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NEWS FLASH: Estate agent who killed a stranger is banned from industry

May 25, 2016

An estate agent who killed a stranger with a single punch has today been banned from the industry. Sean Boggans was jailed for four years in 2013 for the crime. Boggans, of Chelmsford, Essex, clashed with Shaun McDermott as he tried to hail a taxi home from a party. Boggans punched Mr McDermott in the […]

NEWS FLASH: Zoopla reports 4% rise in agency members

Zoopla Property Group this morning reported record revenue of almost £100m along with a “robust” performance, saying that it has enjoyed 12 consecutive months of UK agency membership growth. It reported a rise of 4% in agency members, to 12,956 – still down from the number of 16,000 or so it had prior to the […]

Estate agency boss Paul Smith calls the top of the housing market

Spicerhaart boss Paul Smith has called the top of the housing market, saying there is “trouble in paradise”. The market, he said, peaked in April. He is the first mainstream, or indeed any, agent to state the claim, which was clarified by EYE in a series of emails yesterday. He made the remark after HMRC […]

eMoov reports online competitor to advertising watchdog

One online agent reported another to the Advertising Standards Authority over claims it was making. Russell Quirk’s firm eMoov challenged whether the following claims on HouseSimple’s website were misleading and could be substantiated: “£22 Million UK customer savings” and “By the end of this year we will have saved our clients around £22million in fees”; […]

Consumers deliver vote of confidence in estate agency expertise

Despite using the internet to search for properties, consumers not only value estate agency expertise but would like to have life-long relationships with their ‘bricks and mortar’ agency of choice. A new study, involving 1,000 home hunters, by software provider Dezrez looked at public attitudes and expectations towards both online tools and high street agents. […]

Woman agent who claims sexual harassment brings dismissal case against ex-employers

May 24, 2016

A woman negotiator is claiming constructive dismissal from her estate agency bosses who reduced her hours after she took time off work because of stress triggered by sexual harassment. Charlotte Lloyd, 35, says she was sexually harassed by a colleague, Michael Keilthy. She claimed he called her “sugar t*ts” and made lewd gestures and suggestions. […]

Landlords using Airbnb to bypass legal responsibilities as well as agents

Landlords and other property owners are potentially seeking to avoid their legal responsibilities by advertising the property as a holiday let on sites such as Airbnb. According to new research by the Residential Landlords Association, nearly two-thirds of all listings on Airbnb in London are for lets of 90 days or more. That, says the […]

Estate agency technology firm launches app for ‘self-serve’ landlords

Technology Blueprint, the company behind the technology that powers Countrywide, has launched an app for landlords to ‘self-serve’ called Rentr. According to Adam Blaxter of Technology Blueprint, Rentr is a “DIY lettings app for landlords doing it outside of the agency space”. When asked about any potential conflict of interest between his corporate agency clients […]

Part 2: Essential guide to the new Immigration Act

The new Act also contains substantial new powers for landlords to evict tenants where they have been found to be in the country illegally. These powers are based entirely around the service of notices by the Secretary of State telling landlords that some or all of the persons in the property do not have a […]

Part 2: Essential guide to the new Immigration Act

The new Act also contains substantial new powers for landlords to evict tenants where they have been found to be in the country illegally. These powers are based entirely around the service of notices by the Secretary of State telling landlords that some or all of the persons in the property do not have a […]

New Housing and Planning Act now published

The new Housing and Planning Act, with its implications for agents and landlords, has now been published. For those of us who completely lost track of all the amendments, including those which got through and those which didn’t, the link is here. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/22/enacted [ comments ] Source:: New Housing and Planning Act now published

New property website tells vendors: Be your own estate agent for £1

May 23, 2016

A new For-sale by owner website has launched, apparently with a large marketing budget, initially costing £2m. It is described by its owner as the Autotrader for houses and the “Google of buying and selling property”. It tells sellers that they can be the estate agent they always thought they could be. CubbyHole, the brainchild […]

We’ll get a deal to exchange in 30 days or forfeit our fee, vows conveyancing firm

