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Events | National Landlords Association
BBC London 94.9 - Drivetime with Eddie Nestor, Landlords, statementing and cycling
Getting a statement of special needs and cycling safety.
The importance of the check-in inventory | National Landlords Association
One of the best ways to minimise the risk of disputes with tenants over the return of deposits at the end of the tenancy is to compile a comprehensive and clear inventory at the start of every tenancy.It is best practice for a detailed inventory to be carried out at the start of the tenancy.
Helping new tenants settle in | National Landlords Association
To ensure a successful and long-lasting tenancy, make sure you start off the relationship on the right foot and provide tenants with all the information they may need.If there is one piece of advice that Julie Woolfenden, the NLA’s Shropshire and North Wales Representative, would give to fellow land...
Should tenants withhold rent for repairs taking too long?
One in three tenants have faced a home emergency in the last 12 months with the most common issues being central heating faults and boiler problems.
Universal Credit Delays: IDS Faces Grilling
Iain Duncan Smith is set to face MPs as figures obtained by Sky News show landlords are less likely to take tenants on benefits.
Liverpool landlords face summit in city - Liverpool Echo
Meeting held to discuss city council plans to force them all to be licensed to rent out their properties
Sarah Male from Urban Sales and Lettings Online Estate Agents talks about the damage caused by cigarette smoke and how this can effect the return of the deposit.
My first cigarette was a pretty standard affair; shamefully stolen from my mum’s handbag and admired throughout the school day by my mates. Finally at the end of the day round the back of the library we lit it. We each took a drag, proceeded to cough our lungs out and, for me, that was it, never again! Now I’m not 13 anymore I know a bit more about the health hazards, but it’s not just that; it’s the stinky part that really gets my goat as a landlord.
I do my best to ensure my properties are of a high standard; well kitted out, a fresh lick of paint between tenancies…you know the drill. After taking all this care I want to let to good tenants who will take care of my investment and at the end of the tenancy I don’t want to be left with the smell of smoke or cigarette burns in the carpet to deal with. Most smokers seem immune to the smell and don’t seem to realise how it clings to almost everything and for hours after the cigarette was stubbed out. As a non smoker living in a non smoking household I can sniff out a cigarette a mile away which has made for a few interesting encounters with my tenants.
If you’re worried about damage caused by smoking and you don’t want your tenants to smoke in your property you can always make sure:
- Within your marketing it clearly states “non smoking tenants only”
- When conducting your own viewings you use your sense of smell to sniff out tenants with a habit and make it clear the property is available only to non smoking tenants
- The smoking question is included within your referencing process
- It is clearly stated within your tenancy agreement that tenants are not to smoke inside the property
However, even with the above precautions it’s very difficult to stop your tenants smoking in your property if they want to. Should you find your tenants smoking on a maintenance visit or spy an overflowing ash tray the best thing to do is politely remind them that they are not to smoke in the property.
But if your tenant continues to smoke you can use your inventory as evidence to detail why you might need to make a deduction to the deposit at the end of the tenancy. For example to professionally clean the property or claim for part of the cost to replace badly burned carpets.
Condition issues like cigarette burns in carpets and soft furnishings should be clearly noted alongside those tell-tale signs like discoloured walls in the inventory and should be backed up by photographic evidence that show any discolorations etc. Using a third-party such as an inventory company or even odour specialists to assess the extent of damage from smoke will provide valuable evidence that you can submit to support your deposit deduction claims.
However, without a good, well detailed inventory of a professional standard, claiming for costs to alleviate damage that smoking causes to the property will prove very difficult. If you end up with a case of your word against the tenant’s word, then you won’t fair well if it goes to a dispute, so make sure you’re prepared from the start.
How do you deal with smoking tenants? Have you had a bad experience? Let us know in your comments below and at @Urbansandl and @nationalandlord
Filed under: NLA
A strike too far: the case of Superstrike versus Rodrigues. | National Landlords Association
When it became a legal requirement to protect tenants’ deposits in a government-approved deposit protection scheme, it was expected that the legal system would clearly establish how tenancy deposits should be handled and what procedures are required to ensure compliance. And indeed it did – or so it...
