Suttons City Living Blog

Powered By
Powered By Property Industry Eye

Anger grows over Government’s ‘Making Teenagers Homeless’ policy

March 7, 2017

Opposition is growing to plans to take housing benefit away from young people next month. Those aged between 18 and 21 will no longer qualify for housing benefit, and this housing element of Universal Credit will be removed, affecting young people in private rented sector homes such as house-shares. It means that fewer people under […]

NEWSFLASH: New CEO listed at Chestertons with no sign of Bartlett

March 6, 2017

Chestertons has a new CEO listed on its website – with no sign of long-standing boss Robert Bartlett. We have asked Chestertons for a statement after sources claimed that Bartlett has left the company. The new CEO is Allan Collins who is listed as having become CEO in March. He was previously the firm’s chief […]

Agent believed to have ‘shut up shop’ months after being expelled by redress scheme

An agent expelled by both the tenancy deposit and redress schemes it belonged to, now appears to have shut its doors. Carter Stones, in Ilford, Essex, is said to have not opened all last week, nor answered its phones. Our own attempts to contact it both at and before the weekend have failed. The firm […]

Lettings business is suspended by Zoopla while review takes place

A lettings business has been suspended from Zoopla while the portal looks to see if it complies with its terms and conditions. Rentr last week issued a press release announcing the development of its letting platform technology. It said that it now offers advertising on both Rightmove and Zoopla at £15, after one in four […]

Drama as car crashes straight through window of estate agency

This is certainly one way to clear the desks. But at least one estate agency member of staff had to run for their life when a vehicle almost ploughed into them. Thankfully – miraculously – there were no casualties when a car crashed over the pavement and through the window of Kings, in Turners Hill, […]

Rayhan’s Proptech News: Why Purplebricks is the story that keeps on giving

Purplebricks is the story that keeps on giving. Having wiped the floor with all other online agents in the UK, the firm has launched successfully in Australia and – in a surprise move – raised a monster wedge of cash from investors to take their model and brand to the US. Cue the detractors, jealous […]

Foxtons and Countrywide poised to announce ‘big falls in profit’

Both Foxtons and Countrywide are forecast to announce sharp falls in profits this week as they announce their annual results for last year, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday. Foxtons is tipped to reveal a fall in profits from £43m in 2015 to £25m last year. According to broker Peel Hunt, Countrywide […]

Expert Agent founder says sale to ZPG ‘came as a complete surprise’ to him

March 3, 2017

The founder and chief executive of Expert Agent, whose sale to ZPG was announced this week, has admitted that the deal came as a “complete surprise” to both him and his colleagues. The admission was made in an email yesterday afternoon to customers, which we have seen. In it, however, Mike Griffiths also expressed confidence […]

Reapit says it is ‘categorically’ not in talks with ZPG over any deal

Estate agency software provider Reapit has said that it is “categorically” not in any talks with ZPG that could result in its acquisition. Speaking after Wednesday’s announcement of Zoopla’s acquisition of Expert Agent, Reapit director Simon Whale said: “The talk in the wider industry has been the mergers and acquisitions activity but although a little […]

Letting agents face six months in prison or £50,000 fines if they don’t sign up to mandatory register

Letting agents in Scotland face criminal sanctions if they do not sign up to a mandatory register, laying down a marker for what could happen in England if licensing were introduced south of the border. The official guidance warns: “It will be a criminal offence to do letting agency work if you aren’t on the […]

Agent Provocateur: Agents DO care about safety on viewings but probate guidelines would be welcome

“The company was not in breach of any guidelines for estate agents nor were there any Health and Safety Executive recommendations particularly relating to a property being offered for sale.” and “No company of estate agents in the country has a written procedure nor was he aware of any having special rules in the case […]

Lenders ‘wrecking one in five transactions because of down-valuations’ after deals agreed

March 2, 2017

Banks and building societies are refusing to lend on about one in five properties because of down-valuations by their surveyors. But the issue raises fundamental questions: Is it over-valuing by agents or under-valuing by surveyors that is wrecking so many deals? Or is it a mixture of both? According to Spicerhaart boss Paul Smith, in […]

Why over-valuing is a false economy: Spicerhaart boss says agents must deliver honest valuations