A conveyancing provider that offers its services via estate agents has launched a guarantee to have clients in a position to exchange contracts within 30 days. If it doesn’t, it will forfeit its legal fee. Elite Panel Management, which launched in January, agreed that the timescale is ambitious, given that the typical time between instruction […]

Sale of Land Registry will mean public say goodbye to rich dividends

Selling off the Land Registry into private hands will mean the public will start to lose money from the sale in 25 years’ time. A campaign group opposed to the sale of public assets, We Own It, said that the sale of the Land Registry at a likely £1.2bn valuation would be a short-term gain. […]

By George! House prices will plummet if Britain votes to leave EU

As we know, World War Three is going to break out in the event of a Brexit (Cameron), the stock market will crash (International Monetary Fund), and house prices are going to drop like a stone (Osborne and the NAEA). Really? By 10% or even as much as 18%, George? In fact, the Chancellor was […]

Average house prices would go up whether Britain leaves or stays, says NAEA

The NAEA and ARLA have jointly issued a report forecasting that house prices will go up whether the vote is yes or no – but at a slightly lower rate if the vote is to leave. It estimates that if the UK votes to remain in the EU, by 2018 the average UK home would […]

That was the Week that was! The stories that have gripped you

May 21, 2016

It’s been another hectic week for the industry with portal disputes and debates over the EU referendum dominating the news agenda. First: Portal wars A new clash emerged between Zoopla and On the Market. Zoopla has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about OnTheMarket over an email sent to a prospective member last September. The […]

The Queen’s Speech announcements that could affect your business

The agenda for the next parliamentary session was set out in the Queen’s Speech. There is plenty for agents to consider among the many bits of legislation MPs are set to debate during the next parliamentary year. So how will the proposed legislation affect your business? Digital Economy Bill Poor internet reception is a bugbear […]

Connells squares up for second clash with OTM after acquiring agent

May 20, 2016

Yesterday, an agent was advertising on all three portals – Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket – in apparent breach of OTM’s one other portal rule and suggesting another legal round in the portals battle. Paul Dubberley, which has five branches in the west midlands, was last week acquired by Connells. Yesterday Connells said that Paul Dubberley […]

Online agents go from 2.5% of market share to over 5% in two years – Rightmove

The property and technology worlds collided in the heart of London for the Future Property Tech conference, held yesterday. EYE’s new Proptech editor (me!) was on hand to report on the day’s proceedings and highlight any interesting technology. The day was kicked off with a panel discussion about deals within Proptech and the head of […]

Starter homes initiative could distort and disrupt entire housing market, warning

Lenders have cast significant doubts on the Government’s controversial starter home initiative, saying it could easily distort the whole property market. A total of 200,000 starter homes are to be built over the lifetime of this Parliament and made available at a 20% discount to first-time buyers under the age of 40. These new homes […]

Estate agency bonds with famous actress client

There are a number of agents and their clients who get on so well together that they end up being friends – but not every client is a well-known celebrity. Ex-Bond girl and Avenger Dame Diana Rigg walked into the office of Malverns Estate Agents in south-west London – immediately causing a stir. The firm […]

Nearly one-third of all housing benefits claimants rent privately

Almost one-third of all housing benefits claimants live in the private rented sector and receive on average more benefit than those living in the social sector. The Department for Work and Pensions has published the latest statistics, showing that 1,492,861 housing benefits claimants are private tenants – representing 31.6% of all 4,731.241 claimants. There are […]

House prices rising five times faster than earnings

May 19, 2016

Average house prices across the UK have increased 5.1 times faster than average weekly earnings over the last five years. The claim comes from the Resolution Foundation in response to the latest ONS House Price Index. The think tank’s analysis of the data shows that house prices have increased by 36% since April 2011, while […]

Rightmove gets ready to shut down its overnight data feed

Rightmove will be shutting down its ‘old’ overnight data feed within a matter of weeks, saying that 96% of agents are now on a real-time data feed (RTDF) or in the process of migrating over. At present 75% of agents who use a feed to upload properties to Rightmove automatically from their software are on […]

Privatisation of Land Registry to go ahead, Government confirms

A new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill which will enable the Land Registry to be sold off was announced in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech. Confirming the privatisation of the Land Registry as going ahead, government notes about the Bill say the sale would “support the delivery of a modern, digitally-based land registration service that will benefit […]

