letting agents in England to be regulated

Fears over death-trap homes as majority of councils fail to fine rogue landlords

More than half the councils in London failed to use new powers to fine rogue landlords last year, leading to criticism town halls are not doing enough to protect vulnerable tenants in “deathtrap” homes. Only nine of the 33 local authorities issued civil penalties in the 2017/18 financial year, according to figures obtained via Freedom of Information. A further four did not provide figures, but 20 admitted that they had not issued a single…

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Agency caught up in sub-let scandal of homes let on Airbnb

The Daily Mail has unveiled an extensive network of homes advertised on Airbnb but actually being sub-let by tenants who are believed not to have informed the actual owners. In one instance, a lettings agency appears to have become unwittingly involved. “Natali Rossi, 37, was arrested and cautioned for fraud after she failed to tell the owner of a £1.5m Soho flat that she was earning thousands of pounds a…

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Improved energy efficiency Central Housing Group

Top tips for a more energy efficient home in 2019

For many reasons, large numbers of us now aim to become more energy efficient around our homes. Being energy efficient impacts simple actions like switching on a light, opening a fridge or heating water. Here are heating experts,Hometree’s top tips for becoming energy efficient in 2019. 1: Replace your traditional boiler with an energy efficient boiler: We often like to forget about our boiler and hide it away in a cupboard,…

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More PRS landlords are seeing their tenants in arrears

Almost two-thirds of private landlords with tenants receiving Universal Credit have experienced them falling into rent arrears. Based on responses from more than 2,200 landlords, the Residential Landlords Association found that 61 per cent of landlords with tenants on UC have seen them in rent arrears. This is up from 27 per cent in 2016. The research found that on average tenants claiming UC and in rent arrears owed almost…

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Dangerous asbestos release in rental property leads to big fines

A landlord and building contractor have been fined after quantities of asbestos fibres were released from the demolition of a conservatory at a rented property. Just before Christmas, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how the landlord commissioned a building contractor to replace a conservatory containing asbestos panels at a property in Selly Oak, Birmingham, in August. Asbestos was spread as the panels were removed in a haphazard and uncontained way. An…

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Council ‘celebrates’ £300,000 penalties on private rental sector in 2018

A local authority has taken the unusual step of issuing a celebratory press release stating that it issued penalty notices adding up to £304,250 on buy to let investors in the first 11 months of 2018. Havering council says its action this year included 108 financial penalty notices,16 housing-related notices served to address poor housing standards, plus 181 licence applications. It total some £144,854 was raised by this one local…

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Agency banned from running Airbnb short-let in residential block

A lettings agency has been banned from running an Airbnb let in a residential block. It relates to a block in Glasgow and is thought to be the first ban of its kind in the UK. Scottish media report that Stephen McGlone, who owns the Westgate agency, lost an appeal heard by the Scottish Government, against an enforcement notice to be issued by Glasgow City Council. The Herald Scotland website says…

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Countrywide reports huge fall in number of overseas landlords

The proportion of homes let by an overseas based landlord has more than halved in the last eight years according to a report by Countrywide’s upmarket lettings brand, Hamptons International. In 2010 when its records began, overseas based landlords let 14.4 per cent of homes in Great Britain, but this has fallen to just 5.8 per cent in the first 11 months of 2018 – the lowest level on record.…

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Buy to let property owners Central Housing Group

Government revises rental property minimum room size guidance

In an announcement made just hours before much of the industry started its Christmas break, the government has clarified its guidance on minimum room sizes. Since October this year, rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 years old have had to be at least  6.51 square metres, and those slept in by two people over 10 years old will have had to at least 10.22 square metres. Rooms…

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HMO Licensing Conditions Central Housing Group

Millionaire buy to let landlord has £25,000 bill after disability row

Famous buy to let landlord Judith Wilson has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay almost £15,000 costs for failing to comply with an enforcement notice ordering her to supply hot water to a disabled tenant. With her husband Fergus, Judith Wilson owns hundreds of buy to let units in Kent. She pleaded guilty at a hearing in November and now this week, returning to court for sentencing, she has…

