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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Now that’s teamwork!

A new tenant came to the office to pay their first account at 11am on Friday morning, as they were due to move in the following day. Whilst in the office he mentioned
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A pinch of Channel 4 salt

There was a 5 minute piece on buy-to-let investors by Faisal Islam on the Channel 4 News last night.

We’re great fans of all things Jon Snow and the Channel 4 News, but the report last night lacked balance and was – albeit in a polished, suit-and-tie Channel 4 sort of way – more sensationalist than it needed to be.
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The tide is turning…

Town centre redevelopment is delayed again

We went through the doldrums across the summer with a general shortage of stock of rental property. Over the last few weeks the tide has definitely turned and the phones have been red hot with people ringing up with houses to rent in Oxfordshire.
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Overjoyed to have won another award

We are absolutely thrilled to have won a National Training Award (NTA) at yesterday’s ceremony in Oxford’s historic Town Hall.
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Water, water everywhere

Not many lettings agents in Banbury have a 24/7 emergency line. In fact, not many letting agents anywhere have a 24/7 emergency line which is manned by one of the agency’s property managers. But Oxford letting agents, Finders Keepers, have exactly this: an emergency line which is genuinely manned by one of our locally-based property managers. This allows for any genuine emergencies to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently. One of our tenants phoned our 24-hour helpline to report that water was leaking from his WC at night. Our emergency plumber attended and  
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HMO Licensing

Some of you might have read or heard the news today about HMO Licensing in Oxford.

We have just finished talking to the BBC to explain our view, which is simply this:

– We have spent 38+ years working hard to provide the safest, best quality houses to rent in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties

– We strongly support attempts to ensure that all rental property is in good condition

– Indeed,  our FK Student Letting business has forged a good reputation with the council for having tip-top properties and covering off all legislation requirements promptly and effectively. Our student tenants can vouch for how seriously we take good property management.

– However, our view is that Oxford City Council’s use of national legislation to expand the definition of an ‘HMO’  is not the right approach.

– Together with a wide group of other letting agents in Oxford and landlords we are involved in trying make the Council change their approach. 

– As the press release of the law firm Pain Smith – who is leading the efforts to change the Council’s mind – says:

“…we, and our clients, take this action with some regret. We (and our clients) wholly support the licensing of HMOs provided it is carried out with proper consultation and in accordance with the law in a reasonable and proportionate manner. Unfortunately, the scheme proposed by Oxford does not do this.The scheme, if carried forward as currently planned, would leave many landlords with their properties designated as HMOs but unable to apply for a licence. This would, as a consequence, place these landlords in breach of the law and further make them unable to serve a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 on their tenants. This situation cannot be what the Council intends and is simply irrational.

We hope that Oxford uses this opportunity to rethink its policy on additional HMO licensing.”

For context the new legislation would mean that if you have a 2 bedroom home with a professional couple in 1 room and a professional lodger in the other room, it is suddenly an HMO. This is a world away from the stereotype of a large student house with 5 or 6 students living in it.

We hope that common sense can prevail and that a more accurate, proportionate HMO licensing scheme can be introduced.

October in Oxford

Can you believe September is nearly over? We thought we would give you an idea of what is going on in Oxfordshire through the month of October (for full info find a copy of Arts & Events in Oxfordshire!)
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