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New landlord regulations

Last week, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) sent out letters to all relevant trade bodies regarding new landlord regulations, with guidance on how to ensure lettings ads refrain from displaying misleading prices.  To prevent tenants from being landed with unexpected non-refundable fees and charges, which they may not be able to afford, CAP has informed all letting agents and private landlords that all costs must be included in the “asking rent” for the property and displayed prominently on all advertising material.

The regulations come after several landlords have been caught charging one price to draw in potential tenants, before piling on the costs of admin fees and inventory charges at a later date.  As the Chief Executive for the Advertising Standards Authority, Guy Parker, has noted, renting is a “big financial commitment” and becoming more and more common in the UK, as people are unable to afford the cost of buying.  To hide costs in the early stages, only for them to “hit tenants in the pocket at a time when they need every penny they’ve got” is simply not fair. 

From 1st November 2013, websites, property portals and other forms of media advertising will be monitored by the appropriate authorities and any listings which do not include all relevant pricing and fees will be subject to follow-up action.  At Mistoria, we are proud to say that with our costs, what you see is what you get.  Our fees per month or per week are exactly that, with no hidden charges or nasty surprises.  We agree with the ASA, that people should be aware of their monthly or weekly costs and should be able to plan their expenses.  Trust between tenants and landlords is essential and hopefully the new scheme will reduce the number of unreliable landlords ripping off unsuspecting tenants.

Whether you are a landlord and would like to know more about our property management services, or a tenant looking for a room or property to rent, feel free to contact us on 0800 500 3015 to find out more about what Mistoria Estate Agents have to offer.  Alternatively, you can contact us via our website.

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The Deposit Protection Scheme – Keeping Your Money Safe

Deposits can be a scary thing.  You’re handing over a large sum of money to someone you barely know, and trusting that you’ll get it back.  Unfortunately, landlords have broken this trust in the past, which is why in 2007, the Government introduced tenancy protection laws in the UK.  These laws mean that landlords are obliged to place your deposit within a deposit protection scheme to keep it safe until you get it back.

The schemes are government run, meaning they’re completely reputable and trustworthy.  The four schemes available to landlords are:

Each of these websites contains a tool which, as a tenant, you can use to double check that your deposit is protected.  Your landlord is also legally obligated to tell you which deposit protection scheme they are using and how you can apply to get your deposit back.  For a full list of landlord responsibilities regarding your deposit, and to check your landlord isn’t keeping any important information from you, follow the link here.

So what if your landlord hasn’t used a deposit protection scheme?  Well, the four aforementioned websites all offer help and advice for such an event.  The official government website on deposit protection also recommends contacting a county court, who may demand that the landlord repay you the deposit or pay it into a scheme within two weeks.

Moving house is stressful enough without the added anxiety of what your new landlord may be doing with your deposit, so keep your mind at ease by making sure your money is stored away in a reputable deposit protection scheme.  It’s the law!