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Generation Rent renews call for letting agent fees to be banned

June 1, 2015

| June 1, 2015 Generation Rent has renewed its call for a ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants. It has done so after one tenant was told he would be charged £800 in upfront fees – for a £650 a month flat. On top of the £800 charged by Fulfords, in Exeter, he […]

EweMove expands to 57 branch network in two years

| June 1, 2015 Franchise chain EweMove has announced four new branches, bringing its network to 57. The latest openings are in Bradford, Goole, Shrewsbury and Hamilton. EyeMove, which rebranded and launched as a franchise two years ago, says it has a growing pipeline of new franchisees signed up, ready to launch their businesses from […]

Cameron’s landlord licensing scheme: Important clarification

May 29, 2015

| May 29, 2015 Just over a week after David Cameron’s announcement of a national mandatory licensing scheme for private landlords, there has now been clarification. It will apply to Houses in Multiple Occupation or “shared housing” only. The clarification came from the Department for Communities and Local Government after a request for further information […]

Agent says post-election revival is totally unprecedented in property market

| May 29, 2015 A veteran estate agent says that the election result led to a “mood swing” the like of which he has never seen in nearly 40 years in the industry. Robin Paterson, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in the UK, said: “I have never known anything like it. “It was such a […]

Prototype ‘property sortal’ launches – could it be part of the future?

| May 29, 2015 A new property project is under way – the development of a “property sortal”. Suggesting a cross between a property portal and a search engine, it is called Rummage 4, and it aims to put inquirers directly in touch with agents rather than a SEO dominating central portal. Rummage delivers twin […]

Getting a mortgage proves impossible for almost half of hopeful buyers

| May 29, 2015 Almost half of those who had planned to buy a property since the introduction of the Government’s new affordability rules last year have failed to do so. Research this month by Experian finds the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) has had considerable impact, with 45% of prospective home buyers unable to raise […]

More than three-quarters of new households in private rented sector

| May 29, 2015 In a new snapshot of Britain, it has emerged that over three-quarters of all new UK households are being created in the private rented sector. Data from lender Kent Reliance says the exact figure is 77.4%, with the private rented sector growing by nearly 150,000 households in the year to March. […]

Compulsory PRS licensing still firmly on agenda despite Queen’s Speech silence

May 28, 2015

| May 28, 2015 No detail or even mention was given in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech on the mandatory licensing of private landlords, promised last week by prime minister David Cameron. However, one landlord body said it has new information that HMO licensing will now be changed and this morning, the website Nearly Legal tore into […]

More complaints about agents being made to advertising watchdog

| May 28, 2015 The Advertising Standards Authority dealt with a record number of complaints last year, including those made by and about estate agents. The property industry has been attracting more complaints. It was 13th in the chart of 23 sectors receiving complaints last year: there were 461 complaints, up from 352 the year […]

Ex-Foxtons agent in bid to raise £450,000 for new property firm

| May 28, 2015 A property company run by a former Foxtons agent is attempting to raise £450,000 via crowdfunding. Goodlord, which describes itself as an online platform for managing the full tenancy process for agents, is headed by CEO Richard White. In its pitch, Goodlord says that £450,000 would represent 20% equity in the […]

RICS agent’s reputation in tatters after court case

| May 28, 2015 A surveyor who pleaded guilty to faking tenancy agreements has been punished in court while his professional reputation is described as being in ruins. Michael Durham, an RICS surveyor with over 30 years’ experience, acted as planning agent for landlord Martin Hetherton. The pair tried to deceive both the local authority […]

Winkworth builds on expansion thrust outside London

| May 28, 2015 London’s largest estate agency, franchising firm Winkworth, is continuing its growth outside the capital with a new office in Nottingham. This will take the total number of out-of-London offices to 38, with further offices planned around the UK this year. Previously trading as Mark Bygott Intercounty, the Nottingham office will continue […]

Agent’s claims about Rightmove and Zoopla rejected by advertising watchdog

May 27, 2015

| May 27, 2015 An estate agent that claimed Rightmove and Zoopla have different audiences has been scolded by the advertising watchdog. East midlands firm Kirk Estates used a Venn diagram in local press advertising, with intersecting circles showing how property listings were distributed across the two giant portals. The circle representing Rightmove properties was […]

