More news items for you on a Friday. First some nice news:
Awards and recognition
Many congratulations to Giles Peaker who has won the prestigious Housing Legal Aid Lawyer of the year award.
This is partly in recognition for his work on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill – so let’s hope an election is staved off long enough for it to be passed.
Giles also writes the wonderful Nearly Legal blog.
Then Ben Reeve Lewis’s organisation Safer Renting has been shortlisted for the 2018 London Homelessness awards.
Vote for us!
Finally, Landlord Law has been nominated for the Property Investors website of the year. It’s a public vote so if you could go off and vote >> here (it will open in a new tab or window so you can come back here after) that would be nice!
A warning for letting agents
All agents should take note of a recent prosecution brought by Camden The Council prosecuted managing agent Leycam and letting agents Citydeal Estates (London) on 12 charges relating to the failure to license as HMOs three flats in the same building in Fortress Road, London, and nine other offences under the HMO Management regulations relating to the condition of the flats.
The agents claimed that they could not possibly be liable as all they had done was take the first months rent and the deposit, and were not actually managing the property.
However, the Judge decided otherwise and they were fined £25,050 for failing to have a licence while Leycam received a further £6,975 for breaching regulations. Costs and victim surcharges brought the total bill up to over £42,000.
Agents should take note and ensure that licensable properties are in fact licensed before accepting any money from tenants.
See also here where an agent has been jailed for failing to fit smoke alarms after two young childen died in a fire.
Agents – are you with Ombudsman Services property redress scheme?
If so – have you signed up with another scheme yet? As Ombudsman Services is closing down their service for agents on 6 August 2018.
Your options are:
Don’t delay or you will be trading illegally and could be prosecuted.
Mandatory five-year electrical safety checks for rental homes announced
These have been agreed by the government as announced here.
Phil Buckle, director general of charity Electrical Safety First, said:
“We are delighted the Government has finally recognised the importance of regular electrical checks in the private rental sector which protects both tenants and landlords.
“Electrical Safety First has led the charge for this to be made a legal requirement for UK homes and successfully lobbied for these to be introduced in the PRS in Scotland – with Wales and Northern Ireland set to follow suit.
However, no start date has been set yet.
A long time to wait
There has been a recent study which shows that landlords on average have to wait some 118 days (ie just under 4 months) to evict problem tenants.
However, in fact, they are actually losing much more than that as most of these tenants had not been paying rent for at least 2 months before proceedings started. Meaning that landlords are losing some 6 months worth of rent.
Which more or less matches the case I wrote about here. Although her arrears were less.
Six months rent is a lot of money for a landlord to lose, bearing in mind that they still have to pay their mortgage on the property and any other expenses, plus they are liable during that time for keeping it in repair.
A portfolio landlord may be able to bear that sort of loss but it would be very hard, say for a pensioner landlord who uses the rent to live on.
More regulation for Airbnb’s
There is a report here which says that MPs are concerned that people renting out property on Airbnb are evading regulations and holidaymakers could be at risk.
A new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tourism, Leisure and the Hospitality Industry, to be published this week, is expected to show evidence that a number of businesses are using holiday rental platforms to rent out properties, mainly because they do not enforce checks.
Gordon Marsden, chairman of the parliamentary group points out that there are thousands of properties listed on Airbnb across the UK, and yet local authorities and fire brigades are unaware of the location of many of these homes
Interestingly I read an article in the Guardian recently which said that people in Barcelona would rather have immigrants than tourists as long-term they contribute more to the city.
- The RLA has welcomed proposals for the government to fund certain fire safety improvements in privately owned residential blocks
- The Welsh government has set up an expert group to tackle leasehold issues
- Hamilton Fraser has bought Parkmatic Publications which owns the popular LandordZONE website and forum.
- The government has updated its guides for landlords on Universal Credit
- The DPS is struggling with its workload just now (so you may have to wait a bit for a reply from them)
- Nearly Legal reports that Fergus Wilson is at it again
Newsround will be back next week.