Tag Archives: mould

Agent’s breach or tenant’s breach? Please HELP!! Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Who is to blame?Our tenants moved in with pets (ferret, cat and a dog) even though we had advised our letting agents that we would not allow tenants to keep pets.

We discovered our tenants little zoo when we arrived a month after they moved in to fix a problem with their kitchen taps. We Immediately informed the agent, who said they did not know about their pets. They duly sent them a letter to inform them they were in breach of tenancy agreement and liable for any damage.

We requested for a top up deposit to cover for any possible adverse damage to the property. However, after months and months of chasing to no avail, their excuse was unless we sort our the damp issues in the house (we found that it was because they left the air vent closed with not adequate ventilation, forming moulds around the house), they will not be willing to pay the top up deposit. Continue reading Agent’s breach or tenant’s breach? Please HELP!!


Condensation claim and prescribed information question Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Condensation claim and prescribed informationA tenant sneaked out 2 months into a 6 month tenancy without paying for the rent. At the start I took a deposit, emailed them the certificate but didn’t send the prescribed information as I couldn’t find it and then forgot about it later.

The tenant complained about damp which I had previously stated was condensation due to drying clothes on radiators without good ventilation. I had bought a dehumidifier – that they didn’t use. Continue reading Condensation claim and prescribed information question


Landlords Guide To Health and Safety Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Health and SafetyA Simple Landlords guide to Health and Safety written by Syd Lewis

When I first started renting properties some 20 years ago, to be legal, all you had to do was have a rent book and if you wanted to ensure you could get possession of your property at the end of the tenancy you drew up an AST. It seems these days Landlords are required to perform more and more tasks, which has not only resulted in having to spend additional time managing their properties but also increased cost. In my work as a professional inventory clerk, I often meet new property owners who apart from perhaps having some vague idea that they need a gas safe certificate and an inventory as part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme know of little else. This article is for them just to give a few pointers in plain English about some other aspects to consider about health and safety when letting a property.

First the stick, penalties and enforcement, if you for whatever reason, fail to comply with any of the statutory regulations for Landlords and rented property you could be fined up to £5000 or even receive a custodial sentence. Further, if you need to make a claim on your insurance and you are in breach of the regulations your insurance is likely to be void.

Now the Carrot, in my years as a Landlord one of my great pleasures it to hear my tenants tell others that I am a good Landlord and how they like living at their rented home. Apart from the obvious ego massage, there are other benefits, they stay longer at the property reducing void periods and the hassle of finding, vetting and establishing a new landlord and tenant relationship, they tend to take greater care of the property and are willing to pay a higher market rent the live there.

First and foremost, it is the landlords responsibility the make sure the property they let is habitable, in health and safety terms, adequate heating and ventilation, lighting, proper sanitation and more recently good insulation. It is also important for Landlords to make sure tenants understand their responsibility too. I have found a great aid to this, is not just to tell tenants what to do but also to provide a “tenant’s pack”. This includes a welcome note, important information, e.g. how to turn off the water in an emergency, what they should do if there is a problem with the boiler, how to properly ventilate and look after the property to avoid excessive condensation and the resultant mould, operation manuals for any appliances at the property. As a matter of thoroughness, I also recommend that you have copies of any certificates for the property in the tenants pack even if you are not required by law to do so.

INSULATION

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
EPC, is a document that states the energy efficiency of a property in bands such as A.B,C, D, etc. stating its typical energy use for the year and estimated cost. The certificate is valid for 10 years. You are required to provide a copy of an EPC to any new tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

FIRE

Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations (FFL):
Since 1997 all upholstered furnishings must be fire resistance and have the appropriate fixed permanent labels attached: Beds (including headboards, bases and mattresses), sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, children’s furniture, garden furniture that can be used in the dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows. This is not normally an issue these days as most modern furniture is already labelled. However, should the label come loose or be taken off then you will be in breach of the regulations. A good inventory will list each item that has a FFL and help identify any such items that may have had their label removed or damaged during a tenancy.

Fire Extinguishers and Blankets:
There is no compulsory requirement to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets in single occupation tenanted properties (please note there are special regulations for HMOs and converted building over two stories), but again, this may be a wise precaution, at least in the kitchen area. Having made the decision to provide fire extinguishers, the landlord or agent must then arrange for regular servicing – usually on a 12 monthly basis. You will need to keep up to date records and keep a copy in tenants pack.

Smoke Detectors:
Since 1992 it is required that, all smoke alarms are electrical mains supplied and have a battery backup. There are specific requirements as to which type and where they should be place according the buildings structure and layout. It is the landlord’s duty to make sure the correct devices are fitted at the correct location and to ensure that all devices are working properly when a new tenant takes up occupancy. Thereafter, it is the tenant’s responsibility to regularly check the device by looking for the green light, pressing the self-test button to ensure it is working and when necessary change batteries. Cleaning should be carried out by a competent person and manufactures instructions should be followed. The Landlord needs to make sure that the tenant is aware of their duty and it is a good idea to have this in writing and ensure that there is operation and cleaning advice in the tenants pack.

GAS

Gas Safe:
Landlords are required by law to have an annual gas inspection on all internal gas installations, this must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe Engineer who will upon passing the gas appliances as safe, issue a Gas Safe Certificate. You must ensure that you provide a copy of the certificate to your tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

Carbone Monoxide Detectors:
There is no legal requirement for Landlords to fit Co2 alarms. However, it is a good idea to have them, the principles to follow are those used for a smoke detector. They should be fitted 1m from the boiler and manufactures operating instructions put in the tenants pack.