Housing market set to feature strongly in Queen’s Speech

| May 27, 2015 Housing is due to feature prominently in today’s Queen’s Speech – with the industry holding its breath to see if mandatory licensing of the private rented sector will be introduced as expected, and if so, what detail is given either in the speech itself or the subsequent small print. Today’s announcements […]

Ex-council flats bought at discount make a fortune for their owners

| May 27, 2015 Ex-council properties acquired under Right to Buy are making their owners a fortune, with many now in the hands of private landlords and others changing hands for high prices in the London market. As the Government prepares to extend Right to Buy to social housing tenants, a 700 sq ft two-bedroom […]

Rents rise as more landlords sell up

| May 27, 2015 Three in ten (32%) ARLA letting agents reported that rents increased in April. With Labour’s rent cap proposals no longer a prospect, eight in ten (79%) ARLA agents have predicted that rents will increase over the next five years. ARLA also says the number of landlords selling their buy-to-let properties has […]

Recruitment firm appoints CBRE senior to head up estate agency division

| May 27, 2015 Property recruitment firm Deverell Smith has appointed Ana Hutchinson to head up their expanding estate agency division. She joins Deverell Smith from CBRE where she was a residential director and most recently residential chief operating officer. Hutchinson started her career at Grainger, and she has also worked at Chestertons. With considerable […]

World first claimed as UK agent hosts live ‘virtual open house’

May 26, 2015

| May 26, 2015 UK agent Thomas Morris is claiming to have held the world’s first live ‘virtual open house’. It did so on the new social media platform Periscope. The virtual open day attracted more than ten times the number of participants than a physical open day at the same property. It was a […]

Was housing minister caught out by Cameron’s licensing bombshell?

| May 26, 2015 The housing minister Brandon Lewis himself appears to have been among those caught on the hop by the Prime Minister’s shock announcement that he will introduce mandatory licensing of private landlords. Lewis rejected “unnecessary and excessive regulation” of the private rented sector just one day before David Cameron’s announcement. Lewis was […]

Crowdfunding investors snap up property within 35 minutes

| May 26, 2015 A two-bedroom flat listed on a specialist property crowdfunding platform reached its funding target in 35 minutes. Investments came in at a rate of £6,000 a minute for the property in Byfleet, Surrey. It went online at 3pm, and by 3.35pm a total of 126 investors had bought all the shares […]

Rightmove is one of world’s best property portals, says analyst

| May 26, 2015 Rightmove is one of the strongest property portals in the world, a City analyst has said. Its latest report also says that there are many new avenues for property portals to make more money, citing the Australian portal REA’s “highly successful” direct monetisation of vendors. In the UK, it says there […]

‘Disruptive’ new online agent launches with TV ad campaign to follow

| May 26, 2015 A new online estate agency challenger has entered the market with serious – and expensive – plans. It has also had its membership of Rightmove re-vetted. Yopa (Your Online Property Agent), which says it plans to disrupt the estate agency market, states on its website: “We don’t need to visit your […]

Bombshell as Cameron announces mandatory licensing of landlords

May 22, 2015

Prime minister David Cameron is set to introduce a mandatory licensing regime of private landlords. What is being described as a bombshell is outlined in a speech Cameron gave yesterday on immigration. Most commentators have so far focused on his announcement that the current ‘right to rent’ trial in the midlands whereby landlords or their […]

Corporates in acquisitions rush pay top prices for independents

| May 22, 2015 The corporates are raiding their treasure chests to go on major acquisition trails of independent high street agents – and if not their businesses, their lettings portfolios. In a buying spree unprecedented for years – probably since the eighties – the prices they are prepared to pay appear to be at […]

Starving market of supply – the households that stay put for years

| May 22, 2015 Households are moving home much less often – often waiting two or three decades – and starving the market of supply. Hometrack said this morning that in cities, the average time between one move and the next has risen markedly. In the 1980s, the average house was changing hands every ten […]

