Posts with tag: letting agents

Landlords Should Pay Letting Agents for their Services, Not Tenants, Government Whip Insists

Published On: July 12, 2018 at 9:54 am


Categories: Landlord News,Tenant Fees Ban

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In response to questions raised over how successful the upcoming tenant fees ban will be, one Government Whip has insisted that landlords must be responsible for paying letting agents for their services, not tenants.

Nigel Adams, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, spoke out in response to concerns from Matthew Offord MP on how letting agents will cover their costs once they are prohibited from charging fees to tenants.

It has long been the suspicion throughout the housing industry that letting agents will simply pass on these costs to landlords in the form of higher fees.

Offord questioned Adams over what assessment has been made of how letting agents in England would cover the costs that are currently paid by tenants when the ability to charge such fees is abolished.

“The Tenant Fees Bill is not about driving letting agents out of business,” Adams stated in response. “Letting agents should be reimbursed for the valuable services they provide, but this must be by landlords rather than tenants.”

He insisted: “It is only fair that the party who contracts the service should pay for the service.”

However, he did have some slightly positive news for landlords: “We do not expect the full level of tenant fees that are charged currently by letting agents to be passed on to landlords. Currently, there is evidence of excessive charging by letting agents, such as double charging of both landlords and tenants, or charging more than the economic value of services provided.

“Good letting agents, providing services that represent value for money to landlords, will continue to play an important role in the market.”

Adams concluded with his belief that the ban will be successful: “This is what the provisions of the Bill will achieve – landlords will choose the agent that provides the quality of service that they are seeking at a price that they are willing to pay.”

The Government published an impact assessment to accompany the Bill, which can be accessed by clicking the following link:

Do you agree that it’s the landlord’s duty to pay a letting agent for their services, rather than their tenant’s?

Stay up to date with all developments on the tenant fees bill through our dedicated page:

Licensing Scheme Database Scheme from ARLA to help Agents stay Compliant

Published On: July 11, 2018 at 9:57 am


Categories: Lettings News

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A new database has been launched by ARLA Propertymark, in partnership with GetRentr, a technology platform created to automatically monitor property portfolios for compliance with all UK property licensing schemes.

This service has been made free for those who are members of ARLA Propertymark. It provides information on new licencing schemes coming into force during the next month, as well as those ending this month, and those which local authorities are consulting on and will come into effect in the near future.

For those of you who are ARLA Propertymark members, you will have the option to take a look at your local area and see the status of current licensing schemes. This is so that you will hopefully be able to understand which ones are needed, in order to avoid any penalties.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “There are hundreds of laws with which letting agents and landlords need to comply, and new licensing schemes are being introduced on an almost weekly basis, so it can be difficult to keep up.

“Those who aren’t compliant risk breaking the law, and could face banning orders or fines of up to £30,000.

“This new database, available to all members, will help agents mitigate these risks and comply with the ever-changing law.”

Orla Shields, chief executive of GetRentr, said: “While property licensing was introduced to raise rental accommodation standards, the proliferation to around 540 schemes has brought with it a huge administrative burden for landlords and agents.

“Remaining compliant is a never-ending task as new consultations or schemes can come into effect at any time, meaning compliance today does not guarantee compliance tomorrow.

“We’re really excited about our partnership with Propertymark as it will help protect agents from increasing fines, and ultimately help improve safety standards across the private rented sector.”

Scotland’s New Tenancy Arrangements call for Letting Agent Qualifications

Published On: July 11, 2018 at 8:58 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Scotland has witnessed some major legislative changes to its letting sector, resulting in a lot of movement within the entire Private Rented Sector (PRS). However, Galbraith, Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, believes that these changes are nothing to be feared by landlords.

In particular, one of the biggest changes includes Short Assured Tenancies by Private Residential being replaced by Private Residential Tenancies. This now offers tenants an increase in security of their tenure, along with a reduction of ways in which tenants may be subject to eviction.

The other notable change is that from 31st January this year, a new code of practise was introduced by the Scottish government, along with a mandatory register for letting agents. This new code has meant that key individuals in a letting agency must be trained to a certain level. They have until 30th September 2018 to receive the appropriate training, and if they fail to do so then they will not be allowed to continue letting properties.

