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Free MEES Webinar for Landlords Hosted by The Centre for Sustainable Energy & Bristol City Council – Wednesday 6th October 2021

Posted on September 24th, 2021 -

**Please note, this is not an SWLA webinar, please book direct with the host**

Subject – Understanding MEES Obligations

A webinar for landlords and agents to understand the Minimum Energy Efficiency
Standards Regulations


When – Wednesday 6 October 2021 at 5pm via TEAMS


Register for this online webinar by clicking here; private.landlords@bristol.gov.uk

Find out at this webinar about:
• What are the MEES regulations?
• Understanding and interpreting your EPC
• Costs for bringing a property to meet the future minimum C level
from an E
• Funding options
• Exemptions

The webinar will be presented by Sonia Pruzinsky and Pete McNeil from CSE and
moderated by Fran Miller, Bristol City Council. The centre for sustainable energy
(CSE) is an independent national charity that shares its knowledge and experience to
help people change the way they think and act on energy. They do this by giving
advice, managing innovative energy projects, training, and supporting others to act,
and undertaking research and policy analysis.


After registering you will receive a link to the webinar on Teams.

For any queries please contact private.landlords@bristol.gov.uk


Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Delayed until April 2024

Posted on September 24th, 2021 -

Businesses get more time to prepare for digital tax changes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Article from gov.uk.

Businesses will have an extra year to prepare for the digitalisation of Income Tax, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced today.

Recognising the challenges faced by many UK businesses and their representatives as the country emerges from the pandemic, and having listened to stakeholder feedback, the government will introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) a year later than planned, in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

A later start for MTD for ITSA gives those required to join more time to prepare and for HMRC to deliver a robust service, with additional time for customer testing in the pilot.

Forming part of the government’s ambition to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, Making Tax Digital is the first phase of HMRC’s move towards a modern, digital tax service fit for the 21st century. It supports businesses through their digitalisation journey and provides a digital service that many have come to expect in their everyday lives.

Lucy Frazer, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

The digital tax system we are building will be more efficient, make it easier for customers to get tax right, and bring wider benefits in increased productivity.

But we recognise that, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical that everyone has enough time to prepare for the change, which is why we’re giving people an extra year to do so.

We remain firmly committed to Making Tax Digital and building a tax system fit for the 21st century.

MTD for Income Tax will now be mandated for businesses and landlords with a business income over £10,000 per annum in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

General partnerships will not be required to join MTD for ITSA until the tax year beginning in April 2025, while the date other types of partnerships will be required to join will be confirmed in the future.

In March 2021, the government announced a new, fairer system of penalties for the late filing and late payment of tax for ITSA. The new penalty system for those who are mandated for MTD for ITSA will now come into effect in the tax year beginning in April 2024, and in the tax year beginning in April 2025 for all other ITSA taxpayers.

For many businesses, MTD is a natural extension of the way they already operate. Evidence shows that many businesses currently operating MTD are already experiencing wider benefits and reductions in input errors.

Eligible businesses and landlords will have the opportunity to gain the benefits of MTD early by signing up to the pilot, which is already underway and will be gradually expanded during the 2022 to 2023 tax year, ready for larger scale testing in the 2023 to 2024 tax year.

Collaboration with tax professionals and customers has been key in the development of MTD and HMRC has worked closely with partners in the business and tax communities on the proposed design and scope of MTD for ITSA.

The laying of regulations today sets out the technical details of how MTD for ITSA will work, and its new launch date – giving certainty to businesses.

HMRC will continue to work in close partnership with business and accountancy representative bodies and software developers to ensure taxpayers are well supported as they adopt MTD for ITSA.

Further information

Last year, the government published Building a trusted, modern tax administration system, setting out a vision of a UK tax system fit for the 21st century, designed to improve its resilience, effectiveness and support for taxpayers. MTD is the first phase of a move toward this modern, digital tax service.

Making Tax Digital (MTD) first launched for those with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000 per annum) in April 2019. Since MTD for VAT was launched in April 2019, over 1.5 million businesses have signed up, including a number of VAT-registered businesses that have joined voluntarily.

VAT-registered businesses with taxable turnover below the threshold need to have joined MTD for their first tax return from April 2022. Over 30% of these customers have already signed up voluntarily.

As part of the 2020 announcement, the government set out that it would be extending MTD to businesses and landlords with business and/or property income over £10,000 per annum that are liable for Income Tax from April 2023.

