NEW LEGISLATION HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING
Private Drains and Sewers Transfer
On the 1st October 2011, a major change in the way drainage in England is managed took place. Most private sewers and also lateral drains (the part of a drain which goes from the property boundary to the public sewer) which have previously been the property of private individuals, landlords or commercial property owners were adopted by the water and sewage companies, who then became responsible for all maintenance, including clearing blockages. Private drains within property boundaries were not adopted.
Guidance for Landlords- Housing Health and Safety Rating System
Since the Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Guide for Landlords and Property Related Professionals was produced by the government in 2006 (HHSRS), a tenant can now ask the council to inspect their property for any hazards and depending on the how the hazard is classified, you have a legal obligation to put right these hazards.
Local authorities have statutory duties and powers to take enforcement action to deal with properties containing hazards identified under the HHSRS. Under the HHSRS, local authorities have a duty to take appropriate enforcement action in relation to category 1 hazards, and discretion to act in relation to category 2 hazards.
If your tenant suddenly moves out – does your Letting Agent know how to get housing benefits paid even though the tenant is in their new property?
If your tenant is on housing benefits and he/she suddenly moves out without telling you, housing benefits will stop on your property and the tenant will receive it for their new one unless you understand what a Dual Property Application Form is and know what to do with it.
Dual Property Application Form
Housing Benefits for two properties can be paid in some circumstances. Here are some of the reasons why:
UNIVERSAL CREDIT, CHALLENGING TIMES FOR LANDLORDS – I’m not sure if people are aware but one of the largest changes to the welfare state is occurring next year, a whole host of different benefits are being merged into one single payment called the universal credit. This will mean Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance will be rolled into this credit which will have a massive affect on landlords, due to the limited provision of direct payment.
The Government have announced new procedures as to how payment will be made under the Universal Credit system when it is rolled out from 2013 onwards. It means the end of direct payment to landlords for rent as we have known it. The intention for the new procedures will apply across the board including the private rented sector. To some extent it is “work in progress” because the Government are conducting pilot schemes in the social sector between now and June 2013. At the heart of the new procedures is the idea of promoting tenant’s abilities to manage their own finances and to bring the benefit system in line with conditions that affect working people.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT, CHALLENGING TIMES FOR LANDLORDS (Part 2) –
Last week we discussed the changes to Housing Benefit / LHA and the new payment of Universal Credit. We explained in detail the new criteria for direct payment and how landlords may struggle to obtain it. In this second article we are going to discuss the problems landlords may face, such as increased arrears, what they can do and our key concerns.
Universal Credit what does this all mean for private rented sector landlords?
The Green Deal is a brand new initiative implemented by the Government to facilitate the fitting of energy saving measures to millions of homes across the UK. It has been designed to revolutionise the energy efficiency of properties throughout the UK.
Under the scheme, households will be able to improve the energy efficiency of their properties by taking out loans to have their properties made more energy efficient. Householders would pay back the loan over the course of 25 years through additional charges to their energy bills. The savings on bills would be more than the additional cost. So for example if you were a landlord renting your property to tenants, any improvements would be paid by the tenant through their heating bills and the tenant would save money since the improvement should reduce their bills beyond the actual cost.
Squatting in a residential property becomes a criminal offence from tomorrow in England and Wales.
The maximum penalty will be six months’ prison and/or a £5,000 fine.
Trespassing will be where someone knowingly enters a residential building as a trespasser, and is either living there or planning to live there without the owner’s consent.
There will no longer be a requirement for the property owner to ask the trespassers to leave before being able to involve the police.
UNIVERSAL CREDIT: A CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY? WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
Over the last couple of years we have tried to keep our landlords upto date with the on-going changes to housing benefits.
In late 2010 we started to publish articles about the pending reductions in LHA that were to take effect from April 2011 and in late 2011 we published further articles about additional changes that affected under 35’s from January 2012 onwards. As a company we try to attend as many local council/private landlord association meetings as possible in order to stay ahead of pending changes and pass our knowledge onto our clients.
The vast majority of tenancies end with the landlord and tenant agreeing over the return of the deposit. Deposit disputes are rare but it makes sense to be prepared, so here are some tips to help you get started:
- Prepare from the start of the tenancy
Ensure you have a clear and concise AST agreement. Conduct thorough, check-in and check-out reports, take photographs and keep invoices and receipts. Remember it is the responsibility of the landlord to prove a deposit should be returned to them, legally the deposit belongs to the tenant until the landlord can prove otherwise. This requires the landlord to prove the starting and finishing condition of a property through a thorough inventory, as part of our tenant find and management service we provide a 366 point inventory.