Posts with tag: landlord regulations

Landlords and letting agents can improve compliance with reports and inspections

Published On: May 6, 2021 at 8:08 am


Categories: Law News,Lettings News

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Letting agents and landlords are advised to review their compliance procedures, as the UK sees a crackdown on poor property management.

According to inventory service provider No Letting Go, property professionals can ensure the safety of tenants and reduce the chances of being fined for non-compliance by conducting regular inspections and compiling reports.

Enforcement of PRS regulations is on the rise

No Letting Go provides the example of how a letting agency in Bristol was hit with a £330,000 fine in March for poor management of a range of flats across the city.

The company also points out that in April a landlord in Ipswich was fined £50,000 for a range of safety failings and a landlord in Aylesbury was hit with a £48,000 fine for letting a property which failed to meet minimum standards. In January 2020, 100 local councils were awarded an additional £4 million in funding to increase rental sector enforcement. It says we may now be seeing increased enforcement in some areas as a result of the additional funding.

Nick Lyons, Founder and CEO of No Letting Go, comments: “Enforcement of legislation and regulations is rising and there is a lot at stake for property professionals. Agents need to protect their businesses, but also help their landlords stay on the right side of the law.

“Compliance has become an integral part of the property management process and property professionals need to ensure all rental properties are safe, in a habitable condition and meeting the rising number of sector regulations.”

Inspections and reporting can help improve compliance

No Letting Go suggests that inspections of the rental property every three to six months, followed by comprehensive mid-term reports, can help to ensure properties remain compliant throughout a tenancy.

An inspection and subsequent report can assess and highlight any problems within a rental property, providing an opportunity to fix issues before they escalate.

Lyons comments: “Tenants generally report serious issues, but often fail to report minor issues until it’s too late.

“That’s why it’s crucial that agents and landlords carry out regular inspections. What’s more, evidence of inspections through mid-term reports can be invaluable if tenants are not looking after the property and further action is needed, or if the local authority is considering taking enforcement action.”

Lyons says a good mid-term report includes photographs and notes on the overall condition of the property and its contents, as well as checks on who is living there, any maintenance work that needs doing, and for smoking and pets within the property. 

He adds: “During the national lockdown, we have carried out virtual property visits, where a physical visit has not been possible, to ensure properties are in good condition. However, as lockdown measures continue to ease, visiting the property in person – in a Covid-compliant manner – is hugely valuable for letting agents and landlords.

“It’s also important to consider how mid-term reports are recorded. Having no audit trail could lead to problems further down the line, while storing reports online provides a quick and easy way to monitor activity and recall details of past inspections if required.”

According to Lyons, mid-term inspections should be complemented by a comprehensive inventory compiled at the start of the tenancy to ensure the condition and contents of the landlord’s property is documented, while checking for potential compliance issues and hazards such as smoke alarms, damp or poor living conditions.

MP Criticised for Comments on New Housing Bill Proposal

Published On: October 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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MP Criticised for Comments on New Housing Bill Proposal

MP Criticised for Comments on New Housing Bill Proposal

A Conservative MP has been criticised for making comments about a new housing law proposal that would see landlords legally obliged to make homes fit for human habitation.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill – proposed by Labour MP Karen Buck – is unnecessary, after it was presented to Parliament on Friday (16th October 2015).

If passed, the bill will revive a law from 1885 that has been considered outdated for almost 60 years, during which time rents have spiralled.

The law states that tenants have the right to a home that is fit for human habitation, as long as the rent is less than £52 per year or £80 in London. These limits were last revised in 1957.

Buck explained that the current law requires landlords to fix properties when they fall into disrepair, but they do not have to solve issues such as condensation or mould.

Davies said the new bill would be “a huge burden on landlords”.

He continued: “My contention would be… I don’t think this particular bill is necessary to achieve what I would like to see. [It’s] as if [landlords] have nothing else to do but wade through legislation generated by this House.

