The Green Homes Grant Scheme, under which landlords can apply for a grant of up to £5000 to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, has been extended by a year.
Launched in September 2020, the scheme was due to end on 31st March 2021. As part of a new plan for a green industrial revolution unveiled by the Government this week, the scheme will now be extended until March 2022.
What the extension means in practice
As part of the Green Homes Grants scheme, landlords can apply for grants which are issued as vouchers, and cover up to two-thirds of costs, available for specific measures.
The extension means the vouchers will be valid for three months from the date they are issued or until 31 March 2022 (whichever is earlier). Vouchers must be redeemed before the validity period ends. An extension of the voucher can be requested at any time before your voucher has expired, unless the scheme has been closed.
Higher energy efficiency targets for landlords
As of this year all rental properties that are legally required to have an EPC (other than those with valid exemptions) must have an EPC rating of E or higher to be legally rented out.
Coinciding with the launch of the Green Homes Grant scheme in the summer, the Government also announced plans to raise the minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes to C grade or higher from April 2025 for new tenancies, (unless they have a valid exemption).
The Government is currently consulting on the proposals, with the cost cap proposed for landlords £10,000 – much higher than the current £3,500 level. Under the proposals all landlords will need to hit the targets by 2028 (unless they have a valid exemption).
For more information on the Green Homes Grant scheme, see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme
Article abridged from NRLA
SWLA TradePoint members get an extra 10% off all deals.
The Government has issued a statutory instrument under emergency procedures to prevent, except in specified circumstances, bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) attending at a dwelling house to execute a writ or warrant of possession, execute a writ or warrant of restitution or deliver a notice of eviction.
The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 were laid yesterday just days after the Ministry of Justice was threatened with a judicial review challenge over an ongoing refusal by bailiffs and HCEOs to enforce warrants and writs. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1290/contents/made
The regulations came into force 17th November and apply to England.
The specified circumstances in the regulations allowing attendance are “where the court is satisfied that the claim is against trespassers who are persons unknown or where it was made wholly or partly on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, false statements, substantial rent arrears that predate 23rd March 2020 or, in cases where the person attending is satisfied that the dwelling house is unoccupied at the time of attendance, death of the occupant”.
A case is said to involve substantial rent arrears “if the amount of unpaid rent arrears outstanding at the date on which the order for possession is granted is at least an amount equivalent to 9 months’ rent”. Any unpaid rent arrears accrued after 23rd March 2020 must be disregarded for this purpose.
The regulations also prevent use of the procedure set out in Schedule 12 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (c. 15) to take control of goods located inside a dwelling house.
The Explanatory Memorandum acknowledged that since 20 September, the Lord Chancellor had asked bailiffs not to enforce evictions in areas subject to local lockdown regulations which place restrictions on gatherings in residential properties. Following the introduction of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local Covid-19 Alert Level) Regulations 2020, bailiffs were asked not to enforce evictions in areas designated as Local Alert Level High (2) or Local Alert Level Very High (3).
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.4) Regulations 2020 (“the national health protection regulations”) introduced a national lockdown in England from 5th November until 2nd December 2020.
The Secretary of State for Justice issued The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 45C(1), (2), (3)(c) and 45P of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984(1).
“These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in England,” the statutory instrument says.
“The Secretary of State considers that the restrictions and requirements imposed by these Regulations are proportionate to what they seek to achieve, which is a public health response to that threat.
The Explanatory Memorandum states that the aim is to ensure protection for tenants from being evicted both during the period while the national health protection regulations are in force and the subsequent mid-winter holiday period.
“During this time, public services and businesses may be closed or running at a reduced capacity and securing alternative accommodation may present increased practical difficulties; the Government therefore believes it is right to prevent the enforcement of evictions, in order to reduce the risk of virus transmission and avoid placing additional burdens on the NHS and hindering local authorities in their public health response at a time when pressure on services is most acute.”
Regulation 2 – Residential Tenancies (Protection from Eviction) – expires on 11 January 2021. Regulation 3 – Taking Control of Goods – expires on expiry of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1200).
