Currently viewing the tag: "law"
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.

Continue reading »

Landlords Outraged At Right To Rent Prison Threat

Landlords Outraged At Right To Rent Prison Threat

Landlords Outraged At
Right To Rent Prison Threat 

Private rental sector landlords and letting agents have expressed outrage over proposed amendments to the forthcoming Immigration Bill (2015) expected to be introduced in September, when MPs return from their summer break.

Section 20 – 37 of the Immigration Act 2014 contained the provision to make it compulsory for landlords to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants. Now officials want to enforce the measures, in order to strengthen their grip on the private rental sector (PRS).

Continue reading »

Landlords Face Tougher Penalties Under Immigration Bill Proposals

Landlords Face Tougher Penalties Under Immigration Bill Proposals

Landlords Must Evict Illegal Immigrants Or Face Prison Under New Immigration Bill Proposals

It has been announced that UK private rented sector (PRS) landlords could face a 5 year prison sentence if they fail to conduct proper ‘Right to Rent’ checks included in new Government proposals for the Immigration Bill

The proposed changes to legislation will require PRS landlords to verify the immigration status of all prospective tenant applicants, before tenancies are agreed. Any landlord who repeatedly fails to conduct these checks would be in breach of a new offence, carrying maximum penalties of five years’ imprisonment or a fine.

Continue reading »

Letting Agent Complaints On The Rise According To Property Redress Scheme

Letting Agent Complaints On The Rise According To Property Redress Scheme

Complaints About Lettings Agents  On The Rise
According To Property Redress Scheme

Due to the fact that more tenants and property owners are now aware of their consumer rights, especially the right to redress, there has been a month on month increase in the number of complaints being made against lettings agents, property management companies and estate agents.

The Property Redress Scheme, (PRS), is just one of three consumer redress schemes set up by the Government to provide fair and reasonable resolutions to disputes between the public and property agents.

From 1 October 2014 it became a legal requirement for all lettings agents, property managers and estate agents, as defined by legislation, in England to belong to one of the three Government approved redress schemes, which are:

The number of complaints raised with the PRS is increasing month on month. Of the complaints raised so far,

Continue reading »

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

UK private rental sector (PRS) and social landlords were able to breathe a sigh of relief on Friday 28th November 2014, when the controversial Revenge Eviction Bill, or to use its correct title, the Tenancies Reform Bill, presented by Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, failed to progress past its first reading in the House of Commons.

Rather than failing on a vote, the bill failed on a technicality after MP’s Philip Davies and Christopher Chope chose to talk it out, known as filibustering, because there were not enough MP’s present in the House of Commons to vote for the Bill. The debate started at approximately 9.30am and parliamentary procedure dictates that only Bills which remain unopposed after 2.30pm may make further progress.

MP’s who supported the Bill tried bringing forward a closure motion, to end the debate and call for an early vote, however for a successful majority, at least 100 MP’s must support it, but the motion was only supported by 60 MP’s and the debate on the Bill subsequently ended.

In order for the Tenancies Reform Bill to become law by the next election it must pass a second reading stage in the House of Commons, but it is not certain whether the Government will commit more parliamentary time to debate the Tenancies Reform Bill to try to force it through.

UK PRS and social tenants do need to be protected from the small minority of rogue landlords, and so do good, reliable, law abiding landlords.

It is far from fair that the majority of upstanding landlords should be expected to alter legal business practices because of criticism drawn by a few rogue operators within the UK’s private rented sector.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill proposed restrictions on the serving of section 21 notices even where only a “hazard awareness notice” has been issued by a council. Landlords wouldl also be prevented from serving a section 21 notice where an improvement notice has been served on a rental property relating to category 1 or category 2 Hazards under the HHSRS rating system, or where the rental property requires emergency remedial action.

Tenants would also be able to challenge section 21 notices where they had complained to the landlord or council before the notice was issued, but the council was still deciding whether to even inspect the property in question.

Continue reading »

New Right To Rent Immigration Legislation Now In Force

New Right To Rent Immigration Legislation Now In Force

New Immigration Legislation Dictates That Landlords Can Only
Let To Tenants Who Have The Right To Rent

As of today, 1st December 2014, new legislation has come into force in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The requirement will come in to force in those areas dictating that all UK private rented sector landlords must only let properties to immigrants that have the right to rent property in the UK and the landlords of the West Midlands are the legislative guinea pigs.

The introduction of the Right To Rent law has particular importance to UK PRS landlords who house foreign nationals or operate Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s or multi-let properties) and those landlords using Rent 2 Rent (R2R) strategies.

Under the Immigration Bill (2014) private rented sector landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of all potential tenants, with fines of up to £3000 (GBP) for landlords who fail to conduct this procedure. Employers will also face “more substantial” fines for employing illegal immigrants.

