Croydon Landlord Forum Notes

by Readers Question

9:48 AM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Croydon Landlord Forum Notes

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Croydon Landlord Forum Notes

For anyone with properties in Croydon, please find below:
NOTES FROM CROYDON COUNCIL’S LANDLORD FORUM 18 JUNE 2019

Licensing Update:
– Total applications received to end of March 2019: 35,014 (paid)
– Number of LLs: 17K
– New applications: 250-300 pm
– Inspections: 12,029 since inception (Sept 2015) (so about 3,400pa or 68 per week if 50 weeks)
– Enforcement Notices since April ’18: 232 (about 18pm)
– Prohibition Orders since April 18: 21 (about 1.6pm)
– Financial Penalty notices served: 16
– ASBs in Croydon are down 0.8% in the year to April ’19.

They were supposed to be discussing the renewal of Selective Licencing for Sept 2020 at this meeting but they didn’t. I asked for an update and was told they’re still discussing it. I asked if we would be consulted on the proposal and was told we wouldn’t get any input into it but when they have decided on the scheme they would put it out to consultation!

Presentation by Karen Gregory of NLA:
– They are compiling confidential information on LL’s experience of the S8 process and are looking for as many LLs as possible to give them examples which they will anonymise and present to the government. Email contact@landlords.org.uk
– They are petitioning to keep S21 and there’s a form you can fill in on landlords.org.uk/Section21 and you can also fill in a postcard
– A new How to Rent booklet came out on 31/5/19. The government have also created a How to Buy and How to Sell guides.
– Re: Tenant Fees Ban, you cannot charge for gardening or cleaning.
– NLA membership is £75pa. Their advice line is open 6 days a week and do tax planning and CGT planning courses. Use “Code 136” to get a £14 discount (so £61 membership fee).

Presentation by Heat London:
– There are now grants for the PRS to improve energy efficiency for properties with tenants on benefits. First time central heating will be available for the PRS.
– Local Authority flexible eligibility but usually for low income households: 1 person on £19,250, 2 people on £28,750, 3 people on £38,250 or 4 people on £47,750
– Anticipate that properties will need to be Band D by 2025 and Band C by 2030
– www.heat.london

Presentation by Croydon’s Homelessness Prevention Manager Susan O’Neil:
– The first words out of her mouth were “The largest cause of homelessness is S21 no fault evictions”
– “We help tenants find faults with S21 notices to buy time for the tenant”
– There’s a new Form 6A (which goes up to “F” now)
– 89% of LL don’t serve prescribed info correctly
– They have a team to help tenants go after LLs to get 3x deposit

I will be writing to her and copying the Licencing Team to explain to her the real cause of homelessness and enquire as to why our taxes are being spent on helping tenants (likely in breach of AST) screw money out of LLs who are trying to regain possession of their property.

Presentation by a Annette Lewis, Rent Officer from the Regional Valuation Office South:
– Annette Lewis covers Croydon, Lewisham & Greenwich
– The data they gather was used to set LHA levels (which are now limited by the government)
– They are looking to expand the pool of sources to include more LLs (mostly agents provide this info). If you would like to provide rental information (property address, rent pcm, number of rooms and time taken to let) please contact Annette.f.lewis@voa.gsi.gov.uk
– Average rent in Croydon is £550pcm
– There is a rumour that the gov might relax LHA restrictions from next April

Presentation by Croydon Lettings:
– They work with LHA tenants and train them in budgeting and general life skills to enable them to maintain an tenancy in the PRS.
– Currently working with 86 LL and have placed 50 tenants with no cases of rent arrears after first year
– They don’t charge LLs fees and provide rent guarantee insurance

Presentation by the Croydon Empty Property Team:
– Covers properties that have been empty for 6+ months
– They can’t share empty property data due to GDPR, tho’ if you find a property, they often know who the owners are so can act as a conduit between potential purchasers/developers and the owners
– If property empty for 2+ years it’s 5% VAT – Notice 708 Section 8 – though only on work done via a contractor (not DIY)
– They have a £1m empty property grant fund and £200K of loans available for 2+ bedrooms. Grants of up to £25K each and loans up to £40K each (loans at 1% over BoE base and repaid in 2 years). Must commit to renting to the council for tenants on the housing waiting list. They have a 24 hour helpline.
– https://www.croydon.gov.uk/privatehousing/emptyproperty

Heather



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:50 AM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Thank you very much Heather 🙂

Ed Tuff

10:43 AM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Thanks Heather.

Did you ever get to the bottom of cases where the 5 year license wasn't actually valid for 5 years?

Michael Barnes

11:49 AM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

"The first words out of her mouth were “The largest cause of homelessness is S21 no fault evictions”"

Did you not challenge this immediately when she said it?
We need to educate LLs against this lie as well as those in authority.

Gunga Din

12:46 PM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

0.8% ASBO reduction. Isn't this usually one of the prime justifications behind licensing scheme introductions?

Heather G.

19:03 PM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 08/07/2019 - 11:49
Yes, Michael, it's on my list of things to do. I did say "bo*****s" kinda loudly under my breath but there was no Q&A for these sessions as there was no time. I also agreed with the head of Licencing following a discussion after the meeting that I would send him a breakdown of the sort of costs LLs have to deal with running a BTL and also a list of laws & regulations that have been brought in or proposed. He seemed helpful/interested but also rather clueless about the PRS from our side so I'm on a mission to educate him!

Heather G.

19:22 PM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 08/07/2019 - 12:46
Yes, it is one of the key rationales for SL. He only gave the percentage change, not the actual number which is how I think they try to hide the figures, as at the July 2018 meeting the stats were:
2014 =1468 ASB complaints
2015 = 724 - they introduced SL that Sept
2016 = 1294
2017 = 874
They haven't given us the figure for 2018 but I've emailed him to ask for it.

Heather G.

19:25 PM, 8th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ed Tuff at 08/07/2019 - 10:43
It's the way the housing policy was drawn up by the government, that licences can last only for the duration of the scheme, ie 5 years. I plan on raising going to a pro-rata fee (application fee plus licence for the duration) when it goes to consultation, though I don't hold out much hope that they'll go for it.


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