The £2,752,893 Ticking Time Bomb for Tamworth Landlords

I just love looking over and keeping up to date the 108 pieces of legislation that govern the rental of residential property in the UK”  

…No Tamworth Landlord, ever

If you are one of the 1,287 Tamworth landlord’s that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants. Oh, and on top of the 108 pieces of law, there are further 300+ regulations in the mix. Whilst Tamworth landlords may once have preferred to manage their Tamworth buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Tamworth landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.

In the last four years, an additional 495 landlords in Tamworth have converted from self-managed to having their property managed by a letting agent in Tamworth, taking the total number of properties under management in Tamworth to 2,013 (out of a total of 3,300 private rental properties in Tamworth).

Now, don’t get me wrong, self-managing your Tamworth rental property can be a very fulfilling experience, allowing you, as a Tamworth landlord, to build a deep relationship with your tenant and your emergency 24 hour plumber, builder (happy to do small jobs at a drop of a hat), decorators, first name terms with their deposit provider, lawyer and EPC provider to name but a few. (Wow!)

Also, did you know if your tenants deposit isn’t registered, or doesn’t continue to be registered after the end the periodic tenancy upon renewal … you could be fined up to three times your deposit? With the average rental deposit in Tamworth being £713, each self-managed landlord in Tamworth could be fined £2,139 per tenancy if the deposit isn’t currently registered. Therefore…

…if every deposit of every Tamworth self-managed landlord’s property wasn’t registered, the total fines would amount to £2,752,893

Now of course, I am not suggesting for one minute all the self-managed landlords of Tamworth haven’t registered their deposits, yet almost on a daily basis, I come across horror stories to that effect. Another two (but by no means all) hot issues that the Courts are cracking down on, are doing immigration ‘Right To Rent’ checks on all tenants (yes all tenants) and confirmation proving the tenant received the ‘How to Rent’ guide. If that second issue cannot be proved (a ‘sent’ email won’t suffice), the landlord cannot serve the Section 21 Notice, meaning the tenant cannot be served notice to vacate the property.

To many, it’s really a case of DIY or getting a qualified professional in … as those additional Tamworth landlords mentioned above have done since 2014. You might say, “Of course you are going to say all this – you are a Letting Agent”. Well the choice really comes down to your time and your knowledge. If a Tamworth landlord is not equipped, or able, to devote time keeping up-to-date of legislation and law nor doesn’t want to be bothered 24/7/365 about a blown light bulb, dripping taps, have that confrontational conversation with their tenants about missing rental payments, or arbitrate arguments and disagreements between your tenant and the neighbours, it is perhaps better to pass this accountability/responsibility onto a letting agent.

One thing I would say is all letting agents aren’t the same. Would it surprise you to know that letting agents aren’t regulated?

Tamworth landlords that do use a letting agent should not forget that passing over management to a letting agent doesn’t mean they can disregard legislation and they are still responsible for deposit/rent repayment legal directives, civil fines or action if the letting agent makes a mistake. Therefore, it’s important to pick a respectable letting agent from the start.

Nevertheless, for those Tamworth landlords that see their job as a professional landlord and want to be intricately involved in the day to day administration of their rental properties, it can be worthy pursuit.

If you are a self-managed landlord in Tamworth, and want to know if your paperwork is in order please feel free to drop me a line and I am more than happy to do an ‘MOT’ on it to ensure you are the right side of the law.

Contact me on 01827 425195 or lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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Ask Lorraine – I am a Tamworth landlord with an EPC dilema!

You may find this article helpful   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-performance-certificates-for-the-construction-sale-and-let-of-dwellings

Ask Lorraine ; What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?

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What laws are changing which will affect Tamworth landlords? – Day 6

With more and more people moving into rented accommodation, the government has put into law better protection for tenants. The law also provides landlords greater clarification on their responsibilities.

