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Christmas Open Office Afternoon

Posted on November 27th, 2019 -

SWLA would like to invite you to our open afternoon at 30 Dale Road on Wednesday 11th December 2019 from 3-6pm.

Come and enjoy a mince pie and drink with committee members, office staff and other members.

We look forward to seeing you there!

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership for this year please feel free to pop in and renew.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

From Gillian, Anna and Mandy   
SWLA Office   

Dates For Your Diary

AGM – Wednesday 22nd January 2020 @ The Future Inn 7:30pm

For details on Landlord Training Courses, see the SWLA website; 

Iain Maitland, SWLA Vice Chair Attends Teignbridge Housing Services Event

Posted on November 20th, 2019 -

Friday 15th November was the annual consultation between Teignbridge Housing and key stakeholders/partners who contribute to and influence the delivery of strategic objectives in the Private Rented Sector in the Teignbridge area. For more information on the Council’s strategy; https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-information/strategies-policies-and-performance/strategies-and-plans/

SWLA are proud to have input into such events, shaping the future of private renting for landlords and tenants alike.

PATH Tenant Training Course – Plymouth

Posted on November 20th, 2019 -

DECEMBER 9th, 2pm at Harwell Centre (PATH Offices) FREE COURSE

Plymouth Access to Housing are running this course to help tenants in the private rented sector. What can tenants expect from their landlord? What responsibilities do tenants have? All delegates will obtain a certificate on completion of the course. The course will also cover;

  • Tenancy agreements
  • Private or social rented?
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Sharing
  • Finding accommodation
  • Viewing
  • Help with rent
  • Deposits and rent in advance
  • Notice

All tenants and those wishing to seek a tenancy are welcome to attend. Please contact the PATH office to confirm your attendance or if you have any questions; 01752 293730 OR E-MAIL: info@pathdevon.org

PATH Renting Support Service, Harwell Centre, 28-42 Harwell Court, Plymouth, PL1 1PY


Vice Chair, expert witness.

Posted on November 12th, 2019 -

The Vice Chairman, Iain Maitland attended Cornwall Council Private Rented Sector (PRS) inquiry as an expert witness, on Monday 11th November.
Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, were holding an inquiry focussing specifically on the PRS in Cornwall (Selective Licensing being considered).
The session revolved around:
. Reliance on the PRS for housing needs.
. Decent and safe homes.
. New powers to tackle poor standards.
. Rogue landlord activity.
. Also covered were the abolition of Section 21 possession and its effects.
. Rent control.
. Longer AST’s.
. Training for landlords and accreditation.

The Vice Chairman expressed views on all of the above, which will hopefully be considered favourably especially with regard to selective licencing.

SWLA Membership Renewals Now Due!

Posted on November 1st, 2019 -

Thank you to all of our members who have renewed already.

For any members yet to renew, your membership expired on 31st October. Please arrange payment of £45.00 if you wish to renew for 2019-2020;

Account Name: SWLA
Sort Code: 20-68-10
Account Number: 50498610

Please quote your name and membership number as the reference.

Cheques can be sent to: SWLA, 30 Dale Road, Plymouth, PL4 6PD

**Your receipt will be emailed when payment has been received unless a paper copy is requested. You are agreeing to the terms and conditions of your original membership by paying your fee.**

SWLA Christmas Open Office

Posted on November 1st, 2019 -

Wednesday 11th December 2019; 3pm-6pm

Come and join us for a mince pie and a catch up. All members welcome!

Electrical Safety Standards on the way for England

Posted on October 30th, 2019 -

Sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (electrical safety standards) came into force on 25 October 2019. This means we are one step closer to the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector.

An enabling power was contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 under Section 122 to allow the Secretary of State through regulations to impose duties on private landlords to ensure that electrical safety standards are met in a property under their ownership, while a tenancy is in place. The Section also allows the Secretary of State to specify obligations that may be required of the landlord with regards to the frequency of checks and the expertise expected of any persons who undertake such checks.