Rents are going skywards, says LSL

| May 22, 2015 Rents are at a record high across England and Wales, according to LSL firms Your Move and Reeds Rains. They said that the average rent stood at £774 in April, including £1,204 in London. In England and Wales, rents jumped 4.6% year on year last month, growing on a monthly basis […]

easyProperty boss confirms imminent launch into sales

| May 22, 2015 easyProperty boss Robert Ellice has confirmed that his company will launch into sales shortly – somewhere between July and September. In an interview, he said: “We have just launched room rentals and a property management service and will be introducing a commercial property lettings offering shortly. “Towards the summer, we will […]

Weak transactions and mortgage lending confirmed in pre-election wobble

| May 22, 2015 Both house sales and mortgage lending were weak in April, as nerves jangled in the run-up to what looked like an uncertain election result. Transactions volumes fell back in April, both seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted, and on both the previous month and previous year. Sales volumes of residential properties were 3.4% […]

High street firms ‘investigated’ by CMA over long sole agency agreements

May 21, 2015

| May 21, 2015 High street agents are said to be under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority for their implementation of sole agency agreements. The claim has come from Russell Quirk, founder of online agent eMoov, who made a complaint earlier this year – with, he says, the advice of Counsel. But while […]

Zoopla keeps up battering of OnTheMarket with new attack

| May 21, 2015 Zoopla sailed back into its relentless attack on OnTheMarket within hours yesterday of confirming to shareholders that by the end of March it had lost 23% of its UK estate agency membership. In its latest onslaught, Zoopla cites its own analysis, claiming that listings and instructions have been climbing for agents […]

Clock ticks down towards duty to publish letting fees

| May 21, 2015 The clock is ticking as letting agents are reminded that they now have less than a week to ensure that they fully publicise the fees they charge to both landlords and tenants. This becomes a statutory duty on Wednesday, May 27, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Agents must display a […]

Developer in hot water after advertising the homes that weren’t

| May 21, 2015 Homes were advertised as being “now available” even though they were on a development that did not exist and had not even received planning permission. Redrow Homes, based in Camberley, Surrey, featured an image of two houses on its website. Text over the image said: “This development is coming soon. Register […]

Labour names new shadow housing minister

| May 21, 2015 Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods is the new Labour shadow housing minister, the party has announced. Professor Blackman-Woods, who comes from Northern Ireland, has been in Parliament since 2005 after being selected as candidate on an all-women list. She is a sociologist with an interest in housing, and her CV includes being […]

Zoopla confirms loss of almost one quarter of agency membership

May 20, 2015

| May 20, 2015 In its first results delivered to the City since the launch of OnTheMarket, Zoopla said it had lost 23% of its UK agency members as at March 31. OnTheMarket, with its “one other portal” rule had launched two months previously. Zoopla said it went on to lose another 106 agents in […]

Connells firm Sequence snaps up major city business

| May 20, 2015 The Liverpool business of one of the best known agents in the north, Farrell Heyworth, has been acquired by Sequence – part of Connells. The actual purchase of the three branches in the city, for an undisclosed sum, is attributed to Jones & Chapman, the Sequence brand in the region. Sequence […]

More tenants in rent arrears as they struggle on low pay

| May 20, 2015 An increasing number of tenants struggled to pay rent in the first quarter of this year, says a report today by Your Move and Reeds Rains. The two agency chains, part of LSL, say that the number of tenants owing more than two months’ rent was up 4% on the same […]

Online v traditional – but are investors being given the facts?

| May 20, 2015 Yet another article about online versus traditional estate agents – but you might want to take a deep breath and ensure you’re sitting down before reading this one. In What Investment magazine (“essential reading for anyone who is interested in getting better returns on their money”), the article explores which type […]

New Rightmove TV advert launches tonight

| May 20, 2015 A nationwide TV advertising campaign promoting Rightmove’s new school checker begins today. The new ad will air on Channel 4 tonight and outdoor posters will appear on bus shelters across the country. The school checker is included on over 1m properties across Great Britain, and includes a school catchment indicator and […]

