Tag Archives: PRS

How to help bring about changes to legislation post “Superstrike” Buy to Let News, Guest Articles, Guest Columns, Landlord Action, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Legal, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property Investment News, Property News, The GOOD Landlords Campaign, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

One of the things that are uppermost in landlords’ minds at the moment is the concern that we are vulnerable to possible litigation following the “Superstrike” case. The degree of that vulnerability varies from landlord to landlord and of course some landlords are not at all clear where they stand.Mary Latham

All of the deposit protection schemes and large landlords associations are working behind the scenes to persuade DCLG to tweak legislation to prevent courts being overrun with cases from tenants who have not actually been deprived of their legal rights but have become aware of the loophole that Superstrike highlighted.  In other words they are not asking for a change in the law which would enable those landlords who do not/did not protect their tenants deposits (HA 2004 & Localism Act 2012) to get away with it.  What they are asking for is a change which prevents those landlords who believed that they were acting within the law from facing litigation from their past and present tenants. These are the landlords who do/did protect their tenants deposits and provided the tenant with the Deposit Protection Certificate and Prescribed Information for Tenants within 30 days of having received the deposit but who were unaware that they needed to provide the documents again, despite the deposit protection continuing and no new paperwork being issued, at the point at which the fixed term of the tenancy ended and a Statutory Periodic Tenancy began (HA 1988). There are also those landlords who have tenancies that began before the Deposit Protection legislation came into affect (HA 2004) and therefore did not protect their tenants deposits. These landlords were also unaware that if the tenancy became a Statutory Periodic Tenancy at the end of the fixed term after the law changed that they should have protected the deposit and served the documents on their tenants. This last point was the crux of the Superstrike case.

In addition to the concerns many of us have about the potential litigation (it has not yet been established that there is actually a threat beyond the circumstances of Superstrike) is the issue of not being able to regain Possession of properties using Section 21 (HA 1988)

In order to convince Government that this is a major problem in the PRS they need to be shown actual evidence and the only people who can give them that evidence is us (landlords and letting agents).  All of the organisations involved in the discussions have produced a short survey to gather the facts.

The combined results will be present to DCLG.

The survey will take just a few minutes of your time and will not ask you to identify yourself.

If you do not take the time and trouble to complete the survey we may lose the argument and fail to get the legislative changes that we all need. 

Please follow the link  below and do your part to bring about a solution for us all before the Courts are filled with cases brought by the “No Win No Fee” people that have sprung up to make easy money from landlords who have simply made a mistake and have not in any way deprived our tenants of their legal rights.

Please also send a link to this article to every landlord you know to make certain they aware of this very important survey.

Click this link >>> https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLASS

When I completed the survey I found that I needed to read it first then work out which category my deposits fell into before going back and completing it – which took less than 2 minutes. By doing the calculations for this survey I am now clear of where I stand with each of my tenancies.

This was a useful exercise and may help me going forward when the inevitable happens and a landlord is sued by a tenant for one of the possible scenario.

I think that you may find this helpful too.


Rightmove doubles 2013 forecast for house prices Latest Articles, Property Market News, Property News

Rightmove doubles 2013 forecast for house prices as it reports ‘aggregation of marginal gains’ fueling a predicted 4.8% annual growth.

There have been seven monthly rises on the trot and two consecutive record months as the price of newly marketed property increases by 0.3% (+£860) in July boosting year-on-year growth to 4.8% (+£11,561)

Rightmove’s 2013 forecast has been increased from 2% to 4% as latest increases fuel recovery of the housing market.

There are signs finally of a broader-based recovery with all regions up year-on-year for the first time in nearly three years contributing to the positive national picture. Confidence in the market is said to be on the up with the proportion of people expecting average prices to be higher a year from now doubling compared to this time last year, now at 62% from 31%.

Rightmove reports an increase in movers and predicts more to come as property transactions are already up 5% year-to-date and lead indicators suggest more in the pipeline. Email enquiries to agents and developers are up 18% on 2012, new sellers up 5%, mortgage approvals up 6%.

