‘Rip off’ agents to face legal charges – or not

News at Riley Marshall | 17/06/2015


Loading Tradesmen’s Bills for Landlords

Foxton’s Estate agents are being pursued through the courts by a no-win-no-fee law firm Leigh Day instructed by Dr Chris Townley, storyfrom King’s London, because he claims they added “hidden fees and charges” by charging a premium on repairs and maintenance bills.

Riley Marshall takes the view that if you have our full management package, then we manage it for you fully. So if we need to book a Gas Safety Certificate or replacement windows then you pay what the tradesmen charge, and we don’t ask you to pay more, and we definitely don’t ask them to load their bills. This might seem obvious but the Foxton’s case has sparked a storm of opinion about taking commissions and charging a premium on tradesmen’s’ bills among industry insiders.

We believe that the reason our Landlords trust us to look after their property is that we behave ethically and transparently. What we say we will charge is what you will pay, and so our landlords can trust us to take the pressure off them and get on with the other business in their lives.

Spotting a good agent

The second bit of news is that despite the latest legal requirements to fully disclose all fees to landlords, tenants, and sellers the Trading Standards Agency is unlikely to have the manpower to enforce the regulations. So it might take some time for less reputable agents to fall into line with this recommendation.

Good agents will have been complying with this practice before it became mandatory, and will continue to do so whether the long arm of the law is long enough or not. It just makes good business sense to be open about charges to avoid upset and embarrassment down the line.

You will find that our fees are all fully disclosed on any marketing material, agreements, and on our website.

Social Cleansing by Tory policies says Labour

The FT carries a story of labour accusing Conservative Government of effectively carrying out “social cleansing” in central London by forcing local councils to sell off their most valuable housing stock if they fall vacant.

This could affect the diversity of central London, and perhaps what is more worrying is that those working in lower paid public sector jobs like nurses and teacher may not be able to afford to live in the Capital.

Read more on the FT website

So let us round up this industry overview with some better news:

Good news for first time buyers as rate of growth slows

The Office of National Statistics have reported that the rate of growth in London house prices fell from 11.2% in the year to March to 4.3% over the 12 months to April 2015. While this is the lowest rate of growth in the capital city since October 2012 it is still showing an increase so property owners don’t need to worry. In fact they could step up the ladder more easily as the next rung will appear closer.

What is good for the market is that first time buyers will be able to save a deposit and buy into the market without feeling that the rapid growth is leaving them behind.

If you are thinking that you might like to know what your property is worth we can organise a Free Home Valuation Report which can be delivered to you by email, or if you prefer to speak to one of our advisors then please get in touch and we will book in an appointment.