Suttons City Living Blog

Agents’ Mutual accused of ‘scaremongering’ by Rightmove over private listings

September 23, 2014

| September 23, 2014 A row has broken out between Rightmove and Agents’ Mutual, which is due to launch its OnTheMarket portal in just over three months’ time. Ed Mead, a director of Agents’ Mutual, said that it was “surely only a matter of time” before Rightmove introduces private listings to compete against its own […]

Website launched by surveyor runs private sales alongside agents’ listings

| September 23, 2014 A property website intended to offer a complete service to consumers is listing estate agents’ properties while also offering a private for sale by owner listing service. There are 400 estate agents’ properties currently on the totallymoving site. The private for sale by owner facility was added at the weekend, said […]

Apartment prices leap as first-time buyers return

| September 23, 2014 Apartment prices have risen by over £50,000 on average in the past ten years – more than twice the average for all properties. The reason that flats nationally have outperformed all other types of property has been because of London prices. Flats in London represent a high proportion of the property […]

Labour confirms ban on letting agent fees if it wins

| September 23, 2014 Labour has confirmed that it will ban letting agent fees to tenants if it wins next May’s election. Speaking at a Generation Rent fringe meeting at the party political conference, shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds also said a Labour administration would bring in longer tenancies. Separately, Ed Miliband has announced that […]

Edinburgh agent reports 200% rise in activity post-referendum

| September 23, 2014 An agent in Edinburgh is reporting a big upturn in activity following the ‘No’ vote in the Scottish referendum. Richard Loudon, partner at Simpson & Marwick, said properties and viewing inquiries increased by 200% at the weekend compared with the previous weekend. He said: “We are certainly expecting a very active […]

Tragedy as estate agent dies on honeymoon

September 22, 2014

| September 22, 2014 An estate agent who married his business partner exactly a week ago has died after an accident while on honeymoon. Jeremy Hope, 39, married Sarah Greaves, 31, before family and friends on the Greek island of Santorini last Monday. The pair together ran Saxon Kings in Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey. Two days after […]

How many agents are breaking rules on VAT?

| September 22, 2014 How many estate and letting agents quote their fees and other charges without VAT? And how many know that they should not be doing so – for example, stating £100 + VAT? The rule is quite clear in the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) code: 3.18 Quoted prices must include non-optional […]

Britain’s most famous buy-to-let landlords ‘close’ to sale of 1,000 homes

| September 22, 2014 Britain’s most famous buy-to-let landlords, Fergus and Judith Wilson, have said they are close to selling their 1,000-strong property portfolio for a minimum of £250m. The likely buyer is Chinese, with Fergus Wilson telling the Financial Times that he has had three approaches from China, as well as from football players […]

Agent launches major expansion via franchising

| September 22, 2014 Dacre, Son and Hartley, one of Yorkshire’s best known agents, is to expand via franchising and acquisitions. The firm, which is nearly 200 years old, is already Yorkshire’s largest independent agent. It currently has 20 offices and 120 staff, with a £7m turnover. It is now looking to expand throughout the […]

Costs of licensing might be passed to tenants, housing head admits

| September 22, 2014 The costs of licensing could be passed to the tenants, a councillor in charge of housing has admitted. Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration at Labour-run Croydon, said at a public meeting: “There’s no need for any landlord to pass on [the cost] to the tenant, but there […]

Correction notice and unreserved apology to easyProperty

September 19, 2014

Correction notice and unreserved apology to easyProperty We would like to issue a correction notice and offer easyProperty a full and unreserved apology. In an article published on 18th September 2014 reporting on the launch event for easyProperty we reported incorrectly ” the crowd was told: “We are looking at the arsehole of agents.” we […]

Agents in Australia rise up against portals ‘robbing them blind’

| September 19, 2014 Agents in Australia have become so incensed at rising fees charged by portals that they are launching their own portal imminently. Called Squiiz, it will be 100% industry owned and operated, and already has the backing of agents who between them have 65% of the listings market. Crucially, it also has […]

