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CLG: Agents must reveal all tenant and landlord fees to both parties

November 14, 2014

| November 14, 2014 There was shock and anger at yesterday’s NALS conference when delegates heard that in future, letting agents will have to declare all tenant and landlord fees to both parties. Ruth Hayes, senior policy adviser at the Department for Communities and Local Government, told delegates that this will be mandatory under the […]

NALS delegates protest at more red tape for letting agents

| November 14, 2014 By: Nick Salmon Delegates to the National Approved Letting Scheme conference in London yesterday heard presentations from a rich variety of speakers. Ian Springett of Agents’ Mutual began the proceedings with an update on the progress of OnTheMarket. In the course of doing so he asked for a show of hands […]

LSL on target for best year yet – but firm urges caution

| November 14, 2014 LSL, the parent group of brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains, Marsh & Parsons, and Davis Tate, says it is on track for a record year in 2014. In an interim management statement covering July 1 to October 31, it said estate agency revenue was up 10% on the same period […]

easyProperty could float on stock market next year

November 10, 2014

| November 10, 2014 easyProperty could float on the stock market next year. The company, headed by Robert Ellice and which uses Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s “easy” brand, could join this year’s other big newcomer, Purplebricks.com on the stock exchange as Eye reported last month. easyProperty launched less than two months ago on September 17 after […]

Selling properties online – not ‘so easypeasy’ , says online agent

| November 10, 2014 An agent has said that it is “not so easypeasy” to sell properties online. Aimee Johnson, of Bettermove.co.uk, was responding to Eye’s story on Friday which featured high street agent Chris Wood’s analysis of an online agent’s performance in his local patch in Cornwall. Johnson said she particularly took issue with […]

Landlord hit with £280,000 bill over illegal flats

| November 10, 2014 A landlord has been told to hand over £280,000 after a judge made a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. David Kohali had turned an outbuilding in Holloway, London, into six small flats some time before 2009. In that year, he was ordered by the council to stop using […]

Savills stares into crystal ball to predict 19.3% house price rises by 2019

| November 10, 2014 Heaven knows why they do it – it certainly escapes us. Just why would Savills come up with a five-year forecast for the housing market – apart from the fact that it employs 12 (yes, 12!) people in its research team. Savills is, of course, not alone in this kind of […]

Picture of the week: an early contender, but will it be beaten?

| November 10, 2014 Here’s an early contender for our picture of the week – what you might call a drive-by photo. Or, alternatively, a selfie. Look closely in the wing mirror and you’ll see what we mean. But it looks as though it’s raining, so can you blame this particular agent for not getting […]

Man sentenced after supplying agents with fake EPCs

November 7, 2014

| November 7, 2014 A man who supplied fake EPCs to estate agents has been ordered by a court to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. Neil Mackie, 48, of Gloucester, supplied a number of EPCs estate agents for houses being sold across Gloucestershire between March and May 2013, even though his membership of […]

Selling online? It’s not so easypeasy, says high street agent

| November 7, 2014 Online agents have failed to sell up to 82% of every home that “they have taken money from this year”, a high street agent has claimed. Furthermore, one seller who “saved” on agents’ fees was actually worse off by around £21,000. Their property was sold for £25,000 less than a very […]

Rightmove’s shares slide despite upbeat statement to City

| November 7, 2014 Yesterday’s slide in Rightmove share prices came after an upbeat management update – and after another City analyst gave it a strong “outperform” rating. William Packer, of Exane BNP Paribas, said that he had expected a slowdown in Rightmove’s new homes business in the second half of this year. However, Rightmove […]

Mortgage time bomb ready to explode for thousands of borrowers

| November 7, 2014 A ‘mortgage time bomb’ is looming for people aged over 50 with interest-only mortgages and who had hoped that an endowment would clear the lump sum, typically after 25 years. Some million such borrowers who are rapidly reaching the end of the mortgage period say the endowment will fall short. According […]

ID fraudsters target young working tenants

| November 7, 2014 Young working tenants should be warned that their living arrangements and lifestyles are exposing them to identity fraud. They have become a prime target for identity thieves, overtaking rich home owners with bulging bank accounts. New research shows that private tenants in their twenties and thirties and on low to middle […]

