property to let
Letting Agents Told To Show Fees When Advertising Online
Great news for landlords and tenants as the new ruling on 1st November by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) means that Letting Agents and private landlords must display their non-optional fees in their property adverts for properties to let.
This means that tenants will now be able to see instantly how much it will be to use that letting agent (or private landlord) including any:
- Registartion fee
- Credit Check fee
- Admin fee
- Resigning fee
- Referencing fee
- Basically any FEE that is incurred from start to finish of the tenancy.
Amanda Whaley from Private Landlord Directory says ” this is a much needed and massive step forward to bringing more clarity, honesty and openness into the private rented sector PRS). I have heard so many reports from tenants who claim never to have been told the FULL SCALE of charges when first applying for a rented property, especially re-signing fees and fees to give tenant references.”
You will see that many of the online letting agents have already changed their listings and it makes interesting reading in the list of fees and the comparison from South to North. Some letting agents have put up a disclaimer whilst others are putting up a list of fees but no prices. (examples below)
Administration fees may apply when renting a property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. For more details, please contact the agent.
From Friday 1st November 2013, Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will consider appropriate follow-up action against advertisers who aren’t sticking to the rules of advertising their fees. If you feel you are being mislead or the fees are not available along with the property details you can contact CAP directly at http://www.cap.org.uk
If you would like to see the guidelines that have been issued by CAP then please follow Guidelines for displaying fees
Whilst this ruling stands out as though it applies only to letting agents this is not the case, it also applies to private landlords that are advertising online. Being up-front about charges not only gives tenants a fair deal it also has the knock on effect of being good for business and the reputation of the sector as a whole.
Private Landlords Renting In London
Looking to rent a property in London from a Private Landlord?
The new online property portal for private landlords allows private landlords and tenants to connect and deal direct.
Private landlords can upload their properties for FREE, interested parties then view the properties online and connect directly with the landlord. There is a small cost of £1 to get the direct contact number of the landlord so that the applicant can deal direct.
The website has many other services for private landlords and tenants including:
- Free Property Advertising including social media
- Free downloadable Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
- Free guide on how to reference check applicants
- Free guide on what to expect from your landlord
- Experian credit checks (£8 24hr guaranteed turnaround) no contracts involved – PAYG
- Blog/information/updates in letting laws & legislation
Private Landlord Directory believes in being upfront with fees. With that in mind all properties listed include:
- Rent Payable
- Bond Payable
- Tenant referencing fees cost
- Allows LHA (Local housing allowance / Housing benefit / DHSS
- Allow Pets
- EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate)
- Number bedroom/bathrooms
The terms and conditions of using this new online private landlord letting portal is that the landlords have to be a PRIVATE LANDLORDS and applicants need to be TENANTS. These T&C’s were set up to stop letting agents and other online portals from abusing the website and mining information to contact users and try to sell their products/services.
So if you are a Private Landlord or Tenant looking to rent property in London then have a look at Private Landlord Directory, the property portal for private landlords and tenants looking to connect and deal direct.
Tenants, what is important to you when renting a property?
As a private landlord, I do ask questions of tenants and one of those questions is .. what is at the top of your wanted list when looking for a property?
When searching on the Internet what boxes do you tick?
- Cost of Rent
- Location to amenities
- Number of bedrooms
- Combi Boiler
- Reference Fees
When searching for a property, you are usually initially searching for a postcode area or town and then you select a radius search on that town. You can then select rent cost. You are not asked about deposit or LHA . Amanda Whaley from Private Landlord Directory says ” on our website we ask the landlords to fill in as much detail about the property as possible. These fields include, rent, deposit, referencing fees and whether the landlord will accept LHA tenants”
Amanda goes on to say ” We believe that all costs involved with renting a property should be highlighted upfront, so that the tenant is fully aware how much money they need to get together in order to move. There is no point in wasting the landlords or the tenants time if the deposit and reference costs are outside of the tenants budget.”
The question that tenants are faced with is.. do you rent a property which is slightly cheaper and fore-go parking or utility efficiency? Many properties that are slightly cheaper are lacking in some feature that is required by most tenants. Example, you may find a property is slightly cheaper as the heating is storage heating which is more expensive to run in the long run especially over winter.
The increase in the supply of rented properties has certainly lead to the tenants having more of a choice in what property to rent but it will never change for the people who have little choice due to having no deposits and who are on LHA.
JUST LAUNCHED new website that connects Private Landlords and Tenants directly.