“The overwhelming majority of landlords, and I will put myself in this category, want to do the right thing and wouldn’t ever dream of renting out a property that isn’t in a fit state to be rented out and want to comply with every regulation that’s introduced.”1

















Landlord Action Founder Attacks New Legislation

Published On: October 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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The founder of eviction firm Landlord Action has revealed that he fears new legislation that came into force last week will allow tenants that complain about false repairs to stay in a property for long periods without paying rent.

Landlord Action Founder Attacks New Legislation

Landlord Action Founder Attacks New Legislation

Changes under the Deregulation Act 2015 affect whether or not a landlord can serve a section 21 notice on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in England.

The new legislation states that if a property is considered in disrepair, landlords cannot issue a section 21 notice for six months from the date an improvement notice is served by the council.

Paul Shamplina argued against the new law last year before the All Party Parliamentary Group. He said the rules could cause tenants complaining of false repair issues to avoid paying rent for longer while investigations are conducted.

He argued: “I think this could lead to a huge spike in complaints from tenants.

“I am a bit fed up of all the frequent landlord bashing. It is about time there were more positive statements for landlords in the private rented sector, which now stands at approximately 19% of the housing market.”

He also believes that the Government has not spent enough time or money on ensuring landlords and letting agents are aware of the changes under the legislation.

He continues: “There have been a lot of significant changes in a short amount of time and I would like to have seen the Government proportion a greater budget to educating landlords, particularly those that don’t use agents to manage their properties, to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation.

“We still receive calls to our advice line on a weekly basis from landlords who don’t know about the deposit scheme, which came into effect eight years ago.”1 










The Changing Role of the Letting Agent

The last few years have seen a boom in the private rental sector, with generation rent forced to rent instead of buy. MPs and pressure groups have focused on Britain’s tenants, landlords and letting agents.

The growth of the sector has been so large that in 2014, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) claimed that if current market trends continue, over half of UK homes would be rented by 2032.

Due to more and more money going into the sector, regulations have become stronger. These changes have not only affected the role of the letting agent, but have driven out rogue operators in the country.

Since 2010, there have been several important changes for those working within the private rental sector. Specialist rental software provider, OnBoard Pro, has discovered what these means for letting agents.

Its research details the changing role of the agent, through the pieces of legislation the sector has been hit with in the last ten years. OnBoard Pro also looks at what is happening now and what is coming in the future.

The last decade

  • April 2006 – Scottish landlords must join a national register before renting out a property.
  • April 2012 – All rental properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
  • November 2012 – Letting agent fees charged to tenants are banned in Scotland.
  • November 2013 – The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules that agents must include information about non-optional fees in advertisements.
  • February 2014 – Landlords and agents must conduct Legionnaires’ disease risk assessments due to updated guidance by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  • October 2014 – Letting agents must be a member of one of three Government-approved redress schemes.

At present

  • May 2015 – All letting agents must display their full fee tariff, publish details of the redress scheme that they belong to and state whether they offer client money protection.
  • The Changing Role of the Letting Agent

    The Changing Role of the Letting Agent

    June 2015 – Under the Deregulation Act, the small amount of deposits taken before 6th April 2007 must be protected in one of three schemes.

  • Ongoing – HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) require agents to provide a list of landlords that they have collected rent on behalf of.
  • Ongoing – The introduction of selective landlord licensing schemes in parts of the UK, including Liverpool and areas in London.

The future 

  • October 2015 – All rental properties must have a carbon monoxide alarm that is checked regularly.
  • October 2015 – Smoke alarms must be fitted on every floor of all rental properties.
  • October 2015 – Under the Deregulation Act, landlords will be unable to serve a section 21 notice if they or their agent do not handle repair requests correctly.
  • 2016 – Landlords and agents must carry out energy efficiency improvement works on rental properties, if the tenant requests.
  • 2018 – It will be illegal to rent out a property that has an energy efficiency rating of F or G.
  • Unknown – Right to rent immigration checks will be rolled out nationally.
  • Unknown – Planned localised rent controls and landlord repossession changes in Scotland.

Members of the industry give their opinions on this:

CEO of OnBoard Pro, Stephen Purvis, says: “As we have found from talking to agents around the country, as well as in Scotland, the role of a full service letting agent becomes more complicated and regulated as each year passes.

