Header- Phone Number

01752 510913

Header – Email Address

info@landlordssouthwest.co.uk

SWLA Meeting With Luke Pollard MP

Posted on November 17th, 2017 -

Today (17th November 2017) Steve Lees, Iain Matitland and Linda Johns of the SWLA committee met with Luke Pollard MP and his office manager Alex Beverly at the SWLA office. Items discussed included Tenant Fees Bill 2017, student accommodation, landlord/agent training and the Plymouth City Council Local Plan.

We plan to hold quarterly meetings with Luke regarding housing/landlord issues. Any items that members would like to be considered for discussion may be passed to the SWLA office.


Chairman & Vice Chairman met with Councillor Ricketts & Matt Garrett

Posted on November 6th, 2017 -

Chairman and Vice Chairman met with Cllr Ricketts and Matt Garrett (Head of Community Connections) at 30 Dale Road on Thursday 19th October 2017.

Subjects discussed included, plan for empty homes and student accommodation, council tax, the PRS steering group and private rented forum.


Mid Devon District Council Landlord Networking Event, Wednesday 8th November, 5pm-8pm

Posted on November 3rd, 2017 -

SWLA will be attending this networking event which is being held at Muddifords Court Country House. All local landlords are welcome, pre-booking is advised, free to attend,  please see the following website for more information;

https://www.middevon.gov.uk/residents/landlord-networking-event/

 

mid-devon-a5-landlord-l-let


Free Universal Credit Training for Landlords – Weston Super Mare, Wednesday 15th November 2017. (pre-booking essential)

Posted on October 25th, 2017 -

Wednesday 15th November 12.30pm – 4pm. Location; 2nd Floor, The Imperial, Weston Super Mare.

***FREE ENTRY AND OPEN TO ALL *** 

Local representatives from the DWP will be presenting an intensive afternoon on welfare reform via Universal Credit (UC), which is VERY important for local landlords to understand.

PLUS, a short talk on The Ark Passport Scheme; a brand new solution to help more benefit assisted and low income tenants secure private rented accommodation – working in collaboration with North Somerset Council.

 

Accredited landlords will receive 5 CPD points for attending.

Please book your place ASAP as this course will be very popular and there are limited spaces available. To book, email;  enquiries@nlceuk.co.uk

(refreshments will be included) 

Universal Credit is by far the largest shake-up of the benefits system that the whole of the UK has ever known and will affect over 12 million people and has already had a major impact on the private rented sector due to rent arrears.

Landlords will find out how they can help their tenants receive interim payments, as it takes six weeks upon completion of the registration before claimants can receive their first Universal Credit payment.

 


Plymouth City Council Local Authority Meeting

Posted on October 20th, 2017 -

The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the SWLA met with Councillor Steve Ricketts (Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing) and Matt Garrett (Head of Community Connections PCC) at our Dale Road office on Thursday 19th October. Items on the agenda included the PRS Steering Group, Charter, PRS Forum, Council Tax and Empty Homes. Also for discussion was the purpose built student accommodation report contained in the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.

 


Detailed Guidance on the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Posted on October 20th, 2017 -

The Government have published official guidance to landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property on complying with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard (EPC band E).

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/650467/27_09_17_Domestic_Private_Rented_Landlord_Guidance_-_Final_Version.pdf

 

A brief summary;

The domestic minimum standard will be introduced in a phased manner, with triggers for new tenancies signed from 1 April 2018 onwards, and a backstop date for all tenancies from 1 April 2020. This means that, from 1 April 2018 landlords must not let any sub-standard domestic property to new tenants, or renew or extend an existing tenancy agreement with existing tenants, unless either:
a. the landlord has made all the relevant energy efficiency improvements that can be made to the property (or that there are none that can be made) and the property’s energy performance indicator is still below an EPC E, and this exception has been registered on the national PRS Exemptions Register; or
b. no improvements have been made but a valid exemption applies which has been registered on the Exemptions Register.

 

Then, from 1 April 2020, landlords must not continue to let a sub-standard domestic property, even to existing tenants (where there has been no tenancy renewal, extension or indeed new tenancy), unless:
a. all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made (or that there are none that can be made), the EPC remains below E, and the exception has been registered on the Exemptions Register; or
b. no improvements have been made but a valid exemption applies and has been registered on the Exemptions Register.

