14/05/2018

 

Due to the upcoming GDPR legislation we have now updated our privacy notices and terms and conditions. 

 

They can be accessed here

14/05/2018

 

Client money protection for agents is to become mandatory from April 2019. 

 

Here at SWR we have been voluntarily subscribing to client money protection through the National Approved Letting Scheme for over 10 years and therefore already comply with the new legislation.

 

02/03/2018

 

GDPR is coming 25th May 2018. 

 

Please find more information here.

 

We will be writing to all landlords and tenants in due course.

 

17/02/2018

 

The Housing and Planning Act 2016

 

Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 measures are being introduced to make it a legal requirement for landlords to carry out:

 

1) A fixed wire test (also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report) every 5 years

 

2) A visual condition report on an annual basis/every change of tenancy

 

3) An annual PAT test

 

As yet, there is no confirmed date for the implementation of these legal requirements. As an agency, SWR:

 

1) Arrange annual PAT testing on all managed properties

 

2) Carry out a basic visual inspection of electrical installations on check in of tenants

 

3) Are rolling out a fixed wire testing schedule across all managed properties in 2018 in readiness for the new legislation.

 

 

18/01/2018

Further to the implementation of The (Revised) Payment Services Regulations 2017 which came into effect on 13th January 2018, we will no longer be accepting payments by credit card.

Debit cards can still be used free of charge to make payment to us.

 

 

 

 

17/11/2017

 

Rules changing regarding EPC Ratings of rental properties

 

From the 1st April 2018 all rental properties (subject to a few exclusions) will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating on an EPC certificate when providing a new tenancy, or renewing an existing one. From the 1st April 2020 these regulations will apply to all rental properties regardless of tenancy status.

 

There will be a civil penalty of up to £4000 for breaching these new regulations.

 

We have written to all landlords of managed properties who have an EPC rating that needs attention to suggest ways to improve that rating prior to April.

 

3/10/2017

 

Compulsory Ombudsman Membership for landlords approaching

 

Speaking at the weekend's Conservative Party conference, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid,  pledged to offer private tenants greater rights by making it compulsory for landlords to register with an ombudsman scheme.

Under the initiative, all private landlords would have to become members of an ombudsman scheme or use an agent whom already has membership in a bid to improve the dispute resolution system for tenants.

The plans also include proposals to ensure compulsary registration of all letting agents, new incentives to offer tenancies of at least 12 months and the introduction of a new streamlined "Housing Court". 

The Labour Party has already outlined its proposals, including plans for rent controls. Read more here: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/jeremy-corbyn-pledges-rent-controls/

SWR are registered with The Property Ombudsman Scheme, The Property Ombudsman Scheme (Residential Leasehold Management), NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme) amongst other professional bodies.

01/08/2015

New Safety Legislation

 

CO Monitors   

 

From 10th October 2015 there will be a legal requirement for landlords to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in their rental properties, in addition to smoke detectors.

 

Current advice from the Health and Safety Executive recommends that a CO Monitor is installed in each “high risk room” (rooms containing a gas heating/gas powered appliance) within your property; however this was down to the discretion of the individual landlord. From October 2015 however, it is being made a legal requirement under the New Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations (2015).

 

We have discussed these new regulations with our safety testing contractors, Pass & Totterdell Plumbing and Heating, and they have agreed to supply a CO Monitor to each property at a cost of £28 + VAT. These alarms are of good quality, and have a lifetime guarantee of 7 years, after which they will be replaced with a new alarm.

 

Over the next few months we will be rolling out the installation of alarms to all properties that have annual safety tests due before 10th October 2015. If your property is not due to be tested, an appointment will be made for Pass & Totterdell to visit and fit an alarm at a date convenient to your tenant. You will not be charged a call-out fee for this service.

 

If you would like to opt-out of this installation and would prefer to source and fit your own alarm, please contact the office as soon as possible and advise us of this. However, as it is a legal requirement to have an alarm fitted, we must insist that this is carried out. Failing to comply with the new legislation will leave you open to a fine of up to £5000.

