Currently viewing the tag: "controls"

Mortgage fraud is estimated to cost the UK economy £1 Billion (GBP) every year, according to the National Fraud Authority (NFA).

MyPropertyPowerTeam.com takes a look at the steps some bridging lenders are taking to mitigate fraud and how they vet the solicitors and valuers that they work with.

It is important to ensure that all mortgage lenders’ procedures and vetting measures are consistently in check, particularly for those lenders who outsource their professional services regularly.

In light of the increasing number of products and services being offered by lenders entering the short-term lending sector, the FSA are keeping a close eye on any poor practices.

But, are the systems and controls in place to detect and prevent mortgage fraud robust enough in the industry?

Banks and mortgage lenders are being extremely vigilant when looking at how vulnerable their own systems and controls could potentially be and in what places they can be improved.

The FSA are also keen to crack down on poor practices and in December 2011, they published a guide, entitled Financial Crime: A Guide For Firms.

This document provides guidance to firms on steps they can take to reduce their financial crime risk and is designed to help firms adopt a more effective, risk-based and outcome-focused approach to mitigating any financial crime risk, which includes examples of good and poor practice.

Many Bridging lenders have made substantial investments in ensuring that they mitigate fraud and are using both automated systems and human intervention to detect fraud.

Good bridging companies choose solicitors that they deal with very carefully and will have carried out due diligence to mitigate the risk of solicitor fraud. 

New systems actively search and cross reference data from all lender members and multiple government agencies for any indications of fraud including identifying and investigating potential fraud as well as money laundering and the identification of Politically Exposed People (PEP).

Want to avoid Mortgage Fraud?  Find a reputable mortgage broker here

Controversy has been ignited after Labour’s mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone declared all-out war on letting agents and rogue landlords in London, whilst calling for rent caps.

Critics said his plans to intervene in the market, and cut rents to no more than one-third of a tenant’s wage, would result in landlords having to lower rents, leaving their yields in tatters and acting as a deterrent to further buy-to-let investment.

If elected in May, Livingstone will establish a London-wide, not-for-profit lettings agency, paid for by the public purse, and to be run by the Mayor’s office. Although  handful of local authorities do run lettings agencies, none begins to be on the scale proposed by Livingstone. There is speculation that other large metropolitan authorities could decide on a similar path.

Castigating letting agents across London, he called for rent controls and widespread intervention in the sector, including licensing.

Speaking to the Institute for Policy Research, Livingstone said: “We must actually intervene into the private rented sector.”

Livingstone said: “No tenant in the private rented sector should have to pay more than one third of their wage in rent. What London needs is a London-wide non-profit lettings agency. So I can announce today that I will work with other stakeholders to establish one that can start to make a change in the private rented sector for the better. It will put good tenants in touch with good landlords across the spectrum of private renting so that both can benefit from security of tenure and reduce the costs of letting. The new agency would get to grips with the problem of rogue landlords and tackle a series of issues on accreditation, inspection and enforcement, licensing and energy efficiency, as well as tenants’ deposits protection. Through this work we will challenge the scandal of rip-off agency fees, horrific standards and the daily experience of disputes over deposits in the private rented sector. In the coming weeks I will set out more detail of how this new arm of the Mayor’s role will work.”

The response from the current mayor of London, Boris Johnson, reckons rent controls would be devastating and he would tackle things much differently.

Mr Johnson has said as London Mayor he would introduce a new London-wide accreditation scheme for all landlords.

A new London Rental Standard, which would accredit private landlords. He would also introduce a ‘rent map’ to give tenants more information on fair rents in their local area.

But he will not countenance rent controls, hitting back at election rival Ken Livingstone’s plans and saying they would be ‘devastating’ for the sector.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The proposal of rent controls would be devastating for the sector. Rent controls were ended in the UK because they were counter-productive. Whatever the ideological appeal, the mayor does not have the power to introduce them, and even if he did, they would be devastating for the construction industry. It would result in fewer homes being built and lead landlords to invest less in stock. Other major international cities such as New York are removing rent controls for precisely these reasons.”

But, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, (RLA), Alan Ward was severely critical of both Livingstone’s and Johnson’s proposals. He said: “Livingstone’s call for rent controls is an old idea that never worked in the past. Until 1988, rent controls resulted in a shortage of supply and poorer conditions for tenants. Hardly a remedy for 2012. There is no doubt that rents in the capital remain far higher than anywhere else in the country, but the answer lies in improved supply.”

Mr Ward said of Johnson’s ideas: “With over 10,000 landlords in London already members of the London boroughs’ accreditation scheme, it would seem a waste of time and money re-inventing the wheel in this way. The Mayor should focus on supporting and encouraging existing accreditation schemes, freeing his office up better to target the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute. This should be matched by a programme of serious tenant education, providing tenants with all the information needed to better hold their landlords to account for the service they provide. It beggars belief that some people spend more time assessing the state of a car they wish to buy than the homes they seek to rent.”

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