Free Webinar for Landlords and Agents; WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL 2020 | 9.30AM – listen by clicking the link below anytime.
ARLA Propertymark CEO David Cox discusses the latest legislative and legal changes affecting the lettings industry, and shares his advice on how to keep on top of them. He will be covering:
Listen in full here;
URGENT ACTION REQUIRED, SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED UNTIL FRIDAY 1ST MAY 2020. WE URGE ALL LANDLORDS AND AGENTS TO RESPOND.
The HCLG Committee has launched an inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector. It will consider both the immediate and long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in the private rented sector.
The Committee expects to hold an evidence session in early May onwards to hear directly from stakeholders and Government about what is being done and what further support is needed.
This Universal Credit newsletter aims to provide information to social and private landlords on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Universal Credit; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-landlord-engagement-newsletters/coronavirus-covid-19-universal-credit-landlord-engagement-newsletter
Free Live Webinar for Landlords, Property Agents and Tenants.
FRIDAY 24TH APRIL 12.30PM – (link can be sent if you cannot watch live)
Whether you are buying, selling or renting the lockdown has caused many property-related challenges. Can I complete? Can I move in? What happens to my deposit. Over the past few weeks we have talked to many people and a number of them were dealing with difficult property issues like these.
Join this webinar with Neil Tozer of www.ridgewater.co.uk and Rebecca Holloway Partner and Head of Residential Property at BOYCE HATTON LLP who will help answer the top questions and more during this free webinar
1) If I am renting does my Landlord have to do essential repairs?
2) I am a Landlord, do I still have to do the annual Gas Safety Certificate
3) Can I move house now?
4) What transactions can be completed at this time?
5) Is there anything I can do to help sell my property once lockdown is over?
6) Can I / My Agent still do viewings on my property?
7) Can I still market my property for sale or rent?
8) What does the housing market look like now, in 3 months and beyond?
9) What do I do if my tenant says they can’t pay the rent?
10) My landlord gets a mortgage holiday, why do I have to pay rent?
They will also be taking live questions.
Sign up if you are interested in the property market right now and even if you cannot get to the live webinar you will be sent a link to the recording.
West Devon – https://westdevon.gov.uk/6715
Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal – with the money expected to land in their bank accounts within six working days.
If you sell your property after 6 April 2020 you must report and pay Capital Gains Tax within 30 days of selling property in the UK.
Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit when you sell (or ‘dispose of’) something (an ‘asset’) that’s increased in value.
It’s the gain you make that’s taxed, not the amount of money you receive.
You may have to pay interest and a penalty if you do not report gains on property within the time limit.
You’ll need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you report and pay.
If you sold the property before 6 April 2020, report the gain using the ‘real time’ Capital Gains Tax service or in your next Self Assessment tax return.
For further information; https://www.gov.uk/capital-gains-tax
Shortly after the fire at Grenfell Tower, the independent expert advisory panel advised the government to undertake identification screening of residential buildings over 18 metres tall (in accordance with building regulations guidance on rain-screen cladding). This is in order to identify the type of aluminium composite material (ACM) used.
Action for private sector residential landlords.
It is the responsibility of building owners in the private residential sector to carry out necessary measures to ensure the safety of their residents.
Since June, the government has been urging owners of private residential buildings over 18 metres to make urgent use of the free ACM screening tests, and to report the results to local authorities so that private sector blocks with ACM cladding systems can be identified.
We are also working with local authorities to identify privately owned residential buildings over 18 metres with ACM cladding systems. Financial support to local authorities for the work needed to collect data on high rise residential buildings and report on cladding was provided in line with the new burdens doctrine.
Work to reach private sector landlords continues – through industry bodies including the Home Builders Federation, Association of Residential Letting Agents, and the British Property Federation.
For further information; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/aluminium-composite-material-cladding?utm_source=a63bd941-6973-46dd-a81c-08e2a9796677&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
Changes announced will help businesses avoid being struck off the Companies House register as they deal with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. Businesses will be given additional support to help them meet their legal responsibilities.