Advertising watchdog rules against agent showing fee as 0.9% + VAT

November 6, 2014

| November 6, 2014 The advertising watchdog has upheld a complaint against an estate agent who advertised their fee as 0.9% plus VAT. The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that this was a breach, and rejected the agent’s offer to show their fee in future as 0.9% plus 20% VAT. Instead, it has ruled that […]

OnTheMarket would be ‘non-issue’ but for exclusivity clause, says Morgan Stanley

| November 6, 2014 A new report on Rightmove by investment bank Morgan Stanley says that Agents’ Mutual would be a “non-issue” if it weren’t for the exclusivity clause. The report, called Mutual Understanding, specifically looks into the threat posed by Agents’ Mutual. The report says that Morgan Stanley has now incorporated a drop of […]

Will Rightmove share prices pick up after today’s update?

| November 6, 2014 Rightmove’s share price has fallen some 25% this year. The shares ended yesterday at 2,205p, having hit a 52-week high of 2,814p and a low of 1,935p. Morgan Stanley says that its shares have underperformed by 20% this year, first on Zoopla concerns and most recently on Agents’ Mutual worries. However, […]

More tenants will put in vexatious complaints if Bill becomes law – warning

| November 6, 2014 If a new Bill becomes law, then the number of tenants putting in vexatious complaints to hold up eviction proceedings will rise. The warning has come from Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action. But Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, who is introducing the Bill, says that tenants who “try it on” by […]

Shelter embarks on battle trail again in Scotland

| November 6, 2014 Shelter has begun a new campaign in Scotland, aimed at reforming the ‘out-dated’ private rented sector. The lobbying group’s new campaign, called Making Renting Right, was launched in a rally outside the Scottish Parliament. Shelter Scotland is calling for longer-term tenancies, saying that it is seeing “too many households forced from […]

Letting agent in £70k fraud went on to work for NAEA President’s firm

November 4, 2014

| November 4, 2014 The former owner of a lettings agency could go to jail after admitting stealing nearly £70,000. The case was yesterday mentioned in the House of Lords, following a briefing by Eye. Roy Jackson, 39, ran Suffolk Lettings in Ipswich. It closed down suddenly in December 2012 after failing to pay dozens […]

No plans to make client money protection compulsory – housing minister

| November 4, 2014 Ministers have yet again rejected calls for it to be made mandatory for all letting agents to hold Client Money Protection insurance. Housing minister Brandon Lewis said in a letter to John Midgley, chair of SAFEagent: “I have no plans to make CMP compulsory.” The rejection comes as yet another scandal […]

Newest property redress scheme is accepted by ARLA

| November 4, 2014 The ARLA board has voted to accept that membership of the Property Redress Scheme meets ARLA’s own consumer redress scheme requirements as part of its membership. The PRS is the newest of the three authorised redress schemes for the private rented sector. ARLA managing director David Cox said: “We’re very pleased […]

Spicerhaart rings up millionth phone call this year

| November 4, 2014 Spicerhaart’s call centre has taken its millionth phone call of the year. The call centre, called Nexus, employs 93 people and handles calls for Spicerhaart’s five estate agency and lettings brands – haart, Chewton Rose, Felicity J Lord, Darlows and Haybrook. Spicerhaart set up Nexus a year ago. It is open […]

Blanket PRS licensing is labelled ‘an abuse of legislation’

| November 4, 2014 As a new wave of licensing proposals loom – too many for Eye to report – a landlord has hit out at a council’s plans to introduce Newham-style compulsory licensing across its entire patch, saying it is “an abuse of legislation”. Richard Blanco, who is an area representative of the National […]

Acquisition of Xperience is just the beginning, says Martin & Co boss

November 3, 2014

| November 3, 2014 The deal by which Martin & Co acquired Legal & General’s estate agency wing for £6m took ten months. But despite it taking so long, the news did not leak out at any time until the announcement to the Stock Exchange on Friday morning. Neither the 75 franchise owners within Xperience […]

