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Date Set; New Electrical Safety Rules for Landlords

Posted on January 16th, 2020 -

Five-year safety checks will be mandatory for landlords for all new tenancies from 01 July 2020. This will be rolled out to all existing tenancies from 01 April 2021. The new regulations were tabled by the Government on Monday 13th January 2020, requiring pre-tenancy and five yearly checks of all fixed appliances and wiring.

Landlords failing to comply with the new rules will face fines of up to £30,000.

Once the electrical installation has been tested, the landlord needs to receive a written report from the inspector, with the results and next inspection date. They must then;
– Give a copy of the report to tenants within 28 days
– Give a copy to the local authority, if it asks for one, within seven day
– Keep a copy and give it to the person carrying out the next inspection.

For new tenancies, the landlord must:
– Give the tenant a copy of the most recent report before they move in
– Give a copy of the most recent report to any prospective new tenant who asks for it in writing, within 28 days

For further information http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934

Article Abridged from RLA

GDPR – ICO chasing companies who have not registered and paid their Data Protection Fee.

Posted on January 16th, 2020 -

GDPR came into force on 25th May 2018. All businesses that process personal information (private landlords included) need to register with the Information Commissioners Office and pay the yearly Data Protection Fee. If you haven’t registered – make this a priority!

The ICO have launched a postal campaign to remind all registered companies of their legal obligation. The fee is £40.00 per year for most companies (dependant on turnover). A Direct Debit can be set up for automatic yearly payments.

There are a range of services and support that the ICO provide to help you comply with the law and give your tenants/clients confidence in the way you process personal information.

Very few companies are exempt, you can complete the ICO self-assessment to check https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/self-assessment/

For more information see the ICO website;


SWLA Meet with Councillor Penberthy and Matt Garrett PCC

Posted on January 10th, 2020 -

9th January 2020, Steve Lees (SWLA Chair) and Iain Maitland (SWLA Vice Chair) met with Matt and Councillor Penberthy.

Topics for discussion included the Government’s plans to axe Section 21 and MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) in the Private Rented Sector.

SWLA continue to be a voice for landlords and work with local authorities to get the most positive outcomes for tenants and landlords alike.

REMINDER!! If your rented property is covered under the MEES Regulations, your EPC rating needs to be E or above in order for you to let the property (unless you have a valid exemption). For more information and cut off dates; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance#find-out-if-your-property-is-covered-by-the-regulations

Letting Agents, if you let out a property with a rent of £10k euros (or equivalent) per month or more –

Posted on January 10th, 2020 -

From today, 10 January 2020, all letting agents who manage properties which, individually, yield an income of 10,000 Euros per month (or equivalent) or more, must now comply with regulations set out in in the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

All letting agents across the UK will have 12 months to register with HMRC if they meet the requirements. However, HMRC’s online registration system for letting agents won’t be operational until May 2020.


All letting agents in the regulated sector for AML will need to comply with the Regulations, despite not being able to register. Customer due diligence (CDD) checks will need to be carried out on any new tenants and landlords on or from 10 January 2020. Also, if an existing tenancy is renewed after this date, letting agents will need to carry out appropriate checks at that point on both parties.

Estate and letting business

Any letting agent who carries out sales and is already registered with HMRC for AML supervision and fall within the scope of the Regulations, they will need to inform HMRC that they carry out lettings activity. This can be done once the online applications process is up and running.

Customer Due Diligence (CDD)

CDD must be carried out on both the tenant and landlord for any tenancy agreement with a monthly rent of 10,000 Euros (or equivalent amount) or more before establishing a business relationship. This means identifying and verifying the customer, obtaining information on the nature of the business relationship and details of any beneficial owners.

Propertymark believes it is best practice for all letting agents, regardless of whether they fall under the definition of businesses with HMRC for AML supervision to carry out CDD on all their customers. This is because committing an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 applies to everyone and criminalise any involvement in the proceeds of any crime if the person knows or suspects that the property is criminal property.

Information from David Cox at ARLA Propertymark

SWLA Christmas Office Hours

Posted on December 20th, 2019 -

The SWLA Office will be closed 24th, 25th & 26th December. The rest of the festive period, phone lines and emails will be maintained.

We wish all of our members and supporters a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

19th December 2019 saw the state opening of Parliament. What does this mean for landlords?

Posted on December 19th, 2019 -

The Queen announced a Renters’ Reform Bill that will abolish the use of Section 21 (no fault) evictions. The grounds for possession via Section 8 will be reformed. Landlords will have more rights to gain possession of their property through the courts where there is a legitimate need to do so. The court process will be improved to make it quicker and easier for landlords to gain possession. It is hoped that a dedicated housing tribunal will be introduced making the process better for all parties involved.

The Government’s Renters’ Reform Bill will also introduce a lifetime deposit so that renters don’t need to save for a deposit every time they move house.