A recent Which? report condemned estate agents for over-valuing property to win instructions only to see those properties later reduced in price in order to sell. Although their attention-grabbing headline fails to reflect that it’s often the customer who demands the higher price, there are certainly plenty of agents who will go way over the […]

Ex-Countrywide man takes top job at Guild and pledges to stand up for independents

A former high flier with Countrywide has been appointed as CEO of the Guild of Property Professionals. Iain McKenzie was previously “retail director” at Countrywide, responsible for its south central region. He was appointed to that role in October 2015 and is thought to have been among the departures of November 2016. He was with […]

Agent described as ‘brazenly dishonest’ as five-week trial begins

An agent who has gone on trial has been described as “brazenly dishonest”. It is alleged that he fraudulently kept nearly £15,000 of holding deposits from tenants. Thirugnanaselvam Damayantharan, 54, and known as Mr Damo, denies two counts of fraudulently trading as two companies – See Own Properties and My Lawn Estates. In all, Damo […]

New trade body CIELA tells Purplebricks to withdraw ‘misleading’ TV adverts

Fledgling trade body CIELA, the Charter for Independent Estate and Lettings Agents, has written to Purplebricks asking it to withdraw its TV advertising and comparable savings claims. It says that if Purplebricks does not take reasonable steps to correct “instances of misleading representations on your website and television advertisements”, it will complain to the Advertising […]

NEWSFLASH: Zoopla acquires Expert Agent

March 1, 2017

Zoopla has added to its stable of agency software with the announcement to the stock exchange this morning that ZPG has acquired Expert Agent. The price was not disclosed. The purchase follows the announcement on January 31 that ZPG was in negotiations on a potential further acquisition. Expert Agent is claimed to be the “most […]

Purplebricks shares rocket to over 300p – racing up 10% in just 30 minutes

Purplebricks shares yesterday rocketed to an amazing new high – and this morning, continued their meteoric ascent. Yesterday’s rise took place mainly in the space of the last half an hour of trading on the stock exchange, finishing the day at just over 300p, and at one stage hitting 310p. Altogether, by the end of […]

Agent that claimed to have more For Sale and Sold boards than other local firms is vindicated

Two out of three complaints made by an estate agent about a competitor have been upheld by the advertising watchdog. However, a challenge to the claim to have more For Sale and Sold boards than any other local agent was rejected. Crewe firm McGarrible & Co challenged three claims made in a leaflet published by […]

Trading Standards complaint about agent’s claim informally resolved

A leaflet in which an estate agent claimed to have sold six properties in a week resulted in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. Leicestershire Trading Standards challenged the claim by CHQ Properties to have sold six properties between October 27 and November 2 last year. The leaflet said: “After selling six properties last […]

New trade body CIELA due to incorporate today

CIELA (The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents) says it will be incorporating today. CIELA says that it will combine “voices, data and resources” to form the most powerful organisation in the industry. The organisation, founded by software businessman Charlie Wright, has however pushed back a full launch until October 1. This is due […]

Trading Standards ‘aware’ of another agency expelled by redress schemes

February 28, 2017

Yet another sales and lettings agency is believed to be under investigation by Trading Standards. Mystery surrounds the fate of the firm and its sole director Dennis Goodridge. Gallery@HD1 was a trading name for a number of companies set up by Goodridge but it vacated its offices earlier this month and now it transpires that […]

Wales already licenses all letting agents, Scotland is about to – so how about it, Mr Hammond!

ARLA has called on the Chancellor to introduce licensing of letting agents in England. Wales already has mandatory licensing of all letting agents under its Rent Smart Wales scheme, while Scotland has a law in place making it mandatory for all letting agents to sign up to a register by the end of September next […]

Landlords urged to hold off from incorporating until after Budget

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is urging members to hold off from incorporating in case the Government tries to clamp down on limited companies being formed to mitigate income mortgage interest relief changes. Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said the Chancellor hinted in his Autumn Statement that the Treasury is concerned by the […]

Housing supply falls to nine-month low as demand rises and affordability worsens

The number of properties on an estate agent’s books hit a nine-month low in January, NAEA Propertymark has revealed. The trade body’s latest Housing Report found members reported the number of properties available to buy had decreased from 41 in December to 38 in January. However, the number of buyers per branch increased to 425 […]