 

Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessment         

 

It has come to our attention that the Health and Safety Executive have revised their legislation surrounding Legionnaires’ Disease which requires that landlords carry out a risk assessment for the presence of Legionella, the bacteria which cause Legionnaires’ Disease, and use measures to minimise the risk of the bacteria. Most rental properties are low risk however it is important that these risk assessments are carried out.

 

Legionnaires’ disease causes pneumonia like symptoms and can be very serious. It is caused by bacteria that can be found within the water systems such as those used in rental properties.

 

We have discussed this issue with our safety testing contractors, Pass & Totterdell Plumbing and Heating who have recently updated their training in this area. They have agreed to carry out the required risk assessment for £50 + VAT therefore these tests will be rolled out over the coming 12 months, alongside your annual safety test.

 

If you would like to opt-out of this test, please contact the office as soon as possible and advise us of this. However, you will need employ your own contractor or carry out your own risk assessment (please provide us a copy in writing) to ensure that the risk to your tenant is minimal. 

 

If you would like further information on either of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thornbury Carnival 2015!

 

Thank you to all who came to support us at Thornbury Carnival this year, we had a fantastic day!

 

Congratulations to the winners of our raffle, drawn by our new local MP Luke Hall.

 

The winners are: 3 Months free management from SWR - Richard Daniell, £250 voucher from Castle Estate Agents - Sarah Doganci, Free carpet Clean to the value of £150 - Tanya Sharp and Free annual safety test, PAT test and boiler service - Alan Pendrey.

 

Congratulations to all of the winners and again thank you for taking the time to support us!

 

A fond Farewell

 

17th September 2014

 

It is with a heavy heart we wave goodbye to our long term block administrator Marlene Britten. Marlene has been part of our team for the best part of 10 years and she has now made the decision to retire. We wish her all the best for the future.

Immigration Bill Update

 

17th September 2014

 

Few topics have proved as contentious in the private rented sector (PRS) recently as the Immigration Bill. The legislation will make landlords, or the letting agents acting on their behalf, responsible for checking whether potential tenants have a legal right to live in the UK and has been heavily criticised by a number of figures and organisations within the PRS. 

Part of the controversy surrounding the Immigration Bill is that there is a degree of confusion regarding exactly what it means and how it will be implemented. With that in mind, we have produced a concise guide of everything you need to know based on the information currently available. 

What
As mentioned, the Immigration Bill will require letting agents and landlords to carry out checks on potential tenants to ensure they have a right to live in the UK. This will involve looking at passports and other relevant documentation such as biometric residence permits. The government has said the checks should be "very simple" and in most cases agents or landlords will not need to contact the Home Office. Copies of the document will need to be taken and kept for 12 months so that they can be used as evidence that the checks have taken place.

Any agents or landlords that fail to carry out the immigration checks could be fined as much as £1,000 in the first instance and then up to £3,000 for any subsequent failures. 

Why
The Immigration Bill aims to reduce the number of people living in the UK without permission and to deter illegal immigrants. Commenting on the legislation, immigration and security minister James Brokenshire stated: "We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law.

"The right to rent checks are quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here. They will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation."

According to the government, 85 per cent of migrants who have been in the UK for less than a year live in the PRS and it is though that many of the illegal immigrants in the nation live in rented homes.

When
Letting agents and landlords across the country will be expected to carry out immigration checks from some point in 2015 that has not yet been announced. Before this, the process will be trialled in the West Midlands, with agents and landlords in the Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton areas required to make the checks from December 1st onwards. According to the Residential Landlords Association, the legislation will likely only apply to new tenancies that are agreed on or after this date. It is probable that the outcome of this trial will determine when the Bill is introduced nationwide. 

Reactions
It is safe to say the Immigration Bill has met with a negative reception from the PRS. Responses have varied from suggestions it will overburden letting agents and landlords, to claims it could represent a human rights infringement. However, the government seems set to press ahead with the plans and the industry must be prepared for it to come into force. In one sense, it could be argued the Bill represents an opportunity for letting agents, as landlords who are struggling to complete the checks themselves may turn to agencies. We can expect the impact of the legislation to become much clearer once the West Midlands trial gets underway.

 

Courtesty of Rentman, rman.co.uk

 

 

ASA clamps down on hidden letting agent fees

 

6 March 2013

 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today ruled against an estate agent for not being upfront about admin fees. We want to make sure that all quoted prices are transparent to ensure that consumers get a fair deal.

