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Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation Warning

Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation Warning

New Smoke And Carbon Monoxide
Alarm Legislation 
Comes Into Force
On 1st October

On October 1st 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations are supposed to come into force meaning that landlords or their appointed lettings and property managing agents must install a smoke alarm on every floor of a rental property used for accommodation and fit Carbon Monoxide alarms in any room that contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, and all alarms should be in good working order.

However, there are calls for this legislation to be delayed due to lack of notice and ambiguity of the actual legislation.

The introduction of the new legislation is intended to save lives, we are already aware of the dangers that a potential fire in a residential rented property can cause, however, many landlords remain oblivious to the danger posed by Carbon Monoxide.

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More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

Fire Service Calls For 2013
Smoke Alarm Law To Be Enacted

The Government passed a law back in 2013 requiring private rental sector (PRS) landlords to provide smoke alarms in all UK rental properties.

However, this new bill is still under public consultation and as yet it has not been brought into force and some local authorities claim that this is putting tenant’s lives at risk.

Now there are further calls from the fire service for more new laws to be introduced to make sure all landlords, both social and private sector, install smoke alarms in all rented properties.

Mandatory smoke alarms are among the key issues to be discussed at the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual fire safety conference due to be held in Gateshead next month 10th – 11th March 2015.

The call for UK landlords to install smoke alarms in rental properties forms a central part of the LGA’s key report ‘The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer’, which was launched on Saturday 7th February 2015.

The report highlights a series of proposals on how UK fire services can improve fire safety for tenants, including calls for electrical wiring in rented properties to be inspected annually, the same way UK PRS landlords are obliged to obtain gas safety certificates (CP12’s) every year.

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Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer

Carbon Monoxide Is A Silent KillerWhen letting a property equipped with gas appliances all landlords must have an annual gas safety check (CP12) carried out by a gas safe registered engineer, this check will ensure the gas appliances in your property are safe for your tenants to use. Once you have had your gas safety check conducted you must ensure your tenants have a copy of the gas safety certificate within a maximum of 28 days.

It is vital that all gas safety certificates are kept on file for a minimum of two years. Even if a property is only rented on a short term basis you must still have a valid gas safety certificate for your tenants.

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 Obey Gas SafetyLaws Or Face Prosecution – Landlords Warned

Gas Safety Is A Legal Responsibility

Gas Safety Is A Legal Responsibility

UK Landlords need a better understanding of the many laws and regulations regarding the safety of tenants in private sector rental accommodation, or they may find that non compliance with any of the prescribed regulations can make them liable for prosecution and will render their Landlord Insurance invalid.

UK Landlords have moral and legal responsibilities regarding the safety of all tenants living in private rented sector (PRS) rental accommodation, occupied under a lease or licence, which includes, but not exclusively:

  • Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, housing co-operatives, hostels
  • Rooms let in Houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
  • Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outlines the landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for use by tenants comply with all the latest UK safety regulations and are not hazardous to the health of the tenant.

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To Let - Legal Obligations Apply

To Let – Legal Obligations Apply

 

There are numerous rules and regulations which you must abide by when letting your house. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property which is being let out is fully compliant with all relevant safety regulations. As well as safety regulations, landlords must also be certain that they carry out any duties which are outlined on the tenancy agreement, if the landlord did not draft this agreement themselves, all clauses and responsibilities must be read and fully understood. It is always recommended to have a proper tenancy agreement in place at the start of each tenancy as this can act as protection should any disagreements between landlord and tenant arise.

A tenancy agreement can also outline the tenant’s responsibilities during the tenancy period and what they are required to do, this is mostly common sense but having this in writing with signatures from both the tenant and the landlord means each party have read the agreement and understands what is required of them.

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Landlords Should Be Aware Of Their Responsibilities and Legal Obligations

Landlords Should Be Aware Of Their Responsibilities and Legal Obligations

A large number of private residential properties are being rented out to tenants because the owners have moved out but found it difficult to sell the property on.

In fact, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), many people are choosing to rent out homes they cannot sell.

This has led to an influx of reluctant or “accidental” landlords to the Private Rented Sector, who just want to have enough income coming in from the property to be able to afford the mortgage payments.

These reluctant landlords have little or no knowledge or understanding of the PRS, the legislation or regulations governing safety and often don’t know how to get the best out of the asset they have.

Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law and landlords who do not comply with the 70+ pieces of legislation currently in force in the UK can face large fines and even imprisonment. Even reluctant landlords have duties, responsibilities and obligations and the law demands that these are not ignored.

Legal 4 Landlords offers reluctant landlords the following advice:

All Landlords need to protect their property investment and along with regular maintenance should always take out comprehensive landlord insurance for the good of both the property and the tenants living in it.

The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 requires landlords to have all gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and attain an annual CP12 certificate. Failure to comply will lead to a heavy fine.
• Gas safety compliance is vital and a lack of a valid safety certificate could mean the property is left empty for a prolonged period of time, rather than occupied by paying tenants.

Smoke alarms also need to be fitted to ensure the safety of tenants and should be installed on every floor and tested regularly.
• Contact your local fire service to enquire if they are involved in any fire safety incentive schemes and it may not cost anything – some well resourced fire services do fit smoke alarms for free in properties occupied by tenants claiming certain types of benefit.

