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April 2020 News

April again. Last year, in the April edition, we opened with: "Normally in April we include an 'April Fool' article but we break with tradition this year and include only real news – several reasons for this: in previous years we have had members who read and believed the articles, following up some months later for updates but also, with events in the news at the moment, anything we make up is likely to be less bizarre and therefore more credible."Looking back,  it is a struggle to view last April as anything other than very normal. Hopefully, when we look back on this April it will not be so.

Much new news in this edition – hopefully enough pointers and information to help you through any Coronavirus related issues and also a couple of items specific to HMO landlords. Everyone needs to think about the impact on their tenants of the forthcoming update to electrical regulations and how they will handle it and while you are 'staying in' it is worth taking the time to review the PCC PRS strategy as it will affect us all. Also note we have updated the 'Landlords Checklist' on our website to reflect the new EPC regulations now in force.

Did you think of serviced accommodation as high workload / high return / high risk? I did until I read Charlotte's blog this month – apparently there are 3 levels of operation and in the current environment, the highest risk of the 3 is probably unsustainable. Do read it and let us know your view.

And if, instead of 'more news', you would prefer a little light hearted entertainment, here is our April fool item from 2018 (sky hooks for rubbish collection) and also, another classic (urinals in student HMO rooms) from 2015.

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Naked Tenants Gas Disconnected After Police Arrive

Some members may avoid our breakfast meetings, assuming we all sit around bemoaning the latest tax or regulatory changes but reality could not be further from the truth. This month we were entertained with the tale of the naked young female tenant, a policeman and as many DIY disasters as you can imagine. Read on for the full story….  

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Couple renting + 1 lodger = HMO

One perhaps unforeseen consequence of licensing all HMOs is that many landlords and tenants will require licenses but will be totally oblivious of this requirement. They will be committing an offence in ignorance.

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Does increased legislation really help?

There are many calls for greater legislation; whenever there is a complaint these days the answer is to increase the bulk of the Law. I believe that we should rip it up instead and let the market decide.

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Are Local Authorities Telling Evicted Tenants To Sit Tight?

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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Landlord Tenant Mediation Works

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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Do Your Tenants Owe Stamp Duty?

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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Tenants struggling to pay rent / at threat of eviction?

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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Would You Let To An Unvaccinated Tenant?

That was the question asked by long term member, Mary Mortimer, this month. How would you answer it?  

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Beware: Criminal Rental Scam

Unfortunately, we have seen another example this month of a potential tenant duped into parting with a considerable sum by a criminal impersonating a bone fide landlord. This particular example used NLA sourced paperwork and logo's to establish credibility and used the Covid-19 lockdown as an excuse to do everything via social media. Before you ask how people can be so gullible, have a look at some of the detail and see if you would have fallen for it.  

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The Evictions Ban and Reducing Homelessness

If you are wondering what the NRLA are doing to encourage the Government to treat landlords fairly as tenants hit hard times as a result of Covid 19 see https://www.nrla.org.uk/campaigns/coronavirus We are meeting with the NRLA and other regional associations on Tuesday to discuss what more we can do

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Charging Points For Flats

This month one of our members used our 'questions@' tool to ask other members for help with a problem.

He asked, "A flat tenant has requested permission to install a car charging point in the basement carpark of the block - in his allocated place. It is a block of 15 flats where I also own a share of the freehold so do have some influence over the situation. His suggestion is that he runs a wire from his flat to the basement. Would appreciate knowing your thoughts or your experience

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National & BPF News

New Legislation to Allow Tenants to Live Rent Free - yes really

Universal Credit - Worries about experience with direct payments

Selling HMO License Details - Issue raised nationally

Tenancy Deposit Rulings - Yet more concerns for old tenancies

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Shelter Report on the PRS

Shelter launched their latest report on PRS Standards this month in the House of Commons. Much of the statistical evidence and proposals were reheated from previous reports. Find the report here.

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