Article abridged from ‘Local Government Lawyer’
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched an inquiry into the immediate and long-term impact that Covid-19 is having on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in 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 deadline for submissions is 27 November 2020.
On Tuesday 17th November , Gillian Kerr and Linda Johns attended the meeting along with various representatives from the PRS in Plymouth.
Many items were discussed including; actions taken by each party during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Climate Emergency and possible new funding opportunity, Legislation & Policy Updates, HHSRS and issues as we enter the winter.
A message from North Somerset Council;
Would you like to do more to help vulnerable refugee families escaping persecution?
Well, this is your chance to do just that! We have been given great news that the vulnerable persons refugee scheme is back on and we are eager to find privately rented housing to help vulnerable families settle into the UK.
We are looking for properties in North Somerset, including Portishead, Clevedon, Nailsea and Weston-Super-Mare. Accommodation needs to be at least two bedrooms. We can offer void payments on the property whilst we prepare and get them ready for a family to occupy. We work with a team of amazing volunteers who will help to decorate and furnish the property too.
Rent can be paid directly to you the landlord at the local housing rate and in some areas, there is discretion to pay up to rental market rates. We also offer landlords a grant of up to £1000 and an interest free loan up to £5000 toward property renovation and improvements.
Families are supported by a Family Support Worker with regular visits to the property.
Above all, this is a chance to provide much needed help to those who are vulnerable and in need of a safe place to live. If you are interested, please telephone or email: Caroline Crossley, Project Officer for the Refugee Resettlement Team at North Somerset Council on 07824085818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Renters will be protected during the national restrictions, with no bailiff enforcement action.
Renters will be protected during the national restrictions, with no bailiff enforcement action, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced today (5 November 2020).
Measures, including the pause on evictions starting in December, mean evictions will not be enforced until the 11 January 2021 at the earliest, supporting individuals and families who have found themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own.
The only exceptions to this will be the most egregious cases, including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing, and the landlord rightly would like to re-let their property to another tenant.
This builds on protections announced earlier this year, including 6 month notice periods meaning renters now served notice can stay in their homes until May 2021, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.
Courts will remain open through the new national restrictions. Court rules and procedures introduced in September will ensure protections for both tenants and landlords. These include the strict prioritisation of cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes.
These protections are on top of the unprecedented package the government has put in place to help communities through the pandemic, including support for businesses to pay staff salaries and strengthening the welfare safety-net with an over £9 billion boost to the welfare system.
Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
We have already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a 6 month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent.
We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud.
Striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.
For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.
Whilst national restrictions apply, the only circumstances where these protections do not apply are illegal occupation, fraud, anti-social behaviour, eviction of domestic abuse perpetrators in social housing; where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant. We also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears.
The Lord Chancellor has issued guidance to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) relating to the enforcement of writs of control and writs of possession during the national lockdown in England that started on 5th November 2020.
The courts will remain open during the national lockdown.
He says that enforcement visits may continue during the national lockdown, provided that enforcement agents continue to adhere to the Covid-secure guidance and that they do not enter residential properties during this period.
This is the same guidance that was issued for enforcement visits during tier 2 and tier 3 local lockdowns.
Enforcement visits to commercial premises are unchanged and the enforcement agent may enter the premises.
During the national lockdown, enforcement agents are not to attend residential premises to serve notice of eviction or to enforce a writ of possession. This is to protect both public health and struggling households in the private and social rented sector.
There are a number of exceptions where evictions at residential premises can take part. These are in the following circumstances:
The Lord Chancellor also intends to allow evictions where there are “extreme” levels of pre-Covid rent arrears. We await finalised and published details on this.
Article by David Asker, The Sheriff’s Office
This guidance advises a landlord, letting agent or homeowner how to conduct a right to rent check when letting privately rented accommodation. The guidance sets out the specific actions they can take to prevent liability for a civil penalty.
