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Bombshell as official guidance on revenge evictions ‘contradicts the law’

October 2, 2015

| October 2, 2015 Ministers delivered a new bombshell to the private rented sector yesterday with guidance explaining that tenants will be able to stave off eviction by complaining about repair issues without having to tell the landlord or agent of the problem. The could instead go straight to the local authority, leaving the landlord […]

eMoov extends crowdfunding pitch as founder Quirk says ‘this was never about money’

| October 2, 2015 Online agent eMoov has extended its crowdfunding pitch as investors continued to pile in. Due to end on the last day of September, the pitch will now not close until October 8. By yesterday evening it had raised £2,300,860 – way above the original £1m target. A total of 659 investors […]

OnTheMarket hits back at ‘detractors’ claims’ and says it will still succeed

| October 2, 2015 OnTheMarket has hit back at suggestions that at least four larger agency firms have deserted it to return to Zoopla. It has also rejected claims in a Barclays report, based on interviews with 100 OTM member agents, that 9% are considering leaving, with a further 35% saying they will review their […]

Property Ombdusman issues updated versions of all Codes of Practice

| October 2, 2015 The Property Ombudsman scheme has amended and updated versions of all its Codes of Practice. The updates are in the light of new legislation that has come into force within the last 12 months. Ombudsman Christopher Hamer said: “The decision was taken to carry out a full review of the Codes […]

Third redress scheme is given official stamp of approval

| October 2, 2015 A third UK redress for the property sales sector has been approved by the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team. The Property Redress Scheme, operated by commercial insurers Hamilton Fraser, is now approved to offer alternative dispute resolution to consumers and estate agents where there is a dispute in relation to […]

Second crowdfunding pitch for Property TV is pulled

October 1, 2015

| October 1, 2015 A second crowdfunding pitch for TV channel Property TV has been pulled within months. Property TV, which is viewable on the Sky platform, emphasised that this will make no difference to its future. It had reached 58% of its £100,000 target, which it says would have helped pay for marketing and […]

Four estate agency firms named as quitting OnTheMarket

| October 1, 2015 Four estate agents have left OnTheMarket. They are named by eMoov – which as an online agent cannot itself belong to the portal – as Stirling Ackroyd, Statons, Alex Neil and Cheffins. The online agent says that it has been tracking all the major property portals and says: “This reveals some […]

Time Out teams up with Rightmove to launch new property search

| October 1, 2015 Time Out London has teamed up with Rightmove to launch a property section. It launches with a new ‘Find Your London’ tool that identifies postcodes to live in – whether to rent or buy – according to the user’s preferences. It’s very clever. EYE used it saying we worked in W1, […]

Announcing a brand new feature on EYE – The Arena

| October 1, 2015 From today there is a new section of Property Industry Eye – The Arena. It’s in the menu bar at the top of the homepage. The Arena is the name we have given to the collection of individual forums where readers can continue talking about subjects that have started on the […]

A mattress under the stairs – yours to rent for £500 per month

| October 1, 2015 Here’s a sign of the times if ever there was – a cupboard under the stairs with a mattress crammed into it, available to rent at £115 per week or £500 a month, with bills extra. It is, naturally, in London. And it’s also just off the kitchen. Prospective tenant Alex […]

Mind the gap? It’s smaller than you think between us and Zoopla, says OnTheMarket

September 30, 2015

Rosalind Renshaw | September 30, 2015 A new report advising investors says that Agents’ Mutual’s momentum is “solid”, forecasting a potential sting in the tail for Zoopla which could risk a further “step-down” in membership. William Packer, of Exane BNP Paribas, concentrates in his latest report on Agents’ Mutual’s membership drive to reach 7,500 for […]

Lawyer warns that agents must check smoke alarms on day of new tenancy and not before

Rosalind Renshaw | September 30, 2015 Agents are reminded that as from tomorrow, October 1, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations come into effect. These include a requirement for smoke alarms to be fitted on every floor of every rented property – whether the property has a new or existing tenancy. There will […]

Funeral march was ‘just a bit of fun’, says easyProperty boss

Charlie Stong | September 30, 2015 Robert Ellice on the march yesterday EasyProperty chief executive Robert Ellice yesterday hit back at agents who labelled his firm’s funeral march through central London marking the ‘death of traditional estate agency’ as crass and disrespectful. The three-mile procession, complete with jazz band, marked the official launch of Ellice’s […]

