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Estate agency regulator launches new enforcement toolkit for Trading Standards

September 8, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 8, 2015 A toolkit has been launched which is designed to assist local authority Trading Standards enforcement staff to determine the levels of compliance of local estate agents. The toolkit, which has been launched by the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT), has been tailored with the aim […]

Mayor pushes for portal ads to include letting agent fees

Written by: Charlie Stong | September 8, 2015 The Mayor of London has called on the government to force portal adverts to carry information about specific letting agent fees. Responding to a government consultation into tackling rogue landlords and agents, Richard Blakeway, the deputy mayor for housing, land and property, called for a number of […]

New service for landlords emphasises it removes the need for agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 8, 2015 A new online property management tool has been launched, with the specific message that it will save landlords from having to use letting agents. The tool,, is described as removing “the need for landlords to pay expensive property management fees to lettings agencies by allowing tenants […]

‘Improve, don’t move’ is becoming long-term trend, agents warned

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 8, 2015 Remortgaging activity has soared – driven by a long-term trend in people wanting to upgrade their existing homes rather than move. Connells Survey & Valuation said that the number of valuations it undertook for remortgaging rose 25% in August compared with July, and by 102% since August […]

OnTheMarket confident it is on course to topple Zoopla

September 7, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | September 7, 2015 Traffic figures for OnTheMarket increased again throughout August to achieve another record-breaking month. The website achieved more than 5.4m visits – a rise of more than 22​0,000 compared to the previous month. It also attracted more than 2.5m unique visitors, an increase of 100,000 compared with July. The figures […]

Right to Rent pilot branded a ‘fiasco’ by top housing lawyer

Rosalind Renshaw | September 7, 2015 A leading housing lawyer has condemned feedback on the Right to Rent pilot scheme as a fiasco and “even worse than I expected”. Giles Peaker was commenting on the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) report on the Right to Rent pilot that has been taking place […]

Agent which said it only collected rent hit with £12,000 bill after prosecution over repairs

Rosalind Renshaw | September 7, 2015 An agent has been hit with a court bill for over £12,000 after being convicted of failing to carry out repairs and maintenance on a property rented to seven students. IPS (Leicester) had denied being the managing agent, saying they were simply rent collectors. IPS, which charges flat fees […]

EYE reader tries to sleep with the enemy – but gets kicked out of bed

Rosalind Renshaw | September 7, 2015 Come and sleep with the enemy: that was how online agent Russell Quirk, of eMoov, threw down the gauntlet to EYE readers, inviting high street agents to invest in his crowdfunding appeal for £1m – a pitch that values his business at £20m. And that was exactly what reader […]

First-time buyers won’t sacrifice smartphones, spas and holidays to get on housing ladder

Charlie Stong | September 7, 2015 Smartphones, satellite TV and holidays were among the things first-time buyers said they would not be prepared to give up in order to save to get on to the property ladder. In a survey by Welsh building society Principality of 1,000 people across England and Wales who are saving […]

Are you sitting comfortably? Big T shares the happy secret

September 5, 2015

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | September 5, 2015 Aren’t Satnavs the most wonderful things, especially when you can choose the voice that tells you where to go? I plumped for a lady with a gentle Irish lilt that calms the socks off me whilst still […]

Scandal of banned letting agent director who continued to work in industry

September 4, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | September 4, 2015 A letting agent closed down by the Insolvency Service received five-star ratings on review site allAgents. The last five-star rating was put up there in only May of this year. Yet, extraordinarily, the man named in the allAgents rating, Darren Briggs, was adjudged bankrupt two years ago and shortly […]

Runaway agent finally jailed for stealing tenants’ deposits

Rosalind Renshaw | September 4, 2015 An agent has been sentenced to jail after being found guilty of 17 counts of theft involving tenants’ deposits and rent owed to landlords. Manish Manek, 54, ran Je Je Barons, in Kingston-on-Thames, south-west London, between 2008 and 2012. He stole £47,000 before disappearing in October 2012. He also […]

