property matters in southampton

Tenant and Landlord Charges...

2013 brought many changes to legislation and these have affected the management of all properties, whether individual houses or blocks of flats. However, not all rulings are fully understood or complied with.

For Agents, one of the main changes last year affected the use of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). From 9th January 2013 the energy rating had to be included in all advertisements and if space allowed the graph should be shown. Earlier advice was that the entire report should be displayed, so this made things a lot easier for agents and landlords when advertising a property. It is a legal requirement that an EPC is in place for all properties before they are advertised or marketed as being “to let” or for sale.

In March 2013 it was ruled by the Court of Appeal that rent paid in advance is not a deposit. A tenant had claimed that as she paid six months’ rent in advance meant this should be treated as a Tenancy Deposit. This has clarified an issue which has been concerning both Landlords and Letting Agents who can now be reassured that taking six months’ advanced rent is not a tenancy deposit requiring protecting under the Housing Act 2004.

An additional Licencing Scheme for all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) was introduced by Southampton City Council and came into effect on 1st July 2013. This scheme applies to properties in certain areas which are let to three or more people, forming two or more households. Other Councils have similar rulings in place.

Probably one of the biggest changes to take place in the world of Property Lettings during 2013 was announced by The Committee of Advertising Practise (CAP) who stated that from 1st November 2013 Letting Fees charged to tenants by Private Landlords or Letting Agents must be disclosed when advertising rental properties.

This was prompted by a tenant complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) who objected that adverts were misleading because they did not detail the existence of a compulsory administration or letting fee.

All Letting Agents have to cover their own expenses. Some may charge separately for items such as a Tenancy Agreement or Inventory, whilst others will simplify this by charging a single one-off payment. Of course these costs vary considerably, so tenants looking for a property to rent should look at all information very carefully, along with any fees that could be charged during the tenancy (renewal fees), as some Letting Agents charge tenants every six months. All non-optional administration charges should now be displayed on reputable Letting Agents websites so that you are able to make an informed decision.

Both tenants and landlords can be adversely affected by additional costs they were not originally aware of. If you find an Agent where fees are not displayed you might want to ask why? What have they got to hide? At Harcourts we keep our tenant and landlord charges to a minimum, our fees are transparent and affordable.

Harcourts - Experienced Property Agents in Southampton. Renting in Southampton, Landlord Advice Southampton, Tenant property advice Southampton, Renting a property Southampton, Block management Southampton.

To visit Harcourt's website, click here.

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