A quarter of all neighbourhoods ‘off-limits’ to home buyers, say official figures

A quarter of neighbourhoods in England and Wales were off-limits to many prospective home owners last year, the Office for National Statistics claims. The ONS took the price of an entry level property – those valued in the lower quartile of a price bracket locally – and found that the average income in a quarter […]

Rightmove ‘sketches out’ possibility of charging agents £2,500 per month in long term

February 27, 2017

Rightmove could charge agents an average £2,500 per month per office at some point in the long-term future. City analysts were briefed after Friday’s results were posted by the portal. At the briefing, incoming chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson “sketched out the sustainability of growth to £2,500 longer term”, analyst William Packer reported. The sum of […]

Guidance for agents likely to be issued on viewings safety following £200,000 fine

NAEA Propertymark said at the weekend that it will seek to work with the Health and Safety Executive in order to issue guidance to agents. It would mean that for the first time there would be official health and safety guidelines for agents to follow in regard to viewings. It could mean that agents would […]

Letting agent jailed for over three years after stealing tenants’ deposits

The boss of a letting agency has been jailed for stealing £140,000 of tenants’ deposits. After the case, it emerged that an alleged £48,000 of rent payments were also involved, plus some further deposits. Mark Procter, director of Kirby Property in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to three years and four months for fraud at Cambridge […]

Firm expelled by redress scheme ‘under active investigation by Trading Standards’

A landlord is claiming that both she and her tenant are owed money by an agent apparently still trading after being thrown out by both its redress service and the tenancy deposit scheme it had used. The landlord said that she has been owed £3,300 in rent by a firm she names as Carter Stones […]

Purplebricks to face ‘uphill struggle’ in America, warns US realtor

Purplebricks could “face an uphill struggle” in America, a US realtor has said. The warning comes from Matt Fetick, who runs successful Keller Williams franchise operations in the USA and is also managing director of Keller Willliams UK. Fetick said that the American market is attractive, with agents earning record amounts last year. But, he […]

NEWSFLASH! Estate agent fined £200,000 after woman fell down well during viewing

February 24, 2017

A firm of estate agents has been fined £200,000 after a woman fell down an unguarded well during a viewing. Strakers, of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, had organised the open house viewing on April 23 last year. At Swindon Magistrates Court, the firm pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the Health and Saafety at Work Act […]

Fee’s and Commission – Is There A Difference ? Should I use an Online Agent ?

Recently on a market appraisal a vendor asked me the question, are Purple Bricks selling houses for free, how are they making any money ? The vendor cannot really be criticised for asking this question after watching their latest round of ‘commisery’ adverts, where they push the point, over and over that you do not […]

NEWSFLASH: Big rises in profits and revenue for Rightmove

Rightmove this morning announced large rises in both revenue and profits this morning – and the retirement of boss Nick McKittrick. The giant portal, giving its results for last year, announced a 15% leap in revenue, to £220m. Operating profits were up 18% to £161.6m. Overall advertiser numbers, including both agents and developers, were up […]

Biggest ever study of UK estate agency industry announced – involving every branch and all onliners

The biggest ever study of the British estate agency industry has been announced this morning, and is likely to involve 30,000 high street branches plus all the online and hybrid firms. The study will involve analysing hundreds of thousands of data points, plus an enormous amount of mystery shopping. The Property Academy has embarked on […]

Purplebricks valuation is ‘totally bonkers’, says investment site

An investment site has described Purplebricks’ valuation as “wacky” and “totally bonkers” – and tipped The Property Franchise Company instead. The Property Franchise Company includes Martin & Co and online firm EweMove. Investor’s Champion did, however, praise Purplebricks – whose shares yesterday hit an all-time high after announcing plans to launch in America – for […]

Key workers priced out of buying homes in most of England and Wales

Experienced key workers are being priced out of buying homes in most of England and Wales, it has been claimed. Conveyancing firm My Home Move said that unless workers including teachers, nurses and paramedics earn at least £40,000 a year, they have a less than 30% chance of being able to afford to buy a […]

Agent Provocateur: Stormy times for agents but surely there’s plenty to feel good about

