Recent news items of interest to local landlords, use the search option above to find specific topics.

Matt Hinks, PDPLA member and local landlord is going for a walk and wants payment for doing it!

But the good news is that it is all for a good cause - he is walking around Portsea Island on 30th May to raise money for the critical care unit at QA where he was in a coma last year... 

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We have reported a number of times in the past about 'disaggregation' – whereby individual units within a property are each charged council tax separately. So, for example, a 7-bed HMO might be charged a Band D council tax charge as a single dwelling but increasingly, they are being re-banded and billed as 7 individual Band A properties.  

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Prior to the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 Local Authorities (LAs) would routinely say that a tenant who left a property before the bailiff arrived had made themselves homeless and thus they would be relieved of their statutory duty to assist. That should no longer happen and the LA should step in as soon as the Section 21 is served, but does it happen?

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The PDPLA list of recommended suppliers is one of our most popular member benefits – only local landlords can recommend suppliers and members rate and recommend individuals and companies, so when looking for a trader or supplier you know that if they are on the list, it is not because we make money from them or they pay to be there – a PDPLA recommended supplier is only recommended if a PDPLA member has had a good experience using them.

This month we have a new supplier for solar PV installations, for EV (electric vehicle) charging points and for battery storage solutions plus we have added Digital Home (an omission on our part) and highlight several others.

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The March Housing Cabinet saw the price of an HMO licence hiked by 30% to £1,150 – the highest in the south of England.  

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Views within the PDPLA have been split – there are those who argue vehemently that we need a mediation option to avoid the high cost associated with obtaining an eviction and those who say it is a nice idea, but how could it work when the relationship has reached a stage where eviction is inevitable and anyway, it can never be a relationship between equals, so how could it work?

Well – the good news is that the proof is in the pudding and so far, it does appear to be working. The pilot, initiated by our own Alwin Oliver working with Portsmouth Mediation Service and latterly, PCC, appears to be bearing fruit.

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 When the Article 4 Direction was introduced in Portsmouth 12 years ago, we recommended that members with smaller HMOs change the planning status of their properties to mixed use (known as C3/C4) so that they could switch between family lets and HMO letting without breaking the rules. Those C3/C4 approvals were only for 10 years (though many were not told so at the time) – but now, when owners come to renew, many are getting confused as you need to apply for planning permission to change from 'mixed use C3/C4' to 'mixed use C3/C4' which appears illogical.

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Many new PDPLA properties have signed up for the exclusive Digital Home 'landlord deal' in the past few weeks - do consider it if the network is now available at any of your properties, we only need a few more to reach our target.  

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Rents for family let small houses are at record highs, demand for student accommodation is hitting a cyclical low, costs are going through the roof  and the process to introduce Additional Licensing for small HMO's has started – our recommendation is to sell up or switch to family lets.
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You pay stamp duty when you buy a house - so we were really surprised when PDPLA member, Debra Chappelow, pointed out a little known rule which means long term tenants may be liable to pay stamp duty. 

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Members have long bemoaned the fact they feel like criminals when they receive a letter from the housing team at PCC and this is something we have raised on their behalf regularly since at least 2012.

Well, the new team at Private Sector Housing appear to be listening and have started a process of updating the standard communications to ensure that whilst they still convey the appropriate legal warnings, they are worded in a less threatening style. Well done PCC. 

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The Government has given local authorities special funding to keep tenants in their homes where their circumstances have changed and they are struggling to pay the rent. Portsmouth City Council still has some of this funding available for this financial year. The application for assistance needs to be made by the tenant but can be supported by their landlord.

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 Following on from the 'Heads For Tails' briefing paper we shared last August (see it here), members are asked to complete a short survey. Read more for full details.

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We were recently asked by a student why a landlord may not have provided an invoice/receipt for a deposit deduction, in order to justify that deduction

It is a good question and the answer deserves some consideration. 

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There were positive signs at the January Committee meeting. Two applications for new HMOs were granted permission without the usual hunt for excuses to refuse. Sadly, there is no change of heart, we do not know of any Councillors happy to see new HMOs being created. With so much anti HMO feeling amongst the electorate this is perhaps understandable though very frustrating for us, whilst leaving usable rooms empty and pushing up rents and property prices for all.  

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 Do you struggle getting the correct student exemptions from council tax for your Portsmouth properties? This has been a perennial issue for many members but now PCC have a new system which may help. We did invite them to come and explain it, but they declined so PDPLA member, Karen Silman has drafted this simple guide and PCC also sent some guidance on entitlement to discount and exemption.

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  Most people will have seen the TV and news coverage of the problems at Windsor House. Water running down walls, damp, mould and other conditions which no one should have to live with. Portsmouth Labour Housing lead Councillor Cal Corkery wrote to The News suggesting that the solution would be to introduce landlord licences for all rented properties in the city and as a result avoid problems such as this.