Protection against thieves is paramount to preserving a no claims bonus on landlord insurance.
• Locks ought to be fitted on every door, with door chains for extra security. Padlocks are also recommended for sheds, garages and gates.
• Double glazing and burglar alarms also add to the safety of a property

To get the best out of short-term lettings landlords should always thoroughly tenant reference all would be tenants on application.
• Landlords need to ensure that the tenant are who they claim to be, have a sound financial history, no undisclosed criminal convictions, are employed at where they state they are employed and are solvent enough to be able to afford the rent and associated bills that come with a home.

Making sure the rent comes in on time every month is a real concern for many landlords and could cause them financial stress paying the mortgage on the rental property if rental payments are either late or not forthcoming.
• Many landlords are now using Rent Guarantee insurance to ensure their rental cashflow remains uninterrupted, insurance cover is subject to terms and conditions.

Get educated and learn how to be a better landlord
• Find out what other successful landlords in your area are doing and copy them.
• Attend local landlord groups or property networking events and learn from like minded people who can help with problems or share knowledge that could take a reluctant landlord and turn them into professionals who profit from property whilst providing quality homes for tenants.

The professional letting agent - Castledene Property Management Ltd

Good Agents Don't Happen By Accident

It is widely thought that anyone with an interest in property and business can set up a property management company or a lettings agency. But, are there pitfalls in the process for new letting agents?

Over the last few years, the UK media have run countless news stories about letting agents failing their landlord clients and closing down, taking hundreds of thousands of pounds of client funds with them.

Many landlord investors seem to think that all lettings agents in the UK are equal, but is this the case? Does it take a certain kind of person to make a property lettings business successful?

A Good Letting Agent needs to be:

  • A Good communicator – Must be able to speak to investors and landlords as well as tenants
  • Customer orientated –both landlords AND tenants are your customers, so you need to find a happy balance
  • Analytical –Especially if you are dealing with the rents
  • Systematic – Capable of following systems and dealing with problems
  • Sales driven – you need to sell your services to prospective landlords and tenants to generate business.

Unless the business is in the fortunate position of being able to employ staff, with the relevant skill sets needed, from day one, then you as the business owner will need to be master of all of the above skills, or at least be competent, otherwise you will lose business as a result of your failings.

When starting any type of new business, you need to know what the main aims and objectives of the venture are and what niche will it operate in. If you don’t, how can you expect to be able to push the business forward and in the right direction?

There are already thousands of UK letting agents managing Billions of pounds (GBP) worth of property out there, so what separates you from them? Why should landlords and property investors choose your letting agency instead of anyone else’s? Are you a HMO specialist, do you manage top end properties? Do you deal with LHA tenants?

New letting agents often spring up and disappear again within 6-12 months because the business owners did not know enough about the local property market, the lettings industry in general, the niche market of the area they were operating in or even the demographic of their client base, in other words they did not have enough forethought to be able to survive and profit.

If information and responsibility is not handled correctly, it can be a very steep and expensive learning curve for a new property lettings business, leading to a host of financial and legal issues that interfere with your client’s expectations and obligations. Such matters could also force the closure of the business, costing your landlord clients dearly.

Landlords with an ill advised or ill equipped letting agency, who have been forced to close because they failed to move with the times, can find themselves with no tenancy agreements, (AST), no gas certificates (CP12), no rental income, no deposit and no fallback plan.

In fact, in some cases reported by the media, some failing letting agents had stopped paying rents to Landlord clients several months prior to closing, meaning that the landlords ended up falling foul of the law and many thousands of pounds out of pocket.

To be successful in property lettings, as with any business, you have to have knowledge and experience, not only the practical side of property management but also on the legal side, and keeping up with the latest government legislation, including all welfare reform changes and their impact on landlord clients, can be a minefield at times, but knowledge is power and only the strongest survive.

In business, failure to plan is planning to fail and monetising your skills and knowledge is not a crime. Knowledge and experience are the keys to success so business owners need to realise where their knowledge is lacking and plug the gaps with employees or other members of a support network, such as solicitors, insurance brokers, mortgage advisor, builders etc. Letting agents can also get help is by joining the National Approves Letting Scheme (NALS) and/or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

If you have property for rent anywhere in the North of England or Wales contact Castledene Property Management Head Office on 0191 527 4000 who will be more than happy to help!

http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/

Gas Safety Week

Gas Safety Week begins Monday September 12th, designed to remind people how dangerous gas boilers can be if they are not checked by an accredited, qualified Gas Safe technician

The National Landlords Association is urging members to make sure that all of their UK Private Rented Sector properties are safe for tenants and to ensure that only Gas Safe registered engineers are allowed to service, maintain and check gas appliances.

Landlords are legally required to have their tenants’ gas boilers tested for faults every 12 months. The subsequent inspection report (CP12) must then be given to the tenant.

Faulty boilers pose fatal dangers for tenants and landlords are liable to prosecution if they fail to maintain gas appliances.

National Landlords Association spokesman Richard Price said: “It’s vital that a registered gas engineer is always used to carry out any work on gas appliances to ensure it’s done properly. They can be found on the Gas Safe Register website.”

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