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Iain Maitland, Vice Chairman of SWLA Attends Universal Credit Select Committee Review

Posted on March 15th, 2018 -

14th March 2018, Plymouth City Council held a Select Committee Review to discuss the roll out of Universal Credit. Iain Maitland was invited to provide SWLA member’s views and experiences of the Universal Credit system.

Many thanks to all members who participated.



West of England Panel Meeting Attended by SWLA

Posted on March 14th, 2018 -

Gillian Kerr (Office Manager) attended a meeting hosted by Bristol City Council today (14th March 2018).

Any important updates from the meeting will be shared with SWLA members.


Lets for Life (Housing Charity) Looking for Properties in the South West, Particularly Plymouth

Posted on March 14th, 2018 -

SWLA have been approached by Lets for Life who are seeking smaller houses, flats and bungalows. They will lease the property for between 9 months and 6 years (negotiable). There is a full support package in place for their tenants who have learning disabilities and complex support needs. All tenants will be supported by care staff and a tenancy support agent who will ensure the smooth running and maintenance of the property.

A good rate of  rent will be paid as the tenants are exempt from local authority caps. Therefore rent will be above the LHA rate.

LFL Flyer

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Clare Hannah; clare.hannah@letsforlife.org.uk



Changes to HMO Licensing

Posted on March 7th, 2018 -

After a long wait, parliamentary approval of the changes to HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licensing was accepted on 23rd February 2018. These changes will come into effect on 1st October 2018.


Applications and fees will vary by local authority areas. Further details will be promulgated as and when they become available.

For further information, please see the following document or contact your local authority;





Adult Safeguarding

Posted on March 7th, 2018 -

If you are concerned that an adult may be at risk of abuse or know of a worrying situation such as an adult neglecting themselves, as a landlord what can you do?

Don’t tolerate it, don’t ignore it, report it.

You can call your local council, selecting the adult social care option to discuss and report any safeguarding concerns.

(In an emergency situation, for example when a crime is in progress, or someone’s life is at risk due to violence, serious illness or injury, please dial 999.)


Why do we need to safeguard adults?

Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse.
All adults have the right to be protected from harm and exploitation.
Not everyone can protect themselves.
All adults have the right to independence, which may involve risk.


Which adults are at risk?

People aged 18 or over who:
May rely on other people or services for care and support with day to day tasks because of their age, physical or learning disability, mental health need or involvement in substance misuse
May lack mental capacity
May not be able to speak up for themselves
May neglect themselves and/or their home


Adults at risk can be:

Physically abused
Psychologically abused
Financially abused
Sexually abused
Discriminated against


Abuse can take many forms such as:

Shouting or swearing, which makes a person fearful
Hitting, slapping or pushing
Unwanted touching, kissing or sexual intercourse or sexual contact to which a person cannot consent
Not being cared for properly or denied privacy, choice or social contact
Money or property taken without permission or under pressure
Pressure to sign over money or property or financial transactions to which a person cannot consent
Domestic abuse, which includes incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, honour based violence and female genital mutilation
Modern Slavery, encompassing human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.


As a landlord, BE AWARE. You may well be the only person aware of the situation.

SWLA Members, Have Your Say on Universal Credit

Posted on February 15th, 2018 -

SWLA will represent it’s members at a Select Committee Review in March hosted by Plymouth City Council. We encourage our members to participate by sending us any issues, concerns and thoughts regarding the Universal Credit introduction and it’s impact on letting your property.

Some areas of focus for any contributions are;

  • the willingness of private landlords to take on Universal Credit claimants due to the risk of arrears or to accept rent up to six weeks in arrears;
  • the implications on the private rented sector homelessness prevention, if tenants were evicted or refused tenancies;
  • the impact of the length of time it takes to process Universal Credit claims (six weeks) on rent arrears and potential eviction;
  • the impact on landlords both social and private from the introduction of Universal Credit

Please send any comments by email; info@landlordssouthwest.co.uk 

Alternatively you can visit the or post a letter to the SWLA office.

This is a great opportunity for PCC to hear how the roll out is going and how it’s impacting landlords and tenants alike. You can submit your views with your name or anonymously.

All submissions must be received by the SWLA office by close of business on Wednesday 28th February 2018.

Letting Fees Ban Postponed Until Spring 2019

Posted on February 1st, 2018 -

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued a statement that the letting fees ban will not come into force until at least spring 2019. It has said that the period before the implementation of the ban will take at least 15 months as the current draft Tenant Fees Bill has to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny before it can be passed.

Industry experts have been concerned that the ban would cost sector jobs, make buy-to-let investments less attractive and would ultimately result in costs being passed on to tenants.

The Government hope that the ban will ease the financial pressure on private renters whilst making the lettings market more competitive and transparent.

The draft Tenant Fees Bill can be viewed here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-tenants-fees-bill

Universal Credit Changes Will Benefit Landlords

Posted on January 26th, 2018 -

In December 2017, the Department for Work & Pensions ended the practice of requiring a tenant’s explicit consent for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) to be put in place. This APA would mean direct payment of the housing cost element of Universal Credit being paid direct to the landlord if the tenant is struggling to budget.