 

The advertiser did not make clear that administration fees were excluded from the rental price on the property, and an insufficient amount of information was provided for the consumer to establish how further charges would be calculated.

 

In future we expect all letting agents to make clear what compulsory fees are charged when letting a property, and they should do this from the start. For example a property advertised at £1,500 per-calendar-month (pcm) which requires each tenant to pay a £150 administration fee should be advertised as £1,500 pcm + £150 admin fee per tenant.

 

Our ruling makes clear that advertisers must include all compulsory fees and charges upfront in the price quoted. If the fee cannot be calculated in advance because of, for example, an individual’s circumstances, then the advertisers must make clear that compulsory fees and charges are excluded and provide adequate information for consumers to establish how additional fees are calculated. This means that potential tenants will have all the information they need in the first instance to help them make an informed choice and to avoid being drawn into contracts they haven’t budgeted for.

 

Our priority now is to make sure our rulings are followed by the sector as a whole. We want to ensure that all quoted prices are transparent so that consumers are not misled or treated unfairly.

 

An investigation carried out by Which? found that the vast majority of agents have been failing to display fees upfront, in written format, and in some cases even when the information was asked for. In order to improve standards within the sector they have written to the companies to share their findings, demand improvements, and remind them of their legal responsibilities under consumer law.

 

Our ruling, and that of Which? will mean that potential tenants have all the information they need to compare prices and shop around, so that they can be confident when choosing a property.

 

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said:

 

“Hidden fees are not only unfair, they hit those who are struggling hardest. Our ruling today makes clear that Letting Agents need to get their houses in order and treat potential tenants fairly.

 

Renting a property is a significant commitment. And for those who are new to the rental market, like students, navigating it can be particularly difficult. That’s why the ASA is clamping down on Letting Agents who hide fees. Today’s ruling makes clear that agents must include all compulsory fees and charges in their quoted prices. If the fees cannot be calculated in advance then the agent must make clear that fees have been excluded, and provide enough information for consumers to establish how fees are calculated. It’s now our priority to make sure agents across the sector bring their advertising into line.”

 

Read the ASA Ruling here

 

Courtesy of ASA

9th October 2013

 

Superstrike vs. Rodriguez - The Facts Explained

 

On 14 June 2013 Lord Justice Lloyd delivered his judgement on an appeal from the Wandsworth County Court in the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Marino Rodrigues. Since its publication there has been a lot of discussion on the online property forums and at local NLA meetings about the potential impact that this judgement may have on landlords.


Unfortunately, much of this commentary has not fully understood the facts of the case or the way in which a judge constructs an appeal judgement. There is a distinct need for calm and greater clarity about this case. To this end, the NLA has been in discussion with legal professionals and the officials responsible for tenancy deposit protection (TDP) legislation within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).


It is important to understand that appeal judges only consider the case presented to them, not a similar set of circumstances, or a variation on a theme. The precedent they set is therefore only applicable to cases subject to the same set of circumstances. This fact is crucial in this instance as the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Rodrigues is not representative of all landlords or private tenancies.


The specifics are as follows:


-          The tenancy (an AST) began in January 2007, before the 6 April introduction of TDP

-          The tenancy persisted, on a statutory period basis, without renewal or changes from January 2008

-          No deposit was ever protected in relation to this tenancy, as it was received prior to this becoming a requirement

-          A Section 21 notice was served in June 2011 to end the periodic tenancy


The Judgement concludes:


-          That a statutory periodic tenancy is a new and distinct tenancy, not a continuation of the tenant’s previous status.

-          The legal position was that the deposit held by the landlord at the end of the fixed term was deemed to have been received in relation to the periodic tenancy in January 2008

-          As it was received in January 2008, after the introduction of TDP, it should have been protected.

-          As the landlord did not comply with Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, they did not have the right to serve a Section 21. This rules the Section 21 invalid.


What it DOES NOT conclude:


-          The ruling does not apply to any deposits taken after 6 April 2007. i.e. it does not introduce a requirement to re-protect deposits held lawfully in accordance with a TDP scheme’s rules when a tenancy becomes periodic. 

