At last months HMO Licensing Governance meeting, we learnt that Portsmouth City Council will be enforcing new government legislation to ensure all letting and managing agents belong to appropriate redress schemes.
Anyone who manages properties for a friend or who finds tenants, will be classed as a letting agent if they collect rents or other monies and accept or receive any type of payment for doing so, however small. As a result, these people will need to belong to one of the letting agent redress schemes.
Anyone found not belonging to such a scheme faces possible prosecution and large fines.
At our April meeting with Portsmouth City Council we learnt of plans to ensure that HMO's in the city are properly managed.
There are now just under 2,500 identified HMO's in southern Portsmouth and so far, just over 2,000 are fully licensed. Efforts are being stepped up to get the remainder licensed or to take action to improve the way they are managed and in some cases, to forbid the owners or the managing agents from managing these properties.
Just over a month since we sent all of the new TradePoint cards to our members and you have already clocked up over £10,000 of purchases. We do hope that you have made some great savings and appreciate this latest membership benefit. If you have any problems with the card, need extra cards or just have a query do let us know as we'd like to maximise the benefits we all receive.
Every hands on landlord needs a nice box for assorted screws (actually, most households do too). Read on for Mr. Fixit's recommendation..
There are allegations circulating on various forums that someone called Ben Rogers is facing bankruptcy and a number of landlords are owed money by him. Whether, in this case, the concerns proved to be true, this example does highlight the risks associated with unsecured loans.
One of our members appears to have been affected - read on for more detail..
Many will not know it, but there is a 'googlegroup' for Havant landlords and PDPLA committee member, Allan Wadsworth suggested to this community that they get together and meet in person.
The meeting took place on April 15th and was well attended for an inaugural meeting with good input and discussion with Julie Watson Cowen of Havant Borough Council. The minutes of the meeting are shared here for information - any landlords interested in joining, please let Allan know - contact details below...
Two facts that were new for some of the attendees were that Havant Borough own no property of their own now and also, that council tax is now payable from the day a property becomes empty in the borough.
Looking at this months planning applications, there is not much of interest to landlords in Havant, Fareham or Gosport and only a couple of items in Portsmouth. However, there do seem to be a large number of C3 to C3/C4 applications going through the system, so someone must be getting their paperwork in order....
The Painsmith Landlord and Tenant Blog has a good summary of the new statutory duty which comes into effect this month and ensures that all letting agents clearly publicise the fees they charge.
Given the broad definition of 'letting agents' (see article on agent redress schemes) this item is pertinent to letting agents, managing agents and any landlords who are now classed as letting agents based on the support they give to fellow landlords.
Police are appealing for information to help find a missing teenage girl.
15-year-old Elizabeth McKeon was last seen at around 2pm on Monday, April 20, 2015 in Commercial Road in Portsmouth.
Elizabeth is described as:
Approximately 5 ft 2 ins tall
Medium to slim build
Collar-length dyed black hair
Paper banks are to be phased out of Havant Borough Council's network of Recycling Points during May and June. The decision has been taken following a significant price increase for servicing and emptying of the banks.
Twenty paper banks situated at various sites across the borough will be removed and residents are encouraged to continue to use their fortnightly kerbside collections. Textile recycling and new style glass banks will remain in place.
Bill Irvine gave an update to the British Property Federation and this article is a short summary of that session. It is intended for any landlord with tenants on Housing Benefit (LHA) or other benefits or anyone who may find themselves with such tenants, in other words it of relevance to us all apart perhaps from those with only students.
Bill is a recognised expert in Housing Benefit and advises both private and social landlords, he is also trying to work with the DWP to resolve issues with the new systems as they arise.
A few members have asked how they can obtain copies of their subscription invoices. You can do this by logging in to the website and going to the "Edit Your Profile" page - in fact its the first page you come to on logging in. While you're here it would be a great time to update your profile information so we can keep you informed of news and information that best suits your personal needs...
Amended plans and updated supporting information have been received on the proposals for Brunel House/Havant Street car park. The changes include a remodelling of the south east corner of the building on Victory Road, a revised schedule of residential units so that all flats meet minimum space standards and additional on-site private amenity space. The changes have resulted in a reduction across the scheme of 16 flats, 58 student rooms and 53 sqm of commercial floorspace. All representations on the scheme already received will be reported to the Planning Committee, however additional representations on the changes are now being sought and will also form part of the committee report.
As we launch into election season it may seem an odd time for the current government to announce its plans for the private rented sector, given that the next government is likely to have a different make-up and thus many of these items will change. However, many of these changes have already been set in train and thus this extract compiled by the RLA is included here for information. (Note the PDPLA input on HHSRS).
Portsmouth Council introduced new legislation this month which allows them to fine letting agents and managing agents up to £5,000 if they do not join one of the 3 available redress schemes. This means that tenants and landlords who may be having problems with an agent can now go to the council private housing team for support.
Contrary to popular perception that landlords are profiteers who benefit from the poor in our communities, Howard Husock, Director of Case Studies at the Kennedy School of Government which is part of Harvard University argues that landlords add real value to communities, which social and council housing providers are unable to do.