Immigration Bill Factsheet

Government

Government

Since the Immigration Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May, and became the Immigration Act 2014, letting agents and landlords have been awaiting further details.

In simplified terms the Act will require landlords, or their agents, to carry out checks on the immigration status of any prospective tenant.

More detailed information pertaining to the ins and outs of the act have been thin on the ground – there isn’t even a confirmed date for when the Act will come into force – and this has left landlords and agents confused.

At the start of August, The Home Office released their ‘Factsheet: Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation‘. The “factsheet”, far from being the comprehensive list of answers that was expected, is in fact a vague collection of information that has created more questions than it has answered.

We continue to wait for the government to release further information and hope that any new releases will answer the many questions that have been left unanswered.

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The Property Ombudsman Launches New Codes of Practice

The Property Ombudsman launches new Codes of Practice

The Property Ombudsman launches new Codes of Practice

The Property Ombudsman scheme has issued a revised Codes of Practice for sales and lettings agents in an attempt to further improve standards across both industries.

The Codes, which came into affect on 1st August August, are said to reflect developments in industry practice and legislative changes.

The Ombudsman applies the Codes of Practice when reviewing consumer complaints to ascertain if a registered agent has breached the required standard, which might result in the Ombudsman directing the agent to pay an award (up to the value of £25,000). The Ombudsman will refer serious Code breaches to TPO’s independent Disciplinary & Standards Committee, which has the power to fine or expel agents and engage with regulators such as Trading Standards and the Competition and Market Authority.

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Private Rented Sector Properties with Low EPC Rating to be Banned

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

Move to ban rental properties with low EPCs

In less than four years landlords will have to have made sure that all of their Private Rented Sector stock has been made energy efficient.

After April 1st 2018, as part of a requirement laid out in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s two consultations on the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations, a landlord will not be allowed to let out their property if it does not have a minimum EPC rating of an ‘E’.

The consultation also refers to April 1st 2016, from this date tenants will be able to request their landlord to carry out reasonable energy efficiency improvements to improve the properties EPC rating. The landlord can not refuse to carry out the necessary works if requested.

The consultation is currently seeking industry input on how to implement these regulations, which are part of the Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions.

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Can You Trust House Price Index Data?

Can you trust House Price Index stats?

Can you trust House Price Index stats?

A House Price Index… is it worth the paper it’s written on?

It seems that every month the property industry, and the general public, is bombarded with another statistic relating to average house prices. The headlines usually heap a lot of importance on these statistics, either stating that it highlights the impending burst of the “property bubble”, its continued inflation or using it to show people are being priced out of the market.

But each House Price Index uses different measurements and covers different sample sizes, areas and date ranges. Many can indicate a national average property price that varies greatly from the consumers experience.

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Private Rented Sector Tenant Satisfaction on the Rise

Satisfaction with Private Rented Sector homes on the increase

Satisfaction with Private Rented Sector homes on the increase

The recent English Housing Survey ‘Households Report’ has provided some good news for the much maligned Private Rented Sector. The report (published by the Department for Communities and Local Government) has highlighted that 84% of Private Rented Sector tenants say they are either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with their homes.

While this represents only an 1% increase on the previous survey, it helps to counter the column inches that the press gives over to the criticism of landlords and lettings agents.

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In Conversation With… John Grimes

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

John Grimes, Managing Director, Drummond House Developments Ltd

We are regularly in conversation with a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate. The purpose of this feature is to get them to discuss the topics and issues that are currently affecting the Private Rented Sector.

If you would like to take part in an In Conversation piece then please do get in touch with us.

Today we are in conversation with John Grimes, Managing Director at Drummond House Developments Ltd.

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Changes to Capital Gains Tax Target Non-Resident Sellers

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

Peter Sarney, Director, Felton Pumphrey

The imposition of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the disposal of UK residential property for non-residents came as a surprise to many people as the UK government seeks to level the playing field between those who are tax residents in the UK and those who are not.

Unlike many other countries, that tax gains on the disposal of residential property situated in their jurisdiction, the UK has not generally charged CGT on gains made by non-residents. The result of this is that a gain would either be fully taxable in the country of residence or escape taxation entirely.

The UK government considers this to be unfair and has proposed legislation to tax the gains on residential property of those who are non-resident in the same way as gains made by those who are resident.

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Number of Amateur Landlords on the Increase

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

Rajiv Mehta, Asset Manager – Investment, Young Group

According to a new report the level of amateur (part time) landlords, those who use their investment property to supplement their other income, have reached the highest ever levels.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) claims that amateur landlords now make up more than 70% of the Private Rented Sector and that they typically own around four properties.

Due to the current strength of returns seen in the rental market 25% of these amateur landlords are intending to add to their property portfolio with 40% planning to use buy-to-let financing to fund their lettings portfolio.