Continue reading »

Local Authorities Urged To Build More Private Rental Sector Properties

Local Authorities Urged To Build More Private Rental Sector Properties

Local Authorities Urged To Promote Institutional Investment In Private Rented Sector Over Home Ownership

According to the report “Making Renting Viable“ commissioned by the British Property Foundation (BPF) and conducted by a leading London law firm; more UK local authorities should focus on building new residential properties for the private rented sector to encourage institutional investment instead of promoting local homeownership.

The British Property Foundation and Addleshaw Goddard who conducted the survey, reckon that UK local authorities should earmark land within their council boundaries for private rented sector (PRS) properties and set housing development targets to encourage pension funds and other institutions to invest more in the private rented sector.

Partner at Addleshaw Goddard, Marnix Elsenaar, said: “It’s vital councils recognise both the need for an institutional private rented sector that’s not the same as buy-to-let, while ministers should update planning guidance to make building for rent economically viable. Residential property was seen as more difficult than renting out a commercial office block, but the landscape has changed. Institutions want reliable, long-term returns and they should see a good degree of income growth in the private rented sector.

Continue reading »

Will It Be A Happy New Year For Property Investors And Landlords?

Will It Be A Happy New Year For Property Investors And Landlords?

Goodbye 2013 – Hello 2014!

2013 may have been the year when the recovery of the UK housing market began following the introduction of the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme and Funding-For-Lending initiative, but it also saw proposals for greater regulation of the private rental sector including extra responsibilities for UK landlords.

New regulation proposals caused major concern among property professionals after the Government announced that they wanted UK PRS landlords to police the immigration status of all tenants. Landlord associations and industry professionals argued over the proposals claiming that landlords would end up unpaid agents of the UK Border Agency and demanded that the legislation be watered down.

The Government want to have more control over the private rented sector as they know that property investors and landlords are able to generate decent returns offering property for rent as tenant demand remains strong, however there is the danger that over regulation may end up discouraging property investors and landlords from expanding property portfolios.

Continue reading »

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Industry welcome to weak tenants’ charter that could see UK PRS landlords at odds with

Buy-To-Let Mortgage Lenders

The new tenants’ charter was announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Eric Pickles, last Wednesday, allowing tenants to ask for longer tenancies and better transparency of letting agents’ fees.

The new tenants’ charter will also aim to force all lettings and property managing agents controlling PRS rental properties to join a compulsory redress scheme.

The Tenants’ Charter, published for consultation, outlines what tenants should be looking out for at every stage when renting a property in the UK’s private rented sector, including lettings agents having to inform customers what all their fees are upfront, before they have committed to anything, including visiting a property.

However, the introduction of these terms under the banner of the tenants’ charter could threaten the business future of large numbers of landlords who would technically be in breach of the strict buy-to-let mortgage terms imposed by many mortgage lenders, which generally stipulate that tenancy agreements are to be for a period of no more than one year.

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles

Mr Pickles stated that the Government intend to publish a code of practice setting standards for the management of property in the private rental sector (PRS) along with guidance setting out the role of public bodies in protecting tenants from illegal eviction.

Mr Pickles said: “This government is on the side of hardworking people and the last thing we want to do is hurt tenants and kill (property) investment by increasing costs and strangling the sector with red tape. But tenants deserve better value for money, and dodgy landlords should be under no illusion they can provide a shoddy service with impunity. These proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed-term, family-friendly tenancies that meet their needs”

Mr Pickles also said that the Government will develop a model tenancy agreement which will clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and ensure families can benefit from longer tenancies, without changing the existing legal framework for the rental market. He said “Longer tenancies will give families greater certainty and security, especially for those with children at school, and reduce costs for both tenants and landlords who will not have to pay letting agents to arrange frequent contract renewals.”

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee said: “I am pleased that the Government has embraced many of the recommendations in our private rented sector report. The proposals for a tenants’ charter and model tenancy agreements reflect our calls for greater awareness of rights and responsibilities. Far too often the security needed by families is not being provided by the private rented sector. I am pleased, therefore, that the Government has listened to what the Committee said about the need for more family friendly tenancies. It is also welcome that the Government is taking forward our proposal to allow rent and housing benefit to be clawed back when landlords have been convicted of letting out dangerous property. The Committee will be watching closely to ensure that they are translated into action. We will also press to ensure that the Government’s gathering of information on selective licensing leads to action to raise standards. Much remains to be done if renting is to become an attractive alternative to owner occupation. It is disappointing; therefore, that the Government does not see fit to crack down on cowboy letting agents and their rip off fees and charges. It is also regrettable that the Government has declined to give local authorities the powers and freedom they need to improve housing in their areas.”

