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.

 


Immigration Checks and a Code of Practice for the Private Rented Sector

September 29th, 2014

The beginning of this month seen the announcement of a pilot area for landlords being responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants.  The pilot area chosen was the West Midlands, with Wolverhampton and Birmingham being the core centres of the test area and they will begin the project on the 1st December.  However,  a recent article in LandlordZone highlighted that not all landlords in this area where aware of this upcoming pilot.  A survey carried out in the area found that only 20 of 43 participants from the Wolverhampton area had heard of the scheme and ‘raises questions about the government’s ability to ensure awareness amongst landlords in the area.’

The Government published its Code of Practice for the private rented sector, which was seen as a step in the right direction by ARLA’s managing director David Cox.  Key points relate to agents’ fees, the management of client money and safety checks, all of which have been issues that have in the news this month.  At the start of the month there was further calls to ban letting agent fees from a joint report from the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Resolution Foundation.  SAFEagent called on the government to make Client Monday Protection a legal requirement within the Consumer Rights Bill currently going through the Lords, and this month also seen Gas Safety Week where calls where made to make it a legal requirement that landlords should have carbon monoxide detectors in every rental property.

Looking forward to next month, with October 1st as the deadline for agents to be signed up to one of the three ombudsman schemes or face a fine of up to £5000 for non-compliance, it seems that agents are acting to comply.


Official code on lettings published

September 12th, 2014

Endorsed and commissioned by the UK Government, a new code has been published for the private rented sector. While parts of the code relate to mandatory legislation, most of the code sets out a model for best practice applying to both landlords and agents. Key points relate to agents’ fees, the management of client money and safety checks.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/important-new-official-code-lettings-published/

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


Housing minister to unveil new code for the private rented sector

September 11th, 2014

The UK housing minister, Brandon Lewis, will today unveil a new code for the private rented sector designed to provide guidance on how to achieve high standards. Aimed particularly at new and inexperienced landlords, the code will be presented at the RESI 2014 conference in Newport.

Full story available from 24dash.comhttp://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2014-09-11-Brandon-Lewis-to-unveil-new-PRS-code-as-landlords-rake-in-more-than-32-billion-a-year

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


Over half of tenants have experienced issues with agents and landlords

September 9th, 2014

A new study from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has found that almost two-thirds of renters do not check if their letting agent or landlord is licenced. This simply isn’t a consideration for many potential tenants which could be the reason for many problems that arise during a tenancy. Whilst such problems can occur, using a licenced agent does provide the tenant with additional peace of mind that the issue will be dealt with in a professional and timely manner.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=921:over-half-of-uk-tenants-have-problems-with-agents-and-landlord&Itemid=857

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


Further call to ban letting agent fees

September 2nd, 2014

A joint report from the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Resolution Foundation has called on letting agents’ fees to tenants to be banned. In an effort to raise the minimum standards in the private rented sector the report also wants additional tax breaks to be offered to landlords who sign up for a national accreditation scheme.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/new-call-letting-agent-fees-banned/

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


Fees ban adversely impacts tenants

August 27th, 2014

Evidence from the first Scotland Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move shows that rather helping tenants, the ban on charging tenant fees has actually resulted in the same tenants being worse off. In the two years prior to the ban, the average annual rental change stood at 0%. However, in the 21 months since the ban, rents in Scotland have increased by 2.3% – a rate much higher than that in England and Wales. This rise could be explained by agents charging increased fees to landlords to compensate for the loss of income from tenants. The landlords in turn are demanding a rise in rent to maintain their property income.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/anti-fees-campaigners-warned-rents-rise-ban/

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


Unscrupulous letting agents are ‘double dipping’

August 21st, 2014

Research published by Direct Line for Business has found evidence of both landlords and tenants being charges for the same service, such as tenant referencing and contract extensions which only amounted to a change of date.  The research also revealed the disparity in charges, with the cost of a letting agent completing an inventory on a property ranging from £65 to £300; property visits from £20 to £100; and the charges for managing a checkout from £30 to £125.

Read the full story on Property Reporter

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


New survey reveals that half of tenants feel ripped off

July 16th, 2014

A new survey conducted by Ocean Finance has revealed that half of tenants in the UK feel that they have been ripped off by either a private sector landlord or letting agent. The main cause of dissatisfaction is failure to get repairs done or in a timely fashion.

Full story available from PropertyWire: http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-tenants-landlords-survey-201407159357.html

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


Shelter ‘playing to people’s fears’

June 18th, 2014

The Residential Landlords Association has recently accused Shelter of ‘playing to people’s fears’  and warned that public policy must not be based on the opinions of problems which could be distorted.

Rather than playing to peoples fears the RLA has said that Shelter should come up with ideas on how to assist good landlords whilst rooting out the bad ones.

Read the full story on Residential Landlord

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