Calls to Make Client Money Protection a Legal Requirement

SAFE Agent

SAFE Agent

SAFE (Safe Agent Fully Endorsed) Agent, the kitemark that denotes that a firm protects landlords and tenants money, has been urging ministers to use the Consumer Rights Bill to make Client Money Protection a legal requirement for all letting agents.

John Midgley, chairman of SAFE Agent, has written to the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, saying: “Currently, if an agent misappropriates clients’ funds or uses them fraudulently, there is no recompense if the agent is not covered by a CMP scheme.

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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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Government releases “How to Rent” guide

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England

The Government has released its guide, How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England, in a drive to educate the public about renting best practices.

The guide, in an attempt to inform and educate tenants and landlords, has all the important ‘need to know’ rental information in one place.

The Government hopes that, by making the public more aware of their rights, they can help the industry as it strives to stamp out bad practices.

Kris Hopkins, the Housing Minister,  said that “encouraging a new generation of well-informed tenants with easy access to useful and understandable information would help root out the small minority of rogues and raise the game of any landlords who don’t know what is expected of them.”

Young Group believes that educating tenants and landlords is an important step in helping to improve the sector. This guide is a step in the right direction in the fight to help improve the growing Private Rented Sector market.

Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting in London. Young London has produced its own series of information guides to help renters navigate through the process of renting. A market of informed renters will demand positive renting experiences which will in turn raise standards and root out bad practice.

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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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Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Young London’s tips for a perfect spring clean

Spring has sprung and that means it is time to get the cleaning equipment out.

The Young London Property Management team have gathered some of the top tips we provide to our residents throughout the year to help them in their obligation to look after their home.

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Area Update – London Bridge & Borough

Area Update: London Bridge & Borough

Area Update: London Bridge & Borough

The latest edition in Young Group’s Area Update series is now available to view and download.

The London Bridge & Borough area is the focus for this edition as the area has undergone massive transformation over the past 6 years.

The improvements to the area have made it a highly desirable location for residents and businesses alike and as the development of the area continues it can only lead to a positive impact on income returns and capital values.

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Young London and Young Group Shortlisted for RESI Awards

RESI Awards Finalists 2014
RESI Awards Finalists 2014

Young Group and Young London are proud to have been shortlisted as finalists in the prestigious RESI Awards.

Once again Young Group has been recognised for its Asset Management expertise while Young London’s continuing drive to set the standards for Lettings Agency has also been acknowledged.

Neil Young, CEO Young Group and Young London stated that he is “delighted that our Private Rented Sector (PRS) businesses have, for another year, been shortlisted by Property Week’s RESI Awards.”

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Customer Experience in the Private Rented Sector

Winning Customers' Hearts and Minds

Winning Customers’ Hearts and Minds

On Tuesday, I was in the audience at the BPF Residential Conference and was particularly struck by the post-session feedback and comment prompted by the panel session entitled “Winning Customers’ Hearts and Minds”. The session certainly seemed to capture the attention – and imagination – of the delegates that I caught up with in the programme breaks.  So I thought it worth penning a précis…

Michela Hancock of Bozzuto brought a US perspective to the panel highlighting the base level services which are commonplace in North America and which should be firmly embedded into our own Private Rented Sector (PRS) – as well as the opportunities that PRS owners and operators can create through enhanced services.

CEO of Young Group, Neil Young, was quick to point out that some PRS operators in the UK, such as Young London and Get Living London, are already investing heavily in understanding their customers and delivering an experience that precisely matches their specific needs.

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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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Killing off Commission

Neil Young

Neil Young

Commission motivates staff to do their best!

This is a statement that is a truth wrapped up in a lie.

Commission based remuneration, which is the norm for the lettings industry, is where an employee is rewarded on the value of the transactions they get, can help to drive a business’s bottom line but it could encourage the wrong sort of behaviour and cause staff to: fight over the best leads, pressure applicants into signing as quickly as possible and, occasionally, lead to outright lies to get a deal.
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Analysing Private Rented Sector investment and yield

Neil Young

Neil Young

Current Private Rented Sector (PRS) market conditions are such that finding the next ‘hidden gem’ for an investor is proving to be a challenging task.

This is due to a continuation of overseas money chasing, and overpaying for, property situated in London. The factors that drive this situation are; favourable exchange rates due to a weakening pound sterling, favourable interest rates on debt (especially in the Far East) and capital protection in countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain.

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In Conversation With… Samantha Richardson

Samantha Richardson

Samantha Richardson

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

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Landlords told to vet immigrant tenants

Queens Speech

Queens Speech

Under new Immigration laws, that were announced in the Queens Speech, private landlords will now be held legally responsible for vetting tenants and checking their immigration status. Landlords will need to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas before they should let their property to a prospective tenant.

Those that are found to have broken the law will find themselves facing fines that could run into thousands of pounds.

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Boris believes letting agents should belong to an ombudsman service

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, believes that letting agents should all, at least, belong to an ombudsman service.

This new stance shows that there are some Conservative party members who are starting to support some kind of regulation of Private Rented Sector (PRS) operators, such as letting agents.

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