Companies House will temporarily pause the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved. This will give businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register.
In addition, companies issued with a late filing penalty due to COVID-19 will have appeals treated sympathetically.
The announcement builds on measures already implemented by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which give businesses the ability to apply for a 3-month extension to file accounts with Companies House.
For further information; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-house-support-for-businesses-hit-by-covid-19?utm_source=d18776e2-62d2-4d0a-b11d-d75ca62e6f8e&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
The Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by one month to reflect the continuing social distancing measures.
The extension allows UK businesses to continue to protect millions of jobs.
The scheme, which allows businesses to furlough employees with the Government paying 80 per cent of employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from 1 March to the end of May. The Government has taken action to help the economy bridge through this period of national emergency so that as many people as possible can get back to work as the situation improves.
For further information on Government schemes that can help those experiencing financial difficulties;
If a tenant falls into serious rent arrears (over 2 months or 8 weeks – depending on rent period) a landlord now needs to give minimum 3 months notice to their tenant before court proceedings can begin. Previous to the coronavirus pandemic, this notice period was no less than 2 weeks.
The prescribed Form 3 has been updated and published by the Government to reflect this change. This form should be used by landlords from 27th March 2020 up to 30th September 2020 but this date may be extended.
Tenants’ obligation to pay rent has not changed. There are many financial packages available to most people affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords should have discussions with their tenants and remain understanding and flexible with regards to any financial difficulties. Any rent payments that are not paid in full would be classed as arrears and would need to be paid back to the landlord at a later date.
One in nine mortgage holders in the UK has taken a mortgage payment holiday as their finances have been affected by the coronavirus.
Landlords are being encouraged to think twice before requesting to defer mortgage payments. Broker ‘Mortgage for Business’ has said that only a handful of landlords contacting its switchboard about mortgage repayment holidays are raising legitimate concerns about how to pay their mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic.
Whilst there are landlords who find themselves in genuine financial hardship, the broker said that many landlords who are applying for the holiday do actually have sufficient means to get them through this difficult period.
The managing director of Mortgage for Business said that apart from the moral implications of abusing a mortgage repayment scheme brought in at a time of national crisis, it could play out badly for the landlord. He insists that applications made could affect current and future borrowing applications.
He said “Landlords must be aware that any requests could potentially damage any approaches to that lender. Lenders expect landlords to be able to cover void periods under normal circumstances – where a property is empty, and a landlord isn’t getting any rent.
Additionally, Mortgages for Business points out that most buy-to-let lenders will ask landlords to prove they are in financial hardship before granting any holiday request. While a landlord’s tenant may be in distress and unable to make rental payments – to benefit from the scheme, landlords also need to be unable to meet their mortgage repayments.
He added: “The message is simple. Do not approach lenders for payment holidays without first taking advice and thinking about the longer-term consequences. Any deferred payments will have to be made at some stage and it could create problems down the line – especially when you come to refinance or grow the portfolio.”
NRLA (with full support and action from SWLA) have called for a package of measures from the Government and mortgage providers. Including temporary scrapping of the 5 week wait for Universal Credit and ensuring lenders look sympathetically on requests from landlords for a mortgage break when their income is affected through reduced or non-payment of rent.
Article abridged from Landlord Today
Covid 19 addendum to policies document; https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/COVID%2019%20Addendum%20-%20Housing%20Improvement%20and%20HMO.pdf
Information from PCC about housing during the coronavirus crisis; https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/coronaviruscovid19informationabouthousing
General information from PCC regarding local services, advice and support during the coronavirus crisis; https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/covid-19
Please read the addendum document and visit the links above to keep up to date on services and the private rented sector in Plymouth.
A few highlights from the document;
Questions & Answers The following is not exhaustive and is not meant to be legal advice.
