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AJ Knight Launches it Residential Sales Department

AJ Knight are delighted to announce the launch of its Residential Sales Department covering Portsmouth, Havant, Hayling Island and Chichester, the new department will be based at our current office in Northney Marina, Hayling Island giving us easy access to the area we cover. As with our Lettings Department we will be upfront and open about our fees charging 0.75% for a full Estate Agent service including full marketing and accompanied viewings.

You will have a single point of contact throughout your dealings with us to ensure the highest level of customer service.

We will market your property on Rightmove and Social Media and we also run a database of prospective purchasers.

If you would like a free valuation please contact us on 02393 954111 or 01243 925111

 

Right to Rent Immigration Checks Coming Soon!

From 1 February 2016 it will be necessary to check the immigration status of applicants in England before agreeing a new tenancy. The devolved Governments are currently working with Westminster to agree if this will be rolled out in Scotland and Wales.

Trialled in the West Midlands since 1 December 2014, the right-to-rent scheme requires tenants to demonstrate that they have the right to live in the UK and for landlords, or their nominated agent, maintain records verifying the outcome of the checks.

In short this means that Landlords will need to carry out the checks:

  • Check adult tenant(s) will live in the property as their only or main home
  • Ask tenant(s) for the original document(s) that show they have the right to be in the UK
  • Check the documents are valid with the tenant present
  • Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check

Failure to carry out the checks could result in a fine of up to £3,000 or in aggravated and repeated cases a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Although the scheme has proven unpopular, the Government’s evaluation of the pilot area has concluded that most agents have been able to incorporate the checks and record keeping into their existing vetting procedures.

Landlord fined for failure to license HMOs and is hit with £75,000 bill

A landlord has been hit with costs of £75,215 after failing to license four HMOs and comply with various notices.

Gunapalan Vamathevan, of Acton in west London, received fines for nine offences at Ealing Magistrates’ Court.

He was ordered to pay court costs of £5,395 and a victim surcharge of £120, on top of a fine of almost £70,000.

Cllr Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for safety, culture and community services at Ealing Council, said: “This case is a significant result against an unscrupulous landlord who has previously been prosecuted by the council for his disregard of licensing regulations.

“We make every effort to ensure residents in our borough are well protected and have decent living standards. We take a tough line against anyone who deliberately flouts the law and Mr Vamathevan has quite rightly been given a very heavy penalty for his prolonged and intentional illegal behaviour.”

The successful prosecution was brought following an investigation into reports that the properties were being operated as unlicensed HMOs.

A warrant of entry was executed on the three properties in June 2014, where council officers also found breaches relating to the management of the HMOs.

Subsequent notices were served in relation to the condition of the properties, including prohibition orders under section 20 of the Housing Act 2004 for dangerous staircases, and improvement notices relating to serious hazards.

An inspection of a fourth property also found it to be operating as an unlicensed HMO.

A subsequent prohibition order was made for a hazardous staircase and an improvement notice was also served on Vamathevan relating to lack of fire safety in the property.

Numerous HMO licensing application forms along with warning letters were sent to Vamathevan, but no applications were submitted for the properties. Further inspections by officers found that the required works under the improvement notices had not been carried out and the prohibition orders had been breached.

In February this year Vamathevan submitted the HMO licence applications, after prosecution for the offences had begun. 

 

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38% of landlords face eviction problems after failing to protect tenants’ deposit

According to Landlord Action, as many as 38% of landlords who need help to evict a tenant have not protected the tenant’s deposit in accordance with deposit protection rules introduced in 2007.

The figures come from the Landlord’s Action’s legal helpline. The eviction specialist has reviewed enquiries from the start of this year and concluded there is still a major problem with amateur landlords – and even some agents – understanding deposit legislation.

The rules state that unless the tenant’s deposit it protected in a legally-recognised protection scheme within 30 days, and the tenant sent the prescribed information, the landlord could face a penalty of up to three times the value of the deposit, which is then awarded to the tenant.

Landlords also face penalties if their agent failed to comply with the legislation, which adds tension to the relationship between landlords and their agents.

Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina said: “There are too many landlords that still do not know enough about being a landlord and their responsibilities. Many are failing to comply with deposit protection rules and this is having a knock-on effect when landlords wish to evict through Section 21. The simple fact is, ignorance will not solve the problem.”

The only way a landlord can legally evict a tenant who will not move out voluntarily (and who is not in arrears or in breach of their tenancy agreement) is via a court order for possession, but in order to obtain this, a landlord must first return the deposit. Furthermore, Landlord Action says it is receiving more and more phone calls from desperate landlords who are being sued by their tenants for compensation for not protecting the deposit.