MTD for Income Tax is now being introduced from the tax year beginning in April 2024. Those within scope will need to keep digital records and use software to update HMRC quarterly, through MTD software, however, MTD does not change when taxpayers need to pay their tax. This announcement does not affect the MTD for Income Tax pilot, which will continue as planned.

To align with the introduction of MTD for Income Tax in 2024, reformed penalties are being introduced for Income Tax taxpayers required to use MTD in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

For all other Income Tax taxpayers, the new penalty regime will be introduced in the tax year beginning in April 2025.

Simple partnerships will not be required to join MTD for Income Tax until the tax year beginning in April 2025. HMRC will confirm at a later date when complex partnerships will be required to join.

For further information see;

Check when to sign up for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


SWLA Inheritance Tax Webinar

Posted on September 22nd, 2021 -

When – 7pm Wednesday 29th September 2021
Subject- Inheritance Tax – Know Your Limits 
Where- Zoom

Melanie Cotterill of Roper James Solicitors will be presenting on the subject of inheritance tax. It will be a general view of inheritance tax to include; Residents Nil Rate Band Allowance, Lifetime Gifting and available exemptions.  

If you would like to register for this webinar, please email the SWLA office to book your free place.

The Zoom link will be sent to all registered members prior to the webinar.


Ashley Taylor Webinar 22/09/2021

Posted on September 20th, 2021 -

**PLEASE NOTE – THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR – PLEASE SIGN UP BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW IF YOU WISH TO ATTEND**

Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal invites all SWLA members to the following free landlord webinar; 
When – 11am Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Subject- 1. Changes coming in on 01 October  2. Sub-letting 
Where- Zoom

Martyn will be updating attendees on recent cases of concern and forthcoming changes in practice.  With the end of some of the Coronavirus restrictions, there are changes coming in from 01 October which you will need to be aware of. The specific subject this month is Sub Letting, authorised or not, the pitfalls, dangers and damage limitation.  Too many landlords are being caught out and landed with costs they never thought possible.

If you would like to sign up, please click the following registration link;

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4LGAUncZQh6Iybban7QrVw

The webinar is limited to 500 attendees on a first come, first served basis.



GAS SAFETY WEEK 2021

Posted on September 15th, 2021 -

Gas Safety Week: Fighting for a Gas Safe Nation Landlords’ legal responsibilities – Annual Gas Safety Checks

We are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2021, taking place 13 – 19 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 to ensure their tenants and wider communities stay safe.

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 the engineer arrives at the property.

For more information and to find or check an engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk


Notice Periods to Return to Pre Covid Lengths from 01 October 2021

Posted on September 9th, 2021 -

The UK Government has confirmed that notice periods will return to their pre-COVID lengths from 01 October 2021.

Following the pandemic and the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the UK Government initially increased all notices to six months for most grounds (including Section 21 notices), with exemptions for certain serious cases.

From 01 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 notice periods were at least four months in most circumstances, apart from exemptions for the most serious cases.

Moving forward, the UK Government retain the power to implement any similar measures again in the future should the public health situation worsen. To this end, legislation has been tabled that retains the ability for the UK Government to reapply longer notice periods until 25 March 2022 as a backstop.

Additionally, they will update the landlord, tenant and local authority renting guidance and court guidance ahead of 01 October 2021 to reflect that notice periods will be reverting to their pre-COVID lengths.

There will be brand new section 21 and 8 notices for use in England from 1 October 2021.

Section 8 Minimum Notice Periods from 01 August 2021

The notice periods for rent arrears grounds 8,10 and 11 changed to:

  • two months if the rent arrears are less than four months in total at the time the notice is served; or
  • four weeks if the rent arrears are more than four months in total at the time the notice is served and no other ground is being relied on.

Section 8 Minimum Notice Periods From 01 October 2021

Notice periods revert to pre-COVID lengths;

  • Section 8 using any of grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 16 – two months and cannot expire before the end of the fixed term
  • Section 8 using the rent arrears grounds (8, 10 and 11) – two weeks
  • Section 8 using grounds 3, 4, 6, 7b, 12, 13, 14A, 14ZA, 15 or 17 – two weeks
  • Section 8 using ground 7a (anti-social behaviour with a conviction) – One month for fixed term tenancy, 4 weeks for periodic tenancy.
  • Section 8 using Ground 14 (the discretionary ground for anti-social behaviour) – Immediately after the notice counts as served (usually 24 hours)

Section 21 Minimum Notice Periods

Prior to 26 March 2020 – 2 months

26 March 2020 – 28 August 2020 – 3 months

29 August 2020 – 31 May 2021 – 6 months

01 June 2021 – 30 September 2021 – 4 months

01 October 2021 – 2 months


SWLA Office

Posted on September 3rd, 2021 -

Thank you to all of the traders who worked on modernising our office front, a brilliant job, I am sure our members will agree.