Section 123 provides for the enforcement of any responsibilities introduced under Section 122 including the use of financial penalties and rights of appeal.

Following Royal Assent of the Housing and Planning Act on 12 May 2016, a working group that included, electrical and tenant bodies was established to provide recommendations on what the requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector should look like.

Now that the Commencement Order is in place, the Secretary of State has the power to lay actual regulations, which we expect to be laid before Parliament shortly.

Summary of Electrical Safety Working Group recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks should be set out in secondary legislation.

Recommendation 2: Visual checks of the safety of the electrical installation by landlords at a change of tenancy should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.

Recommendation 3: A report should be issued to the landlord which confirms that an EICR has been completed along with confirmation that any remedial work necessary has been undertaken satisfactorily. A copy should be issued to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy and should be made available to local authorities on request.

Recommendation 4: Landlord supplied electrical appliance testing and visual checks of electrical appliances by landlords at a change of tenancy should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.

Recommendation 5: The installation of Residual Current Devices (RCDs) by landlords should be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.

Recommendation 6: A Private Rented Sector electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be set up which would be separate from existing Building Regulations competent person’s scheme.

Recommendation 7: DCLG should commission the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) management committee to consider the most effective method of recognising ‘competent PRS testers’ to carry out electrical inspections and tests.

Recommendation 8: Legislative requirements should be phased in, beginning with new tenancies, followed by all existing tenancies.

Article Abridged from ARLA

Landlord Training Course

Posted on October 22nd, 2019 -

Landlord Accreditation Training Course

Monday 27th January 2020 – 9:30 – 4:30pm

Venue – Charter 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 780 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.  

Landlord Training Course

Posted on October 22nd, 2019 -

Landlord Training Course – Intermediate Law 

Friday 17th January 2020 – 9:30am – 4:30pm

Of particular interest to letting agents and portfolio holders

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 – £65. Cost for non-SWLA members – £75.

A one-day course providing a more in-depth coverage of important areas of legislation and practice. Amongst the topics included will be:  

  • Tenancy Agreements – Special Clauses.
  • Grounds for Possession & Accelerated Possession
  • Overseas Landlords
  • Instructing Contractors
  • Tenants’ Compensation Rights
  • Abandonment and Surrender
  • Deposit Protection

Plus latest news and updates.

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

Course will be instructed by Stephen Fowler from Training for Professionals.

SWLA October 2019 General Meeting

Posted on October 18th, 2019 -

On Wednesday 16th October 2019, we held our general meeting at the Future Inn, Plymouth. We had two fantastic speakers; Krissy Salmon from One Savings Bank, discussing the changing landscape of the investor property market. Also, Martyn Taylor, Managing Director of Ashley Taylor Solicitors discussing the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and how it affects landlords, also possession problems and how to avoid them.

60 members were in attendance and had good opportunity to ask questions and have queries answered by the speakers.

Krissy Salmon is happy to help SWLA members with any financial/lending queries following the meeting and can be contacted on; krissy.salmon@osb.co.uk

Martyn Taylor, MD of Ashley Taylors mentioned the services that his company can offer landlords, they are very experienced in possession cases and can offer an advocacy service at possession hearings. Also further legal advice if needed. To book a court advocate for a possession hearing, call 01825 766767. Discount is given to SWLA members.

The next date for your diary is our SWLA open office on Wednesday 11th December 2019 – all members welcome for a Christmas catch up and a mince pie!

Last Week to Complete the Consultation Survey; Abolition of Section 21

Posted on October 4th, 2019 -

Have your say! The Government consultation closes on Saturday 12th October 2019


Discount at Wickes – TradePro

Posted on October 4th, 2019 -

SWLA members can apply for a TradePro account with Wickes and get 10% off all purchases in store and online.