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8 Simple Rules for Providing Amazing Customer Service

Samantha Richardson, Head of Service Delivery & Training, Young London

Samantha Richardson, Head of Service Delivery & Training, Young London

Good customer service should be the lifeblood of any business as getting it right is what will keep people coming back to you time and again.

At Young London we have taken this to heart and customer service is central to everything we do. Feedback from our residents and landlords forms the basis of how we measure our success and reward the team.

But how do you go about providing amazing customer service?

Well it might be surprising to hear but providing good customer service isn’t as difficult as many would think! At Young London we have our 8 simple rules for providing ‘Amazing Customer Service':

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Spring/Summer 2014: Private Rented Sector Operations – Why Function When You Can Really Fly?

Neil Young

Neil Young, CEO Young Group & Young London

With its focus on operational aspects of the Private Rented Sector (PRS), the latest edition of our Biannual PRSupdate publication has gathered together a selection of articles that gives a flavour of the elements required in managing PRS assets on a day-to-day basis.

Undoubtedly clearly defined processes, supported by robust procedures are at the heart of successful PRS operations, as Kris Wadia explains. Kris was, until recently, a Managing Director with Accenture, a global consulting organisation.

He is now CEO of Humanized Leadership, which advises businesses on profit improvement. However, it is how those processes are brought to life within the business and delivered (both internally and externally), and the tools that are employed that have the potential to differentiate between a business that functions and a business that flies.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Processing The Profits

Kris Wadia, Founder of Humanized Leadership

Kris Wadia, Founder of Humanized Leadership

Businesses operating in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) can increase profitability through Process Improvements.

Let’s begin by understanding the state of the UK PRS in early 2014, using the limited, and sometimes conflicting, datasets available. The UK PRS demonstrates all the characteristics of an immature market in that:

  • 89% of landlords are private individuals and are responsible for 71% of all dwellings in the PRS (DCLG Private Landlord Survey 2010)
  • 78% of all landlords only own a single dwelling for rent (DCLG Private Landlords Survey 2010)
  • Only 8% of landlords stated they were full time landlords (DCLG Private Landlords Survey 2010)
  • There has been an increase, from 2,445,000 households in 2005 to 3,483,000 households in 2011-2012, within the PRS (DCLG Committee – First Report The Private Rented Sector).

The result? A cottage industry of individuals supplementing their income, or funding their retirement, through an investment vehicle that they manage on a part-time and ‘best efforts’ basis. This dysfunctional approach invites near daily newspaper headlines about rogue landlords, unsuitable tenants, dilapidated premises and increasingly stringent conditions on buy-to-let lending.

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Spring/Summer 2014: A Window On The World For The Private Rented Sector

Young Group Foreword

Having great homes, a superb service offering and the most efficient operation is all well and good, but if potential renters aren’t aware of your properties then they will stand empty and generate no income.

It may come as no surprise that around 90% of new home searches start online, so it’s vital that Private Rented Sector (PRS) operators capture the attention and imagination of surfing searchers.

Over the years many property portals have come and gone, and new entrants, such as Agents Mutual and NeedAProperty, continue to launch. However, Rightmove remains the market leader and is now the seventh most visited site in the UK, placing it firmly alongside sites such as Amazon, BBC and eBay.

I’m not suggesting that property portals are a marketing panacea but, as a direct channel to reach those who are actively looking for a new home, Rightmove can’t be beaten. So, here, Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s Commercial Director, provides advice on how the PRS can get the most out of this virtual shop window.

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Bank of England Announces New Mortgage Affordability Test

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

Mark Carney, Governor  of the Bank of England (BoE), has proposed a new mortgage affordability test to curb the proportion of home loans that can be lent  at more than 4.5 times their income. The measures are being touted as an attempt to prevent dangerous levels of household debt.

A consultation paper has been published today and will be open for comments until 31 August 2014 with the final rules will come into effect on 1 October 2014.

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Involving the Private Rented Sector in the development of official statistics

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency

Wikipedia describes statistics as ‘the study of the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data’. Having worked closely with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) statisticians for the past few years, I can appreciate the importance of each of these elements, no more so than in developing official statistics.

However, from my experience, there are two really important things missing from Wikipedia’s description; understanding what your audience want from your statistics, and then involving them in the ongoing development process.

As we aim for National Statistics accreditation they are the two aspects the VOA is now focussing on, starting with our Private Rental Market (PRM) official statistics.

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In Conversation With… John Coles

John Coles, Director, Evenbrook

John Coles, Director, Evenbrook

We are regularly in conversation with a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate. The purpose of this feature is to get them to discuss the topics and issues that are currently affecting the Private Rented Sector.

If you would like to take part in an In Conversation piece then please do get in touch with us.

Today we are in conversation with John Coles, Director at Evenbrook.

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