NAEA and ARLA member agent is expelled by TPO

Rosalind Renshaw | September 4, 2015 A sales and lettings agency has been expelled by The Property Ombudsman after a long-standing membership going back 17 years. Bruten & Co, which displays the NAEA and ARLA logos on its site, is based in Wellington Terrace, Notting Hill Gate, London. It also currently displays the Property Redress […]

Agent at centre of demonstration has all its windows smashed

Rosalind Renshaw | September 4, 2015 An agent that found itself at the centre of controversy earlier this year has had all its windows smashed. CJ Hole, in Southville, Bristol, had sent a touting letter out to landlords, saying that it could get higher rents. The letter was sent to tenanted properties and placed by […]

£530 a month for mattress, inside shack, inside communal living room

| September 4, 2015 The ‘room’ advertised was a mattress inside this wooden structure in the corner of a communal living room Lettings website has admitted that its own rules were breached after what it advertised as a £530-a-month large double room was actually just a mattress inside a wooden shack in the corner […]

Letting agents warned after rise in fake passports

September 3, 2015

Charlie Stong | September 3, 2015 Letting agents have been warned to be on their guard after a tenant vetting firm said the number of prospective tenants it is seeing with fake passports has rocketed. Speaking to EYE yesterday, Gareth Fowler, managing director of Keysafe Tenant Vetting, said his firm is now encountering prospective tenants […]

Lawful tenants being rejected because of ‘dangerous’ Right to Rent scheme

Rosalind Renshaw | September 3, 2015 Lawful tenants are being turned away in the pilot scheme of Right to Rent because of concerns over the unfamiliarity of some of the paperwork that has to be checked. A briefing note this morning from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants labels the scheme as ‘dangerous’. […]

Agent who hung on to tenants’ deposits has Proceeds of Crime hearing delayed

Rosalind Renshaw | September 3, 2015 A proceeds of crime hearing following the jailing of a letting agent has been postponed until next year. It is the latest in a very long saga concerning Helen Gregory, 55, who failed to repay £67,000 in tenants’ deposits. Money which could have gone to her creditors did not. […]

Shelter receives 17,000 complaints about rogue landlords in one year

Charlie Stong | September 3, 2015 Almost 17,000 people have called the Shelter helpline to complain about problems with their landlord in the past year. That is according to new figures released by the charity, which said rogue landlords were to blame for increased cases of harassment, threats and even assaults. A survey of almost […]

Line-up of speakers announced for TPO’s first conference

Rosalind Renshaw | September 3, 2015 Agents will have a chance to learn about the Consumer Rights Act and meet the next Property Ombudsman this autumn. The programme for the Property Ombudsman’s first conference, sponsored by Property Industry Eye and AgencyPro, has now been finalised. Speakers include Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Trading Standards […]

NEWS FLASH: Chestertons quits Zoopla to return to Rightmove

September 2, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 2, 2015 Chestertons has left Zoopla to return to Rightmove. This morning, Chestertons chief executive Robert Bartlett confirmed to EYE: “We remain strongly committed to OnTheMarket.” Chestertons put their listings back up on to Rightmove yesterday afternoon, while their listings on Zoopla will be taken down today. Bartlett said […]

New guidance for estate agents published by regulator

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 2, 2015 An updated version of the Guidance on Property Sales been launched by the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team. The guidance is intended to help property sales businesses to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing […]

Scotland poised to introduce rent controls by next spring

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 2, 2015 Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to press ahead with introducing rent controls. This is in the face of the Scottish Government’s own consultation, showing that seven in ten respondents were against controls, Yesterday, in the Scottish Parliament’s version of the Queen’s Speech, Sturgeon outlined plans to […]

Generation Rent defiant despite missing crowdfunding target

Written by: Charlie Stong | September 2, 2015 Lobbying group Generation Rent yesterday defiantly insisted its crowdfunding drive had raised enough money for it to survive, despite hitting barely a quarter of its target. Its website had previously said that if the group’s £60,000 target was not met then staff would have been laid off, […]

Property advertisers slapped by watchdog appear on ‘non-compliant’ list

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 2, 2015 Two property firms are on the “non-compliant” list of the Advertising Standards Authority – although one of them appears not to be in business. The ASA says that West Property Consultants, trading as Hugo West, and Knightsbridge Property Services have not amended their adverts since complaints against […]

