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By Spencer Gordon, Jan 29 2016 02:16PM

According to a new report from the Cebr, 15% of landlords are sitting on £514m of unprotected deposits.

Despite government intervention to make it a legal requirement for landlords to protect renters’ deposits in one of the government backed schemes, new research carried out on behalf of financial comparison website money.co.uk by the Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research) reveals that 284,000 landlords have failed to do so. Research estimates that these landlords are sitting on £514 million of deposits that should be protected by an official third party service.

With approximately one in five (4.6 million) households in the UK now privately rented and the average protected deposit at £1,040, the total value of deposits paid by tenants and placed in protection schemes by landlords has now reached a whopping £3.2 billion. Despite the risk of fines for landlords who fail to protect their tenants’ deposits, 15% are still failing to do so running the risk of a £2,400 penalty. Landlords that flout the rules could together be earning up to £8.5 million a year in interest on unprotected money, while leaving themselves and their tenants with no third party protection when their agreement comes to an end.

What is deposit protection?

It is mandatory for all landlords to protect deposits for assured shorthold tenancies via a government backed tenancy deposit scheme. They must also give tenants prescribed information about where their deposit is protected, who they are renting from and how they raise a dispute. Different approved deposit schemes are used in England and Wales to Scotland and Northern Ireland but they all operate in a similar way. The schemes give landlords and tenants access to a free dispute resolution service if things go wrong when the tenant moves out, eliminating the need for court action in many cases.

The government imposed deposit protection schemes to stop landlords unfairly taking money out of deposits for things such as wear and tear or pre-existing damage when tenants move on. With this protection in place, an alternative dispute resolution scheme will step in and assess the case and make sure any money held back by the landlord is a fair deal for both the tenant and the landlord.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief money.co.uk comments: “Renting is a money minefield and with troubled times ahead for the buy to let market, the problems caused by ‘dodgy landlords’ are only likely to get worse. While many landlords are doing the right thing and protecting deposits in one of the official government backed schemes, a worrying amount of money is falling through the cracks and far too many tenants are being left vulnerable.

Renters must take control and ask landlords which protection scheme their money will be stashed in before signing on the dotted line. Existing tenants must ask for proof their money is protected if their landlord hasn’t given them the correct written documentation.

It’s not right that tenants are left responsible for taking their landlord to court if their deposit hasn’t been protected. The government needs to step in and take decisive action. Introducing a compulsory register listing every landlord that rents out property in England and Wales would be a start. This works for Scotland and Northern Ireland and it seems crazy this hasn’t been brought in across the UK. Add in tenants’ ratings and reviews to this too and you have both the beginnings of a solution that helps renters make an informed choice about who they’re handing over buckets of cash to; and the foundation for policing landlords that are currently going unchecked.

That said, it’s not just renters that stand to benefit from deposits being protected; after all landlords need a safeguard against renters that misbehave too. I can’t understand why any landlord wouldn’t do this; it doesn’t have to cost too much to place money with a tenancy deposit scheme and could save so much hassle later on.”

If you have any questions on tenants deposits, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, then please feel free to contact ourselves at Spencer Gordon Lettings 01704 460160.

By Spencer Gordon, Jan 20 2016 01:16PM

The governor of the Bank of England has booted an interest rate rise into the long grass and beyond and this will further drive demand for mortgages throughout 2016, affirms the boss of deVere Mortgages.

The comments come as Mark Carney in a speech on Tuesday confirmed that there would be no immediate interest rate rise due to an “unforgiving” global economy and weaker growth in the UK.

Mike Coady, Managing Director of deVere Mortgages, observes: “The collapse of oil prices, weak economic performance in China, and the slow down in UK wages and growth, have made their mark on the Bank of England’s decision.

Bearing in mind these serious concerns that won’t be resolved overnight, noting the language used by the governor in his statement, plus the fact that the MPC have voted to hold rates by 8 to1 means, I believe, that the first rate rise has been booted into the long grass – and beyond.

There always seems to be a stream of important reasons for the Bank to keep the rate unchanged.

Mr Coady continues: “I think the earliest we can now expect a rate rise will be in 2017. This is primarily because headline CPI inflation is almost back to zero and because whilst UK GDP growth is steady, current forecasts for wage growth in 2016 of 3.75 per cent look very optimistic. And when interest rates do eventually rise, there is little reason to expect a return to the rate levels of before the credit crunch.

The justified expectation that ultra low interest rates are the new normal and the view that generally house prices across the UK are correctly priced in the current low interest rate environment, will fuel mortgage applications throughout 2016 and for the next few years at least.”

By Spencer Gordon, Jan 18 2016 04:15PM

The latest Rightmove house price index has revealed that new property coming to market has risen in price by 0.5% (+£1,509) - the second highest rise at this time of year since 2007.

