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Stamp Duty, Tax Changes, Letting Fee’s Ban, A Truly Memorable 2016.

December 2, 2016

In his Autumn statement the chancellor decided to make a surprise announcement that he will be banning fee’s that prospective tenants currently have to pay to letting agencies prior to moving into a property. This follows on from the stamp duty changes, and also the changes in tax, coming in from next spring, so what does all […]

Purplebricks to be in profit within months, promises its boss

November 22, 2016

Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce has reiterated that the firm will be profitable by its third anniversary – just five months away. Purplebricks launched in the UK in April 2014 and made a £12m loss in its last financial year, on turnover of £18.6m. Speaking to CityAM, Bruce said: “I think for a business that’s grown […]

Sold in just seven hours from instruction to exchange

A £1m property has been sold for the full asking price in just seven hours – the time it took from instruction to exchange. It was sold by Auction House London which received a phone call from the seller of the property in Mill Hill at 10am last Friday, and it was sold under auction […]

Hammond unlikely to undo Osborne’s tax assault on private landlords

Chancellor Philip Hammond looks extremely unlikely to reverse his predecessor’s ‘Section 24′ tax assault on private landlords in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement. A letter from the Treasury, in response to a report by landlord Dr Rosalind Beck on the impending tax change, says: “The Government stands by the reasons why the change is being implemented.” From […]

The end of letting agent fees? Renters’ Rights Bill passes Lords committee stage

Peers have come a step closer to getting lettings agent fees in England banned. A controversial Private Member’s Bill, introduced in the House of Lords by Baroness Grender, to effectively ban lettings agent fees passed through the committee stage last week. The Renters’ Rights Bill seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 by […]

London first-time buyers paying seven times more Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty changes have done little to help first-time buyers and they are now paying seven and a half times the national average in London, haart has warned. Paul Smith, chief executive of haart, is calling for the Chancellor to introduce a Stamp Duty holiday for first-time buyers. Research by the agent highlights the high […]

Firm thrown out by Ombudsman still attracting complaints about missing money

November 21, 2016

Landlords and tenants have complained about an agency which they say owes them money. The Huddersfield Examiner says it has been “inundated” with complaints about Gallery@HD1, owned by Dennis Goodridge. The paper also reports that one landlord has successfully won their case in the small claims court. Last month, as EYE reported, The Property Ombudsman […]

Letting agent and ‘property guru’ jailed after Ponzi-style scam

A Ponzi-style fraudster who describes himself as a letting agent and property buyer has been jailed for two years and eight months. Police said the fact that he had a property business made him credible to his victims, and that the scam had not just robbed people of money but ruined lives. Peter Stanley, 46, […]

Look at allAgents before making rental decisions, councillor tells tenants

A Labour councillor has advised prospective tenants to check out allAgents before deciding whether to go with a particular agency. Cllr Tracey Hill, of Brighton and Hove Council, said she recommends the site because it is fully moderated and only genuine customers can leave reviews. She said: “AllAgents has been running for ten years and […]

Letting agent shuts up shop as demonstrators descend

Students held a protest outside a letting agent after the firm refused to sign a new ‘ethical lettings charter’. Digs, a brand managed by Abode Property Management, closed its office as around 40 campaigners turned up to seek a confrontation which they did not get. The protest, supported by Bristol University’s student union, was organised […]

Nine out of ten landlords believe the Government is against them

More than 92% of landlords believe the Government is anti-landlord, according to a snap survey of 783 landlords by Martin & Co. The research reveals the anger felt by the majority of property investors nationwide, with the most vociferous responses from people who have been landlords for under five years and who own five or […]

Three-quarters of public want to see letting agents’ fees regulated plus rent controls

November 18, 2016

A survey for the BBC’s popular Victoria Derbyshire programme has revealed that 76% of people want the lettings industry to be regulated, and 74% want rent controls. The regulation that they want to see includes control over letting agent fees, lengths of contracts, deposits, and inventory checks. Yesterday’s Victoria Derbyshire Show discussed the private rented […]

Thanks George! Your Stamp Duty reforms are crippling central London market

The Government is facing more calls to address Stamp Duty issues on both prime and additional properties ahead of the Autumn Statement next week. Nick Davies, head of residential development at Stirling Ackroyd, says Stamp Duty must be cut to get the property market moving as buyers steer clear due to the rising costs. Research […]