 

Therefore, from 1 April 2018, where a landlord intends to let a domestic property (or from 1 April 2020 continue to let such a property) they will need to check whether their property is covered by the minimum level of energy efficiency provisions, and, if so, ensure that the EPC rating is at E or above. If the EPC rating is below E, they must either take appropriate steps to improve the rating to meet the minimum standard, or register an exemption if applicable.


Reminder, SWLA General Meeting Tonight (Wednesday 18th October)

Posted on October 18th, 2017 -

SWLA will be hosting a general meeting tonight at the Future Inn Hotel, William Prance Road, Plymouth. We hope to see you there for a 7.30pm start. Members and guests welcome.

Speakers will include:-

Duncan Banks, CEO at IU Energy discussing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards(MEES).

Christian Scandurra, presenting Mine2Manage – easy to use landlord software.

Gordon McCaw, Tax Planning Specialist delivering proactive tax advice specifically for landlords.

Wine & orange juice will be served during the evening.

 

**SWLA memberships expire on 31st October, if you haven’t renewed already, feel free to do so on the night**

Please remember to register your car at the hotel reception upon arrival.


Universal Credit – A Guide for Landlords

Posted on September 28th, 2017 -

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-rented-housing–2/universal-credit-and-rented-housing-guide-for-landlords

This document provides private and social sector landlords with information about Universal Credit to help them understand what they can do to help their tenants prepare for:
– their move to the single Universal Credit benefit payment
– making direct payments of their housing costs (rent) direct to their landlord themselves

It explains how Universal Credit will ensure that the appropriate protections and safeguards are in place – both the trigger points for intervention by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and recovery of arrears where they occur.

It also explains what budgeting and payment support is available for tenants who may need help moving to the new system.
This includes alternative payment arrangements if claimants are finding it hard to manage their Universal Credit payment and pay their landlord themselves.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across Great Britain by postcode area.

There are 2 types of Universal Credit services:
– Universal Credit full service
– Universal Credit live service


1/2 Day Landlord Training Courses – Plymouth

Posted on September 27th, 2017 -

Monday 9th October 2017

Venue – Astor Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA

If you are accredited this will count towards your CPD hours, but the course is open to all.

Cost for SWLA members – £35 per half day or £65 for both courses.

Cost for non-SWLA members – £40 per half day or £75 for both courses.

First Session – 9:30 – 12:30 – Repossession Procedures   

  • Section 21’s
  • Section 8’s
  • Tenants who are in breach of tenancy other than rent arrears
  • How to manage repossession situations

Second Session – 13:30 – 16:30 – Important items of compliance and other safety related management issues including

  • Legionella
  • Gas safe
  • Right to rent
  • Electrical installation testing
  • PAT testing
  • Deposits
  • Smoke alarms

 Places secured upon receipt of payment, book your place through the office 01752 510913.

Course will be instructed by Stephen Fowler from Training for Professionals


Free Seminar for Landlords by North Somerset Council on Wednesday 27th September

Posted on September 21st, 2017 -

North Somerset Council are introducing ‘The Ark Passport Scheme’ to help low income tenants secure private rented accommodation. Private landlords and letting agents throughout the South West are welcome to attend a free seminar which will take place on Wednesday 27th September 2017, 6pm – 8pm at the newly refurbished museum in Weston-Super-Mare.

For more information please see the following link; http://www.arkpassport.co.uk/blog/2017/09/13/homelessness-a-thing-of-the-past/

 


Notice of a General Meeting

Posted on September 15th, 2017 -

SWLA General Meeting –

Wednesday 18th October 2017 at Future Inn, Plymouth –

7pm for a 7.30pm start –

Guest speakers to cover the topics of Managing Properties, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and Tax Planning, all members welcome.

 


Fire Door Safety Week, 25th September – 1st October

Posted on September 15th, 2017 -

A 5 Step Fire Door Check

Fire Door Safety Week is giving these tips for a 5 Step Fire Door Check that anyone can do:

  Download a PDF copy here.