It has already been reported that Surveyors are struggling to cope with the increase in demand with waiting lists for surveys pushing up into weeks. This is however also due to the number of Surveyors who have left the market since the Credit Crunch.

Rightmove along with many financial analysts predict a positive borrowing window as markets do not expect a base rate rise for three years. Funding for Lending competition is easing rates and availability of finance, plus the ‘brick-shortage success’ of Help to Buy!


TPO report on impact of Consumer Protection Regulations on Agents Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

In The Property Ombudsman’s (TPO) first Interim Report for 2013, Christopher Hamer focuses on the impact of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) for the day-to-day business operations of estate and letting agents.

The report has been produced for the 22,000 sales and lettings offices registered with The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme.

Mr Hamer commented: “Events over the past 12 months have seen the CPRs starting to be enforced by Trading Standards. While the origins of CPRs are based on European Directives that are not specifically aimed at the property sector, the forthcoming repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, expected later this year, will potentially see Trading Standards increase activity in taking civil and/or criminal actions against property agents that fail to comply with the Regulations.”

As the UK’s largest property ombudsman scheme, TPO was one of the first organisations to issue guidance on CPRs and the report includes a number of example case studies that the Ombudsman has considered.

Mr Hamer added: “The application of CPRs change the way all property agents market properties and provide information to consumers. Part of my role as Ombudsman requires me to feedback to the industry on matters of best practice. This Interim Report is therefore targeted directly at the sales and lettings industry and includes case studies, commentary and guidance to assist agents in meeting their obligations under the CPRs.”

The CPR guidance, based on recent cases, is designed to help agents remain compliant and to improve customer service for property sellers home owners/vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants. CPR-related case studies included in the report cover instances of misleading actions and omissions from sales and letting agents in both the re-sale and new build markets.

The case studies include issues relating to:
• Planning permission
• Freehold, leasehold & commonhold title
• Property access
• False credentials
• Conversions
• Neighbours

The report also provides useful links to existing Office of Fair Trading guidance and to the Regulations themselves alongside TPO statistics for the first four months of 2013. To view the report in full, please visit http://www.tpos.co.uk/quarterly_report.htm. TPO

 


Latest PRS advice concerning ASTs, Voids, Referencing and Rent2Rent (e-news compilation) Latest Articles

compilation

Rent2Rent contracts – if you’re going to to it do it right

Rent2Rent companies are using the wrong letting contracts Whilst I have never been a fan of the Rent2Rent scheme I have to accept that a lot of investors are using Rent2Rent as part of their strategy.

As it is the mission of Property118 to share best practice, helping these investors to get their paperwork right fits within our mission, regardless of any the other misgivings I might have personally have about the scheme. read on

Unfair Section 21 Notice – Tenants Cry for HELP!

My landlord has issued me with a section 21 because I have asked for certain information regarding where my deposit is and to see a copy of the gas safety certificate.

I am devasted with this as I have a chronically ill daughter whom is on full disability and the house is perfect for her. read on

Referencing Services for Landlords

Referencing services for landlords come in several varieties and with numerous options and price structures.

You can get anything from a credit check for a fiver through to full referencing which guarantees rent on the due date if your prospective tenants and guarantors are considered to be a good risk. read on

Reduce your voids – the “move in free” business model

We have recently experimented with a “move in free” business model for tenants. We were asked to let several properties where the entire block had been purchased by investors.

Only two were let and that was creating a stigma for the block so we needed to get creative. read on

Tenancy agreements – At the end of the fixed term (by Tessa Shepperson)

All good things come to an end – and in due course your tenancy agreement’s fixed term will end too. What happens then?

When the fixed term ends Some people assume that the tenancy will end and that if the tenants stay on they will be squatters who can be easily evicted. However you will probably realise that this is very far from the case! read on

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New NLA Chairman is Carolyn Uphill Landlord News, Latest Articles, NLA - National Landlords Association

The National Landlords Association welcomes the new NLA Chairman, Carolyn Uphill, to the helm of the organisation.