Not only is the cost of renting on the increase, the price of securing a rental property is also a cost that tenants need to cover. With the average deposit now being 6 weeks rent, the cost of the application fees (varies from region to region but can run into hundred’s £) and the cost of the actual move, tenants are having to find a substantial amount of money upfront in order to rent.
The new Private Landlord Directory enables Private Landlords an unlimited amount of advertising not only on the site site itself but also with Zoopla and it’s affiliates. Tenants and Private Landlords can register and browse the site for free and when the tenants see a property that they like the look of, they can get the direct contact details of the landlord via email, text or calling the office.
Amanda Whaley from Private Landlord Directory.com is a private landlord herself and has developed the website with the view to making renting from for the private sector more affordable both for the landlord and the tenant.
Tenants and Private Landlords can use the credit checking facilities, Local Housing Allowance rate checker and get help and advice from property professionals.
The website has just been launched this weekend and is therefore still early days but with the whole ethos of the website geared up to help Private Landlords and Tenants to connect and work directly together, it is certainly one to bookmark.
From 6 April 2012, landlords and letting agents will have just seven days to produce an EPC to prospective tenants after they’ve started marketing a property, rather than the previous 28 day period. The full report including recommendation to improve the energy efficiency of the property must also be provided whereas at the moment only the graph showing energy efficiency is required. (This report is not the same as the annual CP12 Gas Safety Certificate.)
From April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out any premises, including commercial premises, that have an energy efficiency rating of less than E.
The penalties for non-compliance are not changing. This will continue to be enforced by Trading Standards officers with the issuing of penalty charge notices. Currently the penalty for non-compliance for the sale or letting of a dwelling is £200.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy costs. All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC. If a building is made up of separate units, each with its own heating system, each unit will require an EPC. So if you are a private landlord with a block of flats, each flat will require an EPC.
EPCs carry ratings which compare the current energy efficiency and estimated costs of energy use. The rating measures the energy efficiency of your home using a grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’. An ‘A’ rating is the most efficient, with ‘G’ being the least efficient. The average efficiency grade to date is ‘D’. All homes are measured using the same calculations, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties.
You don’t have to act on the recommendations in the recommendation report. However, if you decide to do so, it could make your property more attractive for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient thus keeping energy bills low.
Regardless of the benefits of the EPC, you do need to make sure that it is completed by a Registered Domestic Energy Assessor. The certificates cost around £50 plus VAT*. Private Landlord Directory has a list of recommended tradesmen so you will be able to find a list of EPC Assessors near you.
* This is a guide price only and cannot be used as a quote
The number of renters has soared as mortgage lenders have tightened up borrowing by demanding larger deposits and tighter restrictions imposed on lending.
A squeeze on finance has also put a brake on buy to let borrowing, with much of the market activity generated by remortgages rather than buying more homes and buying new houses. New homes property developers are now having to offer exceptional deals including 100% home exchanges as potential customers are holding out on moving.
The report forecasts a massive 20% increase in rents over the next five years, as the number of rental properties is soaked up by increasing demand.
Around 4.8 million privately rented homes generate £48 billion of rental income a year, says the report, which will soar to £70 billion by 2016 if the predictions prove correct.
“We expect a 23% increase in the number of private rented households, which is about 1.1 million extra homes,” said Cook (Lucian Cook, director of Savills research) “That’s an idea of the scale of opportunity for institutional investment.”
One couple signed up for a PV installation in their roof – then found the 25-year lease made it hard to remortgage their home, despite official guidelines
Thousands of households that agreed to rent their roofs to solar panel companies, in return for free electricity, could find their properties are unsaleable. It has emerged that lenders have begun turning down mortgage applications from homeowners who signed up to the schemes.
Guardian Money has been contacted by a Southampton couple who were refused by several companies when they tried to remortgage. The refusals were on the basis that they had agreed to allow a firm to install solar panels on their roof for the duration of a 25-year lease. Although their existing mortgage provider agreed to the scheme, the couple are now worried they won’t be able to sell if potential buyers also struggle to find a loan.
Money believes that their case, which is probably the first of its kind, threatens the viability of “rent a roof” schemes and could result in a raft of legal disputes. And anyone else who signed up to such a deal will be prompted to get out the paperwork and pore over the fine print.