To apply visit https://www.wickes.co.uk/tradepro/sign-up

Remember to upload two forms of ID with your application;

  1. A photo of the front page of a blank tenancy agreement
  2. A photo of a landlord insurance document with your name on

Your application will be confirmed the next working day, giving you access to the app and the website in order to get your TradePro discount.

SWLA Meeting with Matt Garrett and Councillor Chris Penberthy

Posted on October 2nd, 2019 -

Iain Maitland (Vice Chair SWLA) and Linda Johns (SWLA Policy Officer) met with Matt Garrett (Service Director, Community Connections Plymouth City Council) and Councillor Chris Penberthy (Cabinet for Housing and Co-operative Development) on Monday 1st October 2019.

Items on the agenda included the oversupply of HMOs in Plymouth and the abolition of Section 21.

If any of our members would like further information regarding change of use of HMOs, please contact the SWLA Office.

IMPORTANT REMINDER; the government’s Abolition of Section 21 consultation closes on Saturday 12th October 2019. Carry out the online consultation survey if you want your view to be heard.


HMOs in Plymouth

Posted on September 23rd, 2019 -

The increase in purpose built student accommodation and the drop in student numbers has resulted in an oversupply of HMOs in the city. Plymouth City Council have been in consultation with SWLA regarding possible alternative use of some properties. Plymouth City Council are interested in the number of landlords who maybe considering a change of use of HMOs into single family dwellings or self contained flats.

Please contact SWLA office to express an interest.

Question time with Johnny Mercer MP

Posted on September 20th, 2019 -

Friday 20th September, Vice Chair Iain Maitland attended a question time with Johnny Mercer MP at the Borringdon Golf Club hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) South West.

Johnny, the new Minister for Defence People and Veterans, answered many questions regarding veterans issues and the good things which were hopefully coming.

Iain had the opportunity to ask for Johnny’s opinion on the abolition of the Section 21 notice for possession. Johnny was apparently unaware of what it was, the effects it would have on the Private Rented Sector and of a letter sent by SWLA on 19th July 2019 giving them information and offering to brief them on the effects of the abolition without adequately replacing it.

SWLA will again contact Johnny’s office with information provided by the Fair Possessions Coalition (18 PRS bodies; SWLA are members) and hope that he can add his support to ensuring a robust replacement for Section 21 before it’s abolition.

SWLA Attend West of England Landlord Panel Meeting

Posted on September 20th, 2019 -

On Wednesday 11th September, Office Manager Gillian Kerr attended the Landlord Panel Meeting in Bath.

Items discussed included a licencing update, legislation updates (including removal of Section 21), prosecutions/enforcements and current market conditions.

SWLA General Meeting; Wednesday 16th October 2019

Posted on September 13th, 2019 -

Future Inn Hotel, William Prance Road, Plymouth, PL6 5ZD 7:00pm for a 7.30pm start


Krissy Salmon from Kent Reliance/One Savings Bank
‘The changing landscape of the Investor Property market; HMO and Multi unit blocks; how we can assist you and the valuation process from a lenders perspective’

Martyn Taylor, Managing Director from Ashley Taylors Legal
‘The importance of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and how it affects landlords’
Also, ‘Solutions for problems in possession cases’

Wine & orange juice will be served during the evening.
We hope to see you there, guests are very welcome.

**Remember to register your car at the hotel reception upon arrival

Gas Safety Week: Fighting for a Gas Safe Nation

Posted on September 12th, 2019 -

SWLA are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2019, taking place 16th – 22nd September.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.  

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it or smell it.  

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords must make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

If you’re a landlord, you are legally obliged to make sure:

  • Gas pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.
  • All gas appliances and flues provided for tenants’ use have an annual safety check. Your tenants can report you to the HSE if you don’t provide one, so it’s important to remember! You can set a free email and/or text reminder so you don’t forget, visit StayGasSafe.co.uk.
  • A Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in.
  • You keep a copy of the Gas Safety Record until two further checks have taken place.
  • Maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting.