Every single letting agent in Wales will now have to be licensed

| September 19, 2014 Mandatory licensing of all letting agents and private landlords in Wales will go ahead after the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has become law. It is the first piece of major housing legislation that the Labour-led Welsh Assembly has enacted, through devolved powers. The legislation gives powers to implement compulsory licensing throughout […]

New partnership between Eye and Property Tribes

| September 19, 2014 We are delighted to announce a new partnership between Property Industry Eye and Property Tribes. Property Tribes is a highly successful online forum for private residential landlords, and is run by Nick Tadd and Vanessa Warwick. For letting agents wanting to know who their customers are, we consider this partnership to […]

Plea to politicians on both sides of border: fees ban does not work

| September 19, 2014 Rents have inched up across England and Wales to reach an all-time record high, averaging £761 per month. LSL, parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains, said this morning that annual rent inflation now stands at 2.4% – equating to £15. On a monthly basis, August rents were on average […]

Zoopla’s Alex Chesterman in running for Entrepreneur of Year

| September 19, 2014 Alex Chesterman, founder of Zoopla, is one of the nominees for Entrepreneur of the Year. The annual award, run by City AM, recognises entrepreneurs nationally. This year’s nominees are Chesterman; Julie Deane, of the Cambridge Satchel Co; Rowan Gormley, of Naked Wines; Nick Hungerford, of Nutmen, an online wealth manager; and […]

Rightmove sends ad for cut-price online rival agent to high street firm’s applicant

September 17, 2014

| September 17, 2014 An estate agent says he was astonished to learn that an applicant of his had received an email from Rightmove selling him the services of a rival agent. Rightmove yesterday said the marketing email should not have been sent but had slipped through the net. It said that its staff have […]

Agent sacked after stealing a bar of chocolate

| September 17, 2014 An agent has been sacked after being caught on camera stealing a bar of chocolate from a rented flat during a viewing. The distinctively dressed agent (his purple suit is in Cadbury colours) pocketed the bar of Galaxy as he showed prospective tenants round the flat in Walthamstow, Essex. As the […]

easyProperty races to £1m fundraising target on day of launch

| September 17, 2014 easyProperty, which launches today with a party this evening at the Natural History Museum among the dinosaurs, has already raised most of its £1m crowdfunding target. With seven days still left to run on the campaign, by last night it had raised £821,900 on Crowdcube – more than 82% of its […]

Property sales rely on a virtual shop window, says Sarah Beeny

| September 17, 2014 Is the internet the new buyers’ shop window? Sarah Beeny says it is – and it’s hard to disagree, although you might take issue with her assertion that online agents save vendors 86%. She also tells sellers: “You know your own house better than most, so realistically you should be the […]

£100k discrepancy opens up between ONS and Land Registry

| September 17, 2014 Average London house prices soared 19.1% in the year to July, taking them past the half a million pound mark to reach a new record of £514,000. Prices in the south-east also rose sharply at 12%, taking house prices to £337,000 on average. Excluding London and the south-east, annual house price […]

Man with criminal record set up letting agency – and stole thousands

September 15, 2014

| September 15, 2014 A convicted criminal who went on to set up his own letting agency stole more than £17,000 in rents and deposits. With nothing in law to stop anyone setting up a letting agency, Keiran Farrer, 35, was able to launch TFT Cumbria Property Rentals in Carlisle, Cumbria. He had a previous […]

Taxman lobs potential timebomb into Sale by Tender market

| September 15, 2014 A potential timebomb has been lobbed by the taxman into the burgeoning Sale by Tender market where the buyer pays the fee, typically 2%. An HMRC officer told a purchaser in writing on September 5 that the fee counts as part of the purchase price and is therefore subject to the […]

Agent let himself into vendor’s home to steal new iPad

| September 15, 2014 An estate agent has been sentenced after he used the keys to a home he was selling to enter and steal an iPad. Negotiator Glenn Tuxford, 19, was sentenced to 40 hours unpaid work to be carried out within the next year, and ordered to pay £310 in compensation, plus costs […]