Double the money! eMoov crashes through £2m mark to set new fundraising record

| September 30, 2015 Online agent eMoov yesterday reached £2m in its fundraising campaign. The amount is said to make it the biggest proptech crowdfunding raise in history. The firm had originally set out to raise £1m by the end of September in exchange for 5% equity in the business – giving eMoov a valuation […]

Advertising watchdog resolves complaints against two agents

| September 30, 2015 The advertising watchdog has informally resolved two complaints against estate agents. One was Spicerhaart, which has had a number of run-ins with the Advertising Standards Authority in the past. In the case, the complainant challenged whether an online claim for a property that stated “air con is available in the summer […]

NEWSFLASH: Ex-easyProperty director Harry Hill condemns bad taste of ‘funeral’ march

September 29, 2015

| September 29, 2015 The fall-out from today’s ‘funeral’ march held by easyProperty to mark the supposed death of high street agents is beginning in earnest. Former easyProperty director Harry Hill – and now chief executive of Hunters – told EYE this morning: “Had I still been involved with the business, which of course I […]

Funeral march stunt marking ‘death’ of high street agent slated as ‘dead wrong’

| September 29, 2015 Online agent eMoov labelled today’s funeral march in London by easyProperty as “dead wrong”. eMoov said that in particular, easyProperty was wrong to pre-suppose the demise of traditional agency. The march got under way this morning, with “estate agents” in pin-striped suits and brick-sized mobile phones clasped to their ears. They […]

Labour shadow chancellor lays into private rented sector and calls for rent controls

| September 29, 2015 Labour’s controversial new shadow chancellor John McDonnell has laid into the private rented sector. During his Labour party conference speech yesterday, McDonnell referred to cutting the “billion pound tax breaks given to buy-to-let landlords” and called for action to control “exorbitant” rents. However, new data shows that rents have barely gone […]

Tenant evictions firm investigating number of ‘rogue’ agents

| September 29, 2015 A firm more used to evicting tenants on behalf of landlords and agents has revealed that it is currently investigating six or seven ‘rogue’ agents. Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, said that the number of current investigations is unusually high. In all cases, it has been instructed by landlords. Shamplina said: […]

Debunking the myth that people move just ten miles – it’s further than you think

Written by: Stephen Hayter | September 29, 2015 It is often said, within the industry, that most people move within ten miles of their current home – but has this mythical ten miles ever been proven? In my series of articles, which are designed to help blow away such myths, I apply some simple analysis […]

Agent speaks out after pleading guilty to fraud

September 28, 2015

| September 28, 2015 The boss of a lettings agency who pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud at crown court last week has spoken to EYE. Keith Martin, owner of Seekers UK in the Kent towns of Ashford and Herne Bay, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court. The eight charges to which he and Seekers […]

Estate agent targeted by masked protesters in mass anti-gentrification demo

| September 28, 2015 An estate agent’s office was targeted in a large and ugly protest at the weekend which terrified members of the public. A branch of Marsh & Parsons, in Shoreditch, east London, had red paint thrown at it and a front window smashed in Saturday’s mass demonstration, in which one police officer […]

easyProperty to stage ‘funeral’ procession to mark ‘death’ of high street agent

| September 28, 2015 A ‘funeral’ is due to be held tomorrow to mark the “death” of high street estate agents. The event, likely to draw criticisms of being of doubtful taste, is being organised by online agent easyProperty. The publicity stunt is due to be held in London, starting outside a Foxtons’ office and […]

Rightmove strongly denies any moves to ban online agents

| September 28, 2015 Rightmove has strongly denied that it is to ban online agents from using its site. The denial came after an email emerged on Friday with an agent saying: “Rightmove have changed their policy internally and will now only allow companies offering full service estate agency services to market properties on their […]

Agents Giving on course to raise over £1m this year

| September 28, 2015 Industry heroes were celebrated at the second Agents Giving ball on Friday night – while Agents Giving itself announced that, as the industry’s charity, it is on course to raise over £1m this year. Agents Giving raises funds which ‘top up’ the fund-raising efforts of agents and industry suppliers. This year’s […]

