Accreditation schemes are often proposed as a ‘soft touch’ alternative to regulatory controls such as licensing schemes and they aim to improve the quality of service offered by landlords and assure the standard of accommodation offered.
Landlord accreditation can take 2 forms - most often, it shows that the landlord has been educated in the rights and wrongs of lettings, knows his or her legal obligations and has been shown to operate in a professional manner. Additionally, some schemes also use the accreditation process as a way to vet and confirm that the standard of housing which is let by that landlord is appropriate. When it works effectively, it allows prospective tenants to quickly identify which landlords can be relied upon, it gives the council a pool of landlords which it will use before others and those accredited can charge a premium reflecting their professionalism.
Unfortunately, many schemes fall short of these aims. Members pay good money to belong to the scheme yet in return, the administrator does no marketing to explain the value of the accreditation either to prospective tenants or other landlords, accreditation is awarded based on a 'tick box' approach where having attended a course or read a module is deemed sufficient to achieve the necessary standard with no checks to assess whether the landlord actually understood the material or more importantly, has put it into practice in his daily practice and local councils rarely offer preferential access to their accredited landlords.
We are very pleased to welcome a new Trader this month and that is Wilts Electrical, who are based in The Pompey Centre in Portsmouth.
Wilts are an Electrical Wholesaler who agreed to give PDPLA members a cash account. PDPLA members using the Wilts discount cards will get discounted prices compared to normal cash purchases.
With an unpredicted Tory majority in government should we all breathe a sigh of relief that the LibDems mansion tax and the labour rent controls are a thing of the past? Maybe, but with George Osborne’s post-election budget coming up on the 8th July, perhaps we should wait a few days before breathing that sigh of relief.
Why? Well – firstly it is a well-known fact that all landlords are paranoid and fear the worst outcome in every situation. This may not be the case for new ‘optimistic’ landlords starting out with confident predictions of 12 - 15% yields, but after a few years of bad tenants, voids, unexpected repairs, flat rents falling behind inflation, rising insurance premiums and ever increasing regulation, it may be understandable for the rest of us.
But what grounds do we have for such pessimism? The chancellor is looking to save £12Bn from the Welfare Bill towards a budget deficit of £75Bn – so those of us reliant on housing benefit tenants may have grounds for concern, but with many people able to ‘earn’ more from their tax credits than they do from their jobs, cuts in this area - which have been widely predicted, may affect many more tenants than those perceived as the ‘Housing Benefit’ market.
We have not included any property for sale or wanted in the newsletter before and only send 'accomodation wanted' emails to members up until now. However, Debra Chappelow has a 2 bed apartment available in Waverley Road which is with Cosgroves at £125,000. Full details here. (There is another apartment also available in the same building)
If you think we should include updates like this in future or would rather we did not, please let us know in person at the next meeting or via email - whichever you prefer.
Our friends at The Roberts Centre have asked us to let you know that Harrow Choral Society are coming to Portsmouth to put on a concert with free admission and a retiring collection for the Roberts Centre and Portsmouth Cathedral.
Various local agencies came together at the June meeting of the PDPLA (Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association) to discuss how to manage anti-social behaviour. Bruce Lomax, Housing Standards Manager at Portsmouth City Council said, “It is no good just evicting bad tenants, that just moves the problem somewhere else. We need to find ways to solve the problems that are causing the bad behaviour.”
As an example of that Gemma Moreau, who works in PCC Housing Standards outlined the work her team has been doing to bring home owners, landlords and student tenants together in one area of the city and thus avoid some of the problems that can occur in these situations. (We have Gemma's contact details should anyone wish to speak with her).
Opening times have changed at recycling centres
From 1 April 2015 opening times at Hampshire’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) have changed to reflect peak usage.
The new opening hours are:
*Efford HWRC will continue to close at 4.30pm during Spring and Summer in line with the site’s planning conditions.
In selecting the revised opening hours, a balance has been sought between delivering cost savings to the County Council at a time of severe financial constraints, and maintaining a valuable service to householders.
