Property passports to help landlords prove their homes are compliant

Property passports to help landlords prove their homes are compliant

10:34 AM, 24th May 2022, About a month ago 39

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The NRLA are calling for new property passports to help landlords prove their homes are compliant and tenants identify decent and safe housing.

Under plans devised by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), such passports would certify that a property met all legal standards. It would list improvements made to properties and contain copies of all safety certificates. Tenants would be able to access the passport online.

Local authorities would be able to conduct spot checks to verify the passport is a true record of the state of the property. For social sector landlords, an independent organisation would have the power to check that local authorities have conducted assessments correctly.

The Government has proposed that the existing Decent Homes Standard should be extended to apply to the private rented sector, not just social housing.

The NRLA argues this should be tailored to the private rented sector and bring together the 168 pieces of legislation already affecting it rather than introducing new requirements. What is needed is a standard that simplifies the measures that already exist and can be easily understood by tenants and landlords alike.

According to official statistics, the vast majority of private landlords already provide decent housing. 88% of private rented properties in England have none of the most serious ‘Category One’ hazards whilst almost 94% have no damp problems. Most (83%) private renters are satisfied with their accommodation, a higher proportion than in the social rented sector.

The NRLA remains concerned about the minority of landlords who provide unsuitable housing who damage the reputation of responsible landlords who comply with regulations.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA said: “We want to make it easier for the vast majority of compliant landlords to prove to tenants what they already do, namely providing decent and safe housing. Those who do not would have no option other than to shape up or ship out.

“This would be based on proving compliance with existing laws, not creating new regulations. With almost 170 laws affecting the private rented sector it can hardly be dubbed the wild west. What is needed is better understanding and enforcement of this existing legislation.”



Comments

Whiteskifreak Surrey

17:04 PM, 28th May 2022, About a month ago

"The NRLA remains concerned about the minority of landlords who provide unsuitable housing who damage the reputation of responsible landlords who comply with regulations."
That small minority does not even pay their fees, so NRLA concern should be directed to protect those who enable them to exist.
Seems they have become tenants' voice.
We have all certificates, even passed Newham inspection without a single comment. We do not need any passports, we do a portfolio of certificates ourselves.. We need to be left in peace to conduct our business..

Mike

23:52 PM, 28th May 2022, About a month ago

NRLA are becoming a big joke of the century, as though we haven't already have enough to deal with complying with endless requirements, from Immigration checks to what not. So I would say to hell with NRLA passport, so stuff your passports where it would be most appropriate, make sure you roll roll it first.💩

Mike

11:03 AM, 29th May 2022, About a month ago

If I was a Tenant and wanted to rent a property, I would visit that property to view it, and already be aware of certain things mentioned in the ad, and the rent, area etc, so once I am inside, I would look around the decor level, rooms and their sizes, and check out other things like what kind of heating appliance it uses, already EPC rating would be known to me, what is being furnished, state of carpets or floor, so overall if I am impressed I would go for it, of not I would look for another, and it is no point my taking it on and then asking my new landlord that the property lacks certain things and I need him to supply, that would be wrong,

It is like you walk into a dealer to buy a used car, and after purchase you cannot go back to the dealer and complain the seats were dirty and need cleaning etc, or that USB or Blue tooth is missing, or that it has no traction control etc.and ALL cars regardless of make have to meet certain minimum standards, (MOT) so unless it was a worn tyre you did not see earlier, that might just be the only obligation on a dealer.

So all houses for rent need to be habitable, clean free from damp, with gas safe certificate and condition of boiler in a reasonable state, loft insulated, double glazed windows and doors, centrally heated with condensing boiler or latest heat pump, do I need to see a 10 year dry Rot warranty, No, I don't and I won't be interested, my main objectives would be house in good state of repair, reasonably clean if not newly decorated, carpets cleaned and no rubbish in the garden, all electrics work, with a ECIR already given to me on signing up, so what bloody Passport do we need? Are we going to take our rented house ona foriegn Holiday! 🤣

Luna

12:04 PM, 29th May 2022, About a month ago

Exactly!
Could someone please inform the NRLA about this, as they do not seem to know!

Smiffy View Profile

6:03 AM, 31st May 2022, About a month ago

To those that are considering not renewing their NRLA membership, just not renewing will have no effect, nobody will notice a few missing renewals as that happens all the time due to retirement etc.

To have an effect, you need to formally surrender your membership to the board with a covering letter outlining why. Only then will they see the reasons.

moneymanager

10:56 AM, 31st May 2022, About a month ago

This reminds of the equally as useless Home Information Pack, as with all "compliance" it will require an infrastructure to be built, staffed and pensioned, who's going to pay for that?

Rod

15:02 PM, 31st May 2022, About a month ago

Look out
- if you've not been paying attention, we will get a version of this, whether you want it or not.

I've lost count of the number of posts on mandatory, additional and selective licencing schemes and their associated fees. With the Government now threatening to level up the rental market by bringing the PRS under the Decent Homes Standard, it doesn't take much imagination to see the direction of travel will be to match Wales and Scotland by requiring all rental properties to be certified.

