Posts with tag: lettings law

Government Urged Not to Forget Client Money Protection

Published On: October 26, 2017 at 8:46 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Government Urged Not to Forget Client Money Protection

Government Urged Not to Forget Client Money Protection

SAFEagent is urging the Government to ensure that plans to make Client Money Protection (CMP) mandatory for letting agents are not forgotten, following the recently announced proposal to regulate all letting and property management agents.

The campaign group has written to the Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, to call on him to push forward with the plans.

John Midgley, the Chair of the SAFEagent steering group, says: “Since we launched SAFEagent in 2011, we’ve been raising awareness among consumers that any agents they engage with should be part of a CMP scheme. This is a really important part of protecting tenants and landlords.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement that it intends to introduce regulation to the lettings and management sector. But this move shouldn’t be to the detriment of the good work it’s done moving towards mandatory CMP.”

He continues: “While most agents run good, professional businesses, there are still instances where rogue agents misappropriate clients’ funds. If they are not part of a CMP scheme, there is no recourse for those clients.

“Therefore, we’re urging the Government to move forward with the consultation on the implementation and enforcement of CMP at the earliest opportunity.”

In March this year, the Government recommended compulsory CMP for all letting agents in England, with an enabling amendment due to be added to the Housing and Planning Act. However, since this move, very little has been heard on when mandatory CMP will be introduced.

The measure has long been in the news, with plans originally announced back in April 2016, when the Government first considered the change.

It is believed that one in five landlords and tenants are unprotected by CMP – we urge all landlords and tenants to check whether their letting agents are registered with a CMP scheme before placing business with them. This could save you in the long-term.

Government Focus on PRS is a Positive, Insists PropTech Firm

Published On: October 20, 2017 at 10:01 am


Categories: Property News

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The Government’s focus on the private rental sector (PRS) should be considered a positive by those working in the lettings industry, according to proptech firm PayProp UK.

The lettings industry supplier says that the move towards increasing regulation of the PRS shows just how integral a part of the wider UK housing market it has become.

According to the latest English Housing Survey, the PRS now accounts for around 20% of all households, while the proportion of homeowners has dropped from 71% to 63% since 2003.

More recently, the Government announced that it is considering whether to introduce a regulatory body to handle leasehold and private rental property management, as well as letting agents.

Government Focus on PRS is a Positive, Insists PropTech Firm

Government Focus on PRS is a Positive, Insists PropTech Firm

And, at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month, the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced a number of PRS proposals, alongside Theresa May’s measures to boost housebuilding.

Javid said that the Government wants to fix the property management industry, while reducing costs and protecting consumers from the minority of rogue agents still operating. The Conservatives argue that, as well as leaseholders, millions of tenants are being overcharged for repairs and services passed down to them.

Via a six-week consultation, the Government is now calling for evidence on whether regulatory overhaul of the property management system is necessary.

Javid also informed the conference that he hopes to introduce regulation for all letting agents, referencing the fact that, currently, anyone can start operating as a letting agent without “qualifications or professional oversight”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is therefore proposing the introduction of minimum training requirements and compliance with an industry code of conduct.

There were also proposals to introduce incentives for landlords offering longer-term tenancies, and the requirement that all landlords become members of a redress scheme.

The COO of PayProp UK, Neil Cobbold, says: “While we eagerly await the details of all these proposals, it has to be said at this stage that they represent a positive step forward for the industry.

“There have been campaigns for the regulation of the industry for a long time now and, this month, it’s become clear that the issue is high on the Government’s agenda.”

He continues: “Requiring all landlords to be members of a redress scheme will ensure that 100% of tenants have access to a fair and impartial complaints procedure.

“Meanwhile, there’s clearly an appetite to extend minimum tenancies and, with more people now renting privately for longer, we can understand the Government’s thinking behind this proposal.”

In the lead up to the Conservative Party conference, PayProp called on MPs to consider appointing an independent housing tsar.

“We still believe the idea of taking oversight of the property sector away from party politics should be considered but, if implemented properly, these proposals could really help the industry,” Cobbold claims.

A regulated PRS, with more stringent basic guidelines for letting agents, could benefit the whole industry, according to PayProp.

“Minimum standards for letting agents will mean a better level of service across the board, as well as an improved public perception of the industry,” believes Cobbold. “Increased professionalisation of the sector is a must, and will help to improve transparency and stamp out the minority of rogue landlords and agents still operating.”

He adds that, as the PRS continues to grow, the Government’s awareness of its importance will prove crucial.