First-time buyers are also seeing a 6.6% year-on-year increase in the number of fresh-to-the-market homes in their target sector of two bedrooms or fewer, the highest since 2007. Additionally, the monthly price increase in this sector is at a near standstill (+0.1%, +£209), attributed to a keenness to attract buy-to-let investors before the April tax deadline.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, commented: “Upwards price pressure remains, with the second-highest rise seen at this time of year for nine years. The early snapshot of home-hunter visits in the first week of 2016 is up by 21% on the same period last year to 27.8 million visits, showing demand is not letting up either. Encouragingly for first-time buyers there’s more fresh choice with more property coming to market in their target sector. With their asking prices pretty much the same as a month ago, perhaps the knock-on effects of the more punitive landlord tax regime have arrived early and they now face a dilemma over whether to buy now or wait to see if prices drop in this sector over the next few months.”

Adrian Whittaker, Sales Director, New Street Mortgages, commented: “Today’s figures from Rightmove show that house prices continued to rise over what is typically a quieter period, as a lack of supply coupled with rising demand squeezes the market.

With this imbalance between supply and demand, the speed of a mortgage application could make the difference between having an offer accepted and losing out to another buyer. This makes it is even more important than ever for advisers to choose a lender that has the right technology and processes in place to offer a service that meets the demands of this fast-paced environment.”

Jeremy Duncombe, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “This monthly increase in house prices is unusual for this time of year, and we expect house price inflation to climb further over the course of the year. The lack of supply is making the market more competitive and an expected increase in demand in the coming months is likely to exacerbate this issue. The government and housebuilders must work together to address this problem by building more properties of the right size and in the right places to accommodate those looking to buy.

The government must also look to encourage more efficient use of current housing stock by helping more people to ‘rightsize’ through tax incentives and cuts in stamp duty. This two-tiered approach will help to reduce the current imbalance between supply and demand and make homeownership a more achievable goal for many.”

FREE 2016 Valuation - Call 01704 460160 or pop in to our Ainsdale Village office to book yours.

By Spencer Gordon, Jan 18 2016 02:26PM

Well, we have finally moved in! Our new office is ready for business, we are right in the middle of Ainsdale Village across the road from the Coop and neighbours of Broughs Butchers and the Computer Shop.

We technically moved during December when we got the keys and started the office refurb, but officially opened last week. Ainsdale Village is a delightful place to work and we intended moving here for quite a while, the shop became available and we jumped straight in!

Our marketing leaflets have started to go out, the second set are due at the end of January, please keep your eyes peeled. The window and wall displays are all in situ and are looking good.

If you are interested in selling or renting a property then please feel free to call in and discuss – the new heating system is installed, so it is lovely and warm in the office!

We are offering anyone a FREE 2016 valuation on their property, if you are wanting one of these then please get in touch – either 01704 460160 or pop in at Spencer Gordon 575 Liverpool Road, Ainsdale Village PR8 3LU.

Hopefully see you soon!

By Spencer Gordon, Oct 23 2015 10:12AM

Churchtown is a tranquil, historic village on the northern fringe of Southport and dates back to the Domesday Book. It's a designated conservation area with pretty thatched roof cottages that you'll notice as soon as you arrive. Once here, you can browse through the village's specialist shops and stop for a bite in its charming cafes and pubs. Join one of the Churchtown and Botanic Garden Walks to learn all about the village in times gone by as well as a chance to visit Churchtown's beautiful Botanic Gardens.

Birkdale village is home to several restaurants and bars as well as a number of independent retailers, including a bridal shop, fusion art photographer and the Birkdale Cheese Centre. The village is just a five minute drive from Southport town centre.

Banks is a large coastal village in North Meols, that lies four miles north-east of Southport. Banks is the largest of the villages in the parish of North Meols and is primarily an agricultural community, due to the excellent soil. It’s famous for its world-class tomatoes, salads and vegetables.

Marshside, formerly known as Marsh Side, was historically populated by fisherman and shrimpers. It is protected from the sea by a sea bank of household rubbish built in the 1960s, with the coastal road built on top. The enclosed marsh is now the RSPB Marshside Nature Reserve, part of the Ribble Regional Park Nature Reserve, one of the largest breeding grounds of wading birds in the UK and internationally recognised.

Ainsdale is an area of Southport in the borough of Sefton, Merseyside, England, situated three miles south of the centre of Southport. It makes up the southern edge of the town, bordering Formby. The village and roads leading to the beach are popular areas, with some new modern developments around the station.

Hillside is a residential suburb of the seaside town of Southport, Merseyside. The village is very closely connected with the village of Birkdale which is also classed as an upmarket suburb of Southport. Birkdale is a much older suburb featuring large Victorian houses, where Hillside is a more modern residential suburb.

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