TV watchdog to probe complaint about Sarah Beeny

| November 3, 2014 TV presenter Sarah Beeny has been made the subject of a complaint to Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog. According to yesterday’s Sunday Times, the allegation is that Beeny is using the Channel 4 programme about online estate agents, How to Sell Your Home, to promote her own online estate agency, Tepilo. Ofcom […]

Shamed agent placed on Sex Offenders’ Register

| November 3, 2014 A letting agent has been told to “hang his head in shame” after being placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years. Raymond Buckley, 61, a Fellow of ARLA and who runs HeadWay Lettings & Sales in the Blackpool area, pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual assault. The judge […]

Agency boards sawn off by angry resident

| November 3, 2014 A man has taken a saw to estate agency boards erected outside his home. Matthew Hassall, of Croydon, claims the boards – put up outside the block of housing association flats where he lives – are simply there as free advertising for agents. He says he has been given permission by […]

Bold Legal Group recruits 300th member

| November 3, 2014 The Bold Legal Group, set up by Rob Hailstone, has recruited its 300th conveyancing member firm. It is Rothera Dowson in Nottingham. Former HIP provider Hailstone has become a champion of independent local conveyancers – who have had the same kind of mixed fortunes as estate agents over the last few […]

Martin & Co buys Xperience in £6m deal

October 31, 2014

| October 31, 2014 Martin & Co announced this morning that it has acquired the whole of Xperience – the estate agency franchising arm of Legal & General. It paid £5m in cash plus around £1m for the net assets of Xperience. Xperience managing director Michael Stoop stays with the business and has become group […]

UK’s biggest estate agent on course for best year ever

| October 31, 2014 The UK’s largest estate agent, Countrywide, is anticipating a bumper year after its best third quarter on record. Its report is in contrast to Foxtons, which last week issued a profits warning. But like Foxtons, Countrywide has also experienced a marked slowdown in the London market. In an interim report covering […]

David Newnes to step down from LSL – after 35 years

| October 31, 2014 David Newnes, one of the most respected names in estate agency, has announced his retirement. Widely respected and liked, Newnes, who is director of estate agency at LSL Property Services, has been with the company 35 years. He will be leaving at the end of this year, to follow personal interests […]

Prices edge up but ‘market losing momentum’

| October 31, 2014 House prices edged up 0.5% to stand at £189,333 this month, Nationwide has reported. Annual house price inflation is now 9%, said the lender. Despite the rises, Nationwide said that the housing market is losing momentum, with annual house price inflation slipping from 9.4% in September. It also said that mortgage […]

Zoopla launches feature for agents to show their professional credentials

| October 31, 2014 Zoopla Property Group has launched a new feature which allows members to display the professional associations and redress schemes they are affiliated with on various sections of the Zoopla and PrimeLocation websites. ZPG members can activate this new feature under their profile in ZooplaPro and activate the display of logos of […]

Newspaper group says it will not ban OnTheMarket logo in agents’ adverts

October 30, 2014

| October 30, 2014 Speculation is mounting as to whether some newspapers may ban the OnTheMarket logo from publications. Last night, Zoopla – which powers the property websites for a number of both local and national newspapers – neither confirmed the possibility nor ruled it out. However, this morning a spokesperson for Johnston Press told […]

A spirited (but serious) discussion: should agents disclose hauntings?

| October 30, 2014 Tomorrow is Halloween, which brings us to the ghostly topic of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. Under these, should an agent disclose whether a house is haunted? Of course, an agent may well take the view that he or she does not believe in ghosts. However, according to a […]

Jon Hunt ‘on prowl’ to buy Foxtons back – speculation

| October 30, 2014 Could Jon Hunt be on the prowl for his old firm Foxtons? A snippet in yesterday’s Telegraph City Diary suggests that this could be the case. It says there is speculation that Hunt “might be in the market for buying back the estate agent he sold at the peak of the […]

For richer or for poorer: UK’s property notspots are named

| October 30, 2014 Search engine Home has revealed property investment black spots where house prices are falling. In some of the worst performing areas, prices are falling by more than 7% per year. Landlords’ return on investment is also looking iffy where the value of the property depreciates by more than the annual rent. […]