Cabec Ltd t/a Cream Club: Creditors meeting could be held within weeks

May 19, 2015

| May 19, 2015 The administrators of Cabec Ltd, which traded as Cream Club, say there could be a creditors meeting within weeks. Insolvency manager James Hopkirk, at Begbies Traynor, said: “Jamie Taylor and Lloyd Biscoe of Begbies Traynor were appointed joint administrators on May 5, 2015. “The appointment was made by the holder of […]

Watchdog launches probe into way online agents advertise their fees

| May 19, 2015 The advertising watchdog is to investigate online agents that are advertising their fees exclusive of VAT. The move follows pressure from Adam Day of Hatched, who wrote to the ASA last month claiming that some online agents are flouting the Committee of Advertising Practice guidance to include VAT in advertised rates. […]

Agent ‘gets 300% more inquiries’ after being one of few locally to stay on Zoopla

| May 19, 2015 An agent who says his firm is one of the few in the area to be on Zoopla says that it is working in his favour. Michael Riley, director of Capital & Coastal, said that since the launch of OnTheMarket with its ‘one other portal’ rule, there has been a 300% […]

Agent calls up 24/7 competitor to ask for a valuation at 3am

| May 19, 2015 An estate agent phoned a competitor which claimed to be open 24/7 to request a valuation at 3am. His request was declined and Daniel Pilley, of CXG Estate Agents in Haverhill, Suffolk, has now complained to EweMove – sparking a furious online reaction. Pilley has told the firm: “This is an […]

Petition wants Land Registry to let owners keep property prices private

| May 19, 2015 A petition has launched asking for the Land Registry to give an opt-out to home owners who do not want their property purchase price to be made public. So far, just eight people have signed it so it has hardly got off the ground. It is also unlikely to succeed, as […]

Cabec Ltd, trading as Cream Club, goes into administration

May 15, 2015

Cabec Ltd, trading as Cream Club, has entered administration. This notice has been published today in the Gazette. (Company Number 07459665) Trading Name: The Cream Club Registered office: c/o Cream Group, Unit S3, Compass Point Business Park, St Ives, PE27 5JL Nature of Business: Advertising and Market Research Date of Appointment: Jamie Taylor (IP Number: […]

Something for the weekend: An encounter with the Duke of Edinburgh

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | May 15, 2015 After an initial burst of enthusiasm following our dear Editrix’s kind invitation that I should pen the occasional light-hearted, only slightly property-related article, I’m afraid supply has not met (assumed) demand of late. There are a number […]

Guild and Fine & Country looking at launch of online agency offering

| May 15, 2015 The Guild of Professional Agents and its sister organisation Fine & Country are exploring the launch of an online agency solution for members. It would be called Property Platform. Malcolm Lindley, who is managing director of both the Guild and Fine & Country, yesterday said: “At the moment it is a […]

House prices now growing more quickly outside London

| May 15, 2015 House prices are growing more quickly in the south-east and East Anglia than in London. This morning’s LSL/Acadata house price index says that it is the first time in four and a half years that London’s house price growth does not lead the regions. However, the index covers April which saw […]

Arrears and repossessions fall across both home ownership and buy-to-let

| May 15, 2015 Mortgage arrears and repossessions are falling across both owner-occupier and buy-to-let lending. The Council of Mortgage Lenders says that at the end of the first quarter of this year, the total proportion of mortgages with arrears equivalent to more than 2.5% of the mortgage balance was 1.03%. This was down from […]

All sold! Agent sells almost all its stock in buyer ‘frenzy’

| May 15, 2015 An agent which started the year with 204 properties listed had sold all but one of them by the end of March. The firm, Warners Solicitors and Estate Agents in Edinburgh, said buyers had gone on a “frenzy”. Its sales for the first quarter of this year were 40% up on […]

Picture of the Week: It’s a flat, Jim, but not as we know it

| May 15, 2015 Here is our picture of the week which will transport you to where no human has gone before. Well, apart from selling agents Hope Estates, who have boldly come up with some imaginative details for the studio in Hinckley, Leicestershire. “Calling all Star Trek Fans!“Have you always dreamt of having your […]