Changes from the last version of right to rent guidance
The most significant updates in this new guidance document relate to:
• the introduction of the Home Office online checking service
• the use of the combination of a passport, plus proof of travel within the
preceding six months (for example a physical or electronic plane/boat/train
ticket or boarding pass) for nationals visiting the UK from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA to demonstrate a right to rent
• an amendment to the lists of acceptable documents set out in the Schedule to include Home Office documents issued to third-country family members of EEA nationals, which show the length of leave granted to such persons (both time-limited and indefinite)
• an amendment to the lists of acceptable documents set out in the Schedule to remove the requirement that a UK birth or adoption certificate must be the full (long) certificate. A short or a long birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland are now acceptable documents to demonstrate a right to rent
• further minor amendments and technical changes to the presentation of the lists of acceptable documents making it simpler for landlords to conduct the initial and follow-up checks
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended.
The furlough scheme would continue to contribute 80 per cent of employees wages up to £2,500 per month for the duration of the extension. However, the Job Retention Bonus, which included a £1,000 payment for businesses that brought back furloughed staff for a minimum period, will now be cancelled.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant will also be extended and will cover 80 per cent of expected trading profits between November to January.
The Public Health Regulations which will underpin the second national lockdown in England, have been laid and will be voted on in Parliament today.
Subject to approval, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 specifically states that activities relating to the sector are allowed to continue under Exceptions to leaving home:
to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property —
(i) visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
(ii) viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
(iii) preparing a residential property to move in;
(iv) moving house;
(v) visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;
These new national lockdown restrictions mean that from 5 November:
For full lockdown information; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
In Saturday’s announcement, the Prime Minister announced additional financial support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This package of support includes:
For full financial support information; https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support
I am sure by now you are all aware of the latest Government lockdown update, announced on Saturday 31st October 2020.
As news and information becomes available from the Government website, regarding all things that may affect landlords, courts, the housing market and tenants, we will update our Website Newsfeed to keep you informed of any changes moving forward.
Article from Plymouth Herald
Thank you to our members who joined us for our first online General Meeting via Zoom on Wednesday. We have received great feedback from many members;
”A great Zoom meeting held the other night. Good format with slides and speakers, with very relevant subjects and our chairman was good fun too! It was interesting to hear from Mark Chubb and how he and the council are prepared to help and support us. I know times are tough for many people, including us Landlords and I only speak for myself and the people I’ve recommended to join The Landlords Association, but the membership fee we pay is outstanding value for money.”
”We found David Aggiss’ session particularly useful – great insights into what’s happening in the market, and very well delivered. We would welcome a return visit by David at some point as he is clearly well-informed and adds a lot of value to understanding of the SWLA landlord. We had our EICR re-done earlier this year so took the opportunity then to make sure we were briefed on this topic. It was good to hear from Mark Chubb – not least to get a better sense of the sort of relationship which PCC wishes to have with the PRS and its responsible landlords. His session was certainly comprehensive.”
A huge thank you to our speakers;
David Aggiss – Three Sixty Mortgages
Mark Chubb – Plymouth City Council – Community Connections
If any of our members missed the meeting and would like the presentation slides sent, please contact the office.
With the current situation, we anticipate that our future meetings will be held by Zoom until we can all safely meet face to face again.
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Need help letting your property?
You may want to consider the North Somerset Council Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS)
North Somerset Council VPRS are seeking properties from private rented landlords to help resettle vulnerable refugee families, giving them a chance to rebuild a safe, secure life in North Somerset.
Benefits to you!
Interested? For further information, please contact:
Caroline Crossley, VPRS Project Officer for North Somerset Council on
01934 427275 or 07824085818
If you would like to attend this meeting, please to register with the SWLA office who will send you further details. You can email email@example.com or phone 01752 510913. Book early to avoid disappointment, we have limited spaces available.
Notice of a General Meeting via Zoom
Wednesday 21st October 2020
Log on for a prompt 7.30pm start
Speakers will include: –
Krissy Salmon from Interbay
Market conditions specifically around investment/BTL lending
Availability of lending – updated criteria
Leasing to local authority/supported living associations – points to note
Mark Chubb – Plymouth City Council – Community Connections
New legislation around Electrical Installation Condition Reports(EICR) and other updated landlord legislation
If you have any questions for the speakers, please email them to the office prior to the meeting and we can forward them on to be covered, where possible. If you have a question during the meeting, you can use the chat box to submit questions which we hope can be answered, time permitting.