I'm not suggesting that the NRLA's proposal is the way to go, but there would be some benefits if all rental properties had to be certified on a periodic basis and the relevant documents were available online, in the same way that EPCs are.

iHowz worked with Southampton Council several years ago to get them to take a different approach when they wanted loadsa money to bring in additional licencing. They were eventually persuaded to allow landlords to get an independent inspection and submit the paperwork for each inspected property when they applied for a licence. https://ihowz.uk/southampton-licensing/

The advantages:

- licencing costs are significantly lower
- all properties are inspected (not just those they bother to select)
- landlords control the inspection process, ensuring it is inspected in the condition they have provided it
- landlords can schedule their inspections, keeping costs and disruption to a minimum as a group of properties can be inspected together
- the council can concentrate their efforts on those who fail to licence their properties

Recent years have brought a succession of laws and other regulation for the PRS, meaning smaller landlords in particular have found the administrative burden and other compliance aspects have seemed overwhelming.
Excluding HMO/licencing specific requirements, we now need to ensure we comply with the following, or risk fines and difficulties when we try to recover possession:

- Fit for Habitation (including Legionella and HHSRS)
- Furniture and Furnishings Regulations
- EPC certification (E or better / exemption)
- Electrical Safety
- Gas Safety
- Fire and CO precautions (additional requirements from this Autumn)
- Right to Rent Checks
- How to Rent Guide
- Inventory
- Deposits and Protection

Much of this documentation has to be provided to each tenant and evidenced. If this was available on a portal, which your tenant had to log on to at the commencement of the tenancy, it would allow electronic confirmation. Landlords would only need to download data once and only have to reload it in exceptional circumstances, as periodic independent tests could be updated by testing organisations (EPC, gas, electric), Government guides would be automatically linked and landlords could be reminded of any other obligations, such as testing alarms.

Taking things a step further, such a register would provide a tool to drive out landlords who rent non-compliant properties, either by checking that a property was registered before a tenant could claim housing benefits or flagging up an inspection for any property not on the register. No doubt, it would also be used by insurers and lenders to help price their products. Who knows, Government might even use it to identify recipients of grants for energy efficiency measures !!

We don't want more costs or Big Brother, I hear many of you scream as you reach to click the Reply button.

To that I say, the costs of such a scheme should be lower than existing licencing, and would take the politics out of it, as the core elements are national standards and the database could built and administered by commercial organisations, in a similar manner to the deposit schemes, using Open Source data from Government and inspection organisations.

A certified rental property register would be a tool that provides landlords the ability to check that they are renting a compliant property and document that their tenant has been provided the required information. This would help ensure that landlords can regain possession while robbing Shelter / tenant unions of much of their commentary about standards in the PRS. Assuming that this could be achieved for £75 or less a year for each property it would only represent an additional cost equivalent to £1.50 pw, which is significantly less than most licencing schemes and many property management tools, never mind the cost of a failed possession hearing.

If we don't take control of the licencing and certification agenda and drive the decision-making, we can guarantee that the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities (and silly walks) will force a far worse alternative on us.

Lastly, I know some of you don't see the point of forking out less than £100 a year to join a landlord association, but there are about 2.2 million landlords with properties in England and less than 180,000 belong to a landlord association. That's less than 1 in 12 landlords who belong to a trade association.

How can you expect to get our voice heard at national and local level?
(Some of you have already made this point.)
I know some of you wish the NRLA stood up to Government a bit more. We'd love to have you join iHowz or you could join one of the other more regional associations. With the Renters Reforms and other changes to property law on their way, now is the time to join up and help us get your voice heard.

https://ihowz.uk/join/#membership

Please note, I drafted this a few days ago before The Lettings Industry Council posted their recommendations to Government for a Post S21 PRS. https://www.property118.com/recommendations-to-government-for-a-post-section-21-prs/
Much of what they have suggested matches the expectations laid out above and it is good to see that they have taken a wider view by including rent to rent and short term lets/furnished holiday lets

Kate Mellor View Profile

13:21 PM, 14th June 2022, About 2 weeks ago

We do have to remember that landlords as a group have very little clout and even less ground roots support from the man in the street. There just aren't enough of us to make an impact in the voting pool.
The worst thing the NRLA can be seen to be doing is "fighting for landlords rights". They have to be seen to care about the outcome for tenants. It's a very politically savvy approach, because it reduces the demonisation of landlords. NOBODY other than landlords will vote for something that benefits landlords, so it's a case of appearing to want what's best for our tenants, (which the majority of us do), and campaigning for those changes which make most sense to protect tenants rights, rather than all the BS that is only proposed because it SOUNDS good to voters who have no understanding of property or the rental market, but actually harms both landlords AND the tenants it's 'intended" to help.
We can't avoid rental market legislation, it's going to happen whatever we think and whatever we do. the sensible approach isn't to bash your brains in against a steel door, but to work with legislators to make these policies fit for purpose. They've got to work within the remit of what's possible. When you're caught in a rip-tide you don't swim against it, you swim with it and to the side.
Don't get me wrong, if I thought for one moment that all us landlords clubbing together and ranting and raving to the government about how sh*tty I think the S24 tax changes are for landlords I'd be the first one to join you, but I can promise you, no tenant ever will be crying about how tough us landlords have it these days.

If we want a fair go, we have to be seen to be working with tenants to ensure they also get a fair go and bad landlords are drummed out.

Rob Crawford

15:23 PM, 22nd June 2022, About A week ago

IMO, to be successful there has to be: 1. a common national standard agreed by all LA's. 2. LA's should not then be permitted to enforce "over and above" conditions. 3. the passport needs to replace any HMO or selective licensing. 4. The cost of such a passport needs to be significantly less than LA's charge for licensing. To be effective and fair, 5. all rental properties need to be included, both social housing and private. 6. A landlord register will have to be produced and this register should be compliant with data protection (landlords should not be forced to make their details public). 7. Management of such a passport etc should be conducted by a non bias not for profit organisation.

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