Tag Archives: bad landlords

SEAL – South East Alliance of Landlords Landlord News, Latest Articles

SEAL - South East Alliance of Landlords

Members of the South East Alliance of Landlords (SEAL) are putting together a bedsit task force to go Street to Street in Southend in a war on neighbours from hell.

Judith Codarin, secretary of SEAL said: “We will choose sections of streets that are troublesome. We will find anyone who lives there and listen to issues. We will try to find landlords who aren’t members, talk to them and try to get them to join.”

SEAL was formed to coordinate a response to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s plans to introduce Selective Licensing. It represents owners of almost 6,200 properties with hopes to represent 95 per cent of the local rental sector within three years.

SEAL – South East Alliance of Landlords

SEAL members can be easily identified by a sticker in a front window of their properties.

All but one of the 65 complaints received to date, varying from maintenance issues to more complex Freehold problems, have been resolved by SEAL, the last received to be dealt with within the next few days.

Self-regulation in this way is hoped to free up Southend Council to concentrate on non-members, but with only four Council officers to police over 6,000 other rental properties tenants home-owners are still suffering from a few bad landlords and nightmare neighbours.

Chairman Martin Ransom hopes to set up a new arm capable of helping landlords bring low-quality housing up to standard and said: “We have brought in a new member of the board with experience in this area. He has worked with a specific landlord, with whom the council has had historical issues. He has worked with him to get him up to standard.”

As quoted on their own website “By becoming a member of SEAL, you are demonstrating that you are willing to agree to a higher standard of management. It is vital that SEAL membership is widespread throughout the Borough of Southend as the larger our membership base, the more we can demonstrate to the Council our effectiveness. It is important also that membership continues to grow, as if SEAL fails, the Council retains the power to reconsider Selective Licensing.”

Mark Alexander, founder of Property118 and The GOOD Landlords Campaign commented “it is refreshing to see this kind of initiative and especially one so well supported. We have a long held opinion that Selective Licensing is not the answer to anti-social behavioural problems or criminal elements operating in the Private Rented Sector. We hope the group will take a look at the enforcement model being adopted by Lewisham Council and learn from that. The SEAL initiative could prove to be a superb method of routing out and reporting the worst offenders. Sadly a handful of criminals can spoil the reputation of an entire sector. Enforcement is required, NOT a stealth tax on good landlords which is ignored by the true villains.”


Alternative to licensing/accreditation? Bad landlords, look away now! Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Following on from the discussion entitled “Raising Standards or Raising Funds” it appears that the majority of readers agree that additional and selective licensing and property based accreditation schemes run by local authorities are not necessarily the best route forward. However, there does need to be a simple way of differentiating better quality landlords/properties for tenants in my opinion.

If the sector can self-regulate as much as possible, it would be certainly better than any government intervention.

So what about a simple graded quality rating for rental properties?

Much like the star rating system in hotels, it would be an idea that tenants would easily understand.

When it became an industry standard, rental prices would reflect the rating of the property.

What do you think should be included in such a star rating though?

Comment s/thoughts welcome from both landlords, tenants and letting agents.

Regards

Kirsty 5 star rated buy to let properties


Popular questions from tenants to landlords GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors, Latest Articles, The GOOD Landlords Campaign, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

It’s not just landlords and letting agents using our property forum these days. Recently we have had several Readers Questions posed by tenants who have been badly treated by their landlords. Popular questions from tenants to landlords

If there’s one thing good landlords despise almost as much as bad tenants it is bad landlords who ruin the reputation of our industry. Naivety, criminal acts and rogue behaviour tends to result in increased calls for regulation and gives authorities excuses to create more stealth taxes on good landlords in the form of licensing and other legislation, which of course criminals and other bad landlords simply continue to ignore! As you might suspect therefore, good landlords have been very keen to help tenants experiencing difficulties with rogues by telling them how they can protect their interests and claim compensation.

As it is the mission of The GOOD Landlords Campaign to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst landlords and letting agents we feel it is important for all landlords to learn from these discussions. Forewarned is forearmed and an opportunity for you to know what you should be doing and to get it right.  The consequences of getting things wrong are very clearly laid out by some incredibly experienced landlords and property professionals in these discussions.

Some of the most popular discussions recently are as follows:-

Retaliatory eviction

Retaliatory eviction – possibility of civil litigation?