  • Check for certification Is there a label or plug on top (or occasionally on the side) of the door to show it is a certificated fire door? You can use the selfie function on your camera phone or a mirror to check. If there is, that’s good news, otherwise report it to whoever is in charge of your building.
  • Check the gaps Check the gaps around the top and sides of the door are consistently less than 4mm when closed. You can use a £1 coin to give a feel for scale, this is about 3mm thick. The gap under the door can be slightly larger (up to 8mm is not uncommon), but it does depend on the door – as a rule of thumb, if you can see light under the door, the gap is likely to be too big. It’s good news if the door fits the frame and it’s not damaged. If not, report it. If the gaps are too big smoke and fire could travel through the cracks.
  • Check the seals Are there any intumescent seals around the door or frame, and are they intact with no sign of damage? These seals are usually vital to the fire door’s performance, expanding if in contact with heat to ensure fire (and in some cases smoke) can’t move through the cracks. If not, report it – the door may not be properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not protect you long enough.
  • Check the hinges Are the hinges firmly fixed (three or more of them), with no missing or broken screws? If you see problems, report it – the door is obviously not properly maintained and in the intensity of a fire may not perform and hold back the fire for long enough.
  • Check the door closes properly Open the door about halfway, let go and allow it to close by itself. Does it close firmly onto the latch without sticking on the floor or the frame? If not, report it. A fire door only works when it’s closed. A fire door is completely useless if it’s wedged open or can’t close fully.

For information please visit the following website; http://firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/


West of England Landlord Panel

Posted on September 15th, 2017 -

SWLA attended the West of England Landlord Panel on 13th September in Bristol.

Topics discussed included;

  • Rent With Confidence
  • Minimum EPC requirements
  • Civil Penalty Policies
  • Licensing
  • Data Protection

We will inform our members if any legislative changes occur.


Plymouth City Council’s Plan for Future Student Accommodation

Posted on September 11th, 2017 -

View Plymouth City Council’s joint local plan for future student accommodation in Plymouth and South West Devon including population, supply and demand, planning applications, HMOs and council tax data.

https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/PlymouthStudentAccommodation.pdf

 


Misinterpretation of Landlords Responsibilities Regarding Legionella

Posted on August 25th, 2017 -

Some consultants and letting agents are using the revised L8 Approved Code of Practice to suggest that new legislation has been imposed on landlords of domestic rented properties for managing and controlling the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria of their tenants. This is wrong, the legislation has not changed and misinformation/misinterpretation can impose unnecessary financial burdens on landlords where they are being charged for Legionella testing and certificates they don’t actually need.

There is a legal duty for landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria, but Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce or obtain, nor does HSE recognise a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate’. Legionella testing or sampling is generally not required in domestic hot and cold water systems and then only in exceptional circumstances.

The law is clear that if you are a landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.

 

For more information, please see the HSE website;

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm

 

Thank you to Neil Hoppitt at The Bateman Group (http://www.bateman-group.co.uk/) for the above article from HSE.


Further Tightening on Landlords Borrowing

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 -

From 30th September 2017 new lending rules* come into play which mean lenders will be required to adopt a specialist underwriting approach for Portfolio Landlords.  A Portfolio Landlord will be any landlord who owns four or more mortgaged Buy-To-Let (BTL) properties.

One of the reasons behind the new process is that the PRA has found that the rate of arrears increases as a landlord’s BTL property portfolio increases.

The PRA does not prescribe exact requirements but provides guidance, which includes:

  • The lender’s knowledge of the borrower
  • The borrower’s experience in the BTL market, their full portfolio of properties and outstanding mortgages
  • The borrower’s alternative sources of income, assets and liabilities, including any future tax liability on rental income
  • The merits of any new lending, taking into account their existing BTL portfolio, together with any business plan, and
  • Historical and future expected cash flows associated with all the borrower’s properties

 

Impact on Landlords

Lenders will likely request income and mortgage details on all properties in a BTL portfolio every time they refinance one, or purchase a new property.  This contrasts with most lenders current policy of assessing a buy-to-let mortgage application based on the rental income and value of just the property they are lending against.  This will cause problems for landlords when refinancing a property in a portfolio which is performing well but the application is affected by another property that is underperforming.

These changes will likely cause a large increase in work for lenders with a longer and more complex underwriting process.  This may lead to some lenders pulling out of this area of the market meaning less competition, or increasing application fees and/or interest rates.

