Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 17

As a busy landlord, keeping up with the latest news can be tricky, but it is vital! Hamilton Fraser’s weekly landlord news digest aims to bring landlords up to date with the news that matters to you.

In this week’s edition, we focus on the latest highlights, including the CEO of a major online agent stepping down, a build to rent CEO forecasting the end of buy to let, health and safety dangers in properties and a crackdown on rogue letting agents.


CEO of online estate agency PurpleBricks steps down

The founder and CEO of PurpleBricks, Michael Bruce, has stepped down from the online estate agency after a troubled year for the business, despite undergoing rapid expansion.

PurpleBricks has seen a reduction of its share price since 2017 from over £5 to £1.26, representing a 65 per cent year on year decline.

PurpleBricks operates solely online and charges a flat-fee payable up-front for their services. They have seen a period of expansion into new countries including Canada, USA, and Australia. The company has also announced that operations in Australia will now cease due to “increasingly challenging” market conditions.

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End of buy to let is near, forecasts build to rent CEO

Amateur landlords should throw in the towel as buy to let is taking too many knock-out blows to survive, says the CEO of one of the UK’s largest build to rent companies. Helen Gordon, who runs Grainger, argues that small landlords do not have the resources to compete with build-to-rent and should sell up and buy shares in firms like hers instead.

“Instead of people investing in buy to let properties, they should invest in a Grainger share. They would get 50 per cent of our net rental income paid out as dividends,” she told The Times.

“Individual landlords will increasingly find it hard. In the past, people used to have awful student accommodation and then leave university and buy their own home. Today people often have fantastic quality student accommodation, full of amenities, and end up living somewhere really grotty. Why should they?”

 “I think there are some big changes coming, which will make many people reconsider investing in buy to let. Are landlords going to be able to compete with the big build-to-rent operators for amenities or quality? It’s unlikely.”

– Helen Gordon, Grainger

One of the latest Grainger developments is Clipper Quay, Manchester, which provides more than 600 homes to renters with a gym, wi-fi throughout, concierge services, a lounge and private gardens.

Dangerous properties put tenants at risk

“Since the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, in place since March this year, along with many additional changes in legislation, landlords and their agents are now more at risk of being sued by tenants for breach of contract for unfit properties,”

– Jonathan Senior, spokesman

Our article provides more information on the Act.

Buy to let landlords are ignoring health and safety hazards in thousands of rental homes, says compliance company VeriSmart.

The company has carried out more than 60,000 inspections of rented homes in the past year and found 4,520 had at least one issue that broke Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) rules.

The main problem was missing or malfunctioning smoke detectors (40 per cent), followed by fall or trip hazards on stairs (26 per cent).

Find out more about how to keep your property safe with our legislation support for landlords.