The Association of Independent Inventory Associations (AIIC) has claimed that calculating the right compensation charges at the end of tenancies is the holy grail of lettings and getting it wrong can lead to unnecessary disputes with tenants.

With many landlords and agents responsible for calculating the cost for compensation charges against a tenant, they need to remember that everyone’s expectations are different and so would be best to explain to their tenants how they have worked out the compensation deductions.  Showing how charges have been arrived at should leave all parties involved happier about the decision and therefore lead to less disputes.

Read the full article on Property Wire

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


Scotland see’s stronger annual rent growth than England and Wales

November 26th, 2014

In England and Wales monthly rents increased just 1.5% on average in the past year, where as in Scotland average residential rents are up 2.2% compared to a year ago, the latest index shows.

With the rent rises have been attributed to the changes to lettings legislation that made tenancy fees illegal. The introduction of any further lettings controls or restrictions by the Scottish government could further disrupt the growth of rents and potentially ostracise existing landlords and discourage new investment in the private rented sector.

Read the full story on Property Wire

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


Advertising Tenancy Fees

October 17th, 2014

As you may be aware, recent new guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA, previously the Office of Fair Trading) and agreed with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), states that all rental property adverts on portals need to reference tenancy fees, and that information on the actual fees a letting agent charges also needs to be provided.

Rightmove have updated their portal feed to allow this information to be sent through and displayed in a light-box which will appear when a user clicks the “fees apply” link.  This light-box currently contains generic fee information text as agreed with the ASA.  In line with this, RentPro has been updated to allow this information to be added so that it can be fed through to Rightmove, and other portals as they make this change.

The ASA will require that agents update their stock on Rightmove by the end of November. We have therefore introduced this field well in advance of this point so that agents have sufficient time to provide the required information on existing and new stock.  It will be the agent’s responsibility to comply with the guidance and provide specific tenancy fee information.

We realise that the same set of fees may apply to all properties that you market. As such, you can define a standard statement via Admin > Control Panel > Portals tab. This statement will be included in all new properties added to RentPro. Note that all existing properties that you intend to advertise via a property portal, or your agency website will have to be manually updated.