The Home Office have updated their guidance to landlords on how to perform checks for nationals of of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA who have entered the UK through eGates and do not have an endorsement in their passport to evidence leave to enter the UK.
Whilst the Tory pledge to get rid of Section 21 does not appear likely to be implemented anytime soon, we still worry as both Labour and the LibDems have similar policies. To that end, we have been actively collecting data and participating in consultation activities – for example, this month PDPLA Vice Chairman, Alwin Oliver, submitted a collection of case studies and suggested alternatives such as a new Housing Court styled on the Canadian solution – PDPLA members can see it here in the members area. Highlights follow…
Committee member, Jonie Goldenberg had the following thoughtful piece published in the Portsmouth News this month: "The Corporate Landlords do a hard sell - and I am not surprised at £200 per week per room for student accommodation equating to £10,200 per unit for the 51 weeks in the 256 unit high rise, earning in the region of £2,600,000 per annum for the company Prime Student Living. Multiply that by the number of new Halls that have been built. 'A nice little earner'. By a company who has not come up with the goods on time and sees fit to axe students' contracts without a thought of the associated problems faced by many first year students and their families. They will think twice about coming back to Portsmouth University. This is also not the first year this has happened."
A number of members have complained to us as PCC have asked them to confirm that they test fire alarms weekly. Please note – as a Landlord you DO NOT need to test fire alarms weekly. In fact, it would be an intrusion on the privacy (and the ‘entitlement to QUIET enjoyment’) of your tenants if you did. Read on for the current situation…
Whilst HMRC are making positive noises about the progress of MTD, those businesses which pay VAT had to start submitting quarterly returns this year. Of the one million businesses affected, nearly one quarter missed the August 7th deadline to submit their 1st return.
With so much demonization of landlords in the press and new regulations and standards being imposed almost daily – you would think rogue landlords had been publicised and regulated out of existence, but we would argue that politicians and journalists are focussing all of their efforts on the wrong landlords, which is why they are not seeing any improvements. We could go further and say that the local council is working with, condoning and encouraging the worst rogue we have come across….
So, let’s start with what, actually, is a rogue landlord? And then, we suggest what needs to be done
Just a reminder that our next course is this coming Thursday - 3 October at the Innlodge - and we are fortunate to have Chris Reynolds, of Alliance Remedial Supplies, running a session on Condensation and Structural Damp. As usual, further details and booking information is available at pdpla.com/education - click it now before the course sells out.
We were interested to see BBC coverage of a new website which allows tenants to rate and review their landlord. The site
https://www.marksoutoftenancy.com/ has all the disadvantages of other ratings sites and probably does little to allow customers/providers to make better informed choices. What is also missing is the ability to ‘rate and review’ tenants.
Final reminder that if you wish to refresh your skills or gain some new ones and to be able to use the PDPLA Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) kit, you need to attend next weeks course.
Full details and booking information here: www.pdpla.com/education
Next month, we will have a course on Condensation Control especially for landlords - so do watch out for it as at this time of year, it can become a real issue with heavily insulated, double glazed houses and tenants drying washing indoors and cooking without saucepan lids.
We have a series of videos this month from our members meeting and the subsequent Full Council meeting at Portsmouth Guildhall, where Selective Licensing was due to be debated. These are all on our Vimeo channel but the link below is our edit of the fiasco when the council tried to debate it and basically, made so many people ineligible to participate, that they had to give up. We have not yet submitted it to "You've been framed" but...
We have a number of members who are very concerned that conditions are being placed on HMO licences and occupancy numbers are being reduced. There are many 5 bed properties applying for the Mandatory HMO Licence that they need which are being given a 1-year licence on condition they are reduced to 4 bed HMO’s after that – we are told by a PCC employee that this has happened to at least 130 properties in the city – easy money for PCC as they take the licence fee and then change the house such that it does not need a licence. These conditions do not apply elsewhere and this is forcing up rents in Portsmouth in relation to neighbouring areas. It is also leaving rooms empty at a time of housing crisis.
Tony stood in for Alwin as our representative on the Fair Possessions Coalition last Friday. Did he not know there was going to be a train strike? Fortunately, the prospect of a strike had put off regular travellers and the journey was a joy. Anyway, with research showing that 84% of Section 21 repossessions are due to tenant arrears, most of the preconceptions about the need to abolish Section 21 seem to be misplaced. Here is his summary from the meeting in London:
Last week the RLA and the NLA announced that the 2 organisations are to unite to create a single organisation. As a local organisation looking to both organisations in the past for national representation – the new organisation, to be called the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) looks compelling. Combined they will have a single voice when representing us and they will have 80,000 members who own and manage half a million properties.
All PDPLA members are also members of the RLA and therefore benefit from the tax protection insurance that they have in place for all members.
However, if you operate as a limited company, you need to check that you are covered.
While PDPLA Committee member, Tony Athill, was in London at the Fair Possessions Coalition meeting hosted by the RLA he took the opportunity to discuss Licensing.
It was agreed that landlord representatives need to demonstrate how licensing schemes are not a cure all that will rid the sector of ill-informed and criminal landlords. The representative from ARLA (agents association) is also a Local Councillor and he supported the PDPLA view that we need to educate our local politicians. We have a plan. …….