Housing market “slumps”, Stamp Duty Land Tax staying high, the industry being treated like a piggy bank, business rates rising – it’s easy to think it’s all bad news out there. The public, if they believe all they read and watch, might well think agents are all doing it wrong. But actually the headlines on […]

Purplebricks successfully raises £50m to fund expansion into America

February 23, 2017

Purplebricks is launching in America and yesterday evening successfully raised £50m through new shares to fund the move. The placing was “materially over-subscribed”, Purplebricks said this morning. In a bombshell announcement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday shortly after the close of trading, it announced it would be raising the money to enable expansion in […]

Agents beware! Property fraudsters increasingly hacking into emails in both sales and lettings

There is an on-going police investigation into the theft of £309,000 which should have gone to a couple who sold their flat two years ago. Police believe that Roger and Christine Wilkinson, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, may have been victims of an international crime syndicate. Police are said to be particularly interested in knowing how the […]

Property fraud: Can estate agents do more to prevent it?

I am sorry to report that conveyancing isn’t going to get quicker any time soon! I have just received the latest Buyer Deposit Redirection Fraud stats* provided by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Year on year losses are as follows: 2014 25 losses 2015 86 losses 2016 159 losses Total loss £24.3m. Average loss £90,000, […]

Agent tries to leave OnTheMarket after accusing it of spending budget on litigation

A small independent who signed up to Agents’ Mutual for five years says he is quitting OnTheMarket – despite initially having been a big supporter. He has now put the accusation to Agents’ Mutual, saying: “You broke the contract first.” Anthony Kerrigan, of Kerrigans in Doncaster, claims that Agents’ Mutual had said it would spend […]

Agency expelled by ombudsman scheme facing deadline to pay fine

An agent connected with a firm expelled from the Property Ombudsman scheme in October had until the end of yesterday to pay a £5,000 fine. Kirklees Council issued a £5,000 fixed penalty notice on Huddersfield agent Gallery, owned by Dennis Goodridge. The agent, which the local paper has since reported seems to have disappeared from […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks launches audacious £50m bid to expand into America

February 22, 2017

Online agent Purplebricks this evening launched an audacious two-hour time slot for investors to pile £50m into its next expansion – into the USA. In a statement to the stock market, three minutes before 5pm today, Purplebricks said it would be launching a State by State roll-out in America. The money it hopes to have […]

Online agent’s TV ad which quoted ‘misleading’ £495 fee is banned

An advertisement for an online estate agent which quoted £495 as the fee has been banned because it was incumbent on sellers using the agent’s conveyancing and mortgage services. If they did not, they would have to pay extra. The ruling, which could affect other agents, is made public this morning by the Advertising Standards […]

Senior agents from big chains take up cut-price franchise offer at EweMove

Prospective EweMove franchisees are inquiring at the rate of 900 per month – and among them are agents employed by some of the big firms. Recent new franchisees who have signed up include senior people from Countrywide, Romans, Andrews and Whitegates. Some are said to have been made redundant, while others have left voluntarily. ‘Head […]

House give-away competition worries advertising watchdog

Advertising on Facebook which promoted a competition giving away a house has been banned. Real Hot Property’s “#HouseGiveaway” offered a home worth up to £150,000. Two complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority said that conditions of entry and the closing date were changed during the promotion, and challenged whether it had been run fairly. Real […]

Landlord of illegal flats ordered to repay £100,000 in rent – or go to jail

A landlord who converted a house into two flats without planning permission has been ordered to pay £108,000 following legal action by a local authority. Mohamed Omar Hassibi, 64, was prosecuted for breaching a planning enforcement notice requiring him to revert his property back to a single dwelling. At a sentencing and confiscation hearing at […]

Shelter announces name of new chief executive

Shelter has a new chief executive. She is Polly Neate, who is currently chief executive of domestic violence charity Women’s Aid. Neate will take up her new role in August, succeeding Campbell Robb who left in January to head up the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Shelter Scotland’s director, Graeme Brown, is acting as interim chief executive. […]

Zoopla ‘calling the shots’ behind agent’s challenge to OnTheMarket, tribunal told

February 21, 2017

But QC for Gascoigne Halman calls for allegation to be withdrawn or dismissed Source:: Zoopla ‘calling the shots’ behind agent’s challenge to OnTheMarket, tribunal told