Online agent Tepilo upgrades HQ after ‘dramatic’ rise in staff headcount and doubled turnover

Tepilo, Sarah Beeny’s online estate agent, has moved to a new headquarters in central London. It says this is to accommodate its rapidly growing team. A spokesperson confirmed that the new London office will not be a high street operation, and that Tepilo remains an online operation. In the past 12 months, the company said […]

Foxtons share price set to sink 4%, says City analyst

Analysts at Jefferies yesterday started coverage of Foxtons shares. It gave the shares a ‘hold’ rating with a price target of 110p, indicating a potential decrease of 3.93% from yesterday’s starting price of 114.5p. Jefferies warned that Foxtons’ fortunes “are explicitly linked to the strength or weakness of the London housing market”, and forecast that […]

Landlord hit with £24,000 bill after losing fight with council over licensing

A landlord has been prosecuted and ordered to pay a £12,000 fine as well as over £12,000 in court costs after he was found guilty of not licensing three flats in the same block. Elston Tuitt, 62, of London N16, was hit with the full costs of the prosecution after invoking a legal procedure against […]

Brace yourselves for a bumpy ride, warns Spicerhaart boss

November 17, 2016

The huge rise in the number of estate agencies now operating in the UK, at a time of great uncertainty in the housing market, is simply unsustainable – so job losses, branch closures and company amalgamations are on the cards for many. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of estate agency ‘shops’ […]

Redundancies at Strutt & Parker as firm reviews headcount blaming Osborne’s Stamp Duty changes

With the London and high-end markets in retreat, Strutt & Parker has confirmed redundancies, while one-time Apprentice contender Jamie Lester has announced that he is no longer running his firm, the multi award-winning London firm Haus Properties. The loss of jobs at Strutt & Parker has not been quantified, but was seemingly accidentally announced on […]

New report for Labour into falling home-ownership states the obvious – rising prices!

A report into declining home-ownership has called for a long-term strategy for the housing market, with cross-party agreement on 10- and 20-year housing targets. The Redfern Review also calls for an independent housing commission to be set up, and says there should be a “set of readily deployable counter-cyclical tools” to be in place in […]

Estate agent going about his job finds missing teenager

An estate agent going to an appointment found a missing teenager who was the subject of a major air, ground and sea search. Anthony Goss, director of Etherington Goss, based in Bridport, Dorset, is also a volunteer coastguard. The youngster, 15-year-old Luca Goldman-Hudson, had vanished from his home in Hackney, London. Police believe he travelled […]

Britain’s biggest builder cuts prices on its developments in London

Britain’s biggest house-builder Barratt has cut prices on houses in London, in a reflection of market conditions in the capital. It is a rare move: developers seldom cut prices on developments because of concerns of alienating people who have already bought. In a trading update yesterday, it said that “market conditions in London at higher […]

Support from agents for Telegraph’s campaign to slash Stamp Duty rates

November 16, 2016

There has been support from agents for the Telegraph’s campaign aimed at getting the Chancellor to slash Stamp Duty Land Tax in next week’s Autumn Statement. The Telegraph’s campaign seems wholly aimed at the top end of the market, where the damage has been immense: there are currently 14,000 £1m-plus homes listed on Rightmove which […]

Industry grabs initiative to avoid outright ban on letting agent fees

An outright ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants would harm the entire market, result in higher rents for tenants and lead to the closure of some businesses, a meeting of influential agents has said. The NALS Fair Fees Forum met for the first time this week, in London, to discuss the issue of […]

Online agent’s claims in flyer reported to Advertising Standards Authority

A mailshot by Connells-owned online firm Hatched resulted in a complaint to the advertising watchdog. Hatched’s mailer said: “Dear Home-owner, “We’re very sorry to see that your sale has recently fallen through with Haybrook, Swinton, but we wondered if we could help you find a buyer (whilst also saving you £1,000′s in the process?!).” The […]

Agent Provocateur: How the full-service industry is rising to the challenges

As a buyer or tenant, do you actually know – or care – who is showing you round a property? The insight gained by listening to many different agents over the last few weeks has been fantastic and I feel honoured to have had the chance to talk to such a variety of people – […]

Competition time: Can you create the best Christmas video ad of 2016?