Alarm as estate agent’s drone crashes into house

September 25, 2015

| September 25, 2015 A drone apparently hired to photograph a home for an agent’s particulars has crashed into the property next door. The incident caused little harm other than damage to the roof of the neighbouring property in south London, before falling to the ground. However, luck may have played a part with no […]

NAEA paints bleak picture of first-time buying – as major chains say it has hit record level

| September 25, 2015 The NAEA has once again found itself at odds with other commentators over first-time buyers. The NAEA said that sales for first-time buyers slumped in August to the lowest for over a year. However, this morning agents Your Move and Reeds Rains proclaimed the “strongest summer on record” for first-time buyers. […]

We’re seeing more gazumping, say conveyancers

| September 25, 2015 Gazumping is back, say conveyancers. The UK’s largest conveyancing firm, myhomemove, has confirmed a rise in gazumping, saying that just over a quarter of conveyancers have seen instances where a new buyer gazumped the original purchaser during June, July and August. The firm also says that 36% of conveyancers have seen […]

Comparison website uSwitch hits out at tenancy agreements which ban switching

| September 25, 2015 Comparison website uSwitch – now owned by property portal Zoopla – has hit out at landlords and agents who allegedly deny tenants the right to switch energy suppliers. The new accusation comes despite a high-profile BBC Watchdog investigation in 2013. The BBC then named Reeds Rains, Your Move and Foxtons as […]

Agent hit with £1,000 bill after flyboarding prosecution

| September 25, 2015 An agent has been hit with a bill for over £1,000 after being prosecuted for putting up illegal boards. SureLet and SureSale, of Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty at Watford Magistrates Court to two offences. The boards were not displayed on land or property for sale. SureLet was issued a £700 fine […]

Countdown to Section 21 changes – and new law looks nightmare for agents

September 24, 2015

| September 24, 2015 A housing lawyer has called for a “serious simplification” of the law relating to the new Section 21 regime, now just days away and with traps awaiting agents and landlords. Tessa Shepperson, of Landlord Law, has looked at the new Section 21 rules which kick in next Thursday, October 1, in […]

Headlines for easyProperty as it launches sales service to ‘wipe out’ high street agents

| September 24, 2015 Online agent easyProperty’s launch into sales has attracted national newspaper coverage. The Mirror – which also claims that 95% of vendors are “wasting” money on high street agency fees – carries the story under the headline “easyJet launches easyProperty online estate agency as company aims to ‘wipe out’ high street businesses”. […]

Battle lines drawn up over proposal to privatise housing associations

| September 24, 2015 Housing associations could be privatised with some 2.5m homes sold into private hands, a think tank has suggested – sparking furious opposition. Policy Exchange said that privatising housing associations, involving the sell-off of mainly ex-council houses, would be the “most obvious” way for the Government to prevent £60bn of debt being […]

Opposition to rent controls in Scotland mounts as new evidence emerges

| September 24, 2015 Protests are growing over the Scottish Government’s stated intention to introduce rent controls. The controls, to be introduced in rental hotspots, have been made part of the Government’s current legislative programme. Latest to step into the controversy is lettings portal Citylets, which made it plain that it has struggled to find […]

Lettings auction site looks for new investors

| September 24, 2015 A firm which wants to provide landlords and tenants with a lettings auction forum is looking for investors. AuctionLets launched in January last year but currently has no deals or properties on its site. Nevertheless CEO Spencer Rose claimed: “Our site has been successfully tested with great results. “An increasing number […]

Bank asks agents: What do you think of OnTheMarket?

