Suttons City Living Blog

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 […]

Housing minister urged to make CMP a legal requirement

| September 8, 2014 Ministers are being urged to make Client Money Protection a legal requirement for all letting agents. SAFEagent is calling on the Government to include the requirement within the Consumer Rights Bill, currently going through the Lords. John Midgley, chairman of SAFEagent, has written to Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, saying there […]

Stamp Duty cash cow is ‘frankly money we need’, says minister

September 5, 2014

| September 5, 2014 A debate on Stamp Duty ended with a Treasury minister rejecting calls for the threshold to be raised to £500,000 and for first-time buyers to be exempt. David Gauke, treasury exchequer secretary, said the £9.3bn Stamp Duty Land Tax raised last year was an important source of revenue. He said: “Frankly, […]

Shelter slams LSL for claims over rent rises after fees ban

| September 5, 2014 A ban on letting agents’ fees in Scotland has not resulted in raised rents, claims Shelter. Shelter attacked LSL’s report last week that rents had gone up after the ban in late 2012, saying that the property group’s claims were “tenuous at best” and accused LSL of making “sweeping claims”. And […]

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside takes new non-executive director role

| September 5, 2014 A company which runs a new search engine for online shoppers has appointed Rightmove’s Miles Shipside as a non-executive director. Shoptility was founded by its CEO, Will Lownsborough, who used to be with Zoopla and, before that, Vizzihome. He was managing director of Vizzihome which was sold to Zoopla last year. […]

Agent aged 20 becomes Hunters’ youngest franchisee

| September 5, 2014 Ella Steadman-Lloyd, left, with her two members of staff, Caitlyn Nelson and Rosie Kluz Hunters has announced its youngest-ever franchisee. She is Ella Steadman-Lloyd, aged 20, who has launched at Bishop Auckland, County Durham. She left school at 18 and went on an apprentice scheme to study business management before training […]

Because you’re worth it – what agents actually do

| September 5, 2014 So, what do traditional estate agents and letting agents actually do to earn their money? If you are working at the coalface, you will already know. But do your customers? More to the point, do your potential customers know – the ones who are being tempted on a daily basis to […]

Amid terrorist fears, immigration checks on tenants get go-ahead

September 4, 2014

| September 4, 2014 At a time of heightened national security amid international tensions, the requirement to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants is to go ahead. It will be trialled from December 1 in just one area, the west midlands. A code of practice has yet to be agreed, with a working […]

Rightmove launches TV advertising exclusively on C4

| September 4, 2014 Rightmove has signed a deal – which it is describing as innovative – with Channel 4 to air its ‘find your happy’ adverts. The deal, which will see the advertisements aired solely on Channel 4 for the next four months, follows audience and programme analysis that highlighted Channel 4′s strength at […]

easyProperty announces ‘partnership’ with Zoopla

| September 4, 2014 easyProperty, the new online agent, has confirmed its launch date by saying that all its listings will be live on Zoopla and PrimeLocation from September 15. easyProperty described the arrangements with Zoopla and PrimeLocation as “partnerships”, heading its announcement as “easyProperty strikes deal with Zoopla and PrimeLocation”. The press release did […]

Cracks show in mortgage market as offers take weeks

| September 4, 2014 The mortgage market is creaking along, with just 9% of offers being issued in under five days – compared with 13% last year and 25% two years ago. Fewer than half of mortgage offers are made in under a fortnight – 44% compared with 56% last year. One in five mortgage […]

Seven banned after conveyancing nightmare

| September 4, 2014 Seven people at the heart of a huge conveyancing scandal have now been banned from being directors. Manchester law firm Wolstenholmes aroused such concern that the Solicitors Regulation Authority acted on Christmas Eve in 2009 to suspend the licences of five solicitors and shut the business down. The firm’s accounts were […]

Estate agency group bows out of Zoopla in exchange for OnTheMarket

September 2, 2014

| September 2, 2014 In a highly significant move, the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre is joining Agents’ Mutual, and has given notice to its current portal partner, Zoopla. GSPC is the largest property marketing network in west central Scotland, and is the third largest solicitors’ property centre in the country, where it is common for […]

Martin & Co launches online sales agency with upfront fees

| September 2, 2014 Martin & Co, the lettings franchise chain which recently expanded into sales, is to offer an online property sales service. It says it is the first high street agent to do so. Notably, it has not launched an online lettings service, but sellers can now choose between Martin & Co’s traditional […]

Portal that bans agents accuses Eye of ‘scaremongering’ story

| September 2, 2014 A property portal which bans estate agents although it welcomes property developers as well as private sellers and landlords, sent out a press release saying that a story on yesterday’s Eye was “scaremongering”. iProperty Company sent it out shortly after our story – on the possible legal problems faced by buyers […]

Lomond enters Birmingham market with four-office acquisition

| September 2, 2014 Fast-growing private rented sector company Lomond Capital has secured a significant foothold in Birmingham with the acquisition of John Shepherd Lettings for an undisclosed sum. John Shepherd Lettings has 1,050 properties under management. The deal means that Lomond takes on both the John Shepherd Lettings and Marwood Homes Estate Agents brands, […]

New Zoopla rewards club for agents proves popular

| September 2, 2014 A new membership rewards scheme launched by Zoopla last month has already had over 2,000 members sign up to it. The ZPG Member Rewards scheme is designed to reward the staff of all its members with exclusive offers and savings across hundreds of leading UK brands. It is being run in […]

Online agents have just 2% market share, says Rightmove

September 1, 2014

| September 1, 2014 The sheer scale of the challenge facing online agents has become apparent after Rightmove analysed market share of homes on its site. The analysis took in emerging models of estate agency – including online and ‘hybrid’ agents – to establish that they have just 2% share of listings. The figure has […]

Agents warned of potential legal perils for sellers who do viewings

| September 1, 2014 Vendors who do their own viewings should be put on their guard that they do not mislead potential purchasers. If they do, they could face action by Trading Standards, or private litigation. Under Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs), the agent may also be liable if it turned out that the property marketing […]

Will easyProperty cost landlords more?

| September 1, 2014 Landlords who use easyProperty may find it no cheaper than a traditional agent – and could lose out heavily. Richard Lloyd, of specialist recruitment company Lloyd May, says that costs would be almost identical. In his blog – see below – he says that a landlord who wanted tenant find, advertising, […]

National house prices still below peak, says Land Registry

| September 1, 2014 House prices swung up 1.7% in July compared with the month before, to stand at £175,653, according to the Land Registry. The organisation puts annual inflation at 7.2% for the 12 months to the end of July. However, the figure is still below the peak of £181,442 recorded by the Land […]

New call for letting agent fees to be banned

| September 1, 2014 A new call has been made for letting agents’ fees to tenants to be banned. It has come from two bodies, the Chartered Institute of Housing, and the Resolution Foundation. A joint report calls for regulation to implement the ban on fees, and extend the Estate Agents Act to cover letting […]