In subsequent days, there were a flurry of letters in response on both sides of the argument – read on for a summary.

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  Local rents are rising much faster than official figures would suggest. Read on to find out how much they are rising and for whom exactly.

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As a local landlord association, our primary aim is to educate and inform local landlords to help them ensure they meet all of the necessary regulations and offer homes that are safe and comfortable for those who live in them.

However, many of us occasionally come across properties that we would be ashamed to let if they were ours.  If it were to belong to a fellow member, we would hope to be able to help them understand what they need to do - but typically it is not. What can you do about those landlords who have no regard for their tenants, spend no money on their properties and get us all a bad name and also, who would never consider joining a local or national association? We finally have an answer...

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If you are of a mind to respond, amongst the plethora of requests for your input, there are a number of surveys this month which you probably need to be aware of…..

One which we believe is a wasted opportunity and which will not produce any usable results comes from Portsmouth City Council and one which we recommend you do complete from the Department of Levelling UP, Housing and Communities which is probably worth the effort but it is a little lengthy. Then there is the PCC 'Health & Wellbeing Strategy' and of course, the quarterly NRLA one which is always worth completing as it helps build a comparative dataset over a period of years.

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Members will be pleased to hear that we have bought an infrared camera which any member can borrow to check the energy (thermal) efficiency of their properties. We will operate the scheme using the same format as our PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) equipment.

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Back in 2015 when the anti-landlord tax changes introduced by Tory ex-chancellor, George Osborne started to be introduced - we produced a simple calculator for landlords to help them understand the step by step introduction of income taxes on their expenses as well as their income.

Now those changes are complete and ALL of your finance charges are taxable, we have simplified and updated the calculator so it works in todays taxation environment.

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Lots of items at 20% off this month. Use your Tradepoint card and the extra 10% gives you a net 28% saving.  If you have lost, mislaid or need a new card, click here.  (The brochure is also available under 'Useful Documents' in the PDPLA members area)

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The rollout of coverage of ultrafast internet by Digital Home is accelerating with fourteen thousand homes to be added in the next couple of months as the rollout in the north of Portsmouth gains pace. Members can benefit from 2 months free subscription if they install 3 properties in January 2022.

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) For Healthy Homes and Buildings met this month, primarily to discuss updating the Decent Homes standard for the Social Rented Sector but one of the outcomes could be greater regulation of the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

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Fortunately, rogue tenants are uncommon but, like bad landlords, it only takes one to affect everyone's perception. This month we have seen 2 – one was jailed for the damage he caused and the other, just left the landlord with a huge mess to clear up and moved on to blight the life of another landlord and their new neighbours.
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Apart from not getting clobbered again in the budget (well, not so obviously as usual of late), more good news in that the renters reform bill and the removal of Section 21 has been delayed again. 

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Our friends at Portsmouth Mediation Service have a new 'restorative' service for landlords and tenants caught up in disputes. Read on for more detail. 

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If you rent a single-family home, flat, room or any other type of rental, you may be looking for some guidance that will help you to cope physically, mentally, and financially during the coronavirus lockdown. Whether you've lost your job and you're in need of financial assistance or you're looking for ways to stay happy, healthy, and productive, we've assembled the following resources to assist you throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.  

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PCC periodically produce an email newsletter for local landlords. This goes direct to the few landlords registered with their 'Rent It Right' scheme but if you want to receive it directly  then drop an email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. asking to be added to the distribution.

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Remember as a landlord, you can offer 900Mb broadband with industry leading whole home WiFi in your properties at discounted prices using our solution agreed with Digital Home. This month lots of new roads in the Somerstown area and the 'ladders'

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Members may have seen the sensationalist coverage of a possible 'tsunami of evictions' in the local press. Even though several key PDPLA members had their say, the overall feel of the coverage was that landlords were once again portrayed as the villain of the piece. So, what are the facts?  

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Having missed the target to get new legislation passed by over a year, HMRC have had little choice but to delay 'Making Tax Digital' for landlords until 2024. Our message to landlords remains unchanged - do nothing until it is clear what is required and even then, do not change the way you do things just to comply with HMRC. 

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In their leaflet, "Renting and Universal Credit - A guide for landlords and letting agents" the DWP says "This outdated practice – known as 'No DSS…..'" Unfortunately, it is far from outdated, landlords are reluctant to take benefits claimants for perfectly logical reasons and the list is growing. 

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The consultation for the Portsmouth local plan is underway and its findings will affect us all – from now until 2035 – so it is worth spending 10-15 minutes looking at what is proposed and sharing your views.