The new process should considerably simplify and speed up the APA request for landlords and will continue to retain a safeguard for the claimant to challenge the APA request e.g. where the claimant is in dispute with the landlord.

The tenant will no longer be asked or required to give explicit consent for an APA. The tenant will now be told that an APA has been applied for by the landlord, and the reason. The tenant will then have 7 days to provide proof that either the basis of the claim is wrong, or proof of a valid landlord/tenant dispute. Such evidence could be proof of payment (for rent arrears claims), or correspondence with local authority/CAB about repair issues (for landlord/tenant dispute)
If the tenant cannot prove that the basis for the APA is unfounded, or that there is a valid landlord/tenant dispute, or if they just ignore it, the APA will be put in place after 7 days.

In addition, when a claimant is asked to verify their rent, the DWP will also ask them if their housing benefit was being paid directly to their landlord prior to their UC claim and the reasons for this. This will allow work coaches to have a conversation with the claimant to determine whether a managed payment to landlord APA for the UC claim may need to be applied, if appropriate.



SWLA AGM, Wednesday 24th January 2018

Posted on January 19th, 2018 -


Notice of an Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018 @ 7:30pm.

The Future Inn Plymouth, 1 William Prance Road, Plymouth International Business Park, Plymouth PL6 5ZD

Please note that this will be a members-only meeting

We will start promptly at 7.30pm with the formal proceedings of the Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Agenda.

After the important business has been concluded there will be an opportunity to socialise over drinks and a finger buffet.

The Committee would like to thank you for your support and hope to see you at the AGM.


Updated ‘How to Rent’ Guide

Posted on January 18th, 2018 -

The ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government was updated yesterday (17th January 2018).

Changes include a change of government department name on page 1 and the removal of reference to the London Rental Standard on page 3.

With immediate effect, landlords must ensure that they issue the most recent version to tenants in England when they start or renew their tenancies. Failure to do so could invalidate any future Section 21 action.

The latest ‘How to Rent’ guide can be found on the gov.uk website;






Landlord Sentenced After Failing to Comply

Posted on January 17th, 2018 -

A Staffordshire based landlord has been sentenced after failing to provide evidence that a gas safety check had been carried out at one of his tenanted properties.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard how David Corry failed to present a Landlords Gas Safety Record to the HSE after numerous attempts from HSE representatives to obtain this certificate.
On 11 August 2016, HSE served Mr Corry with an Improvement Notice requiring him to arrange for a registered gas fitter to carry out an inspection of the gas appliances in one of his tenanted premises in Stafford, and to produce a Landlords Gas Safety Record. Mr Corry failed to comply with the Improvement Notice.
Mr David John Corry of Springfield Drive, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 36(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to serve a total of 36 weeks imprisonment, suspended for twelve months, and ordered to complete 140 hours unpaid work. Mr Corry was also ordered to pay costs of £6,428.46.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “David Corry potentially put the health of his tenants at risk and also chose to ignore the repeated requests by the HSE to produce the gas safety record.
“Every year around 7 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. It is important that landlords fulfil their legal gas safety obligations to their tenants.”

Article from the Health and Safety Executive.

More information on what landlords are legally responsible for in relation to gas safety can be found on the HSE website:


Landlord Accreditation Training Course

Posted on January 8th, 2018 -

Thursday 25th January 2018 – 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 650 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.

Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.

Government announce measures to tackle rogue landlords & changes to HMO regulations

Posted on December 29th, 2017 -

Rogue landlords have been put on notice as government has announced (28 December 2017) a raft of new measures to crack down on bad practices, stamp out overcrowding and improve standards for those renting in the private sector.

Housing Minister Alok Sharma has set out how, subject to parliamentary clearance, landlords renting properties in England occupied by 5 or more people, from 2 or more separate households will need to be licensed (regardless of how many floors the property has).

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in houses of multiple occupation to prevent overcrowding. As part of the licencing requirements, local councils will be able to make sure only rooms meeting the standard are used for sleeping.

Government has also set out details of criminal offences which will automatically ban someone from being a landlord. From April 2018, someone convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking can be added to the database of rogue landlords and be barred from renting properties.

For further information, please see the Gov.uk website;


SWLA Members, the Trago Sale is Now On. 20% Off Stock Carpets, Furniture, Fitted Kitchens and Bathrooms

Posted on December 29th, 2017 -

The Trago2Business Sale

Wednesday 27th DECEMBER 2017  TO Wednesday 31st JANUARY 2018 (INCLUSIVE)







** SWLA Members, if you have not yet arranged your Trago2Business discount card, please contact the SWLA office for details on how to apply.

Christmas Office Opening Hours

Posted on December 15th, 2017 -

The SWLA office will close at 1pm on Friday 22nd December 2017.

We will open again at 10am on Wednesday 3rd January 2018.

Emails and phone messages will be checked regularly during the closed period so if you have any queries, feel free to email or leave a voice mail.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Open Office 2017

Posted on December 14th, 2017 -

Thank you to everyone who came along to our open office afternoon yesterday (Wednesday 13th December). It was great to catch up with members and welcome new members.