Deregulation Act 2015 – 1 October 2018 – Day 6 

The provisions as outlined below that came into effect for England on 1 October 2015 will apply to all tenancies from 1 October 2018 and not just new tenancies or renewals:

  • Requirement to have given an EPC in order to serve section 21 notice
  • Requirement to have given a gas safety record in order to serve Section 21 notice (no fault)
  • Government introduced a new standard form that landlords must use when evicting a tenant under the ‘no fault’ (section 21) procedure (form 6A)
  • No longer need to expire section 21 “after last day of a period”
  • Section 21 cannot be served for first four months and can no longer be used from six months after service
  • Apportioned rent rules after service of section 21 notice
  • Retaliatory eviction provisions

Note that the providing of the How to Rent Guide is excluded from the list and is not required for tenancies before 1 October 2015 unless renewed after.

 

Confused ?

confused
confused

 

Call us at Hall and Thompson (01827 425195) – Tamworth  if you’d like some extra  information on letting your property. Thanks

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Tamworth Landlords Legislation for 2018 – Day 3

The news is currently full of government legislation for renting out residential properties and raising standards.

Day 3  – Energy Performance Certificates 

From 1st April 2018 there are minimum energy level regulations (MEES), any building which is to be rented on a new tenancy or a renewal, must have a minimum energy rating of “E”.

Energy performance certificate
EPC

Furthermore from 1 April 2020, the minimum level “E” applies to all tenancies, including existing.

There are a number of exemptions available and if one of those exemptions apply, the property must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.

All residential properties require an EPC certificate if they are being sold or let, if you need one completed, please get in touch.

Hall and Thompson are still conducting viewings and letting properties. Please phone 01827 425195 if you are looking for a property. Almost fully booked for today but still have availability for tomorrow.

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One in 31 rental properties in the Tamworth area will be illegal in 2018

As the winter months draw in and the temperature starts to drop, keeping one’s home warm is vital. Yet, with the price of gas and electricity rising quicker than a Saturn V rocket and gas, oil and electricity taking on average 4.4% of a typical Brit’s pay packet (and for those Brit’s with the lowest 10% of incomes, that rockets to an eye watering 9.7%), whether you are a tenant or homeowner, keeping your energy costs as low as possible is vital for the household budget and the environment as a whole.

For the last 10 years, every private rental property must have an Energy-Performance-Certificate (EPC) rating.  The property is given an energy rating, very similar to those on washing machines and fridges with the rainbow coloured graph, of between A to G (A being the most efficient and G the worst). New legislation comes in to force next spring (2018) for English and Welsh private landlords making it illegal to let a property that does not meet a certain energy rating. After the 1st of April next year, any new tenant moving into a private rented property or an existing tenant renewing their tenancy must have property with an energy performance rating of E or above on the property’s EPC and the new law will apply for all prevailing tenancies in the spring of 2020. After April 2018, if a landlord lets a property in the ‘F’ and ‘G’ ratings (i.e. those properties with the worst energy ratings) Trading Standards could fine the landlord up to £4,000.

Personally, I have grave apprehensions that many Tamworth landlords may be totally unaware that their Tamworth rental properties could fall below these new legal minimum requirements for energy efficiency benchmarks. Whilst some households may require substantial works to get their Tamworth property from an F/G rating to an E rating or above, my experience is most properties may only need some minor work to lift them from illegal to legal. By planning and acting now, it will mitigate the need to find tradespeople in the spring when every other Tamworth landlord will be panicking and paying top dollar for work to comply.

Whilst there is money and effort involved in upgrading the energy efficiency of rental property, a property that is energy efficient will have greater appeal to tenants and other buy-to-let landlords/investors and this will enable you to obtain higher rents and sale price (when you come to sell your investment).

So, how many properties are there in the area that are F and G rated .. well quite a few in fact. Looking at the whole of the Tamworth Borough Council area, of the 3,476 privately rented properties, there are ..

89 rental properties in the F banding

23 rental properties in the G banding

That means just over one in 31 rental properties in the Tamworth and surrounding area has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. From April next year it will be illegal to rent out those homes rated F and G homes with a new tenancy.