The Government has Extended Covid-19 Adjusted Right to Rent Checks until 5 April 2022

Posted on August 27th, 2021 -

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 5 April 2022 (inclusive):

  • checks can currently be carried out over video calls
  • tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • landlords should use the Home Office Landlord Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in Landlords Guide to Right to Rent or use the Home Office right to rent online service.

It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in England.


Rental Reform is Coming – Including the Abolition of Section 21

Posted on August 27th, 2021 -

The proposals that the NRLA have made, with the backing of SWLA can be read in full here;

Background

At the beginning of the current session of Parliament in May 2021, the UK Government reiterated its commitment to reform the private rented sector. They have said that they will publish a White Paper – a policy document outlining their proposals for future legislation – in autumn 2021.

The White Paper is expected to set out the Government’s plans for possession reform and the future of Section 21 (so-called ‘no fault’) possession, as well as a broader remit, including exploring mandatory redress for landlords, the merits of a landlord register, and reforms to enforcement.

The NRLA & SWLA have welcomed the Government’s decision to publish a white paper, recognising the significance of the changes for the sector. We are participating, along with other stakeholders, in roundtables chaired by Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, to discuss the issues which will be raised in the White Paper.

We have now also set out our proposals for the private rented sector, in our report: A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector.

Our Campaign

The NRLA & SWLA are calling for:  

  1. Clear and comprehensive grounds for possession: There needs to clear and comprehensive grounds upon which landlords can legitimately regain possession of a property for when there has been a ‘fault’, and where the landlord needs to make business decisions such as selling the property, moving in, or making substantial changes.  
  2. Improved access to dispute resolution and the development of a new landlord/tenant conciliation service: to prevent, wherever possible, possession cases ending up in court in the first place. Alongside this, for those cases which do proceed to court, reforms are needed to allow them to be heard more swiftly, including greater use of technology to hear cases and ensuring tenants can access suitable advice and support much earlier than they currently do.
  3. A redress scheme for the sector which can improve compliance by linking to the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). Such a scheme would make the need for a separate national register of landlords redundant. A redress scheme should also be accompanied by a full review to establish if certain types of local landlord licensing schemes are still required. 
  4. A review of enforcement: The UK Government should work with local authorities to conduct an assessment of the ability of relevant departments to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them to tackle criminal landlords. Alongside this, central government needs to provide upfront, multi-year funding to held councils build their capacity to tackle bad practice.
  5. Lifetime deposits: It is vital that the new system in no way discourages landlords from making valid claims for damage to properties. Landlords cannot be expected to give up their right of recourse to a security deposit until such time that they are satisfied there will be no need to make a claim against it. 


New Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Private Rented Sector newsletter

Posted on August 27th, 2021 -

To read the newsletter; MHCLG PRS Newsletter (mailchi.mp)

To subscribe to the newsletter; MHCLG – PRS Newsletter (list-manage.com)

Dear colleagues, We’re delighted to be able to send you the first edition of the new Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Private Rented Sector newsletter.
 
Many of you have said that you would like more regular updates on what Government is doing to reform the private rented sector, and we hope that these newsletters will provide you with those insights.  We will aim to share the key headlines from our work programme as it progresses, particularly as we develop a White Paper as promised in this year’s Queen’s Speech.
 
We have already had the pleasure of meeting some of you but wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves to those who we haven’t been able to speak to yet. We are Caroline Crowther and Charlotte Spencer, Directors (job share) for Leasehold and Private Rented Sector at MHCLG. We joined MHCLG last year after working across Government on a range of policy issues such as disability and employment, child poverty, legal aid, and on EU & international negotiations. This move has allowed us to fulfil a long-held ambition to work on housing given its importance to absolutely everyone and its role as a key plank of people’s wellbeing.
 
The past 18 months has been a strange and difficult time. As you know, a number of legislative changes were quickly introduced to offer protection to social and private tenants by delaying when landlords could start court proceedings to evict tenants and preventing bailiffs from serving notices and carrying out evictions. Appreciating the pressure placed on landlords, other tenants and local communities, notice periods for the most serious cases were dropped and restrictions on bailiff enforcement have now been lifted in line with improved public health situation and the easing of national restrictions.
 
