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

Don’t forget to download our free Landlord eGuide ‘How to avoid tenants from hell’ simply click the link in the post and you will get a copy messaged to you instantly and no contact details are needed
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Government Legislation for Tamworth Landlords – Day 5

In December 2015 the process of agreeing a new set of legislation ensuring the rights of EU residents  was completed. This was approved in 2016 and becomes enforceable on the 25th May 2018.

So to make it clear, significant changes are being made to the Data Protection rules.

GDPR

Day 5 – General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

This new legislation is designed to enable individuals to better control their personal data.

The changes will require you to audit what information about people you hold, what you do with it and how long it is retained.

Any processing of data based upon consent will significantly change and any consents obtained will need to be granular and opt-in.

What is “Personal Data”?

“Personal data” is defined in both the Directive and the GDPR as any information relating to an person who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.

So in many cases online identifiers including IP address, cookies and so forth will now be regarded as personal data if they can be (or are capable of being) without undue effort linked back to the data subject.

To be clear there is no distinction between personal data about individuals in their private, public or work roles – the person is the person.

This new legislation is a minefield so I would recommend Landlords start to look at the data they hold.

More information can can be found on the Information Commissioners Office website

 https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/

 

Take a look at our other online resources, below.

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Don’t forget to visit the links below to view back dated deals and Tamworth Property News.  https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

 

Amendment to Tamworth Landlords Regulations – Day 4

From 1st  or 6th April 2018 (conflicting dates  information) there is some good news for landlords.

gas man

Day 4 –  Gas Safety (installation and use)

A landlord will be able to have a gas safety record completed up to 2 months before the gas certificate date expires. Once completed the following record will not need to be from 12 months of the last check but instead the deadline date will remain for the following year. This allows landlords to get gas safety records completed up to two months earlier and not be penalised.

More information about this and the other changes being made can also be found on the HSE website.

Don’t Forget you can keep up to date with all our articles on the Tamworth property Market here. https://www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk

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Landlord Legislation the Government has planned for 2018

This year  2018 will be a busy year for legislation if you are a landlord.

So over the 12 days we will be giving you a daily outline of the upcoming legislation. Some of the legislation is in the pipeline and  may not come into force until next year, however it’s good to be aware.

no surcharge

Day 1 – Electronic payment charges

From 13 January 2018 a landlord or agent for that matter, can no longer add a surcharge when taking electronic payments  from your tenants i.e Paypal, credit, debit card or mobile phone payments.

 

Can’t find a Tamworth buy to let deal? Visit the Tamworth Property Blog at www.tamworthpropertyblog.co.uk where I am finding some gems.

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The Do’s and Don’ts with Carbon Monoxide – what Tamworth Landlords need to know

Landlords are being urged to step up and ensure that all rented properties and accommodation meet recent laws relating to carbon monoxide alarms.The legislation, which came into effect in Autumn 2015, states that smoke alarms must be installed on every floor of a property and be tested ahead of any new tenancy, with carbon monoxide alarms placed in every room containing a solid-fuel burning appliance, including wood burners and open fires.However, a survey we carried out identified that only 6% of students are aware that their digs is likely to need a CO alarm whilst only a third (32%) of student accommodation is believed to have a working CO alarm.To stop students being at risk from the ‘silent killer’, landlords and letting agents are being reminded of their obligations to install lifesaving detectors.Servicing of appliances and alarms should also be high on the agenda as new tenants move in, as well as the installation of alarms.Our survey discovered that just one in eight people in rented accommodation were aware of a landlord’s duty to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms with a solid-fuel burning appliance in their properties. This contrasts with the overwhelming four in five people who are aware that a smoke alarm must be provided.

Renters were also shown in the poll to be unaware of a landlord’s responsibility to provide an up to date gas safety certificate. Only four in 10 had asked for this when moving into rented accommodation.

Our research also reveals a worrying lack of knowledge among the public of how to detect CO, the so-called ‘silent killer’.

When asked how you would know the gas is present, 28% of people believe you can smell it, 8% think you can taste it, 6% answered see it, 2% insist you can hear it, while 1% of those asked reckon you are able to touch it.

Key indicators that carbon monoxide is present in your property and things to warn your tenants to look out for are: if the cooker flames are yellow or orange, sooty marks on walls around boilers, stoves or gas fire covers, pilot lights that frequently go out or there is increased condensation inside windows.

Carbon monoxide myth-busters

True or False: It is possible to smell carbon monoxide being emitted in the home.

Answer: False. Carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless so is almost impossible to detect without an alarm.

True or False: Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely difficult to diagnose.

Answer: True. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to that of flu so it makes diagnosis very difficult. They include; headaches, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, confusion and eventually loss of consciousness.

Currently, GPs don’t all have access to equipment to check carbon monoxide levels and the only way to the presence of carbon monoxide is with a blood test. Some 46% of GPs have seen patients with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms but only 18% say that they wouldn’t consider CO poisoning as a diagnosis. Find out more about the symptoms of CO here.

True or False: Carbon monoxide won’t leak if I have new gas appliances or if I have my appliances serviced regularly.

Answer: False. Although having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will significantly reduce the chances of them leaking carbon monoxide it doesn’t rule them out.

CO can be emitted from appliances new or old and if you’re worried you should see your GP. Regular servicing of your gas appliances is the best way to reduce the risk of your property being subject to a CO leak and having an alarm fitted is the best way of detecting if and when something has gone wrong.

True or False: Carbon Monoxide can only leak from my boiler.

Answer: False. Carbon Monoxide can leak from any gas appliance in your property. This could include an oven, gas fire, or a boiler.

CO is produced when there is not enough oxygen to form carbon dioxide. For example, when a flame is burnt in a poorly ventilated space. This is why it is extremely dangerous to barbecue in a tent as there is often too little oxygen for carbon dioxide to be produced and so carbon monoxide is released instead.

One of the main things to look out for in your property are if flames on gas appliances burn a yellow or orange colour rather than blue as this could mean that they are not burning properly.

For a more information on how you can keep your tenants safe from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide, visit this webpage.

Article courtesy of Estate Agent Today 

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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