-          The ruling does not look into financial sanctions; this case only focused on whether the landlord’s Section 21 notice was valid.

-          The ruling does not look into the need to provide prescribed information .


What does all of this mean?


-          If you have any tenancies which began pre-6 April 2007 and became periodic after 6 April 2007, for which you hold a deposit which was not protected, you may not be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

-          If you do not have any tenancies which match this description, this judgement should have no impact on you whatsoever. Depending on the TDP scheme used, you may receive correspondence in the near future asking you to confirm the status of tenancies for which the fixed term has ended but a request to unprotect the deposit has not been received.

-          Likewise, in the future you may be asked to let the scheme provider know when tenancies become periodic.

 

If I have pre-2007 tenancies like this, what should I do?


There is no simple answer to that question. Due to the nature of appeals, only the exact circumstances of the particular case in question are examined. The two ways to mitigate the risk of being caught out by this precedent are:


(1)    Return the deposit. This should remove the risk of a future  Section 21 being deemed invalid and is implied by the judgement. However, Justice Lloyd deliberately reserves judgement on this matter.


(2)    Protect the deposit. Likewise this should show intention to comply with the law and remove the risk. However, given the recent amendment to Section 215 of the Housing Act 2004, this may not be sufficient to avoid sanctions. Only a further legal case could determine this.


There is a third option available to landlords affected, which is not intended to mitigate risk and may not be advisable, but could be a valid course none the less, and that is:


‘wait and see’


It is entirely possible that this case will be taken to the Supreme Court, which could overturn the judgement. The NLA is keen to speak to the landlord in this case and is seeking legal advice to determine what options may be available to challenge the decision.


Furthermore, we are keen to impress upon ministers at DCLG that it has a responsibility to regain control over this legislation and should act swiftly to amend the Housing Act 2004 to remove this uncertainty – in the same way it did in 2011 following the Tiensia case.

 

Courtesy of The National Landlord Organisation

On 14 June 2013 Lord Justice Lloyd delivered his judgement on an appeal from the Wandsworth County Court in the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Marino Rodrigues. Since its publication there has been a lot of discussion on the online property forums and at local NLA meetings about the potential impact that this judgement may have on landlords.

Unfortunately, much of this commentary has not fully understood the facts of the case or the way in which a judge constructs an appeal judgement. There is a distinct need for calm and greater clarity about this case. To this end, the NLA has been in discussion with legal professionals and the officials responsible for tenancy deposit protection (TDP) legislation within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It is important to understand that appeal judges only consider the case presented to them, not a similar set of circumstances, or a variation on a theme. The precedent they set is therefore only applicable to cases subject to the same set of circumstances. This fact is crucial in this instance as the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Rodrigues is not representative of all landlords or private tenancies.

The specifics are as follows:

-          The tenancy (an AST) began in January 2007, before the 6 April introduction of TDP

-          The tenancy persisted, on a statutory period basis, without renewal or changes from January 2008

-          No deposit was ever protected in relation to this tenancy, as it was received prior to this becoming a requirement

-          A Section 21 notice was served in June 2011 to end the periodic tenancy

The Judgement concludes:

-          That a statutory periodic tenancy is a new and distinct tenancy, not a continuation of the tenant’s previous status.

-          The legal position was that the deposit held by the landlord at the end of the fixed term was deemed to have been received in relation to the periodic tenancy in January 2008

-          As it was received in January 2008, after the introduction of TDP, it should have been protected.

-          As the landlord did not comply with Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, they did not have the right to serve a Section 21. This rules the Section 21 invalid.

What it DOES NOT conclude:

-          The ruling does not apply to any deposits taken after 6 April 2007. i.e. it does not introduce a requirement to re-protect deposits held lawfully in accordance with a TDP scheme’s rules when a tenancy becomes periodic. 

-          The ruling does not look into financial sanctions; this case only focused on whether the landlord’s Section 21 notice was valid.

-          The ruling does not look into the need to provide prescribed information .

What does all of this mean?

