Last week, Wales Online published an article about Cardiff Council’s plans to remove the apparent ‘unsightly’ To Let and Let By boards from properties throughout Cardiff, in particular the Cathays and Plasnewydd areas.
Cardiff Council believe that these signs have a detrimental effect on the areas where they’re situated because they’re garish to look at, reveal a lack of community within the areas, and encourage burglary due to the temporary nature of the residents. The Council are therefore seeking extra powers from the Welsh Government to tackle this issue as current practices and agreements have apparently not been successful.
At CPS Homes we feel that while these boards may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, they are a vital tool, not only for estate and letting agents but also for their landlords and tenants. We feel it necessary to comment on the issues raised in the article and below are some of our responses.
When a landlord or seller comes to CPS Homes with instructions we are proud to offer them an extensive marketing plan which generates the most exposure for their property. Without the boards, we wouldn't be able to offer landlords the exposure they desire because properties wouldn't be advertised to their maximum potential.
The Council have said that they are targeting Cathays because it’s one of the areas ‘significantly’ affected by these boards. However, we feel the Council doesn't understand the transient nature of Cathays’ market; it’s the student hub of Cardiff and because of this there are vast numbers of rented properties available. The majority of students live in Cathays for about 2-3 years and many frequently switch properties, which means that properties are always available to rent; therefore, the percentage of boards is always going to be higher in Cathays compared to other areas in Cardiff.
The article mentioned that Cardiff Council are requesting more powers to tackle the problem, however, under Town and Country Planning Regulations 1992, the boards shouldn't be visible for longer than two weeks after the sale or let is agreed. Cardiff Council already has the power to issue fines to agents who don’t comply with these regulations; by asking for further powers does it show that the Council aren't doing enough with the powers they already have?
While these ‘unsightly’ boards may not be the most attractive addition to a property, anyone who has lived or worked in Cathays will know that it’s not always the cleanest of areas (especially after rubbish day or a big student event). Maybe the Council should focus more on their rubbish collection services rather than these boards if their goal is to remove ‘unsightly’ objects.
Here at CPS Homes we question how much direct correlation there is between these boards and burglaries. The article suggests that these boards indicate a property is empty and therefore an easy target, but on the contrary, we believe that because students secure properties extremely quickly these boards are likely to indicate that the property is in fact occupied.
These boards allow us to provide our clients with the best possible services and we’re not about to just give in to the Council. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly, in the meantime if you have a view on this topic please share it with us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter or through the comment section below.