SWLA encourage members to engage with MPs to ensure that the reforms are fit for purpose.

For further information on the reforms; https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/853886/Queen_s_Speech_December_2019_-_background_briefing_notes.pdf

Information Abridged from ARLA & gov.uk

Washing Machine Recall (Hotpoint & Indesit Brands)

Posted on December 19th, 2019 -

More than half a million certain models of washing machines manufactured between 2014 and 2018 are been recalled by Whirlpool (Hotpoint and Indesit Brands) – landlords should check appliances by using the ‘model checker online’ https://washingmachinerecall.whirlpool.co.uk/ entering the model and serial number found inside the door or on the back.

Alternatively, call the Whirlpool helpline on 0800 316 1442.

If your/your tenant’s washing machine is affected, you can choose a like for like replacement or a free in home repair of the appliance.

Christmas Open Office 2019

Posted on December 12th, 2019 -

Thank you to everyone who came to our Christmas Open Afternoon! It was great to see you all.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you next year whether this be on a training course, at the AGM/General Meetings or in the office.

From the SWLA Office Staff and Committee.

Charity Looking for 1 & 2 Bedroom Flats in Devon/Cornwall to Let

Posted on December 12th, 2019 -

Brook Housing are a non-profit charity with a goal to find suitable housing for people with learning disabilities and Autism across Devon and Cornwall.

We are looking for landlords who are flexible and willing to accept a company let. All tenancies are in our company name and guaranteed by Brook Housing. That’s guaranteed rent on time EVERYTIME, a guarantee your property will be returned to you in the same, if not better condition and a guarantee of a long term tenancy.

If you’re tired of paying expensive agency fees, having voids in your rent and being left to pay for tenant damage at the end of your tenancies please contact us at www.brookhousing.co.uk or call our office on 01752 230185 for further information.

Charity Looking for Large Plymouth Houses to Let

Posted on December 12th, 2019 -

‘Colebrook SW’ are a local charity who are looking for 6 bedroomed properties (with a room that could be used as a small office) in which to support vulnerable adults.

  • Central area preferred but all areas considered
  • Guaranteed rent of at least £1200 rent per month
  • All bills, compliance and general maintenance paid for and completed by Colebrook
  • Tenants found and managed by Colebrook – Staff on during the day and 24 hr cover
  • 5 year+ lease – bespoke as required
  • 4/5 bedroomed properties (with office potential) will also be considered (with rent adjusted accordingly)

For further information, please contact Shelley 01752 205210; ssanderson@colebrooksw.org

Christmas Open Office Afternoon

Posted on November 27th, 2019 -

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

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

We look forward to seeing you there!

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

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

From Gillian, Anna and Mandy   
SWLA Office   

Dates For Your Diary

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

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

Iain Maitland, SWLA Vice Chair Attends Teignbridge Housing Services Event

Posted on November 20th, 2019 -

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

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

PATH Tenant Training Course – Plymouth

Posted on November 20th, 2019 -

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

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

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

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

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


Vice Chair, expert witness.

Posted on November 12th, 2019 -

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

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

SWLA Membership Renewals Now Due!

Posted on November 1st, 2019 -

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

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

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

Please quote your name and membership number as the reference.

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

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

Electrical Safety Standards on the way for England

Posted on October 30th, 2019 -

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of Electrical Safety Working Group recommendations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article Abridged from ARLA

Landlord Training Course

Posted on October 22nd, 2019 -

Landlord Accreditation Training Course

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

Venue – Charter Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA 

Price – £65 for members of SWLA, £75 for non – members for one day course.

Course covers ASTs, Deposits, Section 21s, Section 8s, HMOs, Gas and Electrical Safety, Inventories and much more.

The course will provide you with all the skills to start, manage and finish a tenancy.

Places still available. Contact the office on 01752 510913 or via the website to book your place, places secured on receipt of payment.

Over 780 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.

Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.

We are proud to announce Landlord Accreditation South West (LASW) are founder members of the West of England Rental Standard.  

Landlord Training Course

Posted on October 22nd, 2019 -

Landlord Training Course – Intermediate Law 

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

Of particular interest to letting agents and portfolio holders

Venue – Astor Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA

If you are accredited this will count towards your CPD hours, but the course is open to all.

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

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

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

Plus latest news and updates.

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

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

SWLA October 2019 General Meeting

Posted on October 18th, 2019 -

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on October 4th, 2019 -

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


Discount at Wickes – TradePro

Posted on October 4th, 2019 -

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

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

Remember to upload two forms of ID with your application;

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

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

SWLA Meeting with Matt Garrett and Councillor Chris Penberthy

Posted on October 2nd, 2019 -

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

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

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

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


HMOs in Plymouth

Posted on September 23rd, 2019 -

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

Please contact SWLA office to express an interest.

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