-          If you have any tenancies which began pre-6 April 2007 and became periodic after 6 April 2007, for which you hold a deposit which was not protected, you may not be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

-          If you do not have any tenancies which match this description, this judgement should have no impact on you whatsoever. Depending on the TDP scheme used, you may receive correspondence in the near future asking you to confirm the status of tenancies for which the fixed term has ended but a request to unprotect the deposit has not been received.

-          Likewise, in the future you may be asked to let the scheme provider know when tenancies become periodic.

 

If I have pre-2007 tenancies like this, what should I do?

There is no simple answer to that question. Due to the nature of appeals, only the exact circumstances of the particular case in question are examined. The two ways to mitigate the risk of being caught out by this precedent are:

(1)    Return the deposit. This should remove the risk of a future  Section 21 being deemed invalid and is implied by the judgement. However, Justice Lloyd deliberately reserves judgement on this matter.

(2)    Protect the deposit. Likewise this should show intention to comply with the law and remove the risk. However, given the recent amendment to Section 215 of the Housing Act 2004, this may not be sufficient to avoid sanctions. Only a further legal case could determine this.

There is a third option available to landlords affected, which is not intended to mitigate risk and may not be advisable, but could be a valid course none the less, and that is:

‘wait and see’

It is entirely possible that this case will be taken to the Supreme Court, which could overturn the judgement. The NLA is keen to speak to the landlord in this case and is seeking legal advice to determine what options may be available to challenge the decision.

Furthermore, we are keen to impress upon ministers at DCLG that it has a responsibility to regain control over this legislation and should act swiftly to amend the Housing Act 2004 to remove this uncertainty – in the same way it did in 2011 following the Tiensia case.

- See more at: http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/superstrike-ltd-vs-marino-rodrigues-%E2%80%93-facts-explained#sthash.VgwS5ySS.dpuf

On 14 June 2013 Lord Justice Lloyd delivered his judgement on an appeal from the Wandsworth County Court in the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Marino Rodrigues. Since its publication there has been a lot of discussion on the online property forums and at local NLA meetings about the potential impact that this judgement may have on landlords.

Unfortunately, much of this commentary has not fully understood the facts of the case or the way in which a judge constructs an appeal judgement. There is a distinct need for calm and greater clarity about this case. To this end, the NLA has been in discussion with legal professionals and the officials responsible for tenancy deposit protection (TDP) legislation within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It is important to understand that appeal judges only consider the case presented to them, not a similar set of circumstances, or a variation on a theme. The precedent they set is therefore only applicable to cases subject to the same set of circumstances. This fact is crucial in this instance as the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Rodrigues is not representative of all landlords or private tenancies.

The specifics are as follows:

-          The tenancy (an AST) began in January 2007, before the 6 April introduction of TDP

-          The tenancy persisted, on a statutory period basis, without renewal or changes from January 2008

-          No deposit was ever protected in relation to this tenancy, as it was received prior to this becoming a requirement

-          A Section 21 notice was served in June 2011 to end the periodic tenancy

The Judgement concludes:

-          That a statutory periodic tenancy is a new and distinct tenancy, not a continuation of the tenant’s previous status.

-          The legal position was that the deposit held by the landlord at the end of the fixed term was deemed to have been received in relation to the periodic tenancy in January 2008

-          As it was received in January 2008, after the introduction of TDP, it should have been protected.

-          As the landlord did not comply with Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, they did not have the right to serve a Section 21. This rules the Section 21 invalid.

What it DOES NOT conclude:

-          The ruling does not apply to any deposits taken after 6 April 2007. i.e. it does not introduce a requirement to re-protect deposits held lawfully in accordance with a TDP scheme’s rules when a tenancy becomes periodic. 

-          The ruling does not look into financial sanctions; this case only focused on whether the landlord’s Section 21 notice was valid.

-          The ruling does not look into the need to provide prescribed information .

What does all of this mean?

-          If you have any tenancies which began pre-6 April 2007 and became periodic after 6 April 2007, for which you hold a deposit which was not protected, you may not be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

-          If you do not have any tenancies which match this description, this judgement should have no impact on you whatsoever. Depending on the TDP scheme used, you may receive correspondence in the near future asking you to confirm the status of tenancies for which the fixed term has ended but a request to unprotect the deposit has not been received.

-          Likewise, in the future you may be asked to let the scheme provider know when tenancies become periodic.