Some lenders will bring these changes in ahead of the deadline but will honour applications accepted prior to their chosen inception date.  Those who will be classed as Portfolio Landlords and are able to refinance before the changes are implemented may benefit from reviewing their mortgages now.

Bridging loans, holiday lets, property commercial lending, and corporate lending are exempt from the changes.

*Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) Supervisory Statement 13/16 Underwriting Standards for buy-to-let mortgage contracts.

Excaliber Associates are offering half price broker fees for SWLA members until the end of September.  Please contact Kirsty or Nick on 01752 340183.


Plymouth City Council – Recycling

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 -

SWLA have been requested by Plymouth City Council to circulate the following.

Since the introduction of alternative weekly collections some problems have arisen regarding recycling facilities.

Please make contact with Plymouth City Council if your property has a) no recycling facility, b) insufficient recycling facilities.

“You and your residents would of course see benefits from our involvement as the increase in recycling rates would place less strain on general waste containers causing less waste related issues such as contamination, excess waste etc.”

For further information contact the Recycling Officer – anthony.boutwood@plymouth.gov.uk


Modern Slavery

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 -

Representatives of SWLA attend regular D & C Police briefings on modern slavery.

If you substitute the word ‘exploitation’ for ‘slavery’ it is easier to understand the scale and complexity of the subject.

Todays slavery is more likely to take the form of trafficked people, having paid for UK entry, with identity papers removed and being forced to work for little or no money. These people are often living in chronically overcrowded conditions with few if any amenities.

If you suspect a case of ‘Modern Slavery’ contact the police on 101 or the modern slavery help line on 0800 121 1700.


Private Rented Sector Strategy in Cornwall

Posted on August 10th, 2017 -

On Thursday 10th August the Chairman and V/Chairman had a meeting with Joe Roberts, Private Sector Housing Manager, Economic Growth and Development, Cornwall Council at SWLA offices to discuss the private rented sector strategy in Cornwall.


CO Awareness Course – Wednesday 9th August 2017

Posted on August 10th, 2017 -

The Think CO workshop was attended by Chairman and V/Chairman, it was a Gas Safe Charity presentation raising the awareness of symptoms and actions to be taken. Further details can be obtained from the office if required.


Trago Build Centre Now Open!! Discount for SWLA members.

Posted on August 3rd, 2017 -

T2B Build Centre A4

The new Trago Build Centre is now open at Trago Newton Abbot!

● PURPOSE-BUILT FACILITY (2,088m²/ 22,475ft² PLUS EXTERNAL STOCK YARD)

● TOP BRANDS

● TRAGO EVERYDAY LOWEST PRICES

● USE YOUR T2B CARD FOR ALL PURCHASES (SOME ITEMS EXCLUDED FROM DISCOUNT)

● DEDICATED PARKING AREA FOR LOADING

● EXTENDED OPENING HOURS

● STAFF ON SITE TO ASSIST WITH QUERIES/SORTING ORDERS

 

If you are a SWLA member and have not yet applied for your ‘Trago 2 Business’ discount card, please contact the SWLA office and we will send you the instructions on how to apply.


Making Tax Digital

Posted on July 17th, 2017 -

Making tax digital was announced by Chancellor Osbourne in the 2015 Autumn Statement with the aim to digitise the tax system for the self employed and small businesses (including landlords).

The snap election delayed MTD’s implementation and enabled further consultation on the controversial plans.

The new Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP announced changes to MTD on 13th July.

These changes are:

  • Businesses will not be mandated to use the MTD system until April 2019 and then only to meet VAT obligations.
  • This will apply to businesses with turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000).
  • Businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold will not be required to use the system, but can choose to do so.
  • The system will not be widened beyond the VAT threshold before the system has been shown to work well, and not before April 2020 at the earliest.

This will ensure that there is time to test the system fully and for digital record keeping to become more widespread.

 


SWLA Open Afternoon

Posted on July 14th, 2017 -

Thank you to all of our members who attended the SWLA open office afternoon on Wednesday. It was lovely to catch up with everybody and enjoy a cream tea!

Congratulations to Greg Yates who won the bottle of champagne, kindly donated by Ken and Brenda at Sam’s Accommodation.

