News

Lettings news this week

By Will Leyland, 07 November 2017

It has been a busy month, and week for the Private Rented Sector (PRS). Below is a round up of the latest news to hit the headlines...

Mandatory inventories?

A petition has been gaining traction this week, with the aim of forcing the government into introducing legislation that would ensure independent inventory reporting is made a compulsory requirement.

With the government currently considering its stance on many areas within the Private Rental Sector (PRS), The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks have urged them to make the practice an industry standard.

Disputes over inventories can be time consuming, laborious and often end in bad feeling and deadlock, with unscrupulous landlords looking to take large chunks of tenant’s deposits for issues that they have not caused.

Similarly, some tenants are keen to avoid paying for potentially expensive repairs by asserting that damage was already there upon signing their lease.

The suggestion is that a mandatory, co-signed and independently verified inventory service which was standardised would reduce disputes of this nature.

The North increases its influence

Data that has been released this week suggests that Northern England is starting to have a much greater influence over the Buy-to-Let (BTL) market, with data and analysis from Commercial Trust Limited suggesting that new BTL purchases have increased significantly in the area over the past year.

Figures showed that, in the North East, purchases increased by 77.6%. Yorkshire and The Humber were reported to have grown 73.2%, whilst the North West managed a not unimpressive year-on-year growth of 24.8%, followed by the South East, which increased its share by 17.3%.

The results are indicative of a trend showing many investors migrating to the North from the South of England in search of low entry prices, high yields and solid capital growth.

The North of the country has been attracting attention for some time now with increasingly impressive results.

Draft of ‘Letting agent fees ban’ legislation published this week

The draft bill for the government to ban letting agents fees has been published this week, setting out how the government intends to go about implementing the ban and which laws it plans to introduce to enforce them.

The controversial measures, announced in last year’s budget, are now gathering pace as the government works through the process of writing and passing the legal paperwork required to write it into law.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid was quoted as saying: “Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit. We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.”

The likelihood is that these charges will be passed on to landlords in some way but this should increase competition, and those that are already delivering above and beyond service should see this new measure as something which should cement their position.

LettingAgentToday reported the consequences of ignoring the legislation as “fines of up to £5,000 for agents breaking the law and if there are two or more contraventions of the law within five years, fines can extend up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution.”

The changes will also mean that unscrupulous agents cannot double-charge tenants or agents for the same fees and the local authorities in each district will be charged with enforcing the bans.

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