Our next meeting is the SWLA AGM on Wednesday 24th January 2018, 7.30pm at the Future Inn hotel, Plymouth.

Following the AGM, there will be a finger buffet and drinks. We hope to see you there.

(Please note, this is a members only meeting)

Do you have problems with damp and mould in your home?

Posted on December 13th, 2017 -

Watch this video by ‘Plymouth Energy Community’ to get some great tips on how to prevent mould and what to do if it becomes a problem;



Video produced in partnership with Plymouth City Council.

Plymouth City Council Steering Group

Posted on December 8th, 2017 -

Iain (Vice-Chair) and Gillian (Office Manager) attended Plymouth City Council’s steering group meeting at Ballard House (Friday 8th December).

Items on the agenda included the Charter for Private Renting, HMO Licencing, changes in legislation and civil penalties as an alternative to prosecution for a range of housing offences.

West of England Landlord Panel Meeting

Posted on December 8th, 2017 -

Gillian Kerr represented SWLA at the West of England Landlord Panel meeting in Bristol on Wednesday 6th December 2017.

Topics discussed included;

Minimum EPC requirements

Tenants Fees Bill

Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector

Universal Credit

House Conditions Surveys

Licensing Updates

Prosecutions and other enforcement action

Market conditions




Teignbridge Housing Partnership Event

Posted on November 29th, 2017 -

Vice Chair of SWLA, Iain Maitland attended a stakeholder event hosted by Teignbridge Housing Partnership in Newton Abbot on Tuesday 28th November 2017. The Partnership brings together housing professionals, stakeholders and partners from key organisations to contribute to, and influence the delivery of affordable housing, the prevention of homelessness, maintaining housing standards and supporting people to maintain independence in their own homes.




The Autumn Budget 2017

Posted on November 24th, 2017 -




A summary of the budget announcements that may affect the private rented sector……


Finance and tax
Stamp duty land tax – the government will raise the price at which a property becomes liable for SDLT to £300,000 for first‑time buyers. The relief will not apply to properties worth over £500,000.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) payment window – The introduction of the 30-day payment window between a capital gain arising on a residential property and payment will be deferred until April 2020.
Rent-a-room relief – The government will call for evidence to establish how rent-a-room relief is used and make steps to ensure it is better targeted towards longer-term lettings.
Raising income tax bracket – The personal allowance for income tax will be increased from £11,500 to £11,850 from April 2018. The threshold to pay a higher rate of income tax will rise from £45,000 to £46,350.
Mileage rates for landlords – The government will continue to allow unincorporated landlords the choice to use the government’s fixed mileage rates or actual vehicle running costs and capital allowances when it comes to calculating deductible motoring expenses.

Supply and rents
Empty homes premium – The government is keen to bring empty properties back into use. To help achieve this, local authorities will be able to increase the council tax premium from 50% to 100%.
Longer tenancies – The government will consult on landlords offering longer, more secure tenancies to those tenants who want them.
Review of build out – The government will set up a panel to explain the gap between housing completions and the planning permission given, and make recommendations for closing it.
Register of planning permissions – The government will create a central register of residential planning permissions to improve information on where permissions are held and progress towards them being built
Small sites – The government will provide a further £630 million to accelerate the building of homes on small sites. Helping boost housing supply.
New garden towns – The government will bring together public and private capital to build five new garden towns.

Universal Credit – The government will provide more support to Universal Credit claimants. From January 2018, those who qualify will be able to access up to a month’s worth of Universal Credit within five days via an interest-free advance. The government will extend the period of recovery from six months to twelve months, making it easier for claimants to manage. From February 2018, the government will remove the seven-day waiting period so that entitlement to Universal Credit starts on the first day of application. From April 2018 those already on Housing Benefit will continue to receive their award for the first two weeks of their Universal Credit claim. The government will make it easier for claimants to have the housing element of their award paid directly to their landlord.
Targeted Affordability Funding – To support Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants living in areas where private rents have been rising fastest, the government will increase some Local Housing Allowance rates.
Rent payment data – The government will support firms developing innovative solutions that help first‑time buyers ensure their history of meeting rental payments on time is recognised in their credit scores and mortgage applications.
Rough sleeping – The Budget sets out the government’s first steps towards its commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022, and to eliminate it by 2027.
Housing First pilots – The government will invest £28 million in three Housing First pilots in Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands, to support rough sleepers with the most complex needs to turn their lives around.

New Accelerated Possession Forms Published (N5B)

Posted on November 24th, 2017 -


Please note that there have been updates to the N5B England court form which is used by landlords to seek a court order for possession of a property located in England.

For further information please see the following government website;



If you have any questions in relation to the form changes, please contact the SWLA office.





Shelter Housing and Homelessness Conference

Posted on November 23rd, 2017 -

Steve Lees and Iain Maitland, Chair and Vice-Chair of the SWLA, attended the Shelter Housing and Homelessness Conference on Tuesday 21st November at Plumer House in Plymouth. Agencies were brought together to raise awareness of services and to increase knowledge in order to support those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. Also discussed was the topic of substandard housing and promotion of joint working initiatives- new and existing. A variety of presentations and workshops took place.




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.

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