Talking with the Energy Assessors that carry out our EPC’s, they tell me most of a building’s heat is lost through draughty windows/doors or poor insulation in the roof and walls. So why not look at your EPC and see what the assessor suggested to improve the efficiency of your property? I can find the EPC of every rental property in Tamworth, so irrespective of whether you are a client of mine or not, don’t hesitate to contact me via email (or phone) if you need some guidance on finding out the EPC rating or need a trustworthy contractor that can help you out?

if you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

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Ask Lorraine – Should I be given a copy of an EPC for the room I rent

Ask Lorraine – Myself and 4 other males rent a room from our Landlord on a room by room basis. He pays all the bills (they  arrive in his name) and we rent our rooms individually from him. I’m hearing that we should have been given a copy of the EPC when we moved in, is this correct?

Thanks Simon

Energy performance certificate
EPC

Lorraine’s Answer –  Hello Simon,

Legislation refers to an EPC being required  just for “buildings” and mentions giving an EPC to the prospective tenant of a “self-contained letting”  Your dwelling is not self-contained i.e. facilities are shared, as in a HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy)  So according to government guidance your type of dwelling does not require an EPC.

Some landlords do however have EPC’s carried out on HMO’s should they ever need to issue a section 21 notice – regulations state Energy Performance of Buildings is now required in order to serve a valid section 21 notice.

Only a Judge can create a legal precedent on the interpretation of legislation and a Judge is only going to be bound by the wording of the statute. I think this is a grey area and guidelines may well be amended in the future to include “bedsits”. Let’s wait for the first test case to come to court!

My advice for any Landlord  where the house is individual room lets, get an EPC for the whole house, it’s valid for 10 years and at a cost of approx £80.00, it hardly breaks the bank – Belt and Braces approach.

Give a copy to prospective tenants and also to whoever becomes the actual tenant.

Until next week

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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth tenants want a new AST!

Ask Lorraine –

Good morning,

ask lorraine new ast
ask Lorraine – new AST

Some advice please, on a rather delicate matter.

My wife and I own a 3  bed terraced property  in Tamworth, we have had the same tenants in the property since purchasing it some 5 years ago. They have been good tenants and we are more like friends than landlord and tenant. We have the odd month when rent is up to a week late, however it’s always been received in the end and with little prodding on my part.

Both the husband and wife work for the same company, they have just informed my wife that the company is closing down with the loss of all jobs.

Our tenants have asked if we would  give them a new tenancy agreement so that they are able to claim housing benefit.

I have agreed to give them a new 1 year tenancy agreement.

dilemma
dilemma

My dilemma is this, at the moment the tenants are a few days late with this months rent, what happens if they are not able to pay and the council are not forthcoming. Will we be able to evict or will we have to wait until the new tenancy agreement expires in a years time?

George

Lorraine’s Answer

Hi George,

The tenants do not require a new AST (tenancy agreement)  in order to claim Housing Benefit, the council will accept the original AST or a copy of the original AST.

In the first instance I would suggest checking what the tenants Housing Benefit entitlements are, you can check the LHA rate on the LHA Direct website.

If you have not already given a new tenancy agreement (AST) I would not do so, you could be making it more difficult to evict the tenants and their rights will become much stronger.  There is so much prescribed information to give with a new tenancy agreement and so many regulations that you must comply with i.e a copy of the EPC, protecting the deposit correctly  and giving them the prescribed information. What about the government’s “How to Rent” booklet, the list goes on!

Should the need arise and you find yourselves in a situation where you need to evict, without the correct paperwork having been given at the start of the tenancy, you will find yourself in serious trouble and will have great difficulty evicting.

As always,  I would recommend meeting with the tenants and explain that a new AST is not required. Support them however you can, without it being at your detriment.

You have already mentioned that the rent is payable monthly, once there are over two months arrears you can take action to evict under the  s8 Housing Act, should you wish!

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/schedule/2

You may wish to seek legal advice if you do ever decide to go down the route of evicting under the  s8 Housing Act. The professionals can do this on your behalf.

I hope things do work out for you and your tenants.

until next week

Energy Performance Certificate – How will this effect Tamworth’s Landlords?

