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New licensing criteria that could impact you as a landlord.

Mandatory licensing criteria regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) comes into effect across all local authorities in England on 01 October 2018 and there is also new Selective Licensing affecting some, but not all local authorities.

There are three key changes across all local authorities:

New Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Criteria
Any property occupied by five (or more people) forming two (or more) households who also share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom, regardless of the number of storeys is now subject to the new HMO licensing criteria.
E.g. the former HMO licence only applied to properties of three or more storeys and now the licence would apply to a family of four living with a friend in a bungalow.
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together.
A family includes people who are:
- married or living together - including people in same sex relationships
- relatives or half - relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
- step parents and step children
 
Minimum room size for sleeping
National minimum room sizes for sleeping will be introduced:
Minimum 4.64 square metres – one person under 10 years
Minimum 6.51 square metres – one person over 10 years
Minimum 10.22 square metres – two people over 10 years
Any room where the ceiling height is less than 1.5 metres cannot be used towards any minimum room size
 
Waste/Refuse disposal in accordance with the relevant local authority scheme
Included in the new HMO Licensing criteria will be the requirement to comply with whatever the relevant local authority's scheme is for the storage space provided for and/or the disposal of any domestic refuse.

What if I have a local authority selective licence already?

If you have a current selective licence, and the size of the tenancy group - five (or more) people forming two (or more) households does mean your property would be included in the new HMO legislation, you will need to contact your local authority and discuss your options such as a variation of your existing licence to meet the new HMO regulations. 

What happens if I do not apply by 01 October 2018 and my property falls into the new Mandatory HMO criteria?

All offences are open to a fine of up to £30,000.

You will not be exposed to any of these penalties if you contact your local authority and access the licensing section of their website and start your application process. A number of local authorities have an interactive website where you can enter your address and postcode to check if you are in a selective licensing area.

Anthony James is here to help!

Please do not delay in making your licence application or seeking advice on the variation to an existing selective licence – if you do have any other queries please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

how to choose an agent

Most Buyers, Sellers and Renters assume all agents are regulated – but they’re not.

A recent study showed that 54% of people that bought, rented or sold properties in the last 5 years endured problems with their Estate Agent, yet over 37% of buyers and sellers, and 42% of renters didn’t check if their agent was regulated by a professional body. *

Problems renters faced included serious issues such as not getting their deposits back, and buyers and sellers reported poor communication, lack of care from their agent and feeling pressurised into important decisions.** 

Protecting your largest asset. 

For most individuals that own their own home or rent, their home is their biggest asset or largest expense. With that in mind it is so important to choose an agent that will protect your assets, whether it’s ensuring your rental property is in good order and your deposit protected, or ensuring you get the best price for your property. Regulated agents are subject to strict regulations and regular audits to ensure they are practising correctly and most importantly protecting their clients.

How to check?

It’s really easy! When looking for an Estate Agent just ask whether they belong to a regulatory body, and what it is.

If you would like to be sure or check in advance simply visit: Find An Expert to find the Propertymark Protected Experts in your area (HINT- we are one of them!).

Other important things to consider…

  1. CHECK- If you are choosing an agent to sell or rent your property always have a look at their website to see the quality of their photographs and property details. An agent that takes time to offer professional photographs and well-written descriptions evidently invests more time in their clients than agents that only use a couple of photos and a brief description. It’s our job as agents to market your property and attract buyers/renters, most of whom are searching online! Therefore always choose an agent that will make every effort with your properties online image. 
  2. ASK what their fee includes. Lots of agents charge extra for things like floor plans, professional photos or Premium Listings on Rightmove. (Our fees include all marketing)
  3. ASK if there is a minimum term. Many agents will tie you into a minimum amount of time during which you will be unable to move agents or withdraw your property if unhappy with their service. (We have no minimum term).
  4. ASK if there is a withdrawal fee. Again, many agents will make money by charging you a fee even if they don’t sell your property! (We are no sale no fee).
  5.  If you are a rental applicant, double check the conditions under which your fee is refundable, and ask where your deposit will be kept.

And finally, for sellers or landlords...

If you are selling, call your agent as a buyer. Likewise, if you are a Landlord put in an enquiry as a tenant. It will give you a great idea of how the Agent works to match buyers and rental applicants with properties and help you choose an agent you know will do a great job.