Read this discussion

 My landlord thinks I’m a lodger – please help me

My landlord thinks I’m a lodger – please help me

Read this discussion

 Ex-girlfriend-refusing-to-move-out

Ex-girlfriend refusing to move out

Read this discussion

 I have been asked for a 12 months rent in advance

I have been asked for a 12 months rent in advance

Read this discussion

 

 


Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The alternatives to Landlord Licensing Schemes require joined up thinking, changes to data sharing protocols within local authorities and revised high level directives and strategies which must begin at Government level. 

Perhaps the first question to ask is what is Landlord Licensing all about? Is it really about raising standards or is it more to do with raising funds?Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes

Funding

If society as a whole desires that people should not be subjected to sub standard housing conditions then society as a whole must pay to enforce this (howsoever that might be done) whether the money is raised at a local level or centrally.

It is both unacceptable and wholly undemocratic that landlords should be singled out by Government, Councils and Local Authorities to pay stealth taxes badged as licensing fees on the pretence that the money will be used to fund enforcement related initiatives.

Costs associated with licensing schemes imposed on landlords are funded through increased rents. Neither landlords nor tenants want this, particularly as there is clear evidence (demonstrated in this article) that landlord licensing schemes have proven not to be an effective solution to problems in the Private Rented Sector.

Recycling of Court awarded penalties

The high costs associated with prosecuting criminal landlords is borne by Local Authorities, however, fines and penalties go to the treasury. If these funds were to be redirected to the prosecuting authorities this would assist funding of additional prosecutions and create incentives to bring more criminal landlords to task. Continue reading Alternatives to Landlord Licencing Schemes


NUS also report on The Private Rented Sector Review Landlord News, Latest Articles

The National Union of Students (NUS) has welcomed The Private Rented Sector review from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on which has set out a series of proposals to correct serious flaws in the private rented housing market.

One of the report’s recommendations, which NUS suggested in its evidence, is to bring the level of regulation for letting agents up to the same level as that for estate agents. The report also proposes that agents be required to publish a full-breakdown of fees in adverts and that they be prevented from charging both tenants and landlords for the same things.

Students, often renting for the first time, can be the victims of unscrupulous letting agents and would be a major beneficiary should the government take the proposals forward.

Among the Select Committee’s recommendations are calls for tenants’ rights and responsibilities to be more widely promoted to them. This is an area where NUS and students’ unions could play a significant role as students are often not yet well versed in their rights and tend to move at similar times making the timing of promotional work easier.

NUS gave both written and oral evidence to the Committee during their inquiry in May 2013.

Colum McGuire, NUS Vice-President (Welfare), said:

“Substandard letting agents have been able to get away with overcharging and shoddy practice for far too long and it is imperative that the government quickly take forward these proposals.

“Tenants should be able to expect the same standards when they rent a home as they would if they were buying. The cost of student housing is rising at an alarming rate and while standards are improving in some places with the introduction of students’ union run landlord accreditation schemes, students need to know that their agent is not ripping them off.

“It is a pity that the Select Committee have not recommended a national registration which would be able to shut down bad landlords who operate nationwide but nonetheless their proposals would be a huge leap forward for beleaguered tenants.”students


Birmingham City Council – “We support good landlords” Latest Articles, The GOOD Landlords Campaign, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Birmingham City Council - “We support good landlords”Birmingham City Council have sent a strong message to landlords who let in the city – We support good landlords

Senior officers of the city council have been in discussions with the West Midlands Regional Representative  of the National Landlords Association (NLA)  since 2011 when HMO licences were about to come up for renewal but it was not until the NLA proposed a radical new approach to the fee structure that progress was made. Continue reading Birmingham City Council – “We support good landlords”


Is landlord licensing a pointless exercise? Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Is landlord licencing a pointless exerciseIt’s time for me to share some controversial views on why I believe landlord licensing to be a pointless exercise I think.

Now don’t get me wrong, I hate the fact that a very small minority of bad landlords have earned our profession a bad reputation. However, it appears they might be a necessary evil too.

Allow me to explain. Continue reading Is landlord licensing a pointless exercise?


Bad Landlords Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Bad LandlordsWhy on earth would anybody want to search Google for “Bad Landlords”?

My stepson (Ilya) bought something to my attention this evening which blew my mind. Ilya is a student at Greenwich University and is studying games development. He’s a self confessed Geek, far worse than me LOL.

Mark, he said, you know you run The GOOD Landlords Campaign?

