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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. […]

Martin & Co sells its Landlord Hub in wake of stock market float

Rosalind Renshaw | August 25, 2015 Franchise chain Martin & Co has sold the tenancy referencing and insurance firm that it launched in 2012. The sale of The Landlord Hub is to LetRisks, which itself was the product of a merger between two referencing firms that same year – Let Insurance Services and PropertyRisks. The […]

Rightmove says new site ‘not a response to launch of OTM’

August 21, 2015

Charlie Stong | August 21, 2015 Rightmove bosses say their relaunched website has been a year in the making and is not in response to the launch of On The Market. It underlined its message in a special briefing to EYE this week. Rightmove is to make wholesale changes to its site, a move the […]

Mortgage lending ‘highest in seven years’

Charlie Stong | August 21, 2015 More money was lent for mortgages in July than in any other month for seven years. That is according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which yesterday predicted that gross lending in July reached £22bn. CML economist Mohammad Jamei said: “At £22bn, our estimate of gross lending in […]

Rents rising at fastest level since records began

Charlie Stong | August 21, 2015 Rents across England and Wales rose faster in July than in any month since records began in 2009. The latest Buy-to-Let Index produced by agents Your Move and Reeds Rains shows rents rose from £789 in June to £804 in July – a 1.9% jump. Tenants are now also […]

Hope for buy-to-let landlords over tax reforms

Charlie Stong | August 21, 2015 A glimmer of hope may have been handed to landlords following Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget plans to cut mortgage interest relief. It was announced in the Summer Budget that landlords’ mortgage interest relief would be limited to the basic rate of tax. The scheme is due to be phased […]

Agent who lost his wife to cancer commissions Julian O’Dell

Rosalind Renshaw | August 21, 2015 Our story last week on industry trainer Julian O’Dell raising money for Macmillan by ‘selling’ drawings drew a moving response from one reader. Julian’s wife Caterina has cancer and was until this year a partner in estate agents Thomas Morris. Simon Miller, who runs his agency, Simon Miller & […]

Woman shocked to find her own home advertised on agent’s website

August 20, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | August 20, 2015 A woman who was looking on an agent’s website told of her shock to find her own home featured on it. Laura Blundell told yesterday’s You and Yours programme on BBC radio that she recognised it immediately and that the soft furnishings were hers. She said her home was […]

Dawn raids: A look at the underbelly of Britain’s housing crisis

Charlie Stong | August 20, 2015 This week I joined Newham council’s taskforce to experience at first hand just part of the massive housing crisis which is engulfing certain corners of Britain, and pockets of the capital in particular. I was horrified by what I was to see. We have all heard the tales of […]

Property that first listed on Rightmove four years ago is removed after admin error

Rosalind Renshaw | August 20, 2015 A property which appeared to have spent quite a long time on the market has been the focus of remarks on Twitter. It has now been taken down from Rightmove, apparently because of an administrative mistake. The property, in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, appeared on Rightmove on August 5 – and […]

Landlords’ Barometer – #22: Who wants to be a millionaire?

Trending Topics Vanessa Warwick is the Co-founder of Property Tribes forum Written by: Vanessa Warwick | August 20, 2015 Welcome to “Landlords’ Barometer #22”, with a round up of the most popular topics from PropertyTribes.com. The Summer Budget tax reforms continue to be a talking point. 1. Shawbrook Bank on tax changes for landlords and […]

Well-known auctioneer and estate agent dies

| August 20, 2015 Toby Wheatley, auctioneer at Pearsons in Hedge End, near Southampton, has died at the age of 56. Wheatley had 40 years’ experience as an estate agent in Hampshire, and set up the auctioneering department at Pearsons. He leaves a wife and three children. His funeral was at the church where he […]

Former TV presenter opens estate agency – and rents other people’s windows

August 19, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | August 19, 2015 An estate agent who has opened up a business with no physical office is renting window space in local shops. Scott Lucy, a former BBC TV property presenter who says he runs a hybrid agency, said: “We do not have high street offices. “Instead we take under-used window space […]

