‘Right To Rent’ Pilot Starts

'Right to rent' checks rolled out in West Midlands

‘Right-to-rent’ checks rolled out in West Midlands

Back in September the Government announced that, from December 1st, the West Midlands would be used as a testing ground for the new ‘right to rent’ checks.

From yesterday a landlord (or their lettings agent) who lets out property in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton will need to conduct ‘right to rent’ checks. This new initiative is part of the new Immigration Act 2014 and failure to comply – and thus let to a tenant who has no right to be in the UK – will result in a £3,000 fine per breach.

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Revenge Eviction Bill Does Not Proceed

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill is talked down at its second reading

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill is talked down at its second reading

Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill, dubbed the ‘Revenge Eviction Bill’, has failed to proceed from its second reading in the House of Commons.

During the debate MPs Philip Davies and Christopher Chope decided to ‘talk out’ the Bill so that only 60 MPs managed to vote before time ran out. This stopped the bill from receiving the 100 votes that are required for a motion to proceed.

The bill had received cross-party support but was openly opposed by leading landlord associations, who claimed it could lead to landlords finding it difficult to take back possession of their properties from problem tenants.

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Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful

Landlords find 'going it alone' stressful (Image by Firesam!)

Landlords find ‘going it alone’ stressful (Image by Firesam!)

A survey of 759 landlords found that 1 in 4 feel the whole experience of letting and managing their rental property was far more stressful than they had expected. A huge 67% of those questioned stated that they felt that their stress levels were higher than they were 12 months ago.

Unsurprisingly, expat landlords felt that they were under the most stress due the distance between them and their property, hampering their ability to properly manage it.

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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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Supporting Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Gas Safety Week 2014

Yesterday the Gas Safe Register kicked off their annual ‘Gas Safety Week’, a nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness of gas safety for the UK’s 23 million gas fuelled homes.

Gas Safety Week 2014 will be backed up with national advertising and media coverage as well as various events throughout the week.

The campaign hopes to get across its gas safety message as September is the time when many people will be turning on their boilers for the first time in preparation for winter.

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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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Looking Ahead to RESI 2014

Young Group is again gearing up for the annual Property Week RESI conference, where we will again be sponsoring the RESI Café. We will also be providing conference delegates with a must read publication in the form of the latest edition of our biannual PRSupdate.

But we’re not the only ones looking ahead to the event. Cathy Fuller, Head of Events at Property Week, is here to provide us with a rundown of the latest preparations for, arguably, the most important date in the UK residential calendar.

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

Cathy Fuller, Head Of Events at Property Week

RESI, the UK’s premier residential property market conference, is back for its eighth year and with our best line up yet.

I am proud to say that between September 10-12 the Celtic Manor, host location of the 2014 RESI Conference, will welcome more than 1,000 delegates from across the investment and development sectors; providing a forum for intellectual debate and unrivalled networking opportunities.

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The Importance of Referencing

The Importance of Referencing

The Importance of Referencing

It is best practice for an agent, on behalf of their client, to carry out a thorough reference check to reassure the landlord that they are doing everything in their power to reduce the risk of letting to an unsuitable tenant.

Referencing is used as a tool to check the suitability of a tenant generally before a Tenancy Agreement is drawn up and signed. A thorough investigation is carried out to confirm the tenant’s identity, income, financial status in terms of affordability, employment status and rental history in an attempt to expose any issues that could be a concern for the landlord.

The necessity for tenant referencing stems from the need of the landlord to mitigate any risk of possibly letting their property to a tenant who could cause them an issue at a later date. Also, with the Immigration Act potentially taking effect from October, the onus is now on landlords, or their agents, to check the immigration status of any prospective tenant.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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