The tenant fee ban is likely to start in 2018 so make 2017 the year you review your choice of letting/estate agent to be ready for the changes
One bit of advice I gave the investors at the Luton PIN this week when the host John Kerr invited me to the front to give a Lettings update to the room concerned the coming ban on Letting Agent fees to tenants which is likely to start in 2018. This is likely to result in some letting agents closing their business and some Estate Agents deciding that with all the legislation and administration which continues to increase in Lettings it is no longer a side to their business they wish to continue.
My advice to the experienced and new investors was to choose very carefully the letting/estate agent they decide to work with this year and be sure they agent will still be trading or working with lettings after the tenant fee ban starts as this could be up to 20% of the agents lettings income.
A dedicated well managed letting agent with all the correct procedures in place will continue to offer the best service and value whereas Estate Agents who still have a healthy sales market are likely to focus on the sales part of their business giving less attention to lettings or deciding to leave the lettings market altogether.
The full impact of the tenant fee ban is still to be worked out in detail and there are still discussions ongoing with the government, but 2017 is when you have to prepare yourself for the changes and consider if the agent you are using is your best choice going into 2018.
Dunstable in the top 10 for top-performing towns across the UK for house price growth over the last year
Recently the Halifax announced the top 10 performing towns across the UK for house price growth last year and in 3rd place was Dunstable with a 17.9% price rise in 2016. This is quite a remarkable feat considering Dunstable has no mainline station and in the past has been written off by Mary Portas and an article in the Daily Mail highlighting the number of closed shops in the town. The top performing town in the report with a 19.4% price rise in 2016 was our neighbour Luton.
The 10 areas with the highest house price rises over the last year were all in London or the South-east of England, with Barking and Dagenham, Basildon, Tower Hamlets and Watford also on the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, Aberdeen , Bangor in Northern Ireland, Inverness in Scotland and Blackpool in the North-west of England were also identified among the places with the weakest house price.
With the Dunstable’s close proximity to London where house prices have become unaffordable to many there is no surprise that buyers and renters are looking outside of the capital for accommodation. The towns closer to London such as St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford have all seen very high price rises during the last 10 years making these unaffordable therefore making Dunstable an affordable choice whilst still close enough to London to commute or use the easy access to the M1.
Daniel Bourke is the owner of Belvoir Lettings Dunstable and in his previous career in Architecture he was an Associate in a leading London Architectural practice