Posts with tag: letting agents

The West of England Rental Standard has Launched

Four county authorities have launched a scheme for accrediting landlords and letting agents in the west of England.

The West of England Rental Standard encompasses Bristol City, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire councils.

The West of England Rental Standard has Launched

The West of England Rental Standard has Launched

The scheme officially launched on 5th January. It was created to provide a single mark of accreditation for landlords and agents in South Gloucestershire and the west of England.

Organisations that accredit landlords and agents are being encouraged to apply to be endorsed accreditation providers, if their schemes meet the standard.

The West of England Rental Standard sets out specific key criteria for rental properties and encourages landlords to do more than simply meet legal requirements.

It details a minimum standard that landlords and letting or management agents must reach and creates a kite mark, so that tenants can be sure that their property and landlord meet the standard.

The standard aims to become the single accreditation scheme for compliant landlords and agents within the region, and hopes to help tenants find good quality homes.

Councillor Ben Stokes, Adults and Housing Committee Chair at South Gloucestershire Council, comments: “South Gloucestershire has approximately 14,600 privately rented properties, and schemes such as the West of England Rental Standard will help to protect tenants by promoting good landlords and exposing the poor ones.

“We want to work with and support accrediting bodies, landlords and letting agents to provide tenants with good quality rental accommodation for our residents.”1

The rental standard is a voluntary scheme and does not replace the enforcement methods available to councils to make sure that landlords comply with legal requirements.

For an initial period of three years, Bristol City Council will administer the scheme on behalf of the four county authorities.

Organisations that operate in South Gloucestershire and the west of England are invited to complete an application form and return this with an application fee by 12th February 2016.

Successful organisations will be announced in March, alongside a publicity campaign.

More information about the standard and how to apply can be found here:


Housing and Planning Bill Passes Report Stage

Published On: January 6, 2016 at 9:23 am


Categories: Property News

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Last night, the Housing and Planning Bill passed its report stage in the House of Commons.

After many official announcements beforehand, the debate started in the evening.

The bill is now set for its third reading. It is the first bill with an English legislative stage, with only English MPs allowed to vote on certain sections. The date for the English stage and third reading is yet to be confirmed.

Housing and Planning Bill Passes Report Stage

Housing and Planning Bill Passes Report Stage

The bill will introduce a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents, which will be made available to local authorities and central Government.

Additionally, for the first time, the bill will make it possible to ban landlords and agents from the industry. However, at present, the bill still allows banned letting agents to set up as estate agents.

Amendment 16, tabled by the Government, will raise the maximum fine for someone caught renting out substandard accommodation from £5,000 to £30,000.

The bill will also extend the Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants and force local authorities to build starter homes for first time buyers; opponents have attacked the laws, believing they will bring an end to social housing.

A few hours before the debate yesterday, protestors gathered in Parliament Square to voice their opinions.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, representing Brighton Pavilion, voted against the bill.

She explains: “The housing crisis is biting hard. Renting is unaffordable, our social housing stock is dwindling and buying a home is still an impossible dream for many. And, as with so many of the challenges our society faces, it is the young who are suffering the worst.

“The Government had an opportunity to utterly rethink the housing model, but instead, Parliament is being presented with legislation that’s going to make the situation far worse and put another nail in the coffin for British social housing.”

However, she adds: “There are a few good measures in the bill. The provisions on rogue landlords, letting agents and the introduction of a brownfield register are welcome, but they simply don’t go far enough to protect renters or encourage the building of truly affordable homes.

“The overall effect of this legislation will be to inflict further harm on those already suffering and to drag more people into the housing crisis. It will decrease the amount of social housing, fail to bring down sky-high rental costs and do nothing to keep people warm in their homes.

“For example, the bill should have looked at ways to make rents fall, but it doesn’t even go as far as bringing in smart rent controls to keep them in line with inflation.”

She concludes: “The housing crisis we’re facing is the result of botched policies by successive Governments, and this latest bill is set to compound that failure.”1

What are your views on the new bill?


Evictions Specialist Calls for Rogue Tenant Blacklist

The Housing and Planning Bill is returning to the House of Commons today to be debated by politicians, following a Government consultation titled Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector.

The bill proposes introducing a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents. In response to the plans, Paul Shamplina, the Founder of evictions firm Landlord Action, is calling for a similar list of persistent rogue tenants and for this to be made public.

Evictions Specialist Calls for Rogue Tenant Blacklist

Evictions Specialist Calls for Rogue Tenant Blacklist

Some of the key points in the consultation were: Introducing banning orders and civil penalties of up to £5,000 for rogue landlords; speeding up the repossessions process for abandoned properties; and compiling a rogue landlord and agent blacklist.

At present, it is proposed that the blacklist of landlords and agents would be made available to local authorities and central Government, allowing officials to keep track of those that have committed offences.

Shamplina, who was part of the consultation, is urging the Government to show greater equality within the private rental sector.