Highest sales since crash – but conveyancing delays will worsen and last a decade

September 1, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 1, 2015 Agents are warned that they must manage their own and their buyers’ and sellers’ expectations, as conveyancing looks set to become more and more protracted for years to come. Serious delays in some parts of the country which were already being experienced just as property sales increased […]

Flatsharing website easyRoommate sues Sir Stelios over name

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 1, 2015 easyGroup, the company owned by Sir Stelio Haji-Ionnou and which licenses its “easy” name to online agent easyProperty, is being sued by flatsharing company EasyRoommate. EasyRoommate’s parent firm W3 has issued a High Court writ, according to the Mail. It is reportedly demanding damages of £100,000 and […]

OnTheMarket deal with Country Life sets up new property search

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 1, 2015 Glossy magazine Country Life and OnTheMarket have agreed a portal partnership that looks set to squeeze out corporates. While the likes of Countrywide’s John D Wood and Hamptons brands will still be able to advertise in the magazine if they wish, they cannot list properties on the […]

Money rush! Online agent eMoov raises thousands within hours

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 1, 2015 Online agent eMoov galloped towards its target of £1m within hours of its crowdfunding launch on Friday evening. By early yesterday afternoon, it had got to over the halfway mark, reaching £507,380 from 51 investors, with the largest single investment £250,000. eMoov, founded by Russell Quirk, will […]

Russell Quirk interview: Why my firm is worth millions

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | September 1, 2015 Online agent eMoov has sold 4,500 properties worth a total of £1bn, says Russell Quirk who founded the business in February 2010. Savings to the public, he reckons, are so far some £12m. “We are selling,” he says, “240 to 250 properties each month.” The figures sound […]

Come and sleep with the enemy, Quirk tells estate agents

August 28, 2015

| August 28, 2015 Russell Quirk, founder of eMoov which is looking to raise £1m via crowdfunding and valuing itself at £20m, says he will welcome estate agency investors. He said this would be the equivalent of sleeping with the enemy and that he would even consider a discount. Quirk, who yesterday invited early interest […]

They’re back! First-time buyers at highest number since crash

| August 28, 2015 First-time buyers have come storming back into the market in the highest numbers since before the crash. This morning estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains – both part of LSL – said that in July there were 29,700 first-time buyers, the highest number since 35,300 in August 2007. The firms’ […]

House prices go down, says Nationwide (even if the headlines say otherwise)

| August 28, 2015 House prices rose by 0.3% this month, Nationwide reported. However, the lender also reported that August’s house prices went down – not that the press seemed to notice. The dip was slight, from £195,621 in July to £195,279 in August. It is, surely, yet another argument for kicking seasonal adjustment into […]

Private rented sector in Scotland almost triples as home ownership falls

| August 28, 2015 Drops in home ownership and in social housing have fuelled growth in Scotland’s private rented sector. The new Scottish Household Survey 2014 says that the social rented sector declined from 32% of all households in 1999 to 24% last year. Over the same period, the proportion of households in the private […]

Energy improvements in rented homes: Where tenants will foot the bill

| August 28, 2015 As yet another deadline approaches for the private rented sector, there seems to be a common misunderstanding about what it actually means. EYE queried a statement put out by a well known firm of agents this week which said that as from next April, tenants will be able to ask their […]

eMoov set to raise £1m saying it will show estate agents the door

August 27, 2015

| August 27, 2015 Online agent eMoov is to raise £1m via crowdfunding, in a move that values the firm at £20m. This afternoon, eMoov founder Russell Quirk made the announcement to social media contacts. Headed “eMoov investment opportunity” and “We’re showing estate agents the door”, it said that it will raise funds via Crowdcube. […]

ARLA calls for rogue letting agents to be banned from industry

| August 27, 2015 ARLA has told the Government that it should make it a legal requirement for all letting agents to belong to a Client Money Protection scheme. It has also told ministers that all letting agents should be professionally qualified and required to undertake Continuous Professional Development – and that rogue agents should […]