ELECTRICAL

Periodic Electrical Testing:
If a property is a new build then it should have a “Domestic Electrical Installation Periodic Report” which states the electrical system is safe to use, if not then the property is not habitable. All electrical systems deteriorate over time, the Electrical Safety Council recommend that a periodic electrical test be carried out on rented property every 5 years, a suitability qualified electrician must carry this out. You should keep a copy in your tenant’s pack.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT):
There is no direct statutory obligation on Landlords or agents to have PAT checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. Also by having regular tests carried out it is a landlords best defence against negligence and acts as corroborative proof that an electrical item was working/ undamaged at the beginning of a tenancy or during a deposit dispute. A copy of the PAT report should be kept in the tenancy pack.

BIOLOGICAL

Legionnaires Disease:
Legionella are bacteria common in artificial water systems such as storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers. People can catch the disease if they inhale into their lungs tiny water or vapour droplets carrying the bacteria. Different properties will require differing approaches – a new build property with a combi-boiler presents less risk than a Victorian terrace with an old water system. If you think, you may have an issue you can go to HSE website and read their free booklet on risk assessment. Upon having completed your risk assessment, if there is no need for further action simply keep a record that no action is required.

Damp and Mould:
Is usually caused by excessive condensation and in most cases can be attributed to the tenant, but not always. Landlords need to be aware that under Healthy Housing and Safety Risk Scheme 2006, Local Authorities can serve you with an improvement notice and fine you. The best protection against this is to have conducted an assessment for condensation and ensure that the property has adequate heating and ventilation. You should also provide your tenant with appropriate instructions on how to avoid and control condensation.

Pets:
The issue here are fleas and potential new tenant’s allergic reaction to an active protein in the salver of a cat. The simplest, measure I have found is to have agreed with the pet owning tenant that they will pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy. It is also important to establish the level and quality of the clean required.

Vermin and insects:
Regardless of who is at fault, if a property becomes infested with insects and or vermin, it is always in the Landlords best interest to get it sorted out quickly and by a professional. You can sort out who pays afterwards; fact is if the tenant refuses to pay, you would need to get it sorted anyway.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Hounslow Council Targets Rogue Letting Agents Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Hounslow Council Targets Rogue Letting AgentsHounslow Council is warning rogue letting agents that they could be prosecuted for advertising illegal backyard dwellings.

More than 100 letting agents in and around the borough are being contacted by the council, urging them not to market illegal developments built without planning permission or building regulation approval.

The message is being sent out to agents after the council set up a task force to deal with the blight of illegal dwellings that are built and let out as residential accommodation. Continue reading Hounslow Council Targets Rogue Letting Agents


Is my letting agent treating me fairly? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News

Is my letting agent treating me fairlyMy partner and I have been renting a flat through a letting agents for the last 2 years. They charge us £150 to renew to lease every 6 months, the latest contract was signed in November 2012 for a further 6 months.

Shortly after we signed the new contract we were offered a larger and cheaper place with the local housing association which we have now moved into.

What I want to know is, as we are still paying the £400 a month rent until the end of the tenancy or until a new tenant takes on the existing lease, can they actually charge us the £295 finders fee that they are saying we are liable for?

There was nothing in the tenancy agreement and they’re not losing out on rent because we are stuck paying both rents until May if they don’t find anyone to move in sooner. Continue reading Is my letting agent treating me fairly?


Taking a Tenant to Court Over Condensation Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Taking a Tenant to Court Over CondensationI have a court date coming up in April as I am taking my ex tenant to court over damage caused to the property by condensation. Does anyone have any experience with claiming for condensation as this is my first and hopefully my last court case?

The tenant and his wife was with me for 5 years in a 2bed 2bath ground floor flat. He also had 2 children in this time and allowed his parents from India to live in the property for long periods of time with out asking me.  Continue reading Taking a Tenant to Court Over Condensation


Landlord Regulation is NOT the Answer Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, The GOOD Landlords Campaign, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Landlord Regulation is not the answerThere is no doubt that our sector is attracting the criminal elements, however, landlord regulation is not the answer.

Why would any person in their right mind choose to live in a bed in a shed, or a mouldy, over-crowded wreck of a property?

The answer is simple, they need a roof over their head and there is no other choice. Continue reading Landlord Regulation is NOT the Answer


Damp problem in South Tyneside flats built on watercourses Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Property Maintenance, Property News

Questions

Readers Question

I have a few flats in South Tyneside, some of which are known to have been built on watercourses and have a damp problem ….  the phrase “I wish I’d know that when I bought it”, springs to mind.

One in particular in South Shields is giving me problems with damp, furry clothes and mould etc.  I have carried out a bit of market research myself and spoke to all the down stairs flat owners, some of which have lived there for 50 years !!!  They all know that there properties have water under them, and most of them suffer from damp. Continue reading Damp problem in South Tyneside flats built on watercourses


The Ultimate Solution For Preventing Overflows Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Maintenance, Property News

This article which looks at “The Ultimate Solution For Preventing Overflows” is the sixth and final part of a series of articles by bathroom water damage prevention specialist Steve Dalloway.

Some years ago we spotted a company pitching to The Dragons Den a device they called a Novaflow.

This unit shut off the water supply to the bath when the water level reached the overflow and it works a treat. We have sold many of these over the years, they are excellent and they do 100% guarantee no overflows. Continue reading The Ultimate Solution For Preventing Overflows


Sealing in Baths and Shower Trays to avoid expensive leaks and also black mould. Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Maintenance, Property News

This article which looks at “Sealing in Baths and Shower Trays to avoid expensive leaks and also black mould.” is the fifth in a series of articles by bathroom water damage prevention specialist Steve Dalloway.

As an engineer working in the oil industry, some 20 years ago I started my rental property business as I had time between contracts. Continue reading Sealing in Baths and Shower Trays to avoid expensive leaks and also black mould.


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