He argues that if there is a blacklist of rogue landlords and agents, this should also include agents that have multiple money judgements against them by landlords for non-payment of rent. He also believes that all private rental sector associations and redress schemes should put their banned members on the list. In addition, he thinks the list should include rogue tenants and that all of the information should be made available to the public.

He explains his opinion: “We are constantly hearing about rogue landlords and agents. But to address issues in the private rental sector, we should also consider rogue tenants.

“Last year, there were 161,000 possession claims issued in England and Wales. At present, there is no central database where possession orders with money claims are registered, as the courts do not recognise possession claims with arrears as a County Court Judgement. If they did, this information would show up on tenant referencing.

“At present, a rogue tenant can move from property to property running up rent arrears and it does not show up on referencing unless the landlord goes to additional expense of trying to enforce the money order. If we are to protect landlords at pre-let stage, in the same way we wish to protect tenants, this should also be made available.”

Shamplina continues: “The Government is clearly committed to improving standards in the PRS. One of the greatest challenges is finding a balance between supporting good landlords and agents, whilst cracking down on criminal activity without burdening the sector with unnecessary, expensive regulation.

“I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by giving the consumer – landlords and tenants – access to information; allowing them to have freedom of choice about who they rent from.”

Of those that responded to the Government consultation, 92% agreed that there should be a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and agents. Shamplina believes that making this information available to the wider public will support reputable landlords and letting agents, and act as a deterrent.

Right to Rent Code of Practice Updated

Published On: January 4, 2016 at 9:57 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Right to Rent Code of Practice Updated

Right to Rent Code of Practice Updated

The Right to Rent scheme will be implemented in under a month, and the Government has updated its statutory code of practice to help landlords and letting agents get to grips with the new laws.

However, the code has left industry professionals confused as it suggests that the introduction of the scheme will be phased in geographically.

It states that the scheme will be enforced “on a phased geographical basis, and will apply to residential tenancy agreements entered on or after the date of implementation for that area”.

Then the code directs landlords and agents to the Right to Rent website, where it says that “landlords of properties throughout England should check that someone has the right to rent before letting them a property” for tenancies starting on or after 1st February.

The phased geographical implementation may refer to the pilot Right to Rent scheme, which was enforced in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. Landlords and agents in those areas have been obliged to conduct checks for just over a year.

The code does not make it clear whether there will be a further phased introduction.

However, it does confirm its legal status, stating: “This is a statutory code. This means it has been approved by the Secretary of State and laid before Parliament. The code does not impose any legal duties on landlords, nor is it an authoritative statement of the law; only the courts can provide that.

“However, the code can be used as evidence in legal proceedings and courts must take account of any part of the code which may be relevant.

“Home Office officials will also have regard to this code in administering civil penalties to landlords and their agents under the Immigration Act 2014.”

The code can be found here:













ARLA believes rents will rise in 2016

Published On: December 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has issued a warning that rents will rise early in the New Year, with the vast number of rule changes affecting landlords the catalyst.

David Cox, MD of ARLA, said that the vast changes in legislation coming into force next year will see increased compliance costs for landlords and push rents up as a result.


Cox said that ARLA wishes the Government to, ‘re-think its proposals around reducing mortgage interest relief, scrapping the wear and tear allowance and hiking up stamp duty by 3% on buy-to-let properties.’ He says that, ‘whilst these remain, the Government’s goal of increasing the percentage of people in home ownership is getting further out of reach.’[1]

‘The issue of supply and demand in the rental market will be increasingly pushed to its limit with rising demand outstripping supply,’ he continued.[1]

ARLA believes rents will rise in 2016

ARLA believes rents will rise in 2016


However, ARLA believes that it is good news that regulation in the industry will be getting tighter in the coming year. The trade body also said that it is confident that the provisions outlined within the Housing and Planning Bill will give courts more powers in combating rogue landlords and letting agents.

Mr Cox went on to say, ‘the Right to Rent checks introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 will be rolled out nationally from 1 February 2016 following a successful pilot scheme in the West Midlands. However, we worry that the goodwill established towards the scheme may be tested by the increase in volume, disenfranchising landlords from the process.’[1]




Rogue Landlords and Agents to be Fined up to £30,000

Published On: December 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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Rogue Landlords and Agents to be Fined up to £30,000

Rogue Landlords and Agents to be Fined up to £30,000

Landlords and letting agents that rent out substandard or unsafe homes will face fines of up to £30,000 under new laws to be revealed this week.

The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, will announce the new measures, designed to force rouge landlords and agents out of the sector.

Council officers will be able to serve a new civil penalty notice on offenders, providing an instant deterrent for criminal landlords.

Fines will be increased if the landlord or agent does not take action on overcrowding, hazardous conditions, poor sanitation, electrical faults, damp and vermin infestation.

The laws, under the Housing and Planning Bill, will also ban repeat offenders for at least 12 months.

A database of rogue landlords and agents will also be made available to council staff.

At present, civil penalties can be up to £5,000, but the average is just £1,500.

There are 4.4m private rental homes in England. Lewis says: “The private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants. We are determined to crack down.”1