 

If I have pre-2007 tenancies like this, what should I do?

There is no simple answer to that question. Due to the nature of appeals, only the exact circumstances of the particular case in question are examined. The two ways to mitigate the risk of being caught out by this precedent are:

(1)    Return the deposit. This should remove the risk of a future  Section 21 being deemed invalid and is implied by the judgement. However, Justice Lloyd deliberately reserves judgement on this matter.

(2)    Protect the deposit. Likewise this should show intention to comply with the law and remove the risk. However, given the recent amendment to Section 215 of the Housing Act 2004, this may not be sufficient to avoid sanctions. Only a further legal case could determine this.

There is a third option available to landlords affected, which is not intended to mitigate risk and may not be advisable, but could be a valid course none the less, and that is:

‘wait and see’

It is entirely possible that this case will be taken to the Supreme Court, which could overturn the judgement. The NLA is keen to speak to the landlord in this case and is seeking legal advice to determine what options may be available to challenge the decision.

Furthermore, we are keen to impress upon ministers at DCLG that it has a responsibility to regain control over this legislation and should act swiftly to amend the Housing Act 2004 to remove this uncertainty – in the same way it did in 2011 following the Tiensia case.

- See more at: http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/superstrike-ltd-vs-marino-rodrigues-%E2%80%93-facts-explained#sthash.VgwS5ySS.dpuf

On 14 June 2013 Lord Justice Lloyd delivered his judgement on an appeal from the Wandsworth County Court in the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Marino Rodrigues. Since its publication there has been a lot of discussion on the online property forums and at local NLA meetings about the potential impact that this judgement may have on landlords.

Unfortunately, much of this commentary has not fully understood the facts of the case or the way in which a judge constructs an appeal judgement. There is a distinct need for calm and greater clarity about this case. To this end, the NLA has been in discussion with legal professionals and the officials responsible for tenancy deposit protection (TDP) legislation within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It is important to understand that appeal judges only consider the case presented to them, not a similar set of circumstances, or a variation on a theme. The precedent they set is therefore only applicable to cases subject to the same set of circumstances. This fact is crucial in this instance as the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Rodrigues is not representative of all landlords or private tenancies.

The specifics are as follows:

-          The tenancy (an AST) began in January 2007, before the 6 April introduction of TDP

-          The tenancy persisted, on a statutory period basis, without renewal or changes from January 2008

-          No deposit was ever protected in relation to this tenancy, as it was received prior to this becoming a requirement

-          A Section 21 notice was served in June 2011 to end the periodic tenancy

The Judgement concludes:

-          That a statutory periodic tenancy is a new and distinct tenancy, not a continuation of the tenant’s previous status.

-          The legal position was that the deposit held by the landlord at the end of the fixed term was deemed to have been received in relation to the periodic tenancy in January 2008

-          As it was received in January 2008, after the introduction of TDP, it should have been protected.

-          As the landlord did not comply with Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, they did not have the right to serve a Section 21. This rules the Section 21 invalid.

What it DOES NOT conclude:

-          The ruling does not apply to any deposits taken after 6 April 2007. i.e. it does not introduce a requirement to re-protect deposits held lawfully in accordance with a TDP scheme’s rules when a tenancy becomes periodic. 

-          The ruling does not look into financial sanctions; this case only focused on whether the landlord’s Section 21 notice was valid.

-          The ruling does not look into the need to provide prescribed information .

What does all of this mean?

-          If you have any tenancies which began pre-6 April 2007 and became periodic after 6 April 2007, for which you hold a deposit which was not protected, you may not be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

-          If you do not have any tenancies which match this description, this judgement should have no impact on you whatsoever. Depending on the TDP scheme used, you may receive correspondence in the near future asking you to confirm the status of tenancies for which the fixed term has ended but a request to unprotect the deposit has not been received.

-          Likewise, in the future you may be asked to let the scheme provider know when tenancies become periodic.

 

If I have pre-2007 tenancies like this, what should I do?

There is no simple answer to that question. Due to the nature of appeals, only the exact circumstances of the particular case in question are examined. The two ways to mitigate the risk of being caught out by this precedent are:

(1)    Return the deposit. This should remove the risk of a future  Section 21 being deemed invalid and is implied by the judgement. However, Justice Lloyd deliberately reserves judgement on this matter.