Q. What about the legal duty local authorities have to take the appropriate
enforcement action if they consider that a category 1 hazard exists on any
A. We will:
Consider carefully what would be appropriate action during the current situation and review/update enforcement policies accordingly.
Prioritise resources to ensure vulnerable tenants and imminent risks to health are targeted
Q. What about the legal duty local authorities have to ensure that all applications for licences are determined within a reasonable time?
**In Plymouth we only operate the mandatory House in Multiple Occupation licensing scheme.**
Contact landlords who are waiting for licences to be determined to explain potential delays.
Take individual landlords’ circumstances into account where licence fee payments may have been delayed due to the current situation.
Prioritise high-risk licensable properties if this is necessary to protect vulnerable tenants and target imminent risks to health.
Continue to take a pragmatic and common-sense approach to enforcement action.
Scheduled inspections, e.g. gas, electricity
Q. What about the requirement for landlords to ensure certain installations are in place or safe, for example gas, fire alarms, emergency lighting?
A. We will:
Consider carefully if landlords can show evidence that they have been unable to carry out inspections or works, despite having taken reasonable steps, before carrying out any enforcement.
Government guidance advises that inspectors/maintenance workers can still visit blocks of flats and multi-occupied properties for essential or urgent work such as inspecting and testing fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.
Louise Cooper and guests discuss what rights tenants and landlords have as the coronavirus crisis continues. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h1md
6th April 2020, the Government published a new version of the N5B (to use when applying to the courts for accelerated possession of a property after serving a Section 21 notice to tenants and the notice period ending).
Note – From 27th March 2020 all possession cases are suspended for 90 days, therefore this form will not be in use until after the suspension is lifted.
The Government has released advice on meeting the regulatory requirement to secure a valid Energy Performance Certificate on marketing a property during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when a property is sold, let or constructed and must be completed by an accredited assessor unless an exemption can be applied.
UPDATE, STORE NOW OPEN, CHECK WEBSITE FOR OPENING HOURS, SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES ARE IN PLACE. BUSIEST TIMES 8AM AND LUNCHTIME. REMINDER – GOV.UK ADVICE; ONLY TRAVEL FOR WORK AND BASIC NECESSITIES
Landlord repair responsibilities remain the same throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. All non essential repairs should be rescheduled for a later date. All essential repairs should go ahead with tradespeople/landlords following Government advice on social distancing and ‘stay at home’ measures.
SWLA members with a TradePoint card can still get their 5% trade discount (increasing to 10% if spending threshold reached).
CLICK & COLLECT SERVICE– How it works
For landlords who do not have a TradePoint card, B&Q is also open and allowing socially distanced shopping; https://www.diy.com/
The operation to shield Plymouth’s most vulnerable residents from the Coronavirus.
Caring for Plymouth, which is an alliance between the Council, Livewell Southwest and a large number of Voluntary and Community Sector organisations, will ensure that these people are provided with emotional support, shopping, medicine collection, support with paying bills and accessing money. Staff providing the service will have had background checks to provide added piece of mind.
In addition, the Caring for Plymouth Support Hub will support other vulnerable older and disabled people who are affected by Covid 19 and who have no-one to support them to maintain their independence.
Five-year electrical safety checks will still be mandatory for landlords for all new tenancies from 01 July 2020. This will still be rolled out to all existing tenancies from 01 April 2021.
Coronavirus has not impacted these regulations, the Government have confirmed the following;
Landlords must provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certification at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required). Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.
Landlords should make every effort to abide by existing gas safety regulations and electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. There are provisions in both regulations to account for situations in which a landlord cannot do this (see box below), and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law.
We are encouraging local authorities and other enforcement agencies to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to enforcement in these unprecedented times. You can read the latest guidance for landlords and Gas Safe engineers and inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive here https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/
For the full guidance see page 19 of the Government guidance; https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf
‘National Code Assured Accommodation’, have released information and advice on the impact of Coronavirus on student accommodation, including within the private rented sector. It contains an overview of how the sector is reacting to the challenges it’s faced with.