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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/

Eco funding for uprating/replacing non gas fired boilers

Posted on June 27th, 2017 -

Some funding is available to upgrade Oil/LPG boilers or electric storage heaters through the Government backed, energy company funded ECO scheme.

All of the following may be eligible for funding. Electric storage heaters/loft insulation/oil and LPG boilers/cavity wall insulation/attic room insulation.

Funding is means tested/tenants on benefits.

For further information call 0800 644 5000 or visit www.energy-alliance.co.uk quoting SWLA.

Next Landlord Accreditation Course

Posted on June 26th, 2017 -


Thursday 6th July 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 further details see the Landlord Training area of the website or call the office on 01752 510913.

Beware of Bogus Insurance Brokers

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 -

The following advice has been received from Bateman Group (Landlord Insure UK) who are specialists in providing insurance and financial advice.

Action Fraud have recently received a number of reports from members of the public who have responded to written posts, pages, pictures and adverts on social media platforms offering varying types of insurance cover at desirable prices.

However, once money has been transferred to the fraudsters posing as insurance brokers, a number of consequences have been reported.

In some cases, contact has been severed with the victim altogether and there is no further communication. In other cases, insurance has initially been purchased on behalf of the victim only to be immediately cancelled with the insurer; this means that bogus insurance brokers can forward voided paperwork or email concerning insurance cover to the unsuspecting victim and pocket any refunded insurance fees.

The Devon and Cornwall police offered members of the public the following advice:

  • Though many genuine insurers and insurance brokers operate on social media platforms they may also have their own websites and physical locations. It is good practice to conduct further research regarding any company offering insurance services, especially when the initial advert or contact is via social media.
  • If an insurance broker claims to be accredited with a good practice organisation don’t just take their word for it, be sure to contact the respective organisation directly and check their database or make an enquiry. To check that your insurance is valid, contact the insurer directly to verify the details.
  • Use the Financial Conduct Authority’s website (https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register) to check if an insurance broker is authorised.

Please see the ‘SWLA Insurance’ section of our website if you would like a free no obligation quote from either of our preferred insurance brokers. Anyone is welcome to obtain a quote but there are exclusive discounts for SWLA members.




Rent Repayment Orders & Civil Penalty Notices: Bristol’s Policy

Posted on June 9th, 2017 -

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has given councils new powers to deal with rogue landlords. These include Rent Repayment Orders and Civil Penalty Notices. The Government has defined a ‘rogue landlord’ as ‘a landlord who knowingly flouts their obligations by renting out unsafe and substandard accommodation to tenants’.

The Department for Communities and Local Government have issued statutory guidance that the Council must take into account before using these powers. Bristol Council have considered this guidance and, as a result, they are going to change the way they do some things in order to use the new powers as effectively as possible. Before they make the changes they want to seek the views from all interested parties, including landlords, agents and tenants.

You can complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BristolCPNsRROs. The survey will remain open until midnight on 7th July 2017.

B&NES Landlord Survey

Posted on June 8th, 2017 -

The Council are reviewing the Additional HMO Licensing scheme in Bath and want to know what landlords think.

Please take 5 minutes to complete the short survey and help influence future Council decisions on HMO licensing.

Visit – www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/baneslandlord

Ashley Community Housing

Posted on June 1st, 2017 -

Following SWLAs day at Bristol Landlords EXPO, we have received a request from Ashley Community Housing for landlords in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset to contact them should they have empty property they wished to lease.

Further details of the scheme can be viewed on www.ashleyhousing.com or email them – info@ashleyhousing.com.

Free HMRC Webinar For Landlords

Posted on May 30th, 2017 -

If you are receiving income from property, you can find out about the different types of income, allowable expenses and all of your landlord responsibilities to HMRC.

You can watch live and interact on Friday 9th June 9am – 10am by clicking here and registering;



If you miss out you can watch the recording here;



For further reading you can look through the HMRC Letting Out Property guide;


Meeting with Councillor Steve Ricketts (PCC) and Matt Garrett (PCC Head of Housing)

Posted on May 9th, 2017 -

The Chairman and Vice Chairman met at SWLA offices with Steve Ricketts and Matt Garrett for a quarterly meeting.

Subjects on the agenda included

Training venue for accreditation courses.

HMO licensing (New mandatory licensing under the 2016 Planning Bill).

Landlord accreditation.

Plymouth University.

Parking Permits – essential worker replaced by business parking permit for Plymouth.

Changes for Plymouth Bin Collections from 8th May 2017; A Cleaner and Greener Plymouth

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 -

From 8 May 2017, Plymouth City Council are changing bin collections so that brown bins and bags – or normal household rubbish – will be picked up one week and the green bins and bags – or recycling – will be picked up the next.

The changes will lead to an increase in recycling rates, a more efficient service and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for Plymouth becoming a cleaner and greener city.

Residents will have received letters which set out what weeks their brown and green bins and bags will be collected as well as their garden waste collection, which from 8 May 2017 run on a separate round.

To help make the new system a success, residents are being asked to:

  • Follow the guidance on the letter the Council has sent them to find out when they need to put their bin out and bring it back in.
  • Not leave rubbish next to their bin – it will not be collected.
  • Flatten items such as plastic milk cartons and cardboard boxes to create more room in their recycling bin.


For more information and to check your bin day, please use the following link;


You can also check the FAQs which includes some great hints and tips to read though in case your tenants have any questions;



Open Office Afternoon

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 -


Open Office – Wednesday 12th July 2017  3.00pm – 6.00pm

Come along and catch up with the office staff, committee members and other SWLA members.



