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.


Requirement for all Welsh letting agents and landlords to be licensed

September 19th, 2014

After the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 becomes law all letting agents and private landlords in Wales will have to be licensed. The Welsh Agents and Landlords Licensing Scheme (WALLS) will require “fit and proper” checks to be performed on all agents and landlord. Those landlords that fail the check or chose not be registered must use an agent. Agents will be required to belong to and approved body, such as ARLA or NALS, and also register, pass a suitability test and become licensed.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/every-single-letting-agent-wales-will-now-licensed/

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


Green Deal shambles could result in empty properties

September 5th, 2014

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has called for an extension to the deadline for rented properties to reach minimum energy efficiency standards after the difficulties experienced in introducing Green Deal finance into the sector. With this finance currently unavailable, landlords may opt not to invest the necessary funds to ensure their properties comply with the regulations and instead simply leave their properties empty.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today

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


West Midlands announced as pilot area for immigration checks

September 4th, 2014

The government has announced that the pilot area for landlords and agents to conduct immigration checks on migrant tenants will be the West Midlands, with Wolverhampton and Birmingham being the core centres of the test area. The project will start on 1st December.

When the pilot commences, agents and private landlords will have to vet their tenants to ensure they are legally entitled to reside in the country. Those failing to undertake the necessary checks, or failing to prevent illegal immigrants from renting, could face fines running into thousands or pounds.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=907:pilot-area-announced-for-checks-on-migrant-tenants&Itemid=857

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


Government confirms redress scheme starts October 1

August 28th, 2014

The Department of Communities and Local Government has confirmed that the lettings sector’s compulsory redress scheme will begin on October 1. Under the scheme any lettings agency in England found not to be in one of three official schemes can be fined up to £5,000. The three schemes are the Property Redress Scheme, Ombudsman Services Property and The Property Ombudsman.

Full story available from Letting Agent Today: http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/878-dclg-confirms-redress-regime-starts-october-1

 RentPro cloud based 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.


Landlords fail to research prior to investing

August 4th, 2014

Research conduced by Platinum Property Partners shows that many buy-to-let investors carry out no or little research before making property purchases. Such news is surprising given that the value of the average property portfolio in the UK is worth £650,000. With typical investment periods of fifteen years even a small increase in the gross yield of a property can result in significant gains. This can be achieved by diligent research before investing.

Full story available from Property Reporter: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/view.asp?ID=14095

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


Banning of rental properties with low EPC ratings moves a step closer

July 24th, 2014

A new consultation has been launched which states that that minimum standard for all rental properties will be an EPC rating of E. If implemented it will not be possible to rent properties that fail to meet this standard to new tenants from 1st April 2018.

Full story available from Property Industry Eye: http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/ministers-move-closer-banning-rental-properties-low-epcs/

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


New immigration legislation worries landlords

July 17th, 2014

80% of landlords are worried about the new immigration legislation which comes into force in October 2014. These are the findings of a study conducted by The Online Letting Agents. Such worries could lead to housing shortage for a growing segment of the population if landlord and letting agents refuse potential tenants if they believe them to be immigrants.

Full story available from Property Reporter: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/view.asp?ID=14007

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


Campaign launched against licensing schemes in the private rented sector

July 15th, 2014

The new national campaign against selective licensing schemes is to seek a legal opinion on the issue of tenants’ legal rights to the peaceful enjoyment of their property.

The launch comes as Liverpool city council, wants landlords and agents to keep tenants and their visitors under what appears to be permanent surveillance as part of its proposed licensing scheme.

Read the full story on Property Industry Eye

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