Steps have already been taken by Galbraith to prepare its staff. Months before the new code comes into force, it has staff qualified at the highest level in all areas in which it lets properties. This includes Ayr, Castle Douglas, Cupar, Elgin, Galashiels, Inverness, Perth and Sterling.

Letting Agents could Benefit from Build to Rent

Bob Cherry, a partner with Galbraith who manages lettings activity for the firm, said: “Essentially these two legislative changes combined will add up to increased professionalism in the letting sector, particularly in terms of how letting agents operate.

“All reputable letting agents will already to a large extent be in compliance with the new code. What will happen is that fewer letting agents will set up in business and potentially fewer new landlords may come into the sector for the first time. As long as landlords take professional advice, they will be well supported to navigate the complexities of the new regulatory regime. In the medium term, rents are likely to rise, which can only be good news for landlords.

“Our lettings staff are supported to achieve the highest industry qualification delivered by ARLA Propertymark, the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents. This provides reassurance to tenants and landlords that Galbraith adheres to the highest professional standards.

“Our local knowledge and national reach ensures that landlords can expect a hassle-free let for their property and tenants are protected from unscrupulous landlords.

“We find that most rented properties will find a tenant very shortly after being made available to let, often within a couple of weeks. Further legislative changes over the next 18 months, in terms of the change in the minimum energy performance certificate permissible in Scotland will help to raise standards for available property.

“We have already begun helping landlords to comply with these requirements and, in many cases, we are able to help landlords access funding for improvements to their property which bring it into line with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations, often at no cost to them.

“Property is still viewed as one of the most popular and safest forms of investment and, with the right advice, can offer landlords a very appealing and long-term investment option, given the continued shortage of good quality housing supply.”

Letting Agent Ordered by Court to Repay Fees Charged to Tenant

Published On: July 5, 2018 at 9:21 am


Categories: Tenant News


A recent ruling by Belfast County court has meant that a letting agent has been ordered to repay fees to a tenant – Paul Loughran – that were charged before he started his tenancy.

The judgement of the Court considered the effect of a key piece of legislation, the Commission on the Disposal of Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. It’s anticipated that many tenants could benefit from these judgements, and that there could be positive changes in practices adopted by many local lettings agents going forward.

This news has been welcomed by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for South Belfast, Claire Hanna, comments:

“Agent letting fees have been a major issue in places like South Belfast where there are a large number of tenants renting privately. Many of these tenants have been charged on top of a month’s rent in advance, as well as a security deposit, placing too heavy a burden on individuals and families who are often a captive market.

Fees charged by an agent in Northern Ireland have been repaid to the tenant

Fees charged by an agent in Northern Ireland have been repaid to the tenant

“The SDLP understands the private rented sector is an important part of the housing market, but there must be fairness and transparency in the process to ensure tenants are protected.

“Landlords paying agents to deliver tenancies is part of the routine letting and landlord management process, and not the responsibility of the tenant themselves – these tenant fees effectively allow the agent to be paid twice.

“The amount repayable to tenants in Northern Ireland could amount to many hundreds of thousands of pounds and we will be monitoring developments closely and supporting the organisations campaigning to ensure this practice is stopped.

“The SDLP has long campaigned for regulation of letting agents to make sure that all fees are transparent and clearly stated on websites, promotional material and advertisements.

“As a former private rented sector tenant in the South Belfast myself, and as an MLA dealing with a high volume of housing related cases, I am well aware of the pressure facing tenants, including being asked for additional fees. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Paul Loughran for taking this case.”

The Tenants Fees Bill, in England, is coming into place and will seek to cap deposits at six weeks rent, as well as ban tenants fees charged by letting agents. Read more on the proposed changes here. There’s also a Welsh version, and the effects of this can be found here.

Are Letting Agents Mistreating Tenants? Consumer watchdog Which? Investigates

Published On: July 5, 2018 at 9:02 am


Categories: Tenant News

Tags: ,

With consideration of the previous story we covered this week, concerning the case of the tenant who threatened to kill his letting agent, we now investigate why tenants feel the need to retaliate in addition to how letting agents could be contributing negatively to this rage.

