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Housing Minister Wants Crackdown On Rogue Landlords

Housing Minister Wants Crackdown On Rogue Landlords

Government Want New Measures To Tackle Rogue Landlords

Government housing minister, Kris Hopkins, has stressed the need for a fairer, more flexible private rented sector, and wants to raise standards of all rental property conditions and he intends to root out rogue landlords.

The housing minister wants PRS landlords and their tenants to offer their views on what else the Government can do to tackle the problems in the UK’s private rented sector, and what action needs to be taken to further boost the growth of the sector.

In particular, Mr Hopkins wants tenant and landlord views on a variety of new initiatives and safety measures including:

  • Tackling retaliatory evictions where a minority of PRS landlords evict tenants for requesting repairs to the property
  • Requiring landlords to repay rent where they have rented out a property that proves to have serious defects or hazards to tenants health, or where landlords have evicted a tenant illegally
  • Making landlords responsible for improving safety measures in rental properties, such as fitting hard wired smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and periodic electrical safety checks

The UK Government has already introduced an array of new guidelines, including providing local authorities with over £6.5 Million (GBP) to root out and prosecute rogue landlords in their areas.

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Tenants Fear Eviction For Reporting Outstanding Repairs

Tenants Fear Eviction For Reporting Outstanding Repairs

PRS Tenants Living In Fear Of
Retaliatory Evictions

A new survey has revealed that some tenants in private rented sector properties are living in fear of eviction because they had dared to complain to the landlord about outstanding repairs.

A third of tenants have been evicted or threatened with eviction after complaining to their landlord, according to new research carried out by online tenant community The Tenants’ Voice.

  • 61% of tenants said they were wary about complaining to their landlords
  • 71% of tenants have paid for repairs themselves rather than ask their landlords.

The survey suggests that a growing number of PRS tenants are facing retaliatory evictions because they voiced concerns over repairs. Desperate, cash strapped landlords have avoided taking out adequate Landlord Insurance policies to protect their rental properties and instead served section 21 notices to bring about the end of a periodic tenancy, rather than undertake the repairs that the tenants have requested, hoping that any new tenant won’t complain as much.

The UK tenant survey found that many tenants worry about asking their landlords to carry out repairs in fear of reprisals.

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Fire Door Safety Advice For HMO LandlordsFire Door Safety Week 16th – 21st September

 Are Your Fire Doors Safe?

Fire doors are a critical element of fire safety and a requirement in every commercial and public building, however, they are also a legal requirement for multi-let properties also known as Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s).

Tenant safety is reliant on fire doors to perform correctly in the event of a fire by providing critical protection within a building such as escape routes (stairs and corridors) and places of relative safety, and in separating different fire hazards in a building.

To save lives, they must work correctly, and there are some simple checks you can undertake depending on whether you are a building owner, or manager, a landlord or occupier.

If you are concerned about the safety of fire doors in your building, take a look at this simple list of checks you can make.

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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.

Don't become a rogue landlord

Don't cut corners when renting out property

The downturn in UK property valuations has lead many existing homeowners, some of whom are desperate to sell up, to consider alternative ways to cash in on their current property, without having to sell it below their expected valuations.

A fairly noticeable proportion of these vendors are choosing to become first-time landlords, rather than settling for a below market offer.

The prospect of more reluctant or accidental landlords entering the private rental sector (PRS) is not such welcome news for the UK rental property market. Ill advised or inexperienced landlords often make mistakes or cut corners in order to preserve cash flow or increase rental yield.

Any bad business practices can be perceived by some to be the actions of a rogue landlord, prompting Legal 4 Landlords to issue some general guidance advice for new, first-time and inexperienced landlords

All landlords need to comply with the current UK regulations and the following points are highlighted as essential:

• All prospective tenants should be thoroughly referenced and credit checked by a reputable agent, to ensure financial ability to pay the rent and gain an insight into the suitability and character of the tenant.
• Provide a proper Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST) signed by both Landlord and the tenant, outlining the length of the tenancy, amount of rent, date rent is due, and details of which government deposit protection scheme is to be used.
• At the start of the tenancy walk round with the tenant and conduct a detailed inventory describing the condition of all the fixtures and fittings of the property in detail, along with the furnishings.
• Gas appliances must be checked annually by a registered Gas Safe engineer and the landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate (CP12).
• The landlord should take out comprehensive Buy-To-Let or Landlord insurance to protect their property asset.
• All repairs should be fixed promptly and only use reputable tradesmen that you know and trust to tend to the property, this is extremely important if emergency repairs must be done at short notice.
• If using a lettings or property management agent remember to conduct Due Diligence on them thoroughly and make sure as a landlord that you are happy with their terms and conditions before appointing them.

There are currently a record number of people searching for suitable rental properties in the UK, meaning that would-be landlords should have no problem finding a willing tenant, providing their properties are fit to rent.

New and first-time landlords should note that letting a property can be stressful and time consuming, as well as a very financially and personally rewarding experience, and is an effective way of providing an additional income.

Prospective landlords will need to remember they are effectively starting a business that centres on property and must remember to treat it as such.

Legal 4 Landlords are the UK’s fastest growing Tenant Eviction specialists who also offer a wide range of useful services for landlords including Tenant Referencing, Landlord and Tenant Insurance policies and Rent Guarantee insurance.

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A stark warning was issued to UK landlords from the AA’s Home Emergency Response service over boilers working harder in rental properties during the coming winter months

Research revealed today by the AA’s Home Emergency Response service shows that under 45% of landlords say they have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed in their rental property.

This is less than half the number who have a smoke alarm in their own home (97%).

Whilst the number of rental properties with smoke alarms is encouraging, there is still work to be done to bring this to 100%.

However, the proportion of PRS rental properties without CO2 detectors gives significant cause for alarm, and increasing the number of these could help arrest a worrying trend.

Analysis of figures from the Health and Safety Executive shows that in the last five years, the number of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning has risen by 90%.

Although the number of fatalities has remained relatively stable, with provisional figures for 2010/11 showing 14 deaths, the number of non-fatal cases of carbon monoxide poisoning has almost doubled between 2006/07 and 2010/11 – from 184 to 343.

As carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless it is very difficult to detect without a monitor. With the initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning similar to those of flu it is also often hard to identify when someone is affected, particularly in winter.

Carbon Monoxide detectors manufactured after November 2006 should conform to EN50291.

Tom Stringer, head of the AA Home Emergency Response service, said: “Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer as it is so hard to spot. One of the main sources of carbon monoxide in the home is faulty gas appliances such as boilers. We would encourage all homeowners to get their appliances serviced, before the hard work of the winter really kicks in. They should also fit a CO detector which are relatively inexpensive but make sure they conform to the relevant British Standard. They should also be positioned correctly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. And as with any detector, they should be regularly checked to maintain their effectiveness.”

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