Weekly landlord news digest 22/02/19

As a landlord it’s important to keep up to date with the latest news in the property sector. Each week we collate noteworthy news so you don’t miss a thing!

This week saw the first client money protection scheme approved by the government, further regulation on the way in Wales in the form of the tenant fees ban, as well as an update on Rent Smart Wales enforcement.


First Client Money Protection Scheme approved

Client Money Protect, part of the Hamilton Fraser group, was the first client money protection scheme to gain formal government approval to operate a client money protection scheme when the regulations go live on 1st April 2019.

From 1st April 2019 all letting agents and property managers in England will be required by law to be a member of an approved client money protection scheme. Failure to comply can result in fines of up to £30,000.

Find out more about this recent industry update.


Tenant fees ban for Wales

Further regulation is on the way as the Welsh government readies for a fees ban for letting agents and landlords.

The Welsh government plans to introduce a lettings fees ban along similar lines to the ban starting in England on 1st June 2019.

The ban will apply to all landlords and letting agents renting out homes in Wales to long-term tenants.

The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill will be discussed by lawmakers on 19th March 2019 and is expected to become law in September 2019.


Home sellers pocket big profits

More than half of home owners who sold a property in 2018 pocketed an average profit of £73,127, according to data from property consultants Savills.

The firm’s research showed 55 per cent of home owners who sold last year and had purchased a home since 2003 benefitted from the gain.

Another one in five who had owned their home for less than five years, but sold last year, made an average gain of £52,622.

Those owning their home for 10 years or less , but who sold their property last year made an average gain of £67,496.

According to official data from Savills, more people bought a home in 2014 than in any other year and made a profit of £57,874.

The firm says only 4 per cent of home buyers selling in 2018 made a loss in London and the South East, but this rose to 19 per cent in the North and 31 per cent in the North East.

The largest average gain was £576,187 in Kensington and Chelsea. Outside London, the biggest gains were in St Albans, averaging £198,733.

The smallest average profit was £1,687 in Middlesbrough.


Rent Smart Wales enforcement reveals 62 convictions to date

Rent Smart Wales, a scheme introduced in Wales under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, has recorded 500 fixed penalty notices and 62 convictions issued across Wales. More often than not the fixed penalty notice was issued as a result of the landlord not obtaining a licence required under the act.

Rent Smart Wales processes landlord registrations and grants licences to landlord and agents who need to comply with the act. Any landlord who has a rental property in Wales, rented on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy is required to comply. Last May also saw the introduction of the 200-mile rule which means landlords living outside of England, Scotland and Wales (200 miles or more from the rental property) must appoint a local agent, unless formally employing a locally based staff member.

Read more about Rent Smart Wales enforcement here.


Suspended jail time for illegal eviction

Landlord Christopher Saville changed the locks on his tenant’s home while he was on holiday, leaving him homeless and unable to work as a self-employed DJ as all his equipment and music were inside the property.

Leeds Magistrates Court was told the tenant lived in a tent for three months after the illegal eviction.

Saville only agreed to hand his belongings back if the tenant handed back the keys to the flat.

Saville was found guilty of illegally evicting the tenant and sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work and to pay £1,000 in compensation.

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