Labour defeated in move to ban lettings agency fees

Government

Government

As PRSupdate reported last week, Labour tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

But, after much debate, the motion was defeated in the House of Commons by 53 votes.

Hours prior to the vote the Government had announced it would put forward its own amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. Details of the Government’s proposed amendment have not been fully revealed, as it has yet to be tabled, although it is known that it will compel letting agents to publish all of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices.

The requirement would goes a step beyond the current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recommendations, including the ability to fine any agents who fail to comply.

The Government said it would plan to monitor the regime for a year and ‘put the industry on notice’ that it would be ready to consider further steps if it deemed necessary.

Young London, Young Group’s operational business, is fully prepared if these new proposals come into force as it already displays all fees on the its website and provides them to every applicant as part of their viewing pack.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Does Your Property Management & Accounting System Work For You?

Robert Horsford, Managing Director, CML Software

Robert Horsford,
Managing Director,
CML Software

Businesses within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) face the same fundamental challenge as those in every other sector;  the need to create, maintain and enhance shareholder value. It’s a tough challenge and the fundamentals of success lie in the management of business risk and increasing profits.

Part of the business toolkit is the Management Information System (MIS) and the role of the software provider to the PRS is to design, deploy and support a Property Management & Accounting System (PMAS) which supports management in the achievement of these critical business objectives.

The manager of a PRS portfolio requires an unusual blend of critical requirements for their businesses PMAS. Typically, there are several distinct professions operating within a PRS business, each with differing requirements for system functionality.

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Labour Party to force vote in an attempt to ban letting agent fees

House of Commons

House of Commons

Following on from setting out Labour’s policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector Ed Miliband is going to force a vote in the Commons in an attempt to ban letting agent fees.

The proposal will be tabled as an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that is set to be voted on in the Commons this coming Tuesday (13/05).

This move is a shock to many in the industry and has been roundly condemned by leading industry bodies as being ‘short sighted’ and a ‘knee-jerk reaction’.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has said that it is “deeply concerned” by Labour’s proposals with Ian Potter, Managing Director of the ARLA, stating that “Political posturing on an issue that has such a great impact on people’s lives is unfair.”

PRSupdate will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it continues to unfold.

 

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RICS Residential Market Survey April 2014

RICS

Image: RICS

RICS recently released data from their Residential Market Survey for April 2014. The report is a leading sentiment indicator of conditions in the UK residential sales and lettings markets.

The headline data shows that house prices continue to to increase as the imbalance between demand and supply continues while demand for Private Rented Sector property has grown, but only slowly.  The data also states that new landlord instructions have remained flat with respondents expecting growth in rental prices of just under 2% over the coming 12 months.

The full report is available from here.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Knowledge Is Power In The Private Rented Sector

Judienne Wood, Non-executive Director, Young Group

Judienne Wood, Non-executive Director, Young Group

Compliance is paramount for all operators in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) as the failure for not keeping up-to-date with the latest legislation can be costly in financial and brand reputation terms.

As Peter Bolton King mentions in his article, there are more than 100 pieces of legislation relating to the PRS, so detailed knowledge of the legislation is vital. It’s not enough to have a few expert employees who know the legislation and then expect them to keep tabs on everyone else.

Best practice is for all employees to have, at the very least, a basic understanding of PRS legislation.

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PRSupdate – 100 Not Out

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

From our very first newsletter we wanted the publication to become a source of information, guidance and discussion for those operating in, or looking to enter, the Private Rented Sector (PRS). I am proud to say that PRSupdate has surpassed all of our expectations.

Reaching 100 issues is a testament to the calibre of our guest authors, the knowledge of internal contributors and readers continued appetite for PRS content.

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Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Labour Party sets out its policy aspirations for the Private Rented Sector

Ed Miliband will set out the Labour party’s planned reforms of the lettings sector – if the party wins the 2015 general election. A future Labour government would impose longer tenancies, stable rent increases and an end to up-front lettings fees.
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Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

Mortgage Market Review: What you need to know

What was the MMR?

The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was a comprehensive analysis of the mortgage market. Following on from the MMR new regulations were implemented by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on April 26.

Why was the MMR needed?

The MMR set out reforms to the current mortgage market to ensure its continued recovery and sustainability in the wake of the credit crunch.