Register now but come back in ten years’ time, agents tell tenants

Rosalind Renshaw | August 19, 2015 Can you imagine someone walking into your agency to ask about rental properties – and you having to ask them to register their interest and come back in ten years’ time? Or maybe 20? Can you even begin to imagine a city where very few agents have any lettings […]

Local authority admits to widespread non-compliance over licensing

Rosalind Renshaw | August 19, 2015 A local authority which introduced mandatory licensing of all HMOs plus other licensing at the start of this year has now received over 5,000 online applications. But this could mean that up to three-quarters of landlords in the London borough of Brent are breaking the law. Brent Council started […]

Campaign launches for landlords financially crippled by waiting times for bailiff

Rosalind Renshaw | August 19, 2015 The Ministry of Justice is being urged to speed up evictions by allowing more cases to be transferred up to the High Court. Eviction firm Landlord Actions says the time it is taking to get a County Court bailiff appointment once a possession order has been granted is having […]

Landlord who demanded admin fee for tenancy deposit ‘may have broken law’

Rosalind Renshaw | August 19, 2015 A landlord demanded that their tenant paid an admin fee of £30 to get their deposit protected – and then demanded £50 when the tenancy was renewed after six months. The landlord’s six-month renewal letter said: “As discussed, if you want your deposit protected, please forward payment of £50. […]

Busy summer for valuers as activity soars compared with last year

August 18, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | August 18, 2015 Valuers have reported a busy summer, suggesting that there should be healthy pipelines. Connells Survey & Valuation say that their valuation activity last month was 57% up on July last year. While there was a seasonal monthly dip of 24%in July compared with June, valuation activity for […]

e.surv predicts July mortgage approval drop

Written by: Charlie Stong | August 18, 2015 Chartered surveyor e.surv has predicted a monthly dip in the number of mortgage approvals in July, ahead of the release of official figures. According to calculations from its own data, e.surv estimates there to have been 1.8% fewer mortgage approvals in July than in June, bucking the […]

Selling leasehold properties and why it can take so long

Written by: Stephen Hayter | August 18, 2015 With the number of new flats built during the last housing boom in 2007 being added to the existing flat/apartment stock, as well as many developers now frequently protecting the interests of their newly created environment by selling leasehold houses, it is not too surprising to find […]

Cash-strapped Generation Rent gets £45,000 to fight for rent controls

Rosalind Renshaw | August 18, 2015 Campaign group Generation Rent – which is struggling for financial survival – has been given £45,000 so that it can fight for rent controls. The money is from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to boost Generation Rent’s campaign ahead of the London Assembly elections in May. However, it has been […]

Estate agent makes it through 20,000 nominations to JustGiving finals

Rosalind Renshaw | August 18, 2015 Congratulations to estate agent Matt Nicol, of Nicol & Co in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, who has been nominated for a JustGiving award. Matt acted after an arson attack by vandals destroyed play equipment in a local park just before the summer holidays last year. Knowing how much the local […]

Rightmove reveals extent of drop in new instructions as sellers stay put

August 17, 2015

Written by: Charlie Stong | August 17, 2015 Estate agents have 8% fewer new instructions than this time a year ago, Rightmove reported this morning, as the property drought continues to tighten its grip and sellers stay away. Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s director and housing market analyst, said there was a “vicious cycle of not enough […]

Two-thirds of people happy with their estate agents, says Which?

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | August 17, 2015 The majority of people are happy with the service provided by their estate agent, consumer organisation Which? has found. Yesterday, it said that out of 1,9990 people surveyed in June about their experiences of buying ad selling homes, 65% were either “very” or “fairly” satisfied with their […]

Four in ten ex-council flats now in private rented sector

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | August 17, 2015 Nearly 40% of all ex-council flats sold under the Right to Buy in England are now almost certainly being rented out privately. In one local government area, almost 70% of former council flats bought under the Right to Buy discount now appear to be in the hands […]

We MUST avoid another boom and bust, urges Spicerhaart boss

‘The WordSmith’ Paul Smith CEO of Spicerhaart Paul Smith | August 17, 2015 Don’t be lulled by interest rate freeze The Bank of England may have put off the inevitable by keeping interest rates at 0.5% for 77 consecutive months – but the only way is up. And when that happens, we all need to […]