We worked with the judiciary to put in place new court arrangements that seek to ensure appropriate support to all parties alongside a new mediation pilot.  We published new guidance on the possession action process for tenants and landlords, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-possession-action-process-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants.
 
We would like to thank you for your support and ongoing engagement during this period.
 
Moving forward, we are excited to progress our work on renter reform. We are particularly excited to hear your thoughts on how government can achieve its aim of developing a private rented sector that works for everyone and have planned a programme of engagement over the coming months to allow us to support conversations between you and our ministers.
 
Our recent round tables on the shape of the reform programme and tenancy reform were lively and engaging sessions and we’ve included the minutes in newsletter so you can see the range of issues we discussed (more details below).
   
We want to gather as much feedback as possible from you on how you think the PRS works, including examples of what’s going well in your local authority area or with your stakeholder groups, as well as where the situation is more difficult.  You can reach the team at our inbox PRSStrategyandEngagement@communities.gov.uk.
 
We are really looking forward to talking with many of you at our PRS roundtables and in other forums, staying connected on all things private rented sector – there is and will be much to share!
 
Best wishes,
 
Caroline and Charlotte
Delivering a Renters’ Reform White Paper

White papers are policy documents produced by the Government that set out their proposals for future legislation. Our Renters’ Reform White Paper will set out ambitions for the PRS, including meeting the Government’s manifesto commitment to delivering a better deal for renters while ensuring landlords continue to have the tools and confidence they need to operate. This includes:
 Abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and reforming landlords’ rights to regain their property when it is fair and reasonable to do soIntroducing a new ‘lifetime’ deposit to ease the burden when tenants choose to moveAlso, Bringing forward proposed reforms to drive improvements in standards in rented accommodation, including by ensuring all tenants have a right to redress, andExploring the merits of a landlord register to ensure well targeted, effective enforcement that drives out criminal landlords 
Work is currently underway to develop these proposals, and it is important for us to ensure that new policies and interventions are shaped and sequenced in ways that have maximum effect when they are introduced.
Stakeholder Roundtables

This is why we’re organising a series of round table events which will allow our minister, Eddie Hughes MP, and senior officials to learn from your experience to inform the development of the reform programme. In June, we held our first session, sharing information about our ambition for the renters’ reform agenda, while hearing the views and key priorities of stakeholders representing the diverse make up of the sector.
 
At the second roundtable we discussed some of the detail of Tenancy Reform, and heard views on the challenges and opportunities faced in reforming tenancy structure and grounds for possession. As you might expect, stakeholders put forward a range of views at each of the roundtables, but many expressed support for learning from the experience of the last year particularly with regard to implementing longer notice periods for tenants and putting in place more support to allow landlords and tenants to mediate to overcome difficulties.
 
At the latest roundtable, we discussed options for a Lifetime Deposit model. There was broad agreement amongst stakeholders on the principle for a lifetime deposit model, but there is some further thinking to do around ensuring that a potential solution will work to support the wide range of renters in the market and that it is easy to understand and use.

We’ve attached the minutes from the sessions below.
 
The next roundtable will be on 15 September on the topic of Dispute Resolutions.
 
We are shaping the invite lists to make sure that discussions are manageable, but that they also provide opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders to attend and contribute, particularly where they have an interest in a specific aspect of PRS reform. If we are unable to invite you to attend then we still strongly welcome your thoughts and contributions and encourage you to get in touch with our team to discuss how best to do this.
 
We’re particularly keen to hear from the voices that matter the most – tenants and landlords in the PRS. Some of you have already offered to facilitate user group engagement and we are currently working with you on potential ideas, including running webinars, focus groups and surveys. In the meantime, please get in touch with us at PRSStrategyandEngagement@communities.gov.uk if you have more ideas on reaching tenants and landlords.
 
Minister Hughes is also very keen to engage directly with many of you through outreach visits across the country over the summer – keep an eye on this space for information on upcoming visits!
 Other Updates 
Lifetime Deposits User Working GroupThe Queen’s Speech announced the Government’s proposal for a new ‘lifetime’ tenancy deposit model to ease the burden on tenants when moving from one tenancy to the next, helping improve the experience of those living in the private rental sector.
 
We have therefore established a Lifetime Deposits User Working Group comprising representatives from the sector including agent, tenant and landlord representative groups, to provide industry expertise on ‘lifetime’ deposit solutions. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who were procured through an open tender, will also be working closely with the Department and the User Group over the Summer to help build potential lifetime deposit models.
 
We held the first meeting on 1 July where the work programme on lifetime deposits was discussed, and we will be working closely with the User Group as work progresses over the Summer.
 