Splash! Estate agency boss gets tipped into pool on viewing

You’re showing your boss around a property, as you do. You get to the swimming pool, she kneels down to dip a hand in the water – and if you’re the firm’s office manager Rob Kahl, you push her in. That’s wet, wet, wet. So, how lucky that Simone Giles, director of Essex firm Scott […]

New role for Bob Scarff in property technology collaboration

Property technology guru Rob Wellstead and former Countrywide head of estate agency Bob Scarff have joined forces in a new collaboration. The duo will use their knowledge and experience in the estate agency and letting industries to develop new property technology. They say these products will drive change in how the industry uses technology, making […]

Zoopla complains to advertising watchdog about OnTheMarket

May 18, 2016

Zoopla has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about OnTheMarket. The complaint was over an email sent to a prospective member last September. The main text of the email said: “Dear […] As you have registered interest in Agents’ Mutual and OnTheMarket.com, I am writing with an update on our progress […] “The great majority […]

Tax increases will drive much-needed landlords from sector, says LSE

Tax increases for private landlords will drive some out of the sector, while others will pass the costs on to their tenants, stretching household budgets and putting home ownership further out of reach. The warning comes from a new report by the London School of Economics, Taking Stock. It analyses the private rental sector and […]

‘Housing ministry should be free of any political party’

An independent housing ministry should be set up to set a long-term strategy on building more homes, Nigel Terrington has said. Speaking at the Instinctif Partners Great Housing Debate, Terrington, chief executive of specialist lender Paragon, said housing is about long-term planning, but the agenda is unfortunately set by politicians with a shorter-term horizon. He […]

Outlawing gazumping would be a huge challenge, warning

Banning gazumping would be a huge challenge in law, industry veteran Nick Leeming has warned. Speaking at the Instinctif Partners Great Housing Market Debate, Leeming, who has received a lifetime award for his contribution to the estate agency industry, said legislation would need to be addressed towards buyers and sellers as there is already a […]

Transactions could bounce up – but it all depends on first-time buyers

UK housing transactions could rise by one-fifth between 2015 and 2020 – but the forecast depends on first-time buyers being able to get mortgages with small deposits. The research, by conveyancer My Home Move, predicts that if this happens, transactions will rise from 1.23m last year to 1.49m. The forecast, which also depends on average […]

Agents’ fees now averaging just over 1% nationwide

May 17, 2016

An estate agency comparison website says that the average estate agent’s fee nationwide is 1.1%. The site, netanagent, found the most expensive average fee was – perhaps not surprisingly – in Kensington, London, at 1.63%. However, more surprisingly, the second highest average fee at 1.6% is charged in Walsall, while agents in some rural spots […]

Brexit poll: We should leave EU, say majority of agents

A majority of people working in the property industry – nearly two-thirds – believe that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on the UK housing market. Some 65% of agents and mortgage brokers are for Brexit. The finding – by conveyancing giant My Home Move – is in stark contrast to warnings that […]

Landlord’s inhumane properties ‘had no place in modern Britain’

A criminal landlord who had tenants living and sleeping in “inhumane” conditions and who ignored numerous warnings to improve his property has been fined £35,000 and ordered to pay over £4,000 in costs. Robert Crow of Southend-on-Sea was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates Court for 15 breaches of HMO regulations. Magistrates described the living conditions as […]

Spicerhaart boss: We’re picking up the pieces from online agents

Internet agents falling short Remember the saying ‘you get what you pay for’? Never has that been truer than with internet agents. We’ve seen a raft of property chains at risk of falling through recently, all because internet agents aren’t willing and don’t have the skills to sort through the typical problems that arise. Instead, […]

Proptech companies in list of most ‘innovators’ and start-ups of the year

Proptech features prominently in a ranking of the UK’s most promising companies. A list of the 100 ‘most innovative and disruptive start-up businesses in the UK’ has been released by Startups.co.uk LendInvest is placed at the top of the list for being the “first and largest online lender”. The business is now the de-facto source […]

