Currently viewing the tag: "charges"

Government Want Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

Government Want Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

Government Plan For Transparency Of Letting Agent Fees
Welcomed By Landlords

The Government announced last week that they intend to improve the transparency of fees charged by letting and property management agents as called for by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The move comes after the Labour party’s general election posturing early last week by attempting to seek an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, ending charges paid by tenants to letting and property management agents,

Whilst the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) currently only requires letting and property management agents to list compulsory charges to the tenant upfront in advertisements, proposals announced on Tuesday 13th May 2014 will require letting agents to publish full details of all fees charged, on websites and prominently displayed in their offices.

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Complaints against letting agents increased drastically during 2012, occupying the majority of the Property Ombudsman’s time and increasing the organisation’s workload.

During 2012, the Property Ombudsman received a total of 15,782 complaints, including those made against both Estate agents dealing with property sales and lettings and property management agents concerning renting property.

The increase in volume was a 12% jump up from 2011 when there were 14,066 complaints and landlords were slightly more likely to make a complaint about letting agents rather than the tenants complaining about landlords.

In addition there was also a 39% increase in the number of cases referred for formal review or easy resolution. In total, the Ombudsman supported 73.8% of complaints against lettings agents.

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Take That To The Bank

Guest post by Bobby Gill

Ever been frustrated or felt ripped off by your bank?

Yep thought so.

Maybe this letter will make you feel better and give you some ideas next time you contact them… shortly before closing your account and banking with a Co-Operative Bank instead!

Read more of Bobby’s thoughts and musing here – http://bobby-gill.blogspot.co.uk

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month.

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Council Tax Exemption For Landlords To Be Abolished in 2013

Council Tax Exemption For Landlords To Be Abolished in 2013

Thanks to the Government welfare reforms and austerity measures the rules for Council Tax exemption on empty rental properties will soon be abolished.

From the 1st April 2013 new legislation being proposed by the government means that landlords will become solely responsible for the Council Tax on all void rental properties.

Some local authorities, such as Durham, have already jumped the gun and have begun charging landlords the full Council Tax amount for any property that is currently untenanted, leaving many landlords confused and severley out of pocket.

If the new legislation is still at the proposal stage and is not yet law, why are some local authorities allowed to do this?

I happen to own several properties around the North East of England and have been billed for void periods over the last 6 months even if a property was empty for only a couple of weeks.

Durham are wrongly charging the full council tax on all empty rental properties despite the fact that no council run services are being used.

I have contacted Durham borough council and attemted to argue the toss and following lengthy discussions I was eventually told by an advisor to complete a form to apply for Council Tax exemption for any property that I had been charged for, however, the local authority in Durham flatly refused to post a form out to me and insisted that I get the managing agent to request one.

The only way that landlords can affect change is to use the current legislation set by Government against any greedy local authority and point blank refute any charge made against them especially if the charge is unwarranted.

Information taken from the Gov.uk website…

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home.

If you count as an adult for Council Tax and live on your own, you’ll get 25% off your bill.

You’ll also get a discount if you live with people who don’t count as adults for Council Tax.

These people are not counted as adults for Council Tax purposes:

  • children under 18
  • people on apprentice schemes
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students
  • young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • student nurses
  • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • people with a severe mental disability
  • live-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse or child
  • diplomats

To work out if you should get a Council Tax discount:

  1. Count the number of adults who live in your home as their main home.
  2. Discount anyone in the list above.
  3. If you’re left with 1 person who counts as an adult, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%.
  4. If you’re left with no-one who counts as an adult, your bill will be reduced by 50%.

If there’s no discount listed and you think you should get one, write to your council.

The council has 2 months to respond. If you disagree with the council’s decision or don’t hear back within this time, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.

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