The Christmas shopping season has officially been kicked off with the launch of the John Lewis and Marks & Spencer adverts. These brands, and others, had multi-million pound budgets to try to tempt consumers to part with their Christmas money, with John Lewis focusing on dogs and trampolines, while M&S went for girl power in […]

Agents leads generator website worth £4m looks to raise £150k via crowdfunding

November 15, 2016

Estate agency leads generator and comparison website NetAnAgent has launched a crowdfunding campaign. Unlike recent fundraising rounds in the industry, the firm seems to want relatively little money in relation to its valuation. The business states that it is worth £4m, apparently arrived at independently by a respected firm of accountants and business advisers, KPMG. […]

This is the estate agent’s video said to have gone crazy on social media

If you ever thought that marketing yourself via Facebook might be a waste of time – think again. This video, Why on Earth Would You Want to Live in Worthing, was posted on Friday by Sawyers estate agents and by yesterday evening had been viewed 33,000 times with over 460 shares. Jonathan Rolande, director of […]

No excuses for missing licensing deadline, Rent Smart Wales warns

The deadline for licensing and registration for landlords and agents in Wales will not be extended and enforcement will be taken against those who don’t comply, officials have warned. From November 23 all landlords must register and agents and self-managing landlords must obtain a licence in a scheme called Rent Smart Wales, but Cardiff Council, […]

Landlords incorporating to get round buy-to-let tax hikes

Increasing numbers of landlords are looking to get around the mortgage interest relief changes by incorporating, and its tenants who will bear the brunt of extra stamp duty, Kent Reliance has revealed. The lender’s Buy to Let Britain report, which looks at the sector up to the first quarter of 2016, found that in the […]

Reapit announces ‘game changer’ partnership with mobile proptech firm

IT supplier Reapit has announced a new partnership with proptech firm Pocket Size Media, a firm specialising in the development of offline mobile technologies, which now include its new PocketNeg tablet solution. The app has been tested by agents over several months and now syncs with Reapit software with features including valuations, vendor presentations and […]

Conveyancers call for mandatory ‘HIPs lite’ to be made available to purchasers

November 14, 2016

Conveyancers have called for up-front information to be made available to would-be purchasers, and also for a secure portal where all parties can track the progress of transactions, in ideas reminiscent of Home Information Packs and the ill-fated Chain Matrix. The Conveyancing Association has launched a ‘white paper’ discussing ideas to improve the home-moving process […]

Asking prices drop but first-time buyers face paying more – Rightmove

The price of typical first-time buyer homes coming to market has increased at double the national average over the past year, according to Rightmove data. The portal’s latest House Price Index showed that the average asking price of property coming to market has fallen by 1.1% to £305,670 overall this month but the typical first-time […]

Transactions down across the UK by almost 20% on this time last year, says Spicerhaart

Transactions across the UK in October were down 3.3% on the month before and down 18.8% on October last year. According to Spicerhaart, releasing figures based on data from haart branches, transactions – counted as exchanges – were down even more in London, by over 20% year on year. New buyer demand was also down […]

‘We might not hit target of 1m new homes by 2020’, housing minister admits

The Government is currently on course to fail to meet its target to build 1m homes by 2020, housing minister Gavin Barwell has admitted. Barwell told Sky News that the Government is building about 170,000 homes year, but added: “We clearly need to do better.” He continued: “We inherited a position in 2010 where house-building […]

How did serial killer who had already done 15 years in US jail for rape win estate agent’s licence?

Calls for mandatory licensing have long been made in the UK estate agency industry. But consider a case in America which has been gripping and horrifying people otherwise preoccupied with the election of Donald J Trump. It concerns an estate agent who has, say the authorities, confessed to being a serial killer, responsible for the […]

Mortgage industry hits out at constant ‘merry-go-round’ of housing ministers

November 11, 2016

Mortgage lenders and brokers have hit out at the ‘merry-go-round’ of housing ministers and the messy housing policy that has resulted. Members of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association said that constant ministerial reshuffles – the ‘elephant in the room ‘ – have resulted in inconsistency and a lack of direction when it comes to the […]

Greene & Co takes on rebranded Bairstow Eves branches as Countrywide draws in its horns

Countrywide may be in the midst of closing branches but it had seemed that one recent acquisition, Greene & Co, did not get the memo. The London agents announced the opening of two new locations at Willesden Green and Harringay Green Lanes, describing it as boosting Greene & Co’s presence in north London and the […]

Is Rent Smart Wales heading for last minute chaos?