Tenants Charter Proposals For Longer Tenancies Breach Mortgage Lenders Current
Buy-To-Let Mortgage Terms

Property professionals generally agree with the introduction of the new tenants’ charter but many think that the Government have sidestepped the opportunity to enforce much tighter regulation of landlords in the private rental sector and lettings and property managing agents in particular and many feel that the new measures fall short of what is really needed.

It will be interesting to see if the Government put pressure on the banks and mainstream mortgage lenders to abolish or ignore such limiting clauses, allowing them to deliver on the real aim of the tenants’ charter.

Caroline Kenny, an executive of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) wants the Government to build on the experience and expertise of those industry bodies which already require higher standards of their members. Commenting “Responsible agents who choose to belong to professional bodies which require client money protection insurance, impartial redress and an adherence to a strict Code of Practice are forced to compete with those who show little regard to professional standards or the needs of their clients. UKLA believe that this package of proposals represents a missed opportunity for the Government to make mandatory the kind of comprehensive protection offered by the UK Association of Letting Agents and other industry regulatory bodies, which are called UKALA & NLAfor by those working in the property industry and needed by hardworking consumers who are unable to differentiate between good and bad letting agents.”

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The NLA has long argued that private renting can be far more flexible than commonly perceived, and we need to tap into this potential to meet the changing needs and expectations of those who rent. We look forward to working with government to make a success of these proposals. However, we believe that the Government has missed an opportunity to require greater professionalism of letting agents. While the requirement to belong to an approved redress scheme is a step in the right direction, it does little to protect the financial interest of landlords and tenants working with unregulated agents.”

Residential Landlords Association

Join The Residential Landlords Association

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) welcomed the Government action to improve tenants’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities saying: “Tenants take more trouble buying a second-hand car than renting a house” Ensuring that tenants and landlords each understand clearly their rights and obligations to one another ensures a balanced relationship and enables them to hold each other to account based on the large number of laws already in existence. It will also play a vital role in rooting out those willfully criminal landlords who reap misery on tenants. We look forward to working with Ministers on the Charter as well as on how to best get this information to tenants.”

RICSPeter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said “The long overdue announcement was definitely a step in the right direction. The lettings sector has for far too long been the Wild West of the property industry, with many tenants having absolutely nowhere to go should they wish to complain about shoddy service. The introduction of a code of practice specifically covering those managing rented property should certainly improve standards.”

Chief Executive of the Housing & Homelessness charity Shelter, Campbell Robb said “This announcement is recognition that current private renting arrangements are not fit for families with children, who need greater long-term stability. This is a welcome step in the right direction, and ministers now need to consider how to make longer tenancies a real choice for the families desperate for a more stable place to live.”

The announcement of the new Tenants’ Charter was good news for consumer champions, Which? Who have been campaigning since 2007 when they first called for an amendment to the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 requiring letting agents to join an approved complaints scheme, just as property sales agents are. The consumer groups investigations also discovered earlier this year that major letting agents are acting unlawfully by not being upfront about the fees charged to clients.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, looks set to be implemented in Spring 2014, giving all landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme. This will mean that 40% of agents who currently aren’t signed up to a redress scheme will have to become members

Which? Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Renting is now the only housing option for millions so we’re pleased to see the Government taking steps to address problems in the lettings market. Making charges clear upfront will enable people to shop around more easily, and longer tenancies could mark the end of unnecessary renewal fees. The new legislation giving landlords and tenants access to a complaints scheme now needs to be brought in as soon as possible and there must be strong action taken against any agent in breach of the scheme.”

  • Do you think the proposals go far enough?

Take our Poll on the Tenants Charter or leave a comment below!

[yop_poll id=”2″]

Government Set To U-Turn On Immigration Checks By Landlords

Government Set To U-Turn On Immigration Checks By Landlords

Immigration Checks Unworkable Say Critics

There could be a moral victory for common sense on the cards as the UK Government are set to perform yet another U-Turn on policies as they are forced to back down on requiring landlords to conduct immigration checks on all tenants.

The Government plan was announced in the Queen’s Speech back in May and intended to force private rented sector (PRS) landlords to check their tenants’ immigration status or face fines of up to £3,000 (GBP).

Under the intended reform, all UK landlords and letting agents would be forced to check the immigration status of every tenant and tenants would have to produce documents showing they have permission to be in the UK.

There are also been concerns raised about landlords’ ongoing responsibilities for tenants already in their rental properties whose status may have gone from legal to illegal. Under the proposals, first-time offenders could face fines of £1,000 (GBP) per illegal immigrant in their rental properties. Landlords who failed to make proper checks within the last three years could also be fined £3,000 (GBP) per tenant.

Continue reading »

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!