Our next open office event will be in December, details will be confirmed nearer the time.

 

 

 


Upcoming Landlord Training Courses in Plymouth

Posted on July 14th, 2017 -

Landlord Accreditation Training Course

 Thursday 26th October 2017 – 9:30 – 4:30pm

 Venue – Astor Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA

Price – £65 for members of SWLA, £75 for non – members for one day course.

Course covers ASTs, Deposits, Section 21s, Section 8s, HMOs, Gas and Electrical Safety, Inventories and much more.

The course will provide you with all the skills to start, manage and finish a tenancy.

Places still available. Contact the office on 01752 510913 or via the website to book your place, places secured on receipt of payment.

Over 600 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.

Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.

We are proud to announce Landlord Accreditation South West (LASW) are founder members of the West of England Rental Standard.

 

½ Day Landlord Training Courses

 Monday 9th October 2017

 Venue – Astor Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA

If you are accredited this will count towards your CPD hours, but the course is open to all.

Cost for SWLA members – £35 per half day or £65 for both courses.

Cost for non-SWLA members – £40 per half day or £75 for both courses.

 First Session – 9:30 – 12:30 – Repossession Procedures   

  • Section 21’s
  • Section 8’s
  • Tenants who are in breach of tenancy other than rent arrears
  • How to manage repossession situations

Second Session – 13:30 – 16:30 – Important items of compliance and other safety related management issues including

  • Legionella
  • Gas safe
  • Right to rent
  • Electrical installation testing
  • PAT testing
  • Deposits
  • Smoke alarms

 Places secured upon receipt of payment, book your place through the office 01752 510913.

 

**The 17th August 1/2 day course is now full, if you are interested in attending a future similar course please contact the office**

½ Day Landlord Training Course

Thursday 17th August 2017 – 9:30 – 1pm

Venue- Charter Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA

If you are accredited this will count towards your CPD hours, but the course is open to all.

There is no charge for this course. There are limited spaces so book early to avoid disappointment. 

Part 1 – Mine2Manage –  Inventories

 Mine2manage – easy to use software.

It has the following functions:

Tenant communicator via web and App. No more late-night phone calls from tenants.

Unlimited documents storage and sharing via the cloud.

Rent reminders and profit/loss reports. Can be exported and sent to your accountants.

Track maintenance issues.

Easily created inventories, periodic inspections and check-outs.

Part 2 – NAPIT – National Association of Inspectors and Testers

 Testing of electrical installations WILL become mandatory during this Parliament. Take this opportunity to see what is required.

 Points to be discussed are; incoming supplies, by passing meters, fuse boards old and new, earthing arrangements, circuit breakers, ring mains – general issues, PAT testing and the general requirements, electrical installation condition reports and the home safety guidance document.  

 


Rent With Confidence Scheme Re-Launch by West of England Rental Standard

Posted on July 12th, 2017 -

What is Rent with Confidence?

It’s a voluntary set of realistic standards and requirements that sets out clearly what landlords need to do when renting a property. If a landlord is accredited through one of the approved organisations, they will automatically be under the Rent With Confidence umbrella.

Who approved and operates the Rent with Confidence scheme

The four West of England Local Authorities Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils have approved the Standard. The scheme is also supported by Plymouth City Council.

Which organisations are approved?

  • Bristol Association of Letting and Managing Agents
  • Bristol University Student Union Lettings
  • Consider-Rate Limited
  • South West Landlords Association (accredited members only)
  • National Landlords Association (accredited members only)
  • National Landlords Code of Excellence Limited
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Residential Landlord Association (accredited members only)

What are the benefits of meeting the standard?

It will help you demonstrate that you are compliant and show prospective tenants you are a responsible landlord. There are also incentives available to members such as discounted rates for some licensing schemes, key property services, like insurance, property valuations, accountancy etc. Please see the following website for more information http://westofenglandrentalstandard.co.uk/

Why has Rent With Confidence been introduced?

To allow landlords to demonstrate they are responsible and so tenants know where to look to find decent landlords and accommodation.
If you would like further information on becoming an accredited landlord please see the following link; http://www.landlordssouthwest.co.uk/training/landlord-accreditation/
Upcoming landlord course dates can be found here; http://www.landlordssouthwest.co.uk/training/landlord-training/


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