NLA demands licence fee refunds | National Landlords Association
The National Landlords Association (NLA) has written to all local authorities in England after recent court judgements have clarified issues over the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and how local licensing fees should be determined.The action was taken after the outcomes from three...
Time to stand up and be counted
Richard Lambert, NLA Chief Executive Officer, offers his thoughts on this year's National Conference in Swansea...There’s always a sense of relief when you leave the annual conference feeling that ...
Richard Lambert, NLA Chief Executive Officer, offers his thoughts on this year’s National Conference in Swansea…
There’s always a sense of relief when you leave the annual conference feeling that it was a success. We always work hard to plan a mixture of thought-provoking ideas and commentary from an interesting range of speakers, and hope that a clear idea emerges from the debate of what the next steps should be. But I’ve done this often enough to know that you only really find out on the day if your plan works.
For me, three main things stood out from this year’s conference.
The first was a brief, and from the audience reaction not entirely convincing, appearance from Wales’ Housing Minister, Carl Sargent. While we were of course grateful to Mr Sargent for attending this year’s conference, I’m not sure many landlords in the room were comforted by his comments that the Welsh Government wants to make it “worthwhile” to work with private residential landlords in Wales. He said: “Our role as the Welsh Government is to work with you to provide sustainable homes.”
The reason landlords won’t be taking too much solace in his comments is because it is difficult to gain any sense from the new Welsh Housing Bill, published the day before, that the Welsh Government really grasps the landlord perspective. For example, as it stands, the proposals on the face of the Bill appear to mean that landlords will need to obtain multiple licenses from the multiple local authorities in which they let property. And local authorities will be able to set their own standards and training requirements to qualify. An administrative nightmare beckons …
Which takes me nicely on to the second thing that struck me:
The NLA argued against mandatory licensing and accreditation, but the Welsh Government has confirmed that is its policy. Without doubt the clear message from this Conference was that if that is so, then we need one accreditation scheme for Wales, as we understood was the policy, not a multiplicity of local variations. As such, the NLA has moved quickly to call for greater clarity over the proposals.
Possibly the most telling comment of the day came during the afternoon debate on ‘self-regulation or mandatory regulation?’, which took an in-depth look at the current balance and pros and cons of both. A local authority delegate raised their concern with the Bill as drafted, considering “… the work local authorities in Wales had contributed to the proposals” (sic).
For me, this comment acknowledged that Welsh local authorities were as thrown by the published proposals as we were. It also highlighted the need for guidance on how the registration, licensing and accreditation schemes should be administered locally so as to avoid unnecessary duplication. We will all benefit from clarity and simplicity.
The third thing that struck me was that, whatever the views on mandatory accreditation, on a show of hands, half the landlords in the room were already accredited. There’s a benefit to landlords to having a public demonstration of their knowledge and competence. One thing is certain, if Government is backing accreditation, there is a greater chance than ever before that tenants will start asking for, and eventually choosing, accredited landlords and agents, creating the market push that will really make it worthwhile.
But let’s not forget that it’s not just landlords who benefit from accreditation. If the good, responsible landlords identify themselves, they can be filtered out of the enforcement process, leaving the local authority an easier task in enforcing against the bad.
Too often landlords are misjudged by the minority who are criminals rather than landlords and who don’t represent the wider landlord demographic. As the NLA’s Chairman, Carolyn Uphill commented during the discussions, “…accreditation is undoubtedly a value to the PRS as it demonstrates our ability to stand up and be counted”. What are we waiting for?
Filed under: NLA Tagged: landlords, national conference, NLA
News & Campaigns | National Landlords Association
National Landlords Association news, campaigns, policy issues, developments, press releases and UK Landlord magazine.
Events | National Landlords Association
Government to review policy on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms - News stories - GOV.UK
Review on condition of homes in the private rented sector will consider if new rules are needed on installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Illegal immigration is one of the hot political topics at the moment. To solve the UK’s illegal immigration issues the Government is trying a range of tactics, including deploying controversial anti-illegal immigrant advertising vans and asking private-landlords to carry out immigration checks.
