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The Great Escape, we do like to be beside the seaside, a cheap lettings service, and rogue landlords

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Will the 4th of July see you joining the flag-waving frenzy of your cousins across the pond? Or, will you start finalising your plans for just what it will mean to return to some form of normal after the recent lockdown?

If you are preparing for life post-Covid, the following property news snippets might help to paint the picture of the new world that awaits.

The Great Escape as buyers leave London

In its comments on first responses to the reawakening of the property market, the Property Industry Eye last week revealed house-hunters’ new-found urge to escape the confines of London and find space in which to grow in more rural settings.

The article cited reports from upmarket estate agents Savills who find that the recent release of considerable pent-up demand means that enquiries are currently 48% up on the same period last year. Key features of the current search for moving home included:

  • a 97% increase in the demand for homes with a garden or access to outside space;
  • 82% of searches are for homes with provision for an office or other space from which to work from home; and
  • 71% of house-hunters are insisting on any property being close to a local park.

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside        

Echoing similar trends for access to more open space, on the 24th of June Property Investor Today described the current demand for homes close to the coast.

House-hunters have the choice of bigger homes, with space for working from home, by swapping the ten-minute walk to work with a ten-minute walk to the beach, says a local estate agent on the North Yorkshire coast.

In addition to the North Yorkshire coast, other seaside favourites appear to be Bude, Padstow and Newquay in Cornwall, Ilfracombe and Salcombe in Devon, the Ayrshire coast, and Caister-On-Sea in Norfolk.

With increased popularity and demand, of course, come higher prices. Those in Whitby, North Yorkshire, for example, have risen by 4.9% on the same period last year, to reach an average price of £213,053.

£1 letting service for private landlords launches

A London-based estate agent has launched an online letting service which finds prospective tenants for landlords remotely and without the need for an agent, according to a story in Landlord Today recently.

Apart from the novelty of such a service, what stands out is its price – just £1 buys the first seven days and, if the property is not let by then, a further two weeks’ can be purchased for just £19.

What landlords get for their money, says the piece, is a listing by all the major online agents – such as Rightmove, OnTheMarket, and Zoopla. Once contact has been made and interest shown, landlords can then arrange viewings themselves or conduct virtual tours for prospective tenants.

Two landlords fined nearly £5,000 for harassment and non-compliance

Rogue landlords continue to be caught out by local authorities which are cracking down on misbehaviour and malpractice in the private rented sector.

The latest cases were exposed by local authorities in Bristol, revealed Letting Agent Today on the 24th of June.

One of the landlords was convicted of offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for: harassing tenants to the point that they felt forced to leave the property, for invading the tenants’ privacy, arranging viewings without their knowledge, and generally failing to follow the advice offered by officers of the City Council.

The landlord was ordered to repay the affected tenants £3,080, with £300 costs.

The second case involved a landlord who had been issued an Improvement Notice under the 2004 Housing Act in November 2018. The Improvement Notice required the landlord to address leaking sewage pipes and taps in his let property.

Since the landlord failed to complete the required works, the council did so in default. The value of that work – some £1,569.10 – was recovered through an order for the landlord to pay back to the council housing benefits he had previously received.