(2)    Protect the deposit. Likewise this should show intention to comply with the law and remove the risk. However, given the recent amendment to Section 215 of the Housing Act 2004, this may not be sufficient to avoid sanctions. Only a further legal case could determine this.

There is a third option available to landlords affected, which is not intended to mitigate risk and may not be advisable, but could be a valid course none the less, and that is:

‘wait and see’

It is entirely possible that this case will be taken to the Supreme Court, which could overturn the judgement. The NLA is keen to speak to the landlord in this case and is seeking legal advice to determine what options may be available to challenge the decision.

Furthermore, we are keen to impress upon ministers at DCLG that it has a responsibility to regain control over this legislation and should act swiftly to amend the Housing Act 2004 to remove this uncertainty – in the same way it did in 2011 following the Tiensia case.

- See more at: http://www.landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/superstrike-ltd-vs-marino-rodrigues-%E2%80%93-facts-explained#sthash.VgwS5ySS.dpuf

Friday, 22nd February 2013


A Guide to The Green Deal for Estate and Letting Agents

 

Now The Green Deal has been launched there are number of issues Estate and Lettings Agents should be aware of. To help we have created the following overview and FAQ covering the questions most relevant to Estate and Letting Agents:

 

What is The Green Deal?

The Green Deal is the governments flagship scheme to help reduce carbon emissions from building whilst also lowering the bills for the occupier.  It aims to make it possible for millions of homes and business’s to improve their energy efficiency at no upfront cost to them.

It will allow the installation of energy efficiency measures which will then be paid back by the occupier of the property through the electricity bill. The unique concept is that the finance stays with the property, so the repayments would be taken on by any new occupier.

The Green Deal also operates under the Golden Rule which states that the repayments should not be more than expected savings. This means that outgoings should not go up and so there should be no financial implication to having the work done. Once the repayments are complete the energy efficiency measure are owned by the property owner.

The existence of Green Deal finance is not recorded as a charge against the property but instead will be flagged on the Energy Performance Certificate.

 

I am an Estate Agent, how will it affect me?

The Green Deal will offer both an opportunity and a threat.

The threat comes from understanding how it is going to affect the sale of the property.  Firstly you will you have to be aware of The Green Deal so you can let the potential purchaser know upfront of its existence. Secondly the finance stays with the property so the new owner will have to take over the payments. Although there is a argument to say, due to The Golden Rule, that the cost of running the property does not change  it may well be seen as a straight loan to any purchaser and as such they could ask for it to be paid off or for an adjustment in purchase price to compensate.

There is also an opportunity from getting in early with a Green Deal Provider/Advisors to introduce Landlords or new purchasers looking to improve the property to the Green Deal whether this be for new revenue in terms of referral fees from the end installer or just to add value to your service.

 

I am a Letting Agent, how will it affect me?

The Green Deal will offer both an opportunity and a threat.

The threat comes from increased administration and negotiation. This is because any new tenants will have to take over The Green Deal repayments and as such will need to be made aware prior to taking on the tenancy. Also for any Landlord/ tenant wanting to take The Green Deal they will require the other permission unless it is in a void period.

Moving forward there are further implications from The Energy Act which suggest that from 2016 the Landlord will not have the right to refuse any reasonable request from the tenants to make improvements under The Green Deal. It also states in 2018 it will become unlawful to rent out a property that is not a band E or higher on the EPC. This could force the Landlords hand with regard to improvement.

There is also an opportunity from getting in early with a Green Deal Provider/ Advisors to introduce Landlords to the Green Deal whether this be for new revenue in terms of referral fees from the end installer or just to add value to your service.

 

How can occupiers get involved with The Green Deal?

The first step is to get a Green Deal Assessment carried out by a Green Deal Advisor. Many DEA,s who you may already have a relationship with, are also training to become Green Deal Advisors. Otherwise they can call the Energy saving advice Service on 0300 1231234.