Agent’s anger over Rightmove’s questioning of ‘applicant’ J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

| September 15, 2014 An estate agent who registered himself as one of his own customers using a fictitious name on Rightmove was astonished when his alter ego received an email from the portal asking about his experiences with the agent. Trevor Kent used the name J Peasemold Gruntfuttock after the character played by Kenneth […]

easyProperty bids for £7.5m in exchange for 13% stake in company

| September 15, 2014 Investors are being offered a 13% stake in easyProperty – due to go live today – in exchange for £7.5m. The online agent says it will spend half of that amount on marketing, with £2.1m going on staff and the rest on admin, IT development and the costs of the deal. […]

Important update: new official code on lettings is published

September 12, 2014

| September 12, 2014 A new code has been published for the private rented sector. Endorsed and commissioned by the Government, it has been put together by the RICS with a number of other bodies, including ARLA, the deposit protection schemes and the ombudsmen services While parts of it relate to mandatory legislation, most of […]

Housing minister attacks licensing schemes

| September 12, 2014 Current housing minister Brandon Lewis took a swipe at selective licensing schemes such as the one in Newham – calling them “a tax on tenants”. The attack came in a series of announcements yesterday in which Lewis focused heavily on the private rented sector, saying the Government would “work with it, […]

Mind the gap – biggest regional divide in house prices for years

| September 12, 2014 Average house prices in England and Wales are £274,302 – but leaving out London and the south-east, average much less, at £185,496. LSL, reporting this morning on August prices, said the disparity was the biggest since 1995. David Newnes, director at LSL, said:“A game of two halves is being played out […]

Don’t rely on estate agents to set prices, public urged

| September 12, 2014 The public has been advised not to leave it to estate agents to value their homes, but to do their own research. The advice comes from the Home Owners Alliance. It publishes two ‘House Price Watch’ guides aimed at helping people find out how much their homes are worth in their […]

Brace yourselves for 4pm today – your date with the portals

| September 12, 2014 What will you be doing at 4pm this afternoon? Sitting back and having a cup of tea in anticipation of the weekend? Or deftly uploading more properties to Rightmove? According to the portal, 4pm on a Friday afternoon is the busiest time for new sales properties to be added – but […]

Lettings chain Belvoir to roll out estate agency service

September 11, 2014

| September 11, 2014 Lettings franchise business Belvoir is to launch an estate agency service right across its entire network of 157 offices. A year-long pilot in 14 offices has just finished successfully, producing £0.4m in the first six months of this year, and the firm will now be rolling it out at the rate […]

Average basic salary for estate agents is £23,848

| September 11, 2014 The average basic salary for those working in the UK residential property sector is £41,392. But for estate agents the average basic salary is just £23,848 – easily the lowest of the 18 different professions surveyed, although the figure is 5% higher than the previous year. Estate agents did, however, earn […]

New private sales site launches – with a difference

| September 11, 2014 A new private sales site has launched – with a difference as there are no property listings. WhenYouSell lets prospective buyers interested in buying in a particular location register their interest, even if no properties are for sale there. The buyer can simply draw around their preferred search areas on a […]

Scots housing market falters but tenants will vote Yes for independence

| September 11, 2014 Tenants in Scotland’s main cities favour independence, according to 500 polled by Scottish portal Citylets, which released the results this morning. Almost six in ten tenants (58%) say they will be voting in favour of independence. Support for independence amongst tenants varies between regions, with Glasgow and Aberdeen identified as most […]

‘Acute’ shortage of conveyancers slowing market

| September 11, 2014 House price momentum slowed to the same level it was a year ago and new buyer inquiries fell for the second consecutive month in August, the RICS claimed this morning. It also says that the number of agreed house sales also dipped for the first time since September 2012, but the […]

Days before launch easyProperty bids for £7.5m more funds

September 10, 2014

| September 10, 2014 With less than a week to go before launch, easyProperty yesterday launched a round of crowdfunding, aiming to raise £1m in just 14 days. Elsewhere, it is planning to raise a further £6.5m this month. The £1m it is pitching for on Crowdcube will buy just 1.5% equity in easyProperty, valuing […]

Miliband slammed over Labour policies on private rented sector

| September 10, 2014 Labour’s plans to introduce rent controls if it wins next year’s general election have come under fire. In a withering report, the Institute of Economic Affairs says that Ed Miliband is going for completely the wrong solutions and accuses him of flawed thinking. Instead, the IEA says he should instead look […]

