The Path To Carbon Neutral

Fareham Council followed Portsmouth, Southampton, Reading and others last month in stating that it wanted all of its activities to be carbon neutral by 2030. Portsmouth City Council has been on this path for a while, installing solar panels on schools and other public buildings, housing blocks and other properties throughout the city since 2016.This month, Portsmouth became the proud owner of the UK's largest operational Tesla Powerwall installation.

But what is a Powerwall, should you care and what does it mean for local landlords? 

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Landlord Licensing Data Still Being Abused

Many local landlords are receiving letters from unknown businesses in direct contravention of GDPR regulations stating, "we got your details from the Portsmouth HMO register" even though the landlords no longer have Licensed properties and never gave PCC permission to share their data.

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Fire Safety - Landlord Sentenced After Tenant Death

We have no evidence of any similar landlords locally, but recent cases nationally serve as a reminder that fire safety is not something any landlord should be casual about - it would be nice if the rules were clear and up to date but there is no excuse for ignorance or lax interpretation of those rules as one Luton landlord found after a tenant died in a fire in his HMO.

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Ensuite HMO's Taxed As Individual Dwellings

A member and owner of a shared (HMO) property in London Road, Portsmouth has lost an appeal against the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) decision to charge Council Tax separately on each room in the property.

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Green Grants Impossible To Access

We have had several members complaining about the difficulty of finding an installer to undertake work under the Green Grant scheme and PCC  have confirmed that installers are focussing on ECO  to get 'quick wins'.

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Flat Roof Insurance Issue Sorted

After raising the issue of new insurance checks on flat roof surfaces back in August (see it here), we are pleased to say that, via our preferred broker Alan Boswell, we have convinced insurers to change their approach on this issue.

We recommend members check the wording on their renewal 'Schedule', especially if you have an Aviva 'property owners' policy. 

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LADS funding available for heating and insulation

If you have a property that is EPC band E or worse and the tenant/s income in that property is no more than £30,000 per year, then you really need to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant. We have stated before that for most homes this appears to be targeted at too narrow a segment, but if you have a property that falls into that segment you really do need to take advantage of it.  

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HMRC Goes After Airbnb Hosts

HMRC have announced that Airbnb has agreed to share data about its hosts and their earnings. We see this as good news as the 'amateur' hosts have flooded the market with property at marginal prices, making it harder for professional landlords, who incur all the costs of running a business professionally as well as paying taxes on revenue or earnings, to compete.  

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Premium Student Halls Take Covid Hit

It was no surprise when the Serviced Accommodation and Holiday Let sectors bombed during lockdown, but local landlords have been waiting with bated breath to see who suffered in the wider market - especially those of us who are student landlords.

Now we know the answer, it was the top end of the independent student halls market,  with the Registry in St Michaels Rd and the old library in Elm Grove both filing for change of use from student halls to interim accommodation for the homeless.

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HMO’s – Can 139 Local Residents Be Wrong

 It was with some incredulity that we heard that there had been 139 objections to the conversion of 2 derelict shops in Stamshaw to HMO's. We consider it hypocritical that the local authorities know they need shared housing in the city, the Local Plan talks about 'mixed and balanced' communities, Housing Options place formerly homeless tenants in them yet councillors continue to encourage the demonisation of HMO's by local residents and do nothing to explain the bigger picture or allay their fears.

This against the backdrop this week of a property in Cosham, much needed to house overseas nurses drafted in to cover staff shortages due to Covid, also sitting empty due to issues with the 'change of use' required before it can be used as shared accommodation.
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How Long Can I Continue Renting Before I Have To Sell Or Fund Expensive Changes

The energy performance certificate (EPC ) has been with us now since 1st August 2007 in England and Wales. Like all new regulations required by central government, in the beginning this was a good idea. Allowing tenants to compare running costs of similar properties and estimate the running costs of properties going forward.

Unfortunately, like most adopted by the government, the standards increase over time and are ratcheted up until they become more of a burden than a benefit to Landlords.

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Kings Estates Fined For Failing To Licence HMO

We have long argued that penalising landlords for the failings of the agents they employ in good faith is wrong, so it was pleasing to see that not only did PCC fine Kings Estates for operating an HMO without a licence, but when Kings Estates appealed the decision on the basis that they were only the agent and the owner was the licence holder, the 1st Tier Housing Tribunal not only ruled in favour of PCC but decided that PCC had been too lenient and doubled the fine to £12,000.  

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University Hosts Covid Meeting

The University of Portsmouth hosted a meeting to discuss its approach to the Covid crisis. PDPLA Committee member Simon Davidson attended and took notes.... 

(Edit: This item was written before the illegal street rave outside Margaret Rule halls involving 50 revellers which has resulted in police action and at least one student being suspended ahead of disciplinary action)

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Another Great Landlord Lost To Portsmouth

It was with some sadness we said goodbye to Joannie Goldenberg at our last meeting. She stepped down from our committee after 14 years service at our AGM in September as she moves forward with her plan to retire to a villa in Portugal  with a garden full of nut trees - I guess that after being surrounded by nuts for so long, it is not something one wants to change....

But seriously, Jonie will be sorely missed. For most, she was the 1st person they met when they joined the PDPLA, the person who introduced them to like minded landlords, who managed their membership, arranged the Christmas parties, produced detailed minutes of all of the meetings and arranged for them to be posted to members. An impossible act to follow - thank you Joannie.

Read on for her response and some thoughts of others...

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PDPLA Members B&Q Discount Increased

Members using their PDPLA TradePoint  cards will now get a 10% discount on all goods starting Monday, 12th October.

Additionally, there is an offer running thru Nov offering an additional 10% off of kitchens and bathrooms. See here

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