* source: http://www.propertymark.co.uk/advice-and-guides/renting/issues-with-rogue-agents.aspx

** source: http://www.propertymark.co.uk/advice-and-guides/renting/issues-with-rogue-agents.aspx

Our Best Advice for Getting onto the Housing Ladder

1. Speak to an Independent Mortgage Advisor, such as Barrons Financial Services - Website. Before you even start to save, they will be able to look at your credit rating, current income and savings (existing or hypothetical!) to help you identify a realistic savings plan, timescale and final budget. They will be able to give you advice on how to improve your credit rating and advise what your buying budget could be when you have met your savings goal.

2. Rent Tracking Services. If you are currently renting, new services have recently been introduced to track tenants rental payments to contribute to their credit rating. Services like these can help you build and improve your credit rating quicker. One such service is Canopy- visit their website HERE.

3. RESEARCH! Have a look at homes in the area you would like to live in to see realistically how much your budget needs to be, and how much deposit you will need for an adequate mortgage. (If the area you like is a little pricey, try driving around the surrounding areas to see if you can find somewhere you love nearby). 

4. Use an NAEA Propertymark Protected Agent when it is time to buy. They will make sure you are protected throughout the process.

5. As soon as you can, get your Mortgage Agreement in Principle. This means when you do find property you love and want to offer, you will be able to show the Agent and Seller proof that you are able to proceed.

6. Check out Help to Buy Schemes. There are now lots of government initiatives to help first-time buyers get on the ladder including ISAs, Equity Loans, and Shared Ownership deposits. Visit https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk to see if any of the options might be useful for you to help you save or buy. Make sure you read all the conditions.

7. Our final tip is to make sure you are registered with us at https://www.ajestateagents.co.uk/register-with-us so we can keep you up to date with the latest properties and help you any way we can along the way!

'There is no mandatory regulation of estate agents. The idea that anyone can become an estate agent is not far from the truth. By using an NAEA Propertmark estate agent you are guaranteed to be consulting with a professional agent who you can give you up-to-date advice and guidance.' - Propertymark 

It's Voluntary

Joining NAEA Propertymark is VOLUNTARY, so you know your agent has a proven dedication to complete transparency and ensuring they are at the forefront of developments in the industry to provide their clients with the best experience!

Integrity

NAEA Propertymark agents are experienced, trained professionals that have to abide by a strict, nationally recognised code of practice, ensuring you can have complete trust in your agents' knowledge and ability.

Client Protection

NAEA Propertymark agents voluntarily sign up to the Propertymark complaints procedure, whereby independent ombudsman services are provided ad regulated to ensure maximum protection for their clients.

Trust

NAEA Propertymark agents are regulated and audited to ensure they have all the correct insurance and protection in place to protect their clients and support you through your move.

Compliance

NAEA Propertymark agents are all registered with HMRC to monitor compliance with money laundering regulations.

Your property is or will be, your biggest asset. Ensuring you deal with a regulated, compliant and trained agent is of the utmost importance in protecting you. Find out more at- www.propertymark.co.uk

 

'Whether you have property to rent out or are searching for a home, you need an agent that you can trust and rely on when issues arise. The quality of the agent makes a real difference.' - Propertymark 

It's Voluntary

Joining ARLA Propertymark is VOLUNTARY, so you know your agent has a proven dedication to complete transparency and ensuring they are at the forefront of developments in the industry to provide their clients with the best experience!

Integrity

ARLA Propertymark agents are required to undertake regular training, meaning you can be sure you are dealing with experienced, trained professionals that have to abide to a strict, nationally recognised code of practise, ensuring you can have complete trust in your agents' knowledge and ability. They are kept up to date with complex legislative changes and best practise so they are can best advise and serve their clients.

Client Protection

ARLA Propertymark agents are voluntary members of a government Approved Independent Redress Scheme, and the Client Money Protection Scheme, which protects their clients. They also submit independently audited financial accounts.

Compliance

NAEA Propertymark agents are all registered with HMRC to monitor compliance with money laundering regulations.

Deposit Schemes 

Whilst you will always receive an excellent service from an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent, if things go wrong the CMP scheme will step in and reimburse tenants and Landlords for that extra level of protection.

 

Your property is your biggest asset/expense whether your are Landlord or Tenant! Ensuring you deal with a regulated, compliant and trained agent is of the utmost importance to protect your finances. Find out more at- www.propertymark.co.uk

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