According to the #RentRage launched by Which?, tenants are being mistreated by their letting agents. Formulated as a hashtag on the social platform, Twitter, the purpose of #RentRage is to encourage tenants to expose and share their experiences.

The Consumer watchdog Which? undertook undercover research on 30 property viewings, spread across England and Scotland. Whilst there, they assessed the conditions of these properties in addition to asking letting agents specific questions, designed to expose whether they were providing integral information and complying with health and safety rules.

Reportedly, half of these agents were unable to provide evidence of information regarding the property’s boiler. Moreover, only 13% managed to supply the correct details concerning annual servicing rules.

Agents apparently exhibited a better comprehension of where fire alarms were located in the property, with 21 of 30 evaluated as ‘good’ and two rated ‘bad’.

Furthermore, researchers discovered that 20% of the properties visited had issues with damp, with none of the agents able to commit to rectifying the problem. Lastly, agents were also scrutinised for their explanation of holding deposits. Firms allegedly struggled to explain how much these payments would amount to and the process of how they would be refunded.

One Gentleman, interviewed by Which? shared his negative experiences with letting agents whilst searching for his perfect property.

He commented: “I’d had a look at so many flats and they were all very, very poor quality. I mean, in our price range in London, it was really difficult to find something that wasn’t a bathroom full of rust or a bedroom full of mould.

“So, when you finally find a flat that’s right, you’re just really keen. And we’re there on the day, there’s 15 other couples queuing up to look at the same time as us. So, we pressed straight ahead straight to the letting agent. He willingly accepted our money. He said ‘We just need a £500 holding deposit from you.’

“The next day, this image of our new flat came crumbling down, when the letting agent reached back out to us and said three other couples had done the same thing. They held that money over us and made us up our bids, so essentially looking for more money every month from us. Basically, holding that money, getting us into a bidding war, which, you know, is not great practise, especially when we’ve been led to believe we’d secured that flat.”

Alex Neill, Managing Director of Home Products and Services for Which? said: “There are clearly real issues with letting agents showing prospective tenants properties that aren’t up to scratch. It’s unacceptable that all too often agents can’t answer basic questions about important issues like boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms.

“Tenants need to be given clear and accurate information before moving in to a new place and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service.”

Tenant Who Threatened to Kill Letting Agent Awaits Sentence

Published On: July 4, 2018 at 8:05 am


Categories: Lettings News

Tags: ,,

Though having an unpleasant relationship with your tenant is possible, it is important to ensure that a level of civility is maintained between both parties to avoid issues such as the following.

Kenneth Begg, aged 60 set fire to his rental property according to Paisley Sheriff Court. In addition to this, Begg then locked his property and ventured to Penny Lane Homes agent where, upon arriving, he threatened to kill all staff members.

The Court was informed that Begg had received a letter from Penny Lane Homes. The letter was said to have warned Begg about the complaints Penny Lane Homes had received from neighbours regarding his anti-social behaviour.

It was reported that when Begg had arrived at the agents, he requested to speak with Martin Johnstone, who, when he arrived at work, spoke with Begg about the letter he had received.

It was then that Begg announced: “That is the least of your worries – I have set the house on fire.

“I have nothing to lose. I will kill everyone in the office.”

Immediately after, Begg produced a knife and gestured it towards the direction of Mr. Johnstone, the Court reports.

Subsequent to this incident, a member of staff dialled the emergency services.

Begg has pleaded guilty to charges, including wilfully setting a fire in his property. Lastly, Begg admitted a charge of breach of the peace.

We care about the tenant and landlord/letting agent relationship and are constantly exercising our efforts to ensure that tenants, landlords and letting agents are aware of what they can do to achieve a positive relationship with one another.

Visit our associate company Just Landlords’ website to read their advice on how to maintain a positive relationship with your tenants.

Furthermore, if an issue should escalate and unfortunately become worse, you may have to begin the eviction process. Here is a guide on how to carry out this process correctly and appropriately on our website.