Laura Delow

Registered with
Wednesday 16th April 2014

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 305

Laura Delow

7:39 AM, 10th April 2021, About 10 months ago

Smart Meter Installation - thoughts please?

In November 2020 I had this very same question from a tenant & discussed it with my agent & declined the tenant's request based on the following arguments against. We cannot stop someone from installing a Smart meter but Ofgem recommend a clause in tenancy agreements whereby Landlords permission is needed albeit cannot unreasonably be withheld. This at the very least allows us to guide the tenant based on the following main example issues:-
1) smart meter users can get incorrect higher readings of up to 7 x higher than actual usage resulting in ridiculously high bills that tenants could choose to vacate earlier because of as energy companies are slow to accept this error (because of dimmer switches & LED bulbs - see link to article
2) If a tenant is insistent on a Smart meter, it MUST be the 2nd Generation version; SMETS2 not SMETS1, otherwise there will be issues switching suppliers at the end of their fixed tariff or for any new incoming tenant (but be warned many energy providers are still installing SMETS1 which Ofgem instructed was no longer allowed after March 2019 but they still try & are outright lying to consumers about there being no issues). Even SMETS2 meters are still having severe integration problems. The way to tell the difference is if the serial number starts with 19P, this indicates it's a SMETS1 meter. If it starts with 19M, then this means it’s SMETS2
3) some flats in blocks require a different solution called Alt-HAN which is still under development BUT energy providers are still quick to try & install a standard Smart meter.
4) Ovo Energy & U.Switch state; the lack of uniformity among some energy suppliers’ smart meters means that when you switch you might have to get a different smart meter installed, which might come at an extra cost. You might be able to continue with the same smart meter, but in some cases your smart meter will lose its ‘smart’ functionality once it starts operating with a different supplier.
5) BBC recent article states all providers admit to severe connectivity problems that are still to be resolved & UK Power published in July last year & Which; More than half of all smart meters ‘go dumb’ after switching / One-in-ten ‘go dumb’ due to poor mobile network connectivity / energy providers have connectivity issues / faulty meters resulting in incorrect high readings
6) Howeve, Ovo Energy state that all SMETS1 meters will eventually be remotely upgraded by the Data Communications Company (DCC) – which is also responsible for protecting your / your tenants' data
After explaining the issues to our tenant, they decided against it even though we said we would reluctantly agree but only if was a SMETS2 meter.... Read More

Laura Delow

10:14 AM, 5th April 2021, About 10 months ago

Keep or sell leasehold with ground rent increasing formula?

If the property gives you such a good yield it may be an idea to hold on to it for the time being in light of proposed Leasehold Reform. It is proposed that an online calculator with a prescribed formula will set the price you need to pay to extend your lease with zero ground rent or buy the freehold. The reforms are intended to cap ground rent to 0.1% of the freehold value for the purposes of calculating the premium to be set by Government. Currently these rates are determined by valuation surveyors, and are often the subject of extensive argument in the First tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
It was announced on 7th Jan 21 that Legislation will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament to set future ground rents to zero, this being the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation planned in this Parliament (i.e. by May 2024). Government will bring forward a response to the remaining Law Commission recommendations in due course.... Read More

Laura Delow

8:45 AM, 27th March 2021, About 10 months ago

Membership Renewal - Why would I?

NRLA's Articles of Assoc. filed at Companies House, states their objective in summary is "to pursue, promote & protect the interest of landlords" I like many, feel they are too scared to lose Government favour & therefore they are rather benign in their efforts, much like many corporate board members who toe the political line & only murmur support as they are too scared to keep the heads above the parapet in fear of getting shot. However, for a small annual fee of £75 reduced from £110 previous year that covers me + one other, I get my monies worth i.e. use of their Documents & Guides and their free Advice line (albeit I use this less & less now as forums like P118 often help answer many of my queries), discounted My Deposit fees & their CPD Training Material for maintaining Accreditation status which I find important for certain things. But even this support is not as good as it used to be, but as I say, for £75pa that's tax deductible it's good enough.... Read More

Laura Delow

7:43 AM, 25th March 2021, About 10 months ago

Do I have a right to know who lives in my house?

I agree but you do need to be registered with the Information Commissions Office (ICO). The agent "acts" for you & as the landlord you are ultimately held responsible/accountable & as such you are the Data Controller & the agent is your Data Processor as per General Data Protection Regulation that came into effect 21.05.18.
I sought clarity with the ICO & NLA in 2018 & received the following answer.
For properties I let via an agent where the agent finds the tenant, manages the tenancy & just provides me with the tenant name, telephone number, email address, do I need to:-
i) draw up a formal contract between me as Data Controller & the agent as Data Processor? YES (THIS IS NORMALLY IN THE FORM OF A SIGNED TERMS OF BUSINESS)
ii) if the agent uses a sub processor eg Homelet to carry out referencing, does the agent also need formal permission from me to use sub processors? YES AS YOU ARE THE DATA CONTROLLER AND ULTIMATELY HELD RESPONSIBLE.
iii) if I let a property to a Housing Assoc. am I entitled to know their sub tenant's detail? NO. THE HA IS YOUR TENANT NOT THE SUB TENANT... Read More

Laura Delow

11:13 AM, 4th March 2021, About 11 months ago

Tenants using roof space as storage without permission?

Personally, even if they have no right under the Tenancy Agreement, if it's not causing a fire or health & safety hazard, why not let them?
If you don't want tenants to use it in future, write it in to the Inventory/AST & padlock it.... Read More