Carolyn, formerly the NLA Deputy Chairman, joined the Board of Directors in July 2011 having worked as a Local Representative in Manchester since 2010.

Carolyn has extensive experience as a successful businesswoman and professional landlord letting student and private residential accommodation in and around Manchester.

Having established her own business in 1978, Carolyn successfully developed the enterprise to become a leading construction equipment manufacturer with a seven figure turnover.

In addition to running the business, which she sold in 2008, Carolyn has served as president of the Stockport Chamber of Commerce and continues to shares her wealth of business experience as a business growth consultant and mentor.

As NLA Chairman, Carolyn is keen to ensure the NLA serves and supports the private-rented sector (PRS) by pushing for continuous improvement of standards, greater recognition of landlords’ contribution to society and the economy as well as more cohesion between the private-rented sector’s representative bodies.

Carolyn takes over from David Salusbury, who is stepping down as NLA Chairman but remaining a Director and continuing as Chairman of my|deposits and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA). David has led the NLA as Chairman since 2003 and has taken the organisation from a modest membership base of around 4,000 as the Small Landlords Association to a national body working with 39,000 landlords, 21,500 of which are full paying members. As part of its expansion, the NLA has grown to offer a wide range of services and represents landlords’ interests to both local and national government.

Carolyn Uphill, NLA Chairman, says “it is a great honour to be NLA Chairman at such an exciting time for the private-rented sector. During David’s time as Chairman the NLA has become an incredibly useful resource for landlords and an organisation respected by government. I look forward to building upon his success, supporting landlords in their journey towards continually improving standards and ensuring our voice is heard by policy makers.”

David Salusbury, NLA Director and outgoing Chairman, says “chairing the NLA and watching it grow and develop in response to the changing housing market over the last ten years has been a privilege. There have been many challenges along the way and there continue to be hurdles, such as landlord licensing and additional regulations, to address. I am confident that under Carolyn’s leadership the NLA will continue to grow and represent the needs of landlords throughout the country. I look forward to watching the NLA adapt to the needs of the evolving private-rented sector over the coming years.”

The change of Chairman coincides with the celebration of the NLA’s 40th Birthday.NLA logo colour


Referencing Services for Landlords Latest Articles, Lettings & Management

Referencing services for landlords come in several varieties and with numerous options and price structures. 

You can get anything from a credit check for a fiver through to full referencing which guarantees rent on the due date if your prospective tenants and guarantors are considered to be a good risk.

The larger referencing companies have been around for several decades and are used by literally thousands of letting agents across the UK. They have, therefore, also developed huge databases over the years of bad payers, anti social tenants and tenants who have caused wilful damage to landlords properties.

If you are offered referencing for under £10, chances are that you will get what you pay for which at best could be described as an indicative report only. A company which previously provided lifestyle referencing free of charge now only offer this service when combined with a £4.99 credit check for example.

The advice from Property118 is to pay slightly extra and buy the real thing. If you are heavily reliant on your rental income and could not afford the legal costs associated with evicting a bad tenant we also recommend you to purchase rent guarantee insurance. The entire package is generally available for less than £100 a year. Do check the small print on RGI policies though as your claim might not be valid unless you follow time sensitive claims processes.

As of next month (August 2013), a new service will be launched into the market for complete peace of mind. It is a rent collection product with a difference; in that rent is paid to the landlord on the due date whether it has been collected or not. The company offering the product is new to the market but the scheme is underwritten by FCC Paragon, established in 1996 and regarded by many in the PRS as one of the UK’s most established referencing companies. The legal services for possession are outsourced to Landlord Action.  Rent continues to be paid on the due date until such time as possession is recovered, all at the expense of the underwriters. This scheme will be competitively priced at just 5% of rental income when it is launched towards the end of August 2013. It’s an ideal half way house in terms of pricing between self management and full property management, however, the major benefit is the certainty of cashflow. For more details see LettingAgentsOnline.co.uk Referencing Services for Landlords


Council of Letting Agents (Scotland) announcement Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management

Council of Letting Agents (Scotland) announcementScottish Association of Landlords (SAL) directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Kathleen Gell as convenor of the newly formed Council of Letting Agents (CLA).

