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The Government has published its Housing White Paper

Posted on February 8th, 2017 -

Email from the Department for Communities and Local Government:

 

The Government has published its Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’. The link to the Housing White Paper is here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590043/Fixing_our_broken_housing_market_-_housing_white_paper.pdf

You will see that the white paper refers to improving safeguards in the Private Rented Sector and making renting fairer for tenants. I would like to bring your attention to paragraphs 4.31 to 4.35 which focus on driving up safety and standards in the sector, banning letting agent fees to tenants, and promoting longer tenancies.

The Private Rented Sector related paragraphs are below;

A fairer deal for renters

4.31 Over 4 million households now rent their home from a private landlord – nearly twice as many as ten years ago – and there are around 4 million leasehold homes in England. Standards in the private rented sector remain below those in the social and owner occupied sectors, but are improving: just 28% of homes are now non-decent compared to 37% in 2010. An increasing number of private tenants (65%) are happy with their tenure, compared to 48% in 2004-05.

 

4.32 Where there are concerns, these tend to focus on affordability and security. In the long term, building more homes will help with affordability, but renters often face upfront costs including fees charged by letting agents to tenants. Tenants have no control over these fees because the agent is appointed by and works for the landlord. This is wrong. The Government has already introduced transparency on fees. We will consult early this year, ahead of bringing forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows, to ban letting agent fees to tenants. This will improve competition in the market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they pay.

 

4.33 The Government will continue to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector, and drive out the rogue landlords. The Government will implement measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which will introduce banning orders to remove the worst landlords or agents from operating, and enable local councils to issue fines as well as prosecute.

 

4.34 We are working with industry experts to consider whether we should take action to mandate electrical safety checks for rented properties and client money protection for letting agents as part of our efforts to raise standards and will set out next steps on this shortly. We have also set out our plans to extend mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which will ensure greater protection for thousands of vulnerable tenants.

 

4.35 The predominant use of 6 and 12 month contracts can mean that families who are renting need to move home before they had planned to, which can mean children moving school, alongside the uncertainty and costs associated with taking on a new rental property. According to a Shelter report last year an estimated 65,000 families say that they were forced to move their child’s school the last time they moved within the private rented sector. We are proposing to make the private rented sector more family-friendly by taking steps to promote longer tenancies on new build rental homes, as set out in chapter 3. We are working with the National Housing Federation and the British Property Federation to encourage longer-term tenancies in private rental homes delivered by housing associations and institutional investors. We will be speaking to the Local Government Association about local authorities’ appetite to do the same, where they are delivering market private rented housing through local housing companies. Further to this we will consider what more we can do to support families already renting privately, while encouraging continued investment in the sector.


East Devon District Council call out for accommodation

Posted on January 9th, 2017 -

East Devon District Council require two bed plus properties.

Possible 5 year tenancies at Local Housing Allowance levels.

If interested, for further details see, http://eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2016/04/council-calls-out-to-landlords-for-accommodation-for-syrian-refugees/

 


Next Landlord Accreditation Training Course

Posted on December 6th, 2016 -

Monday 30th January 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. 

For more details see landlord training section of website.

 


Residential Tenancy Measures – Immigration Act 2016 – now in force

Posted on December 6th, 2016 -

From the 1st December 2016 there are two new measures in the Immigration Act that will affect the private rented sector.

  1. It is now easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants.
  2. It is now a crime to knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.

This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to tackle illegal immigration.

For further information on the measures and the Immigration Act 2016 see the GOV.UK website, Residential Tenancies fact-sheet, Guidance on evictions, The Immigration Act 2016.


Rent Smart Wales

Posted on November 15th, 2016 -

Do you own property in Wales?

Rent Smart Wales 

Landlords registration and agent licensing to comply with the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 becomes law on 23rd November 2016.

To find out if it applies to you and what is required to comply with the law visit https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/


Immigration Act 2016 Update

Posted on November 4th, 2016 -

Immigration Act 2016

The Home Secretary announced on 4 October that provisions in the 2016 Immigration Act relevant to the private rented sector will be brought into force across England. Today, we can announce that, as of 1 December 2016, these two further measures will come into force. They will:

  • Make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants.
  • Create new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agents who knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.

The measures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to tackle illegal immigration, and its determination to take the necessary steps to protect public services and access to the private rented sector for our lawful residents. Today, we are sharing the news of this implementation date with you and the key points below.

Key Points

 

  • From 1 December, landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
  • From 1 December landlords can end tenancies for occupants with no right to rent.
  • For details of these specific measures, please visit the Residential Tenancies fact-sheet available on Gov.uk
  • For information on the wider Immigration Act measures, please visit the Immigration Act page on Gov.uk

 

Further information about both provisions will be made available on Gov.uk between now and December.  If you have any further questions you may refer to your Local Partnership Manager, if you are unsure who this is please email the LPM Support Team (I&SDLPMSupportTeam@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk).


Do you fit Carbon Monoxide detectors

Posted on October 31st, 2016 -

If so please read the following http://which.co.uk/carbonmonoxide. Which? reveals dodgy carbon monoxide detectors.


Deadline to apply for a licence in Eastville and St George

Posted on September 29th, 2016 -

Landlords are reminded if they have a rental property in Eastville or St George areas of Bristol, you need to submit your application by 30th September if you want to take advantage of the reduced fee.  If you have failed to make an application for each property by this date, you will be deemed as unlicensed and will pay a higher fee.

Applications need to be made on-line at https://www.bristol.gov.uk/licenses-permits/property-licences-for-landlords

Landlords will need to make the relevant fee payment to complete the application, the compliance reward for new applications will be refunded if valid certificates and the relevant fee are provided when an application is made OR provided by the deadline given in the licence.

Copies of valid certificates are :  Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation condition report (with no defects under category 1 or 2 and no more than 5 years old), a valid EPC and fire alarm and emergency lighting certificates will also be required where applicable.

If you need assistance with your application we can guide you through the process if you contact Bristol Private Rental Sector Unit by telephone on 0117 35 21066.


Meet the Experts Event

Posted on September 15th, 2016 -

The next meeting of South West Landlords Association will be held on Tuesday 11th October 2016 at the Future Inn Hotel, Plymouth International Business Park, William Prance Road, Plymouth PL6 5ZD at 7.30pm.

Experts in numerous fields will be available to answer your questions:

Accountants, Immigration Officers (Right to Rent Checks), Plymouth City Council, Property Insurers, Letting Agents, EPCs, Gas Safety, Valuation Office, Plymouth Inventories, Tenant Referencing, PCH Manufacturing, Ventilation Experts and many more.

Wine or orange juice will be served during the evening.

We hope to see you there, guests are very welcome. The event is open to members and non-members.

You will be able to renew your SWLA membership for 2016-2017 during the evening by cash or cheque.

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


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