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Council's private letting agency to cost over £1.3m and has ONE home to let

An investigation by the BBC has exposed that a London council's new private lettings agency - scheduled to cost well over a million pounds - has four staff, five people on its board and.... only one property to let.

Letting Agent Today attempted to contact the local authority in question, Haringey council, but has not yet had its call returned.

The BBC says the council's agency, called Move51⁰ North, is believed to be the first of its kind to be set up by a local authority. It began trading on October 6 and the BBC's investigation says there has been a meeting to introduce the agency to landlords as well as a post campaign on the London Underground.

"A director, junior consultant and property manager were hired last summer, with the latter job offering a salary of £30,000 plus a guaranteed £5,000 bonus in the first year" says the BBC; the agency's website names four staff members in total, and a board of five people.

However, when checked over the weekend by LAT, the agency had only one property on its books; even that had no photograph, and just scant details of "a spacious three bedroom terraced house comprising; two reception rooms, a large eat-in kitchen with access to a well maintained garden, downstairs shower room and ample storage. Ideally suited to a family or professional sharers, moments from transport links.”

The BBC says the council originally budgeted £200,000 to set up Move51⁰, according to a council report published in October; however, then it was discovered that an additional £276,000 would be needed by 2018. The BBC investigation into the agency says: "In total, Haringey expects to spend an additional £1.37m on the agency, but expects the agency to make a surplus by 2019 and to cut the amount the council currently pays private landlords to meet its housing obligations.”

You can see the agency's website here.

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    • J T
    • 21 March 2016 10:17 AM

    And if you click on the map and zoom out, the property is apparently located in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea, about 400 miles off the coast of Ghana :)

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    I can't find the map you refer to J T but I cannot find any information on the EPC either! No pictures - no room sizes - crap description and the service quoted shows limited right to rent check or none at all. So who wants to use this bunch of cowboys and cowgirls? Only one staff member shows an affiliation to NAEA and ARLA. None of the others show any qualifications related to property sales or lettings so all the others must be amateurs then.

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    J T just found the map. As I said a bunch of amateurs.

  • Mark Wilson

    Does anyone expect anything better? Why the surprise?

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    Has anyone checked their list of fees? Which I hasten to add includes a 20% administration charge on all quotations provided.

    I also thought that if a property was let on a let only basis that we were not allowed to charge a 'fee' when it renewed other than a charge for new tenancy agreements?

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Bizarre- you would have thought as a Council backed/run agency this would be clear from the offset yet they have set about branding themselves like the rest of us. Trying to be edgy and interesting yet clearly they dont have anyone on board who knows the first thing about setting up and running an agency. They should have the ability to run an agency at very low costs with all property owners on their own database. This should be easy but they are making some staggering mistakes! £1.3m? Thats roughly what its cost to run my business for the last 4 years. Insane- although maybe this will put other councils off doing the same thing.

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    1. Stupid name.
    2. Exorbitant fees.
    3. No mention of CMP insurance.
    4. No mention of Deposit protection.
    5. Not a member of any professional body.
    If a private letting agency had set up on this basis they would be deemed to be a rogue agent - no wonder they have only one property.
    Local Authorities should sort out their own house first and deal properly with matters such as child protection which many have failed dismally to do in recent years and leave property management to the professionals.
    I am sure Haringey's council tax payers will be well pleased with this use of their hard earned money!!

  • Simon Jones

    My local council set up there own letting agents in Wrexham North Wales just over a year ago.

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