“That is not to say that increased regulation is necessarily a bad thing. The more rogue landlords and agents that are prohibited from operating in the sector, the fewer negative portrayals of agents we will see in the mainstream media.

“The majority of agents are very quick to get up to speed with the latest changes affecting them. However, after breaking it down like we have here, it shows the quite astonishing amount of new tasks and checks letting agents are taking on all the time.”

Purvis continues: “In just five years, agents have gone from having to join a redress scheme and organise Legionella assessments to having to also disclose their full fees tariff and make sure all of their landlords’ old deposits are protected.

“And in the next five years we can expect the list to lengthen yet further as agents and landlords will be expected to check tenants’ immigration status, make sure rented properties are energy efficient, and install fire and carbon monoxide alarms in all properties.

“With all of this in mind, keeping up with industry news outlets as well as thoroughly digesting any Government or industry body information issued has become more important than ever.

“On top of this, as legislation and administration duties increase, utilising the latest technology allows agents and landlords to efficiently streamline processes and subsequently spend more time looking after tenants and brushing up on the latest legislation and industry practice.”1

Director of London’s Kings Group, Karl Knipe, comments: “I don’t feel the front end of the job has really changed. It’s no different today than it was five, 10 or 20 years ago. However, it’s the backend, the legalities, which have and are changing all the time. This makes doing the job – if being compliant and safe – more costly for the agent, landlord and ultimately, the tenant.”1 

Founder of Letting Solutions in West Lothian, Brian Callaghan, speaks about the Scottish private rental sector: “Scotland has much to be proud of in the private rented sector. A sharp focus on tenant safety and rights has led to enlightened legislation and rules over many years.

“However, it is sad to see the industry in danger of losing its way. The Scottish Government’s adoption of some of the destructive elements in Shelter’s agenda is in danger of leading Scotland into a cul-de-sac.

“Stimulating the supply side should be the absolute priority. Instead, the Scottish Government is moving in the other direction. Misconceived tenancy reform, including localised rent control, seems to be on the way. If this comes, a reduction in supply is certain.”1

Lettings Director of Brighton and Hove’s Mishon Mackay, Talitha Setz, says: “The last five years have seen significant changes, and more importantly, an improvement to the UK lettings industry. Under the guidance of a professional letting agent, when basic steps are followed, the relationship between landlord, tenant and agent is a harmonious one.

“A competent, experienced letting agent with local knowledge and national accreditation will guide landlords through this entire process. Many dual selling and letting agents will manage the process from purchase to tenant, find to full management, whilst limiting the mounting costs where possible and provide a safe and well maintained property for many years to come.”1

Lettings Manager at Capital & Coastal in Bournemouth, Simon Kerley, notes: “Most of the changes brought into the rental market are positive and designed to protect consumers and encourage those providing a service – landlords and agents – to raise their standards.

“Often, the effectiveness of some of these changes can be hard to measure, especially with the market changing so rapidly, making it difficult for regulation to keep pace and remain relevant. Competition for letting agents remains high, especially since there is no legal requirement to have a formal qualification to be an estate agent. Therefore, anything that helps the good stand out from the bad, in our opinion, can only be positive.”1 

Director of East London’s Amilli Property, Kenny Sahota, concludes: “As the demand for renting grows, so has the number of letting agents. Over the past five years, we have seen rogue traders leading landlords and tenants out of pocket. The rules and regulations have been getting tighter to prevent these issues from happening, which is great for landlords.”1 


Landlords Blamed for Housing Problems

Landlords have been held responsible for many different issues building in the UK.

The Conservative Party blamed landlords for illegal immigration, and has made right to rent checks a legal requirement before any tenancy agreements are signed.

Landlords Blamed for Housing Problems

Landlords Blamed for Housing Problems

Labour targeted landlords in the stand against climate change, by enforcing obligatory Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). The current Government is also prohibiting the rental of low performance energy homes from 2018.