The Rent Smart Wales scheme could be heading for chaos as figures suggest that significant numbers of letting agents and landlords are yet to sign up. This is despite the fact that they were given a year to do so. Data provided to EYE from Cardiff Council, which is administering the scheme for the whole […]

Hammond urged to review Stamp Duty in Autumn Statement

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement on November 23 and there is one policy on the lips of most of the property industry, Stamp Duty. Many have already called for a scrapping of the additional rate on second properties, but now Hammond is facing calls for exemptions for certain buyers. Rob Ellice, […]

HSE proposes changing gas safety check timing

The Health and Safety Executive is proposing moving towards an ‘MOT-style’ system for gas safety checks that it says will save landlords time and money. The body has unveiled a consultation on changing regulations that currently stipulate landlords carry out gas safety checks “at intervals of no more than 12 months since it was last […]

Property shortage is ‘dire’, RICS admits, as supply slips even further

November 10, 2016

Prospective home buyers have returned to the market following the Brexit vote – only to find there is very little out there. The RICS this morning described the property drought as “dire”, and a leading estate agent predicted that after the shock result of the US presidential election, things can only deteriorate. As Donald Trump […]

Trump card: London agents prepared for bounty after fall-out from US presidential election

Expect to see a lot more hot dog stands and American football jerseys near you, come January 2017 – that is, if you believe the hype following Republican candidate Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections. Pollsters and markets may have under-estimated voters during the EU referendum but they were totally baffled after backing Hillary […]

How ‘proper’ estate agents can put over their full service message for success

The Mayfair Office annual conference, dinner and awards evening is always a civilised affair. You are as unlikely to hear a ‘boo’ in the room as you are to glimpse a white sock. This year’s event was held at the RAF Club in Piccadilly and gathered the great and the good of the UK and […]

Merged firms of Leaders and Roman to double in size over next five years

The company that operates two of the industry’s best known brands – Leaders and Romans – has said that the combined business is to double in size within five years. Leaders and Romans merged in March under the parent title of Property Service Holdings. The combined branch network of Leaders and Romans has doubled in […]

Zoopla goes briefly off air as ‘exciting upgrades’ are installed

Zoopla’s property portal was taken off air yesterday afternoon. It appeared to be for a very short time as when we later looked, the service was fully back and running. Visitors to the site during its down time were told that some “exciting upgrades” were being installed to make their property search experience even better. […]

Future of estate agency will be customer-led as onliners increase fees, City investors agree

November 9, 2016

Investors were told yesterday that the future of estate agency will be bricks and clicks – customer, not technology, led and with a strong hint that operators such as Foxtons have got things right. They also heard that online, or hybrid, agents have been raising their prices – erasing claims about savings for sellers. The […]

Online agent told to withdraw claims about savings and speed of sales

Two complaints have been upheld by the advertising watchdog against HouseSimple – which last week won Online Estate Agent of the Year at the Negotiator awards. A complainant raised two issues to the Advertising Standards Authority relating to a poster on a London tube train. It said: “… you could just pay our usual fee […]

Agent which went into administration owing over £1m is rebranded by new owner

Penyards Country Properties, the regional firm which went into administration earlier this year owing over £1m, has rebranded as Domum. The domain, domum-property, was registered in August by Paul Grant of No 17 Marketing – the firm that bought Hampshire-based Penyards out of administration in May in a pre-packaged sale. It was said at the […]

The only way is Essex when it comes to speedy sales

The Essex postcode CM18 has topped the list of shortest time on the market over the past six years. Research by Knight Frank using its myPropertyGenius tool shows that properties in the CM18 area, which includes areas such as Harlow and Kingsmoor, had an average time on the market of just 36 days or five […]