The Chairman and Vice Chairman met at SWLA offices with Steve Ricketts and Matt Garrett for a quarterly meeting.
Subjects on the agenda included
Training venue for accreditation courses.
HMO licensing (New mandatory licensing under the 2016 Planning Bill).
Parking Permits – essential worker replaced by business parking permit for Plymouth.
From 8 May 2017, Plymouth City Council are changing bin collections so that brown bins and bags – or normal household rubbish – will be picked up one week and the green bins and bags – or recycling – will be picked up the next.
The changes will lead to an increase in recycling rates, a more efficient service and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for Plymouth becoming a cleaner and greener city.
Residents will have received letters which set out what weeks their brown and green bins and bags will be collected as well as their garden waste collection, which from 8 May 2017 run on a separate round.
To help make the new system a success, residents are being asked to:
For more information and to check your bin day, please use the following link;
You can also check the FAQs which includes some great hints and tips to read though in case your tenants have any questions;
Open Office – Wednesday 12th July 2017 3.00pm – 6.00pm
Come along and catch up with the office staff, committee members and other SWLA members.
More than half of the Finance Bill has been put on hold until after the general election which is taking place on 8th June 2017.
Among other clauses, the Government have decided to delay the legislation for digitising the tax system. The new system will require small businesses, self employed workers and Landlords to send quarterly digital tax records to HM Revenue and Customs (using a smartphone or computer).
The Government will legislate for the postponed measures at the earliest opportunity at the start of the next parliament.
Article abridged from an article in the Financial Times.
SWLA would like to encourage our members to seek out a quote from either Excaliber (tel;01752 340183) or Bateman Insurance (tel; 0800 731 6689) at renewal time. Not only do SWLA members benefit from a discount on the services offered, but they can be assured that the level of cover and quality of the policy has been thoroughly reviewed by SWLA Directors. SWLA believes that a policy from either of these two independent companies represents the very best value available for the quality of cover provided. Bateman & Excaliber are long-standing supporters of SWLA, who work with us to ensure that members are provided with a personal service which is tailored to their individual needs.
Quotes are free, with no obligation and take just a few minutes of your time!
The next meeting of the Association will be held on Wednesday 26th April 2017 at the Future Inn Hotel, William Prance Road, Plymouth at 7:30pm
Speakers will include:-
The Waste & Recycling Team from Plymouth City Council
Recycling and alternate weekly collections.
Tax Manager Annette Stone from Parkhurst Hill and Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants
Discussing changes in Tax liabilities for Landlords,
quarterly reporting, inheritance tax and other topics of Landlord interest.
Introducing ‘The Private & Rented Housing People’
An environmental health practitioner of 24 years, Scott Carpenter has vast experience in local government. Now working in the private sector, offering advice, HMO inspections, reports, HMO Fire Risk Assessments and more.
Wine or orange juice will be served during the evening.
We hope to see you there, guests are very welcome.
Please remember to register your car at the hotel reception upon arrival.
There is a temporary alternative route due to the road works on Tavistock Road;
HMRC’s updated e-learning guide, Letting out property, is clear, flexible and easy to use. This comprehensive guide will benefit both new and experienced landlords, click the link to visit the website:
To keep you up to date, they have also introduced a ‘News’ section with the latest information from HMRC on property letting:
The guide covers a wide range of topics including;
The Government has announced measures to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for all letting agents across England. The announcement comes in response to long running campaigns to ensure that tenants and landlords receive greater protection. The move follows steps towards regulation taken in Scotland and Wales. No commencement date set as yet,.
The Chairman Steve Lees attended a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Private Rented Sector at the House of Commons.
The meeting was chaired by Oliver Colvile MP for Plymouth Sutton and addressed by representative speakers from ARLA and Shelter.
The subject of the meeting was agent fees.
Minutes of the meeting can be forwarded upon request from the SWLA Office.
From 6th April 2017, Landlords can be issued with civil penalty notices for housing breaches.
Local authorities can fine up to £30,000.00 for a range of offences. These offences include;
– Failing to comply with improvement notices served by the council
– Breaches of HMO Licencing
– HMO management
– Selective licencing
Landlords will be given notice of intent to serve a penalty and 28 days to make representation. The council then decide on whether a penalty will be imposed. The Landlord is given a further 28 days to either appeal to the first tier tribunal or pay.
Rent Repayment Orders have also been extended from 6th April 2017. These allow a tenant or a Local Authority to reclaim rent or housing benefit where a Landlord has rented out an unlicensed property such as a HMO.
All of the steps above are designed to tackle criminal Landlords.
In October 2017, banning orders will be introduced which could bar Landlords from letting or managing properties.
Gillian Kerr (Office Manager) attended the West of England meeting on 22nd March in Bristol.
Points of discussion were, The Rent with Confidence Scheme – the Rental Standard, the Housing & Planning Act, Prosecutions & other enforcement actions and the State of the market.
All parties consulted seeming to agree with the Rental Scheme Standards, hoping to re-launch the Rent with Confidence at Bristol’s EXPO on 24th May 2017.
On Tuesday 14th March, SWLA Chairman Steve Lees attended a Modern Slavery event at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth. The event was organised by Devon and Cornwall Police and Plymouth City Council. The aim was to improve awareness of slavery and trafficking within both our local area and nationally.
Attendees included representatives from the NCA (National Crime Agency), the Gangmasters Licencing Authority and the charity Restore. Also in attendance was Superintendent J Capey of D&C Police.
The term ‘Modern Slavery’ describes situations where people are forced to work through the threat of physical or mental abuse, treated as a commodity, bought or sold as property, or physically constrained with restrictions on their freedom. It also includes labour exploitation where long hours are worked for little or no money and human trafficking.
