Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 15

At Hamilton Fraser we recognise that property news changes quickly and for busy landlords keeping up to date can make the difference between being compliant or not! Our weekly news digest helps to keep you abreast of the latest industry developments.

In this week’s edition we explore the new task force aimed at policing letting agents, highlight the rise of technology designed to trap bad landlords, investigate the latest on buy to let borrowing figures and take a look at one person households – could landlords stand to benefit from this trend?


Letting agent task force to police fees ban

A new task force is being formed to police letting agents when the tenant fees ban starts on 1 June.

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency and Letting Agency Team will enforce new laws which will apply to letting agents across England and to all UK estate agents.

The remit is listed as:

  • Supervising estate and letting agency legislation
  • Issuing prohibition and formal warning orders to those found unfit to engage in estate agency work in the UK
  • Approving and supervising consumer redress schemes for estate agents
  • Offering guidance and advice to the public, businesses and enforcement authorities on estate agency work in the UK and letting agency work in England

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said: “We are determined to make the private rented sector a fairer, more accessible market that works for all and I am delighted that local authorities will now be able to access the best advice and information from this new team. There is no place for unfair fees – now, with this new enforcement authority, we will be able to stamp them out.”

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Buy to let borrowing tailing off

Buy to let lending trends reveal landlords are shunning borrowing to add to their portfolios, according to the latest data.

UK Finance, the trade body for buy to let lenders, has disclosed borrowing to purchase dropped 7.7 per cent year-on-year to 4,800 mortgages in February.

Remortgages remain steady – up 2.1 per cent to 14,400 new deals in the year to February 2019.

“Buy-to-let house purchases continue to contract due to tax and regulatory changes, buy-to-let remortgaging has increased as borrowers move from fixed rate mortgages and lock into new attractive rates,”

– a UK Finance spokesman

Private rents stand still for another month

“Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK has generally slowed since the beginning of 2016, driven mainly by a slowdown in London over the same period.”

– ONS report

Private home rents are standing still – with just 0.1 per cent change over the year to the end of March.

The latest official data from the Office for National Statistics confirms rents rose from a 1.1 per cent  annual increase in the year to February to 1.2 per cent in March.

Around the UK, rents in England were up 1.2 per cent, while tenants in Wales paid an extra 1.1 per cent  and those in Scotland saw rents increase 0.7 per cent.

In London, rents were up 0.5 per cent, a 0.3 per cent  increase over February.