Welcome to another Friday Newsround with our roundup of landlord and tenant-related news items.
Warning for landlords re compliance and agents
A telling article on LandlordZone reminds us that landlords need to be very careful about leaving all compliance issues to their letting agents.
Some will deal with this properly but others will not. And where they do not – the authorities will not be impressed if you just blame it all on the agent.
Apropos CEO David Alexander, talking about taking management over from previous agents, said:
We’ve found examples such as a failure to modernise electrics and obtain the appropriate EICR certification, black mould and damp in a property in breach of the housing health and safety rating system which the previous agents had failed to tell the landlord about, and a property which had no smoke detectors – the previous agent had explained that the tenants would put those in.
All of these breaches of regulations highlight a very sloppy, and illegal, approach to letting which risks the health of the tenant and places the landlord in a position where they could be fined and, in the worst cases, banned from letting.
John Stewart of the NRLA, later in the article points out that they have seen an increase Local Authorities taking action, saying
It is vital that landlords understand precisely what their legal oblations are, even where they have contracted with a third party to discharge their duties. Using a management or letting agent doesn’t provide protection to landlords from liability for breaches of regulations.
So you have been warned!
NRLA membership, and of course Landlord Law membership can help landlords learn and understand those obligations. A good idea even if your agent is perfect.
Help for landlords?
Safeagent, the letting agent accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents operating in the private rented sector is concerned about buy to let landlords and is calling on the government to do more to help.
Pointing out that the courts are not treating rent arrears possession claims as a priority unless there is over a year’s worth – which is a long time for someone to go without an income. Even then, claims are not going to be quick.
Mortgage deferral just pushes the problem further down the track. It will take badly affected tenants some time to get back on their feet.
Isobel Thomson, safeagent chief executive, said:
We believe there is more to be done. Our recent proposals for a sustainable post COVID PRS suggested that those landlords who build up debt because they are unable to pay entirely or are only partially paying what is due on their mortgage due to a shortfall in their tenant’s Universal Credit, should be eligible for a grant from the Government, similar to the coronavirus small business grant.
This would recompense them for the shortfall on their mortgage and any additional interest over the period. This is particularly important for landlords with a small number of buy to let properties, who rely heavily on this income.
In the meantime, The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has criticised the Chancellor Rishi Sunak for cutting the amount those on Universal Credit will be able to claim to pay their rent, pushing millions of landlords and tenants into financial difficulties.
Purchase of HMO property triggers need for new licence
A recent tribunal case is a reminder that landlords purchasing an existing HMO with sitting tenants should lose no time to apply for a new HMO license. As the license is personal to the landlord or property manager and not transferable.
In this case, the new landlords delayed the application. The tenants applied for a Rent Repayment Order which claim was ultimately successful on appeal.
So if you are buying an HMO property – don’t forget the HMO license!
Shock survey shows tenants like renting!
Contrary to what you tend to read about in the press, Paragon Bank’s UK Tenant Report 2020 shows that in fact, many tenants are quite happy renting.
Apparently, 54% said that renting either suits their current situation or that they enjoy renting. This was a survey of over 2,000 tenants so it cannot be entirely dismissed, as many can, as being unrepresentative.
Reasons for the tenant’s satisfaction include
- not having to worry about repairs (48 per cent),
- the flexibility to move easily (35 per cent),
- great location (32 per cent),
- being able to live in an area they couldn’t afford to buy (31 per cent) and
- the property being perfect for them (22 per cent).
Who would have thought it? Find out more about the survey results here.
- Berlin’s rent cap offers a new way of thinking about Britain’s housing crisis
- Huge costs of emergency call-outs identified by insurer’s research
- Net new homes in England hit highest level since records began
- Rogue landlord must pay £280,000 – or go to jail
- New online immigration checks ‘could give rise to even greater discrimination’
- Carbon monoxide alarm regulations to be beefed up
- Landlords warned over threat from rogue locksmiths
- Kathleen Fontana becomes RICS president
Newsround will be back next week.