Melanie Cotterill – Roper James Solicitors has kindly provided a slide presentation for our members to view at their leisure. Topics covered briefly are Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Business LPAs.
This presentation will be emailed to attendees of the meeting.
Consultation details Issued: 30 September 2020
Respond by: 30 December 2020
Enquiries to: Tel: 020 7215 5000
Please see the following gov.uk link for further information and consultation documents; https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-energy-performance-of-privately-rented-homes
Good news for SWLA members! SWLA Trade Point members will receive a discount of 10% on most purchases at B&Q/Trade Point from 12th October 2020. This is a huge rise from the current 5% discount.
Most items across the entire B&Q/TradePoint store are included (see exclusions below). The discount also applies when ordering online on the TradePoint website https://www.trade-point.co.uk/click-collect/ Remember that it also includes promotions, so if there is a 3 for 2 deal or 10% off, you will receive the 10% discount on top.
The exclusions are:
Use this service to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 towards the cost of making your home more energy efficient.
If your application is successful, you’ll receive a voucher to give to your chosen TrustMark-registered tradesperson.
The Green Homes Grant scheme is only available to home owners and residential landlords in England.
Check you’re eligible for a Green Homes Grant before applying.
To apply, you’ll need:
Read more about the Green Homes Grant scheme.
OFFICIAL; To Private Landlords
Office of the Director of Public Health Ruth Harrell
Director of Public Health Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL6 5UF
T: 01752 307835
Date: 24th September 2020
We are writing to you to ask for your help and support to protect the residents of our city from the threat of COVID 19. As you know only too well there have been worrying developments with the rise of cases nationally and the Government has this week announced more restrictions as part of a concerted effort to tackle this rise.
We are worried that what used to be normal behaviour of young people could potentially help spread the virus.
From this weekend, pubs, bars and restaurants will close by 10pm and we are aware that this is likely to result in an increase of house parties. If this is more than six people, it is against the law and your tenant could be fined £200.
As a responsible landlord, we are asking you to remind all your tenants as a
matter of urgency that any tenancy agreement requires them to abide by the law.
The laws are changing rapidly, so we understand the confusion. To keep things really simple:
The rule of six – no one is allowed to hang out in groups larger than six –
indoors or outside
follow social distancing rules – maintain two metre distance wherever
possible or one metre if you are wearing a face covering
If there are more than six people sharing a property that is classed as a
single household and a bubble and they are allowed to socialise
As a city we have come together to tackle issues as they have arisen and continue to do all we can to keep businesses open. Recent successes include close cooperation with the police, the Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner, the Plymouth Retail Against Crime team and the council’s licensing and public health teams all working really closely to enable people to socialise safely on the Barbican.
We were made aware of an issue of young people gathering outside properties in large numbers last weekend and the police are talking to the owners. This work will continue, but as none of us can be everywhere at all the times, we need your support on ensuring evenings end safely.
Ensure there are good hygiene measures in your properties especially in
If your tenants catch COVID, the advice is they stay in their usual residence – i.e. your property rather than go anywhere else in case they spread the virus and all those in same household must isolate for 14 days
For information about what to do visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
For a reminder of the rule of six visit
Director of Public Health
Plymouth City Council
On the 19th of September 2020, the government launched a new version of the EPC certificate. The certificate has a new modern layout and has features exclusive to the digital version.
This marks the third version of the EPC Certificate and has been designed with the future in mind. The layout is much simplified allowing for new interactive features. More information applicable to Landlords and Tenants can therefore be displayed.
Prominent on the certificate is the EPC Certificate Number which appears to be the same as the Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs). The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) announced in June that this is the first step on the road to Property Passports.
To compliment the new EPC Certificate the UK government have launched a new website to host the England and Wales EPC Register. This can be found at https://find-energy-certificate.digital.communities.gov.uk/ .
This replaces the old EPC Register website which was hosted at www.epcregister.com.
Searches can still be carried out by postcode or certificate number but in addition they can now be carried out using only the street name and town.
The new register also holds the records for display energy certificates (DECs) for public buildings and air conditioning inspection certificated and reports.
Article from Andrew Reeves.