For other sites, see below.
We love chicken but it can cause food poisoning so..........
Join the chicken challenge and let’s halve campylobacter food poisoning
What is Campylobacter?
It is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK. Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after consuming contaminated food.
Havant are running the 2015 Chicken Challenge aimed at reducing cases of chicken induced food poisoning in the area. Whether you have houses in Havant or elsewhere, it would be worth spreading the word and helping your tenants avoid problems - download the poster and put one in each of your houses.
A report from a leading insurance company has shown that 40-49 year olds are more likely to enter the Buy to Let market than any other age range. Nearly 40% of new investors are from this group, with the 50 plus age group accounting for 24%, and 19% from the 30-39 age group.
This is perhaps not surprising, most twenty-somethings struggle to buy their 1st house let alone an additional property as an investment.
The change in these statistics over the next few years will be more newsworthy, following the recent relaxation of pension rules, which now allows those aged 55 and over to choose how they invest their pension pots. Many observers predict a move from traditional annuity schemes to 'bricks and mortar' investments which people understand better and feel more comfortable with.
If this is the case then the 50 plus group will grow. Additionally, we can predict that the number of 'buy to let' landlords will increase (assuming tax and other rules remain similar to today) simply because of the UK's age demographics. In 2012 the median age of a UK citizen was 39.7 andby 2037 this is predicted to rise to 42.8 if current trends continue.
All of these trends are likely to push up house prices in real terms unless something can be done about the limited supply available.
If you don't know or have forgotten you username and/or password the following information should help you to regain access to the member-only areas of the website.
Visit the homepage of this website. At the top of the page to the right of both the [Username] and the [Password] boxes, you'll see a [(?)]. If you click on the [(?)] which you wish to recover you will be asked for your email address. Enter your email address, and providing it matches the email address we have on record for you you'll be sent instructions to help you recover/reset your login details. If you don't receive the email don't forget to check your spam folder in case it's been mistakenly identified as spam email!
Some people need a little help to set up home when moving into private accommodation, or a council property. The Portsmouth Salvation Army team can support them to improve their lifestyles or maintain independent accommodation and in the process, provide a valuable service helping local landlords manage their tenants with the minimum of problems or issues.
The dedicated team of workers can provide support in a flexible person-centred way, helping local landlords avoid problems with new tenants who otherwise they might avoid.
According to the NLA, in the first six months after the Land Registry had launched its Property Alert service this year, more than 12,000 people had signed up to the free service which provides an early warning of suspicious activity relating to someone's property in England or Wales.
Property fraudsters are increasingly sophisticated in the ways they attempt to acquire ownership of a property in order to either sell it and take the proceeds or raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner's knowledge before disappearing with the money.
Following on from our March announcement of free boiler upgrades for the elderly and vulnerable,( http://pdpla.com/newsletter-news/free-boiler-upgrades-for-elderly-vulnerable-in-portsmouth), Portsmouth City Council has extended the scheme to all households in the city. In addition, Havant have reminded us that their scheme only runs until August 31st, so wherever your properties are you need to act quickly if you want to benefit from these free handouts.
In Portsmouth, any house with a boiler that is more than 10 years old is likely to qualify for a grant of up to £1,500 towards a new boiler though it needs to be replaced under the green deal scheme.
Havant and East Hampshire, offers 50% cashback on solid wall insulation and 25% cashback on a range of other energy-saving measures including new boilers, double glazing and cavity wall insulation.
In both cases this is funded as part of the Green Deal and to qualify, your property will need a Green Deal Assessment and works will need to be carried out by approved contractors.
The number of tenants evicted from their homes is at a six year high as rising rents and cuts to benefits make tenancies increasingly unaffordable.
County court bailiffs in England and Wales evicted more than 11,000 families in the first three months of 2015,an increase of 8% on the same period last year and 51% more than five years ago, according to Damien Gayle in The Guardian.
One interesting statistic shows that Housing Associations evicted a far higher proportion than private landlords.