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Monthly Archives

Meeting with Luke Pollard MP

Posted on May 21st, 2018 -

Luke Pollard MP met with Chair/Vice Chair and Policy Officer at SWLA offices, Dale Road, on 18th May 2018.

Items on the agenda included GDPR/PRS registration of Landlords/Agents Fees/Agents qualifications/electrical safety checks/Universal Credit. A very constructive meeting was much appreciated.


GDPR

Posted on May 18th, 2018 -

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into effect on 25th May 2018.

All members should now have received our privacy policy by post, we have heard some of these letters have been damaged so if you haven’t received yours please notify the SWLA office and we will re-issue your letter.



Amended Gas Safety Rules for Landlords

Posted on May 3rd, 2018 -

New regulations introduced in April 2018 allow a landlord to arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 calendar months after the previous check whilst still preserving the original check expiry date.

For further information please see the Gas Safe website;

www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/renting-a-property/information-for-landlords/

 


Universal Credit Seminar

Posted on April 25th, 2018 -

Universal Credit Seminar

Presented by the National and Regional DWP teams

 Wednesday 9th May 2018 – 9:30 – 11am

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

The seminar will cover –

Universal Credit Overview

Universal Credit Full Service in Numbers

Recent Changes

Universal Credit Live & Full Service

Migration – Natural and Managed

Verification of Rent

Alternative Payment Arrangements

Disclosure

This is a free seminar.

 Of interest to all landlords or organisations who take or advise on Housing Benefit.

 Numbers will be limited, so please email the office info@landlordssouthwest.co.uk to register your place. 

 


SWLA Letting Agent Course

Posted on April 12th, 2018 -

Due to the volume and importance of the legislation and regulations coming into force for Letting Agents and landlords, SWLA ran a Letting Agent Course in partnership with Plymouth City Council at the Future Inn, Plymouth on Tuesday 10th April 2018.

Topics covered in depth included;

Data Protection (GDPR)

Draft Tenant Fee Ban Bill

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

Places on the course were limited and booked up very quickly. If you missed the opportunity and would like to be informed of the next Letting Agent Course, please email the SWLA office and we will ensure that you are informed as soon as the next Letting Agent Course date is secured.
For all SWLA course dates and information, please refer to the training area of the SWLA website;

Landlord Training

 


SWLA Attend Housing Meeting in Torquay

Posted on April 3rd, 2018 -

Iain Maitland (SWLA Vice Chairman) attended the Mayor’s Housing Liaison Group meeting in Torquay on Thursday 29th March.

Items discussed included recent and forthcoming legislative changes (HMO Licensing, Energy Efficiency regulations, Housing and Planning Act 2004 provisions), enforcement updates, Banning Orders, future developments and police/fire service updates.

SWLA are representing their members regularly at a local government level.


SWLA – Recent Local Council Meetings

Posted on March 29th, 2018 -

On Thursday 22nd March, SWLA held a meeting at our Dale Road office with Councillor Ricketts (Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery) and Matt Garrett (Head of Community Connections PCC). Items on the agenda included Universal Credit, HMO regulations, Homes (Fitness for Habitation) and Banning Orders.

Iain Maitland (SWLA Chair) and Steve Lees (SWLA Vice Chair) attended the Cornwall Housing Summit ‘Home Truths’ on Friday 23rd March hosted by the National Housing Federation. Many housing topics were discussed including social housing for Cornwall and new affordable housing projects in Cornwall.

 

 


SWLA General Meeting

Posted on March 16th, 2018 -

THURSDAY 26th APRIL 2018- 7pm for 7.30pm start, Future Inn Plymouth PL6 5ZD.

 

 

Speakers;

Krissy Salmon (Shawbrook Bank) changes affecting professional landlords.

Annette Stone (Thomas Wescott) Update in tax legislation including Making Tax Digital.

Andrew Elvidge (PCC) Civil penalties and HMO licencing.

All members welcome, please remember to register your car at reception.


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;

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/221/made

 

 

 


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.)

asc_safeguarding_leaflet_2017

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
Neglected

 

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 Agent Training Course

Posted on February 13th, 2018 -

Tuesday 10th April 2018 – 9:30 – 4:30pm

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

Price – £80 for one day course to include refreshments and light lunch.

Due to the volume and importance of the legislation and regulation coming into force, SWLA in partnership with Plymouth City Council will be hosting a full day course which will include Legal Updates for 2018. Presented by Training for Professionals.

Legal Update 2018

Data Protection (GDPR)

– When can you lawfully give tenant details to a contractor and when will you need consent after 25 May 2018?
– Understand the only basis you will be permitted to contact your database of historic landlords.
– Understand when not backing up your data could cost you up to 20 million euros or 4% of turnover.
– What information will be required in your privacy notice?
– The new legislation will restrict when you can contact your landlord despite having signed Terms of Business.
– What is your plan to ensure your contractors are GDPR compliant?

Draft Tenant Fee Ban Bill

– Do you know that under the draft proposal you can still charge tenant fees for some tenancies?
– Were you aware the draft bill includes the power to ban deposits?
– Do you understand that by taking a tenant fee or making an error with a holding deposit you could be penalised or even banned as a letting agent?
– Do you understand under what circumstances a resident landlord may still charge tenant fees?

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

– How can you delay the impact of MEES for F or G rated properties for up to 2 years?
– What actions do you need to take before 1 April 2018 concerning properties not meeting the minimum standard?
– In what circumstances can you still market an F or G rated property after April 2018?
– Understand which tenancies MEES does not apply to.
– Learn when a listed building does need an EPC.
– When does a building in a conservation area have to comply with MEES?

 Other issues which have arisen over the last year:

– The new legislation will restrict when you can contact your landlord despite having signed Terms of Business.
– One simple mistake that could prevent you ever serving a section 21 notice.
– Can you identify what may be deemed as a‘Secret Profit’ and what are the consequences of not declaring them?

Compulsory Client Money Protection and Regulation of Letting & Management Agents – What we know!

Tenants’ Compensation Rights

On completion of the course you will be armed with the information required to help you and your business remain on the right side of the law. 

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


Landlord Accreditation Training Course – Exeter

Posted on February 13th, 2018 -

Thursday 12th April 2018 – 9:30 – 4:30pm

Venue – Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter EX1 1RQ

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.

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


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 2018

Posted on January 26th, 2018 -

On Wednesday 24th January, we held our Annual General Meeting at the Future Inn, Plymouth.

On completion of the agenda and formal meeting, drinks and a finger buffet were enjoyed by all members who attended. This gave us and members the opportunity to network and catch up.


SWLA AGM, Wednesday 24th January 2018

Posted on January 19th, 2018 -

MEMBERS ONLY REMINDER

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.

PLEASE NOTE THE TEMPORARY ROUTE VIA DERRIFORD ROUNDABOUT.
DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER YOUR CAR AT RECEPTION.


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;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

 

 

 

 


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:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/


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;

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rogue-landlords-put-on-notice-as-government-announces-tough-new-powers