Landlords are also being held responsible for the troubles in the housing market, as London mayoral candidate Diane Abbott has suggested monthly rents be capped at half the annual Council Tax band. Think tank Civitas has also supported rent controls.

People may like the idea of landlords being greedy and profiteering, however, more than three-quarters of landlords in the UK rent out only one or two properties. In London, many also rent out rooms in their own house for more income.

Although rents in the capital have risen by 15% since 2011, house prices and mortgage costs have also increased by much more. The desperate shortage of housing is the cause of these issues.

Politicians do not seem able to come up with an innovative solution; with neither side planning more social housing or new builds to increase supply. Instead, they have created punishing regulations for just one group of people.

Landlords may have been accused of causing a lack of new builds, and a high housing benefit bill, however it seems that the private rental sector actually provides support against other shortcomings. Those who cannot afford a mortgage can afford to rent, or those who cannot get social housing live in private accommodation.

Landlords and tenants are also praised on making the best of a bad situation. People who rent out rooms in their homes will generally organise interviews to find a tenant who will be suited to their living arrangements.

The rise in private renting in London, to 670,000 households1, could also be down to the increase in groups such as students and temporary visitors, who prefer renting.

A rental cap could have detrimental and unpredictable effects. Landlords are calling for these measures to be opposed in the run-up to the general election.




Landlords need more Advice on Increasing Regulations

Published On: May 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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Leading buy-to-let lender Paragon has released a report that suggests landlords are not getting sufficient help in maintaining their investment.

The survey from Paragon indicates that 78% of landlords questioned said that they believe there is significant requirement for advice on landlord matters. For landlords owning a portfolio of 11 or more properties, this figure rose to 89%.[1]


There have been calls from the private rental industry for some kind of regulation in the letting sector for a number of years. Complaints to the Property Ombudsman from both tenants and landlords alike rose by 9% in the previous year.[1]

The Government has introduced a crackdown on rogue agents, with agents responsible for repaying tenants or landlords who have been treated unjustly.

Eligibility checks

In last month’s Queen’s Speech, her majesty announced the proposal that landlords are to become responsible for background checks on all of their tenants, to ascertain their eligibility to live within the UK. Landlords subsequently found to be renting to illegal migrants will face hefty fines.

The proposal has been met with disdain from landlords, who believe that the plan to get them to combat immigration is unfair and will add more complications to the buy-to-let industry.

Landlords need more Advice on Increasing Regulations

Landlords need more Advice on Increasing Regulations




Following this angry response, the Government is looking at ways to adapt their proposals and Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, is reportedly in continued discussions with the Prime Minister.

A Whitehall source recently told the Daily Express that the Government want to bring in regulation “that does not inflict red tape on millions of people.”[1]

The source went on to say: “What we want to avoid is disproportionate regulations on the private rented sector. If you are British, we don’t want a bureaucratic check, the cost of which is passed on to the landlord and then the tenant.

“It is a question of getting the balance right and targeting the regulations at high-risk areas.”[1]


Unsurprisingly, Paragon’s report found a high majority of landlords were opposed to the changes. 90% said that they thought the potential added workload, on top of taxes and existing regulation, would lead to it being even tougher as a landlord moving forwards.[1]

Furthermore, 46% of private landlords stated that they were already finding changes in legislation difficult to follow. 43% said that they were concerned about the impending impact of Universal Credit on the sector. 54% of landlords said that additional licensing would affect them the most.[1]

Help and Advice

Paragon’s Director of Mortgages, John Heron, said that the findings made for interesting reading. Heron stated that it is “interesting to note that although many of the landlords surveyed were greatly experienced, having owned buy-to-let properties for a considerable time, there is still a need across the board for information, help and advice. Of course the buy-to-let landscape never stays the same, and new regulations affect professional landlords just as much as they do those who are relative newcomers to the market.

“Paragon would always advise our customers, experienced or otherwise, to do their homework before they commit to buy a rental property; research the market, the area and also their obligations as landlords.

“Buy-to-let isn’t a short-term investment; many of our customers have been landlords for more than two decades, and see their portfolios as an alternative to a pension when they retire.”[1]