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Professional & Surveying Services

Commercial Property Services

For some months now correspondents have been reporting increases in private rents across the country and forecasting more of the same to come.

In April, Reeds Rains Buy to Let Index* revealed a 4.6% increase on the same month in 2014 with an average rent across England and Wales of £774 – the most expensive rental prices on record. Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains put this down to "...a fundamental shortage of housing ...".

Anna Brosnan of the National Housing Federation warned that with rents accelerating upwards, tenants would be hard pressed to ever save enough "...to achieve their aspirations of owning a home.".

When broken down regionally and over that same period, the average East of England rental income grew by 12.5% 2014-2015 (up on the 12% recorded in the

2013-2014 Index) achieving an average rent of £810. London followed with an annual increase of 7.8% and Yorkshire & the Humber was third with a 2.2% rent rise across the equivalent time.

However, there were some negatives. Wales recorded rents falling by 2.8% between April 2014 and April 2015 as did the North East and East Midlands with reductions of 0.8% and 0.2% respectively.

More recently, figures released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) record a higher number of letting agents reporting rent increases between May and June.

Their numbers reveal 36% of ARLA letting agents returning month-on-month rent rises – the highest since this data collection began.

Again, supply and demand was blamed.

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Alan Stewart

Not long ago, if you wanted to let, rent, buy or sell a property you visited your local town centre and researched letting and estate agents until you found one you wanted to work with, or had the levels of expertise and properties available to suit your requirements.

The rise of estate agents advertising online has been meteoric, as has the rise of online-only agents. These virtual agents' sites target users and potential clients in a variety of ways. For those selling property, they still offer valuations, accompanied visits and attractive commission rates - especially when compared to high street agents

with an online presence, where the business has to factor in much greater overheads.

Buyers need little encouragement to view such sites as virtual agents provide an additional and free resource for property that may not be advertised elsewhere. When it comes to landlords and tenants, the virtual approach differs only from the traditional letting and management service in that there are no high street premises and no face-to-face, long-term relationships to develop.

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David Gurton

Following a report last year, criminals have continued to shift away from cultivating large cannabis farms in commercial buildings to small-scale factories across multiple sites in rented residential properties or residential portions of commercial properties.

 This allows the criminal to spread the risk of detection and minimise loss of profit, meaning if one farm is discovered there will be others left in operation.

With cannabis rising in value over recent years, a growing number of criminal gangs are moving into this area and view the crop as low risk and high return.

 This allows the criminal to spread the risk of detection and minimise loss of profit, meaning if one farm is discovered there will be others left in operation.

With cannabis rising in value over recent years, a growing number of criminal gangs are moving into this area and view the crop as low risk and high return.

More worryingly, new varieties of the crop are being introduced that only take around nine weeks to mature, rather than the usual 12 weeks. This means scheduled quarterly checks by landlords or agents may miss the cultivation process and be left with a property in a state of disrepair.

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