Recent news items of interest to local landlords, use the search option above to find specific topics.
In Charalambous and another v Maureen Rosairie NG and another  EWCA Civ 1604, the Court of Appeal held that aÂ landlord was not required to pay a rentÂ deposit in respect of an assured shorthold tenancy into an authorised scheme, where there wasÂ no authorised scheme at the time the deposit was received. However, the landlord could only make use of the procedure in section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to end the AST if the deposit was returned to the tenant, or possibly if it had been protected in an authorised scheme at the time the notice was served.
We were going to write a review of the year, but the Southern Landlords Association (SLA) did such a good job with theirs we have decided to include it here in its entirety:
What a year we landlords have had; constant amendments to rules and regulations have made it difficult for all to keep up:
In last months article on the top 3 areas where landlords get it wrong when making self-assessment submissions for their annual tax return (original article here ) we appear to have made a mistake ourselves!
In section on "Flipping between wear and tear and renewals" we stated that flipping between using the 10% wear and tear allowance to claiming for individual renewals was not permitted but you could still opt to claim for renewals of furniture etc as incurred.THIS IS NO LONGER CORRECT.
Following a recent drugs caution in the South Warnborough area, Hampshire Police are reminding members of the public, particularly landlords, that drug offences can occur in any house, in any street and the importance of reporting any suspicious activity to Police on 101. This recent incident was aided by members of the public being the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood and voicing their concerns to officers; demonstrating how important it is to report to Police anything suspicious in your area.
They have issued the following advice on how to spot a cannabis factory.
Amid all the media coverage of skyrocketing house prices, there is very little talk about house prices in real terms. In most parts of the country, house prices are back to or near their 2007 levels, but £100 in 2007Â would buy the same as £126.20 today, so in real terms house prices are still down 20% from their peak. The big question with an election coming in a few months, is which political party is most friendly to landlords?
When PCC spoke to us a year or so ago, they made it clear that under new rules which allow them to vary council tax exemptions, they were allowed to collect council tax for student houses during the summer - but it was also apparent that they did not have the manpower or resources to go after these properties pro-actively.
This meant that some properties received council tax demands and others have not.
We often see debates or assertions that because tenants are on individual AST's you are operating a bedsit like hostel and you are liable for all taxes / charges whereas if the tenants are all on a joint AST, they are obviously a group of friends sharing a house and they are liable for any taxes or charges. We all know that in reality, there is no link whatsoever between how we choose to contract and how the house is managed.
A landlord who flouted the law, has been ordered to pay a £280k fine for ignoring orders to demolish an outbuilding. The building was deemed as not fit for housing and was built without any planning permission. The landlord turned an outbuilding of his property into six tiny flats over 5 years ago. In the same year the council told him to stop using the outbuilding as flats and to remove the bathrooms and kitchens.
Many letting agents who manage properties in Portsmouth are asking landlords to apply for HMO licenses for their houses as the agents don't want to be named on the licence as the responsible party should there be a problem.
At this month's meeting of the Portsmouth Housing partnership, council officers made it clear that it does not matter whether a landlord or his managing agent are named on the licence. If there is a problem resulting in court action, prohibition orders or whatever, any paper will be served on BOTH parties.
A recent article in Property Week highlights claims by a London property manager that up to 60% of leaseholders and this includes residential landlords, are being 'ripped off' and are paying inflated building insurance premiums. Chainbow, which manages sites across the south-east, said building insurance scams are one of the most widespread examples of malpractice by managing agents and freeholders.
The HMRC makes a clear distinction between 'repairs and renewals' for a property and capital expenditure or 'improvement' and many landlords find this an area of confusion.
"I think a lot of landlords don't realise the difference between the two types of expense and just see all costs as legitimate expenses that they can offset against their income tax, but we have to sit them down and explain there's a difference," says Sudipta.
What may seem trivial can easily become critical. A blown light bulb one week could be a multi-million pound law suit the next. A loose bannister could lose you your savings.
Keeping your properties safe and free from health hazards may sound obvious but the reality is that they can be too often ignored, often with disastrous results.
The head of one of the three mandatory redress schemes in the rental sector insists that, contrary to suggestions from some in the industry, "a significant proportion" of letting agents have yet to join. Sean Hooker, property ombudsman at the Property Redress Scheme - one of the mandatory schemes alongside The Property Ombudsman and Ombudsman Services - says confusion over how many agents have signed up to one or other of the schemes is down to a continuing lack of clarity over who is regarded as an 'agent'.
With an election coming next May, we all need to do what we can to balance some of the rubbish being pushed out by ALL political parties in search of votes.
The sidebar page comes from the newsletter of local LibDem councilor Lee Hunt but we also have Conservative leader at PCC, Donna Jones giving TV interviews saying ALL students should be housed in Halls and we are increasingly seeing Labour calls for rent caps, mandatory registration of landlords, longer tenancies and a number of other potentially costly reforms.
What can you do?
Portsmouth City Council licensing team have started inspecting all houses thus far licensed. We have questioned the value of this but apparently, part of the reason for the high cost of the scheme compared to, say, Southampton, is that they costed in these checks.
We have had some good reports of houses passed without problems but also, some inconsistencies - some inspectors are happy for the licence info to be 'somewhere in the house' whereas others specify that it must be hung on the wall in the entrance hallway somewhere.
Many of us have had 'free' cavity wall insulation installed over the past few years. The council part funded the work but the main funding came from the energy companies who were legally required to support these initiatives.
Whilst obviously a worthwhile concept, the practice may not have been as effective as intended.
Over the years I have had many debates with members about whether they use inventories, whether they create their own or use an agency, how they support them with photos or videos and whether, at the end of the tenancy they are of value in agreeing cost sharing for any remedial works or cleaning required.
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.