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  After reluctantly approving the 591 student bed development in Arundel Street in August, Portsmouth councillors are now being asked to approve a further 59 bed development in Staunton Street. The good news is that this new development is wholly comprised of standalone 'bedsit' studio apartments, ranging from 28-34 sq metres – so if student demand is insufficient, these units will be perfect for the homeless and most vulnerable that the Council is working so hard to get into appropriate housing in an area already densely occupied with similar residents (as we all know that PCC's definition of 'Mixed and Balanced Communities' typically means everyone in the street having the same tenure as everyone else).

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I need to move urgently / I cannot do references because (insert daft reason here) / I just need somebody to give me a fresh start / I have lived in lots of places in the last few years /  I stopped paying my rent at the last place because (insert daft reason here) - If you hear any of these excuses, ever, alarm bells should ring.

If you want to know why, you obviously missed Alwin Oliver's presentation at our September meeting.

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A report suggesting improvements to the Tenants Fees Act to make it easier for tenants with pets to find homes has been sent to the government (MHCLG) supported by a wide range of organisations including the PDPLA.  Why is there a problem with this act?

- 1 in 5 landlords have stopped allowing pets since the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act 2019. 

• 55% of landlords impose blanket No Pets clauses in rental contracts 

• Only 7% of landlords actively market their properties as pet friendly 

• Rescues seeing more pets surrendered because of rental issues

See the full report below... 

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Lots of offers for members this month in addition to the normal 10% discount. If you need a new card, click here.

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Ahead of the governments planned white paper on how the Private Rental Sector (PRS) should operate and be regulated due to be published this autumn, the NRLA has worked with landlord groups around the country including the PDPLA to produce our own version of this document outlining longer term solutions to many of the problems in this sector.

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Following on from last months news item (see it here) about the member who had been told to  replace his triple glazing with single glazing as his property was in a conservation area, the Planning Inspector in Bristol has reviewed the case and sided with the council, so the landlord now has no choice but to remove his expensive windows and replace them in accordance with the stipulated (and in our view outdated) council instructions.

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OK - north to Landport.... 😁

Lots of new roads added to the Digital Home coverage network this month as large parts of Landport come online. Read on for full details and a reminder of the deal they have for PDPLA members.

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Portsmouth South Labour MP, Stephen Morgan recently visited PDPLA Vice Chair Alwin Oliver with Portsmouth Councils Labour leader, Councillor George Fielding to discuss the challenges landlords face providing homes for tenants who have suffered financially during the Covid crisis.

As a result, Stephen asked questions of the appropriate government departments and as you can see from the answers received – being an opposition MP must be hugely frustrating and also, unfortunately the Conservative government does not understand the challenges landlords face trying to help tenants to stay in their homes.

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You know what it is like, you wait 15 years for a Local Plan then 3 come along at once. This month Emsworth, Havant and Portsmouth all made progress on their local plans.

Why is it important – in theory, all local planning decisions are driven by the local plan. If an area needs a new doctors surgery before proposed housing can be added, expect this to be costed into Section 106 arrangements for the developer as part of any planning approval. Same for new roads and infrastructure.

Want to build something different – check the local plan – if it is not already within the definition of what can go into that area, it will never get approved.

If proposed government changes happen, you will not need planning permission anymore – if you propose something which is inline with the Local Plan, approval is automatic – so these Local Plans and their content are really important.

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This month sees Digital Home launch their new online portal, further improving support to local landlords and a whole new group of roads have been added to their coverage in Portsmouth (as well as Bournemouth and Southend). 

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Portsmouth's Conservation Area policy has been thrown into question since local landlord, Mike West, was told to replace his energy efficient triple glazing with old style sash windows. Parts of Campbell Road are included in one of Portsmouth's 30 conservation areas as councillors, back in the late 2010's, sought to retain its look and feel as a 'leafy Southsea suburb' (their description).

You can argue whether it ever was so but looking at the photo above – you will note that although the houses were built as pairs, no two pairs were alike and today, no pair is the same as its twin.Can you tell which of these properties won a Portsmouth Society commendation for the restoration work and which is the law-breaking triple glazed abomination? 

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Lots of offers this month - but note only available until the 19th.  And if you need another card, click here. 

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Members are reminded that whether they employ an agent or not, under current legislation, it is the landlord who is responsible to ensure that all paperwork is in order. Yes, this is illogical – you employ a professional to handle the paperwork, as it is so hard to comply given the huge amount of landlord focussed legislation we have to live with, and when the professional screws up it is you who foots the bill.

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A group of MPs has suggested the government consider a "proportional property tax" to replace the current council tax, in a bid to fund the growing cost of social care. Unfortunately, this proposed change will appeal to all concerned EXCEPT landlords – and we can all guess what that means…. 

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One of the roles of the NRLA is to host meetings with representatives of all of the UK associations representing landlords, to ensure that their focus when talking to central government is correct and actions across the industry are coordinated. The team meet quarterly and the PDPLA are represented by its chair, Martin Silman.  His notes on the meeting follow... 

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