 
Funding for Intelligence Database subscriptionMHCLG has made funding available to allow one year’s subscription to the Intelligence Database (IDB) for those districts in England who are not yet members.
 
The IDB is an online platform which allows local authorities to share intelligence about a business or person of interest. Local authorities can use the IDB as a central intelligence source for a wide range of housing enforcement investigations, when considering issuing a first penalty to ensure that the business or individual has not already been issued with a first penalty by another local authority and also to fulfil their duties under s14 of the Tenant Fees Act (TFA) to notify relevant authorities when taking or withdrawing enforcement action.
 
The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) are facilitating IDB training and access, and would be grateful if you could forward this letter to your contacts within your local districts, asking that they contact them at estate.agency@powys.gov.uk to get started.
 
 
Landlord Register discovery phaseAs part of exploring the potential merits of a landlord register, we are procuring an external supplier to conduct an 8-10 week ‘Discovery Phase’ across September-November 2021. This phase will involve user research including interviews with a range of stakeholders to identify the needs of different users and will produce proposals for how some of the issues identified could be solved. We will provide more information on this in due course or as this work progresses 
 
A Fit and Proper Person test for mobile (park) home site owners comes into forceMobile homes are an important part of the housing sector offering homes to over 85,000 households, most of whom are elderly and vulnerable.
 
The Government is committed to improving the sector and the lives of all residents.
As part of that commitment, Regulations were made on 23 September 2020 to introduce a fit and proper person test for site owners or managers of residential mobile home sites.
 
The first part of the Regulations came into force on 1 July 2021. From that date local authorities had to be ready to receive and process applications from site owners.
Site owners will have until 1 October 2021 to submit an application to be assessed and placed on a local register of fit and proper persons. The register will be published online by each local authority.
 
Local authorities can charge fees to cover the cost of carrying out their fit and proper functions but must publish a fee policy before doing so.
Non-statutory guidance on the implementation of a fit and proper person test for mobile home park site owners and setting a fee policy are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-homes-fit-and-proper-person-test-guidance-for-local-authorities
 

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Review The HHSRS is the tool used to assess hazardous conditions in all residential property. It’s particularly used by local authorities as the enforce standards in the private rented sector. An HHSRS assessment identifies whether one or more of the 29 HHSRS hazards are present in a property – these range from common hazards like falls, fire, excess cold to less common hazards like radon gas or legionella. The HHSRS assessor will then establish how serious the hazard is. If it’s at the most serious ‘category 1’ level, the local authority has a duty to take enforcement action, which ranges from a legal notice informing the landlord of the hazard, a notice requiring works are carried out or even the prohibition of all or part of the property. For very serious hazards local authorities can carry out works themselves.
 
The HHSRS hasn’t been updated in over 12 years and landlords, tenants and local authorities say it is complicated and inefficient to use. We’re now 10 months into our two-year review of the system which is exploring how to simplify it, how to implement minimum standards for some hazards and the development of digital solutions for inspecting properties.
Renters’ Reform Roundtable 23 June 2021:
https://mcusercontent.com/e577a620afac5c7a87c8c1044/files/791f26c2-c8fc-84fc-cad1-dbd0aaed2b76/PRS_Roundtable_1_minutes.02.pdf

Tenancy Reform Roundtable 27 July 2021:
https://mcusercontent.com/e577a620afac5c7a87c8c1044/files/8fcac24e-d849-a07c-8c14-3b10d265c35d/Tenancy_reform_roundtable_minutes_July_2021.pdf

Lifetime Deposits Roundtable 18 August 2021:
https://mcusercontent.com/e577a620afac5c7a87c8c1044/files/d1002127-49af-d984-a970-90202fefa420/Lifetime_Deposits_Roundtable_Minutes_18_August_2021.pdf



Free Landlord Webinar – by Ashley Taylors Legal – All SWLA Members Welcome

Posted on August 12th, 2021 -

**PLEASE NOTE – THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR – PLEASE SIGN UP BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW IF YOU WISH TO ATTEND**

Martyn Taylor of Ashley Taylors Legal invites all SWLA members to the following free landlord webinar; 
When – 11am Wednesday 18th August 2021
Subject- Section 8 Notices – Let’s get them right!

Where- Zoom

Martyn will be looking at the many section 8 possession changes that we have had over such a short period of time. It will be a very interesting and valuable webinar for landlords to listen in to.