“The fact that politicians continue to monitor the growth and expanding influence of this tenure type is positive and necessary, as homeownership levels in this country continue to decrease,” he concludes.

First Private Landlord in Scotland Granted Disqualification Order

Published On: May 8, 2017 at 9:24 am


Categories: Landlord News

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A court in Fife has granted the first disqualification order against a private landlord in Scotland.

First Private Landlord in Scotland Granted Disqualification Order

First Private Landlord in Scotland Granted Disqualification Order

The man, understood to be Mohammed Murtaza, 47, from Kirkcaldy, was found guilty of breaching both the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. Sheriff Gilchrist described the case as “a flagrant breach of legislation”.

The landlord was convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court for continuing as a landlord, even though his registration had been rejected by Fife Council in 2015, because he had six previous convictions for failing to comply with his private landlord duties under the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 and for being in breach of Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.

John Mills, the Head of Housing at Fife Council, comments on the case: “A significant proportion of private landlords are of good character and comply with the law. However, there are some who act unlawfully.

“We work closely with our partner services, including Private Housing Standards, Safer Communities, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland, to assist and support landlords to comply with the legislative requirements of being fit and proper landlords.”

He adds: “The outcome of this particular case sends a clear message to private landlords in Fife that the council will continue to take all appropriate action to protect tenants and improve property standards in the private sector.”

Landlords, we have put together some helpful guides to detail your legal obligations and explain how to comply with lettings law.

They are completely free for you to read if you sign up to us for free here: /guides/

Don’t miss out on these essential guidelines – They will help you avoid being convicted of housing offences and a potential disqualification order!

We encourage all landlords to stick to the law and provide safe, secure homes for their tenants.

Letting Agent Fee Campaign Enters Second Stage

Published On: March 28, 2017 at 8:47 am


Categories: Property News

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Letting Agent Fee Campaign Enters Second Stage

Letting Agent Fee Campaign Enters Second Stage

Around 180 letting agents in parts of Berkshire and Hampshire are being targeted as part of a letting agent fee campaign to find out if agents are displaying their fees correctly.

It is the second stage of the letting agent fee campaign being jointly conducted by The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. As of yesterday, 179 letting agents in and around Basingstoke and Reading are being targeted.

They are being asked to provide photographic evidence of their compliance with the law, which requires fees to be displayed in the branch and on the company’s website.

The second stage follows on from the end of the first phase, where 99% of 266 TPO letting agents in Swansea and Dorset were found to be compliant.

All had been asked for similar photographic evidence.

Agents found to be displaying the required information incorrectly were given the chance to amend it and re-submit their evidence.

The campaign found that just two agents failed to comply, either by not responding or not addressing inaccuracies that had been flagged up.

Both will now be referred to TPO’s disciplinary and standards committee for further investigation.

This committee is independent, and has the power to fine, suspend or expel an agent from TPO, plus refer it to Trading Standards officers, who can impose fines of up to £4,000.

Letting agents are required to display fees, along with their redress scheme membership details and Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.

The Property Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, says: “TPO has seen an increase in the number of enquiries about fees from tenants in recent weeks. It is essential that agents provide clarity and transparency about what fees are being charged for what service, so that all parties understand the commitments they are entering into.”

The campaign will continue while details of a consultation on the letting agent fee ban have yet to be announced.

Letting agents, make sure you comply with the law!

South West Landlords Recognising the Value of Accreditation

Published On: February 23, 2017 at 11:36 am


Categories: Landlord News

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More South West landlords are recognising the value of accreditation, with 41 investors completing a vigorous training and accreditation scheme over the last five months.

South West Landlords Recognising the Value of Accreditation

South West Landlords Recognising the Value of Accreditation

The South West landlords believe that they can protect good tenants and enable their local authorities to effectively target rogue landlords across the region.

Since the first National Landlords Code of Excellence (NLCE UK) training day took place in November last year, over 50 South West landlords and letting agents have joined the scheme, with 11 more becoming accredited last week, taking the total to 41.

The scheme also allows tenants to report property maintenance/repair issues as well as anti-social behaviour problems within their communities. Primarily, this ensures that the criteria of the Deregulation Act 2015 is met, as well as stopping bogus claims from tenants, for example, that they have reported a repair and the landlord has not responded.

Those that attended the one-day course on 15th February 2017 were able to learn more about housing tenants and complying with legislation in the private rental sector.

Rob Crawford, the Chair of the Association of Local Landlords Wessex (All Wessex), attended the training day in January. He says: “The accreditation course covers all aspects of letting private residential properties, everything a landlord needs to know! Presented by Don Robbie, all attending were encouraged to share their experiences. Don is very experienced within the private rented sector and was able to communicate all aspects of letting and property management, and the many recent legislation changes in a clear and concise way.