Policy makers believed that the current regulatory framework was ineffective in keeping high-risk lending and borrowing in check. The policies stemming from the MMR will ensure that those who can afford mortgages can access them, while preventing a return to the poor practices of the past.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Stamping Out Poor Practice

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Last year, as confidence began to return to the market, more people were looking to sell or let their property. All told, things are beginning to look up for the residential sector with the January RICS Housing Market Survey showing sales demand at a six year high and rental demand holding up well.

However, a pick-up in the market also means that the issue of industry regulation, for sales and lettings, has become more prominent in recent months. For far too long estate and letting agencies have operated without the necessary training or knowledge to properly serve their clients.

There is a need for a greater number of agents to be working to properly enforced standards.

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A Focus on Compliance

A Focus on Compliance

A Focus on Compliance

PRSupdate’s ‘Compliance’ series brings together all our compliance-related articles giving a quick and easy point of reference to enable anyone involved in the Private Rented Sector to follow best practice and stay one step ahead of legislation changes.

To help I’ll also be including some practical examples and insight into how Young London is meeting the ever-changing challenge to remain compliant!

This blog is a round up of a number of topics raised at the recent ARLA Regional Meeting, including recent case law, the forthcoming Immigration Bill and the Government’s Green Deal.

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Operating in the Private Rented Sector: An Introduction

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

Young Group’s latest biannual PRSupdate publication will be landing through letterboxes just in time for the Easter weekend.

The theme of this new PRSupdate publication is Operating In The Private Rented Sector; timely, since over the past six months my fellow Young Group Directors and I have seen a noticeable change in discussions about the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

No longer is the conversation dominated solely by talk of acquisition, whether land or existing stock.

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Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for Tenants

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) isn’t only confined to sales.  It’s important that tenants remember that they could have an obligation to pay SDLT when renting a property.

SDLT is due on rents that exceed £125,000, cumulatively, during tenancies and (unlike SDLT for sales transactions) is charged at 1% on any amount over and above that threshold, not on the entire cumulative amount of rent.

Here is some additional information, and a link to the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website, that you may find useful.

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DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG's consultation on property conditions in the PRS

DCLG’s consultation on property conditions in the PRS

Following the 2013 call for evidence on Private Rented Sector quality, regulation and levels of rent (which Young Group responded to), the DCLG has called for further comment on  its Policy Paper ‘Review of Property Conditions in the PRS’, covering a raft of issues, including:

  • Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • Retaliatory evictions
  • Illegal evictions
  • Safety conditions
  • Licensing of rented housing
  • Housing Health and Safety Rating System

As an organisation with a long-standing vested interest in the Private Rented Sector, Young Group wanted to ensure that our experience and views were shared.

Our full response can be found here but we have included a few extracts in this blog post to highlight our stance on the issues raised.

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Is the Private Rented Sector finally coming of age?

Geeta Nanda

Geeta Nanda

The push for institutional investment in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has helped bring the barriers down and increase confidence in the market, with a number of players and partners leading the way.

Last month Fizzy Living, the wholly owned subsidiary of Thames Valley Housing (TVH), was successful in raising £200m of capital commitment from Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. This investor will have a significant shareholding in the Fizzy Group and, with TVH as a joint venture partner, grow the Fizzy PRS business and brand. TVH brings the expertise in acquisition and development of new homes and Fizzy brings the management expertise.

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PRSupdate Spring/Summer 2014 has arrived

PRSupdate has arrived

PRSupdate has arrived

The hard work has paid off and the 2014 Spring/Summer printed edition of PRSupdate has arrived!

This invaluable publication is full of insightful articles focusing on Operating in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). We are pleased that a raft of top contributors wrote articles for this issue and made it such a great success.

We’ve highlighted our contributors previously and hope you’re looking forward to reading what they have to say about this issue’s theme of operating in the PRS.

This printed edition of PRSupdate focuses on topics that are fundamental to running an effective PRS operation, such as; regulation, compliance, processes, systems and much more. It is a great resource for anyone considering investing, or operating, in the PRS.

Through PRSupdate, Young Group shares best practice and encourages discussion about the PRS . We are pleased that so many of you are continuing that conversation with us and helping to improve our sector.

Don’t miss out!

If you haven’t already, sign up here to receive a complimentary copy straight to your letterbox. It’s quick, easy and you get to control what you want to receive from us.

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