If you would like to sign up, please click the following registration link;

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FYb0U7OESAGqFLVBG74SgQ

The webinar is limited to 500 attendees on a first come, first served basis.


Trade Point – Latest Deals 20th August – 16th September

Posted on August 12th, 2021 -

**Remember, you will get your SWLA 10% Trade Point discount on top of these deals**

Also, you can win a van each month! Just scan your Trade Point card twice over the month to be entered.


Section 8 Notice Period Change from 01 August 2021

Posted on August 11th, 2021 -

As published in our June bulletin;

The notice periods for rent arrears grounds 8,10 and 11 have changed to:

  • two months if the rent arrears are less than four months in total at the time the notice is served; or
  • four weeks if the rent arrears are more than four months in total at the time the notice is served and no other ground is being relied on.


Update to Section 8, Form 3; (Notice Seeking Possession)

Posted on August 11th, 2021 -

On 03 August 2021 the government updated ‘Form 3’ to correct a typographical error. This does not affect the validity of the form published 1 June 2021. SWLA stationery has been updated.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms#form-3


A New Easy to read version of the “How to Rent” guide released by the Government (Please note this does not replace the existing “How To Rent” guide).

Posted on July 26th, 2021 -

A new ‘easy read’ version of the How To Rent guide has been released by Government.
Please note the publication of the ‘easy read’ version of the guide DOES NOT replace the current December 2020 version of the “How to Rent” booklet. Landlords should continue to serve the December 2020 version of the “How to Rent” booklet and only serve the easy to read one as a supplement to the original if needed. The Document is specifically designed to simplify the language and ensure that there is an option for the information in the guide to be accessible, if needed.

Landlords are reminded they MUST serve the latest version of the standard ‘How to Rent’ booklet at the start of a new tenancy. Also rules were brought in 5 years ago making it mandatory that If the document has been updated since the tenant moved in, then landlords also need to serve an updated copy on tenancy renewal, or the creation of a statutory periodic tenancy.

Government link to the ‘easy read’ “How to Rent” Guide. Please note if the link doesn’t open please copy and paste it into your browser.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1004958/How_to_Rent_-_easy_read.pdf

Article abridged from NRLA


Stamp Duty Holiday Enters New Phase

Posted on July 22nd, 2021 -

From 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021, buyers can still benefit from not paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on properties that cost up to £250,000 across England and Northern Ireland.

The previous phase of the SDLT holiday (where the nil rate band was previously up to £500,000) helped stimulate the housing market, with estate agents reporting an influx of both buyers and sellers keen to take advantage of cuts to SDLT.


Stamp Duty Land Tax rates will return to the original rates from 1 October 2021. This means the nil rate band will be applicable only on purchases up to £125,000, and 2 per cent up to £250,000. First-time buyers, however, will continue to benefit from relief on purchases up to £300,000.

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax


Seven Agents Expelled from The Property Ombudsman

Posted on July 22nd, 2021 -

Seven estate and letting agents have been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) after failing to comply with parts of the TPO Codes of Practice and pay subsequent awards made by the Ombudsman, totalling £112,257.04.

All of the complaints against the agents were in relation to lettings, most involved multiple complaint cases, and all now appear to have stopped trading. The expelled agents and outstanding awards are:

  • Nextmove – £3,256.80
  • Marques Residential Limited – £17,775
  • Lang and Ward – £250
  • William Huxley – £6,583
  • TM Estates Limited – £23,700
  • Abbey Properties – £400
  • Berkshire Estates – £60,292.24

All of the complaints against the respective agents were independently reviewed and upheld by the Ombudsman, who directed payment of the money to those owed, together with compensation in all the cases. TPO members are required to comply with any award and/or direction given by the Ombudsman and accepted by the complainants. To date, all seven agents have failed to make any payment.

The Ombudsman referred the agent to the scheme’s independent Compliance Committee, which ruled the firms should be expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme. None of the agents are currently registered with a redress scheme, which is a requirement of every sales and letting agent in order to trade legally. They also do not appear to be members of a Client Money Protection scheme and do not hold any professional memberships. Most no longer have active websites or advertise on any of the main property portals, except for Abbey Properties, which has been reported to Trading Standards.

Gerry Fitzjohn, Non-Executive Director and Chairman of TPO’s Finance Committee: “Cases like these are rare, evidenced by the fact that just 0.1% of all TPO agents are referred to the Compliance Committee. As members of TPO, agents have an obligation to provide a reliable, trustworthy and professional service, and where they are found to fail in this, are obliged to comply with awards made by the Ombudsman. Last year 97% of agents paid awards made. However, in all of these cases, the agents have not co-operated fully and have failed to pay awards made.

