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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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New Row Over Letting Agent's Evil Fees

New Row Over Letting Agent’s Evil Fees

Homeless Charity Wants All
Letting Agent Fees To Be Met By Landlords

The homelessness charity, Shelter have started to campaign to get all letting agent fees currently charged to tenants banned throughout England, and they want landlords to foot the bill for it, a point which has angered the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and caused consternation with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Shelter have launched a new report, “Letting Agencies: the Price you Pay”, claiming that charging landlords is a fairer way of doing business and the charity also claim that tenants are having to go without food or heating to meet increasing housing costs because letting agents’ fees are out of control.

Shelter were instrumental in getting letting agent fees banned in Scotland and now want the practice outlawed by MPs in England and are calling for politicians to take action.

The homelessness charity seem to think that all letting agents are the devil in disguise and recently questioned 58 separate letting agents throughout England, anonymously, asking them about what fees each charged in order to set up a tenancy for a tenant and discovered the average administration fee charged by agents was £350 (GBP) plus upfront rent and tenancy deposits. Less than a third of letting agents questioned charged fees totalling more than £400 and seven charged in excess of £700.

The Shelter research claims that in the last three years,

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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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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.

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