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Landlords Warned To Get Ready For Universal Credit

Landlords Warned To Get Ready For Universal Credit  Chaos!

National Universal Credit Roll-Out
Starts February 2015 

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith surprised commentators with an announcement that Universal Credit (UC) will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and local authorities in the UK by February 2015 following the apparent success of the pilot scheme that was originally trialled in the North West.

Many Universal Credit detractors predicted that nothing significant would happen, before next year’s General Election, however, Iain Duncan Smith stunned everyone by announcing that Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and local authorities across the country, starting February 2015.

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Record University Applications Are Good News For Student Property Investors

Record University Applications Are Good News For Student Property Investors

Record University Applications Are Good News
For Student Property Investors

 Current and prospective student property investors have been delighted to see university applications hit record levels. According to a report from UCAS, this year saw a 4% increase in the number of applications, signalling a likely increase in demand for student property.

The increase in applications – which forms part of a continuing upward trend – comes in spite of the fact that there were fewer 18 year olds amongst the UK population this year. The rise shows that more and more people are looking towards higher education after leaving school and college. By the deadline on January 15th, UCAS had received applications from roughly 580,000 18 year olds. This represents approximately 35% of all 18 year olds in the UK.

Student numbers took a serious hit a few years ago, after a high-profile hike which saw tuition fees almost tripled. However, since that time student numbers have been gradually increasing again and have now essentially recovered from the blow.

The higher education sector has enjoyed something of a rebirth as a result, and university-level qualifications remain highly desirable.

According to Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS, there is “a remarkably persistent growth in demand for higher education” which is illustrated by these recent figures. She went on to display that the increased demand could be seen universally. It applies to applications for all institutions, and from students of all backgrounds and groups. Demand was also increasing regardless of tuition fee differences, suggesting that this factor is now not hindering university applications in the way it did immediately following the hike.

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Fraudulent tenancies on the increase in the UK

Are Tenant Applicants Really Who They Claim To Be?

UK Landlords and letting agents are being warned about an increase in bogus tenant applications.

Fraudulent applicants have been filling out tenancy application forms provided by honest landlords and agents, giving inaccurate or misleading information, in a bid to secure the rental of the property.

It is not unknown for the fraudsters to move from property to property, with no intention of keeping up with the rent, even within the same small town.

Fraudulent tenants often give false information on where they have been living previously to throw referencing companies and letting agents off the trail.

They are also very difficult to evict as the more professional bad tenants appear to know their way round the legal system. Eviction of these “professional bad tenants” is better left to an eviction specialist such as Legal 4 Landlords.

Tenant fraud has been problem for letting agents and landlords alike for a number of years and is apparently on the increase in some parts of the UK.

It is essential that landlords and their agents have a checklist for new tenants that include obtaining ID documents and proof of current residency at the earliest stages of a tenancy application.

Landlords and their agents need to be alert for anything unusual that could increase the risk for the landlord.

Comprehensive tenant referencing services are a vital tool for landlords and letting agents to spot anomalies, oddities and the potential for fraud in all tenancy applications.

Tips for landlords and letting agents to help reduce Tenant Fraud.

  • Request photo ID
  • Obtain a credit check – individuals with good credit histories are generally good tenants.
  • Use a professional company, such as Legal 4 Landlords for thorough tenant referencing
  • Get references from employers – Obtain written references and where possible speak to the employer personally
  • Get references from all previous landlords – although references from landlords may need to be taken with a pinch of salt as some landlords just want to get rid of problem tenants and will give good references.
  • Obtain copies of payslips and bank statements
  • Compare addresses shown on the application with those shown on ID documents
  • Look at what kind of car the prospective tenant drives
  • Trust your gut instinct
  • Do not take anything at face value

Landlords are urged to double check everything and if they have any reasonable suspicion that things are not quite what they seem, then they should refuse the tenancy, no matter how desperate they are to get someone in their property. Letting to a dishonest tenant will cost the landlord even more financial heartache in the long term.

Landlords should also beware of another common practice employed by dishonest tenants – subletting!

Sub-letting is an illegal practice that the UK Government are trying to stamp out, however it has become a common practice among fraudsters in the private rented sector, (PRS).

When tenants have accepted the landlord’s terms and conditions regarding the tenancy, signed the AST and apparently appear to have moved in. Only to rent the property out again to another unsuspecting dupe at a profit. Often in cases where this happens the bogus tenant will abscond with everyones money, leaving the sub-letting tenant homeless and the poor, unsuspecting landlord high and dry.

When a landlord carries out regular periodic property maintenance, they should check that the occupier is still the same person named on the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, (AST).

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