In April 2018, residential private properties will need to have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them out to tenants. The change from April 2018 will only apply to new tenancies and renewals. For existing tenancies the regulations will not apply until April 2020.

Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the regulations, whether Tamworth BC have the time or manpower to do this added task,  I hardly think so! The local authorities  will have the power to serve a notice and request that a landlord provides documentation to prove compliance. Landlords who do not comply with these new regulations could find themselves with a hefty £5,000 fine.

Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Properties where the EPC rating is an F or G  are considered substandard  and will either need improvements carried out or will have to cease to be rented out. With only 8 months away to legislation, landlords are reminded to look at implementing improvement works sooner rather than later.

Works need to be cost effective for the landlord and permissible but landlords are at liberty to carry out works to an even higher standard, should they wish. 
As always there are exemptions to the rule –
  • The landlord’s tenant withholds consent for the works.
  • The landlord  was required to obtain a third party’s permission to undertake improvements, and the permission was denied. Or the third party imposed unreasonable conditions.
  • A qualified independent surveyor considers that the works will cause a capital devaluation of the property of more than 5%.

Exemption for listed buildings or buildings in a conservation area has not been made clear but it is hoped, when the  Government publish specific guidance for landlords in October this year, it will  confirm that listed building are exempt from the change. 

As with all Government policies until they are actually published there is no saying what they have deferred and if further exemptions are to be applied. So landlords it is a waiting game but  if you do decide to commence with improvements, it would probably be best not to commit lots of money and big improvements until all has been made clear.

 

Unhappy with your Property Manager? The best time to switch Letting Agents is mid-tenancy. Take us up on our offer and allow us to take care of the switching process. http://www.hallandthompson.co.uk or call Lorraine, Jackie or Jody on 01827 425195.

If you enjoyed reading my article, feel free to take a look my other online resources below:

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Ask Lorraine – Do I need an EPC for my Tamworth property before I can issue a section 21 ?

🙋  Landlord’s Question: 

I want to issue a section 21 to my tenants as I’ve asked them to leave and they won’t. I’ve been told that I need an EPC before I  can issue this notice, is this correct?

Do I need an EPC??

Do I need an EPC??

Lorraine’s Answer:

I’m presuming that you manage the property yourself as any agent would have informed you that an EPC has been a legal requirement since 2007. For a tenancy or renewal granted on or after 1 October 2015, no section 21 can be served unless an EPC has been given beforehand.

I would recommend getting the EPC completed as soon as possible and checking that you have everything else in place before even considering issuing a Section 21 notice as it will only be thrown out of court.

You should consider getting professional advice before you do issue the Section 21 notice or perhaps joining one of the many Landlord groups, their advice and expertise is worth every penny.

Until next week.

 

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!  lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk  or 07531484956

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Ask Lorraine – A couple have rented my house and the man who was the only one on the tenancy has done a runner, help

🙋  Landlord’s Question: 

”Dear Lorraine,

I’m a private Tamworth landlord. A couple have been renting my house since 2009 and the man who was the only one named on the tenancy has left the property, help!

I’m too old for this hassle and I’ve decided to sell up. The lady doesn’t hold a contract so can I just tell her to go. He left 3 months ago and she’s been struggling to pay the rent ever since, she has no idea where he’s living.

I'm a Tamworth Landlord
I want my property back

 

Lorraine’s Answer

It sounds as though you have created a verbal tenancy with the lady as you have been accepting her rent. I would suggest serving a section 21 notice giving  at least  2 months notice to quit.

You will need to ensure that the gas safety certification, EPC,  “how to rent guide” is served first, don’t forget to get the ladies signature confirming receipt of said documents.

The section 21 cannot be served during the first four months of a tenancy so you will need to wait another month, at least.

In the meantime try to help the lady find alternative accomodation, after all it’s not her fault that her partner has left her in this mess.

Until next week.

 

If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time and you want to read more articles like this about the Tamworth Property Market, together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Tamworth (out of the many of properties on the market, irrespective of which agent is selling it) then feel free to get in touch!

lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

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