I would like to remind agents of their obligation to co-operate with any investigations by TPO. The Ombudsman requires any evidence they can provide and that is their chance to put across their side of the story. While the vast majority of agents do co-operate, those that do not put themselves at greater risk of having a complaint upheld, when The Ombudsman has only the consumer’s evidence to consider. Agents must comply with any award and/or direction made by The Ombudsman against them and pay the Complainant the amount of any such award within the required period for payment. Cases of non-compliance are taken very seriously and are dealt with by our Compliance Committee and/or Trading Standards.”

Article from The Property Ombudsman; https://www.tpos.co.uk/news-media-and-press-releases/press-releases/item/seven-agents-expelled-from-the-property-ombudsman


20th July 2021 – UK Government Updated COVID-19 ‘Guidance for landlords and tenants’

Posted on July 22nd, 2021 -

As the UK transitions into the fourth step of the COVID-19 roadmap, the UK Government has updated its guidance for landlords, tenants, and local authorities.

Updates include;

  • ventilation and carrying out repairs and maintenance work
  • clinically extremely vulnerable people and repairs and maintenance work
  • reducing the risk of infection in shared accommodation, accommodation with shared facilities and overcrowded accommodation
  • Encouragement for all parties to show flexibility in relation to rent payments (affected by Covid-related matters) and repayment plans

For the full guidance see; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants


Welsh Government Scheme to Pay Off Covid Arrears Launched

Posted on July 22nd, 2021 -

Welsh Government’s new Tenancy Hardship Grant


The Grant launch, which coincided with the end of the ban on evictions in Wales on 30 June 2021, is available to anyone who has built up more than eight weeks’ arrears since March 2020 (see eligibility below). The Grant replaces the Tenancy Saver Loan, which offered loans payable over a period of five years to cover arrears; these loans will now be converted to the new Grant to support tenants who have struggled to pay their rent as a direct result of the pandemic.

To apply for a Tenancy Hardship Grant, you must have had financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic that meant that you have not been able to pay your rent.

Eligibility

You will:

  • have built up 8 weeks or more of rent arrears between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021
  • have struggled to pay your rent or rent arrears due to Covid-19
  • live in and hold a tenancy for a private sector property in Wales
  • not have been getting housing benefit or housing cost payments through Universal Credit when you built up your rent arrears
  • not have been able to fully pay your rent during the period when you went into arrears because of Covid-19.
  • You will not be able to get a Tenancy Hardship Grant if you have not experienced financial hardship during Covid-19 and deliberately not paid your rent to your landlord or agent.

PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS APPLICABLE TO TENANTS IN WALES, SWLA ARE CALLING FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO INTRODUCE A SIMILAR SCHEME IN ENGLAND

For further information; https://gov.wales/tenancy-hardship-grant-private-rented-sector-tenants-coronavirus


The End of ‘No Fault’ Section 21 Evictions

Posted on July 21st, 2021 -

All information from gov.uk; The end of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions – House of Commons Library (parliament.uk)

The Government has committed to abolish ‘no-fault’ section 21 evictions in the private rented sector. A Renters’ Reform Bill was promised in the 2019 Queen’s Speech to achieve this. The Bill is awaited. This paper explains the use of section 21 and reactions to its proposed abolition.

2019 consultation on the abolition of section 21

On 15 April 2019, the then-Government announced: “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.” This was followed by a consultation process in July 2019, with submissions accepted up to 12 October 2019.

The consultation paper proposed the abolition of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 21 enables private landlords to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant. Hence it is sometimes referred to as the ‘no-fault’ ground for eviction.

In addition to abolishing section 21, the consultation paper proposed measures to strengthen and extend the Grounds for possession which are preceded by the service of a section 8 notice, particularly where the property is needed for the landlord’s or a family member’s use, and if the landlord wants to sell. Responses to the consultation exercise are being analysed by the Government.

The Conservative Manifesto and proposed Renter’s Reform Bill

The manifesto included the following commitment:

We will bring in a Better Deal for Renters, including abolishing ‘no-fault’ evictions and only requiring one ‘lifetime’ deposit which moves with the tenant. This will create a fairer rental market: if you’re a tenant, you will be protected from revenge evictions and rogue landlords, and if you’re one of the many good landlords, we will strengthen your rights of possession.

The 2019 Queen’s Speech said a Renters’ Reform Bill would be introduced:

A Renters’ Reform Bill will enhance renters’ security and improve protections for short-term tenants by abolishing “no-fault” evictions and introducing a lifetime deposit.