(me) Yeah

(Ilya) Well I’ve done some research and only 260 people search Google every month to find “Good Landlords”

(me) yeah?

(Ilya) Well for a laugh I checked how many people search for “bad landlords” every month and there’s 720  searching Google for them in the UK alone!

(me) I wonder how many search for Rogue Landlord then?

(Ilya) That’s what I found a bit strange. There’s a charity in London called Shelter and they run campaigns asking tenants to report “Rogue Landlords” so I thought there would be 1,000’s but Google only report 390 monthly searches.

Now make of that what you will. I checked his source and his figures are accurate.

There is even a bad landlords list on the Tenants From Hell website where you can, of course, watch a selection of the anti landlord propaganda video’s from Shelter!

Surely you think tenants would be more interested in finding good landlords than bad landlords or rogue landlords wouldn’t you?

Am I missing something here?

The mind boggles!


Labour plans for a National Register of Private Landlords Landlord News, Latest Articles, NLA - National Landlords Association, Property News

labour partyThe Labour Party policy review paper indicated:

The Party is considering creating a national register of private landlords so that people found guilty of criminal acts could be banned from being landlords, by being struck off the register.

The review said there was a small minority of criminal landlords who deliberately prey on the vulnerable with Councils reporting up to 1,500 serial bad landlords. However this is out of a total 3.6 million households in the UK who live in private rented housing.

Jack Dromey, the shadow housing minister said “The private rented sector has an important role to play in meeting housing need, but too many tenants are in poor and sometimes dangerous homes. That’s why Labour has set out proposals to drive standards up and bad landlords out.”

The review also wanted to stamp out the use of “retaliatory eviction” against tenants who complain about the conditions of their property and chase HMRC estimates of £500 million of tax evasion by private Landlords.

Click Here to for full Labour Party review document

 

Chris Norris, Head of Policy at the National Landlords Association (NLA), says:

“The NLA welcomes the Labour Party Policy Review’s focus on ridding the private-rented sector (PRS) of the criminal minority who blight towns and cities throughout the UK. However, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the initiatives discussed on levels of desperately needed investment in private housing. Too often the brunt of regulation intended to combat criminality and bad practice is borne by the professional majority, while a minority of rogue operators continue to evade detection and exploit vulnerable people.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with politicians on all sides of the debate to identify genuine solutions to the challenges faced by those living and working in the PRS. We believe it is essential that the debate addresses the problems which exist in the housing market, without neglecting the positive role played by private landlords.”

 

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) warns that tenants in England could soon be less well protected than their Scottish and Welsh counterparts, due to lagging rental regulation.

According to ARLA, with 36% of households in England now renting, regulation of the private rental sector (PRS) – or the lack thereof – is an issue that affects more of the population than ever before.

The Scottish Government will announce a review of its strategy for the PRS on 30 May, while the Welsh Government is due to introduce a Housing Bill before the end of this Assembly term, legislating for a compulsory licensing scheme for all letting agents in Wales, as well as a code of practice.

These announcements contrast with the current Westminster Government’s opposition to regulation of the sector. If this opposition continues, tenants in England are still at risk from rogue letting agents and landlords.

Ian Potter, Managing Director, ARLA, said: “The PRS remains an unregulated industry, and in the event of something going wrong consumers still only have limited options. ARLA has been calling for regulation of the sector for a number of years now, and as more and more people rent, rather than own their home, it is vital that legislation in England is at least in line with its neighbours.

“Of course we welcome the Labour Party’s latest policy review and share their ambition to improve standards in the PRS – the case studies the report outlined are a stark reminder of the unacceptable conditions that are thriving in the absence of regulation – but these reforms need to be proportionate. More importantly, what we really need is actual policy not proposals; and it must be policy that is consistent and able to keep step with legislative developments elsewhere in Britain.

“Renting should be a positive experience and tenants should know that not only is their money safe but so is the property they live in. All ARLA members must offer a redress service and client money protection to help protect tenants if something goes wrong.”

 


Spotlight on Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, PRS Centres of Influence

The Property Ombudsman

Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman

Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman took up his current post in 2006.

Prior to this he was the Private Secretary to the Parliamentary Commissioner, Director of Services at the Insurance Ombudsman and the General Manager at the Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman Bureau.

Immediately before taking up his position as The Property Ombudsman Christopher worked in a global compliance role for a major international bank. Continue reading Spotlight on Christopher Hamer The Property Ombudsman


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