Before any gas work is carried out always check the engineer is qualified to carry out the work that needs doing e.g. natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the Gas Safe Register website or by checking the back of the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Encourage your tenants to also check the card when they arrive at the property.

For more information and to find or check an engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

The Fair Possession Coalition Meeting

Posted on September 2nd, 2019 -

Vice Chairman Iain Maitland attended the Fair Possession Coalition meeting at Smith Square London on Friday 30th August 2019.

Section 21 abolition was the main topic of discussion with an update on progress and an agreement on the way ahead. Also on the agenda was licensing, landlord registration and HMO standards.

Tax Simplification Survey – Have Your Say.

Posted on August 30th, 2019 -

Following on from the meeting that we held yesterday with Andy Richers and Nigel Mellor, Policy Advisors from “Office from Tax Simplification”, they have invited our members to complete a Government Survey, regarding ways that paying tax can be simplified. Please find link below:


Meeting with Policy Advisors from Office of Tax Simplification.

Posted on August 29th, 2019 -

We had a meeting in our Office today, with Andy Richens, and Nigel Mellor both Policy Advisors from the “Office of Tax Simplification”.

In attendance were Iain Maitland (Vice Chairman), Steve Lees (Chairman) and Katarina Swain (Treasurer). They came to discuss and obtain our viewpoint on simplifying Tax payments for the self-employed and landlords. We will update you as we receive more information on this subject in due course.

Meeting with Plymouth City Council, 13th August 2019 in SWLA offices Dale Road

Posted on August 20th, 2019 -

The Chairman (Steve Lees) Vice Chairman (Iain Maitland) and Policy Officer (Linda Johns) met with Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing & Co-operative Development and Matt Garrett Head of Community Connections Plymouth City Council.

On the agenda and discussed were – abolition of Section 21 notice, HMO licensing and purpose built student accommodation, planning and empty homes policy.

Their next planned meeting is for 30th September 2019.

Changes to Section 21 Form 6A and Notes. Also, Changes to the ‘How to Rent’ Guide.

Posted on August 14th, 2019 -

On 8th August 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government made slight changes to the Section 21, Form 6A and the Notes which accompany the form. The changes are very minor but we remind SWLA members to use the most up to date form when serving notice or this could cause issues in gaining possession. As Form 6A is a statutory notice, the wording is prescribed and cannot be changed without a statutory instrument, it’s only the layout of this form that has been updated. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms#form-6a

The ‘How to Rent‘ guide has also been updated with minor changes;

  • 3rd June 2019 Corrected to reflect the rebranding of National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) to Safeagent, and to update links to the GOV.UK client money protection scheme webpage.
  • 29th July 2019 The ‘Before you start’ section was updated to clarify Shelter’s advisory role. The sentence ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for help’ was amended to ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for advice’.

The publishing went ahead without any obvious updates on the publication page. ‘How to Rent’ guides should always be printed from the gov.uk website to ensure that the most up to date copy is given to your tenant at the start of their tenancy. Note, the latest publication still has May 2019’s date within the booklet. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

How To Rent Guide

Posted on August 5th, 2019 -

Just a little reminder, when giving out a copy of the “How To Rent Guide” to your tenants at the start of their tenancy, please always search the Gov.uk website for How to Rent Guide to ensure you give the most up to date version possible to your tenants.

Section 21 Abolition; Largest Ever Non Government Survey of the PRS in England and Wales

Posted on July 19th, 2019 -

Read the full report here;


It has found that of the landlords that had used Section 21:

• 84% had used it because their tenant hadn’t been paying rent
• 56% had used it because of damage to property
• 51% had used it because of anti-social behaviour
• 26% said that they had served a Section 21 notice at the tenants’ request – to enable them to seek social housing to avoid them being classed as intentionally homeless

What’s next?

We encourage members to approach their MPs to explain the impact the loss of Section 21 will have on them and their businesses. A letter template can be downloaded on the SWLA Members Area under ‘stationery’. Alternatively, contact the office if you would prefer a copy by email.