If you have any concerns for the safety of anyone with regards to slavery/trafficking, you can report any findings to the police on 101 or by calling the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700
For further reading and information, please visit the Devon and Cornwall Police website;
Vice Chairman Iain Maitland (SWLA) and LASW Coordinator Gillian Kerr met with Plymouth City Council. Hosted By Matt Garrett, Head of Housing, also in attendance were representatives from Plymouth University, PATH and local agents.
Subjects discussed included landlord accreditation, HMO licensing (current and future) West of England Rental Standard, student accommodation, and delivering the plan for Private Rented Housing.
From 1st April 2017, the automatic entitlement of housing costs within Universal Credit for some 18-21 year old will be removed. However, there will be exemptions to protect the most vulnerable claimants.
You can read more from the Explanatory Memorandum here; http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/252/pdfs/uksiem_20170252_en.pdf
The Government’s reason for the action is so that “young people in the benefit system face the same choices as other young people who go out to work and cannot yet afford to leave the parental home.” They also feel that it makes the system fair by encouraging young people who are able to stay at home, to do so, therefore alleviating the cost to tax payers.
There are a few exemptions including claimants who are orphaned or their parents live abroad, claimants who are at serious risk in their parental home and claimants where there is serious risk of damage to their physical or mental health if they stayed in their parental home.
The regulation will not remove the entitlement to claimants if they are in any of the following circumstances;
You can read more on the following Government Website;
On Friday 10th March, SWLA Vice Chairman Iain Maitland attended Teignmouth District Council’s workshop at Old Forde House, Newton Abbot.
The object of the days attendance was to address ways and means of local authorities to reach out to landlords and tenants to make them aware of new legislation. Also discussed ways of making landlords aware of their responsibilities and to reassure landlords and tenants that help is available.
Thursday 30th March 2017 – 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 600 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.
The Chairman and Vice Chairman had meetings with three of the local Members of Parliament.
On the 13th February Oliver Colvile visited SWLA offices and on Friday 24th February Steve and Iain visited Johnny Mercer’s office (see Mercer’s Twitter account) followed by a meeting in SWLA office with Gary Streeter.
We believe all three meetings were constructive, covering such diverse topics as Rogue Landlords, 2016 Planning Bill, Digital HMRC quarterly reporting, relationships with local authorities and HMO licencing.
Oliver Colvile Chairman of the Parliamentary PRS group invited SWLA to attend future policy meeting.
We hope to meet other local MPs in the near future to raise members concerns. .
Email from the Department for Communities and Local Government:
The Government has published its Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’. The link to the Housing White Paper is here:
You will see that the white paper refers to improving safeguards in the Private Rented Sector and making renting fairer for tenants. I would like to bring your attention to paragraphs 4.31 to 4.35 which focus on driving up safety and standards in the sector, banning letting agent fees to tenants, and promoting longer tenancies.
The Private Rented Sector related paragraphs are below;
A fairer deal for renters
4.31 Over 4 million households now rent their home from a private landlord – nearly twice as many as ten years ago – and there are around 4 million leasehold homes in England. Standards in the private rented sector remain below those in the social and owner occupied sectors, but are improving: just 28% of homes are now non-decent compared to 37% in 2010. An increasing number of private tenants (65%) are happy with their tenure, compared to 48% in 2004-05.
4.32 Where there are concerns, these tend to focus on affordability and security. In the long term, building more homes will help with affordability, but renters often face upfront costs including fees charged by letting agents to tenants. Tenants have no control over these fees because the agent is appointed by and works for the landlord. This is wrong. The Government has already introduced transparency on fees. We will consult early this year, ahead of bringing forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows, to ban letting agent fees to tenants. This will improve competition in the market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they pay.
4.33 The Government will continue to drive up safety and standards in the private rented sector, and drive out the rogue landlords. The Government will implement measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which will introduce banning orders to remove the worst landlords or agents from operating, and enable local councils to issue fines as well as prosecute.
4.34 We are working with industry experts to consider whether we should take action to mandate electrical safety checks for rented properties and client money protection for letting agents as part of our efforts to raise standards and will set out next steps on this shortly. We have also set out our plans to extend mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which will ensure greater protection for thousands of vulnerable tenants.
4.35 The predominant use of 6 and 12 month contracts can mean that families who are renting need to move home before they had planned to, which can mean children moving school, alongside the uncertainty and costs associated with taking on a new rental property. According to a Shelter report last year an estimated 65,000 families say that they were forced to move their child’s school the last time they moved within the private rented sector. We are proposing to make the private rented sector more family-friendly by taking steps to promote longer tenancies on new build rental homes, as set out in chapter 3. We are working with the National Housing Federation and the British Property Federation to encourage longer-term tenancies in private rental homes delivered by housing associations and institutional investors. We will be speaking to the Local Government Association about local authorities’ appetite to do the same, where they are delivering market private rented housing through local housing companies. Further to this we will consider what more we can do to support families already renting privately, while encouraging continued investment in the sector.
East Devon District Council require two bed plus properties.
Possible 5 year tenancies at Local Housing Allowance levels.
If interested, for further details see, http://eastdevon.gov.uk/news/2016/04/council-calls-out-to-landlords-for-accommodation-for-syrian-refugees/
Monday 30th January 2017 – 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.
For more details see landlord training section of website.
From the 1st December 2016 there are two new measures in the Immigration Act that will affect the private rented sector.
This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to tackle illegal immigration.
For further information on the measures and the Immigration Act 2016 see the GOV.UK website, Residential Tenancies fact-sheet, Guidance on evictions, The Immigration Act 2016.
Do you own property in Wales?
Rent Smart Wales
Landlords registration and agent licensing to comply with the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 becomes law on 23rd November 2016.
To find out if it applies to you and what is required to comply with the law visit https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/