September 23, 2015

| September 23, 2015 Analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley are asking estate agents to help them in their research into online property portals. It is specifically looking into agents’ use of Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket, including whether agents are considering cancelling their contracts with OnTheMarket. Its survey does not explain to agents why it […]

Tax bombshell awaiting six out of ten private landlords

| September 23, 2015 The scale of the tax upheaval facing private landlords has become clear, with six in ten saying they face being pushed from paying the basic to higher rates of income tax as a result of the new regime. Top lawyer David Smith described it as a bombshell, warning that landlords could […]

Turnover and profits up for Hunters as network grows by 42 branches

| September 23, 2015 Hunters has published its first set of results after floating on AIM on July 2. The results relate to the six months ending June 30 – the period in the run-up to the flotation. The results show a 45% increase in revenue to £5.23m compared with the same period last year. […]

Coldwell Banker scouts for London office as it gets set for UK launch

| September 23, 2015 Coldwell Banker Real Estate, the US-based global giant, is expecting to launch in this country over the next few weeks. At its helm will be experienced agents, including some who met when they were at Countrywide. Director Stuart White, who was the former UK master franchisee of Century 21, said that […]

Number of property sales fall – despite what HMRC would have us believe

| September 23, 2015 There were 106,480 residential property transactions in August, HMRC has reported, claiming that this was a rise on both a monthly and an annual basis. Not so. The figure, both “provisional” and “seasonally adjusted”, is up 3.1% on July’s sales and 5.7% higher than August last year. However, when “non-adjusted”, sales […]

Agents in uproar and disbelief over anti-money laundering rules

September 22, 2015

| September 22, 2015 New guidelines on anti-money laundering are to be released to agents. The move follows a highly charged meeting in London at which there was uproar, with agents finding it hard to believe what they were being told. Agents who share instructions – as is standard practice in London – say they […]

Online agent eMoov to carry on fundraising as it whips past £1m target

| September 22, 2015 Online agent eMoov has reached its £1m crowdfunding target with nine days still to run – and despite its current losses. Last night it had surpassed its target, with £1,150,920 from over 360 investors. eMoov founder Russell Quirk told EYE: “This indicates that we will achieve support from over 500 individuals […]

ARLA hits out at lack of official guidance over new Section 21 regime

| September 22, 2015 Agents and landlords are still in the dark as to exactly how they should respond to a tenant’s request for repairs. ARLA has criticised the lack of official guidance and expressed concern over the “uncertainties” surrounding the new legislation. With the days ticking by quickly, the change under the Deregulation Act […]

Letting agents and tenants’ groups clash over tenants’ fees

| September 22, 2015 Letting agents and tenants’ representatives clashed, with agents vehemently defending their right to charge fees. EYE joined agents, Generation Rent, Renters Rights and ombudsman representatives at L’Escargot in London’s Greek Street for a round table debate hosted by property software company VTUK to hear arguments from both sides of the lettings […]

Housing minister unveils ambition for 1m new homes within five years

| September 22, 2015 The Government wants 1m more homes to be built by 2020, housing minister Brandon Lewis has said. Making it clear that this was an ambition rather than a commitment over the life of this Parliament, Lewis was speaking on last night’s BBC Inside Out programme. Shaun Peart, managing director for LSL […]

Property drought worsens: Asking prices soar to record high as stock levels dry up

September 21, 2015

| September 21, 2015 Asking prices have soared to a new record high, driven by high demand and low supply, according to Rightmove. There are 6% fewer properties coming to the market than this time last year as home owners stay put. Separately, Nationwide has said that home mover activity remains 52% down from its […]

New Property Ombudsman with outstanding track record is announced

| September 21, 2015 The new Property Ombudsman has been announced. Today, she is named as Katrine Sporle, who takes over from Christopher Hamer whose nine-year term ends on November 30. Sporle, 61, has an outstanding track record as a very big hitter. She was the chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate for England and […]

Agents and landlords will have to evict illegal immigrant tenants in 28 days

| September 21, 2015 The new Immigration Bill which will make it a criminal offence for landlords and agents to breach Right to Rent rules has now been published. One leading housing lawyer has condemned the Bill as “hateful bilge”. It extends the Immigration Act 2014, which made it only a civil offence if agents […]

Call for criminal landlords to be jailed

| September 21, 2015 The Local Government Association has called for landlords who commit the most serious housing offences to be jailed. The move, which included calls for councils to be given greater powers, came in a response to the Government consultation on how to deal with criminal landlords and letting agents. The LGA, which […]

Could you be the next big star of TV property shows?

| September 21, 2015 Producers of a new C4 property show are scouting for presenters with specific estate agency experience. Freeform Productions, which produce A Place in the Sun, are looking to run seven or eight screen tests with potential presenters. As well as estate agency experience, suitable candidates should have a genuine love of […]