John and Rebecca Welton had the solar panels installed just before Christmas 2011. The installation was offered by My Energy Station, a trading name of Birmingham-based Norton Energy Solutions. They were promised the free electricity the panels would generate during daylight hours, worth around £150 a year, while My Energy Station would pay for the panels. But in return the company would pocket the lucrative feed-in-tariffs, which are worth 10 times that figure.
“Before we agreed we checked with our current mortgage provider, RBS, and our mortgage adviser, that it would not cause any issue when we came to remortgage or when we try to sell the house,” says Rebecca.
At the time, both said that it was not a problem – but the couple heard a different story when they tried to remortgage in February. A broker found them a better deal with the Skipton building society and they paid a booking fee for the loan. However, when the it learned of the solar lease, it pulled out. It has since told the broker it will not look at any remortgage deals where there is a solar lease in place.
The Weltons then tried the Nationwide. Again, Rebecca says, they were turned down flat, and didn’t even get to the point where a submission was made. RBS has offered them an alternative mortgage on the basis that it had approved the solar installation, but their broker is struggling to find a cheaper deal with another lender.
“We signed up to this scheme on the basis that we were doing the green thing, but it has turned out to be a nightmare,” says John, who works as an air traffic controller. “The implications for us are that we cannot remortgage our house on a lower interest rate. We would still have a mortgage but one on the standard variable rate which will increase with the Bank of England interest rates.
“We are extremely concerned that we will not be able to sell our house as no buyer will be able to get a mortgage on it. We can’t be the only people in this position, can we?”
The problem is, they could be the first to come up against this barrier.
Solar leasing deals were heavily marketed last year as a host of companies sought to cash in on the generous feed-in-tariffs payable to those with solar PV panels on their roofs. Salesmen toured housing estates giving homeowners the hard sell.
The most scrupulous firms sought their customers’ mortgage provider’s agreement, but many didn’t. It seems few people who agreed to solar leases have tried to switch mortgage since.
Last year the Council of Mortgage Lenders produced a guide to try to help the panel providers and the mortgage companies standardise the process. However, it seems mortgage departments are ignoring, or are unaware of, this guide, and are turning down such applications, possibly because they haven’t seen one before.
The issue does not affect those who paid for their panels to be installed.
Money understands lenders are concerned they will not be able to dispose of homes where a PV lease has been agreed by the previous owner. The leases run for 25 years, and so would have to be passed on to any buyer. Crucially, they would restrict a mortgage provider if it was forced to repossess. The lease company will only remove the panels if the lender can show it has tried and failed to sell it.
A spokeswoman for the Skipton told us the society does accept applications where a PV lease scheme exists. However, its guidance to brokers, updated on 20 February, clearly states: “The society will NOT lend where the panel provider is supplying and fitting panels free of charge, is taking income from the grid tariff scheme and is creating a long-term lease against the roof and roof air space.”
The Nationwide told Money it was committed to lending on such projects, but the Weltons’ broker was told, on two occasions, by Nationwide staff that it would not lend on a home where a PV lease was in place, unless it had been agreed by Nationwide originally.
Sue Anderson, who represents the Council of Mortgage Lenders, cautions against reading too much into one case. “I am not aware that there has been any wholesale policy change from lenders – it has always been a commercial decision for lenders, and they take different views. But I certainly haven’t heard of any universal move not to allow remortgage business for properties with leased solar panels,” she says.
Sarwar Ahmed, a director at Norton Energy Solutions, says this is the first such problem his company has come across and says it is “something that we need to look into more deeply”.
He adds: “There needs to be a clearer policy from the banking sector with regard to solar schemes. You mentioned that Nationwide has refused the Weltons a remortgage but has been happy to give its consent to existing customers who want to participate in free solar schemes.”
Ahmed says the lease offered by the company has been drawn up in accordance with guidance from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. He adds that the couple could buy out the scheme for around £15,000, which would solve the problem.
“I would like to get this individual case resolved from a customer perspective, but also appreciate the fact that they have highlighted an issue that will become increasingly relevant as solar leases mature,” he says.
Then look no further as Private Landlord Directory is full of them.
Search the properties that are available on the directory and request the Private Landlords details.
Tenants register for FREE and get the direct contact telephone number of the Private Landlord
Cutting down on wasting time and money, Private Landlord Directory aims to connect Tenants and Private Landlords is a quick, no nonsense, get to the point and get to the viewing approach to letting and renting property.
With detailed listings of costs including rent, bond, reference fees along with timescales, local maps and property images. Doing business with Private Landlords on the directory couldn’t be easier.
Register for free today at Find a Private Landlord
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