The Green Deal advisor will make recommendations of improvements that are appropriate to the property and this is then taken to a Green Deal Provider. The provider creates a Green Deal plan which is essentially the financial agreement between both parties. Should the plan be agreed between the occupier and The Green Deal Provider then the Provider will arrange install and provide any follow up support.

Quick Reference FAQs


What is the Golden rule?

The Golden Rule states that the repayments should not be more than the expected energy savings, so the occupier should not be any worse off

 

Does it apply to both domestic and commercial properties?

Yes

 

Do landlords need the tenants permission?

Yes

 

Do tenants need the landlords Permission?

Yes

 

Will landlords be forced to take on The Green Deal?

Although not initially and landlords may well be forced to make improvements although not necessarily through The Green Deal. The Energy Act suggests that from 2016 Landlords will not be able to refuse reasonable requests for improvements from the tenants that are available under The Green Deal. It also states that from 2018 renting out a property with an EPC rating of G or F will become unlawful those in this bracket will need to be improved if possible

 

What improvements are included in The Green Deal?

  • Condensing boilers
  • Heating controls
  • Under-floor heating
  • Heat recovery systems
  • Mechanical ventilation (non-dom)
  • Flue gas recovery devices
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Flat roof insulation
  • Internal wall insulation
  • External wall insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Floor insulation
  • Heating system insulation (cylinder, pipes)
  • Lighting fittings
  • Lighting controls
  • Innovative hot water systems
  • Water efficient taps and showers
  • Ground and air source heat pumps
  • Solar thermal
  • Solar PV
  • Biomass boilers
  • Micro-CHP
  • Energy Efficient Glazing and Doors

Are they all completely funded?

No, some measures will require a contribution upfront

 

Is there any financial support?

Yes, the sister scheme is ECO which can provide support for those on a low income and relevant benefits

 

Will it affect the property sale?

Possibly depending on the view of the prospective purchaser as to the outstanding repayments

 

Will it affect the property rental?

Possibly depending on the view of the prospective tenant as to the outstanding repayments

 

How do I know if a property has take part in The Green Deal scheme?

It will give details on the EPC

 

Can properties with prepay meters take part in The Green Deal?

Yes, although the payments would be collected as arrears payments would be.



Courtesy of etsos.co.uk

 

Click here for more information

Tuesday, 5th February 2013

 

We are now officially affiliated with ARLA, the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

 

Labour leader Ed Miliband is calling for a nationwide regulation of the private rented sector, including landlords as well as letting agents.

 

In his recent 'One Nation' speech, Miliband pushed for greater regulation within the industry, including a national register of landlords, greater transparency and more clarity with regards to "confusing" fees.

 

In a speech to the Fabian Society, Miliband said:

"We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their own homes and those who rent.

"Most people who rent have responsible landlords and rental agencies. But there are too many rogue landlords and agencies either providing accommodation which is unfit or ripping off their tenants.

"And too many families face the doubt of a two-month notice period before being evicted.

"Imagine being a parent with kids settled in a local school and your family settled in your home for two, three, four years, facing that sort of uncertainty."

Miliband also pointed out that for the first time in 50 years, the private rented sector has now eclipsed the social rented sector.

3.6 million households now live in privately rented homes, many of those are doing so long term. Much of this housing is deemed "well below standard".

Miliband added:

"We would introduce a national register of landlords and greater powers for local authorities to root out and strike off the rogues.

"We would end the confusing, inconsistent and opaque fees and charges regime, making fees easily understandable, upfront and comparable.

"And we will seek to remove the barriers that stand in the way of longer-term tenancies."

This speech comes just as Baroness Hayter has tabled a proposal in the House of Lords to make letting agents as accountable as estate agents, drawing them both under the same legislative umbrella.

However, many have been keen to remind the Labour party that this is an idea the party has been championing for a while, though their actions have failed to mirror their rhetoric. In fact, housing Jack Dromey rejected the idea of regulation only last year.

Crucially, though, Miliband's 'One Nation' speech does commit the party to a manifesto promise for the next election.

 

from lettingagenttoday.co.uk



8th January 2013

We are beginning to implement our new 'Interactive Landlord Service' allowing landlords to access their statements and property information online. For more information, contact us

To arrange a viewing or valuation, call us on:

 

01454 612735

 

You can also use our contact form.

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