“It seems to me, that tenants are becoming savvier than landlords when it comes to buy to let legislation. Landlords, this is your business, you must be fully versed in your responsibilities,” said Shamplina.

According to Landlord Action’s Legal Team, many solicitors are reluctant to take on these cases as there is no defence against it and it is purely down to the judge’s discretion. In response to the rising number of enquiries with deposit issues, Landlord Action has launched a fixed fee deposit claims mitigation service for landlords, to act on the landlord’s behalf in dealing with the court paperwork and also attempting to reduce the level of penalty the landlord faces.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of MyDeposits, said: “The findings of Landlord Action are somewhat worrying, especially as all three schemes have seen a healthy year on year increase in the number of deposits being protected. Having said that, we should not become complacent and there is clearly more work to be done in ensuring that deposit protection is embraced by the entire private rented sector.

“Landlords and agents should be aware that protecting the deposit with an authorised scheme is only one part of their legal responsibility. The other requirement is to correctly serve the prescribed information to the tenant and this is definitely an area where better understanding of the legislation is needed. The majority of legal cases we see surround the incorrect issuing of the prescribed information, or failing to issue it all. All schemes have extensive information on how to comply with the legislation, including timescales on their websites and we urge letting operators to ensure they understand their obligations.”

Most housing transactions since 2007 in twin peak, says HMRC

There were 109,580 residential transactions in June, HMRC has reported.

Together with last November, a twin peak, June’s figures are the highest since November 2007.

The June figure was up on the 104,590 transactions in May, and well ahead of the 91,220 transactions in June last year.

However, because HMRC prefers, for reasons that only economists can understand, to report “seasonally adjusted” figures rather than the actuals, the organisation is saying house sales dipped slightly in June.

On a “seasonally adjusted” basis, there were 102,680 transactions in June, down 0.2% from the 102,860 in May.

AJ Knight Lettings Portsmouth Now Members Of Redress Scheme

 

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UKALA member agents now subscribe to independent redress for complaints

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) has chosen Ombudsman Services as its preferred redress provider.

UKALA, which says it has 500 members, are already required to have a complaints handling procedure, ahead of a requirement as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which will mean that all letting agents must belong to a government approved property redress scheme.

This requirement is expected to be enacted later this year.

UKALA, part of the National Landlords Association, is the latest second trade organisation to appoint Ombudsman Services as a preferred supplier rather than The Property Ombudsman. The two have very different charging models.

Ombudsman Services already provides an alternative resolution scheme for the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).

Lewis Shand Smith, chief ombudsman, said: “We are delighted that UKALA has recognised the value and quality of our model of independent redress and are proud to be providing the dispute resolution service for them.”

Richard Price, UKALA executive director, said: “Access to an independent ombudsman service is essential for an open and accountable property sector.

“UKALA takes very seriously the level and quality of service that it provides to its members and we are very happy to be using Ombudsman Services to provide an independent service to support our existing complaints procedures, subject to its approval as a redress scheme by the DCLG.”

www.ombudsman-services.org

www.ukala.org.uk

AJ Knight Lettings Portsmouth now a Safe Agent

 

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AJ Knight Lettings are pleased to confirm our membership of the Safe Agent scheme which is an industry accreditation denoting that we meet high standards to protect Landlords and Tenants financially through a client money protection scheme.

At AJ Knight Lettings we are keen to demonstrate to all clients our dedication to providing a service that meets the highest industry standards.

For more information on SAFEagent visit www.safeagents.co.uk

 

 

 

AJ Knight Lettings Portsmouth Approved as Supplier to National Landlords Association

We are proud to announce that we have been listed as an approved supplier to the National Landlords Association and are pleased to confirm we have special offers for members – if you would like more information please give us a call or email us at info@ajknightlettings.co.uk. We provide a letting and management service in Portsmouth across to Chichester and all areas in between, plus Fareham and Gosport. NLAlogoSupplierblue

AJ Knight Lettings achieve Professional Accreditation with UKALA

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At AJ Knight Lettings we work to the highest industry ethics and standards are pleased to confirm that we have been accepted as members of UKALA (The UK Association of Letting Agents)  an industry body that upholds the highest standards in the industry.

To become a member we need to meet a strict criteria including holding Client Money Protection Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance and having our client accounts regularly audited  by a Chartered Accountant.

To see more information on UKALA see their website www.ukala.org.uk

We are Letting Agents in Portsmouth, Chichester and Southampton plus all areas in between.