As you can imagine, the Government’s expectation that landlords could become immigration officers caused quite a storm among the landlord community. However, when you take a step back and look at the detail of the proposals, landlords checking potential tenants’ immigration status could involve little more than the current tenant checks carried out by professional landlords.
Keen to ensure the legislation could work in practise, the NLA responded to the Government’s consultation by welcoming the plans for private landlords to play an integral role in developing and maintaining sustainable communities but also raising a number of concerns, which must be addressed before the policy could become a practical reality. The Association highlighted three specific areas, representing a ‘line in the sand’ for private landlords:
- Firstly the expectation that landlords should carry out periodic checks throughout the term of a tenancy is unrealistic. On-going checking should remain the responsibility of the appropriate authorities and the duty to report overstaying households could present a distinct danger to landlords in a small but significant number of instances.
- The system must be made clear, accessible and easy to comply with. Doubt about requirements or uncertainty about how to comply may result in landlords favouring applications for accommodation from households which are easier to verify. This would be unhealthy for the diversity of communities, the private-rented sector and the perception of private landlords and could lead to further shortages of available housing.
- Private landlords tend to interview prospective tenants in the properties they wish to let. They may therefore have reduced access to office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines. These limitations must be taken into account when devising guidance and support materials
After responding to the consultation, the NLA was invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Committee considering the Immigration Bill. NLA Chairman, Carolyn Uphill highlighted major worries over the practical difficulties and the potential danger to landlords’ safety, as well as issuing a stark warning that the Bill could only serve to nurture a rogue undercurrent of damaging and criminal letting practices.
Carolyn highlighted that landlords may inadvertently discriminate against anyone they believe to be an immigrant, simply in an attempt to avoid the risk of falling foul of regulations they may not fully understand. She said, “in a situation where there is high demand for rented property with potentially several applicants, landlords will be tempted to take the easiest route and those with British passports will get priority.”
The NLA’s concerns were echoed by MPs in the Commons Home Affairs Committee following the evidence sessions. The Committee said that landlords “will discriminate against all immigrants, regardless of their status, rather than take the risk of housing a person without right to remain”. MPs pointed out that there are more than 400 “legitimate European identity documents alone on which landlords will have to base their decision”.
Concerns over the plans have already led to a commitment that the scheme implementation will be phased, beginning in one specific part of England. It will be interesting to see how the initial phase of the scheme goes and what problems are encountered when it begins.
Filed under: NLA
Lynn Griffiths, founder of the Carbon Monoxide Awareness charity launched their 8th National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week at the House of Lords yesterday (Monday 18th November 2013).
The mother-of-four set up the charity over eight years ago, after she and her family suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning for over a decade. Lynn has been raising awareness ever since.
‘It is shocking that despite living in the ‘information age’ people still don’t realise that carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless highly toxic gas that can kill in under three minutes.
Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of any hydrocarbon fuel e.g. coal, charcoal, wood, oil, petrol, diesel, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
Poisoning can have a devastating effect and the more people are aware of the signs and symptoms, especially at the initial stages, there’s more chance of preventing avoidable deaths or injuries.
Those poisoned by just low levels of carbon monoxide can go on to develop long term chronic health problems.
People can help protect themselves by making sure they and their families have all their fuel burning appliances serviced every year. Their chimney swept once or twice a year and by installing a carbon monoxide alarm in the correct place in their home, caravan or boat.
Due to lack of donations this year, the charity finds it’s unable to take its message to many parts of the UK like it has done for the last seven years.
Therefore I’m pleading to all landlords and the media to all pledge their support to the charity’s 8th National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week this year to help the charity reach the people it can’t.
Please don’t let someone you know, love, work with or live close by to fall victim to this silent killer.
It is absolutely vital that people start to understand the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and, most importantly, how we can all protect our homes and families from this silent invisible killer’.
Filed under: NLA