To date, the Bill has not been introduced. Various bodies, including the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, have called for the Bill to be fast-tracked to improve protection for tenants affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. There is concern that tenants in financial difficulty who have benefited from temporary restrictions on landlords’ ability to seek repossession, will face homelessness when restrictions are relaxed. The Government has been pressed on timing. In response to the Committee’s interim report on protecting rough sleepers and renters in June 2020, it said:

The Government remains committed to bringing forward legislation to deliver its planned reforms to enhance renters’ security, including by abolishing so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions. However, the proposals for tenancy reform would represent the largest change to renting in 30 years and it is only right that these reforms are taken forward in a considered manner.

On 3 March 2021 the Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher, confirmed the Renters’ Reform Bill will be brought forward “once the urgencies of responding to the pandemic have passed.”

Why abolish section 21?

Private tenants, their representative bodies, and others working in the sector have long argued that the ability of landlords to terminate an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) at short notice has a detrimental effect on tenants’ wellbeing. Research has highlighted evidence of tenants being reluctant to exercise their rights to secure repairs and/or challenge rent increases due to the ease with which landlords can evict them. Respondents to a 2018 consultation on, ‘overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector’, said:

…those renting from private landlords have been left feeling insecure by short fixed-term tenancies, unable to plan for the future or call where they live a home. This insecurity can have wide-ranging effects – from disrupting children’s education and the impact on mental health through to the cost of frequent moves undermining people’s ability to save for a deposit.

Reactions to the proposed abolition of section 21

There is a clear divide in opinion between organisations advocating on behalf of tenants and those advocating on behalf of private landlords. Broadly, tenant organisations support the abolition of section 21 while landlord bodies oppose it.

The National Residential Landlords Association argues that a reformed and improved court system which has bedded-in, together with improvements to the Grounds for possession, should be introduced before section 21 is amended or abolished. Landlord organisations argue there is a risk of landlords leaving the sector, which could reduce the amount of housing available for people who cannot afford to buy and who cannot access social rented housing.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland legislated to abolish no-fault evictions in respect of tenancies created on or after 1 December 2017. Research into the impact of these changes published by Shelter, a strong proponent of abolition, argues that some of the ‘scare’ stories in England on the potential impact of section 21’s abolition are misplaced.

The Senedd has also legislated to introduce minimum notice periods of six months for tenants in the private rented sector with a standard contract. These provisions are expected to come into force in 2022.

In Northern Ireland, tenancies created after 1 April 2007 are generally ‘non-protected’. If a landlord wishes to end a non-protected tenancy on a no-fault basis, the length of the notice depends on how long the tenant has lived in the property.

The full report can be read here; The end of ‘no-fault’ section 21 evictions (England) (parliament.uk)


B&Q TradePoint Offers

Posted on July 15th, 2021 -

Win a van each month until the end of 2021
For a chance to win…. Shop twice in a calendar month and you’ll be automatically entered. Make sure you swipe your TradePoint card in store or are logged into your TradePoint account online*.

https://www.trade-point.co.uk/landingpage/vantastic

20% off Valspar trade pain, plus your extra 10% off

https://www.trade-point.co.uk/


Landlord Accreditation Training Course

Posted on July 13th, 2021 -

Landlord Accreditation Training Course – ONLINE

Wednesday 13th October 2021 – 9:00 – 4:30pm

Venue – Online

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 info@landlordssouthwest.co.uk to book your place, places only secured on receipt of payment.

Over 990 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.  


2 Bed Bungalows Required In Plymouth & Cornwall

Posted on June 24th, 2021 -

A message from Havencare Home and Support Ltd-

Havencare Homes and Support Ltd are a charity based in Plymouth that provide housing and support for adults with learning disabilities, autism and acquired brain injuries.

We are currently in need of two bed bungalows and houses in Plymouth and Cornwall, particularly Penzance. If you are looking to rent your property and would like to make a real difference to someone’s life, please consider us as your next tenant.

Why let through Havencare?

  • We have no set up fees or monthly management fees
  • Your fuss free tenancy is directly with us, we arrange everything from the company let agreement, to your property inventory
  • Our housing division conduct weekly property inspections to ensure your property is kept to a high standard
  • We guarantee the rent, on time, every time!
  • We can provide excellent Landlord references
  • We are happy to be referenced or supply annual accounts

Contact emma.greaves@havencare-homes.com or mobile 07851256234.


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