Profits down at Martin & Co despite record income

| September 10, 2014 Profits at Martin & Co slipped despite record revenues, as costs soared. The franchise firm has reported pre-tax profits of £796,255 for the first six months of this year, down from £833,118 for the same period last year. Revenue was up at £2,268,978 compared with £1,954,235, but the company’s main costs […]

Four in ten landlords needing legal help ‘broke law on deposits’

| September 10, 2014 Four in ten landlords calling a legal helpline have failed to protect their tenants’ deposits. Some have not even heard of mandatory tenancy deposit protection – in force since 2007. In many cases, they cannot find a solicitor to act for them. According to eviction firm Landlord Action, 38% of landlords […]

Local authority looks at licensing flat shares

| September 10, 2014 A public consultation has launched over whether landlords should need a licence to rent out homes in the London borough of Camden. Camden Council is seeking views on proposals to introduce a licensing scheme for HMOs that fall outside the statutory licensing scheme – including flat shares. Camden already licenses 300 […]

IT experts paid to try to hack into Rightmove

September 9, 2014

| September 9, 2014 The scale of the challenge facing Agents’ Mutual should not be under-estimated – if an interview with Rightmove’s head of operations, Tim Harding, is anything to go by. In the interview, he reveals that out of the 400 current staff, 69 are IT developers. He also reveals that Rightmove pays external […]

Micro-flats let out by agency slapped by orders

| September 9, 2014 A local authority has slapped orders on 19 tiny bedsit flats to prevent them from being rented out. A specialist agency had been handling the rentals. Islington Council said it had uncovered the three-square metre bedsits in a building that was a former hostel. It was apparently converted without planning permission […]

Tenants ignorant of ARLA licensed agents scheme

| September 9, 2014 The worst problem tenants have is that their letting agents or landlord take too long to fix repairs – but choosing a “licensed” agent in the first place might avoid problems altogether. The claim has come from the Association of Residential Letting Agents. An online survey of 2,095 tenants carried out […]

Paper trail needed on repairs, says ombudsman

| September 9, 2014 Tenants should be encouraged not to report repair issues verbally over the phone, the Property Ombudsman has said. Christopher Hamer said it is important for there to be a paper trail. A new survey, by property repairs software company Fixflo, found that half of tenants report repair issues over the phone. […]

Agent hits out at Expert Agent’s decision on Google Chrome

| September 9, 2014 An agent has hit out at the decision of a software company to makes its latest upgrade function properly on only one browser, Google Chrome. Robert Mamuda, of Alexander May estate agents in Bristol, said that Expert Agent was dictating to its customers. Mamuda said: “I have been told that unless […]

Zoopla sponsors meeting of Agents’ Mutual members

September 8, 2014

| September 8, 2014 Zoopla is this week sponsoring a meeting of agents who have committed themselves to OnTheMarket. Zoopla, which is covering the costs of refreshments at the meeting at a four star hotel on Wednesday, will be putting its case as to why it should be the “one other portal” come the New […]

Purplebricks hikes its prices by £200

| September 8, 2014 Purplebricks has hiked its prices by nearly £200. The business had been charging £599 upfront including VAT. It is now charging £665 plus VAT, although it now says on its site: “No upfront payments whatsoever even on the cost of your EPC.” “No upfront payments whatsoever” appears to mean that valuation […]

Now easyProperty announces ‘partnership’ with Rightmove

| September 8, 2014 easyProperty has now announced a “partnership” with Rightmove after making a similar announcement about Zoopla last week. Saying that it has struck “a deal” with Rightmove, it says that all of its properties will go live on the portal from next Monday. Robert Ellice, founder of easyProperty which has a 20-year […]

Letting agent jailed after £60,000 fraud

| September 8, 2014 The director of a letting agency has been jailed for two years after admitting a £60,000 fraud. Bola Adeyoola, 57, took over a business in Slough, Berkshire, in 2004. In the two years previously, an unnamed couple from Hampshire had bought three properties in the Slough area which were rented out […]