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Embattled Labour mayor wants rent controls – but has no powers

Embattled London Labour mayor Sadiq Khan says he wants rent controls to be introduced in the capital’s private rental sector, but he can’t do anything about it. Khan has in recent days been sharply criticised for the uncertainty that surrounds his awareness of the most recent delays to and overspend by the huge Crossrail project. The former chairman of Crossrail, Sir Terry Morgan, says he raised concerns over progress on…

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Rental Market Central Housing Group

Big rise in tenants sourcing properties through letting agents

The number of tenants saying they are using letting agents to find a place to live has increased 12 per cent in the past year claims Zoopla. It says 48 per cent of tenants used a letting agent to source accommodation this year, a significant uplift from the 36 per cent recorded last year. The portal says increasing demand for agents’ services will come as a welcome boost for the…

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3 year tenancies Central Housing Group

Tenants ‘know too little about the rental sector’ suggests report

Tenants know very little about their rights and responsibilities as renters according to a new survey produced by TotallyMoney. Some 97 per cent do not know their full rights as renters, while 50 per cent don’t know if their landlord could change their rent without notifying them, and 38 per cent don’t know when the landlord is allowed to enter the property. The website, which has now produced a booklet…

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40% of BTL properties as limited companies

Rogue landlords: 90% of local authorities fail to issue fines

FoI responses from 293 English councils reveal string of weaknesses in private rented market law Almost 90% of local authorities failed to use new powers to fine rogue landlords last year, in the latest finding to suggest tenants are being failed by a lax enforcement regime. It follows a Guardian and ITV News investigation in October, which revealed a string of weaknesses in the legislation governing the private rented market and which…

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Buy to let property owners Central Housing Group

Politicians again hurting our industry, say agents and landlords

Agents and landlords have united against what is being seen as the latest attack on the private rental sector by the government. In May the government said it would cap deposits at six weeks rent but yesterday it reneged on the agreement saying it would be five weeks for annual rentals of under £50,000 and six weeks for above. The industry is furious. David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, says:…

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Brexit uncertainty fuels more rental demand, says lettings agency

Continued political and economic uncertainty is likely to fuel increased tenant demand in the private rented sector, says Haart. The company’s latest figures show the number of tenants entering the market across England and Wales has risen by 17.4 per cent year on year – and is up by 24.6 per cent in London. However, the number of new landlords registering to buy has dropped by 37 per cent over…

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Council rental licensing schemes Central Housing Group

Sigh of relief as London council delays enforcement action timetable

One of London’s most enthusiastic councils for additional and selective licensing has pushed back the date for enforcement action against landlords and their agents. The website London Property Licensing says that the deadline for applications for licences under Hackney council’s new schemes had been set for Sunday with enforcement action scheduled to start yesterday, but the council has extended the deadline until February 28. In October the council introduced a…

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Rental Standards Central Housing Group

5 top tips for private landlords over winter

According to research, 49% of people aren’t looking forward to winter (a surprisingly low number in my opinion!) and many will worry about whether their home will hold up to the freezing temperatures, heavy rain, strong winds, and potential snowfall that the coldest season of the year brings. Because of this, and with a growing number of private landlords in the UK, it is important to make sure that their…

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Licensing: councils slammed for failing to police their own schemes

Two thirds of local authorities in England and Wales brought no prosecutions against private landlords in 2017/18 according to research by the Residential Landlords Association. Nearly a fifth of councils didn’t even issue any Improvement Notices which order a landlord to carry out certain repairs or improvements to a property. Following the introduction in April 2017 of new powers for councils to issue civil penalties against landlords failing to provide acceptable…

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A third of Millennials say they’ll never own a home

New figures show why the rental market is seeing such strong demand. The data shows that some 28 per cent of Britons under the age of 35 have no money set aside for a deposit on a house. Of the remaining 72 per cent, the average amount saved was found to be £6,120 – that’s under a fifth of the average deposit for a house in the UK. And 30…

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