Campaigning to Improve Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First

With an estimated 9 million people living in private rented accommodation, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is a major and expanding element in England’s housing market. But such rapid growth brings its own problems, with safety a key concern and electrical safety a particular priority.

Around half of all domestic fires in Great Britain arise from electricity, killing one person each week, and well over a quarter of a million (350,000) are seriously injured by electricity each year.

In the PRS, if a landlord fails to ensure electrical safety in their rented properties then they can face significant financial risks from fires and invalidated insurance claims. Yet the regulations surrounding electrical safety are piecemeal and ambiguous – and poor electrics are often ‘invisible’, lying undiscovered until a serious accident occurs.

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Landlords Lack Awareness of their Agent’s Professional Memberships

Property Academy Landlord Survey

Property Academy Landlord Survey

A Property Academy survey, which questioned 2,948 landlords, has turned up some interesting information in regards to landlord awareness of what professional memberships their chosen lettings agent hold.

Over half (55%) of the landlords that use a letting agent did not know whether that agent was a member of a professional body. Only 37% were aware if their agent was a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the largest membership body in the lettings sector.

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Private Rented Sector ‘Code of Practice’ Launched

Private Rented Sector Code

Private Rented Sector Code

A new Private Rented Sector Code of Practice has been launched by 17* leading Private Rented Sector organisations.

The code, requested by the Department for Communities and Local Government, was created with the intention of driving up the quality of Private Rented Sector letting and management standards.

The document contains guidance for agents and landlords that outlines their mandatory obligations as well as recommended industry best practices.

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Immigration Act Pilot Area Announced

Compliance Corner

Compliance Corner

The government has announced the pilot area and start date for the first stage of the Immigration Act.

The area, in which agents and landlords will have to check an immigrants ‘right to rent’, will be the West Midlands, with a start date of December 1. This area will include Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, but will not apply in Solihull and Coventry.

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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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ARLA rolls out television campaign

ARLA

Image: ARLA

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has created a TV advert aimed at increasing awareness of the work that they do.

The advert will inform consumers of the importance, and benefits, of choosing a licensed agent and is part of a campaign that has been designed to reflect the importance of sound choices when appointing an agent to work on any aspect of property ownership or rental.

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How to avoid a festive fallout

How to avoid festive fallout

How to avoid festive fallout

With many renters planning to host some festive get-togethers over the Christmas and New Year period, it is paramount they make sure they remember their responsibilities.

Renters need to make sure they do their neighbourly duty as they could face the wrath of more than just some angry neighbours if their landlord is informed that they have been turning up the volume up too loud.

To help renters avoid the pitfalls of this festive period ARLA has  released some top advice.

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Autumn Statement 2013: Key Information

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne used his Autumn Statement to update MPs, and the nation, on the state of the economy and the government’s future plans.

The biggest news from the Autumn Statement was that the growth forecast for this year has increased from 0.6% to 1.4% and has also been revised up for next year from 1.8% to 2.4%.

Revised figures showed that in 2008-09, under the leadership of Gordon Brown, UK GDP declined by 7.2% and not 6.3% as had been previously thought. This is the equivalent of £112bn.

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In Conversation with… Christine Hynes

Christine Hynes

Christine Hynes

There’s a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors who we’re regularly in conversation with, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate – and here we share more about them, their roles, priorities and backgrounds. If you would like to feature in this series, or to suggest someone who might, please get in touch through our contact us page or let us know on twitter.

Why not take a lucky dip into our In Conversation archives and discover:

Today we speak with Christine Hynes (Chief Executive of Climate Energy Homes) who is the Featured Article author in our forthcoming November PRSupdate newsletter.

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The benefits of ARLA qualification

ARLA

Image: ARLA

The importance of undertaking the NFoPP training, and obtaining ARLA membership, can not be understated.

The technical awards, run by NFoPP, provide in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the lettings industry, from health and safety to legislation.

Young London consider it especially important to train staff from every department so that employees know the legalities involved in the lettings process as well as the importance of getting everything correct.

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Navigating the new Private Rented Sector

Susan Fitz-Gibbon

Susan Fitz-Gibbon

I am just over two months into my role as President of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), and our members are reporting an exceptionally busy summer.

I began my career in commercial property, before moving into residential lettings in the early 80’s. In 1988 I founded Fitz-Gibbon Residential, a specialist Residential Letting and Property Management Company that covers West London. This experience has helped me to gain first hand knowledge of how the Private Rented Sector (PRS) operates.

The PRS is booming, due in part to tough lending conditions for prospective home buyers, the ongoing economic uncertainty and the lack of available stock for sale. The rapid growth of the PRS can be seen as both an opportunity and a challenge. Our industry is being taken more seriously than ever before by politicians and, as a result, I am absolutely committed to upholding the highest professional standards. This commitment stands alongside historically strong calls for regulation of the sector from my ARLA colleagues.

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In Conversation With… Susan Fitz-Gibbon

Susan Fitz-Gibbon

Susan Fitz-Gibbon

There’s a plethora of leading figures in the property, investment, finance and charity sectors who we’re regularly in conversation with, many of whom are guest authors for PRSupdate – and here we share more about them, their roles, priorities and backgrounds. If you would like to feature in this series, or to suggest someone who might, please get in touch through our contact us page or let us know on twitter.
Why not take a lucky dip into our In Conversation archives and discover:

Today we speak with Susan Fitz-Gibbon, President of ARLA.

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Period of grace provided on ASA ruling about letting agent fees

Advertising Standards Authority

Advertising Standards Authority

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently ruled that fees charged to tenants must be shown alongside rents whenever a rental property is marketed.

During a meeting between Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Property Ombudsman, ARLA, RICS and UKALA it was agreed that until further, and clearer, details had been laid out that Letting Agents were not in breach of the ruling.
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Call for common Private Rented Sector rent level survey

Residential Landlords Association (RLA)

Image: Residential Landlords Association (RLA)

The Residential Landlords Association, a UK landlords organisation, has called on the industry and the Government to establish a common survey of the level of rents following an investigation showing a chasm between different rent surveys. Different indices have put the average UK Private Rented Sector rent at anywhere between £682 a month, reported by a UK based letting agent, to £1,974, reported by the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).

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RICS & ARLA discuss OFT report on the Private Rented Sector

The recent OFT report into the Private Rented Sector has been analysed by Peter Bolton-King, residential director at RICS & Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA.

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