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.
We were told of plans to refuse licenses for a number of landlords who had yet to produce the appropriate documentation, of several houses where the local council will be issuing what is known as a 'management order' which effectively allows them to take on responsibility for management, maintenance and looking after the tenants while keeping any rent received while doing so (they are only permitted to recover their costs and have to hand over any surplus but if the place is neglected there may be no surplus). Once the 'management order' ends, the house can be handed back to the owner with a bill for any maintenance which has been carried out during the order. The examples given involve significant overcrowding and ethnic minority tenants.
The PDPLA welcomes these actions as all landlords are demonised based on evidence of bad practice by a small minority. As we pay so much for our licences, it is good to see it being spent targeting this small minority. However, we will continue to be vigilant and to strive to ensure these policies are applied equitably and fairly.
If you use a letting agent, please remember that you are responsible for the tenants deposit and other matters which the agent manages for on your behalf. You should check your tenants deposits are properly protected in one of the approved schemes in case your agent is affected by these enforcement actions and finds himself/herself unable to continue to manage HMO's as a result. Should this happen, it is you who is liable and unless everything is in order, you could find yourself significantly out of pocket. (Our May members meeting focusses on Tenant Deposit Protection - so if you have any doubts, do come along).
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.