“Either as a refresher for experienced landlords or a good grounding for new landlords, the course will without doubt prove to be an invaluable confidence builder to landlords wishing to be recognised as responsible and competent in delivering a good and legally compliant service to their tenants.”

The next NLCE training day for South West landlords will take place at The Imperial in South Parade, Weston-super-Mare on Wednesday 26th April 2017.

Remember that our comprehensive guides on lettings law are available for FREE here: www.

Important Changes to Lettings Legislation for 2017 and Beyond

Published On: February 3, 2017 at 11:22 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Lettings legislation has been making the headlines over the past year, so what can we expect for 2017 and beyond?

From the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on buy-to-let properties, to the Right to Rent scheme, these ongoing changes to lettings legislation mean that it is more important than ever for landlords to fully understand their responsibilities.

Romans letting agent has reviewed the recent changes and highlighted some key lettings legislation changes for 2017 and beyond:

Buy-to-let tax restrictions – April 2017-2020

From April 2017, mortgage interest tax relief will start to be restricted to 20% for buy-to-let landlords. The restriction could affect investors who are both basic rate and higher rate taxpayers. The changes will have the greatest impact on higher rate taxpayers, and landlords with high mortgage costs and low rental incomes. Due to the changes, some landlords could also be forced into the higher tax rate.

Important Changes to Lettings Legislation for 2017 and Beyond

Important Changes to Lettings Legislation for 2017 and Beyond

The change will be gradually phased in from this April:

  • From 6th April 2017 – The existing system can still be claimed on the first 75% of landlords’ finance costs, including mortgage interest. The remaining 25% will have the new system applied (basic rate of tax).
  • From 6th April 2018 – The amount of tax relief that landlords can claim on the existing system will drop to 50% of their finance costs. The remaining 50% will have the basic rate of tax applied.
  • From 6th April 2019 – The tax relief using the existing system can only be applied to 25% of landlords’ finance costs. The remaining 75% will be at the basic rate.
  • From 6th April 2020 – Landlords will only be able to claim tax relief using the basic rate of tax. The tax relief will be given as a reduction in tax liability instead of a reduction to taxable rental income. 

Housing and Planning Act 2016 – April 2017 

This piece of lettings legislation became law back in May 2016, and is expected to come into force by April 2017 – once the second legislation has been drafted. The purpose of the act’s rogue landlord and letting agent database is not to ban property managers from operating. The idea is to enable local authorities to monitor the activity of rogue landlords and letting agents, and effectively target enforcement action. The act covers four areas: electrical safety requirements; Client Money Protection; rent repayment; and banning orders.

  • Electrical safety requirements – Regulations will require portable appliance testing (PAT) and an electrical safety check of wiring. Timeframes have not yet been confirmed, or which tenancies these regulations will apply to. There will be penalties for non-compliance.
  • Client Money Protection (CMP) – This will mean that all letting agents must have CMP, which will protect landlords and tenants. A date has not yet been agreed.
  • Rent repayment – If a landlord is convicted of not having a license for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) under the Housing Act 2004, they could be ordered to pay the tenant or a local authority up to 12 months’ rent. The tenant or local authority will make the application to the First-tier Tribunal. An order may be made if the landlord: fails to comply with an improvement or prohibition order; unlawfully evicts or harasses a tenant; does not comply with a banning order.
  • Banning orders – If a local authority believes that a landlord or letting agent should be banned from letting or managing a property, it should apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a banning order. The ban will last for a fixed term of 12 months. It will be a criminal offence if the ban is breached – landlords/letting agents could be imprisoned for up to 51 weeks or be fined up to £30,000. The rules are expected to be in force by April 2017.

Further guidance is expected from the Government before the database of rogue landlords and letting agents is implemented, which is expected from 1st October 2017. 

Minimum energy efficiency standards – April 2018

Tenants are already able to request consent from their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements on their rental properties. Landlords are not able to unreasonably refuse consent.

However, from 1st April 2018, rental properties entering into new lets or renewals will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above. A penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. The regulations will affect all existing tenancies from 1st April 2020 onwards.

Stay on top of lettings legislation 

With so many changes to lettings legislation over the past and coming years, it is vital that landlords and letting agents stay on top of their obligations.

The easiest way to understand your responsibilities is by keeping up with the latest updates from the sector. Our online news portal is completely free to use, while our handy monthly newsletter is also free and includes the important changes that you need to be aware of. Sign up here: www.