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

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'.

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Many landlords, often due to experience, do not let to tenants with pets, particularly dogs and cats, with pet-friendly accommodation often difficult to find for tenants, as landlords are concerned on possible damage.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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