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.
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.
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;
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:
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.
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;
The Trago2Business Sale
Wednesday 27th DECEMBER 2017 TO Wednesday 31st JANUARY 2018 (INCLUSIVE)
20% DISCOUNT OFF STOCK CARPETS, FURNITURE, FITTED KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
(MAXIMUM DISCOUNT – NOT IN ADDITION TO YOUR T2B DISCOUNT)
OTHER DEPARTMENTS WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR YOUR USUAL T2B DISCOUNT.
PLEASE PROCESS ALL TRANSACTIONS THROUGH YOUR T2B ACCOUNT, PRESENTING YOUR CARD FOR EACH PURCHASE. YOUR USUAL DISCOUNT WILL BE APPLIED AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE BUT BE ASSURED THAT THE DIFFERENCE, TO REFLECT THE JANUARY SALE DISCOUNT, WILL BE CALCULATED AT THE END OF THE SALE PERIOD AND A CHEQUE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT OWED WILL BE ISSUED TO YOU ON THE 27TH JANUARY 2017.
CASH CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE: –
IF YOU WISH TO PLACE A LARGE ORDER AND BENEFIT FROM THE 20% DISCOUNT AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE PLEASE EMAIL THE OFFICE AT email@example.com.
CREDIT ACCOUNT CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE:-
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH THE TILL RECEIPT WILL SHOW YOUR USUAL DISCOUNT, THE CORRECT LEVEL OF DISCOUNT WILL BE REFLECTED ON YOUR INVOICE.
** SWLA Members, if you have not yet arranged your Trago2Business discount card, please contact the SWLA office for details on how to apply.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Wednesday 24th January 2018-
Future Inn Plymouth-
Christmas Open Office Afternoon-
Wednesday 13th December 2017
3pm – 6pm
Come and enjoy a mince pie and a drink with committee members, office staff and other SWLA members.
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
House Conditions Surveys
Prosecutions and other enforcement action
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
SWLA will be attending this networking event which is being held at Muddifords Court Country House. All local landlords are welcome, pre-booking is advised, free to attend, please see the following website for more information;
Wednesday 15th November 12.30pm – 4pm. Location; 2nd Floor, The Imperial, Weston Super Mare.
Local representatives from the DWP will be presenting an intensive afternoon on welfare reform via Universal Credit (UC), which is VERY important for local landlords to understand.
PLUS, a short talk on The Ark Passport Scheme; a brand new solution to help more benefit assisted and low income tenants secure private rented accommodation – working in collaboration with North Somerset Council.
Accredited landlords will receive 5 CPD points for attending.
Please book your place ASAP as this course will be very popular and there are limited spaces available. To book, email; firstname.lastname@example.org
(refreshments will be included)
The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the SWLA met with Councillor Steve Ricketts (Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing) and Matt Garrett (Head of Community Connections PCC) at our Dale Road office on Thursday 19th October. Items on the agenda included the PRS Steering Group, Charter, PRS Forum, Council Tax and Empty Homes. Also for discussion was the purpose built student accommodation report contained in the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.
The Government have published official guidance to landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property on complying with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard (EPC band E).
A brief summary;
The domestic minimum standard will be introduced in a phased manner, with triggers for new tenancies signed from 1 April 2018 onwards, and a backstop date for all tenancies from 1 April 2020. This means that, from 1 April 2018 landlords must not let any sub-standard domestic property to new tenants, or renew or extend an existing tenancy agreement with existing tenants, unless either:
a. the landlord has made all the relevant energy efficiency improvements that can be made to the property (or that there are none that can be made) and the property’s energy performance indicator is still below an EPC E, and this exception has been registered on the national PRS Exemptions Register; or
b. no improvements have been made but a valid exemption applies which has been registered on the Exemptions Register.
Then, from 1 April 2020, landlords must not continue to let a sub-standard domestic property, even to existing tenants (where there has been no tenancy renewal, extension or indeed new tenancy), unless:
a. all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made (or that there are none that can be made), the EPC remains below E, and the exception has been registered on the Exemptions Register; or
b. no improvements have been made but a valid exemption applies and has been registered on the Exemptions Register.
Therefore, from 1 April 2018, where a landlord intends to let a domestic property (or from 1 April 2020 continue to let such a property) they will need to check whether their property is covered by the minimum level of energy efficiency provisions, and, if so, ensure that the EPC rating is at E or above. If the EPC rating is below E, they must either take appropriate steps to improve the rating to meet the minimum standard, or register an exemption if applicable.
SWLA will be hosting a general meeting tonight at the Future Inn Hotel, William Prance Road, Plymouth. We hope to see you there for a 7.30pm start. Members and guests welcome.
Speakers will include:-
Duncan Banks, CEO at IU Energy discussing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards(MEES).
Christian Scandurra, presenting Mine2Manage – easy to use landlord software.
Gordon McCaw, Tax Planning Specialist delivering proactive tax advice specifically for landlords.
Wine & orange juice will be served during the evening.
**SWLA memberships expire on 31st October, if you haven’t renewed already, feel free to do so on the night**
Please remember to register your car at the hotel reception upon arrival.