‘Making Tax Digital’ Put on Hold

Posted on April 26th, 2017 -

More than half of the Finance Bill has been put on hold until after the general election which is taking place on 8th June 2017.

Among other clauses, the Government have decided to delay the legislation for digitising the tax system. The new system will require small businesses, self employed workers and Landlords to send quarterly digital tax records to HM Revenue and Customs (using a smartphone or computer).

The Government will legislate for the postponed measures at the earliest opportunity at the start of the next parliament.

Article abridged from an article in the Financial Times.



Landlord Insurance Policy Renewals

Posted on April 21st, 2017 -

SWLA would like to encourage our members to seek out a quote from either Excaliber (tel;01752 340183) or Bateman Insurance (tel; 0800 731 6689) at renewal time.   Not only do SWLA members benefit from a discount on the services offered, but they can be assured that the level of cover and quality of the policy has been thoroughly reviewed by SWLA Directors.  SWLA believes that a policy from either of these two independent companies represents the very best value available for the quality of cover provided.  Bateman & Excaliber are long-standing supporters of SWLA, who work with us to ensure that members are provided with a personal service which is tailored to their individual needs.

Quotes are free, with no obligation and take just a few minutes of your time!




General Meeting, Wednesday 26th April 2017, Future Inn Hotel, 7.30pm

Posted on April 21st, 2017 -

The next meeting of the Association will be held on Wednesday 26th April 2017 at the Future Inn Hotel, William Prance Road, Plymouth at 7:30pm


Speakers will include:-


The Waste & Recycling Team from Plymouth City Council

Recycling and alternate weekly collections.


Tax Manager Annette Stone from Parkhurst Hill and Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants

Discussing changes in Tax liabilities for Landlords,

quarterly reporting, inheritance tax and other topics of Landlord interest.


 Introducing ‘The Private & Rented Housing People’

An environmental health practitioner of 24 years, Scott Carpenter has vast experience in local government. Now working in the private sector, offering advice, HMO inspections, reports, HMO Fire Risk Assessments and more.


Wine or orange juice will be served during the evening.


We hope to see you there, guests are very welcome.


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

There is a temporary alternative route due to the road works on Tavistock Road;


Landlords New Learning Tool from HMRC

Posted on March 30th, 2017 -


HMRC’s updated e-learning guide, Letting out property, is clear, flexible and easy to use. This comprehensive guide will benefit both new and experienced landlords, click the link to visit the website:

HMRC – Letting Out Property


To keep you up to date, they have also introduced a ‘News’ section with the latest information from HMRC on property letting:

HMRC – Property Letting News


The guide covers a wide range of topics including;

  • working out property income
  • what records you need to keep
  • working out profit and loss
  • expenses
  • renting out a room in your home


Government Agree to Mandatory CMP

Posted on March 29th, 2017 -

The Government has announced measures to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all letting agents across England. The announcement comes in response to long running campaigns to ensure that tenants and landlords receive greater protection. The move follows steps towards regulation taken in Scotland and Wales. No commencement date set as yet,.

All Party Parliamentary Group Meeting

Posted on March 28th, 2017 -

The Chairman Steve Lees attended a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Private Rented Sector at the House of Commons.

The meeting was chaired by Oliver Colvile MP for Plymouth Sutton and addressed by representative speakers from ARLA and Shelter.

The subject of the meeting was agent fees.

Minutes of the meeting can be forwarded upon request from the SWLA Office.

Civil Penalty Notices for Landlords

Posted on March 24th, 2017 -

From 6th April 2017, Landlords can be issued with civil penalty notices for housing breaches.


Local authorities can fine up to £30,000.00 for a range of offences. These offences include;

– Failing to comply with improvement notices served by the council

– Breaches of HMO Licencing

– HMO management

– Selective licencing

– Overcrowding

Landlords will be given notice of intent to serve a penalty and 28 days to make representation. The council then decide on whether a penalty will be imposed. The Landlord is given a further 28 days to either appeal to the first tier tribunal or pay.

Rent Repayment Orders have also been extended from 6th April 2017. These allow a tenant or a Local Authority to reclaim rent or housing benefit where a Landlord has rented out an unlicensed property such as a HMO.

All of the steps above are designed to tackle criminal Landlords.

In October 2017, banning orders will be introduced which could bar Landlords from letting or managing properties.

West of England Landlord Panel

Posted on March 24th, 2017 -

Gillian Kerr (Office Manager) attended the West of England meeting on 22nd March in Bristol.

Points of discussion were, The Rent with Confidence Scheme – the Rental Standard, the Housing & Planning Act, Prosecutions & other enforcement actions and the State of the market.

All parties consulted seeming to agree with the Rental Scheme Standards, hoping to re-launch the Rent with Confidence at Bristol’s EXPO on 24th May 2017.

Improving Awareness of Modern Slavery ‘Spotting the Signs’

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 -

On Tuesday 14th March, SWLA Chairman Steve Lees attended a Modern Slavery event at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth. The event was organised by Devon and Cornwall Police and Plymouth City Council. The aim was to improve awareness of slavery and trafficking within both our local area and nationally.

Attendees included representatives from the NCA (National Crime Agency), the Gangmasters Licencing Authority and the charity Restore. Also in attendance was Superintendent J Capey of D&C Police.

The term ‘Modern Slavery’ describes situations where people are forced to work through the threat of physical or mental abuse, treated as a commodity, bought or sold as property, or physically constrained with restrictions on their freedom. It also includes labour exploitation where long hours are worked for little or no money and human trafficking.

If you have any concerns for the safety of anyone with regards to slavery/trafficking, you can report any findings to the police on 101 or by calling the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700

For further reading and information, please visit the Devon and Cornwall Police website;