Five million up – that’s one firm’s estate agency boards

| October 30, 2014 Seventeen years after launch, Agency Express has announced that it has put up its five millionth board. The milestone was reached while supplying redesigned boards for Norfolk agent and long-term client Arnolds Keys. Agency Express, founded and still run by former estate agent Stephen Watson, claims a 48% market share in […]

High street agents’ market share could fall to 50% within decade, prediction

October 29, 2014

| October 29, 2014 Property entrepreneur Faisal Butt has predicted that over the next ten years, online estate agents could attain a 30% share of the market. He said that ‘hybrid’ agents could win a 20% market share, leaving traditional high street agents with the balance. However, Butt also made the point that many traditional […]

House prices barely move – but are we looking at uplift in sales?

| October 29, 2014 House prices barely moved between August and September, going down by just 0.2%, the Land Registry has reported. The average house price in England and Wales is now £177,299 compared with the peak of £181,324 in November 2007. Annual house price inflation is running at an average of 7.2% but is […]

Stability of housing market a concern for half of conveyancing firms

| October 29, 2014 Nearly half of conveyancers say that the stability of the housing market is a real issue for them. Findings from a new survey, by conveyancing search provider SearchFlow, also suggest that conveyancers believe that the market is levelling out. Only 16% of firms experienced growth of over 25% in the last […]

Anti-social tenants targeted by new ground for eviction

| October 29, 2014 A new ground for the eviction of anti-social tenants became law last week. However, significant doubts have been cast as to how much, if at all, it will be used in the private rented sector. Section 97 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, creates a new mandatory ground […]

Ordinary families to be hit by Stamp Duty reform – claim

| October 29, 2014 Scotland’s home building industry has warned that the new Land and Buildings Transactions Tax, due to replace Stamp Duty Land Tax next April, will hit ordinary hard-working families. Figures show that all buyers purchasing homes over £325,000 will be worse off under the new system than now. Homes for Scotland chief […]

Agent hits out at Tepilo over listing of property

October 27, 2014

| October 27, 2014 Any agent fed up with competitors who keep properties online as having been sold subject to contract, when in reality the sales were completed weeks or months ago, will sympathise with the agent who posted on Twitter at the weekend: “Sold, completed 3 months ago, refurbished & rented out. Yet still […]

Rightmove starts launch of Intel tool

| October 27, 2014 Rightmove has begun the launch of its new market insight tool. Some 1,200 estate agency branches around the country have just started using a pre-release version of the new RightmoveIntel – due to be available to all Rightmove members by the end of the year as part of their standard membership. […]

New call for ban on letting agent fees

| October 27, 2014 A new call for letting agents’ fees to be scrapped has come, this time from Manchester City Council. The council, which is to lobby the Government, has announced that Trading Standards will embark on a programme of visiting letting agents to ensure that their fees are accurate and transparent. The local […]

Tenant who supplied fake references to agents is jailed

| October 27, 2014 A woman who scammed her way into three tenancies in a row by supplying false references to agents has been jailed for two years. Sharon Watts, 47, of St Just, Cornwall, not only lied her way into three properties but then refused to pay rent or leave, Truro Crown Court heard. […]

Brokers review Foxtons after profits warning

| October 27, 2014 Equities researchers at the bank Credit Suisse have slashed their target price for Foxtons’ shares from 372p to 215p. Foxtons shares ended last week at 158p following its profits warning. Credit Suisse, which gives Foxtons an ‘outperform’ rating, appears to believe that its shares can recover by some 25%. Other analysts […]

Foxtons catches a cold and other agents sneeze

October 24, 2014

| October 24, 2014 Foxtons’ share price fell heavily yesterday after it issued a profits warning because of “sharp and recent slowing of volumes” in the London property market. The firm said it expected sales volumes in the second half of this year will be “significantly below levels during the same period last year”. Foxtons […]

New Hometrack report calls up market in 20 cities

| October 24, 2014 The newest house price survey launched this morning. And, we have to say, it is a bit of an oddity. The new UK Cities House Price Index is from Hometrack, which has binned its old one, which took reports from agents in each postcode. Whereas the old Hometrack index gave you […]