This new division of SAL aims to support and represent the interests of SAL letting agent members. Continue reading Council of Letting Agents (Scotland) announcement


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.”

 


Terry Lucking of Belvoir Lettings Cambridge and Peterborough GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors

The GOOD Landlords CampaignTerry Lucking of Belvoir Lettings Cambridge and Peterborough

I have been trading in lettings since 1999 with our offices in Cambridge and Peterborough managing just over 1000 properties.

The offices have 16 trained and qualified staff, are ARLA licensed with fully audited and bonded client accounts.  We are members of Safe Agent, NALS and The Property Ombudsman.

I sit on various council housing steering groups representing the PRS (most recently housing strategy 2011-2014 – next expected to be consultation over selective licensing and article 4 directions). I developed the property accreditation standards for University Centre Peterborough and also the Chair of the Peterborough National Landlord Association (NLA) branch (voluntary role) introducing NLA accreditation for landlords in Peterborough February 2013.

Continue reading Terry Lucking of Belvoir Lettings Cambridge and Peterborough


Oven Cleaning is one of the biggest issues in a rented property Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

ovenOven cleaning is one of the biggest issues and this article is to help Landlords present this particular item in their property in its best condition for an inventory inspection and help tenants bring an oven back to its initial clean state when leaving the accommodation.

Let’s put it into perspective, the cleanliness of a property makes up 51% of tenancy deposit disputes and some of which can be attributed to people forgetting or missing an item to be cleaned, another is that differing people have differing ideas of what is clean. Let me give you an idea how we all think the same but differently.

Picture a cat in your head,
How big is it?
What is it doing?
What colour is it?

While we have all just seen a cat in our minds eye, some cats will be small, medium, large. It might be sleeping, sitting, jumping around and any colour you want. Nevertheless, it is still a cat. The same is true for cleaning, someone might have actually worked very hard to clean a property but yet it is not you to your high standard. Maybe they just don’t know how to do the task correctly and yes some are just simply too lazy to do it. It is a rare situation that we know which of these statements is true for a given household and it might be a combination of all of these factors.

There is a continuum for the level of cleanliness form: never been cleaned, attempted but still dirty, cleaned to an average household standard up to what we call in the inventory profession “cleaned to a high domestic standard” and “cleaned to a professional standard” the best of course being a professional clean.

Here is a list of key phrases I use when describing the cleanliness of an oven from best to worst:
1. As New
2. Cleaned to a professional standard
3. Cleaned to a high domestic standard
4. Clean to a domestic standard
5. Partly cleaned
6. Needs finished clean
7. Not clean.

I must add that fortunately, most inspection I do I only have to decide if the cooker/oven has been cleaned to a domestic or professional standard.

If you look at the picture below, this is an oven an oven cleaned to a high standard but its condition is excluded from our discussion on cleaning. This is a worn oven and unless you have prior information, to this picture, it is not possible to say if this is through damage or due to age and fair wear and tear.

 

This oven is clean but through age and use, it is marked and even rusted at the sides.

Then we have the oven that is clean to a high domestic standard that is to say it is grease free but there are still baked on marks.

 

You should also watch out for chemical residue, many of the excellent oven cleaning products on the market leave residue marks on surfaces if you don’t wash off the product fully, which technically means the oven is still partially dirty, need a finish clean.

There are several very good cleaning products on the market. But there is one that I prefer to use it gets the job done and is fairly easy to use and normally takes a clean to domestic standard to a professional clean level. It is a strong chemical so you have to be careful and follow the manufactures instructions it is “Oven Pride”. Please note that I don’t have shares in the company and I am not getting any benefit for mentioning this product my motivation for mentioning it is to   help anyone who reads this article in particular Landlords and Tenants.

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:-


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