A WARM WELCOME TO WILL!

 

 

 Home Hub Southampton are pleased to announce the appointment of William Alexander as its new Branch Manager.

 

William will be responsible for contributing to Home Hub’s overall strategy and will oversee both the sales and lettings teams.

 

William joins Home Hub from a large corporate, where he held various roles across both sales and lettings, his last role being Residential Sales Manager. William has started several ‘cold start’ branches, the last of which became the top performing branch of the area he was operating in.

 

William brings valuable experience and know-how to Home Hub Southampton and will be an asset to the management team. His experience in sales and systems will be invaluable as they look to further grow their presence in Southampton.

 

The Tenant Fee Ban: Landlords Beware!

THE TENANT FEE BAN

 

Last week the government published its response to the consultation on banning letting agent fees to tenants along with a draft bill. The bill imposes a BLANKET ban on fees to tenants, not even a cap as was thought might be the case. With no more tenant fees, most agents will have no choice but to pass on the lost fees to landlords instead. Landlords beware. It's about to get a bit crazy out there! 

Last week the government published its response to the consultation on banning letting agent fees to tenants along with a draft bill.

The level of fees charged by letting agents and some landlords are often not clearly or consistently explained, leaving many tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.

The draft Tenant Fees Bill generates a complete blanket ban on fees charged by agents (and landlords) for the creation, renewal or continuation of an AST or license.

This is much harsher than was anticipated. Many thought the ban would be in the form of a cap or upper limit on tenant fees, rather than a full ban.

Tenancies which fall outside of the Housing Act 1988 will not be covered and it appears that company lets have not been included in the new rules.

 

PERMISSIBLE FEES

There is a list of permissible fees that agents and landlords can still charge to tenants.

Those permitted include fees for breaching tenancy agreements and fees for losing keys.

 

ENFORCEMENT

Enforcement will be through trading standards officers, who have a duty to enforce the legislation so that agents can complain about other agents who are not playing by the new rules.

A civil penalty of £5,000 is payable initially for a breach of the ban on letting fees, but a repeated breach would amount to a criminal offense. However, civil penalties of up to £30,000 can be issued as an alternative to prosecution.

If the offense is by a company, the directors can be made liable too.

There is also a list of anti-avoidance provisions to stop agents and landlords getting around the ban.

 

CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION

The government also launched a consultation on making membership of client money protection schemes mandatory for letting and managing agents that handle client money. This will give landlords and tenants greater financial protection and confidence that their money is safe.

 

ADVERTISING FEES

The bill will also amend the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla - so that all fees being charged are clearly set out on all websites.

 

DEPOSIT LIMITS

The bill limits tenancy deposits to the equivalent of 6 weeks rent. This is an increase on the proposed one month which many agents and landlords considered to be not long enough.

 

AN INDUSTRY IN TURMOIL?

The bill has not yet been laid before parliament, so it is not in force yet.

But what is known already is that many agencies, especially the large corporates, make a significant amount of their revenue from tenant fees, and some of the big corporates have already started passing these ‘lost’ fees onto landlords in a bid to stay alive, even before the legislation has officially kicked in.

 

OUR PRICE FREEZE!

But at Home Hub Southampton we like to be different!

Our fees are already all-inclusive and transparent but we are going a step further...

If you put your property on with us fully managed before the end of 2017, we will FREEZE your prices for up to the next 5 years! That’s right! Lock in now, and you will not be subject to any fee rises in the next 5 years!

To contact us to find out what we can do for you or to find out more, e-mail office@homehubsouthampton.co.uk or telephone Sarah on 07793 354635 quoting PRICEFREEZE17

 

ANOTHER EXCUSE TO GET THE KETTLE ON!

Leading cleaning experts Dr. Beckmann has revealed the nation’s most popular household smells in its Cleaning and Laundry Bible, and they may just help you achieve a successful sale/let!

 

Here are Britain’s favourite household smells:

 

  1. Laundered clothes
  2. Freshly baked goods
  3. Freshly mown grass
  4. Scented candles
  5. Flowers
  6. Freshly brewed coffee
  7. A clean bathroom
  8. Toiletries (e.g. bath bombs)

 

So get the oven on, lawnmower out and the coffee on!

focus on...investing in southampton

Southampton is constantly referred to as a ‘buy to let hotspot’ in the media. HSBC ranks Southampton among the top 10 places to invest in property in the UK, and Southampton is tipped to register the highest capital growth in the country by 2019.

 

Southampton is currently undergoing massive transformation. Westquay Watermark is now complete and represents an £85 million investment in Southampton and is the UK's largest restaurant and dining complex. The Royal Pier development project is a £450 million development that will transform the landscape of Southampton’s waterfront. 

 

Southampton is a fun and vibrant place to live, and with its two universities (34,000 students), a large hospital, an airport and its location on the South Coast with proximity to London, there is high demand for HMO rooms.

 

The HMOs we source, refurb and manage for ourselves and investors are largely for professional tenants. The typical tenant might be a young person aged between 23-35 who is re-locating to Southampton for a job. They will usually require an initial 6 month contract after which time they may move in with friends or with a partner, or indeed move to a different area of the country for work.

 

Southampton is an Article 4 area which means that you can no longer change a family house into an HMO without planning permission in Southampton city centre. This means that you have to look outside the article 4 boundary for suitable investment purchases which can be converted into HMO properties without planning permission, or buy an existing HMO being sold on by a landlord.

 

Southampton has mandatory and additional HMO licensing. Regardless of HMO licensing, our properties are always refurbed as if mandatory licensing were in force in the area.

 

We have noticed that due to lots of new all purpose student blocks going up in central Southampton (with inclusive gyms and bells and whistles), there are more traditional student houses remaining void - especially the shabbier ones. As a result some student landlords are changing those properties to professional HMOs for which the market is strong. As with all buy to lets, the key is to stay ahead of your game in terms of the property you are offering so it will always be attractive to tenants.

 

 

Southampton is booming and we at Home Hub Southampton are enjoying being part of it.