You might advertise on Rightmove or Zoopla – it doesn’t make you an estate agent

May 16, 2016

Anyone who simply plonks a property on a portal and then waits for the phone to ring is not an estate agent. Ed Mead, director of upmarket London agent Douglas & Gordon and a key mover behind OnTheMarket, said that the two big portals are about leads, not sales. He also claimed that online agents […]

Rightmove wants to know what agents think of OnTheMarket, Zoopla and itself

A Rightmove survey to agents is asking them which portals they use and what they think of Rightmove and its competitors, OnTheMarket and Zoopla. For example, it asks about current usage and portals used in the past, plus portals that agents would consider using. It also asks a series of other questions such as whether […]

New asking prices for first-time buyers shoot up over 6% in the last month

First-time buyers have been left with a property famine in the aftermath of the buy-to-let feast ahead of the Stamp Duty deadline, Rightmove has claimed. Chancellor George Osborne may have boasted that his crackdown on buy-to-let would open up the property market to first-time buyers. But the property portal’s House Price Index for May found […]

Fake agents who ripped off 21 tenants to tune of £26,000 are sentenced

A couple conned tenants out of some £26,000 by pretending to be letting agents. Sahila Kauser and Andrew Rickard ripped off 21 tenants in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Walsall. They showed tenants around properties, taking deposits. They then told the prospective renters that they had failed credit checks, but offered to accept six months’ rent […]

We want to make landlords ‘squeal’, says Treasury minister

Landlords should be made to “squeal” under the new tax clampdowns on buy-to-let, a Treasury minister has said. The minister made the remark in a private meeting with the Residential Landlords Association, which said it was shocked by it. Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, said: “We went to raise landlord’s concerns with specific reference […]

Property healthcheck: How have agents been faring on the stockmarket?

May 14, 2016

It has been a busy reporting season for listed estate agents marked by the Stamp Duty rush and uncertainty over the European Union referendum. Most have seen their stock fall so far this year in the period between January and May, with price-to-earnings ratios, a measure of the share price relative to earnings, ranging from […]

Proptech could be agents’ chance to find new business partners

There is an increasing glut of proptech events and conferences coming up. If you’re an agent and want to find out more, where’s the best place to go? First, 2016 has seen a fundamental shift of how PropTech is viewed amongst estate agents. Rather than being ignored or seen as a threat, proptech startups are […]

The stories you’ve been reading this week – and how you reacted

It’s been another hectic week for the industry with disputes over On the Market pricing continuing and another rogue lettings agent exposd. First: Is OnTheMarket on or off the mark? Controversy over the property portal continued as agents met, apparently to discuss legal action against the portal. Members of the newly formed action group are […]

Buy-to-let valuation instructions plummet 40% as ‘dodgy’ deals put in an appearance

May 13, 2016

Buy-to-let valuation instructions have dropped like a stone since the Stamp Duty surcharge kicked in on second properties – and there are signs of a sharp rise in potentially ‘dodgy’ deals. In March – with the April 1 Stamp Duty deadline too close to make completions viable – instructions plummeted by 30.6% on February. The […]

Repossessions fall to lowest on record, say lenders

The number of repossessions in the first quarter of 2016 was 2,100 – the lowest on record. Of that figure, 1,500 were home-owner repossessions and 600 were buy-to-let, reports the Council of Mortgage Lenders. If this rate continued through 2016, it would put the annual number of repossessions at 8,400, lower than any year since […]

Acquisitive LSL extends £100m credit facility for another four years

LSL has extended its existing £100m banking facility until May 2020. This replaces the existing maturity date of August 2017. The extended facility comprises a committed £100m revolving credit facility and incorporates more favourable terms for LSL, the firm said in an announcement to the stock market. The facility continues to be provided by the […]

Agent expelled by Ombudsman speaks out about ‘nightmare tax bills’

A letting agent expelled by the Property Ombudsman after failing to repay deposits said he had faced a “nightmare” with tax bills. Andrew Whitehead, 42, ran two Southampton agencies, Property Vibe, and The Flat Agency & Michael Browns. Both have been expelled. According to a report in the local paper, Whitehead is director of seven […]