Some news items for you from the past week.
Stop misguided reforms says RICS
RICS have a new report out and it seems that landlords and agents are getting totally fed up with all the messing around with regulations.
Tamara Hooper, policy manager at RICS, said:
Persistent government meddling in the private rented sector has dampened landlords’ appetites to invest and expand their portfolios, with many consolidating their assets, or leaving the sector altogether.
In addition, the regulatory changes have decreased stability and standards for tenants.
The Government needs to stop tinkering – through misguided eviction processes, taxation and fees – and help provide a careful balance between landlords’ and tenants’ rights.
This will encourage more landlords back to the market as well as ensure that tenants, including those who are most vulnerable, are not at a disadvantage in being able to find a suitable and affordable home to rent.
I suppose its all very well for tenants to have greater rights but that’s not much good if they don’t have anywhere to live.
Still confusion about Tenant Fees
Leading on from this, there is still quite a bit of confusion over the Tenant Fees rules and how they work. For example, this article talks about issues with Saturday checkouts.
Theresa Wallace, co-founder of the Lettings Industry Council (LIC) and head of lettings customer relations for Savills, said
The biggest lesson we can learn is it takes time to implement changes.
The guidance came out in April and legislation came in June. The industry had one month to read 55 pages, understand guidance and rewrite everything to comply.
For such a big change the industry needs a minimum of three months to adapt.
TPO says that they can’t deal with half of their enquiries
Speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum, TPO Ombudsman Katrine Sporle said that they get 30,000 enquiries annually. Of these 7,000 have not yet complained to their agent and another 7,000 should have gone somewhere else.
TPO will only take complaints about agents if the complainant has not been able to resolve the problem directly with the agents first.
People get quite angry if we can’t help them.
Going on to say
We are developing a diagnostic tool on the working group that tells people where to go if they have started in the wrong place, and find information on rogue agents and landlords as well as help to make a complaint.
A property investment scandal
Writing on Property Industry Eye, Vanessa Warwick describes the sad case of Danny Butcher who committed suicide after investing in a ‘wealth creation’ scheme:
It was with deep sadness that we learned recently that a “pupil” of a high profile property investment trainer had taken his own life. Danny Butcher had only been married for three months and borrowed £18,000 to start his property investment journey with a trainer who made a lot of promises – but apparently did not fulfil on them.
Although Danny begged for extra support and then a refund, this was also refused.
Sadly, on Saturday, October 26, Danny made the decision to take his own life.
Going on to say
This tragic event brings into sharp focus the need to regulate the “wealth creation” industry.
This just shows that people need to be SO careful about trusting these ‘guru’s’. If something sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
A National Landlords Register?
As discussed here, in January the Chartered Institutes of Housing and of Environmental Health jointly called for a register, saying that this would make it easier for local authorities to identify landlords in their areas and would reduce the need for new licensing schemes.
However, apparently, without even assessing this report, the Government has confirmed they will not be doing this.
Viscount Younger of Leckie on behalf of the Government said that the Government has no current plans for a register, which could place an “additional regulatory burden” on them. He said that local authorities currently have a wide range of powers available to them, including access to a database of rogue agents and landlords.
The last time I read about the database, it only had about four landlords on it.
The same article quotes ARLA chief executive David Cox saying
Licensing does not work. Licensing has never worked and never will work.
Newham have done 1,200 prosecutions, or 240 a year, out of 47,000 properties. That is 0.5% of properties in their area that they have done anything about and have done prosecutions. I would note that that is with 140 officers.
They have 40 police officers; 100 enforcement officers and they have done 240 prosecutions a year. That is less than two prosecutions an officer.
If that is what is classed as success – and it is classed across the industry as the most successful licensing scheme in the country – really what does that say? It is pitiful.
What we need is education. Landlords need to be trained in what they need to do. Agents need to be trained in what they need to do.
Filling in a piece of paper and giving it to the council and paying £500 is not going to teach them the 150 laws that they need to understand.
Any landlords or agents wanting eduction, by the way, may want to consider this.
- Home-owner and buy-to-let repossessions soar<
- Strasbourg Court holds that the bedroom tax is unlawful
- The weak pound is persuading landlords from the US and Europe to return to the rental market
- Nearly Legal reports on assorted licensing and prior offences, RROs and section 8 Notices
Newsround will be back next week.