Landlord who failed to license HMOs is hit with £75,000 bill

| August 27, 2015 A landlord has been hit with costs of £75,215 after failing to license four HMOs and comply with various notices. Gunapalan Vamathevan, of Acton in west London, received fines for nine offences at Ealing Magistrates’ Court. He was ordered to pay court costs of £5,395 and a victim surcharge of £120, […]

Trophies on offer for best rated letting agent of the month

| August 27, 2015 Rating website raterAgent has launched a new monthly award for lettings agents. It is free for any letting agent branch to enter and all they have to do is encourage their landlords and tenants to leave reviews on the site. The new award, run with the support of Fixflo, is alongside […]

Oh dear – here’s one person who hasn’t found their happy!

| August 27, 2015 We think we have found our sad. Cue: sound of sobbing violins, plus scraping of bottom of silly season news barrel, as it’s that time of year. In a sign of only slight desperation for something to write about in August, EYE inquired about the Rightmove happy campaign. As agents will […]

Days tick by as Generation Rent struggles to reach funding target

| August 27, 2015 Generation Rent, the lobbying group, has raised just over a quarter of the £60,000 it needs. The organisation, which had its funding pulled by the Nationwide Foundation, by yesterday had raised £15,781 from 301 supporters. It now has under five days left to meet its funding target. The organisation has, however, […]

Online agent changes ‘money saving’ advert after complaint to watchdog

August 26, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | August 26, 2015 An advert on London tubes about a savings claim made by an online agent led to a complaint to the advertising watchdog. The advert for HouseSimple said: “Save £15,665 versus average Foxtons fee of 2.4%.” The complainant told the Advertising Standards Authority that they challenged whether the advert was […]

Foxtons marches on with more branch openings

Rosalind Renshaw | August 26, 2015 Foxtons is opening two new branches on the fringes of London – at Surbiton, Surrey, and in the London borough of Croydon. The two new branches are the latest addition to the agency’s expanding network, with the total number now standing at 58 offices throughout London, Surrey and Middlesex. […]

High street agents extinct but just don’t realise it yet, says easyProperty boss

Rosalind Renshaw | August 26, 2015 In a move that underlines that Hunters does not think online-only is the way to go, two of its branches have moved into high street locations. Both the Tring and Leighton Buzzard offices in Bedfordshire are owned by franchisee Caroline Murgatroyd. They were previously located out of town, but […]

Essential Section 21 update for letting agents: Important changes just weeks away

Rosalind Renshaw | August 26, 2015 Important changes affecting letting agents and landlords are just weeks away, courtesy of The Deregulation Act. The main changes are to the rules on serving a notice to quit under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, commonly known as a Section 21 Notice. The changes come into force […]

New service launches to protect agents against social media attacks

Rosalind Renshaw | August 26, 2015 A property software company has launched a digital security protection service for agents. Claimed to be a first in the industry, VTUK’s service is about protecting agents’ brands and reputations. The service will allow agents to have their digital presence monitored for them, giving them full transparency of any […]

Home buyer demand surges to highest level in 11 years

August 25, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | August 25, 2015 The number of house hunters registered per estate agency branch is at the highest level in 11 years. Reporting on July, the NAEA said there was a further 5% rise in the number of applicants – an average of 462 per branch compared to 439 in June. This is […]

Soccer fans arrested in protest outside controversial estate agents

Rosalind Renshaw | August 25, 2015 Two football fans were arrested by police on suspicion of harassment outside an estate agents. Blackpool Football Club is owned by the Oyston family, who also run Oyston’s Estate Agents in the town. Police said three people tried to enter the estate agents. The two who were arrested had […]

Rightmove, Zoopla and other property firms fall victim to Black Monday

Rosalind Renshaw | August 25, 2015 Rightmove, Zoopla, estate agents and developers were all among losers in yesterday’s Black Monday. In what was being called a bloodbath on the stock market, markets crashed around the world. In the UK, nearly three years of gains were wiped out, while in China, yesterday’s 8.5% collapse followed a […]

As rentals market comes to boil, apartments are let off-plan

Rosalind Renshaw | August 25, 2015 Flats are being rented off-plan – creating a possible first, the developers believe. While homes are often sold off-plan, we have not been able to find a precedent for homes being let off-plan. The apartments, in Poplar, east London, will not be finished until October and cannot be viewed. […]